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CamCat Publishing, LLC / CamCat Books

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Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

unrealismbooks

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Hi all!
I'm wondering if anyone has ever heard of CamCat books, dealt with them, heard anything good or bad....
They have offered me a publishing deal, but as I am unagented, I am trying to do my best to check for any red flags before moving forward. Obviously, I will have the contract reviewed by an agent before signing, but want to know if there is anything wary about them even so.
The biggest thing I've noticed/heard is that they will not consider a work that is currently with agents or other publishers. They have signed agented authors without issue, but take offence to unagented authors using their interest as leverage. It says so right on their website (which admittedly I didnt notice when I initially subbed to them). I checked in with Victoria Strauss, and she said she had a complaint about them for the same thing where the editor actually withdrew the offer when an author asked if they could reach out to agents considering a DIFFERENT ms. To me, that seems sketchy, almost like they dont want authors to be protected or have their best interest in mind.
I heard a few other things, like unprofessional correspondence, things like that, but so far this is all I have. They are SUPER new, only opened in 2018, but already have 50 titles out which seems like a lot. They were super nice on the phone, very open to answering my questions, encouraged me to have a lawyer or agent review the contract. But I just have this feeling that I can't get out of my head that something is off....
Desperately looking for any feedback/advice/ etc.
Thanks! :)
 

Maryn

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I see things that give me pause--enough that I would not submit to them. I have no direct experience with them. Perhaps they could put my unease to rest, but I need more from a publisher than someone who's really friendly on the phone.

They're a publisher, but they expect the submitting author to have paid for a professional edit. And you have to tell them who the editor is. Anyone who's been here at AW for a time knows this cost could easily exceed your royalties from a small trade publisher.

Presuming you'll use your social media presence to advertise? Not cool. Plenty of people block authors who are permanently set on Sell. I use my social media presence to be social, and I shall continue. Occasionally, being social will involve discussion of writing or my books.

Expecting the author to provide a marketing plan? Nope. That's the publisher's job, although the author may be able to help. (That's a later question, what you as the author will do to market the work.)

If you're not getting their edits or marketing plan, and they don't want you, an unagented author, to hire an agent to review their contract, I'd be leery.

Maryn, trusting no one
 

Paul Lamb

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I looked pretty hard at them for submitting a novel, but then I backed away. Mostly for the reasons Maryn gives above.

They might be on my third or fourth tier for submission, but I'm going to exhaust a lot of other possibilities before then.

Stay safe.
 
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frimble3

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Looked at their website, and why do so many of their staff seem to think we care about their pets and hobbies? Only one mentioned neither - him, I liked.
But it sort of feels like this is just another hobby for some of them.
 

bunny hugger

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I would suggesting looking at their books, for example on Amazon, as a first step. Is their sales rank good? Are their covers and samples good? That’s usually my first step.
 
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waylander

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A marketing plan from an unpublished author? Why would such an author know the first thing about how to sell their book? Marketing books is hard and what works for one fails for another. This really is part of a publisher's job.
 

bunny hugger

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I've done marketing plans on submission a time or two. Basically a paragraph or two about who would buy the book and how to tell them about it. In some areas, although perhaps not this one, it is not an uncommon request.
 

Kathy

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Hi all!
I'm wondering if anyone has ever heard of CamCat books, dealt with them, heard anything good or bad....
They have offered me a publishing deal, but as I am unagented, I am trying to do my best to check for any red flags before moving forward. Obviously, I will have the contract reviewed by an agent before signing, but want to know if there is anything wary about them even so.
The biggest thing I've noticed/heard is that they will not consider a work that is currently with agents or other publishers. They have signed agented authors without issue, but take offence to unagented authors using their interest as leverage. It says so right on their website (which admittedly I didnt notice when I initially subbed to them). I checked in with Victoria Strauss, and she said she had a complaint about them for the same thing where the editor actually withdrew the offer when an author asked if they could reach out to agents considering a DIFFERENT ms. To me, that seems sketchy, almost like they dont want authors to be protected or have their best interest in mind.
I heard a few other things, like unprofessional correspondence, things like that, but so far this is all I have. They are SUPER new, only opened in 2018, but already have 50 titles out which seems like a lot. They were super nice on the phone, very open to answering my questions, encouraged me to have a lawyer or agent review the contract. But I just have this feeling that I can't get out of my head that something is off....
Desperately looking for any feedback/advice/ etc.
Thanks! :)
My first novel is with CamCat and I have found them very nice to deal with. I was pleased with their editing, I was given a nice choice of covers, and my sales reports and royalties arrive on time twice a year. The reason they have so many titles when they are so new is that the bought their backlist from SynergeBooks a couple of years ago. That is how my book landed with them. Although it is a backlisted title, I felt that they gave my book excellent attention when they re-released it. They rejected my second novel because they didn't think it was commercial enough, so I have every incentive to trash them, but I have nothing bad to say. My editor, Helga, gave me a lot of good coaching on the second novel, which I appreciated very much. They will expect you to do a lot of your own marketing, but I believe that is the case with most small publishers, and they also do marketing and promotion, especially for new releases. They encourage their authors to get to know each other and cross-promote each other. I have done that, and enjoyed working with the other authors.
 

lorna_w

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I would suggesting looking at their books, for example on Amazon, as a first step. Is their sales rank good? Are their covers and samples good? That’s usually my first step.
I did, when Kathy joined and mentioned she'd been published with them. A book of theirs that is only a month old is ranked #1,400,000 at Amazon, which is pretty bad (my two-week old book in a new pen name with zero mailing list and no ARCS has been ranked in the top 50,000 with no advertising and no social media, as a comparison). Their two most popular books are ranked in the 400,000s, which means much less than a sale per month (though one is a year old, and you generally don't get great sales after a year).

This is true when applied to 95% of small presses: if you know what you're doing or are willing to learn what you need to know, and you write in a popular genre, you could do far better in self-publishing and keep 70% of the cover price of ebooks.
 

eqb

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My first novel is with CamCat and I have found them very nice to deal with. I was pleased with their editing, I was given a nice choice of covers, and my sales reports and royalties arrive on time twice a year.

Hi, Kathy. I checked out your book on Amazon, and the premise sounds enticing!

Are you comfortable sharing what your overall sales are like? As in, are we talking triple digits or higher? I'm also curious how much editing and copyediting the publisher provided.
 

Unimportant

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The reason they have so many titles when they are so new is that the bought their backlist from SynergeBooks a couple of years ago.
Ah, that's interesting, and explains the huge number of titles.

What happened to SynergeBooks? Did they retire, or fail for financial reasons, or the owners died, or they decided to shift to different genres, or....? (If you can share details; perfectly cool if you can't.)
 
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CaoPaux

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What happened to SynergeBooks? Did they retire, or fail for financial reasons, or the owners died, or they decided to shift to different genres, or....? (If you can share details; perfectly cool if you can't.)
Going by CamCat's announcement, sounds like retirement.
 

jessiewinterspring

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I see things that give me pause--enough that I would not submit to them. I have no direct experience with them. Perhaps they could put my unease to rest, but I need more from a publisher than someone who's really friendly on the phone.

They're a publisher, but they expect the submitting author to have paid for a professional edit. And you have to tell them who the editor is. Anyone who's been here at AW for a time knows this cost could easily exceed your royalties from a small trade publisher.

Presuming you'll use your social media presence to advertise? Not cool. Plenty of people block authors who are permanently set on Sell. I use my social media presence to be social, and I shall continue. Occasionally, being social will involve discussion of writing or my books.

Expecting the author to provide a marketing plan? Nope. That's the publisher's job, although the author may be able to help. (That's a later question, what you as the author will do to market the work.)

If you're not getting their edits or marketing plan, and they don't want you, an unagented author, to hire an agent to review their contract, I'd be leery.

Maryn, trusting no one
Thank you. Now, I feel so much better. I'm wondering why I feel so heavy while reading their requirements but thanks to you, I can now put my head to rest haha :D
 

Maryn

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Sleeping well for the win, right? Nighty-night.

Maryn, tiptoeing out and closing the door softly
 

jessiewinterspring

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I just want to add here guys, that as a reader, I like the publisher haha, I've read some of their books after seeing this thread and I liked the story, the cover, ah so-so, I'm going to try a newer release.