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Chameleon Publishing / Chameleon Media

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

StreetCalledHaight

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Greetings!

I'm a new member but I'm an active author. Recently contacted by a 'startup' publisher called Chameleon. I'm trying to go slow and collect as much information as possible before committing to anything.

According to my discussion with the CEO, the way they work goes like this:

We're still gearing up with Chameleon - you can get basic information on our website. www.chameleonmedia.co

we are raising funds for start-up - they will pay for marketing and market development, primarily

Also we're doing 1099 contractor contracts, not single-book. Time-based, whatever books you want to do with us during a specified time period.

the deal is 50-50 across the board, all editions.

paid monthly

we invest in the market development and research, and of course will edit, copyedit, design books etc. Authors will work as part of a development team. We have artist-partners lined up also. So authors would have their own artist.

You'll get feedback from real readers as you work.

No single-book acquisitions, no agents.

Me: I think you know that the real issue for authors is getting their books sold, right?

Yes that's why we're investing in the market research and development before publication.

Me: Almost like Agile development but for books

yes

and also every other manufacturing industry known to man that's successful

It's not a good process for people who just want to write books and want someone to "sell them for them"

Me: Sounds like a good plan

Or who can't respond to reader feedback, good and/or bad

She mentioned that they have a partnership with the http://www.codexgroup.net/

this is one of our key marketing partners

We believe there's a market for every good book. Also we are doing our market testing based in a group of key criteria. We call them "bookfeel" - like "mouthfeel" in the food industry

Anyway - hopefully you get the idea. I think the idea that agents are left out of the process is a bad idea. On the other hand, if they're willing to pay $$ while I work instead of selling it and hoping to see some $$ after the fact, that might work as well.

Wanted to ask for your thoughts as I navigate this process ...
 

spieles

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I mean, I don't know about the rest... I guess a start up always comes with risk?

But I'm pretty sure a 1099 is going to be your tax form no matter what in the US if you're writing a novel. You're not salaried so it's going to count as "other income."
 

T Robinson

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You need to check closer. My first thought was that you pay taxes on it, but THEY have all the deductions for their 50% of whatever they spent on marketing.

I am paranoid cynical, but something sets off alarms. Read and check all. Especially for the less obvious gotchas.
 

ironmikezero

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Sounds a bit like work for hire... Any clear discussion about rights, copyright, etc..?

I'd recommend caution.
 

S.C. Wynne

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All my publishers send me a 1099 if you make over a certain amount. Can't remember if it's $200 or something. I'm published with Loose Id and they do it as well. I believe this is standard.
 

Old Hack

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From their website:

Q. What do you mean, legacy publishers don't do marketing?

A. They do not. They conduct market research based in devolving, ever shrinking market segments . This guarantees that over time sales will devolve to smaller and smaller numbers of sales to smaller and smaller groups interested in specific things. This phenomenon is evident in a variety of metrics and is misinterpreted as "people don't read books any longer" and "books have to compete with all other forms of entertainment." When marketing is done, it is after the fact (of purchase) and has little to nothing to do with book production or the creative/editorial process.

Publishers do market the books they publish. Publishers do not think that "people don't read books any longer" or that "books have to compete with all other forms of entertainment." Marketing starts months before books are published.

How can anyone think they're qualified to become a publisher when they know so very little about the business of publishing?

They ask the wrong questions of their market. However, most critically and importantly, the entire legacy publishing system pays as little as possible for the product it sells – and selects it based in neither genuine market metrics (what readers truly enjoy, what motivates them to purchase) nor any other known, quantifiable metric. Books are pre-selected by literary agents (who operate based on rumor, articles by inexperienced journalists, or Twitter chat) who do not even work for the publishers. Editorial selection is a matter of personal taste or lucky guesswork. "Gee, this book reminds me of …" Imagine if that happened at Nabisco (Mondelez). Imagine that it happened … anywhere … It is a mark of the power and strength of books despite all of this that nearly 1 billion were verifiably sold last year in the U.S., not a mark that "no one reads any longer."

Oh dear. Really.

Agents filter the best and most commercial, books out of their slush piles and then submit them to publishers.

Publishers then look at those submissions, and choose the sorts of books they know will sell.

Agents and commissioning editors are highly skilled, knowledgeable, and competent. If their books don't sell, they don't make a living.

I am not impressed.
 

Cathy C

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The way it's worded, it might be you're the one giving a 1099 TO THEM. They're raising money. They state that up front. How I read is is that you're donating your project for them to raise money with. They pay out money to third parties and you reimburse them.

I'd pass, if I were you.
 

shadowwalker

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Sounds like just a new method of getting money from authors by painting trade publishers and agents as money-grubbing idiots. Tell people what they want to hear often enough...

Time to dig out the 10-foot poles.
 

Karen Junker

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To me, the term 'legacy publishing' is a big red flag. That's a term that is used a lot by self-publishers and scam publishers who are trying to disparage trade publishing so that the writer will feel justified in coming to them (not the term itself, but all the other rhetoric that goes with it, usually).
 

Filigree

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Yep. Walk away. When you see the words 'legacy publishing' that can be affinity code heralding either a vanity pub dressing itself in pretty clothes, or a clueless publisher who doesn't know better (often, started by someone burned by a vanity pub. Dunno why it works, but I've seen it enough times.)

Publishers pay you, and they send you tax info if you sell enough in a fiscal year.

Anything else should be scrutinized very carefully.
 

CaoPaux

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Site's gone. Sporadic activity on FB, but nothing for the press after '15, as far as I can tell (except for a book by owner in collaboration with a co-op).
 

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