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Creative Talents Unleashed / CTU Publishing Group

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

aliceshortcake

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"Together let's Unleash our Creative Talents and share them with the world" - Raja Williams

Creative Talents Unleashed is an independent publishing group that offers writers an opportunity to share their writing talents with the world...We are a community of poets promising to treat each other with honesty, respect, and creative encouragement. We will handle your poetry manuscript with the respect and care it deserves and together we will create a beautiful representation of your words for the literary world to read. http://www.ctupublishinggroup.com/home.html

An independent publishing group specializing in poetry, the least lucrative type of literature? No prizes for guessing that it's a pay-to-play, although I couldn't find a price list on the website.

Not only do we co-create with our Authors and help them publish their books, but we also help them spread their message around the world via our own marketing platforms. We firmly believe in assisting you in publishing a great book at the lowest out of pocket expense and welcoming you into this amazing publishing family.

But what if you can't afford the lowest 'out of pocket expense'? Don't panic! Help is at hand in the form of the Starving Artist Fund set up the company's CEO, poet Raja Williams:

In 2013 Ms. Raja Williams realized that there was a gap, a void if you will, within the publishing industry. A writer either had to come up with hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars to release a book or take on the journey of self-publishing alone. There was no middle ground, no one there to assist, either financially or lead the way in self-publishing. Most writers do not have the finances to pay a publisher, and some don’t know where to start when it comes to self-publishing, nor are they prepared to be in business for themselves.

Raja was inspired to start a fund to assist writers in becoming published authors at either a discounted rate or a full publishing scholarship. To begin this fund Raja paid for the publishing of our first anthology Love, a Four Letter Word. Comprised of poets from all around the world. The sales generated from the purchases of the book were placed into a fund that enabled us to fund future publishing’s.

Call me cynical, but this sounds suspiciously like the claim made by some thinly-disguised vanity presses - "we bear half the cost of publishing and promoting your book!"

And there's the old chestnut about writers having to pay to be published. Given that all of CTU's books to date have been published through CreateSpace, wouldn't it make more sense for poets to cut out the middle man and do the same, thereby saving themselves some expense (and the need for help from the Starving Artist Fund?)

At least CTU doesn't hide the fact that most of the burden of actually selling books will fall on the authors:

As we all know, in order for a dream to become reality a set of actions on the part of the visionary/writer/poet must take place. What are you willing to do to achieve your dream, to see a vision become reality? What sacrifices are you ready to make? Creative Talents Unleashed puts in countless hours and resources (financial and otherwise) daily to keep our vision of establishing a platform for your voice to be heard.

We are counting on you to do your part by supporting the dream we all share, purchasing the very anthologies you request to be a part of is one way. Forging a bond of solidarity with your fellow writers and poets and those that give birth to platforms’ that promote writing is another. In a time where it has become increasingly difficult to publish promote and tell our stories, it is a must that we support each other.

We strive to be a publishing family that supports the family members within. You can count on this family to be your cheer leader, purchase your books when feasible, and help promote your work and all forms of creative endeavors.

Is there an award for Most Irritating Use of the Word 'Family' on a Vanity Publisher's Website?

Raja Williams' bio is...interesting:

Raja Williams, also known as Raja’s Insight fiercely arrived on the writer’s scene in 2012 after being awakened by a world renounced poet and song writer whom encouraged her to write daily. After nearly twenty years of pent up words only floating in her head she began to allow them to spill out onto empty pages and find way to readers that needed encouraging words.

Raja entered one of her poems into a poetry contest and won a full publishing contract and released her first book “The Journey Along The Way” in January of 2013 with Inner Child Press. Through the publishing process and connecting with so many amazing writers and poets she founded her company “Creative Talents Unleashed.”

http://www.ctupublishinggroup.com/raja-williams-.html

Inner Child Press is another vanity press aimed at poets with up to $4000 to throw away on packages that include interviews on vanity radio.

By the way, CTU doesn't offer editing. After reading their website I'm inclined to think it's probably a blessing in disguise...
 
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aliceshortcake

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The image conjured up by this phrase is so delightful it's almost a disappointment when you realize it should be 'world-renowned'.

Seriously, this is a classic example of what happens when someone published by a vanity press decides that they want to publish other writers. They have no idea what real publishing is.
 
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mccardey

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I've been renounced. It's not a happy thing...
 

Ketzel

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I've been renounced. It's not a happy thing...
One time I was re-announced, and it was OK. But it would have been better if the MC had had a properly working microphone in the first place.
 

aliceshortcake

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To be fair, Raja Williams isn't completely lacking in publishing experience. According to her LinkedIn profile, for six months in 2013 she was the Creative Director of Invite Stories: Call For Writers:

http://www.globalforumpublishing.com/invite-stories--call-for-writers.html

From what I can gather, writers were being called to provide royalty-free content for anthologies they'd no doubt be expected to buy. I hope the editing was better than that of the book featured on the above page, the back cover of which is painful to read.
 

Thedrellum

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Egad. Eegah. Growl.

You know, there are some poetry presses that are author-driven--and quite successful--but they are co-ops. Alice James Books is a good example of this.

However, they also don't require that the author put money into the publication process. And they're great at marketing the authors they publish. And, in all ways, they are better than this whatever-it-is.

Although they aren't renounced. There's that.
 

aliceshortcake

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CTU's first anthology Love a Four Letter Word was published last June and has an Amazon ranking of 2,274,950. I find it hard to believe that sales generated enough profit to pay for a single 'publishing scholarship'. The poets provided their own thumbnail biographies, and since quite a few of them obviously speak English as a second language the lack of editing is painfully obvious.
 

aliceshortcake

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I emailed Raja Williams to ask about CTU's fees. Her reply:

We don't have a standard price for publishing as we are a company that is for the writer.
This means, you will only pay the required fees for a book publishing. We encourage writers to submit their manuscript
for evaluation, and then we are able to evaluate what your needs are. Hint, no writer has paid more than $350 for publishing.

Make of that what you will.
 

noveler7

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Few things frustrate me more than vanity presses masquerading as something they're not...:rant:
 

ThatGilsdf

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[Publisher] Creative Talents Unleashed

Hi, everyone! (I'm new here.)

I was going to submit some poems to a CTU (Creative Talents Unleashed) anthology, but then I saw a forum post here saying that it was just vanity publishing.

So I was wondering if anyone here had any experience with them? Do they just accept everyone or is it a serious publishing company?
 

Harlequin

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It explicitly states that all profits go to the "starving artist fund", which is deeply ironic since those artists would be a lot less starved if they actually got paid.

You are also expected to buy a copy of the anthology, as a contributor. Meh to that.

The covers look terrible. The writing on the "about" section reads like someone vomited purple crayon. Site as a whole looks very amateur.

Finally you said there is already a thread on how they are a vanity press so not sure what's left to question, really. Unless anyone has ever heard of a vanity press turned legit?
 

Fruitbat

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From my quick look at the anthologies, it seems like it's the pretty common set-up of a co-op of a few writers doing their thing, more or less "for the love." I don't think it's likely any big scam but more along the lines of what community theater is in the drama realm or a garage band who enjoys doing gigs for free or thereabouts.

Clues are that staff members are included in the group's own publications, that the Amazon rankings (from my brief look anyway) aren't high and also the books appear to be published on CreateSpace, a self-publishing platform. I doubt the staff is anywhere near full-time, paid, with a physical rented office or making much, if anything, off these anthologies themselves. You can see more by reading the staff bios. Also, they appear to be poetry-focused, and poetry is not generally known to be a big seller anyway, so.

While it doesn't look like a large commercial enterprise, it is hopefully fun, and a chance to get a credit and have a book on your shelf that your story is included in. If you're interested in that, you might to check the quality by seeing if there's a "look inside this book" or if any stories from the anthologies are included in their blog.
 
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Krampus Nacht

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