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Curiosity Quills Press

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

KarenLK

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For what it's worth, I also have titles published with Curiosity Quills. Since several of these titles were previously self-published, I can directly compare royalties from before and after signing with this small press. The results have been abysmal, often under $100/month across four titles, which makes the kill fee sting that much more. Never assume any publisher is doing a good job unless you're certain of the numbers.
 

AJ Flowers

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I've had some concerns about my agent for a while, worried she is amateurish or something. She sold my first book after around two years, which was a tough sell I think because it was in this too adulty YA place, but she's been so slow and lackadaisical with this second novel. She's subbing to big places too like Thomas Dunne and such but she has told me she thinks this may go to a smaller publisher like the first one has (small but prestigious, if ungodly slow) so I'm worried she's like already written this second novel off and am concerned she's may not be pitching it as well as she could? This one is an SF adventure that's much safer and more conventional than my first but I wouldn't think we would already be doing something like CQ. But then again maybe she legit thinks it's a great fit. *sigh* I don't know. *beats head against desk*

To borrow the concept from Senior Literary Agent Paula Munier in Writing With Quiet Hands, it's the agent's job to put your book in front of editors, but the work has to stand on its own. In that sense, it's not your agent's job to sell the book purely on pitch, your work should do that no matter how it is pitched.
 

BinaryCat

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I've been with CQ for over a year now and two weeks ago my debut novel, The Unquiet Dead, was published by them. It's too early for me to judge sales or anything (though my Amazon rankings have been pretty good), but the author and publisher community is pretty great and supportive. Sometimes I wish they'd communicate a bit more frequently, but they're always very fast to reply with helpful answers to any questions we authors might have.

I'll have a better idea of how my financial relationship with them stands once I start getting royalties and sales numbers.
 

Filigree

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Here's hoping you do well! I'll be watching.

CQ has apparently improved since their opening days, which is good. They've favorited my pitches in a few recent twitter contests, but I haven't subbed anything. I'm still waiting to see how their sales go, before dealing with that kill fee (and other issues.)
 

zmethos

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I haven't published with them, but a while back they did request some chapters via one of the Twitter pitch thingies. The response from the editor rubbed me the wrong way. It was a rejection anyway, but she took a passage I'd written and rewrote it showing what she thought I should have written. I didn't know whether to be flattered she'd taken the time or annoyed at the extensive rewrite (which I personally thought was not great, but these things are subjective). Happy to have landed that book/series elsewhere.

That said, I do know a number of people who say they've been happy publishing with them.
 

Filigree

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(snip)...she took a passage I'd written and rewrote it showing what she thought I should have written. I didn't know whether to be flattered she'd taken the time or annoyed at the extensive rewrite (which I personally thought was not great, but these things are subjective).

Wait. What? I'd have to really know and trust an agent or editor, before I found that acceptable. I've dealt with lots of editors (and several agents) and NONE of them rewrote whole sections. They'd suggest. Offer some wording examples. Play 20 Questions to drill down to the heart of the story. They wouldn't do my work for me, or (except in work-for-hire cases where I was mimicking another writer's style) tell me word-for-word how they thought something should be written. They accepted that I was an adult with the ability to apply specific and general examples. Good editors and editorial agents know how to influence me toward better revisions, in my own words and voice.

As I think back over my 20+ years of watching publishing, the tendency to 'write over' author's words has seemed a clear indicator of substandard and potentially failing publishers.

So, another strike (for me, at least) against any consideration of CQ.
 

zmethos

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Yeah, it was definitely off putting. It was almost that feeling of someone liking your story and thinking they could write it better? I don't know if that's the case, of course, but that was how it came across. Anyway, the result was something that was definitely not my voice or style. I couldn't see going through a whole book like that (and it's the first in a series besides). And then it was even weirder to me that she did that . . . and then rejected the book anyway. I guess because it wasn't written the way she would write it? :Shrug:
 

DrFaerieGodmother

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Extrapolate all you like, Filigree, there's nothing like experience from inside. My book has been out with CQ for a while now, and their royalties are very clear, sales are good, and I have to say the staff is very professional. I'm sorry to hear about that acquisitions editor, that does sounds super weird. I haven't had any experiences like that. I'm not discounting your experience, ZMethos, I'm just offering a counterpoint from the inside. Happy Writing!
 

akaria

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Your cover is lovely DrF. As are a bunch of CQ covers. Books have a healthy number of reviews and even titles a year or two old have decent rankings. (I consider ~500k for an old title decent for a small press)

The fact they only sell through Amazon is a BIG turnoff. As someone who gets most sales through B&N, it doesn't make sense to leave money on the table. Ignoring the other vendors means ignoring all the places Amazon isn't. Book buyers can be picky about where they make purchases too. For example, many Canadians buy books through Kobo. It's irresponsible for a publisher to only sell an author's books through one vendor.

Also, CQ needs to clean up their website. If books aren't available at B&N or Kobo, they need to remove the links and logos.
 
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BinaryCat

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Oh, wow. I never had anything like what zmethos experienced, at all. I'm sorry to hear that. :\ My acquisitions editor was great, and all communication has been friendly, but professional.

As for the Amazon-only thing, I understand that, totally. I know more than a few people who were put out by that since they get their books from other sources. I'm sure that is something CQ would like to see as well - everybody benefits from a wider distribution network to get books into more hands.
 

zmethos

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Yeah, I definitely have the sense my experience was atypical. Maybe that editor was new. As I've said, I have fellow online author friends who have been very happy with CQ. But, like agents, no one publisher is right for everyone. I'm hoping the publisher this book went to will do right by it. So far, so good. (And I had another book go to a different publisher that I'm not 100% happy with, but live and learn. I figure if this one doesn't work out either, maybe I'm just not meant for small pubs.)
 

battlecat

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While looking into CQ, I found one of their books in stock and shelved at my local Barnes & Noble. Did they only recently go exclusive with Amazon or something?
 

ctripp

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>Not recommended. This small "hybrid" press offers a yearly escape clause, though the amount of the kill fee is not specified in their boilerplate contracts; expect to pay a prohibitively high kill fee if you choose to leave due to poor sales. For example, a fee that costs 10 times as much as the total royalties earned by the author.

More info on kill fees: http://accrispin.blogspot.com/2009/0...s-and-why.html<

Only reading this whole thread this morning and the above comment stuck out for me. Reading the link to an older WB posting, re: kill fee's, it states it's a term used traditionally in magazine publishing.
But it is also used in book publishing. Kill fee's are often found in Illustrators contracts, a sum to be paid if after the work has begun the book is cancelled for whatever reason, beyond the Illustrators control.
I see the article goes on to say it's a term used by some small presses, rather then saying revision of rights. I was unclear why the commenter posted this but is this to imply CQ charges such a fee if the book fails to sell, or sell enough to be reasonably kept in print? IS there a "kill fee" mentioned in the CQ contract?
Just curious.
 

Aggy B.

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In this instance, they are referring to "buying back rights" which is different than a kill fee (which is typically a thing the publisher pays to author/illustrator as compensation for their time when a book/article/story is cancelled).

Asking the author to buy back their rights (instead of providing a reasonable reversion clause) is problematic because it sets the publisher up to make more money from the author trying to recover a "failed" book (i.e. one with extremely low sales but not at the end of the contract period) than they will in sales of said book. It can be a sign a predatory press, although some publishers will view it as a way to keep authors from bailing on their contract if the initial sales are low. They are sometimes included as part of additional rights reversions in the off chance an author gets a late offer of publication from a larger press and wants to take the book to a larger press. In that instance, it would typically be the other press buying out the book. <---This is all generally speaking. I don't know if CQ has a clause which requires the buy back of rights.

Personally I would be wary of buy back clauses without an agent vetting the language and general rights reversion for me.
 

Fantasy_freak

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In this instance, they are referring to "buying back rights" which is different than a kill fee (which is typically a thing the publisher pays to author/illustrator as compensation for their time when a book/article/story is cancelled).

Not sure why the other poster referred to a kill fee, but I had a nose on the CQ website and the "escape clause" (their phrase) is detailed in the FAQ on their website and it states what expenses comprise the fee. It certainly doesn't appear to be a punitive amount but the actual costs incurred. I don't know about others, but I would rather know there was some out in a contract if a relationship wasn't working, rather than be stuck with a publisher where I wasn't happy. This is what it says at https://curiosityquills.com/submission-guidelines/

[FONT=&quot]The purpose of a contract is to outline the term during which a publisher has the right to sell and profit from your book. But we do want to offer authors a way to bail if the relationship is not working out – if both parties cannot fire on all cylinders, it’s better to part ways.[/FONT][FONT=&quot]This is why the last week of July of each year is our “Escape Clause” week. Authors may request an early termination of their contract, with the understanding that they will have to return any outstanding advanced royalties and defray our costs of production (we never request an author pay for marketing expenses).[/FONT][FONT=&quot]What do we mean by ‘costs of production’? Very simple: the amount we spent on cover design, editing, proofreading, and setup fees incurred.[/FONT]
 

Aggy B.

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Not sure why the other poster referred to a kill fee, but I had a nose on the CQ website and the "escape clause" (their phrase) is detailed in the FAQ on their website and it states what expenses comprise the fee. It certainly doesn't appear to be a punitive amount but the actual costs incurred. I don't know about others, but I would rather know there was some out in a contract if a relationship wasn't working, rather than be stuck with a publisher where I wasn't happy. This is what it says at https://curiosityquills.com/submission-guidelines/

The purpose of a contract is to outline the term during which a publisher has the right to sell and profit from your book. But we do want to offer authors a way to bail if the relationship is not working out – if both parties cannot fire on all cylinders, it’s better to part ways.This is why the last week of July of each year is our “Escape Clause” week. Authors may request an early termination of their contract, with the understanding that they will have to return any outstanding advanced royalties and defray our costs of production (we never request an author pay for marketing expenses).What do we mean by ‘costs of production’? Very simple: the amount we spent on cover design, editing, proofreading, and setup fees incurred.

Okay. So, making an author pay for the publishers investment is punitive. It says that the author's contribution (the MS) is worth less than the publishers. If something isn't working in the author-publisher relationship, the publisher needs an incentive to work it out and make money for both parties - not a clause that ensures that they come out even if an author is unhappy.

If this "escape clause" is coupled with standard and reasonable reversion clauses that might not be a problem. If this is the only reversion option for early termination, I would be very uncomfortable with it. (Obviously, you enter a business relationship with the hope that it works and everyone makes money, but you have to consider what happens if that's not the case.) I'm very uncomfortable with a publisher thinking they can reclaim an advance on a book that has already been published. I'm uncomfortable with the idea that my options for ending the contract early mean the publisher will profit off of me (by requiring payment for all the parts of production they are supposed to be responsible for) and I will lose money (along with first print rights).

I know several authors published with CQ and they seem quite happy, but I would have reservations about accepting this kind of language in a contract without heavy negotiation.
 

tyrthunder

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My turn :)

I've been with CQ for just over a year now and have signed 5 books with them in that time.

I was a paralegal, am a Justice of the Peace and several lawyers have been over the contract and can confirm it's a-okay.

In the ten months my book has been released, it became an international #1 bestseller, was a finalist in the International Book Awards and is the October alt pick on Felicia Day's Vaginal Fantasy.

Does that mean it's a good book or a good publisher? I say I wouldn't be where I am without them. Their covers are beautiful, they're down to earth and DO distribute through B&N, Book Depository, Walmart, Amazon and several others.

Hope this helps :)
 

C Alberts

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... and DO distribute through B&N, Book Depository, Walmart, Amazon and several others.


Congrats on your success, but I want to point out that none of the companies you list here are distributors.
 

Mrs-Q

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It is alarming that most of the people speaking up for this press have very few posts.
 

Fantasy_freak

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Their covers are beautiful, they're down to earth and DO distribute through B&N, Book Depository, Walmart, Amazon and several others.

Hope this helps :)

Those are all online stores that any self publisher can access by ticking expanded distribution with CreateSpace. How many actual physical bookstore SHELVES are your books on? If I walked into a B&N or Walmart today, would I find your books on a shelf or are they only available POD/online?

I'm always suspicious when people start calling themselves a "#1 international bestseller". What does that even mean? Did you hit the #1 spot on the USA Today or NYT bestseller list? Do you have a title that is #1 overall in the Amazon store? Or did you just make a spot on a small niche category on Amazon?
 
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BenPanced

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And looking at the International Book Awards site, a win from them isn't much of anything. You pay a rather hefty entry fee in relation to what little you receive if chosen as a winner: promotion on their sites and social media pages, the chance to declare yourself an award winning author (srsly. Direct quote), and stickers to put on physical books. (Isn't there a thread about them here on AW?)
 

BinaryCat

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Well, I have an update with my relationship with CQ. Long story short: I'm no longer impressed. Obviously, as a newcomer to the publishing industry, I don't have any experience to compare this to, so keep that in mind. This is just my experience and my understanding of what's been happening. I've had solid reviews and great feedback directly from readers, but the lack of support is crippling.

While I only have heard second-hand of complaints from other authors, I know my own experiences have gotten much worse since the initial signing of the contract. I've had to pester them to try anything. There's a bookstore in my hometown that was happy to host an event, when I spoke to them myself. I understand that the publisher wants to be/should be the main point of contact with stores and such, but after I passed the reigns to CQ (as requested)...nothing.

I asked them to look into bookstores, both independent and chain. I sent them a list of bookstores and such as they requested - another month went by without anything. And recently I learned that they hadn't even tried to pick up the phone yet, after several months (keep in mind, I first started this dialogue months ago).

Maybe this low level of assistance is 'normal' for the industry; I don't know. I do know that, from where I'm sitting, I've basically been set adrift with little to no support.

Or maybe they're working like frantic monkeys behind the scenes. I just doubt it.
 
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