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Deep River Books (formerly VMI Publishers) / Virtue Ministries, Inc.

roach

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jesustattoo said:
When a legit publisher offers a contract do they make the author buy a number of books as well? Help!!

From what I have read here most commercial publishers give authors a fair number of copies of their own books, they can buy more at a steep discount but those books are only to be used for promotional purposes not for resale.

It's the writer's job to write the book and sell it to the publisher. It's the publisher's job to sell the book to the reading public. Writers are always welcome with promotion but they are not required to be salespeople.
 

MadScientistMatt

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jesustattoo said:
VMi sells the books at a discount, so if the author sells them he makes a profit. Something to think about.

The "discount" is still probably a substantial mark-up over what it actually costs the vanity publisher to make the book. Jaws recently made a handy printing cost estimator to figure out how much the actual cost per book is. Vanity presses often charge considerably more.

And "If the author sells them" can be a pretty big if...

When a legit publisher offers a contract do they make the author buy a number of books as well? Help!!

No, never. Only a scam publisher would claim to be a publishing company and then insist the author buy a number of books.

That kind of pay to publish is not to be confused with a printing company, which simply is in the business of printing books, posters, and nearly anything else. Printers do not claim to be anything but what they are, and in fact many publishing houses contract with them to print their books. Teresa Neilson Hayden wrote a very useful guide to self publishing through a printing company. This is definitely not a scam, but it is also often a difficult way to sell books compared to having a commercial publisher use its marketing arm to get them into bookstores while you only have to worry about writing the sequel.
 
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JennaGlatzer

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RD, I think it's great that you're trying to keep your friend out of harm's way. I know how delicate that can be... even with everything I do here, I still get all queasy when a friend announces to me that he/she got an offer from a vanity press or a scammy agent. I'm always uncomfortable trying to explain the facts because I know it's going to be a bummer no matter what-- and that my friend may do it anyway and think I'm just trying to rain on his or her parade.

But I think all of us who know better have a responsibility to try to warn our friends about these things.
 

aruna

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JennaGlatzer said:
But I think all of us who know better have a responsibility to try to warn our friends about these things.

I was in such a situation last year, when a friend announced to me, with joy in her voice, that her son (9 yrs old) had one an "award" for his poetry. Apparently some "anthology" had invited schools to send in kids' poetry, and the "winners" would be published inan anthology. The "award" was a piece of paper saying he had won.

This little boy is a dear; he's almost deaf, had an abusive father, and struggles really hard. He was so proud of his "poetry award" and of "getting published"!

Sure enough, when the anthology was published the parents were encouraged to buy it for a ridiculous price. I tried to persuade my friend not to buy it, but it was too late. And of course there was the boy to think of; he was so proud of himself!
Aparently there are a few of these companies targeting British primary schools. The teachers don't know any better and let the kids enter; parents and kids love it when they win. I saw their promotional materials and felt sick.
 

DaveKuzminski

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Sounds like we need to find a way to inform teachers in all schools of these scams so they won't participate unknowingly. Perhaps the NEA in the US could be approached. Not sure about the organizations in other countries, but there must be some national organizations in those as well.
 

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aruna said:
Aparently there are a few of these companies targeting British primary schools. The teachers don't know any better and let the kids enter; parents and kids love it when they win. I saw their promotional materials and felt sick.
Do you remember the name of the company? I'd be interested to know. There's a similar company that targets teachers and schools in the US.

- Victoria
 

elsid

Thanks a bunch, guys

Just received an email from VMI about their interest in my manuscipt I had posted on 1st Edition. (ECPA) The water cooler was the first place I checked and learned just what I suspected. Thank you all for helping me make the decision not to contract with them.
 

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elsid said:
Just received an email from VMI about their interest in my manuscipt I had posted on 1st Edition. (ECPA)
This is also an illustration of the problems with ECPA and similar fee-based "submission" services--not only do reputable publishers rarely (if ever) peruse them, they're a ready-made trolling ground for questionable publishers.

- Victoria
 

elsid

So, now I know

Sounds to me like you're absolutely right, Victoria. That helps me not to make a decision to renew my subscription with them, Christian or not. Will not happen again. Thank you. By the way, does that go for InkTip as well? I here a lot of positive things about that particular site.
 
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meangene01

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I was just offerd a "contract" by VMI and a few other "partner publishers" and based on what I'm reading here it looks like I will be passing on that "deal"...by deal I mean I shell out $9100 for 1000 books (which realistically I could sell pretty easily in a few months--trust me on this one). I was planning on signing the contract today and then I did one final google search and *BAM*, the absolutewrite forums saved me!

I did a few searches on Amazon, B&N and Borders websites and saw many VMI published titles for sale so they are being carried by the "big boys" to some degree. But the upfront cost seems a little backwards--guess it's time to start looking for an agent. Can someone point me to a good list on these forums?
 

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Ok, I found some of the posts about agents and I'm digging through the different sites to find what I am looking for....
 

MadScientistMatt

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Congratulations on your escape! Real agents usually don't advertise to authors as they typically have enough submissions coming in as it is, so you need to do a little detective work to find out good ones. See if you can find books sort of like yours and find out what agent sold them. And good luck.
 

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Thanks Matt. I have already written a query letter (thanks to the info on this site), submitted out to about 10 agents so far today, and have found something else to spend $9100 on.
 

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Subsidy or Vanity

VMI is saying that they are a subsidy publisher not a vanity publisher. I tend to lean towards what everyone is saying here - I don't see the risk on their part. But I'm confused about the difference between subsidy/vanity (even though I've read the definitions on this site). Help?
 

IceCreamEmpress

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I'm confused about the difference between subsidy/vanity

There really is none. People call themselves "subsidy publishers" and blather on about how they and the author are equal partners, and they invest too, blah, blah, blah. That might even be accurate.

But at the end of the day, the author's still paying the so-called publisher. Which makes them not a publisher, but a printing service. Now, that's what some people want, and more power to them. It's the people who don't realize that this so-called publisher isn't providing what actual publishers offer who are getting taken.

I haven't noticed a significant difference in cost to the author between the places that call themselves "subsidy" and the places that are less squeamish about the "vanity" designation.
 

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VMI is saying that they are a subsidy publisher not a vanity publisher. I tend to lean towards what everyone is saying here - I don't see the risk on their part. But I'm confused about the difference between subsidy/vanity (even though I've read the definitions on this site). Help?

In theory, there's a difference. With a vanity publisher, you not only pay 100% of the cost of publishing your book, but the publisher's overhead and profit as well. A subsidy publisher, by contrast, contributes something of value to the relationship--sharing the financial outlay, providing services above and beyond what your fee pays for. In other words, with vanity publishing you take on the full financial risk. With subsidy publishing, the risk is shared. Subsidy publishers are also more selective than vanity publishers, and make genuine attempts to market their books.

Remember, though, that I said "in theory." It's rare to encounter a true subsidy publisher these days. While many so-called subsidy publishers do use some elements of the classic subsidy model (retaining rights and paying royalties on sales), they are vanity publishers in all the ways that count--minimal selectivity, charging fees that cover all costs including overhead and profit, doing little in the way of meaningful distribution or marketing. This hybrid business model is actually the worst of both worlds, since it presents all the disadvantages of vanity publishing (a fat fee and little credibility) and none of the advantages* of subsidy publishing (actual cost sharing and genuine marketing).

Companies that call themselves subsidy publishers are likely to do so not because it truly describes their business model, but because it sounds nicer than "vanity publisher." Other euphemisms you may encounter: co-op publishing, partner publishing, author investments, collaborative publishing.

For a more detailed discussion of subsidy vs. vanity, see the Vanity and Subsidy Publishing page of Writer Beware.

- Victoria

* "Advantage" being used here in a strictly relative sense.
 

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VMI

This company has not disappointed my friend Beryl Taylor who is just releasing "Finding Dwain". Granted it's money up front. But she has found them to be responsive, professional, and pretty thorough I think. Her book is in the pre-sale process just now, and is due to be released on Christian Book Distributors, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble June 1st.

Here is another quote from the VMI site:
"[FONT=verdana,tahoma,arial] First, VMI's distribution starts with the great sales and marketing team at STL/FaithWorks. Their marketing/sales team calls on the large Christian and secular retail chains such as Barnes & Noble, Family Christian Stores, LifeWay, Borders, Books-a-Million, and all other bookstore chains and "big box" retail outlets. They also provide your book to Amazon and other major book websites. In addition, they make sure your book is stocked at the wholesale distributors such as Ingram/Spring Arbor, Baker/Taylor, and Appalachian. In fact, we have our own full-time employee at Ingram, exclusively for FaithWorks books. (Click here to meet our great sales team!)"

I can't speak from first-hand experience, only what I've observed - so far. They don't appear to hide what their doing - in fact the opposite is true, unlike your typical vanity publisher.

Hope this helps. Just wanted to elaborate to pull this chain of comments a little bit the other way for balance. If I find out differently - I'll be back to write... ;)
[/FONT]
 

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A publisher that tells you up front that you're paying to have your book published = a vanity publisher.

A publisher that doesn't tell you up front that you're paying to have your book published = a vanity publisher with ethical issues

A publisher that doesn't tell you up front that you're paying to have your book published, but prices it so high that the author/friends/family are the only ones likely to buy the book = Publish America (but we have another thread for that).
 

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This company has not disappointed my friend Beryl Taylor who is just releasing "Finding Dwain". Granted it's money up front. But she has found them to be responsive, professional, and pretty thorough I think. Her book is in the pre-sale process just now, and is due to be released on Christian Book Distributors, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble June 1st.

Here is another quote from the VMI site:
"[FONT=verdana,tahoma,arial] First, VMI's distribution starts with the great sales and marketing team at STL/FaithWorks. Their marketing/sales team calls on the large Christian and secular retail chains such as Barnes & Noble, Family Christian Stores, LifeWay, Borders, Books-a-Million, and all other bookstore chains and "big box" retail outlets. They also provide your book to Amazon and other major book websites. In addition, they make sure your book is stocked at the wholesale distributors such as Ingram/Spring Arbor, Baker/Taylor, and Appalachian. In fact, we have our own full-time employee at Ingram, exclusively for FaithWorks books. (Click here to meet our great sales team!)"

I can't speak from first-hand experience, only what I've observed - so far. They don't appear to hide what their doing - in fact the opposite is true, unlike your typical vanity publisher.

Hope this helps. Just wanted to elaborate to pull this chain of comments a little bit the other way for balance. If I find out differently - I'll be back to write... ;)
[/FONT]
Go to the physical bookstores. Barnes & Noble. Borders. Books-A-Million. Heck, check even Wal*Mart. Not the websites. The actual brick-and-mortar stores. Do you find other books on the shelves by this publisher?
 

IceCreamEmpress

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This company has not disappointed my friend Beryl Taylor who is just releasing "Finding Dwain". Granted it's money up front. But she has found them to be responsive, professional, and pretty thorough I think.

I hope it works out well for her! Vanity/subsidy publishing does work well for some people in some situations--basically, the situations where a) the author is pleased with the quality of the product; b) the author is using the publisher primarily as a printing and shipping service; and c) the author is ready to do the marketing and promotion herself or himself.

Of course the main thing is for the author to have appropriate expectations. Sounds like your friend does have some understanding of what vanity/subsidy publishing can and can't deliver, which augurs well. Although the "We'll distribute your book!" thing you cite might be a bit misleading. I go to a lot of bookstores, including CBA stores, all around the country, and I have never seen a book from this press.
 

victoriastrauss

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I hope it works out well for her! Vanity/subsidy publishing does work well for some people in some situations--basically, the situations where a) the author is pleased with the quality of the product; b) the author is using the publisher primarily as a printing and shipping service; and c) the author is ready to do the marketing and promotion herself or himself.

Or d) the author has a non-commercial reason for wanting bound books, such as creating a recipe book, or compiling a genealogy, or creating a memoir just for family members.

VMI does reveal on its website that authors have to buy their own books as a condition of publication. However, authors need to realize that arrangements like this can be FAR more expensive than using a straightforward self-publishing service. Bottom line: if you plan to pay to publish, it really behooves you to shop around.

BTW, I find VMI's Sales Team page a bit misleading. The implication is that VMI has its own sales team, but in fact they've just lifted bios off the STL/Faithworks website.

- Victoria
 

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A Message from VMI

VMI just posted a page you may be interested in:

http://www.vmipublishers.com/bookssoldinstores.htm

By the way, I've seen VMI books in many bookstores, but of course I look for them (my father is Bill Carmichael). You should ask his authors what they think about VMI. Some have also had their books picked up for second/third runs by larger publishers as a result of the strong sales through VMI.

Anyway, I think this thread is misguided at best. Shame on you for including VMI in a 'scam' section in the same breath as Publish America.

Has anyone actually thought to invite Bill or one of the VMI sales team (yes, they are definitely part of the team) to post a statement here?
 

M.R.J. Le Blanc

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What's misguided is this, from their site:

And increasingly, publishers are unwilling to take any risks on new authors. This, of course, puts new authors at a big disadvantage.
and

While most major publishers will not take risks on new authors, we feel there are many writers who have something significant to say but for various reasons do not receive a contract from other full-service publishers.

Publishers take on new writers all the time. That's in part of how they stay in business. There are many reasons why one may not have gotten published, from not following submission guidelines to having a story that just isn't saleable. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: there is no entitlement in publishing. Just because you wrote a story, does not automatically mean it deserves to be published. Whether VMI has the ability to determine what can sell and what can't, I don't know. But requiring the author's help to sell those books is always a flag. If they can get your book into all these places, why on earth would they need any help from you?