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[Display site] Book Country

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HJW

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The implication that there are agents and editors on display sites looking for books/writers always makes me roll my eyes.

When are said agents and editors going to have the time?

Does happen. I signed with an agent who initially spotted my work on a display site (YWO).
 

Cyia

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Konrath's done a post on this today:

Book Country, which debuted in April as a place for authors to post their work for critique, recently announced a program to turn manuscripts posted on their website into ebooks and paper books:


Our self-publishing process has been designed by a team of book industry professionals to make the experience as accessible, convenient, and affordable as possible.


For $549 they will format your ebook and print book, and then upload it to retailers.


Or for $299 they will let you do your own formatting, and then upload the book to retailers.

http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/2011/11/book-country-fail.html
 

frimble3

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Normally, display sites are kind of a bad idea, for reasons this forum has extrapolated on a lot.

A display site that's secretly the penguin slush pile, however, where editors can gauge the reaction of a sophisticated target audience before they say yea or nay -- that would be of actual value.

Just as a hypothesis, of course.

Bart, into conspiracy theories.
'Secretly' is the key. If editors just happen to be nosing around and find something, all well and good. It's the 'fight your way to the front of the pack and an editor will look at your stuff' that gets nasty.
 

MicheleLee

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I use Book Country and have found it good for discussion and great for crits. I have no idea though why I might pay them $99 (at least) to upload my book to Amazon & B&N etc for me, then let them take a chunk after what Amazon & B&N does. Borders had the same kind of self publishing model, by the way. I thought it was ridiculous.

However I really, do like their critting style.
 

honeysock

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Book Country self-publishing fees

As many are aware, a well-known (and beloved) agent that often chimed in on these boards quit agenting last year and is now heading up this new Penguin self-pubbing venture, promoting it on twitter and other places. But some experienced (and successful) self-pubbed authors are shocked at the fees seemingly hidden in the contract, as seen here.

Thoughts?

(If there's already a thread on this subject somewhere, my apologies. Feel free to move, mods.)

ETA: I could not find the Book Country thread and originally posted this in the Penguin thread. Thanks for moving it.
 
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Rowdymama

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There must be a lot of money in this kind of "scam." Some people don't want to write, they want to have written, and will pay anything to see their work published - I know, my sister did it. She paid like $400, and was promised around $7 per copy sold. I don't think she sold more than 2-3 copies, mostly to relatives. So where did the rest of the money go?

Stay away from these ripoff artists and learn to write well,* so you can market your work to a print publisher, or publish it online yourself.

Learn how here: http://pygmypress.com
 

honeysock

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But this is Penguin. Most publishing professionals would not link them with other self-publishing "scams."

Is this a "bridge" venture, for lack of a better term?
 

LindaJeanne

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But this is Penguin. Most publishing professionals would not link them with other self-publishing "scams."

I agree, that's exactly the problem. An inexperienced writer savvy enough not to give ParaDon a second look (picking on them because that troll-baiting fest of a thread is at the top of the B&BC forum right now) might not think they need to watch their back with such a familiar publisher name.

But should Book Country get it's own thread? Deciding whether to accept an actual contract from Penguin vs deciding whether or not to "self-pub" with their Book Country arm are two very different things.

Edited To Add: I'm pretty sure this post, and the one I was responding to, were in the regular "Penguin" thread when I posted. Looks like a mod fixed it -- I didn't realize there already was a Book Country thread.
 
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Filigree

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I was extremely skeptical of Book Country when it began. I remain so now. If the site was a viable conduit for unknown writers to reach Penguin editors, we should have seen results. Penguin and their BC writers should be trumpeting their glory to the world, for every BC writer accepted by any of Penguin's traditional imprints. It could only be good publicity for the site and for Penguin.

We have instead seen the usual amount of good, bad, and ugly jockeying for notice that we see on every other display site. A few pro writers and editors in the mix, to offer legitimacy and hope to the masses. And now, an overpriced vanity publishing venture, the very thing that BC was at some pains to originally downplay.

Oh well-known and beloved agent, I am saddened by this development. I wanted Book Country to be a haven, and I might even have joined up at the one-year anniversary.

I remain on the fence.
 

miamyselfandi

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Colleen Lindsay's name is on this thread so there's no reason to avoid using it. She has even responded to posts here and is likely to chime in soon, I'd think.

I don't like the new program, either. I imagine the standard disclaimer will be, use Book Country for crit if you want, don't use it for publishing if you don't want. Nobody's making anybody do anything.
 

DreamWeaver

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Very disappointed that Penguin seems to have decided to monetize the slush pile.

While it's true nobody's making anybody do anything, I can't help thinking Penguin is using their good name as leverage in inducing somebody (authors) to do something (vanity publish) that will definitely benefit Penguin monetarily while being extremely unlikely to benefit the author monetarily.

That's on the wrong side of the ethical divide, in my personal world view.
 

victoriastrauss

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Many people have rushed to judgment about this without adequately evaluating it. (Just for instance: "Penguin" isn't initiating self publishing services; the self-pub services are part of Book Country, which is owned by Penguin but is a separate entity with its own staff. That separation is evident on both companies' websites--you won't see self-pub services touted on the main Penguin website; you won't see Authonomy-style "farm team for big daddy publisher" hype on the Book Country website.)

I'm also mystified at all the people who are calling it a scam. How on earth is it a scam? Sure, there are fees. For anyone who hasn't checked, that's a pretty common feature of self-publishing services. Sure, Book Country keeps a chunk of the author's income--but so does just about every other middleman self-pub service out there--the whole basis of digital self-publishing services is charging limited fees upfront and recouping costs at the point of sale.

Book Country's self-pub fees are hardly "hidden." They are fully disclosed on the website; you don't even have to click around very much to find them. Plus, Book Country (unlike Thomas Nelson, Harlequin, etc.) isn't contracting its service out to the problematic Author Solutions; and it also isn't larding its service with misleading hype about "indie" publishing and following your dream and fulfilling your deep inner writing soul. What it IS doing is providing straightforward, relatively inexpensive, no-frills self-publishing services for those members of the Book Country community who choose to use them.

It's not for everyone. And sure, you can Kindle yourself for free--but not everyone wants to DIY, and there's no shame in that (contrary to what Konrath and his evangelizing ilk would like you all to believe). I am not endorsing Book Country's services, or advocating that anyone use them. I'm just boggled at the over-the-top rhetoric that's being hurled at this, and at the failure of many people to actually investigate the services before jumping on the "it's a scam!" bandwagon.

- Victoria
 

LindaJeanne

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It's the 30% royalties that I have trouble with.

I can understand someone wanting to pay someone else a flat fee to handle parts of the process. But charging 30% royalties for that? Not a "scam" if they are upfront about the costs -- but it still seems to be targeting folks too unfamiliar with the process to understand what a bad deal paying 30% royalties (on TOP of what the online retailer takes) to self-publish is.
 

BenPanced

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Many people have rushed to judgment about this without adequately evaluating it. (Just for instance: "Penguin" isn't initiating self publishing services; the self-pub services are part of Book Country, which is owned by Penguin but is a separate entity with its own staff. That separation is evident on both companies' websites--you won't see self-pub services touted on the main Penguin website; you won't see Authonomy-style "farm team for big daddy publisher" hype on the Book Country website.)

I'm also mystified at all the people who are calling it a scam. How on earth is it a scam? Sure, there are fees. For anyone who hasn't checked, that's a pretty common feature of self-publishing services. Sure, Book Country keeps a chunk of the author's income--but so does just about every other middleman self-pub service out there--the whole basis of digital self-publishing services is charging limited fees upfront and recouping costs at the point of sale.

Book Country's self-pub fees are hardly "hidden." They are fully disclosed on the website; you don't even have to click around very much to find them. Plus, Book Country (unlike Thomas Nelson, Harlequin, etc.) isn't contracting its service out to the problematic Author Solutions; and it also isn't larding its service with misleading hype about "indie" publishing and following your dream and fulfilling your deep inner writing soul. What it IS doing is providing straightforward, relatively inexpensive, no-frills self-publishing services for those members of the Book Country community who choose to use them.

It's not for everyone. And sure, you can Kindle yourself for free--but not everyone wants to DIY, and there's no shame in that (contrary to what Konrath and his evangelizing ilk would like you all to believe). I am not endorsing Book Country's services, or advocating that anyone use them. I'm just boggled at the over-the-top rhetoric that's being hurled at this, and at the failure of many people to actually investigate the services before jumping on the "it's a scam!" bandwagon.

- Victoria

Correct me if I'm wrong, but BC sounds more like Harlequin's Carina arm.
 

MicheleLee

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What Victoria said. I've never seen BC claim uploading your stories there might get you in front of Penguin editors. In fact I've always seen Colleen say the opposite. Uploading your stories gets you crits, that's it.

And yeah, I have no reason to pay them to handle my self publishing work. But then, I'm lucky enough to have a killer editor for a crit partner, and a graphic designer as BFF who checks my covers. Not everyone is as lucky, so I don't see how it's a scam any more than paying $20 for a burger at Applebees is a rip off because McDonald's is cheaper.

Also, Carina is a "traditional" commercial publisher that specializes in ebooks, right?
 

mlhernandez

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Correct me if I'm wrong, but BC sounds more like Harlequin's Carina arm.

How in the world is Book Country like Carina?! Carina doesn't charge authors fees. Their books are digital first but some of them have been picked up by the HQN imprint (Shannon Stacey, for example) or are sold via the mystery book club wing of Harlequin. A lot of them (all?) are available in audio versions. Their editors and marketing folks work their asses off to get their authors noticed and to move books in big numbers.

Most of the writers I know who are published by Carina are making real money. They're not writing checks for formatting and book covers and editing, etc.

And, no, I'm not published by Carina. I'm an EC girl, mostly.
 

D.M.Drake

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Unimportant

but appreciated anyway...
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I think Ben meant that Delle Arte (sp?) branch of HQ. This one.
 
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victoriastrauss

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It's the 30% royalties that I have trouble with.

I can understand someone wanting to pay someone else a flat fee to handle parts of the process. But charging 30% royalties for that? Not a "scam" if they are upfront about the costs -- but it still seems to be targeting folks too unfamiliar with the process to understand what a bad deal paying 30% royalties (on TOP of what the online retailer takes) to self-publish is.

Compared to uploading your book to the Kindle yourself for free--if that's what you want to do--yes, it's not the best deal.

Compared to other self-publishing services--it's not so terrible.

Per its FAQ, Book Country pays 70% of total revenue received on books priced at $2.99 or higher. It keeps 30%.

Lulu pays 80% of total revenue received. It keeps 20%.

CreateSpace pays 40%-80% of total revenue received, depending on what distribution options you pick. It keeps 20-60%.

iUniverse and other Author Solutions companies pay 20% of total revenue received. They keep 80%.

Everything needs to be placed in context.

- Victoria
 

blacbird

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I love the debates, there are always good arguments for both sides.

Without getting into the specifics of this one: No, there aren't. "There are two sides to every question" is one of the worst, most destructive clichés I can think of, ranking right up there with "Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words can never hurt you."

Try to find two sides to the Jerry Sandusky scandal at Penn State. That's only one example.

caw
 

D.M.Drake

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Without getting into the specifics of this one: No, there aren't. "There are two sides to every question" is one of the worst, most destructive clichés I can think of, ranking right up there with "Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words can never hurt you."

Try to find two sides to the Jerry Sandusky scandal at Penn State. That's only one example.

caw

I wasn't saying what the sides are. I was stating that everyone has an opinion on everything, and I personally find people's opinions fascinating. So I was settling back to see what everyone gleaned from the article and how they felt about it. :)
 

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