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Dragon Moon Press

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

Catadmin

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Apparently they are accepting novel submissions in December 2009 (not before or after). Looks to be a small house press. I don't recognize any of the authors.

Does anyone know anything about them? Good, bad or ugly?

Thanks,
 

Judg

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They might be honest and above board, but I haven't been impressed with their offerings. I read one entire novel which was pretty good on its own, but which was littered with spelling mistakes, almost certainly introduced by the copyeditor. I read the author's blog and she is intelligent, articulate, highly educated, and never makes spelling mistakes. It must be absolutely humiliating for her to have that published over her name. I've never worked up the courage to ask her about it.

I read half of another. Spelling mistakes were not the issue there, but the writing really wasn't very good. I was rather relieved when it got so gross I couldn't continue reading. If the author ever asks me, I can say it was too graphic for me. And I won't have to tell her that the whole thing was clumsily constructed and difficult to connect to.

So I would never submit there, because I have no confidence whatsoever in them as editors.
 
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Gillhoughly

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Don't hold back, Judg! Tell us what you really think! :D


I am underwhelmed by their "bookstore" not having cover pics up next to the titles.

A book cover is an instant visual cue about its genre, a mere title doesn't cut it.

I know Jana Oliver and am surprised to find her with a group that has a less than sterling editorial standards.

Also surprised: they have a "Selena" Rosen, but the name is spelled "Selina" on her website. She is herself an editor, was nominated for a Stoker and others, and is the no-nonsense but lots of fun head honcha of YARD DOG PRESS.

The Yard Dog website has the sense to put a cover pic next to the titles. Hell, I have that much on my website. So does everyone else; I mean, that's kinda basic!
 
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Judg

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Science fiction in which the word "missile" is consistently spelled "missal" is an embarrassment to the industry. The thought of an editor ravaging my manuscript like that gives me cold sweats.

There, Gilhoughly. Will that do? ;)

I suppose it's always possible that the guilty party is no longer associated with the publisher, but in such a small operation, there's a better chance that the owner does everything.
 

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All things considered, Dragon Moon is excellent

Until this year, Dragon Moon Press was a one woman show. She used to rely on contract editors and did all the layout, cover design and marketing herself. She now has a full time in-house editor and access to the EDGE distribution network, which is Fitzhenry and Whiteside. As for copy editing, that was left to the authors, who had to proof the galleys themselves. All of Jana's books are beautiful from the aspect of how they were put together, which is what the publisher does. She is not to blame for other mistakes, and the woman has a day job to help pay for all the editors and artists she has to hire, as well as the print runs. There isn't much profit to run the business and pay royalties. Considering that a new author doesn't have to spend a penny to get a book into print, and will not have it dropped from the backlist after two years, this is more than anyone could ask for.

As for not submitting to Dragon Moon because of their "poor quality", the reality of it is, unless an author can instantly move 100,000 copies of their books in 3 - 6 months, it is extremely unlikely a larger press with greater resources would ever pick up the manuscript. So many of us enter into collaborations with smaller presses, and pick up the slack ourselves - and we're darned grateful for it.
 
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jennontheisland

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Considering that a new author doesn't have to spend a penny to get a book into print, and will not have it dropped from the backlist after two years, this is more than anyone could ask for.
No author should ever pay to get into print. Having a publisher pay you is kinda the point of getting published.

As for not submitting to Dragon Moon because of their "poor quality", the reality of it is, unless an author can instantly move 100,000 copies of their books in 3 - 6 months, it is extremely unlikely a larger press with greater resources would ever pick up the manuscript. So many of us enter into collaborations with smaller presses, and pick up the slack ourselves - and we're darned grateful for it.
Bolding of bullshit mine.

Lots of small presses have good editing, accurate proofreading and half decent covers. And they aren't collaborations. And the authors aren't grateful, they're paid.
 
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Gillhoughly

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unless an author can instantly move 100,000 copies of their books in 3 - 6 months, it is extremely unlikely a larger press with greater resources would ever pick up the manuscript.


I hope you mean that as a comedic exaggeration rather than a belief that that is how things are!


ANY editor at a larger house would be delighted to move 100K copies in 3-6 months. Mega-print runs are rare unless it's with a writer they've published before who has a strong sales track record.

But the reality for commercial fiction is rather more practical, with lower, more realistic numbers for their mid-listers and first novelists.

My first novel's initial print run was around 3K copies.

I'm sure that number was based on how many books the publisher needed to sell in order to turn a profit for themselves, not pay off my advance. To do that, they needed to sell many, many more copies. (Which they did later, with more printings over a six-year period.)

A writer's advance is the smallest cost to any publisher.


It is a rookie mistake to sub to the smaller houses. They have high overheads, low profits, and generally have to be much more picky about what they accept.

The big houses are in a better position to take a chance on new writers. Editors are constantly on the lookout for the next best-seller.

I always tell neos to start at the top with the biggest house on the block and work down from there. You never know but that the first one might *like* your book.



Back when I was subbing that first one, the MS did click with a small press. They wanted to see the whole manuscript. After 2 years of rejection letters, I was on Cloud Nine!

But before I could get it in the mail I got news that they'd gone bankrupt in the few days it had taken their snail-mail reply to get to me.

By then I was more PO'd than depressed and figured if a small press had been interested, then a large one would look at it, too, so off it went to the biggest name I could find under the Penguin umbrella.

Danged if it didn't work. They bought me right off the slush pile, no agent.
 
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Richard White

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Pax,

As someone who's a friend of Tee Morris, Tony Ruggerio, Val Griswold, Phillipa Ballentine and Jana Oliver, I'm the one who posted the original note about Dragon Moon Press. As I stated originally, it was a small press, but most of the authors who went with it were pretty happy with their treatment.

You're right about it being a small press and the owner did contract out a lot of the editing. Some editors were pretty good . . . some left something to be desired. I've enjoyed most of the books that I've read from DMP, but then again, I haven't bought them all.

I do have to say though that all the DMP books that I've bought are because I've met the authors at a convention. DMP hasn't had a great track record about getting books into bookstores so far. If that's changing and she's gotten a better distributor, that's fantastic and a great step forward.

Still, her authors shouldn't be the only sales force DMP has.

That being said, you're not doing DMP any favors by coming in her guns blazing, especially talking about how new authors can't get published.

Mainly because it's not true.

The problem is you detract from your defense of DMP by bringing that up when there have been a number of first time authors picked up by both big and smaller companies who hang out here. When you bring out old canards that have been disproven time after time, you make your whole argument weaker.

So, stick to what DMP does right or plans to improve and you'll have a much stronger argument. Don't bring strawmen in that can quickly be set afire.
 

Judg

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Well, if my reading experiences were not typical and things have improved since then, I'm glad to hear it. If nothing else, I put DMP on my library's radar screen. They bought a couple of books there at my request.
 

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As for copy editing, that was left to the authors, who had to proof the galleys themselves.

A bad plan. You've heard the phrase "penny wise and pound foolish"?

How is an author, who made the errors to start with, suddenly going to discover and correct the errors that they were unable to discover and correct before submitting the manuscript?

All of Jana's books are beautiful from the aspect of how they were put together, which is what the publisher does.

Yes, that is part of what a publisher does, but not all. Far from all.

She is not to blame for other mistakes,

Yes, she is. When she put the word "publisher" on her door she bought all the praise and all the blame. It's hers.

Considering that a new author doesn't have to spend a penny to get a book into print, and will not have it dropped from the backlist after two years, this is more than anyone could ask for.

That isn't more than anyone could ask for ... that's the bare minimum that anyone should expect.

the reality of it is, unless an author can instantly move 100,000 copies of their books in 3 - 6 months, it is extremely unlikely a larger press with greater resources would ever pick up the manuscript.

This is just flat not true. Both in grand concept and in detail.
 

Kasey Mackenzie

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As for not submitting to Dragon Moon because of their "poor quality", the reality of it is, unless an author can instantly move 100,000 copies of their books in 3 - 6 months, it is extremely unlikely a larger press with greater resources would ever pick up the manuscript

Wrong, wrong, flat-out wrong! My agent took my debut urban fantasy to auction and had THREE larger presses bidding on it for multiple rounds. Guess how many copies of that book moved in the 3-6 months previous? Zero, since I went with conventional wisdom that says to start at the top first and THEN work your way down. I have nothing against reputable small presses--they're a viable option for some writers--but to say that larger publishers don't pick up new, unpublished authors on a regular basis is a blatant, unvarnished lie.

And I'm just one of many that I know with stories like that--many of them hang out here on Absolute Write and you only have to read the Goals and Accomplishments thread to see them posting their new deals to larger publishers on at least a monthly--if not weekly--basis. And these are just a small percentage of such deals.

Pax,

As someone who's a friend of Tee Morris, Tony Ruggerio, Val Griswold, Phillipa Ballentine and Jana Oliver, I'm the one who posted the original note about Dragon Moon Press. As I stated originally, it was a small press, but most of the authors who went with it were pretty happy with their treatment.

Still, her authors shouldn't be the only sales force DMP has.

I'm friends with Val Griswold as well and think she is a FANTASTIC author. I read her first book for Dragon Moon and read the second book pre-publication because I enjoyed the first one so much. That said, I know that Dragon Moon's distribution just isn't on a par with much bigger publishers so I know that Val's Four Horsemen series hasn't gotten the distribution that it could have with another publisher.

That's not to insult Dragon Moon--it is what it is. Still, I DO love Val's books for them.
 

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Well, guys, I'm glad your experiences were better. I did try to start at the top and I did try to get an agent, but that was not meant to be. Perhaps my queries were not up to par, but even with my taking extensive advice and workshops for even the cover letters, I couldn't even get anyone to even glance at the manuscript. For those of you who were able to get agents on your side, and book contracts with advances, my sincere congratulations. And yes, I am jealous.

As for my comment about what publishers like to move, I got that from a panel of publishers at a convention, who were encouraging authors to build as much as a fan base as possible prior to establish themselves better in the market. Is it a lie? Well, I suggest that anyone who would like to verify that statement go and approach a publisher at a convention and ask for themselves. I didn't mean to discourage anyone from shooting for the top, I think we all should. However, if you can't get Tor to accept you on first try, I wouldn't give up and I would certainly encourage a new author to get there through a longer path, as well as have realistic expectations.

As for my defending Dragon Moon Press I make no apologies. They are struggling as much as we are (and by "we" I mean those of us who are unable to get agents), and when you deal with a good small press, they've got your back as much as they are able. I will always be grateful for that. I know she does what she can for me, and I'll help her as much as I can. That said, I have every intention of further developing my craft, becoming a better writer and moving to a larger press. Right from the start, Dragon Moon was very open about these issues with me, and even said they hoped they could be a stepping stone to something greater. They gave me a chance, they are very helpful and I highly recommend them to anyone who needs that extra little push.

Furthermore, Dragon Moon is also growing and developing. I *did* say that they now have a full time in-house editor. And they do now have better distribution. The authors are not the only marketing tool, but as any writers' advice column will tell you, the more help an author can give, the better. Maybe they aren't one of the major players in the industry, but for me, it was a very good fit.
 

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As for my comment about what publishers like to move, I got that from a panel of publishers at a convention, who were encouraging authors to build as much as a fan base as possible prior to establish themselves better in the market.

(Bolding mine)

Which publishers were these?
 

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I originally posted this thread because an eager unpublished writer in my local critique group is fond of sending the group items like this so that we can all get published and be happy. Two of the things she's sent in were fee-based contests and no matter how hard I've tried, I can't seem to get the concept of Yog's Law into her head.

I wanted to check about this one because I'd never heard of it before and wanted to see if it was at least a legit publisher. Which it seems it might be. But I was NOT impressed by the cover art I saw on the blogs (one of the things that tends to either grab me immediately as a "buy me" or totally turn me away from books in the bookstore).

A friend of mine (and well-published author) has recently turned to small press publishing himself. And even he does better with his cover art than what I was seeing on the DMP blog. Which worried me initially.

Regardless, if y'all don't mind, I'm going to paraphrase the various opinions on this thread and gently let my group friend in on Unca Jim's trickle-down theory of publisher submitting.
 

James D. Macdonald

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As for my comment about what publishers like to move, I got that from a panel of publishers at a convention, who were encouraging authors to build as much as a fan base as possible prior to establish themselves better in the market. Is it a lie? Well, I suggest that anyone who would like to verify that statement go and approach a publisher at a convention and ask for themselves.

Is it a lie? No, but it's wrong. Perhaps it was a mis-hearing?

Certainly if someone can guarantee that they'll sell 100,000 copies in 3-6 months that book will be snatched up. But that is far from saying that no other book has a chance. Because if that were true, the major houses would have very spare catalogs indeed.

Q (from the audience): How can I make sure my book will be published?

A (publisher one): Write a book that'll sell 100,000 copies in the first three to six months.

A (publisher two): Oh, baby! I'd buy that book in a heartbeat!

A (publisher three): Don't sign with him until you've talked to me. I can give you such a deal!

(Audience member taking notes): Only books that will sell 100,000 copies in the first three-six months can get published by the majors.

By observation: Major houses publish books by first timers where the entire print run is a quarter, or even a twentieth, of 100,000 copies.
 

Gillhoughly

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They look to be a small print on demand operation and in general those are not known to offer advances. The print books seem to be overpriced, and the covers look amateurish. They sell Kindle editions on Amazon, no look inside feature.


They state "At present, we are only accepting solicited manuscripts via referral from our authors and partners."


Start at the top and work your way down. When you reach this one, start over after a rewrite, or shop another book.
 

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They look to be a small print on demand operation and in general those are not known to offer advances. The print books seem to be overpriced, and the covers look amateurish. They sell Kindle editions on Amazon, no look inside feature.


They state "At present, we are only accepting solicited manuscripts via referral from our authors and partners."


Start at the top and work your way down. When you reach this one, start over after a rewrite, or shop another book.

Hmmm - I liked their covers :) I wasn't sure they were POD since they are distributed by Fitzhenry and Whiteside which seems to be a well regarded distributor. I didn't think POD books were ever distributed. Are they overpriced? What is industry standard for paperback novels? PYR sells their books for $16-$18 USD which seems on par for what Dragon Moon is selling theirs for. The titles are less expensive from retailers, though.
 

DeleyanLee

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IIRC, they print trade paperbacks, not mass market, which is why the price is $16-18 instead of $7-9. The fact that it's trade instead of MM is a good indicator that they're using a POD printer.
 

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