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Fireship Press

Lily of Ulster

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I read the above as "all YA book you see on store shelves nowadays are cheap/lazy imitations of a select handful of bestsellers, and all of the covers look the same."

If I'm misinterpreting anything, I welcome your clarification.



All other things being equal in regard to marketing, yes, I believe that a book with the additional exposure of sitting on the fourth shelf from the bottom in a bookstore has more of a chance of being noticed than one you may only order POD copies of online.

Yes, you are misinterpreting my words, but I'm afraid that my clarification will make matters worse. I don't know what kind of books you write. There are many wonderfully educational and inspirational YA novels published by Scholastic, featuring well-rounded protagonists. And then there is "Gossip Girl". If you are the author of the "Gossip Girl" series, and you take offense to my distaste for it, so be it. I didn't realize I had to love all genres and all trends. But you cannot deny that the popularity of "Gossip Girl" was built on the popularity of "Sex & the City". You know what they say. If there's a Wendy's, there's a Burger King across the street.

Please, don't take offense. There are many people who hate Neo-Victorian literature. And yes, the market is crowded. And the titles that sell the most copies are not the ones that are most advanced in the artistic sense. This cannot be news to you. Undoubtedly, you've gotten good and bad reviews. I certainly have. All published authors have. Some people sneer at Neo-Victorianism in general.
 

Round Two

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Again, I'm playing Devil's Advocate here. If the sales rep did all that legwork just to get the book stuffed into a corner, was the result really worth the effort? Shouldn't the efforts be concentrated on something else? Okay, so you got through the gate-keepers, and the book actually ended up on the shelf. Then what? All that for a mere chance of getting noticed? And no, online promotion is not limited to Facebook and Twitter. What about getting reviewed in genre-specific publication?

I understand you are playing Devil's Advocate and take no offense.

I respond in kind.

The assumption that ALL efforts made will pay off equally is wrong, and nobody is operating under that assumption. It's about spreading around opportunity. It's impossible to know for sure what's going to make a break out book, but loading all eggs in one basket isn't the best strategy. If you can play multiple bets because you have the resources (both financial and labor), it'd be the preferred strategy. Maybe the one book never sells at that store, but catches on at another store because the bookseller hand sells it there. Getting the book on the shelf isn't the End Goal, making booksellers aware of it is arguably even more important.

Getting books reviewed was something I mentioned in my first post. The publishers who generate pre-pub review copies, make use of NetGalley, etc. are the people who are getting reviewed, not only in genre specific publications, but in larger, more general publications (newspapers, magazines, radio, tv, etc.).
 

Stacia Kane

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And, speaking of taking offense, yes, I can't help but take offense to this constant bashing of small presses just because they don't try to squeeze books into bookstores. I have a hard time believing that a book sitting on the fourth shelf from the bottom has such a great chance of being noticed. I get a feeling that the whole POD/e-book model is being dismissed as dysfunctional. In that case, all small presses that use this model will be automatically condemned.

No one is bashing small presses. We are a forum for writers, and the purpose of this section is to help writers make educated choices when deciding to whom to submit. If bookstore placement isn't important to you, by all means feel free to disregard comments relating to it. Some writers care about that, though, and so that information matters to them.


It's nice that it doesn't bother you if I say, "All those neo-Victorianism books are garbage churned out by hacks (so if you're writing that crap you're probably a hack, too)." But it's not oversensitive to be offended when someone grandly pronounces that one's preferred genre is essentially a wasteland of bad fanfic disguised as books, especially based on what seems to be one cursory glance at the shelves of one bookstore. It's disrespectful, and we frown on that here. You don't have to love all books and trends, but what you shouldn't do if you hope to not be seen as rude and insulting is imply that all books in a genre are exactly like whatever trend it is you dislike.

In other words, "I don't like GOSSIP GIRL" = fine.

"All YA is just copying that shitty GOSSIP GIRL" = not fine.

I do hope you see the difference.
 

Lily of Ulster

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No one is bashing small presses. We are a forum for writers, and the purpose of this section is to help writers make educated choices when deciding to whom to submit. If bookstore placement isn't important to you, by all means feel free to disregard comments relating to it. Some writers care about that, though, and so that information matters to them.


It's nice that it doesn't bother you if I say, "All those neo-Victorianism books are garbage churned out by hacks (so if you're writing that crap you're probably a hack, too)." But it's not oversensitive to be offended when someone grandly pronounces that one's preferred genre is essentially a wasteland of bad fanfic disguised as books, especially based on what seems to be one cursory glance at the shelves of one bookstore. It's disrespectful, and we frown on that here. You don't have to love all books and trends, but what you shouldn't do if you hope to not be seen as rude and insulting is imply that all books in a genre are exactly like whatever trend it is you dislike.

In other words, "I don't like GOSSIP GIRL" = fine.

"All YA is just copying that shitty GOSSIP GIRL" = not fine.

I do hope you see the difference.

Sigh ... Some people are just determined to get offended. They will read between the lines. But you cannot deny that it's always that certain type of book that it's in the front row. And everything behind that book, regardless of merit, is ... well ... in the shadow. So, if you are going to be in the shadow anyway, what's the point of being in the store anyway? Just to be able to say that you shared space with the bestsellers? Now, would I like to end up in the front row one day? Sure. But it's not gonna happen. I know that my work is an acquired taste, and I am grateful for whatever a small press can do for me.

And yes, I don't like Gossip Girl. I don't like where it came from, and I don't like what it did to the tastes of the younger generation. I don't like the prevalent trends in modern literature. Am I allowed to say that? Or should I apologize for that too? Is this America or Stalinist Russia (where I happen to be from)? Stuff that sells is not necessarily the stuff that has most literary value. This shouldn't come as shocking news.
 

justbishop

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Yes, you are misinterpreting my words, but I'm afraid that my clarification will make matters worse. I don't know what kind of books you write. There are many wonderfully educational and inspirational YA novels published by Scholastic, featuring well-rounded protagonists. And then there is "Gossip Girl". If you are the author of the "Gossip Girl" series, and you take offense to my distaste for it, so be it. I didn't realize I had to love all genres and all trends. But you cannot deny that the popularity of "Gossip Girl" was built on the popularity of "Sex & the City". You know what they say. If there's a Wendy's, there's a Burger King across the street.

Please, don't take offense. There are many people who hate Neo-Victorian literature. And yes, the market is crowded. And the titles that sell the most copies are not the ones that are most advanced in the artistic sense. This cannot be news to you. Undoubtedly, you've gotten good and bad reviews. I certainly have. All published authors have. Some people sneer at Neo-Victorianism in general.

1. Thank you for the explanation. It did not make anything worse.

2. I've never read the Gossip Girl books. I thought that was just a TV show about some teen girls from wealthy families or something.

3. It doesn't really matter what I write, does it? There's nothing wrong with not preferring a certain category or genre, but that doesn't mean that it's cool to look down on it as something lesser, whether or not you're in the company of those who do write it.

4. You're right, bestsellers aren't always the most highbrow of literature, but that doesn't render them devoid of literary merit.

5. Yep, anyone putting their writing out for public consumption should expect reviews that run the gamut, and of course you're entitled to your opinions and taste in books. But there's a respectful way to state those opinions and tastes...and the way you first stated your feelings on mainstream YA was not it.

Sigh ... Some people are just determined to get offended. They will read between the lines. But you cannot deny that it's always that certain type of book that it's in the front row. [snip] I know that my work is an acquired taste, and I am grateful for whatever a small press can do for me.

God forbid we all want to be treated with a little respect, regardless of what we write.

And if what you expect from a small press is little to no editing and the expectation that you do all of your own marketing, then I'm happy that you're happy. I'm 99% positive* I can speak for the majority of AW when I say we're all happy for you.

* Margin of error: 99%

And yes, I don't like Gossip Girl. I don't like where it came from, and I don't like what it did to the tastes of the younger generation. I don't like the prevalent trends in modern literature. Am I allowed to say that? Or should I apologize for that too? Is this America or Stalinist Russia (where I happen to be from)? Stuff that sells is not necessarily the stuff that has most literary value. This shouldn't come as shocking news.

There you go, I fixed it for you.
 
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paulcosca

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So to get back to the publisher...why would they not do any editing on the products they sell?

Or perhaps it's better to say...why would I buy a product from a company that didn't invest their own time in perfecting it?

Of course an author should make every effort possible to correct all mistakes that exist within a book. But I've got pieces that I've edited ten times in ten different ways and I'm sure there's still something lurking in there. That's the nature of the beast. If a publisher is going to take the time (and the risk) of putting my work out there, I trust they we are collaborating to create the best work possible.

Or is there something built within the contract that compensates for an outside professional edit? I'm guessing not, but it would be better than nothing.
 

Lily of Ulster

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1. Thank you for the explanation. It did not make anything worse.

2. I've never read the Gossip Girl books. I thought that was just a TV show about some teen girls from wealthy families or something.

3. It doesn't really matter what I write, does it? There's nothing wrong with not preferring a certain category or genre, but that doesn't mean that it's cool to look down on it as something lesser, whether or not you're in the company of those who do write it.

4. You're right, bestsellers aren't always the most highbrow of literature, but that doesn't render them devoid of literary merit.

5. Yep, anyone putting their writing out for public consumption should expect reviews that run the gamut, and of course you're entitled to your opinions and taste in books. But there's a respectful way to state those opinions and tastes...and the way you first stated your feelings on mainstream YA was not it.

Victory! We are finally starting to understand each other, in the 11th hour (literally). It's 11 on the East Coast.

If you write YA, undoubtedly, you know the importance of knowing your competition and the "biggies". "Gossip Girl" used to be a series of books that became a TV show.

I really had strong reservations about writing here. It took me 5 years to join, and I'm very likely to un-join. I basically came in to share my deplorable experience with Pen & Sword.

"Respectful criticism" is a very nebulous concept. If you reread some of the threads about small publishers, the amount of finger-pointing and tomato-throwing is just astounding. Apparently, looking down upon a fledgeling press is allowed and even encouraged, but making a sarcastic observation about the direction in which a particular genre is heading is considered criminal.
 

Lily of Ulster

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So to get back to the publisher...why would they not do any editing on the products they sell?

Or perhaps it's better to say...why would I buy a product from a company that didn't invest their own time in perfecting it?

Of course an author should make every effort possible to correct all mistakes that exist within a book. But I've got pieces that I've edited ten times in ten different ways and I'm sure there's still something lurking in there. That's the nature of the beast. If a publisher is going to take the time (and the risk) of putting my work out there, I trust they we are collaborating to create the best work possible.

Or is there something built within the contract that compensates for an outside professional edit? I'm guessing not, but it would be better than nothing.

Again, having worked with Fireship, I can assure you that they do edit their books. I don't know why anyone would assume that they don't. The original editor made me rewrite the ending, to open the novel up to a sequel. Have you ever worked as an acquisitions editor at a small press that didn't require agents? Have you ever received truly abysmal manuscripts? Or they could be gems in the rough, but really, really in the rough. As in, 60% would have to be rewritten. If you edited your book 10 times over, and you still aren't sure about certain things, of course, the editor will help you. You may not like the end result, though. Maybe the language on the site is open to misinterpretation, but what the editor-in-chief is trying to tell you is that you should not present a project that requires tons of reconstructive work.
 

Stacia Kane

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Sigh ... Some people are just determined to get offended.

And some are just determined to cause offense, and insist they're right to do so and it's everybody else's fault for being insulted by their insults instead of stepping back and thinking, "Maybe I should quit putting other genres down and accept that I'm not coming across as charming, witty, clever, and delightful as I think I am."


But you cannot deny that it's always that certain type of book that it's in the front row.

I CAN deny it, with great certainty. I have quite a few friends who've been in that front row in YA, and none of their books are what you described. I've been in that front row in my genre, and my books are certainly not fanfic or P&P ripoffs or about vampires.


And everything behind that book, regardless of merit, is ... well ... in the shadow.

If that were true bookstores wouldn't stock any books in those corners you speak of, because there'd be no point at all. My books weren't bestsellers, and lots of my friends' weren't bestsellers, but they still got plenty of sales through bookstores from readers looking for something to read. Which is why they go to bookstores.

If, when you go shopping, you prefer to have only two options and ignore everything else, that's fine, but don't extrapolate from that that everyone else shops the same way. Readers often spend hours in bookstores, browsing, looking for new books.


So, if you are going to be in the shadow anyway, what's the point of being in the store anyway? Just to be able to say that you shared space with the bestsellers?

See above. For me, the point had nothing to do with bragging about sharing space--as if my goals are that shallow or silly--and everything to do with the 10,000+ copies each of my books have sold in stores since their release.

Again, if bookstore placement doesn't matter to you, that's fine. No one is insisting you care about it. We're not. Absolutely not. But you are not the only person who will ever read this thread, and some people DO care about it, so the information is here.


Now, would I like to end up in the front row one day? Sure. But it's not gonna happen. I know that my work is an acquired taste, and I am grateful for whatever a small press can do for me.

And no one is saying you're wrong for that. You know, for someone who calls the rest of us oversensitive when we're insulted by your dismissals of our work, you're awfully delicate about feeling your choice to submit to a small press--a choice not one person has actually criticized, or spoken of in the way you've spoken of our work--is somehow being looked down upon. And despite repeated explanations, you continue to insist that's the case.


And yes, I don't like Gossip Girl. I don't like where it came from, and I don't like what it did to the tastes of the younger generation.

Their tastes were in place well before GG, but fine.

I don't like the prevalent trends in modern literature. Am I allowed to say that? Or should I apologize for that too? Is this America or Stalinist Russia (where I happen to be from)?

FFS. You're allowed to say anything you want, as long as you're not rude about it. You're not allowed to say whatever you want without anyone taking any offense or disagreeing in any way.

BTW, this is not America. It is a privately owned internet message board, where the owner makes the rules.


Stuff that sells is not necessarily the stuff that has most literary value. This shouldn't come as shocking news.

It's not. Of course it's not. I never said it was. Believe me, some of the trends in the marketplace these days literally make me feel ill. But it's hardly the fault of bookstores or publishers that they sell books people want to buy, in order to make money and stay in business, instead of lining the shelves with things nobody wants to read, in order to bankrupt themselves.
 

justbishop

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Victory! We are finally starting to understand each other, in the 11th hour (literally). It's 11 on the East Coast.

If you write YA, undoubtedly, you know the importance of knowing your competition and the "biggies". "Gossip Girl" used to be a series of books that became a TV show.

I really had strong reservations about writing here. It took me 5 years to join, and I'm very likely to un-join. I basically came in to share my deplorable experience with Pen & Sword.

"Respectful criticism" is a very nebulous concept. If you reread some of the threads about small publishers, the amount of finger-pointing and tomato-throwing is just astounding. Apparently, looking down upon a fledgeling press is allowed and even encouraged, but making a sarcastic observation about the direction in which a particular genre is heading is considered criminal.

Meh, the Gossip Girl stuff doesn't interest me, so I don't feel compelled to read it. I try not to worry too much about my "competition" anyway (which is not to say that I don't read in--and out--of my genre/category).

Yes, people here do tend to be hard on startup small presses, and for good reasons that I don't feel like going into. It's been done a thousand times in this forum already. There is a big difference between turning your nose up at a press and pointing out the red flags so that less experienced writers might learn a bit about what to avoid and why.

And (SSDD?), I have been squarely in the midst of finger-pointing and tomato-throwing here. This, my dear, is not finger-pointing and tomato-throwing.
 

LindaJeanne

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Again, having worked with Fireship, I can assure you that they do edit their books. I don't know why anyone would assume that they don't.
maybe because of this?
http://www.fireshippress.com/author_information/ said:
4. Fireship Press does not provide an editing service within the company other than final copy editing to ensure that quality is maintained at publishing. We can, however, assist authors seeking to improve their manuscripts by providing recommendations for reputable editors.

BTW, why are you so hostile and sarky? I don't see anyone here addressing you in a hostile manner. I started out with high sympathy for you, but it's been dwindling as I watch your reactions to people here.



The original editor made me rewrite the ending, to open the novel up to a sequel. Have you ever worked as an acquisitions editor at a small press that didn't require agents? Have you ever received truly abysmal manuscripts? Or they could be gems in the rough, but really, really in the rough. As in, 60% would have to be rewritten. If you edited your book 10 times over, and you still aren't sure about certain things, of course, the editor will help you. You may not like the end result, though. Maybe the language on the site is open to misinterpretation, but what the editor-in-chief is trying to tell you is that you should not present a project that requires tons of reconstructive work.
Most publishers just reject them. There's no way to stop them from coming in.

Are you saying that Fireship DO provide editing beyond final copy editing? In contradiction to their own website?

I'm getting more confused the more I read. ???
 

Lily of Ulster

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Stacia, we are in totally different leagues. How can you feel offended by someone who is in a different weight category? I'm a small fry and really cannot affect the direction of anyone's career. Saying that I am offending everyone is a bit of an overstatement. We all have our different perceptions of reality, different experiences, and we can only speak for themselves. I'm sure your experience is different from mine, subtly or dramatically. Maybe I spent too much time with other small press authors, so my perception is shaped by what they say. If each one of your books sold 10,000+ copies in stores, then you are a winner in every sense of the word, and you have benefited from the existing big house model, and nothing I say should affect you in any way. Why should you take offense to anything I say? My opinion shouldn't matter. Heck, I just got dropped by a Big House today, on the grounds of my ethnicity. What do I know about the business after all?
 

Polenth

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"Respectful criticism" is a very nebulous concept. If you reread some of the threads about small publishers, the amount of finger-pointing and tomato-throwing is just astounding. Apparently, looking down upon a fledgeling press is allowed and even encouraged, but making a sarcastic observation about the direction in which a particular genre is heading is considered criminal.

You're not doing yourself any favours by lashing out at people. But that aside, the reason people are cautious can be demonstrated by your experience on another thread. You were treated badly and told you were the only one this was happening to. Those other authors would have no reason to complain, because their contracts were honoured.

This is often how it goes. Treatment is patchy, right up until the publisher gets into real problems and everyone stops getting royalty payments. People here have seen it happen time and again with small presses. No one can say if this small press will survive or not, but given the odds, it's good to be cautious and ask questions.
 

Lily of Ulster

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maybe because of this?


BTW, why are you so hostile and sarky? I don't see anyone here addressing you in a hostile manner. I started out with high sympathy for you, but it's been dwindling as I watch your reactions to people here.




Most publishers just reject them. There's no way to stop them from coming in.

Are you saying that Fireship DO provide editing beyond final copy editing? In contradiction to their own website?

I'm getting more confused the more I read. ???

Linda, I am not hostile. And I have no idea why people perceive me as hostile. I'm jumpy, yes, because of what happened. I appreciate sympathy, but that was not why I posted here. I wanted to share my experience with Pen & Sword. As far as Fireship, I will talk to the editor about that bit re: editing. Of course, they provide editing. I honestly don't know what that paragraph means.
 

LindaJeanne

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I know that when I'm "jumpy", I can come across as WAY more hostile than I intend. But my intent doesn't mean other people are "wrong" for perceiving me as hostile when that happens -- it means that I'm not presenting myself the way I want to, and need to calm down before I can hear myself the way others hear me.
 

Lily of Ulster

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You're not doing yourself any favours by lashing out at people. But that aside, the reason people are cautious can be demonstrated by your experience on another thread. You were treated badly and told you were the only one this was happening to. Those other authors would have no reason to complain, because their contracts were honoured.

This is often how it goes. Treatment is patchy, right up until the publisher gets into real problems and everyone stops getting royalty payments. People here have seen it happen time and again with small presses. No one can say if this small press will survive or not, but given the odds, it's good to be cautious and ask questions.

Oh dear, where do you see me lashing out at people? Am I pointing fingers and calling people names? I honestly didn't think that the reference to gay erotica would cause such a flutter. Forget everything I said about gay erotica.

At any rate, back to the topic. If Pen & Sword was another fledgeling press, I wouldn't have been so dismayed and shocked. But they are allegedly reputable. I'm sorry, but if a guy is nice to his date but not nice to the waiter, then he's not a nice guy. One mistreated author is too many. I've never had a small press drop a contract on me. Maybe because small presses don't invest so much money into pre-production. Who knows? A bigger press has more to lose.
 

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"Respectful criticism" is a very nebulous concept. If you reread some of the threads about small publishers, the amount of finger-pointing and tomato-throwing is just astounding. Apparently, looking down upon a fledgeling press is allowed and even encouraged, but making a sarcastic observation about the direction in which a particular genre is heading is considered criminal.

Again, and for the last time, read The Newbie Guide to Absolute Write. Now.

"Respectful criticism" isn't a nebulous concept.

Moreover, you've referred to members "bashing" small presses, and this reference to "looking down upon a fledgling press is allowed and even encouraged."

If you see something like that, use the report post button
report.gif


I'm a small fry and really cannot affect the direction of anyone's career. Saying that I am offending everyone is a bit of an overstatement.

When you have multiple members and several mods—and the Admin— pointing out that you are being offensive and you continue being offensive, you need to take it seriously.

I strongly suggest you stop posting and start reading; you're making an impression that I'm sure you don't intend to make.
 

folclor

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So... um... not to be a combo breaker but... what about this publisher?

I know Lily has indicated a positive experience... and it's very sad the original editor died... is it possible this new editor implemented different editing procedures?

I've sent them an email asking about the editing, but I don't expect a reply until Monday or Tuesday...
 

Bicyclefish

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Oh dear, where do you see me lashing out at people? Am I pointing fingers and calling people names?
Although I suspect the statements will be defended as: "I didn't name names. I just said 'some people' and 'writers'." To me the following were insults directed at earlier posters. Not just "some people". Call me overly sensitive if you like, but the first is a variation of "it's your fault you're offended", and the second is basically a "communist censors" insult.

Sigh ... Some people are just determined to get offended. They will read between the lines.

Am I allowed to say that? Or should I apologize for that too? Is this America or Stalinist Russia (where I happen to be from)?

Sheesh, I didn't realize there were so many feathers to ruffle. I understand that writers are sensitive and imaginative people, and they see perceived slights everywhere.
However, if you believe the preceding statement to be true, then perhaps you're seeing "perceived slights" and "bashing of small press" where there is none.

And, speaking of taking offense, yes, I can't help but take offense to this constant bashing of small presses just because they don't try to squeeze books into bookstores. I have a hard time believing that a book sitting on the fourth shelf from the bottom has such a great chance of being noticed. I get a feeling that the whole POD/e-book model is being dismissed as dysfunctional. In that case, all small presses that use this model will be automatically condemned.

EDIT:

...you have benefited from the existing big house model, and nothing I say should affect you in any way. Why should you take offense to anything I say? My opinion shouldn't matter. Heck, I just got dropped by a Big House today, on the grounds of my ethnicity. What do I know about the business after all?

Question for the more knowledgeable: Is Pen and Sword Books considered a "big house"? I didn't think so, but I'm not familiar with the UK market.
 
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Lily of Ulster

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So... um... not to be a combo breaker but... what about this publisher?

I know Lily has indicated a positive experience... and it's very sad the original editor died... is it possible this new editor implemented different editing procedures?

I've sent them an email asking about the editing, but I don't expect a reply until Monday or Tuesday...

The new editor is on vacation and will be back on Tuesday. The new editor does not have his head in the sand. He knows what needs to be done, and he's been able to accomplish quite a bit with rather limited resources. He changed covers on several novels, to make them more attractive and visible. He goes to conferences and book fairs. In all honesty, he is doing everything he can. But one editor-in-chief cannot humanly do as much as an entire team at a big house.
 

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Again, and for the last time, read The Newbie Guide to Absolute Write. Now.

When you have multiple members and several mods—and the Admin— pointing out that you are being offensive and you continue being offensive, you need to take it seriously.

I strongly suggest you stop posting and start reading; you're making an impression that I'm sure you don't intend to make.

I already read the guidelines. I am truly, honestly not getting where I am being offensive. If you read my Facebook posts, then you would see my truly offensive side. I co-edit several zines, and we always have a great time, cracking jokes, dissecting submissions, razzing each other, unleashing our sarcasm. It's all good fun. No hard feelings. My colleagues there are all writers. Maybe I have some sort of mild learning/communication disability. Feel free to treat me as you would someone with a disability. (I have a feeling I'll get slapped on the wrist for saying that too.)
 

Lily of Ulster

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Fish, I simply haven't been here long enough to have any reason to hold any grudges against anyone. I just don't know anyone here. What motivation would I have to deliberately insult anyone? I really did say "some people" and "writers". I honestly think "some people" really like ganging up on others and trying to teach the manners. And I really haven't quoted Wikipedia or called anyone names or criticized anyone's work here. It's true that I don't particularly care for certain trends in certain genre.

As for Pen & Sword, I don't know if they are Big Big. But they were specializing in military/historical books. And they were really enthused about my novel when they saw it. And I guess they are closer to a Big House than a Small Press, because they do an offset print run. But I hear now that they do not put books in stores.
 

Old Hack

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I have a hard time believing that a book sitting on the fourth shelf from the bottom has such a great chance of being noticed.

The fourth shelf up is a pretty good position: it's very visible, and better than a bottom or top shelf position.

I get a feeling that the whole POD/e-book model is being dismissed as dysfunctional. In that case, all small presses that use this model will be automatically condemned.
The only person I see dismissing any business model is you, Lily. You seem determined to slur big publishers, and are obviously happy to resort to spreading misinformation around in order to do so. That's not at all helpful.

The POD business model is a lot different to the e-book only model; and both have their own advantages and disadvantages. It's important for writers to understand those differences, advantages and disadvantages before they try to get published, and explaining those points in order to help others is not the same as condemning them.

If the sales rep did all that legwork just to get the book stuffed into a corner, was the result really worth the effort? Shouldn't the efforts be concentrated on something else?

If I listened to you, Lily, I'd start believing that bookshops were made of difficult-to-reach shelves and inaccessible corners, and that no one ever bought or selected any books from shops.

If all that a sales rep's efforts resulted in was a "book stuffed into a corner" then yes, I would agree with you: there would be little point in his or her efforts. However, it's not just one copy in one corner of one bookshop; it's a few copies, in several bookshops. Depending on the rep's territory it could mean tens, or hundreds of shops; and there will be more reps working other territories, and various telesales efforts, and a concurrent marketing campaign which will reach bookshops that the reps miss out.

A book's position in the bookshop is very unlikely to be influenced by a sales rep's activities, as it is mostly determined by where the author's name falls in the alphabet, and the genre in which he or she writes. However, a good marketing campaign stands a good chance of getting a book onto the tables at the front of a shop, or in a dedicated display, which in bookselling terms are prime real estate.

These things have a real impact on the sales of a book, and it's partly why Stacia's wonderful books (do read them: they're amazing!) have sold more than 10,000 copies but books from publishers which don't have the same marketing and distribution won't sell anything like that amount.

Okay, so you got through the gate-keepers, and the book actually ended up on the shelf. Then what? All that for a mere chance of getting noticed?
No: all that happens in order to sell books. If it didn't work, publishers wouldn't do it. But it takes financial investment and expertise that many smaller publishers don't have.

And no, online promotion is not limited to Facebook and Twitter. What about getting reviewed in genre-specific publication?
Reviews help, for sure. But if books aren't easily available to buy--and for many, that means on bookshop shelves--then reviews aren't going to do much.

Have you ever worked as an acquisitions editor at a small press that didn't require agents? Have you ever received truly abysmal manuscripts?

I have, and I have.

Question for the more knowledgeable: Is Pen and Sword Books considered a "big house"? I didn't think so, but I'm not familiar with the UK market.

I wouldn't call it a big house, and I do have some familiarity with UK publishing.

I already read the guidelines. I am truly, honestly not getting where I am being offensive. If you read my Facebook posts, then you would see my truly offensive side. I co-edit several zines, and we always have a great time, cracking jokes, dissecting submissions, razzing each other, unleashing our sarcasm. It's all good fun. No hard feelings. My colleagues there are all writers.

I have found several of your comments here offensive. You might find it more useful to try to understand why instead of telling us you're even worse on Facebook.

Maybe I have some sort of mild learning/communication disability. Feel free to treat me as you would someone with a disability. (I have a feeling I'll get slapped on the wrist for saying that too.)

My youngest son has an extreme form of a learning and communication disability. I treat him in just the same way as I treat my other son: with respect and love. And I find your flippancy about this particular topic hugely offensive.
 

K. Q. Watson

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I've seen several books by AW writers on bookshelves at my local Chapters. Sometimes even on this specific shelf that is fourth from the bottom that you seem to scoff at.

I've not seen anything from Fireship press. Not on Amazon, not on iBooks, or the Sony store, no where.

ETA: Oh, and speaking as someone with several physical disabilities, yes, your glib comment about treating you with kid-gloves because, what, you don't know how to be civil? Not winning you any points. You're "Oh dear how am I possibly being offensive, oh mercy me! I just don't understand!" stance smacks of playing dumb to me. You know what you said. You're a writer, words have meaning, text has tone. Re-evaluate, or step away from the keyboard because you are seriously not doing yourself any favours.
 
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