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First One Publishing / Karen Hunter Publishing

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

Midian

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Oh, and self-pubbing is $39 on Amazon. I'd say it's far cheaper than $149. And I get keep all my rights and put my name on it. I'd self-publish before I entered the contest as the rules are currently written. Within the rules, not only do you get to own every aspect of it, you don't even have to put my name on it.
 

cryaegm

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There are many people in the marketplace ripping people off, which is why we decided to do the contest in the first place.
Well, that's good and all, but:
The fee: $149, is to eliminate anyone who thinks they want to be published from entering.
First, it's not going to eliminate anyone who thinks they want to be published from entering, whatever that means.

I'm assuming that you're talking about people who enter, think they're going to be published, whether win or lose. That's where you, the contest holder, acknowledges that only the grand prize winner gets the publishing deal, or what have you and whatever you want for the prizes to be. $149 does not eliminate this AT ALL.

If anything, it invites those who are willing to pay such a ridiculous fee.

We hope to have only serious authors apply.
See above.

You're going to have more people who are willing to spend $149 than actual serious writers for this. Willing to pay $149 =/= serious writers/authors.

And the $149 entry fee will make someone think before just uploading any old manuscript. Also, we have professional editors from major publishing houses judging the books we receive and they are being paid for their work.
True, it will make people think, however, anyone serious about a contest and winning a publishing contract, at that, are going to think about what manuscript to upload/submit besides any old one.

Where are you going to get the amount for the $5,000 and pay all your professional editors "from major publishing houses"? Are you going to use that from the $149 you're going to supposedly get from "serious" writers? And what happens if you only get two or three entries?

If you have attempted to publish a book via one of the self-publishing arenas, you will pay considerably more than $149.
Yes, but that doesn't justify your amount. Self-publishing is different than a contest.

We plan to publish many runners-up, and with that will come marketing, publicity and all of the things a person attempting to publish themselves simply will not have. As an author myself, I put a lot of thought into the kind of contest I would like to participate in and this is what I came up with.
You would want to participate in a contest that charges $149 for EACH entry? Seriously?

Most writers do not have $149 for each entry. How are you not trying to scam the writers out with that amount of money? That alone holds a red flag. When I read your contest, I had to reread it to make sure I was reading it right.

I mean, really? $149 for EACH entry?

Either you really would enter such a contest or you're trying to get a writer who will fall into this and pay $149 for such a contest; maybe you're both, I don't know. I don't know you or anything, especially since you started a couple of days ago.

Also:

all of the things a person attempting to publish themselves simply will not have.
What do you mean by that?

Care to explain what other things a person might not have that YOU do?

Whatever is telling you that something is amiss, is lying to you.
So, you're lying to us? Something here isn't right. I'm getting a lot of red flags from reading your contest and your rules, especially the amount you're wanting for each entry.

And we accept your apology because you are wrong as it relates to the contest.
Oh really?

To judge a book before you've read it is unfair. Let us launch the contest (Feb. 11). Join it. And if you have a problem, then you have a right to criticize. But it's not even officially launched yet.
One: follow your own advice. "Don't judge a book before you've read it." You're judging us by saying we're wrong and that you accept our apology, let alone the person you responded to. I don't see an apology to you ANYWHERE in his/her posts, whatsoever.

Two: It's fair game if you post it PUBLICLY on the internet. Sorry to burst your bubble.

AND third: WHY should we join it if you plan to have sole ownership of the manuscripts (JUST BY what your 13th rule says)? Why should we enter when we have to spend $149 for not the whole entry, for every single one?

Regarding rights. We will not take anyone's copyright. If you enter and do not win or are not a finalist, you are free to do whatever you want with your book.
You're right. You're not taking anyone's copyright because from what I remember reading, you said that we MUST remove such rights.

From your website, YOUR OWN WORDS, may I add:

"All submissions become sole property of Sponsor and will not be acknowledged or returned. By submitting an entry, all entrants grant Sponsor the absolute and unconditional right and authority to copy, edit, publish, promote, broadcast, or otherwise use, in whole or in part, their entries, in perpetuity, in any manner without further permission, notice or compensation. Entries that contain copyrighted material must include a release from the copyright holder."

Each bold and color points out what's wrong with what you've said above. It contradicts, and it contradicts well. And not a good kind of contradicting, either.

It's all good and done if you're going to release it back to the owners to do what they will with it, but with what you have for your 13th rule, how can I go by what you say here? If you want people to believe that they're getting their manuscripts back and can do what they want with it after this and do not win, then for the love of your intentions of what you said here, CHANGE THE DAMN RULE to compensate with what you've just told us.

PLEASE.

(Btw, I have taken a screen shot of your rule, just for proof measures and just in case. ;))

If you are a finalist, we want the right to pitch your book for movie, TV, webisode opportunities. We want the right to garner sponsorships and any method to push your book into the marketplace?
Okay, great, but again, it contradicts with what you've said in your rules.

Your. Own. Rules.

Explain that to us, as to why it does that. Please.

Also, why the question mark at the end? You're not asking a question. Is it a rhetorical question? A grammatical mistake? What is it?

Are you questioning your goals as to what you want to do with our manuscripts?

We are better equipped to that than an individual,
Who says? You?

What makes you more equipped to do it better than the individual? Hm?

You just started.

so we would like the right to put your book and you as an author into the marketplace to the best of our ability.
Okay, great. Again, as much as I must STRESS this, your rules contradict this.

Some of the other concerns are well taken and fortunately, we have about a month to address them.
If you have a month, then don't publish this contest until you're ready. You're clearly not ready for this and it's quite sad. You have about a month to address them, but a month is when people send in entries. It's when people are getting ready to do this.

What makes this so strange and bewildering is that you think this is just a game where you can change what you want in such a time when the writer reads these rules before hand, might not see you change the rules to whatever you change them to by the time of the submissions. The idea of doing something like this or anything in general that is major is to be prepared. You can't just do things on the whim and then say, "Oh we have a month to do this. No worries."

Thing is, there IS a worry when it comes to this, especially a contest that is so important, as you put it. Would you really enter this contest yourself?

So if you have any suggestions on how to make it stronger and better, let us know. We're going to keep doing these contest because we believe that there are so many great writers out there who would never be seen on a major level, if not for this.
Great, but there's other contests out there that does the exact same thing. What makes yours so different from theirs?

First One will deliver the next Stephen King, Nicholas Sparks, and Stephenie Meyer.
Okay, but you can't necessarily say that. You don't know what will happen in the end. You don't know how well everything will sell, especially with such promoting. You don't know what's going to happen. That's like a writer saying he or she is the next big thing and will sell millions when querying to literary agents.

You simply don't know that.

I'm sorry if this seems harsh and like I'm beating a dead horse because everyone brought this up, but it really bothers me as a writer and as a reader. I take myself as a serious writer and when I take myself as a serious one, I must judge quickly and see the signs that are there before I go ahead and do anything. If there's red flags popping up everywhere, telling me to stay away, then I'm going to listen to my gut, and sadly, it's telling me to do that right now with your contest.
 
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Cyia

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Yeah, the whole " we will deliver the next...." thing sticks out to me, too.

NO publisher knows who the NEXT BIG THING is going to be. It could be someone who's on their third book for a house or it could be Granny Sosa from Back of Beyond, Texas and her first try at writing when she's 97 years old.

There's no way to ensure you produce a mega-hit. If there was, publishers would only sign the people who had them.

To "deliver" the NEXT BIG THING, you have to first assume that they're going to enter your contest, and... that's... highly... unlikely....


(Btw, before you make assertions of how your successes stack up against the board members here, you should probably look around and see who you're talking about. There are not only authors here who hit a six-figure home run with their books, but there are people here with NYT best selling series / Mega-hits with movies in the works, and people who had their books preempted before auction by the Big 6. So... claiming you can do better is a pretty steep grade.)
 

Terie

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And regarding the term "major publisher," which seems to be a point of conversation, First One will be releasing 5-10 titles a month. I think that's pretty major. Don't you?

No. 'Major' doesn't mean 'number'. I have five books published; does that make me more 'major' than Steig Larsson? Harper Lee? Margaret Mitchell?
 
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cryaegm

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LOL...to most of the responses.
I don't mean to look like I'm picking on you, I'm really not. Just so far, what I've commented on has bugged me.

How often does a publisher or writer at a serious discussion typed out "LOL to most of the responses"? Not only is it not taking things seriously, but it's kind of childish.

We have concerns. This is why it was brought up. We're trying to find out more information about all of this, but I can't take you seriously if you're just going to disregard to everything as a laughing matter. That, IMHO, isn't very professional and just brushing us and our concerns off.

If you want us to take your contest seriously and enter (not like a lot of us will with the amount alone), then how can we?

Here's the deal: If you want to be a part of something bigger than what you're currently doing, join us.
Why join you? What are you going to do for us that another publisher can't do?

Be a part of the solution, not a part of the naysaying and the problem. It's very easy to sit on the sidelines and poke holes at everything. It is far more difficult to get out there and do something different. That's what we're doing.
True it's easy to poke holes into everything, but the thing is we're not trying to poke holes into this. Why are you attacking us like that? How is us trying to figure out why a problem? How are you the solution? Better yet, how is joining you the solution?

Again, we're grateful for the feedback because it certainly forces us to do a better job, which we will.
Then take it as feedback instead of brushing it off.

But it seems as if the comments and the criticisms are not edifying. If your goal is to be a boo-bird. Good job. If you're goal is to help change publishing, get in the game and let's play.
Again, you're attacking us.

Either you're part of the solution or you're part of the problem. And if you are an author, finding so much success on your own, then keep it moving. No need to be concerned with what we're doing.
Well, why not? Why can't we be concerning about what you're doing? If you're going to be new and people are going to come here and ask questions about your publishing firm, then we have to be concerned about what you're doing. Or are you trying to hide something?

I have eight New York Times bestsellers under my belt. I've sold millions of books. It's time to pass that knowledge along. And our editors are all independent contractors.
Okay, great. But how is that justification of starting a publishing business of your own?

Welcome to 2011. The new world. The new model. The nimble model.
Gee, this sounds awfully familiar.

Thanks and blessings, all!

-Karen

PS: The anonymous nature of the web is cool but it also makes cowards of people. You sit behind your computer throwing poisonous darts. I'm here. I sign my name. I'm transparent and I'm responding with an eye on correcting the problems. Are you?

Or are you an internet coward, hiding behind fake names and fake screen images, spewing negativity at will because there is no way for anyone to check you directly. That doesn't make you clever, or smart or perfect. That makes you a coward.
One, I hate wall of text. It's daunting and hurts the eyes.

Second, here we go, attacking us again. I'm not hiding behind anything, so I don't know why you're bringing this up. It seems really pointless and just trying to egg us on. Is that your intention?

If you have no intention of participating in this contest, then what's your goal? To protect people? From what exactly?
You, perhaps.

Again, I'm out here transparent.
Okay, great. We're still not hiding behind anything.

How many publishers can you put a name to who would even take the time to address you? Think about that?
Well, I'm pretty sure we can all think of a few. You're really not one of the first ones.

Also, how possible is it that someone who has built a successful career would toss it all away on a contest designed to rip people off? Really? You all seem so much smarter than to think that.
If you're so successful and willing to help writers, then why are you charging $149 for every single entry from every single writer who enters? Doesn't that seem steep to you?

Also, why do you keep comparing yourself to self-publishing? Do you deal with self-publishing? Or are you just a new publisher? There's a difference of the two.
 
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Mr Flibble

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How many publishers can you put a name to who would even take the time to address you? Think about that?

Several post in their threads here. None of them charge such a high fee for a contest or have rules where they take all rights from entrants.

None of them have ever accused anyone of being cowards for expressing any concerns either as far as I'm aware.


Frankly I'm not seeing any reason to either enter the contest or sub to First One, but several very good reasons not to.
 

HistorySleuth

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There are a few other things in the contest rules that I've never seen in a writing contest:
(Bolding mine)

12. INTERNET
If for any reason this CONTEST is not capable of running as planned
due to an infection by a computer virus, bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical failures, or any other causes beyond the control of the Sponsor, which corrupt or affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity, or proper conduct of the Contest, the Sponsor reserves the right in its sole discretion to disqualify any individual who tampers with the entry process, and to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend the CONTEST.
Do you mean disqualify the contestant? Or end the contest because of that one person?

As far as internet problems in general, I can see if there was a hurricane and all the power was out and it got delayed, but totally terminate the contest because of internet problems?

If you end the contest will you give everyone's $149 back?

13. LEGAL Information
In the event that there is an insufficient number of entries received that meet the minimum standards determined by the judges, all prizes will not be awarded. Winners will be required to complete and return an affidavit of eligibility and liability/publicity release, within 15 days of winning notification, or an alternate winner will be selected, in the event any winner is considered a minor in his/her state of residence, such winner’s parent/legal guardian will be required to sign and return all necessary paperwork.

By entering, entrants release judges and Sponsor(s), and its parent company, subsidiaries, production, and promotion agencies from any and all liability for any loss
, harm, damages, costs, or expenses, including without limitation properly damages, personal injury, and/or death arising out of participation in this contest, the acceptance, possession, use or misuse of any prize, claims based on publicity rights, defamation or invasion of privacy, merchandise delivery, or the violation of any intellectual property rights, including but not limited to copyright infringement and/or trademark infringement.
OK, so I guess they don't get the $149 back.

CAUTION: ANY ATTEMPT TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE ANY WEBSITE OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THE CONTEST IS A VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AD CIVIL LAWS AND SHOULD SUCH AN ATTEMPT BE MADE. THE SPONSOR RESERVES THE RIGHT TO SEEK DAMAGES OR OTHER REMEDIES FROM ANY SUCH PERSON(S) RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ATTEMPT TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW.
I'm not an attorney so I'll let Momento Mori address that. That just seems rather threatening to me. (First you would have to prove the contest was legitimate.) The way all the above is worded it makes it sound like a good way to collect $149 from a lot of people. I don't see how you can legally cancel a contest where you collected money, then not refund it. I imagine there are some laws against that though.

I think you need to specifically address in the rules what happens to the entry fees if the contest is canceled.
 
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Cyia

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Has anyone taken a look at the bottom two paragraphs of the rules as posted?

First One Rule Sheet said:
In the event that there is an insufficient number of entries received that meet the minimum standards determined by the judges, all prizes will not be awarded. Winners will be required to complete and return an affidavit of eligibility and liability/publicity release, within 15 days of winning notification, or an alternate winner will be selected, in the event any winner is considered a minor in his/her state of residence, such winner’s parent/legal guardian will be required to sign and return all necessary paperwork.


By entering, entrants release judges and Sponsor(s), and its parent company, subsidiaries, production, and promotion agencies from any and all liability for any loss, harm, damages, costs, or expenses, including without limitation properly damages, personal injury, and/or death arising out of participation in this contest, the acceptance, possession, use or misuse of any prize, claims based on publicity rights, defamation or invasion of privacy, merchandise delivery, or the violation of any intellectual property rights, including but not limited to copyright infringement and/or trademark infringement.

(bolding mine)

So...

If the judges decide that enough people haven't entered, then no one gets the prize and the entrants are all out their entry fee? Am I reading that right?

What's a sufficient number? It doesn't say.

What if nothing submitted is of publication quality? (It happens with Delacorte's yearly contest, and they get a TON of entries a year. Though, there's no entry fee for that one.)

And the highlighted "you can't sue us for" items seem strange to me.
 

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Lemme get this straight. You have sold MILLIONS of books and yet you need to charge a $149 entry fee?

Money flows to the writer. Period.
 

kaitie

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I was thinking the same thing you guys said. My first thought when reading about this was that there was nothing requiring them to pay out the prizes, but many opportunities not to. I'm not saying the intention is to skip out. My thought, however, was that as a writer, I'd much rather submit to an established contest where I know that prizes have been awarded in the past and that the contest was run fairly and (perhaps) even see how the winning entries did.

I'd be cautious of sending in a $25 entry fee to a brand new contest. $150? I would never pay that. And I can guarantee I'm serious about my writing. I'm just also serious about my income, and find that to be ridiculous. Contests are gambles. It's a little like playing the lottery in that you're putting up the money and there's a decent chance that you aren't going to see anything for it. If I'm going to throw money away, I can throw it away on something more productive.

I honestly find the whole concept of $150 dollars being used to separate out the serious from the riff-raff to be the most blatantly untrue thing I've seen in this thread. Paying judges and the contest costs with the entry fees? Yeah, I can see that. It makes sense. I'd still not enter something for this much, but at least I considered that a legitimate reason.

However, to say that it's being done to weed out writers who aren't serious struck me as disingenuous from the moment I saw it. First of all, there's the unwritten implication here that only rich people are worthy of being published. Sorry, but I'm not rich. I can't afford an entry fee like that. That doesn't mean I think my book is any less worthy of publication, however. One of the great things about publishing is that it is pretty much open to anyone no matter what their economic status. If you've got an email address, you can send electronic queries. And sorry, but I can send a lot more queries via snail mail and improve my chances for a lot less than paying for one contest.

I just find this concept insulting--mostly because I do feel that it's deceptive. I believe First One is trying to give a reason they think authors will agree with so they put up. Saying only "serious" writers who care about their career will put up makes it out like there's something wrong with us, when in reality there is absolutely no logical basis for this statement. If there is, I'd love to hear it, but I don't believe it's possible.

Here's my opinion on contests like this (and yeah, I like contests and have entered a few): If the contest is highly respectable and has a decent entry fee (or none) and you can easily afford it and want to enter for fun, go for it. However, if your book is actually good enough to win said contest, it's probably good enough to be published the old fashioned way as well, so make sure the deal you're getting would be one you'd be happy with if you had just received an offer from a publisher you'd submitted to. In other words, don't settle.

And don't pay ridiculous fees to contests that aren't established as reputable. Or better yet, at all.
 

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I read "insufficient submissions" as "we weren't able to scam enough wannabe authors and didn't make as much of a profit as we expected".

I read "major publisher because we release 5 books per month" as "we hope to become PublishAmerica but we're not quite there yet."

Personally, I would never submit anything to anyone if, by submitting, I was agreeing to abide by a contract I have not seen.

I might pay a $150 entry fee -- if the judges were Nicola Griffith, Octavia Butler, Joanna Russ, and Beth Bernobich, if the publisher were Tor, and if the prize included a minimum $5000 advance and Janet Reid negotiating the contract for me.

My two cents' worth.
 

Terie

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II might pay a $150 entry fee -- if the judges were Nicola Griffith, Octavia Butler, Joanna Russ, and Beth Bernobich, if the publisher were Tor, and if the prize included a minimum $5000 advance and Janet Reid negotiating the contract for me.

Octavia Butler? Under the circumstances, I'd pay a heck of a lot more if SHE were judging! ;)
 

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I read "insufficient submissions" as "we weren't able to scam enough wannabe authors and didn't make as much of a profit as we expected".

Folks, just food for thought.

I'm not saying there was not sinister intent here, but most of the time what people point fingers at and claim as "evil", is usually just someone's ignorance, clumsiness or stupidity.
 

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Yup, sorry 'bout that. I didn't mean that was what was happening in this particular case, but that it is my automatic cynical assumption whenever I read that particular disclaimer in any contest. IMO, either you hold a free-to-enter contest and give yourself permission to not award a prize if you don't get a submission qualified to win, or you hold a fee-entry contest and you are obliged to award the prize, even if only one person enters. I can't imagine a raffle organiser saying "we didn't sell enough raffle tickets, so we're keeping the prize for ourselves and also keeping the money from the people who did buy tickets".

I probably spend too much time on the PA subforum.
 

Momento Mori

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Williebee:
I'm not saying there was not sinister intent here, but most of the time what people point fingers at and claim as "evil", is usually just someone's ignorance, clumsiness or stupidity.

Hear hear.

I was quite encouraged by Karen's initial responses here about being willing to change aspects of the competition, but her later responses - particularly the Bingo card comments - made me wonder if that will actually happen. And the decision to suggest that Janet Reid's remarks were driven by fear ... Well let's just say the word "daft" doesn't even begin to cover it.

MM
 

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Folks, just food for thought.

I'm not saying there was not sinister intent here, but most of the time what people point fingers at and claim as "evil", is usually just someone's ignorance, clumsiness or stupidity.
My thinking as well. It seems to me that First One Publishing might have had good intentions but been misguided on using the fee. They also might have misworded the contest's guidelines to mean something that they had never intended, and perhaps will listen to reason and revise them now that the problems have been pointed out. While there are other missteps that call into question their professionalism (arguing with a big agent's interpretation of their rules in public, making the rules public now but complaining that people would question them now, equating money with talent), I am willing to hope that they will take the criticism and learn from it, just as writers learn from SYW, betas, and agent/editor crits.
 

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Question for the Sages:
Plagiarism, which includes the use of third-party poetry, song lyrics, characters or another person's universe, without written permission
Am I wrong in thinking that this would be copyright infringement? I thought plagiarism was using someone else's stuff without attribution, not without permission.
 

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Question for the Sages:

Am I wrong in thinking that this would be copyright infringement? I thought plagiarism was using someone else's stuff without attribution, not without permission.

Like terrestrial, the word does not mean what she thinks it means.

Plagiarism is not illegal in the U.S.

Copyright infringement is.
 

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Like terrestrial, the word does not mean what she thinks it means.

Also the word 'rights'. The rights grab as stated in the rules is clearly talking about publishing rights, but she dismissed concerns by stating that Frist One doesn't take copyright.

Writers should be very cautious about a publisher who doesn't know the difference between copyright and publishing rights.
 

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... $149?!

Okay, even ignoring ALL the other problems with this contest (the many, many other problems), I feel the need to comment on this. For $135 Australian dollars a week's rent, I get a two bedroom apartment in a quiet, pleasant area of town.

FirstOnePublishing wants me to pay a week's rent, plus the cost of lunch and a coffee and give them all rights to my novel? Yeah. Sure. I'm generous with my money, but not that generous.
 

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