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Freedom of Speech Publishing

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

Kymburlee

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A good friend of mine published through Freedom of Speech Publishing, two books within the last two years, and based on reviews, they're doing quite well. However, my friend has not received a single penny in those two years, nor any sales records. His contract states that he gets 30% of net profits AFTER expenses, which sounds like a scam to me, but I'm not well educated with regards to contract language.

Has anyone else had experience with this company or this set of circumstances? What's the best course of action for an author who belatedly realizes they've been taken advantage of?
 

James D. Macdonald

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Net profits after expenses?

Very likely net-profit-after-expenses is zero no matter how well the book does (see: Hollywood Accounting).

Does his contract state that he's supposed to get statements regardless?
 

robjvargas

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When the "Director of Author Relations" is also one of the authors and I hear an experience like what your friend describes, that's bad.
And then:
Freedom of Speech Publishing was formed from authors wanting a better publishing solution. All of our owners have published at least one book and found that traditional publishing absorbs the work of the author and gives the author very little back. The book rights now belonged to the publisher. The majority of the royalties were also going to the publisher. We believe the work of the author should be rewarded with better paying royalties.
I run from that like a from a bad horror flick.

ETA: Page from which the above was taken: http://freedomofspeechpublishing.com/become-a-talent/
 

Marian Perera

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So I checked out some of their blurbs.

Because they choose to let go of their differences in order to ‘break bread;’ threading new understandings in the universal landscape by opening a clear blue sky filled with beautification highlighting communication.

My prosperity eyes see the world as an enterprising sleigh ride to chime and rhyme in my subliminal mind; to understand I expand when I listen; I glisten with lithe canonized abilities

*runs faster than robjvargas*
 

robjvargas

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That director of author relations wrote a book on beer. It seems they all partook.

:ROFL:
 

Kymburlee

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I'm going to ask him if I can read the contract myself. I'm uncovering some disturbing information about this company, including some very dissatisfied former authors. This poor guy just had no idea what industry norms were, and was so grateful someone was willing to publish him after bigger companies turned him down.

This is what having a good literary agent in your corner can prevent. Oi . . .
 

Alice Xavier

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1994 called. It wants its raw HTML webpages with tables back.

And the the front of the site is running on sloppy implementation of a free Wordpress theme. Maybe it's because I do web design, but one of the ways I tend to gauge the seriousness/legitimacy of a company is by the quality of their website. So many of these Beware publishers have AWFUL websites, to the point where I'd make it a rule of thumb to assume a publisher with a crappy website is crappy until proven otherwise (like Siren - ugly, horrible website, but is legit and can actually sell books).

I mean, do these poor authors not think, "Gee, if I publish with these guys, they'll give me this... book page that looks like a relic from the primordial web. Maybe I should submit elsewhere."? Like.... why?

PS: The whole site is riddled with broken links and other crap. I'm honestly surprised that people actually submit stuff to them. Sorry for the OP's friend, but geez.
 

Kymburlee

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No kidding, eh? Wish I'd known this guy back when he was submitting (he's a member of the local writers' guild I recently formed). He's got serious talent, and these guys are seriously screwing him over.
 

Wilde_at_heart

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It's also a strange name for a 'publishing' company - with a name like that I'd be expecting derpy gun-nut tracts about the NWO with flashing 'buy gold' adverts.
 

Torgo

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the seriousness/legitimacy of a company is by the quality of their website. So many of these Beware publishers have AWFUL websites, to the point where I'd make it a rule of thumb to assume a publisher with a crappy website is crappy until proven otherwise (like Siren - ugly, horrible website, but is legit and can actually sell books).

Publisher websites are notoriously bad in general, but at least you can see that we spent money on our terrible website. This implies we actually have money with which to pay for publishing things, too.
 

Old Hack

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No kidding, eh? Wish I'd known this guy back when he was submitting (he's a member of the local writers' guild I recently formed). He's got serious talent, and these guys are seriously screwing him over.

If he signed the contract without being forced into doing so, they're not "screwing him over".

That doesn't mean that this publisher was a good choice: but we have to research publishers before we submit to them, and we have to read and understand contracts before we sign them.
 

aliceshortcake

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From their blog:

We understand that the world is filled with companies just wanting to take money from new authors. They provide empty promises. The promise lasts only until your check is cashed. At best, you’ll end up with the truck load of your own books you must now learn to sell. We don’t work that way. We work as the publisher, partner, and marketing group. We don’t ask for any large up-front fees or requests. We work to prove ourselves to you first. We believe in the “Pay it Forward” method of doing business. We don’t ask much of you as we are also authors and have had bad experiences with publishers in the past.

We offer our handpicked authors the ability to focus on what they do best. We want them to write great books and articles. We’ll do the rest. As an author, we want you to focus on your strengths as we use ours to publish a
nd promote the work of art. We like to think of it as “Changing the World One Book at a Time”.
http://freedomofspeechpublishing.com/blog/

From their website:

Our marketing team gives our authors’ books their full attention. We function as a team to make sure every author is involved in setting up book signing events, media coverage, and book reviews. We believe the author has the most important role in marketing their book and should be involved.
http://freedomofspeechpublishing.com/become-a-talent/

They also claim that:

With the amount of time and resources that Freedom of Speech Publishing pours into each project, we have to be selective with the projects we work on.

Come on, FoSP. Which is it? Are your authors left alone to commune with their muses, secure in the knowledge that the company will pour time and resources into their books, or are you just another PoD with no marketing or distribution? You can't have it both ways.

After reading some of the surreal blurbs for their books I'd also take issue with the claim that:

We are the Zen of publishing. Here, our talent doesn't have to care or worry when it comes to the publishing, marketing, and selling of their creative works because we exceed all expectations.
http://freedomofspeechpublishing.com/become-a-talent/

Zen? No. Magic mushrooms? Possibly.

One also has to wonder how much effort went into writing the author bio page:

Christophe J. Stone has written a new sci-fi book on death and grim reapers. This book is definitely expected to do big things. This book has gone through a year of editing due to editors having their definition of life and death totally warped.

Joseph Lane has been annoyed with cold sores for the majority of his life.
http://freedomofspeechpublishing.com/our-authors/

FoSP author Patrick Klungle is the company's "Director of Author Relations", but the company seems curiously shy about naming its founder/CEO.
 
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Marian Perera

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This is what having a good literary agent in your corner can prevent. Oi . . .

Even if your friend doesn't have a good literary agent, there are steps he can take in the future to look out for himself - checking a publisher out on AW, asking authors specific questions about sales, reading some of the press's books to see if they do a good job, etc.

There may not be anything he can do about the books he signed over to this amateur outfit, but if he's planning to write and publish more books in the future, maybe you could give him a link to this forum or to Writer Beware or to P&E as a starting-point.
 

aliceshortcake

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For what it's worth, one of FoSP's books - which turns out to have been published through CreateSpace in 2011 - is by G Sagmiller, whose address in Leawood, Kansas City, is the same as FoSP's (don't miss the typo on the back cover - the editor did!)

http://www.amazon.com/dp/1463577494/?tag=absowrit-20

It's also the home of the Gifted Learning Project, which is featured on FoSP's site and whose co-founder/executive director is Sam Sagmiller. To add to the confusion G and S Sagmiller appear to be the same person.
 
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