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Grit City Publications

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Tromboli

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I got a private message on Nanowriomo saying "Interested in publishing?"


"My name is Stephanie King, and I'm the head content editor with Grit City Publications – http://gritcityserial.com - home of a new avenue in fiction: the emotobook. I read your query letter for 'Shadows of Destiny' and would love to take a look at your novel and see if it would be a good fit to be published with our company."


Automatically sounds like a scam to me, just based on the fact that it is in a private message on nanowrimo, saying she read my query on their version of QLH. Don't know many publishers looking through Query letter critiques for potential authors. But, it does seem to be a real company.


Looks like a new e-book publisher with a twist (published in 10 separate installments with illustrations.


I am not interested in this type of thing at this point, but I'd still like to know how legit it is so I can inform others (perhaps the mods on nano if it seems important enough).


Here is the rest of the message.



"An emotobook is a form of serial ebook, a story broken into ten installments and enhanced with stunning abstract art to reel the reader deeper into the story. Should I like your novel, you'd work with an editor – like me – and transform your novel into this new breed of book. It would then be handed off to an illustrator.
The initial contract with us would last for five years, meaning we would have exclusive publishing rights to your story for five years. We would publish it and promote it on our website and our blogs, through Twitter and Facebook. To get the most out of it, you would be best doing your own promotions, as well, via social media and anything else you can think of. You would be paid royalties on the work, and the more issues you sell each month the better you'll get paid. At the end of those three years, you can choose to take the book off the market, publish with someone else, or renew your contract with us and keep selling through Grit City Publications.
We're looking to get ten novels on the 'shelves' by Christmas, and I want yours to be one of them. Get back to me as soon as you can; the faster we get started, the sooner your baby will be on the market, and the richer we'll all be.
More information can be found at http://www.rongavalik.com/Site/WriteEmotobooks.html and I'll keep you updated with any new information that comes out. If you have any further questions, please email them to me at [email protected] and I'll do my best to answer them.
If you know someone else who has a finished novel and might be interested, please tell them to send a query to me at [email protected] They must be at least 18, and the book must not have been published in the past."
 

Tromboli

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Two things I just noticed re-reading it.

"We're looking to get ten novels on the 'shelves' by Christmas, and I want yours to be one of them. Get back to me as soon as you can; the faster we get started, the sooner your baby will be on the market, and the richer we'll all be."
looks like a red flag to me-- a publisher telling you "you'll be rich!"

and two- First she said it last 5 years. The she says "At the end of those three years, you can choose to take the book off the market,"
 

Katrina S. Forest

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Yeah, those are major warning signs. If a legit agent or publisher contacts you through pm, it should simply be a request to see some pages. No one offers representation or publication based just on a query.
 

Wayne K

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The person asked to see it, not publish it. And, I've seen people here get similar requests from legit agents based on query letters they've posted.

I'm not saying they're legit, but I don't see the scam.
 

Tromboli

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I agree. I think it may be a legit, but small and new, e-publisher looking for new clients. But the flags are still there.
 

IceCreamEmpress

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"Well-intentioned but incompetent" is just as poor a bet as "scam" in most cases.

I don't see competence or professionalism in that email.
 

Katrina S. Forest

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Wayne K, I didn't say it was a scam either. I said it was a warning sign, a signal that someone is running their business in a way that tends to not sell books to readers. Whether that's on purpose or just lack of knowledge, who knows? But either way, it's a problem.

I'm one of those people who got a request from a legit agent based on a query I posted here. It's not the method of contact I find concerning, it's the tone. My request said more or less the following: "Hello, my name is Great Agent. I'm an agent at Epic Literary. I found your query interesting and would like to see pages if you are ready to seek representation at this time."

That was it. No gushing over how amazing I was, no telling me how much money I was going to make, and certainly no timeline as to when the book would be "on shelves":

We're looking to get ten novels on the 'shelves' by Christmas, and I want yours to be one of them.

This sounds like a blatant offer to publish to me.
 
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Thalia

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Hi everyone! I received this on my NaNoWriMo account, which is very unsettling because a) I have never queried these people, b) there is no mention anywhere on my NaNo profile of the novel she names, let alone the query letter, and c) well... look at the message.

My name is Stephanie King, and I'm the head content editor with Grit City Publications – http://gritcityserial.com - home of a new avenue in fiction: the emotobook. I read your query letter for 'Mad as a Hatter' and would love to take a look at your novel and see if it would be a good fit to be published with our company.
An emotobook is a form of serial ebook, a story broken into ten installments and enhanced with stunning abstract art to reel the reader deeper into the story. Should I like your novel, you'd work with an editor – like me – and transform your novel into this new breed of book. It would then be handed off to an illustrator.
The initial contract with us would last for five years, meaning we would have exclusive publishing rights to your story for five years. We would publish it and promote it on our website and our blogs, through Twitter and Facebook. To get the most out of it, you would be best doing your own promotions, as well, via social media and anything else you can think of. You would be paid royalties on the work, and the more issues you sell each month the better you'll get paid. At the end of those three years, you can choose to take the book off the market, publish with someone else, or renew your contract with us and keep selling through Grit City Publications.

We're looking to get ten novels on the 'shelves' by Christmas, and I want yours to be one of them. Get back to me as soon as you can; the faster we get started, the sooner your baby will be on the market, and the richer we'll all be.
More information can be found at http://www.rongavalik.com/Site/WriteEmotobooks.html and I'll keep you updated with any new information that comes out. If you have any further questions, please email them to me at [email protected] and I'll do my best to answer them.
If you know someone else who has a finished novel and might be interested, please tell them to send a query to me at [email protected] They must be at least 18, and the book must not have been published in the past.

Obviously, I'm not going to reply, and even if I wanted to I'm under 18. If anyone knows anything about these people, info would be really appreciated.

If there's another thread about these people, then I'm sorry!

ETA: Whoops, just noticed there already was a thread. Sorry! Also, don't know how to delete this, so I apologize for that as well.
 
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Tromboli

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Did you post your query on the site? I think she was reading through those to find writers looking to publish. Not sure how many went out though.
 

Lovely Decadence

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Hi all, just thought I'd chime in to calm the storms of those who are concerned. Grit City is an e-series based on a new kind of fiction the creator Ron Gavalik coins as an "emoto book." It's pretty much fiction published in short monthly installments with abstract illustrations used to depict moments of heightened emotion in the story. They're a startup team based in Pittsburgh, PA, and the reason I know about them and their intention is because I interviewed for the position that Stephanie King has now as the head editor. I had to turn the position down due to the amount of time the head creator was asking for me to expend (around 50hrs of work with compensation being strictly royalty based), but more importantly for the amount of time he was asking I devote pimping the project out via social media networks and the like.

The long and short of it is they are a legitimate company, but they are fairly new (the first issue was released this past June/July). The readership at this point is low as well (probably around 100 readers now from what I got production and projection sheet I took a look at at the interview). I'd say if anyone is interested in querying them or sending their manuscript, they should probably read the first couple of issues of Grit City first. If you like the story or see your story as a good fit with what they currently have, and are willing to take a chance on a new company, by all means send your stuff along. If you don't like the story they currently have going or are weary on sending your "baby" to a new company with an uncertain future, I'd say hold off for more of a sure thing.

I've actually read part of issue one, and the genre isn't really my style, so when the creator extended the gesture of asking me to send him a query I didn't follow through on it because I'd rather publish on my own. But to each his own.
 
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GritCityPublisher

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Grit City Publications Legitimacy

Good morning everyone. My name is Ron Gavalik, Publisher of Grit City Publications. I'm also the author of the Grit City emotobook series. Thank you for letting me a part of this public forum. Talking with other writers is the most fun part of my profession and I welcome every opportunity.

In the world of modern publishing there are so many shoddy companies all trying to take advantage of writers. I remember vanity presses stripping hopeful authors of thousands of dollars. Now, it's false ePublishing groups seeking to steal manuscripts and hawk them for a quick buck.

When I saw this string (forwarded to me by a friend and colleague from grad school) it truly upset me. Not because of the healthy scrutiny you’ve practiced here, but because of the manner in which our group appeared.


Please feel rest assured that Grit City Publications is an honorable publishing outlet. Yes, we are new, but we are a group of dedicated professionals. Our innovation of emotobook fiction is winning with readers. That success, along with a lot of market research, has given me confidence to expand a catalog of emotobook titles.



There’s no doubt the quote email from Stephanie King was a huge miscommunication to the writing public and embarrassing for us. For that I humbly apologize to all of you. Stephanie King is new and wanted to deliver a sense of excitement. She’s also a longtime member of Nano. Unfortunately, her messaging was simply incorrect. But that’s my mistake for not fully training her on mass-communications of our business plan. Suffice to say, we discussed the issue, she feels terrible, and those kinds of emails will never be sent again.


If anyone here would like to discuss this further with me, I invite you to reach out through my personal email address: [email protected]. I’d be happy to share our “How To Write Emotobooks” free eBook with anyone who’d like to flip through it. I am also offering anyone here a free issue of Grit City as a token for this mishap.


It’s my hope that we can now close this issue and move forward. Thanks again for making these concerns public, so I could respond.


Ron Gavalik
 

Katrina S. Forest

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Good morning everyone. My name is Ron Gavalik, Publisher of Grit City Publications. I'm also the author of the Grit City emotobook series. Thank you for letting me a part of this public forum. Talking with other writers is the most fun part of my profession and I welcome every opportunity.

Hi, welcome to AW!

In the world of modern publishing there are so many shoddy companies all trying to take advantage of writers. I remember vanity presses stripping hopeful authors of thousands of dollars. Now, it's false ePublishing groups seeking to steal manuscripts and hawk them for a quick buck.

It's true there are many writing scams out there, but that's not all we're concerned about on this forum. We're also concerned about companies that take authors' manuscripts, but don't know the publishing business, and therefore, don't know how to sell those manuscripts. They may have the very best of intentions, but if they don't know what they're doing, the result is the same: the author loses first rights and has nothing to show for it.

When I saw this string (forwarded to me by a friend and colleague from grad school) it truly upset me. Not because of the healthy scrutiny you’ve practiced here, but because of the manner in which our group appeared.

No reason to be upset. We have a thread for almost every publisher and agent out there.

Please feel rest assured that Grit City Publications is an honorable publishing outlet. Yes, we are new, but we are a group of dedicated professionals. Our innovation of emotobook fiction is winning with readers. That success, along with a lot of market research, has given me confidence to expand a catalog of emotobook titles.

Could you be more specific about your success here? How many books have you sold?


There’s no doubt the quote email from Stephanie King was a huge miscommunication to the writing public and embarrassing for us. For that I humbly apologize to all of you. Stephanie King is new and wanted to deliver a sense of excitement. She’s also a longtime member of Nano. Unfortunately, her messaging was simply incorrect. But that’s my mistake for not fully training her on mass-communications of our business plan. Suffice to say, we discussed the issue, she feels terrible, and those kinds of emails will never be sent again.

The apology is appreciated, but could you share with us a bit more about what your business plan is? Are you really planning to put out 10 books by December? How do you propose to select, edit, format, promote and design covers for all those books in such a short time? I see that most of your staff has a degree in English of one kind or another, but have any of you spent any time working in the business before this venture?

If anyone here would like to discuss this further with me, I invite you to reach out through my personal email address: [email protected]. I’d be happy to share our “How To Write Emotobooks” free eBook with anyone who’d like to flip through it. I am also offering anyone here a free issue of Grit City as a token for this mishap.

I think all of us would prefer if you continued the discussion in a public forum so everyone could see it.


It’s my hope that we can now close this issue and move forward. Thanks again for making these concerns public, so I could respond.

The issue isn't really closed because you haven't addressed any of the concerns that were voiced in this thread, other than apologizing for contacting authors directly (which, as has been discussed in this thread isn't bad in and of itself, but it makes us cautious when you offer publication so easily.) I have no doubt your intentions are good, and I think it is wonderful that you're willing to come on this forum and address these concerns. But none of us can benefit if you're only willing to answer questions to those who contact you privately.
 
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GritCityPublisher

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How To Write Emotobooks

Katrina and the group. I wanted to share the link to our How To Write Emotobooks handbook with you. This is a free download from Smashwords and delves into what exactly an emotobook is, our publishing model, pay structure, etc.

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/87426

As a writer myself, I am a huge believer in transparency. Before I became a fiction writer and now a publisher, I spent years tackling some very serious news of the day as a freelance journalist. The pursuit of truth is absolute.

If any of you are interested in this model, I urge you to read through the handbook and then contact me with questions. I'd be happy to spend time discussing our long-term vision of revolutionizing the eReading experience. It's very exciting.

I can assure you it's not "easy" in the least for your hard work to become an emotobook. Our group invests a lot of resources and energy into crafting an emotobook series. The work chosen for this investment starts with the Content Editor and ends with a review panel.

Yes, we are seeking manuscripts for the Christmas push. That's the reason for Stephanie's enthusiasm and miscommunication. Again, read the handbook and contact me directly with your questions.

Have a wonderful weekend.
 

Katrina S. Forest

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Well, it's Friday afternoon, and I'm in the mood to procrastinate. I did look over the e-book, and here's the summary for those who don't care to download it:

The e-book offers some basic writing advice and really pushes the reader to go read the first three issues of Grit City (as an example to see how it's done), all of which have Ron Gavalik as the author.

The book says that if your work is accepted for publication, then "an editorial team is assigned to ensure your work is held to the highest form of genre fiction writing." No information is given as to who is on this team or why are qualified to edit.

It also says the aim is to get from acceptance to publication in 3 months, and the company prides itself on the speed of the process, pointing out how commercial publishers can "force you to wait" for a year or more. Personally, I'd rather make sure the job is done right than fast.

In the "Query and Acceptance" section, the author is again told to go read Grit City. To quote:
We can’t stress that enough. If your cynical mind says, “They just want my money,” then be assured we aren’t after your $2.99.
What would really convince me that Grit City is not after my money is to have a free sample online, like most magazines do.

The book goes on to talk about how there's lots of scams out there, and e-publishers who take your money but do nothing to promote the work. It asserts that Grit City is nothing like that.

Here's a quote from when they get down to the rights stuff, which doesn't directly state which rights they're taking:
If your work is accepted, Grit City Publications will request to reserve your emotobook season of 10-installments for a period of five-years from the time the first installment is published.

Later, however, they state that while they're publishing your work, they must "approve of all other venues for your story." So I *think* what they mean is five years exclusive rights in all possible media forms.

The next section goes on about how no novel sells based on its own merit, it's all based on how well the author can gather readers through their own personal promotional efforts. It talks about how many authors and editors Grit City hopes to have in the future.

The royalties are a tier system. You make more per book based on how many books were sold that quarter. The lowest tier is 35 cents per book, if you get under 300 sales per quarter. Books are available in the usual places: Amazon, iBooks, ect. But considering that most self-published books usually don't sell more than 300 copies over their entire existence, I'm doubting many authors will move past the first tier.

Authors are required to already have a web presence before submitting. This includes over 200 Facebook friends, over 200 Twitter followers, and being in over 100 Google Plus Circles. (For the curious, 267 like Grit City on Facebook, 263 follow on Twitter, and their GooglePlus link returns a 404 error.) The author must also have a blog.

So, in short, here's what Grit City asks from their authors:
*Your money to purchase the first three issues of Grit City
*Your time to read those issues and the "How to Write an Emotobook" e-book.
*Your effort to craft your existing story into an emotobook.
*Your effort to raise your web presence to meet expectations that they themselves are just barely meeting.
*Exclusive rights to your story in all forms for five years.

You don't get an advance and as far as I can tell, you don't get anyone working on your book with any professional experience in the field. (I'd love to be corrected on that.) I see no reason to go through all this effort only to give my book away for half a decade.
 
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priceless1

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It also says the aim is to get from acceptance to publication in 3 months, and the company prides itself on the speed of the process, pointing out how commercial publishers can "force you to wait" for a year or more.
Aside from all the other issues, I find this part disingenuous. He's an e-publisher, correct? Commercial publishers do both print AND ebook. The time that authors are "forced to wait" are taken up with all the production work that includes editing, cover design, interior layout, blah, blah, blah. The rest of the time is needed to get the catalogs ready for the upcoming season - this all has to be done about six months in advance.

Next, you need to allow at least four months to get ARCs sent out to media and book reviewers. This is what print publishing is about. This makes me wonder about how much he knows about the publishing industry. Otherwise, he would never make such a statement. He's comparing apples to oranges in order to confuse the issue.
 

CaoPaux

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Well, they've got part of one serial up. The excerpts are ... illuminating.
 

Katrina S. Forest

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The phrase, "catalog slots are currently unfilled" appears all over the website, which makes me think that they've got part of the only serial up (the one by Ron Gavalik).

The sample does contain punctuation errors. I'll leave it at that.
 

batgirl

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Just bumping this thread to mention that someone named Dengar is disingenuously posting on book and gamer boards all over the web with a message similar to this one:
Hey Guys,
I just found your community and it looks great. I can't wait to be apart of it and get into some real discussions. I love sci-fi. One of the best genres out there in my opinion. I was wondering if any of you heard of emotobooks? I was at a comic con and heard some people talking about it. Apparently they have a sci-fi one. Anyone know anything about this medium? Good? Bad?
Thanx in advance!
I don't know whether this is a misguided author or author's relative, or a new promotional plan by the publisher. At any rate, if you google 'Dengar' and 'emotobooks', you get close to 200 hits.

-Barbara
 

Manuel Royal

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I like the idea of a serial novel illustrated with abstract art. But, that doesn't sound like an innovation, or "a new breed of book", or "a new kind of fiction", requiring a new word, "emotobook". Sounds like a serial novel with illustrations.

The sample I saw (from Grit City #5) is bad writing. Just terrible. Doesn't mean their intentions aren't pure; but it's not encouraging.
 

Aggy B.

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So. I had this guy (Austin Stories/@AustinBookDude) follow me on Twitter the other day. He wanted to know if I was part of "the revolution" and said " http://Emotobooks.com are stories that use dream-like imagery to show powerful emotions. You should read and submit!"

So I went and looked. It was the Grit City Publications website. I'm always curious about new publishers so I looked at the Writers Guidelines.

They still say you have to read the Handbook first. They also still say "Note: If you do not have a presence on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+, you are not taking your career seriously and GCP is not interested."

I'll admit that kind of rubbed me the wrong way. Especially with someone going out of their way to encourage me to submit there.

I tweeted "Austin" to say: You know, I can appreciate what y'all are trying to do, but implying that > 200 followers per social platform = not taking my career seriously is a steep claim to make for a company that doesn't post payment specifics in their guidelines.

This was the response I got. "You clearly hate out of ignorance. Not the mark of a writer. Sad. Their handbook explains all."

Not being transparent about payment is a red flag for me (personally). And the response from "Austin" completely killed any interest I had in these guys.
 

NicoleJLeBoeuf

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Grit City sure keep choosing ... unorthodox ... methods to get the word out.

As a long-time NaNoWriMo ML and participant, I've come to regard anyone who spams via "NaNoMail" as no one worth doing business with. I report them immediately to the site mods. At best, they're entertainment. But as publishers I wouldn't touch them with a ten-foot pole.

(You know how "failed to follow the guidelines" is an easy way to cull the slush pile? There's guidelines for using the NaNoWriMo site, too. If you want to self-promote, there's a forum for that. Anyone who would self-promote by mass private messaging has failed to follow the guidelines. I don't need to know if they're a scam or if they're honest. I know they're not savvy enough to do anyone's manuscript any good.)

Finding out that Grit City went on to a marketing campaign that involves, essentially, random wooing and negging over Twitter -- that's where the "entertainment" bit comes in.
 

Tromboli

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Anyone who would self-promote by mass private messaging has failed to follow the guidelines.

I'd just like to say that I don't think they "mass privated messaged" anyone. They simply used nano's private messager to introduce their company to people they were interested in (it would be no different than an agent or editor seeing something in QLH and sending a message to that writer about seeing more.) It's just that its very rare for any medium so it threw me. I thought it was more likely a scam than real, which is why I asked.

Simply it seems that this is a new company trying to figure something out, and looking for new writers (they really do need good projects in order to make this thing work). But I'm not sure they are going about it right. I wish them luck, however (and from what I see above you might be better off just self publishing. Seems like it's almost the same thing with illustrations (which btw if done well would be pretty cool)

I think the jury is still out on this one.
 

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If I was in the jury, I wouldn't need to deliberate any further. IMHO new or old, this is not how a publisher behaves: gross hyperbole, soliciting authors left and right, spamming forums, and flinging insults at those that don't drink the Koolaid.
 
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