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Guerrilla Independent

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

veinglory

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I think the first thing to do would be to see if they offer anything not already available for free, and if they do how they can justify that. For example is their interfacing astoundingly superior to the free Smashwords, Createspace, kindle etc interfaces. Personally, I am not seeing it. To add fees you generally need to add value.
 

jjdebenedictis

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Not if they're Australians. Australian Rappelling is a fast way to the ground floor.
I think that video was made in my home city (nowhere near Australia, btw.) I think I recognize the mountains.

I have rappelled down the side of a building, and it was &%$#!! scary to get over the edge even walking backward. I can't imagine wanting to go over the brink face-forward unless I was certain I was going to upchuck on my way down.

That said, I would think you could get to the bottom at least as fast as the fellow did in that video by rapp'ing down with your back pointed toward the ground. You have to be a little more careful to not smack into the ground or fall off the end of your rope or melt through it (there's so many embarrassing ways to die, when you rappel), but you can certainly zoom down that quickly.

Edit: On second viewing, he is going pretty damned fast by the end. His speed on the upper half of the building is more like what I've seen rock climbers do.
 
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Curiouserncuriouser

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Hey everyone, cheers for all of the feedback. I hope you don't mind if I just compile the responses into this post, rather than reply to each comment individually.

As for my personal shortcomings, I don't have the strongest publishing background - but that's because I'm just the bottom-rung errand boy in more of a learning position than anything else. Everyone's got to start somewhere, right?

The guys actually running this joint were formerly at a publishing house, but broke off and wanted to provide a service sans the shortcomings of their former affiliates. I'm really new, and I'm picking up things as I go. So please don't let my apparent lack of expertise be the marker for their aptitude (hi Shaldna). I'm aware that you guys know your stuff and actually care about writing on the whole, hence why I'm here, asking openly. I'll take the flak, but the point is to adapt this service into something people like the lovely folk here would genuinely find viable.

Right, so for the main and immediate points (and thank you so much guys, this really gives some perspective):
-Rhetoric needs to be toned down. The flashy hyperbole is totally unnecessary.
-Editing should be available.
-Justify costs with services and upscaled interfaces.

Just one point though:
While I understand that you guys are talented authors with business-like minds, is the idea of GI being a publishing services provider (like Torgo mentioned) really so terrible? Some folks may just want to see their words printed and bound, for personal or small-scale use - like Auntie Maureen writing up her memoirs for the family to have a read through, for example.

Oh and a heads up: I'm the one handling the Facebook pages. Was just trying to see what works or what content people find interesting, but the social media side needs more of a following before the ball can get rolling I suppose. Maybe I should ditch Tumblr.
In case you were curious, BenPalanced - alongside my errand-boy tasks I also make the coffee! But we do rappel from time to time.
 

veinglory

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I have bought publishing services, many of us here have. I have hired editors, formatters and cover artists. I have used Smashwords, Lulu, Kindle and Createspace.

The thing is, to add something to this market you have to be very good and very many ways--and this is now becoming a crowded market place. The majority of fee-chargers go the far easier route of sucking in novice authors who don't know they are being offered a bad deal. Hence the miasma of suspicion that surrounds new fee-charging outfits.
 

Torgo

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Just one point though:
While I understand that you guys are talented authors with business-like minds, is the idea of GI being a publishing services provider (like Torgo mentioned) really so terrible? Some folks may just want to see their words printed and bound, for personal or small-scale use - like Auntie Maureen writing up her memoirs for the family to have a read through, for example.

Then don't position yourself as some kind of antidote to trade publishing. Guerilla isn't a publisher, so shouldn't talk like one. At the moment, the whole approach is misleading.
 

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Then don't position yourself as some kind of antidote to trade publishing. Guerilla isn't a publisher, so shouldn't talk like one. At the moment, the whole approach is misleading.

Sure - sounds like the web copy needs a re-do. Thanks Torgo, I'll see if I can get that fixed soon.
 

Curiouserncuriouser

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I have bought publishing services, many of us here have. I have hired editors, formatters and cover artists. I have used Smashwords, Lulu, Kindle and Createspace.

The thing is, to add something to this market you have to be very good and very many ways--and this is now becoming a crowded market place. The majority of fee-chargers go the far easier route of sucking in novice authors who don't know they are being offered a bad deal. Hence the miasma of suspicion that surrounds new fee-charging outfits.

Yeah, figured the tacit animosity was there for a reason! So if it were to be a comprehensive service that actually gets the job done (with the revamp from all the input), would you ever consider it worth using?
 

Round Two

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Sure - sounds like the web copy needs a re-do. Thanks Torgo, I'll see if I can get that fixed soon.

The problem with your response is that your web copy should reflect your business plan. It's not the coat of paint that makes us suspicious of your building, it's the structural deficiencies.
 

Curiouserncuriouser

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The problem with your response is that your web copy should reflect your business plan. It's not the coat of paint that makes us suspicious of your building, it's the structural deficiencies.

Bear in mind that with being new, I'm still in the process of learning everything. If there's stuff I don't know, mea culpa - it's all on me. Just coming up with feedback from the mighty interwebs before I take this to the higher-ups in a meeting at the end of the week.
 

Round Two

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Bear in mind that with being new, I'm still in the process of learning everything. If there's stuff I don't know, mea culpa - it's all on me. Just coming up with feedback from the mighty interwebs before I take this to the higher-ups in a meeting at the end of the week.

From your website -

The answer to this question comes from traditional publishing. Guerrilla was started by a collective of like minded creatives fed up with the tired, and highly subjective, traditional publishing model. Our mission was to evolve the publishing model by making it accessible to anyone and drag it kicking and screaming into the modern age.

What Guerrilla is suggesting they'll do isn't new. Other companies have been doing it and variations of it for a decade. This idea that you are evolving the publishing world is...hubris at best. It's been declared before. It'd been attempted before. An argument could be made that the time for it has already come and gone as potential customers have become savvy enough to handle the, now simplified, details of the process. Those who are not, can find the same services offered for less money by companies that have been around longer.

As others have already pointed out, this whole notion of "We believe in you! And we're militant about it!" is silly. Guerrilla doesn't seem to give a shit one way or another about the quality of a book as long as the author wants to see it published. When you use the phrase "we believe in you," you are engaging in some subliminal gymnastics. You're playing to an artist's desire for validation. Ostensibly, what the author is hearing is, "Guerrilla believes in my art." But that's not what you're saying.

It should also be pointed out that no traditional publisher, ever, anywhere, has clamped down with a tyrannical fist and said, "This author should not be allowed to produce a book!" They have merely said, "We aren't going to spend our money and take the financial risk bringing this project to market because we don't anticipate making our money back."

To try establishing the "Us vs. Them" mentality with such flawed logic is either disingenuous or dangerously uninformed at its core.
 

Kaarl

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TBH they should have done these things before starting the business; I think its called Market Research. I'd say it's on them not you so please don't take that personally.

As for the higher-ups : Print this out and tell them not to do this stuff, make sure their prices are competitive and as Veinglory said that they offer something the client can not do for themselves or nearly as well. Also tell them to keep the Gorilla , once again he is boss.

http://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/Consumers/Scams/Types_of_scams/Vanity_publishers.html

*Edit* The reason the Gorilla is so cool (please pass this along) is because of the cigar. It makes him all rebellious and whatnot. He's all like 'Screw cancer, I've got a massive pencil and Imma publish some shit for my peeps'

Also the make-your-own T-shirt function seems to be a bit broken. Longer words don't drop in font size ; they make an unintelligible mess. I deleted them (999 , the maximum allowed in XXL) from my order and when I went to pay my hypothetical 60,000 grand an error message popped up.
 
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Curiouserncuriouser

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TBH they should have done these things before starting the business; I think its called Market Research. I'd say it's on them not you so please don't take that personally.

As for the higher-ups : Print this out and tell them not to do this stuff, make sure their prices are competitive and as Veinglory said that they offer something the client can not do for themselves or nearly as well. Also tell them to keep the Gorilla , once again he is boss.

http://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/Consumers/Scams/Types_of_scams/Vanity_publishers.html

Haha, yeah the Gorilla is kinda neat. Thanks man!
 

Kaarl

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One more question : Do you HAVE to put it through Guerrilla and let them take 7.5 %

I actually went through the whole process (without sign in) and when you get to a certain part it says you will put it on Amazon take a cut and send the author an e-pub. Can you choose just to have the e-pub and not let GI send it to Amazon, do it yourself later and keep the whole lot ? It says "pick one" but then up the top it says both come free so it seems like you get both regardless of what you pick.

If that is the case then this would turn me off of the service. I am not interested in vanity publishing btw so don't worry too much about what I think. Except about the Gorilla ; worry there because I am an expert at awesome stuff.
 

Curiouserncuriouser

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One more question : Do you HAVE to put it through Guerrilla and let them take 7.5 %

I actually went through the whole process (without sign in) and when you get to a certain part it says you will put it on Amazon take a cut and send the author an e-pub. Can you choose just to have the e-pub and not let GI send it to Amazon, do it yourself later and keep the whole lot ? It says "pick one" but then up the top it says both come free so it seems like you get both regardless of what you pick.

If that is the case then this would turn me off of the service. I am not interested in vanity publishing btw so don't worry too much about what I think. Except about the Gorilla ; worry there because I am an expert at awesome stuff.

Yup! You can grab the e-pub and do with it as you please if that's what you prefer.

Also, expertise at awesome stuff is always handy. Applies everywhere!
 

James D. Macdonald

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Quite seriously, what does Guerrilla Independent offer that Smashwords or Kindle Direct Publishing does not?

Auntie Maureen already has Lulu if she wants a few copies of her memoirs for the family to have a read through.

The difference being that Lulu, Smashwords, and KDP, are faster and less expensive.
 

aliceshortcake

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As others have already pointed out, this whole notion of "We believe in you! And we're militant about it!" is silly. Guerrilla doesn't seem to give a shit one way or another about the quality of a book as long as the author wants to see it published. When you use the phrase "we believe in you," you are engaging in some subliminal gymnastics. You're playing to an artist's desire for validation. Ostensibly, what the author is hearing is, "Guerrilla believes in my art." But that's not what you're saying.

This.

By not editing, and as far as I can gather not even reading submissions, GI is expecting the public to pay for the privilege of sorting through the slush pile. Perhaps you aren't aware of just how awful many vanity/self-pubbed books are, in which case you'd be well-advised to do some research. No-one is denying that many best-sellers have little or no literary merit, but after reading some of this jaw-droppingly bad stuff you'll never complain about Dan Brown and Stephenie Meyer again. Yes, it's possible that someone might submit an outstandingly good book to GI. Perhaps 2% of the submissions will be of genuinely publishable, marketable quality - the same percentage of submissions those evil traditional* publishers deem worthy of acceptance. But unless GI and the authors themselves can match the distribution and marketing clout of those awful dinosaurs their books will almost certainly sink without a trace.

Another thing - if there's absolutely no policing of the submissions, how do you know you aren't enabling the publication of plagiarized work, fanfic, libel, child pornography and God know what else? I suspect that the only reason we don't often hear about such cases is that the vast majority of vanity/self-pubbed books are lucky to sell around 75 copies, mostly to people the author knows personally.

This is what gatekeepers, in the form of agents and publishers, are there to weed out - stuff that shouldn't be published, however much the authors think they deserve to see their work in print.

*The phrase 'traditional publisher' was invented by infamous vanity press PublishAmerica, and its use by other pay-to-play outfits is a huge red flag.
 
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bearilou

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Okay. Coming at this from a self-publisher, here's what I see.

No Editing for the price
No typesetting for the price
No cover creation for the price

These are the three things that I, as a DIYer, would find the most value in.

And understand, I don't mean typesetting = making the electronic documents. I can do that. Half a day with the instructions from Guido had me making my own ebooks in a snap. Half a day with Smashwords guide had me meatgrinding my formats out.

Another day spent finding out about the different vendors I would want to upload to, the ins and outs of letting Smashwords do it vs. me doing it myself.

Now, I have my process down to a fine science. (I write short stories, which I understand aren't the same as novels in the formatting department but bear with me). From beginning to end, I can have a short story ready for upload in one day.

Where I'm weak is no strong editor combing over my stuff. I have good betas but they don't really hit me where I need the most work. I'm on my own. So, I'd pay for that.

And there's no denying that a properly typeset document looks subtly heads and shoulders above just the regular grind of calibre and smashwords churning. I'm learning and realize that is way above my skill set...I'd pay for that.

My covers are weak at best. I'm learning but I know they could be better. I'd pay for that.

Let's talk about blurbs. That's an artform in and of itself. Still learning there and would pay to have someone else worry about that.

Everything else that the company has to offer? Really? I already do myself and as I said above, I have it down and can get it done in a snap. The easy part I can do. So I'm not interested in paying.

Which is where I'm going with this. Sure, there are people who don't know, don't have a clue and don't want to know or have a clue. They're more than happy to toss their money at someone and say 'make me these things'. I'd suspect they just have the one book in them and that's all that will ever get done. They either don't 'have any more ideas' or they will become so discouraged by the lack of stellar sales that they give up. So I'm not sure of your viability of repeat customers.

Those writers with staying power are going to be well versed in the industry and all things available. Those writers with staying power who want to do this for all their reasons and are still struggling, they're going to want to minimize cash output and maximize what money they do have to lay down for services. Which means they are already going to know all the basics that Guerilla seems to offer. What they need are more specific things, things that aren't being provided.

And that brings us to where we are now.

The site hits all the emotional points, tapping into the collective frustration of wanting to get published now. Of being rejected. Fear of loss of control and being at the whims and mercies of some Big Faceless Corporation. I don't need to pay to have my ego soothed. I have very specific needs that I'm willing to part with my money for.

...I do like the Guerilla logo, though. It's very Publishing counter-culture giving the company that 'on the cutting edge of a publishing revolution' feel. Except, it's not really all that new.

I'm sorry, but Guerilla doesn't offer any value to me for my money. I guess I'm not the target market.
 

shaldna

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As for my personal shortcomings, I don't have the strongest publishing background - but that's because I'm just the bottom-rung errand boy in more of a learning position than anything else. Everyone's got to start somewhere, right?

This is true. However, I'd still like to know what background the various staff DO have.

The guys actually running this joint were formerly at a publishing house, but broke off and wanted to provide a service sans the shortcomings of their former affiliates.

Which publishing house? How long were they there for? What position did they hold - I mean, there's a big difference between the CEO and the guy who opens the mail.

And I'm not sure what 'shortcomings' you are talking about. I'm nto entirely sure that having quality control is a short coming - at the end of the day, some books are just bad.


I'm really new, and I'm picking up things as I go. So please don't let my apparent lack of expertise be the marker for their aptitude (hi Shaldna).

I'm not trying to be catty here, but if you don't actually know what you are talking about, are you sure you are the best person to be the representing the company in public? These forums come up high in searches, in fact when I google Guerrilla Independent , the third listing is this thread. An open display of ignorance and lack of experience is not going to instil confidence in authors. PR is everything.


I'm aware that you guys know your stuff and actually care about writing on the whole, hence why I'm here, asking openly. I'll take the flak, but the point is to adapt this service into something people like the lovely folk here would genuinely find viable.

Well, I have no real issue with the services, but you don't offer anything that a writer can't do for themselves, for free, in a day. I don't see how that justifies taking a payment, let alone an on going payment from an author.

Right, so for the main and immediate points (and thank you so much guys, this really gives some perspective):
-Rhetoric needs to be toned down. The flashy hyperbole is totally unnecessary.

Hell yes. The less extremist sounding the better if you want to sell a professional service. And bear in mind that in publishing your written word is judged far more harshly than in any other business.


-Editing should be available.

GOOD editing should be available. And that's going to cost. And I'm not talking about getting some college kid in to do it, you're going to need someone with years of experience and a good track record, and that's not going to be cheap.

Personally I think that you folks need SOME sort of quality control, vanity press or not. After all, if I, as a reader, read a book published by you guys and it's badly written, the punctuation, spelling and grammar are bad. If that's represenative of the books you are putting out, then I as a reader, probably won't read another one.


-Justify costs with services and upscaled interfaces.

Yes.

Just one point though:
While I understand that you guys are talented authors with business-like minds, is the idea of GI being a publishing services provider (like Torgo mentioned) really so terrible?

No. So long as you are open and upfront about what you do, don't make promises you can't keep, and don't sell the author a dream that you know isn't going to happen. Treat it as a professional business. If you are going to offer services then they need to be professional services provided at a high standard and you need to be upfront about the costs and exactly what you are offering.

Also, don't market yourself as a publisher if you aren't.

And don't attack other aspects of the publishing industry - that's not cool. So don't go along the route that others have gone along by making out that trade publishing is the devil and that folks like you are liberating books and authors or other such shite. Just be honest and professional and it will stand you well.

Some folks may just want to see their words printed and bound, for personal or small-scale use - like Auntie Maureen writing up her memoirs for the family to have a read through, for example.

But that's not publishing, that's printing.


Yeah, figured the tacit animosity was there for a reason! So if it were to be a comprehensive service that actually gets the job done (with the revamp from all the input), would you ever consider it worth using?

Probably not. You're prices are too high for what the author is getting. I'm unsure of the experience or competancy level, and to be honest if there's no editing etc going on of the other books you publish then I wouldn't want my name and my books associated with that.


Quite seriously, what does Guerrilla Independent offer that Smashwords or Kindle Direct Publishing does not?

Auntie Maureen already has Lulu if she wants a few copies of her memoirs for the family to have a read through.

The difference being that Lulu, Smashwords, and KDP, are faster and less expensive.

To note for those who aren't aware - KDP, for example, does not cost you anything to upload and create your book, CreateSpace (Amazon's self publishing print option) also does not cost anything to upload or create a book and has free downloadable templates to help you easily format the inside of your book. It offers a huge, free range of customisable covers. You can set your own price and the breakdown of the royalty and cost sytem is easily explained. The only cost to publish your book? About $6 to order a proof copy. After that it'll be available for folks to buy.

So, how does what you're doing compare with that? I'm not being snarky, I'm asking a legitimate question, something that you folks will need to work out and address. Because if we are asking it, others will ask it too,.

Another thing - if there's absolutely no policing of the submissions, how do you know you aren't enabling the publication of plagiarized work, fanfic, libel, child pornography and God know what else? I suspect that the only reason we don't often hear about such cases is that the vast majority of vanity/self-pubbed books are lucky to sell around 75 copies, mostly to people the author knows personally.

Good point.
 
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FluffBunny

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Back to poor old Auntie Maureen--the only book I have plans on self-publishing would be our family genealogy. GI's print publishing packages start at $499. I can go to Lulu, do a publisher grade paper, 5.5"x8.5" perfect-bound, 175-page paperback and 5 copies (all I'd need) will cost me...$26.63. Admittedly, the Lulu option I took would be ISBN and barcode-less, but I wouldn't need one.

If I need 5 additional copies for those relatives that just climbed out from under a rock where they'd been hiding for lo! these many years, GI will print them for $115. Lulu? $26.63. 10 copies total, first print and reprint, will cost me, at minimum, $614 from GI, $53.26 from Lulu, a price difference of $560.74. I can buy a lot of phenomenal coffee for that.

I just deleted a whack of writing because I just saw this:

Hit the Streets
Not all promotion needs to be digital! Keep it old school and choose promo cards, post cards, bookstore window posters, in-store signing posters or street posters to draw attention to your new book. All available here, professionally designed and old school awesome!

May I direct you and your leadership up-board to the "Publish America" section? The only PA marketing ploy you didn't hit on was bookmarks; color me surprised. Bookstores are not going to put up those posters--they get money from actual, commercial publishers to display posters. They are very, very unlikely to allow your customers book-signings in their store unless it's a small independent bookstore and the author is local. Post cards and promo cards do bupkis for book sales and advise your customers to check local ordinances before they go slapping "street posters" all over. "Post no bills" has a meaning and violation of it carries consequences.

I'll leave dissection of your recommended digital advertising methods to someone else.
 

aliceshortcake

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Just a reminder that GI's prices are in Australian dollars:

$349 = $336USD = £222
$499 = $480USD = £317

May I direct you and your leadership up-board to the "Publish America" section? The only PA marketing ploy you didn't hit on was bookmarks; color me surprised.

You spoke too soon:

Promote your books with postcards, posters, bookmarks and much much more.
http://www.guerrillaindependent.com/why

About editing:

GOOD editing should be available. And that's going to cost. And I'm not talking about getting some college kid in to do it, you're going to need someone with years of experience and a good track record, and that's not going to be cheap.

Personally I think that you folks need SOME sort of quality control, vanity press or not. After all, if I, as a reader, read a book published by you guys and it's badly written, the punctuation, spelling and grammar are bad. If that's represenative of the books you are putting out, then I as a reader, probably won't read another one.

Curiouserncuriouser, here a just a few AW threads about publishers who:
a) don't provide editing,
b) provide editing as an optional extra (for a fee), or
c) provide poor quality editing.

AG Press: http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=128328&highlight=press+cheryl+pillsbury

PDMI: http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=266918&highlight=PDMI

Firefly and Wisp: http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=221019&highlight=firefly+wisp

Hydra Publications: http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=263582&highlight=hydra+publications

The Angone House of Publishing: http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=259856&highlight=angone

Austin and Macauley: http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=95685&highlight=austin+macauley

Naughty Nights Press: http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=233222&highlight=naughty+nights+press

Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing: http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=232630&highlight=crushing+hearts+black

21st Street Urban Editing and Publishing: http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=236472&highlight=21st+street+publishing+urban

Anchor Group Publishing: http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=251226&highlight=anchor+group+publishing

Tate Publishing: http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=992&highlight=tate+publishing

PublishAmerica has its very own section here but life's probably too short to wade through every thread...

All the editing in the world won't transform a pig's ear of a manuscript into a silk purse of a published book, but you'll get the general idea. It's quite possible that you've never laid eyes on the unedited slush churned out by vanity presses - after all, they're not available in bookstores and most people don't even know these doomed volumes exist.

By the way, does GI intend to check the illustrations chosen by writers as book covers? Because an awful lot of people seem to think that the internet is a convenient source of free pictures. The concept of 'copyright' is completely alien to them.

Finally, I'd like to make it perfectly clear that I do not in fact have an Auntie Maureen.
 

Bicyclefish

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I'm confused as to what Guerrilla Independent's experience -- whenever a business fails to post their experience I tend to assume the worst -- and organization structure and if they're already offering services yet.

Their website is live, so I assume they're already actively seeking writers. However, things said here and on the Reddit thread lead me to believe things are still in the planning stage. In my opinion, this is the sort of stuff that should be decided before seeking writers. As it is, GI is treating any new clients as guinea pigs as they figure things out. It reminds me of another "publisher" where the owners asked for money first, failed, then decided they needed a business plan; the plan should be first.
 

FluffBunny

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Just a reminder that GI's prices are in Australian dollars:

$349 = $336USD = £222
$499 = $480USD = £317

Alas! Sorry for the error there. Let's see...that'd make the $614 price tag, a $591.82 price tag; a mere bagatelle! So the difference between the Lulu pricing and GI's would be $537.96. That's still enough to buy me 5.25 lbs. of Kopi Luwak. If I were into that sort of thing. ;)

You spoke too soon:

Promote your books with postcards, posters, bookmarks and much much more.
http://www.guerrillaindependent.com/why

*runs, screaming, into the night, still clutching her "PA Marketing Bingo Card" (TM).*
 

aliceshortcake

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My God, this site is educational. After Googling 'Kopi Luwak' I'm more than ever convinced that some people have more money than sense. Cat crap coffee? :crazy:

Back on topic, I agree with Bicyclefish that GI's site shouldn't have gone live until after they'd done their research. Nor should a self-confessed underling like Curiouserncuriouser (to whom all credit for his polite responses) have been tasked with representing the company. Shouldn't the boss be doing that?
 
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