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Gypsy Shadow Publishing

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M.R.J. Le Blanc

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Probably well intentioned, but there are flags:

-publish variety of genres
-started by writers with no apparent background in publishing
-claim to offer to publish in paperback (this almost never works with inexperienced publishers) but offers no criteria on how that is achieved.
-register copyright only if the book goes to print. Someone more experienced in eBooks might want to correct me, but I don't think format matters with regards to it

Their covers are really amateurish, IMO. I'd look elsewhere.
 

veinglory

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"It is not necessary for you to register or copyright your work before publication—it is protected by law as long as it has not been published. When a print edition is published, we will copyright the book in the author's name and register that copyright with the Library of Congress."

Um, what?
 

M.R.J. Le Blanc

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Thanks for the response M.R.J! :) Do you mean by "...offers no criteria on how that is achieved" that the paperbacks might not get into the brick-and-mortar stores?

I'm not fond of anything vague, and the other epublishers I've see who offer the print book option have some kind of criteria, as in sell x amount of ebooks and they'll release a paperback version. But given the lack of experience, I don't have any faith they'd get books into brick-and-mortar stores anyway.
 

michael_b

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I checked out their sample contract. Royalties amounts are not given in the sample, there are fill in the blank lines. Also, they pay 'monthly' but there is a 45 day lag after the end of the month before payment is made. Doesn't sound 'monthly' to me. Most publishers that pay out on a monthly basis do so within a much shorter time frame, like within 10-15 days of the end of the month.

Here's something else I didn't like in their contract:

13. Promotion and Promotional materials
Author has permission from the Publisher to duplicate, at no cost and no royalty, exact text copies in digital or print formats for the purpose of obtaining book reviews, or entering competitions or contests prior to publication. Once the Work is published and available in print format, Author does not have permission to make print copies for competitions or contests, but must use the free author copies provided or purchase additional print copies for this purpose at Author's discount. *Emphasis is mine.*

Personally I find that clause to be a red flag. They're planning to make the authors pay for copies for contests? My take on that, as a publisher, is it's sort of underhanded. The author makes no money on a copy of a book printed out for a contest and to me it doesn't seem like the publisher should either. It's predatory IMO.

There were a few other clauses that bothered me, but this one I've never seen done before which is why I mentioned it.
 
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Momento Mori

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Gypsy Shadow Website:
We publish high-quality well-written manuscripts in a variety of genres and lengths. We want short stories, short story collections, novellas, novels in installment, novels, poetry to be included in a collection offered by GSP, poetry collections and non-fiction works.

The fact that they publish everything including poetry is a warning sign. Few publishers take poetry because there's virtually no money to be made in it.

Gypsy Shadow Website:
We will not consider manuscripts that are currently on submission to another publisher unless prior arrangements have been made with us directly BEFORE your submission. Please query FIRST if you wish to submit to other publishers simultaneously.

It's one thing to not accept simultaneous submissions (it's something that a lot of publishers say and frankly, most people ignore). It's completely clueless to demand that people wishing to submit query if it's okay for a work to go to someone else.

Gypsy Shadow Website:
It is not necessary for you to register or copyright your work before publication—it is protected by law as long as it has not been published. When a print edition is published, we will copyright the book in the author's name and register that copyright with the Library of Congress.

Copyright exists the moment you put your work into written form.

Gypsy Shadow Website:
Gypsy Shadow Publishing is a brand new publishing company. Its founders, Denise Bartlett and Charlotte Holley, are veteran authors themselves and have worked in various aspects of the print world for decades. With experience ranging from writing short stories and poetry to full length novels, newspaper columns and reviews to news and investigative articles, Bartlett and Holley are not strangers to the written word.

They may not be strangers to the written world, but writing is not the same as publishing and there is no direct publishing experience included in these statements.

Gypsy Shadow Sample Contract:
The Author, on behalf of the Author and the Author's heirs, executors, administrators, successors and assignees, grants to the Publisher the sole and exclusive worldwide right to the publish:

I don't see why they need worldwide rights. They're a US company without any apparent world-wide presence, so they should only be taking US rights.

Gypsy Shadow Sample Contract:
Print Edition: Optionally, to produce and sell in paper format(s) the Work in English. (Check here if the Paper Format is to be included: _____).

Given that Gypsy Shadow's mission statement focuses on Ebooks and there doesn't appear to be any distribution in place for a print edition, I don't think they should have the option to take the print rights. In any event, at whose option would this right be exercised?

Gypsy Shadow Sample Contract:
This Agreement shall begin with the execution of this contract and continue in force for a period of ____ (__) years from the actual date of publication of each edition.

Watch the term. If it's too short, you could be prevented from building up sales, if it's too long, you'll be locked in without being able to take it elsewhere.

Gypsy Shadow Sample Contract:
Author will be asked to produce proposed back blurb text and suggestions for cover art of Print Editions.

This should be done by the publisher.

They're not paying advances, royalties are paid on net.

All in all, not a company I would rush to be published by.

MM
 

James D. Macdonald

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It's one thing to not accept simultaneous submissions (it's something that a lot of publishers say and frankly, most people ignore).

Ignore that one at your peril.

The reason people who ignore it don't get bitten square on the ass more often is that most people haven't written anything publishable anyway.
 

Momento Mori

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James D. Macdonald:
Ignore that one at your peril.

Well there aren't many advance-paying publishers who accept unsolicited manuscripts anyway and the very few who do do take anything up to 2 or 3 years to respond.

Yes, you're running the risk of getting 2 publishers making you an offer at the same time but if I was at the stage where I was submitting to publishers direct, I'd rather take that chance than wait years for an intern to maybe get to my manuscript in the snowdrift of slush.

MM
 

veinglory

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However, if you are submitting to publishers of this sort there are hundreds and I expect they respond fairly quickly : /
 
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annetookeen

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Hoever, if you are submitting to publishers of this sort there are hundreds and I expect they respond fairly quickly : /

Not all of them respond quickly. Some of them are quite understaffed, and I've experienced waiting for more than 7 months on an ms. Still, it's not as long as Baen Books' RT, I heard they could take as much as 16 months. :O
 

michael_b

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Not all of them respond quickly. Some of them are quite understaffed, and I've experienced waiting for more than 7 months on an ms. Still, it's not as long as Baen Books' RT, I heard they could take as much as 16 months. :O

Most ebook publishers respond far faster than 7 months. All of them that I've submitted to--admittedly all erotic romance publishers--have replied in under 3 months, but maybe that's just because the epubs I submit to keep up with their incoming submissions.

Regarding Baen: I knew someone who waited two years to hear back from them, and then it was a rejection.

The longest I've ever waited for a response was from Dorchester which was over a year. (That involved their now defunct Shomi line.)
 

kristin724

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I just queried Gypsy Shadow as they are one of the few places I've found that publish short story collections. As my short story collection is a sequel, I wonder if the contract is negotiable?

Perhaps one can ask to not give up print or world rights. I know the ladies involved with the company, but perhaps yes, a company of authors won't do any better than a crooked epub. It seems there's a lot of clique start ups that never really pan out thanks to the rush for print that can't be returned.

Eh, What's one to do?
 

James D. Macdonald

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You're far better off selling the stories individually to major markets, then trying to publish a reprint collection.

The reason you don't see a lot of all-original single-author collections out there is because they're deuced hard to sell to the reading public.
 

kristin724

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This isn't a reprint collection. It's a sequel, but my publisher doesn't want these personal individual tales inbetween the full length sequels so they told me to shop it around. I've got the audience asking for it, just a pub who doesn't think it will sell.

I was on tour all of last year up until this March, so now that its back to writing and submitting I think I'm just hitting a burnout. It seems I keep finding all the wrong publishers. All these new start ups don't make the profit and become author mills, blow up, and breed into new epubs. Loyalties divide, choose sides, banish this one or that one. Eh. Sometimes it just makes me sour on publishing. I miss the old days where you submitted and that was that. No chasing straws on goofy Facebook.

All my other pubs are waiting on these upcoming two works that aren't ready yet. It just bugs me I may have to 'dump' good material because it's a tough sell.
 

M.R.J. Le Blanc

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What if you self-pubbed and offered it on your website? If you have the audience and no takers (publishing-wise), you might do well just doing it yourself. Something to think about, anyway.
 

kristin724

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Yes I thought about that. Yesterday I got two positive responses to queries, so maybe all publishing wells aren't dry yet. Self pub you don't have to share your money with anyone and the middle man is gone, but its the last resort in my mind, simply because some people don't yet think its legitimate. Go fig.
 

FOTSGreg

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Nitemare, is the image in your post and ad for Behind the Gem an example of the art for this outfit?

If so, I shudder. I can, and have, done better with a free 3D modeling program (not to mention copyright-free images and an image editing program).

I'd suggest checking J.A. Konrath's blog for ideas and suggestions regarding cover designs and sales relationships. I think your $350 went to somebody's beer fund rather than to talent and art and effort.

Sorry.

-----

What red flag? I think the key here is 'make print copies'. IMHO, what if your book was already published (in paper), you won, they wanted to publish, and you had to tell them that it already had been published?

The legal copyright issue here is, for most legitimate publishers, that the book has already been published (in paper). If somebody else has already published the book, they can't publish it without marking it as a reprint, paying the author considerably less in royalties, and probably not making a dime off it themselves.

What kind of legal ramifications are involved here?

There are so many I cannot begin to describe them, but the first is offered above. The fact that you do not know this is an indication to me that you need to do quite a bit more research regarding copyright law and the publishing industry and business as a whole.

Would they let you take the money and run? I think mutual protection is the theme here. If contests are more important than being in print, enter contests before you go to print.

An "advance" is an advance against "royalties". There's a term called "earning out". Look it up. Yes, if a book does not earn out its advance the author does, with legitimate publishers, "take the money and run".

As a historical point about contract negotiations, I had another contract offer (from a different publisher) evaluated by a famous and knowledgeable person we all know,

You've said this twice now, name them please. I'm reasonably sure that if it's actually someone we all know they will not be offended by being "outed" as a publishing contract law specialist.

and I was advised that it was a poor contract on several points. Since it was something that I would not sign anyway, I politely asked the publisher about negotiating contract changes. I was curtly told that 'the contract stands as is'. I did not sign it 'as is'.

I do not believe that. Any reputable publisher has a legal staff on-hand to negotiate business contracts and deals between agents and the publisher. It's the agent's job to get the author the best possible deal they can for the person they're representing. It's the publisher's job to get the best possible terms for their house. Lawyers are there to mediate contract terms between the two. Contract law is a very specific specialty.

I do not believe that the "knowledgeable person" you are citing as someone we all know actually knows anything regarding what they are ostensibly talking about.

Again, I'm sorry if I offend. I simply do not believe you.
 
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Marian Perera

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when you consider that less than 1% of all queries are taken seriously (unless you are an established writer) the odds are heavily stacked against the newbie.

Teresa Nielsen Hayden provided a list of reasons why so many queries were rejected.

None of them say "the writer is a newbie", but many of them mention a lack of originality, lack of research into what the publisher wants, poorly written manuscript, etc.

If you are a fledgling writer, unknown to anyone but yourself, what better place to get your foot in the door but with a fledgling outfit?

So fledgling writer, unknown to anyone but himself, goes with fledgling outfit, similarly unknown to anyone but themselves? How is this a "better" way to get one's foot in the door?
 

Stacia Kane

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They may not be strangers to the written world, but writing is not the same as publishing and there is no direct publishing experience included in these statements.

MM

A Google search for Denise Bartlett led me to the site for her pseudonym, SilverValkyre [sic]. (I'd link it but it crashed my laptop.) Before it crashed I found three previously published "novels"; all of which were self-published, all of which were $3.99, and none of which were over 11k words. So I'm thinking "stranger to the written world" is actually pretty accurate.

She did have other titles listed; as I said, those were the only ones I got to look at before my internet froze. All of the other covers looked just as bad and amateurish as the three I was able to look at, though.


kristin724 said:
I was on tour all of last year up until this March, so now that its back to writing and submitting I think I'm just hitting a burnout. It seems I keep finding all the wrong publishers. All these new start ups don't make the profit and become author mills, blow up, and breed into new epubs. Loyalties divide, choose sides, banish this one or that one. Eh. Sometimes it just makes me sour on publishing. I miss the old days where you submitted and that was that. No chasing straws on goofy Facebook.

Stop submitting to new publishers, and you won't have that problem. Don't let it sour you on publishing, just make sure you're submitting to established houses: Ellora's Cave, Samhain, Liquid Silver, Loose-id. Harlequin has a new Carina imprint you could try.



Nitemare said:
I recently signed with Gypsy Shadow Publishing, but before I did, I had the contract evaluated by a famous and knowledgeable person we all know (or at least should). I was told that it is a good contract except for the lack of a publishing time frame and an escape clause if they do not publish on time.

Did this person recommend you sign it, or did they simply say, "It looks standard except it doesn't have X and Y?" Did you ask how important the lack of X and Y is? Did you say you'd already signed it?

Having someone tell you the contract is fine except for X and Y doesn't mean the publisher itself is a good bet, no matter who the person is.


I am sure that someone will say that I am an advocate for GSP. Well, I am. Every big time agent and publisher started as a tiny nobody,

They started out by learning how the business works, and they did that by working as an unpaid intern and working their way up. It's been said so many times here it hurts to have to repeat it, but "publisher" is not an entry-level job.

If it was, kristin724 above you wouldn't have had issues with start-up ehouses.


and when you consider that less than 1% of all queries are taken seriously (unless you are an established writer) the odds are heavily stacked against the newbie.

Where are you getting that statistic from? It's not true. All queries are taken seriously. It's just that only 1% or so of them don't suck. The ones that don't suck get requests for more.

The odds aren't stacked against newbies any more than they're stacked against everyone else, and the fact is that if your writing and story are excellent you have a great chance at finding representation and a publisher, whether it's your first novel or your fifteenth.

It happens every day. It's happened to dozens of members of this forum, including myself.


If you are a fledgling writer, unknown to anyone but yourself, what better place to get your foot in the door but with a fledgling outfit?

An agent is a better way to get your foot in the door. Or if epublishing is your goal, a bigger, established one is the place. Not a fledgling outfit that will not count as a publishing credit anyway.



M.R.J. Le Blanc Quote: Their covers are really amateurish.
Your cover is eye-candy, so feed your readers. GSP does not have an art department (yet), so they select a stock picture to reflect the theme of your manuscript. If you want a cover that reflects your vision, have it made for you. Depending on where you go, it is not all that expensive. Since I cannot draw a straight line with a ruler, I contracted 4 pieces with a Canadian outfit. It took 2 months and $350.

Do you think you're going to make that money back, from a newbie epublisher with no audience? There are ehouses that have been in business a couple of years whose average sales are still less than 100 copies per title, and those are the ones who've actually managed to survive; most epublisher startups don't.

You spent $350 of your own money to do something that is a publisher's responsibility, and still think you made a wise choice with this publisher?


michael_b Quote from the GSP Contract
"Once the Work is published and available in print format, Author does not have permission to make print copies for competitions or contests, but must use the free author copies provided or purchase additional print copies for this purpose at Author's discount.
Personally I find that clause to be a red flag."
What red flag? I think the key here is 'make print copies'. IMHO, what if your book was already published (in paper), you won, they wanted to publish, and you had to tell them that it already had been published? What kind of legal ramifications are involved here? Would they let you take the money and run? I think mutual protection is the theme here. If contests are more important than being in print, enter contests before you go to print.

I believe you're completely misunderstanding the point; if you're entering your printed book in a contest it's clearly a contest for published books, and the scenario you describe above wouldn't happen.

The point isn't about copyright, it's the fact that if you want to enter your book in a contest you have to purchase copies with which to do so. Legitimate publishers do not make you purchase copies of your own book, especially not for contests that could promote you and themselves.


As a historical point about contract negotiations, I had another contract offer (from a different publisher) evaluated by a famous and knowledgeable person we all know, and I was advised that it was a poor contract on several points. Since it was something that I would not sign anyway, I politely asked the publisher about negotiating contract changes. I was curtly told that 'the contract stands as is'. I did not sign it 'as is'.

Okay, and...? That still doesn't mean you've made a good choice here. Contracts aren't everything. It can be the most fair contract in the world, but if the publisher is amateurish, has no customer base, isn't a publishing credit, can't sell books, costs you money and treats you badly you've still made a lousy choice.
 
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veinglory

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So, am I to understand that this press does not provide cover art? Or they just let authors choose whatever they want. Because I am not sure which of those is worse.
 
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veinglory

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p.s. How do I find a book on that site if I don't know the imprint? I couldn't even find "Behind the Gem"
 

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The (completely non-famous) person Nitemare is talking about is me.

I thought Gypsy Shadow's contract was pretty fair, with the exception of the two things Nitemare mentioned. I did warn him that the publisher's newness is a concern, especially as the people running it don't appear to have any kind of professional publishing or writing experience. They also made a rather odd suggestion regarding format, which I wasn't sure how to interpret.

The other contract Nitemare mentioned did indeed suck royally.

- Victoria
 

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