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McWood Publishing

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

mbowman

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So I'm organizing a small sci-fi convention, and the person in charge of guests knew someone who knew someone and got McWood Publishing in as a guest, since a lot of people going to our convention are fanfic/original fiction authors.

I couldn't find any info about them here, and I'm wondering if anyone knows anything about them, since they are bringing a marketing rep. I'm wary just because I can't find any info.

http://www.mcwoodpub.com/
 
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Filigree

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Of their two authors, Brian Hershey has previously published one YA novel through AuthorHouse (a vanity pub) with current Kindle and paper Amazon ranks at above 1,000,000 and 3,000,000 respectively (meaning very low sales through Amazon.)

The other author, T. T. McClendon, has a book that doesn't seem to exist on Amazon: 'To Remove & Rebirth The Woman'.

McWood seems earnest enough, but they are simply too new to show a track record.

Anyone writing solid fanfiction can publish it in 'zine form through places like Agent_With_Style (though she has her controversies, too). Anyone capable of writing solid fan fiction can write good original fiction, and submit it to commercial markets with actual clout. In just the last year, I've talked to three fan writers who've signed with agents and received great novel and series contracts with Big Five genre imprints.

The thing to ask about any small publisher is, what can they do that the author cannot? To earn their royalty commission, they not only have to offer great editing and covers, they need the skills and contacts to effectively market the book as well. Until a publisher can show that ability, it may be a good idea to wait and see how they fare for a couple of years.

Aim high and settle lower, don't aim low from the first.
 

JournoWriter

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Based solely on its website:

- One main objective is "to help authors obtain their publishing goals." I want a publisher that will sell my books, not worry about the rest of my goals.

- There are enough typos, random capitalizations and awkwardly written sentences on the site to give off a very strong amateur vibe.

- Owners are Tameca T. Woods and Antoine McClendon, husband and wife. One of its two authors is T.T. McClendon, who graduated from the same high school as Woods.

- Woods, the CEO, apparently lacks any publishing experience beyond this firm. Her public LinkedIn profile indicates that she holds a bachelor's degree in history and an associate's in business management, and lists her only job held as "CEO."

- The company has been around for two years, incorporated May 2012, and claims two books published. One book a year does not seem like great record, especially when one of those books is apparently by the owner.
 

mbowman

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Yeah, when I looked at the site, I felt a little wary. I don't think its a scam but, yeah I don't think they are that good of publishers either.
 

Torgo

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This screencap from their site gives you a sense of the kind of editing they do.

I note that the editor doesn't know what the passive voice is.
 

Marian Perera

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Yeah, when I looked at the site, I felt a little wary. I don't think its a scam but, yeah I don't think they are that good of publishers either.

It doesn't need to be a scam to be a really bad idea for writers. Check out some of the other amateur startup presses in this forum - Tico, Rain, Lionsong, Capri. All founded by people with no experience in publishing, who wanted to make the dreams of authors come true. All went out of business once they realized good intentions weren't enough.
 

mbowman

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well, its just I didn't want to feel responsible having a scam at our convention. While they may not be that good of a press, as least they aren't being predatory on writers.
 

veinglory

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I think you should also worry that they will give wildly in accurate advice. As convention organizers you want to give a good experience that helps people, right? Bad advice that is inept can be just as damaging as bad advice that in malicious. To the "victim" it makes little difference.
 

Marian Perera

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well, its just I didn't want to feel responsible having a scam at our convention. While they may not be that good of a press, as least they aren't being predatory on writers.

Scams and clueless wannabes may start out with different intentions, but the end result is often the same - frustrated and disappointed writers.

The question I would ask myself is, "Is McWood Publishing doing something good for writers?" as opposed to, "Is McWood Publishing not deliberately trying to scam writers?" Inviting a press to a convention because "at least they aren't being predatory" is like dating someone because at least he's not an axe murderer. What are his good points?
 
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veinglory

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I looked and where are these published books?

They have two authors and one of them has self-published through AuthorHouse (that book is not through McWood).

So you are selling people advice from a publisher that has, at this point, not actually published anything? IMHO, this would make your convention look... not good.
 
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mbowman

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Well, like I said, I didn't invite the publisher myself and it was already announced. I probably should've looked them up sooner and I have no one to blame but myself for that.

I have thought about maybe hosting my own panel about how to get a book published...maybe I should see if I could do that and discreetly vaguely hint around that people should look for better publishers.
 

Karen Junker

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What I did in a similar situation is this: I spoke on a panel about small and new publishers, using some of the information on this forum about 'Why Publishers Fail'. It was an opportunity to warn people, even though the new and small publishers in attendance at the con did try to answer any concerns I may have brought up.
 

shelleyo

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Uninvite them, and explain that you were mistaken about their publishing history. Because yeesh. That's not going to reflect well on anybody, including you, the organizer.
 

veinglory

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I think you should mention, as tactfully as possible, to the other organizers that they have announced with fanfare a non-publishing publisher, and maybe need to raise their standards by inviting more suitable speakers.
 

mbowman

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I'm not in charge of guests, so I cannot uninvite them. Since we already announced them, I'm not sure there's much we can do about them coming at this point. We don't have too many guests because its a small convention and suddenly uninviting a guest after we announced them would look...I dunno, rude?
 

veinglory

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Just telling the organizers what you have found is better than standing by and doing nothing.
 

shelleyo

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I'm not in charge of guests, so I cannot uninvite them. Since we already announced them, I'm not sure there's much we can do about them coming at this point. We don't have too many guests because its a small convention and suddenly uninviting a guest after we announced them would look...I dunno, rude?

I'm sure they will think it's rude. Are you worried about their opinion or the opinions of those who come and spend money at your con?

I only know what I'd do in that situation, and it would be lobbying hard to get things changed.

ETA: I just found the announcement for the con, and it really plays them up as great. It's so disingenuous. I know you say you didn't know, but now you do. Since they were just announced on the website on the 8th, it's not like people have made plans for weeks because of this.

It's a fannish con, which makes me feel all the more skeeved, because a ton of fan writers really don't know their way around this stuff. I think as long as you make it clear to people (or force them to make it clear) that they have virtually no books out there and that the writer will probably be footing a chunk of the bill when there are other options available where they don't pay, it's the least you (general) can do.

Though I think you should drop them like a hot rock.
 
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veinglory

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This is the same McWood that has a contest for teens with the tag line "there is money to be made".
 

Karen Junker

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I used to put on a small workshop and have uninvited people for various reasons. It happens.

You can talk to the organizers and explain the situation -- maybe have them tell the 'publisher' that their company doesn't suit the needs of the con at this time.
 

mbowman

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I'll talk to the people in charge of guests about this...I cannot guarantee that they will agree to dropping them though.

But if I cannot get them to be dropped, I will find a way to make a panel where I can kinda sorta warn people away from those types of publishers.
 

LaneHeymont

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They did just announce this:

Brian Hershey has written the next MUST READ! This page turning, fictional novel will have you craving to read more! IN STORES 2014! Click here for >>>continued reading

Bolding mine. Fictional novel ... I know you said you aren't in charge of guests, but just that terminology alone makes me shudder.
 

Marian Perera

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But if I cannot get them to be dropped, I will find a way to make a panel where I can kinda sorta warn people away from those types of publishers.

If the pool of potential marks is inexperienced, and if the press's representatives come off as confident and warm, I'm not sure how effective a kinda-sorta warning will be.

Personally, I'd be blunt. If I couldn't name names, then I'd make it clear what kind of homework writers have to do, and what kinds of presses they should avoid under any circumstances. For writers who've been around the block a few times, a nod may be as good as a wink. For others, it might take being more explicit.
 

Filigree

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Look at it this way: if your convention has invited this publisher, this publisher shows up and gets people to 'sign on' as writers, then down the line some bad blood comes up between authors and publisher (as is almost guaranteed, given just the statistics on new, inexperienced publishers), your convention might be be looked at as Ground Zero.

Then again, I'm the person who had to come up with Filigree's Rule to remind myself of useless battles: some authors deserve some publishers, and vice versa. There's more than enough info out there. If you can't uninvite the publisher, do a panel and hand out flyers with cautionary links to places like Writer Beware, Preditors & Editors, etc.
 

JulieB

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Speaking as a conrunner, I agree that it would be tactless to withdraw the invitation, particularly since you've already announced their presence.

What you can do, though, is bring in some more established writers and publishers in your area to balance things out. See this as an opportunity.
 

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