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Mill City Press

pohaver

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I just received a promo book from Mill City Press that I requested. After reading the book and checking out their website, it seems they might be what I am looking for to launch my first book. They have all services that I might need, and offer a fair contract, and good distribution and profit. LuLu, I looked at, seems more like just a printer. I need some services, since I am not a writer and know very little about writing and publishing a book.

Does anyone have experience out there with using Mill City Press?

Feedback would be helpful.
 

victoriastrauss

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Mill City Press offers some of the most expensive self-publishing services around--though this is difficult to determine without spending a good deal of time on the site, as there are so many different options for add-on costs. You should definitely do some comparison shopping before you make a decision.

As to distribution, self-pub companies all use the same channels. The "expanded" distribution Mill City offers gives you access to a few more wholesalers than in its basic publication package--this will increase the special-order options for bookstores, but it won't put your book on the shelves. Plus, to get expanded distribution, you must choose one of Mill City's imprints, which will cause the cost of publication to skyrocket. For the Bascom Hill imprint, for instance, you must buy editing at up to $0.04 per word, commit to--meaning pay for--the printing of between 300 and 1,000 books, and pay over $8,000 for a fiction package or over $10,000 for a nonfiction package.

The marketing services self-pub companies provide are typically based on ineffective methods such as press releases and bulk email, or things you can do yourself, such as setting up a presence at social media sites or making a (usually fairly limited) website for you. If such "marketing" is included as part of the package, fine, but if you have to pay extra, it's rarely worth it. In Mill City's case, it does seem to offer more marketing options than many self-pub services do--but for many of them, you must be in its most expensive publishing programs, and the marketing, which is on top of those costs, is eye-poppingly expensive. The 60-day "traditional" marketing campaign, for instance, costs nearly $5,000. Not only is it not very traditional, since much of it involves giving you material and making you do the legwork, several of the components require you to pay extra--the advanced reader review program, for instance, adds $699.

There's also the question of whether "traditional"-style marketing, such as advance reader copies, is even effective for self-pubbed books, which tend to be avoided by reviewers and bloggers other than those who specialize in self-pubbed books (and these are fairly easy to find and approach on your own; you don't need an overpriced publicity service to do it it for you). I would guess than for many writers who choose Mill City's most expensive services, sales are not significantly greater than for writers who choose the least expensive service--or choose a less costly provider such as Lulu.

- Victoria
 

Nandi

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Thanks, Victoria, for that comprehensive picture of Mill City. I think anyone choosing Mill City--or any other such service--needs to do exactly that sort of in-depth evaluation.

When I had read their authors' agreement a few weeks ago, I was surprised to learn about all those expensive add-ons. I've not dealt with them directly yet, so I don't know how hard they *encourage* writers to purchase those expensive services. I still think, though, that their basic package looks like a pretty good deal, especially when combined with the author's efforts to do his/her own marketing.
 

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"All very laudible, but the costs of that editing are not covered in this package—meaning there is a further charge to the author, and the request that ‘books be edited by us” makes it almost a hidden extra charge to buy the Bookstore & Library Distribution pack. Even on Mill City’s basic edit, a 100k book would work out at an additional $1500 cost—and for me—Mill City have just shot themselves in the foot. An author could buy this on its own at $1299 plus the edit fee along with the basic package, either way, you are still looking at $4296. It also begs the question, what of an author who has already had their book professionally edited elsewhere? Is Mill City going to offer those authors a waiver?"

Nandi,

I did review 'Mill City' a few weeks ago on my site and as Victoria alluded to, this is what I warned about. I do agree, their cheaper package does seem to offer the best value for money.
 

Nandi

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I saw that review on your site, Mick, and found it very helpful.
 

brainstorm77

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I just received a promo book from Mill City Press that I requested. After reading the book and checking out their website, it seems they might be what I am looking for to launch my first book. They have all services that I might need, and offer a fair contract, and good distribution and profit. LuLu, I looked at, seems more like just a printer. I need some services, since I am not a writer and know very little about writing and publishing a book.

Does anyone have experience out there with using Mill City Press?

Feedback would be helpful.

luLu is a printer....
 

babycasey

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Oh boy

I just received a promo book from Mill City Press that I requested. After reading the book and checking out their website, it seems they might be what I am looking for to launch my first book. They have all services that I might need, and offer a fair contract, and good distribution and profit. LuLu, I looked at, seems more like just a printer. I need some services, since I am not a writer and know very little about writing and publishing a book.

Does anyone have experience out there with using Mill City Press?

Feedback would be helpful.

I'm new, too, so also be gentle :) I published through MCP (finally getting my books this Wed.) and have collected an entire list of problems. You can read all about it on my blog - www.stromplesspot.wordpress.com.

I purchased my publishing package a year ago - their lack of communication and disregard for solid customer service (on some accounts) has made this, my first experience with self-publishing, horrible. I will not publish with them again.

I hope I am the only one who has had this misfortune.
 

babycasey

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I believe these sales are from what you sell. I am trying to find info on mill city press. They did not include in their packet what % I would receive from book store sales. Anyone got any info on them? They list nine books they have published.
Rain Dance by Joy DeKok
The Gambit by Gary Nunnally
Moonlight Over The Canal by Ruth Shults
That's a few of them.

Appreciate any help...Barry
Barry,

I will finally receive my books after publishing with Mill City this Wed. The wholesale discount is 55% for my book, pushing the retail price much higher than I'd like to see it. You also have a 10% distribution cost and the cost to print the book as well.

On a side note, I have encountered many problems, seeming to stem from a lack of communication and organization at MCP. It's been a long, frustrating year that just doesn't seem to end. Another problem again today for me, the newbie. Grrr.
 
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Nandi

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I'm new, too, so also be gentle :) I published through MCP (finally getting my books this Wed.) and have collected an entire list of problems. You can read all about it on my blog - www.stromplesspot.wordpress.com.

I purchased my publishing package a year ago - their lack of communication and disregard for solid customer service (on some accounts) has made this, my first experience with self-publishing, horrible. I will not publish with them again.

I hope I am the only one who has had this misfortune.

babycasey, I really appreciate your sharing your experiences. I'm in the final stages of proofreading, and had been all set to contact Mil City. Your comments--here and on your blog--have given me pause.

I had written to another MC author via her "contact the author" invitation on her MC web site, but never received a response. I had been seeking the sort of information you have offered. Have you heard about similar problems from any other MC authors?

I had not planned to purchase anything other than their basic package. Did you have problems or frustrations in the basic publishing stage? Were you pleased with the quality?

You sound like someone who really did her homework, too! I'm very sorry this has been such an exasperating experience for you. If I might ask...which self-publishing company was second on your list? If you self-publish another book, which company do you think you would use?

Thanks...and good luck with sales of your book!
 

StephenJSweeney

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Alright. I think I need to shove my opinion in here.

I went down the Lulu / Self Publishing route after I couldn't get an agent (either in the UK or the US). My writing style aside, it was more to do with the type of novel it is: a space opera centered around some starfighter pilots. I've been told the market is currently too narrow to want "straight science fiction" at the moment.

So, instead, I decided to treat this as a hobby.

Now, back to Mill City Press. I'll be honest - They look like they're really taking people for a ride. Even their most basic package looks like a total and utter rip off, and you could save yourself a lot of money by doing some thing yourself.

My own Lulu costs have so far worked out like this,

Editor: £500
ISBN + Global Distribution: £80
Proof Copies: £22
dot com: £10/pm

So, a total rolling bill of just over £600. Even the cheapest competitive offer from Mill Press is at least 2 1/2 times more than that.

I'd suggest that, if you want to self publish, you give Lulu some serious thought. See what you can get for you money - An editor, cover artists, etc. Put together a game plan and take it from there.

But you're right to feel pause on Mill Press, I'd steer well clear of them myself.
 

StephenJSweeney

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A number of agents. Apparently it's because the type of science fiction that I write is closely associated with the sweaty, fat, nerdy losers with no friends who peruse the scifi book shelves.

This is apparently why, even though The Time Traveller's Wife, The Road, Heroes, and Lost are all science fiction at heart, they are not marketed as such.

That's just what I've been told and what I've read.
 

babycasey

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Nandi,

First, thanks for the good luck wishes :)

I think a large part of the problem at MCP seems to stem from a lack of communication and solid customer service in some areas. One reader commented on my blog, saying she had experienced the same thing:

We have asked for a conference call with MCP in order to discuss printing options and web-site questions. However, we have not heard back from them yet…again delays. Also, did you decide to go with their new book fullfillment program? We were concerned with the cost…an additional $199 upfront, 3% service fee and $1.50 per book. Seems to be taking a bigger bite out of our profit than we wanted.

Here, I want to say that I've really enjoyed working with some people at MCP. Wish I could pick & choose.

I've had so many things happen, I really don't know where to start. I'm trying to put together a list to post on my blog - a one-stop shop of do this, don't do that, "writer beware" sorts of things.

You say you're proofreading now - be very, very careful. Nickle and diming will follow, if you're not. Did you read my post about my rebuilt cover page? Lesson learned here: http://stromplesspot.wordpress.com/2009/03/11/the-problem-lies-with-the-file/.

Regarding the set-up for publishing - they have what seems like a good set-up online. Authors log in and keep track of the tasks at hand, which are color coded so you know where you are in the process and what is expected of you. Recently I found out, though, that the "Marketing Questionnaire" step is more than just them asking me a few questions - I was supposed to create a marketing plan. Confusing - why have me submit answers to questions and then require that I write the plan? I still cannot find where it says that this is something I was supposed to create. Being new, too, I wouldn't have known any better. Wish I was a vet!

I have lots to say about quality, whether it's in regard to formatting, printing, or customer service. Like I said - lots and lots of problems. I'm trying to blog about them all as I go, but will try to get "the list" posted soon. I was just thinking to myself the other day, "I could probably finalize & post that soon." But, the list goes on, apparently.

I had been talking at length with Authorhouse, but, after coming across MCP, stopped. I didn't want to have a markup on the cost of my book. Who would? Same thing with Xlibris. I'm guessing you've seen the chart on Mill City's website?

I've looked at Booksurge in close comparison with MCP specifically, but haven't dug deep yet - haven't heard any testimonials, etc., and really weighed my marketing options. I guess I should start a thread :)

Sorry for the book!
 

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babycasey,

Thanks so much for sharing your experience here. I will continue to follow your story on your website. All the best! I have spent the better part of today researching other options, but am no closer to making a decision. So many variables to consider.
 

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Hi, Mick. Yes, I have looked at Booklocker, but I would like to have my book available on Amazon, and it appeared as if, because of the lawsuit, this may not be possible with books published by Booklocker. Do you know anything more about that?
 

Nandi

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Oh, that's good news. Thanks, Mick, for checking.
 

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...the type of science fiction that I write is closely associated with the sweaty, fat, nerdy losers with no friends who peruse the scifi book shelves.

Dude, if that's how you think of your core audience, I think maybe I've figured out why your book hasn't sold.


Did you notice that was in the "movies" section?


Take that piece. Print it out. Cross out everything that deals with film or TV. Read what's left.

You'll notice that old-fashioned SF is doing just fine.
 

StephenJSweeney

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Dude, if that's how you think of your core audience, I think maybe I've figured out why your book hasn't sold.

I never said that that's what I think of my core audience. I said that this is how many others view them.

Did you notice that was in the "movies" section?

I did, but the points made are still relevant to what I have read and what I have been told.
 

thethirdcell

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Had Many Problems

I can't say I am satisfied with Mill City Press. I paid for their editing package. My novel The Third Cell was over 400 pages, even after I eliminated 100,000 words and I have a very complicated subject. It is extremely hard to edit your own book.
I ran 250 books at America's Press and then discovered that the editing that Mill City Press had done was sub-par. They offered to re-edit the book and I had it redone, but I had to eat the 250 book printing cost.
What I have found is the typical terms and conditions. THE BIG PRINT GIVE IT AND THE SMALL PRINT TAKE IT AWAY.
You can be nickel and dimed to death if your not careful. I suggest the minimum package. Do your own Facebook and MySpace profiles. If you are somewhat computer literate use Yahoo Sitebuilder and build your own website. Don’t assume that you are going to be positioned or ranked very high on Internet search engines because someone else does it for you. It is keyword driven and you have to set up the website in correct manner for the search engines to recognize them.
Overall, I checked out several self-publishing firms and this one was better than the rest, (many didn’t even answer the phone when called several times). Just be careful you don’t spend a lot of money. I finally printed 2,000 copies. Sales are slow, but picking up. Takes time and don’t get frustrated.

Good Luck