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Moorna Publications

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Momento Mori

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Website here: http://moornapublications.com/

Seems to me to be a well-intentioned start-up that may have started as a self-publishing outfit for the founder. I've been through the site and have the following comments.

Moorna Website:
Our charter is to publish quality reading books for a wide range of readership, ranging from the very young, to the 'Not as young as they used to be' age groups, in both fiction and non-fiction.

The fact that they're open to such a wide range is not an encouraging sign. Most start-ups do better by focusing on one particular genre of fiction because it enables them to target their marketing and promotional efforts and gain credibility within that sector. However, the following is an encouraging sign that they're not prepared to accept anything and everything:

Moorna Website:
Moorna Publications publishes a wide range of literary and commercial fiction, but we are not interested in assessing, acedemic works, poetry, outright romance, play scripts, or short stories(Unless as a book length series written by the same author in some incidences).

Moorna Website:
Whilst our authors and artists hail from around the globe we take pride in the fact that we endeavour to handle, and promote, as many established, and 'new kid on the block' writers, artists, illustrators and photographers in as many ways as possible from within Australia, while continuing to offer as wide a range of international author's and artist's works as we possibly can.

It seems to me to be a little optimistic to be talking about international authors, when their author page here: http://moornapublications.com/index/30;Meet-Our-Featured-Authors/ lists 2 authors - one Australian and one originally from the UK but now living in Australia.

It seems to me to be more aspirational than it is actual (not that aspiration is a bad thing, it just makes me wonder if they're trying to run before they can walk).

Moorna Website:
We are a trade publishing company and do not require an investment by the author into publication of the author's work.

It's good to know that they're not charging people to publish.

However, it would be good to know up front how they propose to pay their authors - e.g. what their royalty rates are (as I'm presuming that they don't pay advances for work - although if I'm wrong, that would be good to know as well) and how royalties are calculated. It would also be good to know what kind of distribution they have in place - e.g. whether they have deals in place to supply Australian bookstores, placement on Amazon etc as that all goes to give authors a good indication of how much money they can realistically make.

Adding to the 'information it would be good to have' is whether they are proposing to take electronic and print rights or not and for what territories. Given that they're a small Australian start-up, I'd expect them to be limited to that territory.

Moorna Website:
We do not handle self publishing work, but if you need help with finding a reputable company that does work with self publishers we will try to assist you if you write to us via our 'Contact Us' page of this website.

Personally, I don't see the point in doing that as they should be focusing on their business but it's up to them.

So far the only book listed as up and coming here: http://moornapublications.com/index/40;Upcoming-New-Book-Releases/ is Marg Watt's Tales From Hallowed Hollow. There are a number of references to it across the site, which makes me wonder if the company was started by Marg Watt as a self-publishing venture.

It is worrying however that there is no means on the site to pre-order the book - either through Amazon or through the site itself. It does suggest that they don't have that function set up and it's a basic thing for any publisher to do. I've got to say that the blurb for it is pretty poor as well IMO - far too long-winded and a bit dull.

By way of general observations, there is no information on who set up or is involved with the company. It would be good to know whether the people have previous publishing industry experience (and if so, how they got it).

All in all, I've seen worse but there's nothing here that would make me rush to submit a book to them. As always, I'd caution new authors to wait and see how they're doing in 2 years time.

MM
 

Terie

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Momento Mori

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Terie:
In a Yahoo group I'm in, S.G. Kane made it quite clear that Marj Watt is his wife, with whom he co-wrote the book. You'd never guess that from the answer he provided.

There's nothing on the website to suggest that the book was co-authored either - Marj Watt is the only listed author on the book page. It does explain why S. G. Kane is listed on the Featured Authors page though, even though there are no links to his books on the site.

Meh. It's a self-publishing outfit then that's branching out to other authors. When I see this type of venture I always want to know exactly how many copies they've sold themselves before wanting to sign with them. It also suggests that they have no previous publishing industry experience.

MM
 

Sheryl Nantus

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There's nothing on the website to suggest that the book was co-authored either - Marj Watt is the only listed author on the book page. It does explain why S. G. Kane is listed on the Featured Authors page though, even though there are no links to his books on the site.

Meh. It's a self-publishing outfit then that's branching out to other authors. When I see this type of venture I always want to know exactly how many copies they've sold themselves before wanting to sign with them. It also suggests that they have no previous publishing industry experience.

MM

I'm not really taken by the cover art for any of their books. If they do have industry experience it doesn't seem to have been in the art department.

:(
 

Stacia Kane

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Sadly, I don't believe it was in the editing department either. Without commenting on the quality of the work itself, there are numerous tense/grammar/word usage/homophone errors, and incidents of superfluous words not removed (i.e. "She walked into the her kitchen," which is not taken from any of the excerpts but an example I made up) in the excerpts I found by following links to Smashwords, where the books seem to be for sale.

Editing is part of a publisher's job; sending books out into the market with such errors doesn't give the best impression, and doesn't imply that the editor (if there was one) or publisher is actually familiar with the rules of English usage, or capable of recognizing truly publishable work. (And no, it's not differences in spelling etc. between the US and Australia. These are errors plain and simple.)

An amateur or incompetent publisher can just as easily publish a good book as a bad one, of course. But the excerpts don't give me a lot of confidence in the skill of those behind the scenes, because I found about four or five errors on average per page.


ETA: They've changed the list of genres etc. they publish, and have changed the wording on their About Us page to:

Moorna Publications is a small, fully independant book publishing house based in Ayr, north Queensland, Australia

Our charter is to publish quality reading books for both children and adults alike, in both fiction and non-fiction.

However, we do not presently handle children's picture books, poetry, play scripts, short stories (Unless as a series pruduced by the same author) or academic publications.

Unfortunately, there are two typos on that page alone: "independant," and "pruduced," above. There are many throughout the site. (MM quoted one above--"acedemic.") There's also "manuscrpt," which is surely just a typo, and "persue," which is probably not since it's made twice on the Submissions page.

Just FYI.
 
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Purple Rose

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Hi Stacia, going by what a certain newbie has been saying in the past two days, I'm starting to think that maybe, just MAYBE, Moorna = Newbie = Moorna. I may be wrong but just a feeling. Not that it matters, just saying...
 
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IceCreamEmpress

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The Moorna Publications sockpuppet astroturfing campaign on Yahoo! Answers Australia is hilarious. I don't know whether my favorite is this exchange or this one. Amazingly, "tictactoe", a children's author who is "deeply involved with Moorna Publications" and "S.G." both registered their accounts on March 19, 2010; but obviously they're kindred spirits, as we see here.
 

Terie

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To set the record completely straight:

The comment I made was made with the full knowledge of Moorna, but it was of my own doing alone as I found it offensive when I learned that no such claim had ever been made by a fellow Aussie author.

That comment that Mr de Freres found so offensive was this:

Wow. Talk about disingenuous. In a Yahoo group I'm in, S.G. Kane made it quite clear that Marj Watt is his wife, with whom he co-wrote the book. You'd never guess that from the answer he provided.

I went back into that Yahoo group's archives and reviewed every post by S.G. Kane. I discovered that, indeed, I misspoke. He never claimed that he co-wrote the book by Marg Watt. He stated that it was his own. Repeatedly. As you can see and judge for yourself in the following screen captures.

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Note his repeated use of the phrase 'my Tales of Hallowed Hollow'. Also note that he says 'my publishing contract'. Finally, note his claim, twice, that 'I write under...my wife's maiden name'.

If, indeed, the book was solely written and contracted by Marg Watt, I believe that these screen captures support my contention that S.G. Kane is disingenuous. I rest my case.
 

IceCreamEmpress

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Thanks, Terie.

I am also going to suggest that "Stefan de Freres" may also be S.G. Kane, based on identical idiosyncrasies of the writing style put out under both names.

So it looks like what we've got here is a one-author publisher who loves to sockpuppet and doesn't understand how the publishing industry works (based on the "tictactoe" responses at Yahoo! Answers Australia). RUN LIKE THE WIND.
 

Terie

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The Moorna Publications sockpuppet astroturfing campaign on Yahoo! Answers Australia is hilarious. I don't know whether my favorite is this exchange or this one. Amazingly, "tictactoe", a children's author who is "deeply involved with Moorna Publications" and "S.G." both registered their accounts on March 19, 2010; but obviously they're kindred spirits, as we see here.

Parts of the posts from tictactoe are nearly identical to posts S.G. Kane made in the Yahoo group. I can provide screen captures of those, too, if desired.
 

Stacia Kane

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The Moorna Publications sockpuppet astroturfing campaign on Yahoo! Answers Australia is hilarious. I don't know whether my favorite is this exchange or this one. Amazingly, "tictactoe", a children's author who is "deeply involved with Moorna Publications" and "S.G." both registered their accounts on March 19, 2010; but obviously they're kindred spirits, as we see here.


The question in that second exchange is asked by someone called "Beatty80," and "Beatty1931" is the contact email address Tictactoe gives in his/her final question. (Oh, and here's one where both Tictactoe and S.G. show up to push the Haunted Hollows book. S.G. again does not indicate any connection to the book at all.)


(BTW, if anyone happens to see that question and is curious...Elaine obviously knows far more than Tictactoe and S.G. about how publishing actually does work.)


Oh, and seeing as how Stefan and S.G. Kane both claim to have been in the publishing business for over 40 years, they have amazingly tiny internet footprints. Seriously. A large portion of the search results aren't even related to them.
 
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Anne Lyle

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Those covers are dreadful, particularly the adult novel - if I saw that my name had been obscured by printing it across a flock of sheep when there was a clear space on the grass below them, I'd be having stern words with my publisher, I can tell you!

Frankly I can do better in about 15 minutes flat, and my design training has all been on-the-job...
 

Medievalist

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Frankly I can do better in about 15 minutes flat, and my design training has all been on-the-job...

There are a lot of covers that have problems with the text; I note that commercial cover design typically involves creating all the text objects—title, author, blurbs, tag lines, pull-quotes—in In Design, kerning them, making a number of subtle but important adjustments to color, contrast, and outline, then bringing into Photoshop as a separate layer.

I further note that on Web images, and printed versions, I'm seeing problems with layering and the color separation, and resolution, here and elsewhere.

If one is producing a cover for Kindle, follow the Amazon notes. Be aware that your color image *will be dithered* and use a custom CLUT.

The problems related to artist concept and execution, well, talk to an artist. I'm just a geek.
 

Anne Lyle

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I imagine InDesign has far better text control than Photoshop, but I've only used it once or twice - it was still QuarkXpress back when I worked in print...

The print vs screen issue is always a problem. I remember trying to explain to some science journal person why the JPEG of their diagram had different colours to the print version *sigh* (Our throughput - 16 journals a month and only 2 electronic production staff - was too high to allow colour adjustment of individual images when transferring from print to web.)
 

Medievalist

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I imagine InDesign has far better text control than Photoshop, but I've only used it once or twice - it was still QuarkXpress back when I worked in print...

If they're doing covers for print, they're most likely going to use Illustrator, but ebook folk will likely be using InDesign, and may not have the whole Adobe suite; it can be an OK alternative if you're on a limited budget. Illustrator though would be the app of choice for text-as-image and text effects.

InDesign for layout and typesetting (Or Quark, or, on Windows, Framemaker)

Illustrator for text effects/text-as-image.

Photoshop for images and certain specific parts of UI for a Web site.
 

Anne Lyle

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I'm a cheapskate (and ex-Linux geek) so I use a Mac version of The GIMP for web images. It had full GIF support (including animation) back when that was still an add-on for Photoshop! Not that I often have reason to create animated GIFs these days.

I've used Illustrator in the past but only when creating images for print. I don't get to do half as much graphics work as I'd like...

However we are straying off topic. Not that there seems much else to say about Moorna.
 

Medievalist

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I'm a cheapskate (and ex-Linux geek) so I use a Mac version of The GIMP for web images. It had full GIF support (including animation) back when that was still an add-on for Photoshop! Not that I often have reason to create animated GIFs these days.

I've used Illustrator in the past but only when creating images for print. I don't get to do half as much graphics work as I'd like...

However we are straying off topic. Not that there seems much else to say about Moorna.

I am seriously thinking about getting some of my colleagues to write a free ebook or build a Web site about "How To Make Book Covers, " in terms of both ebooks and printed covers on POD presses, because the print pre-sets in Photoshop aren't going to be optimum for POD resolution, and the needs of ebook covers depends enormously on the reader/OS.

I think it's possible for tiny publishers like Moorna Publishing to overcome their ignorance and naivete, but there is a learning curve. You can't just start a publishing company based on end-user / consumer knowledge and skill sets.
 

victoriastrauss

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I am seriously thinking about getting some of my colleagues to write a free ebook or build a Web site about "How To Make Book Covers, " in terms of both ebooks and printed covers on POD presses,

That would be hugely useful. I'm looking into Kindle-izing some of my OP books and haven't the ghost of a clue about how to make covers.

- Victoria
 

Terie

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(Oh, and here's one where both Tictactoe and S.G. show up to push the Haunted Hollows book. S.G. again does not indicate any connection to the book at all.)

Funny how tictactoe says that S.G. Kane wrote 'Tales from Hallowed Hollow'.

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And then, funnier, S.G. also says that S. Kane wrote 'Tales from Hallowed Hollow'.

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I think at this point, we can conclude both that S.G. Kane is disingenuous AND that he wrote 'Tales from Hallowed Hollow', which was published by Australian publisher, Moorna Publications, under the name Marg Watt.

ETA: Tictactoe's Yahoo profile says his name is Stephan, as shown in the following screen capture. If we agree (per information presented in later posts in this thread) that the evidence suggests that Moorna Publishing = Stephan George Greenwood = S.G. Kane = 'Tictactoe' Stephan = Stefan de Freres/Stefan de Frères, it means that Stephan/S.G./Stefan made legal threats toward me both privately and publically for stating something that he himself has stated publically, and by which (as shown in my post #9 above) he claimed to be 'offended' because 'no such claim had ever been made by a fellow Aussie author'. (Although I suppose one could argue that his statement was true because it doesn't actually appear that any 'fellow Aussie author' made the claim, only he himself. :D) How very convoluted his web is!

yahoo_answers03.gif
 
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Medievalist

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Were I attempting to document the convoluted genetic relationships between Moorna Publishing, S. G. Kane, Marg Watt, Stefan de Freres/Stefan de Frères, and I were an Aussie, who would have access lesser mortals like Yanks lack wrt The Australian National Library, I'd look at copyright registrations.
 

Anne Lyle

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It also amuses me that he claims that he published the children's book under a female pseudonym because men writing children's fiction is considered "creepy". Try telling that to Michael Rosen, Dick King-Smith, David McKee, Philip Pullman - and Joanna Rowling ;)

There's a reason this guy self-publishes...
 

Mac H.

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Were I attempting to document the convoluted genetic relationships between Moorna Publishing, S. G. Kane, Marg Watt, Stefan de Freres/Stefan de Frères, and I were an Aussie, who would have access lesser mortals like Yanks lack wrt The Australian National Library, I'd look at copyright registrations.
There is no such thing as copyright registration in Australia, unfortunately.

I'm as confused by fake names as well - but in Australia we have a wonderful business system that's publicly available. To do this, get the ABN from their website and then go the the business registration site (abr.business.gov.au) and type it in.

In the spirit of good business research :


ABN: 51 344 107 898

ABN status: Active from 10 Sep 2010
Entity name: GREENWOOD, STEPHAN GEORGE
Entity type: Individual/Sole Trader

Trading name(s) MOORNA PUBLICATIONS
This is all public information - it certainly isn't private.

'Sole trader' means that 'MOORNA PUBLICATIONS' isn't a company - it's an individual trading as that name. That's a good thing when dealing with them, BTW .

It means there is no separation of assets if the business goes under .. you can get the money from his personal account force him to sell his home to repay you etc if the business fails.

It costs about $600 to register and set up as a normal company.


---

In conclusion we have :

1. Moorna Publishing = Stephan George Greenwood
2. S. G Kane = Someone who happens to have the same initials but different last name to Stephan George Greenwood
3. Stefan de Freres/Stefan de Frères = Someone who happens to have the same first name as Stephan George Greenwood
4. Marg Watt = A fictitious name that S. G Kane writes under (That's what S.G Kane claims anyway .. whether it is true or not is another matter)

Why do I get the feeling that we only have one person here?

----

The only other activity I can find from the publisher is selling a second hand book binding machine here:

http://forsale.australia.oodle.com/view/paperback-book/2424179230-townsville-qld/

"Printing & binding equiq Consists of Samsung CLP610ND, 4 colour laser printer. Perfect book binding machine and finishing trimming guillotine + extras. All as new. $2,500 ono."
You can pick up that model of laser printer for a few hundred dollars at OfficeWorks, so it is mainly the book binding machine & extras.

Mac
 
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Anne Lyle

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2. 'Sole trader' means that 'MOORNA PUBLICATIONS' isn't a company - it's an individual trading as that name. That's a good thing when dealing with them, BTW .

It means there is no separation of assets if the business goes under .. you can get the money from his personal account force him to sell his home to repay you etc if the business fails.

It doesn't, however, alter the fact that he is a one-man shop without, apparently, even the skills to proofread his own website.

You are better off self-publishing than using this "company's" services.
 

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