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MundaniaPress

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victoriastrauss said:
Actually, this setup is typical of POD-based publishers.

Ingram and Baker and Taylor are wholesalers, not distributors. Distributors (such as Publishers Group West) provide a sales force to sell publishers' books into stores; wholesalers don't. To gain bookstore presence--which is essential to volume sales--a small publisher needs either to field its own sales force, or work with a distributor. Otherwise, their ability to distribute--in the industry-accepted sense of getting books onto bookstore shelves--will probably be very limited.
These authors established their sales credentials with other, larger commercial houses. I suspect that their sales figures with Mundania are a fraction of their sales figures elsewhere.

Please understand that I don't intend in any way to imply that Mundania isn't an honest, well-intentioned publisher that strives to produce quality books. I'm just pointing out that, as with other small presses that rely on POD and have limited budgets for marketing and distribution, author exposure will probably be small.

- Victoria

In true fact, Ingram's is classified as a wholesaler, and Baker & Taylor are classified as a distributor--because they DO have a sales force. What you are referring to with places like Publishers Group West is a MASTER Distributor

Bob was simply explaining that POD has gotten a bad reputation in the industry.

For the record, Mundania Press uses both POD, through Ingram's and B&T, and does full press print runs (not POD) and currently uses two different Master Distributors. Which books are done in POD and which are done in print runs depends on the book, and on the author. We are also doing audio books now in MP3 downloads, MP3 CDs, Audio CDs, and Cassettes.

You are incorrect when you speculate about sales figures for best selling authors. For example, we do not have the Xanth series, although we are in the midst of securing the audiobook rights for the whole series, but we are the top seller for Piers Anthony's other books, many of which are originals with us. We are both reprinting the NYT best selling authors' books, and they are writing new ones for us.

We will be moving more titles from POD to press runs and moving those sales to our Master Distributors. We've only been around for 3 1/2 years, but we have 120 books in print already.

Dan
 

JennaGlatzer

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Hi Dan, I've never heard the term "Master Distributor" before (and have no idea why it would be capitalized), but I'd classify both Baker & Taylor and Ingram as wholesalers. Maybe B&T can act as a distributor-- but it's usually misleading when vanity presses claim to have "distribution" through "the world's largest distributors, Ingram and Baker & Taylor!" So it's important for us to make that distinction here... we're trying to help new writers understand what a distributor does, as opposed to wholesalers, and why it means basically nothing to be listed with Ingram and B&T.

Now, as for Mundania, I've always had the impression that you guys are POD. Respectable POD with a selection process, but POD nonetheless, with many of the inherent problems that other POD-based presses have-- translating primarily to lack of bookstore distribution and low sales. But I could certainly be wrong.

Would you answer a few questions for me? And I honestly don't mean this to be antagonistic-- I'm just trying to figure out if my impressions are wrong.

-Are the majority of Mundania's titles in bookstores nationwide?

-Do the majority of Mundania's titles sell at least 2,000 copies?

-Do all Mundania titles have an active sales force (what you're calling a "master" distributor) marketing them?

Thanks in advance.
 

JennaGlatzer

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My curiosity is getting the best of me (not to mention that I'm avoiding work right now), so I'm digging around a little, and this is what I'm seeing so far...

I'm using Borders' "search inventory" function, and have chosen 6 large stores in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut as my sampling. Then I'm choosing titles randomly from your site and seeing where they're in stock. My results so far:

Time of the Wolf: Not stocked in any of the six

Tyrant Moon: Not stocked in any of the six

A Separate Power: Not stocked in any of the six

The Coming of the Horseclans: Not yet listed in search

The Angelic Prophecy: Not yet listed in search

Trattoria: Not stocked in any of the six

Amanda's Rib: Not stocked in any of the six

Twice Damned: Not stocked in any of the six

King of Harlem: Not stocked in any of the six

etc.

I know some of your authors personally-- and I know they're talented. And I coincidentally just put a Mundania book on my "wish list" last week because I loved one of your author's blogs. My only question has been distribution/sales. I'd like to have a more accurate understanding so I know how to advise writers who ask me for recommendations.
 

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Answers

JennaGlatzer said:
Hi Dan, I've never heard the term "Master Distributor" before (and have no idea why it would be capitalized), but I'd classify both Baker & Taylor and Ingram as wholesalers. Maybe B&T can act as a distributor-- but it's usually misleading when vanity presses claim to have "distribution" through "the world's largest distributors, Ingram and Baker & Taylor!" So it's important for us to make that distinction here... we're trying to help new writers understand what a distributor does, as opposed to wholesalers, and why it means basically nothing to be listed with Ingram and B&T.

Now, as for Mundania, I've always had the impression that you guys are POD. Respectable POD with a selection process, but POD nonetheless, with many of the inherent problems that other POD-based presses have-- translating primarily to lack of bookstore distribution and low sales. But I could certainly be wrong.

Would you answer a few questions for me? And I honestly don't mean this to be antagonistic-- I'm just trying to figure out if my impressions are wrong.

-Are the majority of Mundania's titles in bookstores nationwide?

-Do the majority of Mundania's titles sell at least 2,000 copies?

-Do all Mundania titles have an active sales force (what you're calling a "master" distributor) marketing them?

Thanks in advance.


-Are the majority of Mundania's titles in bookstores nationwide?
Only a few at the moment. "The Saint's Bones" is carried in B&N and I think Borders too. This is one of our imprints and is distributed by a master distributor (who produces catalogs, has sales people, and contacts stores). Borders has also recently approved our entire erotica line (another imprint) for stocking on shelves. That literally occurred this past week. The erotic line was started in December 2005. Most are ebooks, and five have gone into print. Those five are carried.


-Do the majority of Mundania's titles sell at least 2,000 copies?
We do not release sales numbers, but generally many of our titles sell more than that number. Depends if it's a new author, or one that has a good fan base established already. New authors must do promotions, such as booksignings, etc., to get their name out there.

-Do all Mundania titles have an active sales force (what you're calling a "master" distributor) marketing them?

Master distributor is the industry standard term for the distributors that completely handle all a publisher's books. Ingram's and B&T are more databases of availability that bookstores may order from. Ingram's does produce a catalog that goes out monthly to over 20,000 brick-and-mortar bookstores and libraries. Our new releases are listed in those catalogs. Liekwise B&T has various mailings. In addition, we below to PMA (Publishers Marketing Association) which does many mailings and promotional efforts for publishers. We have had advertisements appearing in several trade magazines, such as Romantic Times, Realms of Fantasy, Cemetary Dance, Locus, etc. These all help with promotion of our books.

As I mentioned above, no, not all Mundania titles are under a master distributor. One is already out there, and we are working with another master distributor for an additional line of books. Also as I mentioned, we are planning on eventually moving all our books to a master distributor. That requires print runs on each book. Since we have over one hundred currently available, that process will take time.

We do stock directly to several Borders and Barnes & Noble stores. When an author is having a booksigning, or a reader special orders a book, we get requests to fill those orders all the time.

Yes, we are a small publisher and we've only been around for 3 1/2 years. Our business continues to grow and wit the additional of audio books, we're moving beyond the norm for a small publisher.

Unfortunately, there is an industry prejudice towards POD, created by poorly produced books early on. Most of today's POD are top quality and I would boast that all of our books' quality stacks up to anything you can find on any shelf, and many times are better. This statement is backed up by every bookstore that has seen our books.

B&N and Borders automatically mark all POD books are non-returnable, which effectively kills them for stocking, although all of our books are clearly marked returnable by books-in-print, Ingram's and B&T. It has taken a lot of effort on our part to get our books changed in their systems, but it is happening.

By the way, most Borders will have computer stands around that you can look up our books, click a button to print the one you want, and hand it to the clerk. Works like a charm.

Finally, for those authors that want to hit the "big time" with a big NY publishing house, then go for it. Many authors, especially first-timers, are finding it easier to be accepted by small publishers. Author promotion and marketing can make a big difference in the sales of a book and whether it gets requested by bookstores. It's one thing to get a book on a bookstore shelf. It's another thing to get it sold off that shelf so it doesn't end up as a return. With hundreds of thousands of books released each year, an author has a lot of competition for the reader's entertainment dollar. Arranging things like book signings, visiting libraries, starting a yahoo author group, and getting word of mouth going to spread the fact that you (and your book) exist go a long way to increasing book sales. We see this all the time as the authors who actively promote their books have sales much higher then those who sit back and do nothing. Even the big publishing houses no longer put huge budgets for ads and author tours behind every book. An author could find that their next book won't be accepted as the first one didn't sell well.

I hope this answers your questions.

Dan
 

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I'd never heard of a "master distributor" either. From the research I've been able to do, it seems to be a term that's common in other industries (for instance, medical supplies and software), and means a distributor that sells to other distributors. Apparently it came into use in publishing because so many people didn't know the difference between a wholesaler and a distributor, and were using the terms interchangeably. So "master distributor" is just a more elaborate way of saying "distributor." It seems to be used mainly by small presses and self-publishers.

Dan, thanks for your responses.

- Victoria
 

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I can't find any Mundania Press books listed in Bookscan.
 

Jennifer Robins

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jenrob

Some have mentioned here the rankings on amazon. Because I am a guest at times on two nationally broadcast radio shows, my rankings soured back in Jan. down to 80,000 for my book Ghostly Antiques. I am looking to have it released from PA soon, but in the mean time I have another novel I want to submit to another publisher. I am looking here at Mundania, but have to be sure this time, not to make another mistake. I work very hard to promote my books have spent thousands of dollars, and want some kind of help from the publisher. After all, they are making money on my book. More even than I am.

Jennifer Robins
 

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JennaGlatzer said:
I know some of your authors personally-- and I know they're talented. And I coincidentally just put a Mundania book on my "wish list" last week because I loved one of your author's blogs. My only question has been distribution/sales. I'd like to have a more accurate understanding so I know how to advise writers who ask me for recommendations.

Jenna, I've been looking into Mundania. The best source on how a publisher really works is the authors. If you can answer could I ask these questions?

1.Do you know if any of these authors have any misgivings or complaints of Mundania?

2.Do they feel being published with Mundania is worth it?
 

Ken Schneider

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We are sceptical on this site for good reasons, but, Mundania is just down the highway from me in Cincinnati, and has a good rep in my neck of the woods.

I know several authors who are quite happy with what they receive from Dan's company.

I have confidence that Piers knows what he's doing, and is satisfied. I have his e-mail addy, and have spoken with him before, and could again for his opinion. But he does publish with Mundania, and that in itself seems to speak to the answer.

I have also submitted, and been rejected early on, and plan to submit again.
It speaks to what they are feeding the reading public. The title has to be good, and that's a good place to start.

Chalk it up to growing pains, Dan. We writers North of Dayton appreciate your efforts in our territory.

Mundania books are shelved in our region. If that makes Mundania a regional, stocking, small, publisher, then choose wisely when submitting if your name isn't Piers.

Ken.
 

Jennifer Robins

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jenrob

After looking into this company I am seriously thinking of sending them my manuscript. I have only one question; Do they accept Word Perfect. I wrote this one in Word Perfect before I got Microsoft Word and can't seem to change it over.

Jennifer Robins
 

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What version of WordPefect do you have?

In most, if you go into your document, click file, then 'save as...,' your list of files comes up. At the bottom is File Types, and you can save it as a separate MS Word, Rich Text, or other file. It won't affect your original file. If you don't have Word, you won't be able to open the new file, but you can send it to others.

I would test it out first with someone who has Word to make sure the format hasn't been screwed up, but I've done this successfully.
 

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Convert it to RTF

Jennifer Robins said:
After looking into this company I am seriously thinking of sending them my manuscript. I have only one question; Do they accept Word Perfect. I wrote this one in Word Perfect before I got Microsoft Word and can't seem to change it over.

Jennifer Robins

Jennifer,

We don't use WordPerfect, and Microsoft Word won't open WordPerfect files. You can select SAVE AS and save your WordPerfect file into an RTF format. We can take DOC (Word) or RTF files.

Dan
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I didn't have any problems sending material to Mundania, and that was two or three submissions, I forget. But they did get back to me. I think I rate them on the high side of small press, one of the better ones and I've investigated about sixty of the like. I think Five Star is okay too. I don't see any real problems with Mundania. I think for as new as they are they've hit a pretty decent stride and can only get better.

Tri
 

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jenrob

MundaniaPress said:
Jennifer,

We don't use WordPerfect, and Microsoft Word won't open WordPerfect files. You can select SAVE AS and save your WordPerfect file into an RTF format. We can take DOC (Word) or RTF files.

Dan
Mundania Press

Okay, Dan, I think I was successful in transferring it over to word. I did send it in word perfect, but re-submitted it in Word. Hope that works. I am now using only Word for my future work.

Jennifer Robins
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Richard White

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Jennifer Robins said:
Okay, Dan, I think I was successful in transferring it over to word. I did send it in word perfect, but re-submitted it in Word. Hope that works. I am now using only Word for my future work.

Jennifer Robins
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Jennifer,

As a dedicated WordPerferct user, it's very easy to save things as an .rtf (Rich Text File) in WordPerfect. Just got to "Save As" and select Rich Text File as the format to save it as. That's how I send stuff to my editor all the time.

I love how WordPerfect will easily convert Word Docs but Word can't seem to manage to recipocate. (sigh)
 

James D. Macdonald

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I use WordPerfect, and "save as" if someone needs a different file type.

Word is (IMHO) a lousy wordprocessor for a novelist, for all that it might be wonderful for a business executive who needs to write a two-page memo once a month.
 

Jennifer Robins

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jenrob

Maybe it would be worth it for some of these publishers to install Word Perfect.
some do have it. I did all of my other books in Word Perfect and liked it very much. Now I'm using Microsoft Word and it's okay.

Jennifer Robins
 

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Net VS Cover Price

Mundania: "We pay 15% net on print copies, and 50% net on eBooks"

NET means you get 15% and 50% of the PROFIT on a book. What if it makes no profit?

Other publishers give a percentage of the COVER price. That is industry standard as I know it.

Once the bean counters are done some projects NEVER make a profit--just ask the Forrest Gump bunch about that.

Ask Mundania to swap the word "net" with "cover price" on the contract and see what happens.

I nearly signed a film contract where the boiler plate had "net" where "gross" should have been. Thankfully a lawyer friend found that fine point and saved me from all kinds of grief.

Try going with a publisher who pays a real advance and provides a percentage of the cover price. That's easier to track!
 

Jennifer Robins

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That's right. They do say profit. I sent them my novel Jeffrey and If they want to publish it, they will have to change that. I also noted in their guidelines that it could take up to 120 days or more to respond. That's too long. If I don't hear from them in a few weeks, I'll just forget it. I have sent it to others so we will see who answers sooner. I would like to see Jeffrey out by the end of this year. Now, that may not happen, but it would be good if I could announce it's coming out for Halloween on the radio shows I will be on.

Jennifer Robins
 
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Lauri B

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Do you have any experience submitting to publishers? A 3-month response time for an unsolicited manuscript is moving right along, and I can't imagine a publisher who could or would turn around a manuscript to completed book in fewer than six months from contract to release, unless it's a very timely nonfiction topic whose sales are contingent on a specific release date.
 

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jenrob

Nomad said:
Do you have any experience submitting to publishers? A 3-month response time for an unsolicited manuscript is moving right along, and I can't imagine a publisher who could or would turn around a manuscript to completed book in fewer than six months from contract to release, unless it's a very timely nonfiction topic whose sales are contingent on a specific release date.

I am sure you are right, but I have a horror thriller that would sell well in the fall months. I've been down this road before. I know they can and do put books out sooner. It all depends on how well known you are.

Jennifer Robins
 

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