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New Century Publishing

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

Gentle Giant

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NCP is a small publisher in Indiana. After months of enduring rejections from agencts, I decided to solicit small presses. I have had three phone conversations with them, most recently with the president. They want to publish my book and they sent me a publishing agreement. Here are some of the highlights:

1. They want me to pay 50% of the costs of preparing the book for the market (editing, design, printing, etc.). They estimate the cost as being $3,500, so my share would be $1,750.

2. They will split sales revenue with me 50/50. Any books I order and sell on my own, I keep 100% of the sale. I need to buy a minimum of 40 books.

3. I retain copyright and, I believe, publishing rights. Specifically, the agreement states: The Author shall have the sole right to license, sell, or otherwise dispose of the following rights in the Work: Publication or sale by book clubs; reprint rights; foreign rights; translation rights; publication in anthologies, compilations, digests, condensations; first and second serial rights (in one or more installments);; broadcast by radio; recordings; electronic, mechanical, and visual reproduction; computer programs; microprint, microfiche, and microfilm editions; syndication rights; permission rights (quotations, excerpts, illustrations, etc.); any other rights to the Work not specifically enumerated; and otherwise utilize the Work and material based on the Work.
The Author shall retain the following rights: dramatic, motion picture, and television rights.


So, how does this sound to you folks? Anyone have any experience with NCP?
 

Giant Baby

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If I may ask, how many agents did you query? "Months" isn't terribly long, in most cases- especially in this market. Did you receive requests? Helpful rejections?

You're looking at vanity publishing, by your own description of what they're offering.
 

Giant Baby

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I've queried about 20 or 25 agents, all rejections (two or three still waiting to reject me). None helpful.

Aw, jeez. Do you believe in your book? Do you feel you need to pull it back and revise, or do you feel it's where it needs to be?

If you feel it's where it needs to be, keep querying. I'd love to say 25 rejections is significant, but you're likely far from done. Rejection-revision can be your book's bestest friend, though.

If you want to vanity publish to escape the sting of rejection, I can respect that. But understand what it is. You pay, because probably no-one else will. At 25 rejections, are you ready to conceed that?
 

colealpaugh

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I've queried about 20 or 25 agents, all rejections (two or three still waiting to reject me). None helpful.

So you have three hundred more to go while you write another book. The fun's just starting!

BTW, would you be a little pissed to find out the actual cost of printing your books was $300 after all expenses? Chin up, bro, and crack another bottle of Hog's Ass!
 

James D. Macdonald

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So, how does this sound to you folks? Anyone have any experience with NCP?

Sounds like vanity press right down the line. The only people who'll read your book are folks you already know by name.

Of course you keep the copyright. Everyone keeps the copyright. It's actually difficult to lose, give away, or sell the copyright. No, you aren't keeping primary publication rights. They're leaving you with a pile of subsidiary rights. The subsidiary rights to a vanity-published book are worth just about zip.

Save your time and money. Tweak your query if you must, and keep slogging.

And, while all this is going on, write a new, different, better book.
 

MickRooney

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I decided to solicit small presses.

Gentle Giant,

If you really want to move away from the agent route, you should start by listing the suitable publishing houses, the few who will accept unsolicited submissions, work from the largest. I know you say you decided to solicit small presses, but your search has already unearthed a vanity/subsidy press. There are a vast amount of independent and small presses who work on a business model which respects YOGS law. Their advances may not be large - small in some cases, and many more now simply cannot afford to pay an advance at all, but the bottom line is that it will come at no expense to you. Keep writing while you submit. I can take a long time.

My two cents.
 
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Momento Mori

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Gentle Giant:
They want me to pay 50% of the costs of preparing the book for the market (editing, design, printing, etc.). They estimate the cost as being $3,500, so my share would be $1,750.

The question that you need to ask yourself is this: Do you have $1,750 that you don't need and can afford to never make back?

If you do, and you're not bothered that your book will never be on the shelves of a book store and that you won't make any money whatsoever from it, then there are other ways to self-publish that are a damned sight cheaper, e.g. Lulu.

Agents might not be interested in your book because your query letter doesn't do it justice or maybe you need to get a good beta reader to tear through it and tell you what's wrong with plot, characterisation and narration.

Either way, you've got a long way to go before you need to consider shelling out almost 2 grand to someone for the privilege of having your manuscript printed.

MM
 

Bushdoctor

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Look man. very few people get published on their first book. even fewer on their second or even third or fourth. Like everything else writing gets better with time and practice. this is no different for sport, art or music or any human endeavour. dont waste your money.
 

ChristineR

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There are plenty of self-publishing services who will print you for less than $1750 + the cost of 40 books. Createspace has a cover and layout package without editing for $758, and offers copy editing for $.019 (2 cents) a word. The only thing I wouldn't be sure about would be the editing. An extensive edit could cost a lot, but you don't specify what sort of editing they're promising.

This makes me really suspicious. They claim that they are investing $1750 worth of time and expertise in your book, which would be an incentive to them to sell enough books to earn $1750 on top of printing costs. If you're splitting 50/50 with them, you should get at least your $1750 back, right? But if they're lying to you, and all their costs are covered by your investment, then they have no real incentive to sell the book.
 

victoriastrauss

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They want me to pay 50% of the costs of preparing the book for the market (editing, design, printing, etc.). They estimate the cost as being $3,500, so my share would be $1,750.

It's highly likely that your $1,750, plus the cost of buying 40 books, not only covers 100% of the prep and publishing costs, but includes the publisher's overhead and profit as well. Claiming to be a "co-publisher," or to contribute something of value to match the author's investment, is a common vanity publisher ploy. It's designed to make you feel better about handing over a lot of money.

Also, the 50/50 split may be less than you think if the amount it's calculated on is the publisher's net income (cover price of the book less wholesalers' or retailers' discounts) or net profit (cover price less discounts less other fees and services).

- Victoria
 

Nya RAyne

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I've queried about 20 or 25 agents, all rejections (two or three still waiting to reject me). None helpful.

Sweetie you haven't even broken that book in with the rejections just yet. 20/25... Shiiiiish, I'm right around there with my second book and only said to myself today, that now its time to really get busy with the queries.

Finding an agent or publisher can takes months and way more than 25 rejections.

Ya gotta have a thick skin for this business, my friend.
 
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Gentle Giant

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Thanks everyone. This is very hard for me because I finally got positive feedback on my book, which is intoxicating, and I really think that there are readers out there for my work. I don't second-guess any agent who doesn't feel he or she can adequately represent my book to a major commercial publisher, I know the odds and the economics are against me. But while I do have a couple of other WIPs, something inside me is telling me I have to get this first one published before I die.

Oh well, I guess I can always go back to NCP or other similar type of organization when I'm at my true wit's end.
 

Gentle Giant

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Update: I sent an email to the prez of New Century declining his offer:

Mr. Caswell, thank you for your call and for offering me a publishing agreement. It was very gratifying to hear such positive feedback on my work. I have spent time since we spoke talking with other writers (including one of yours) and doing some research.

I guess where I stand right now is that even though you claim not be a vanity press, it's still a pay-to-publish venture and that does not align with my goals. I want my work to be in bookstores and I want other people to buy my books, not just me and my family and friends. I believe you would be making a profit on me before a single copy is printed, and thus would have little incentive to market my book. Also, the industry would not accept my work as legitimate because of its vanity/subsidy status.

At some point, I may give up on my dream of being a published author, in which case printing up a small run of copies for my loved ones would be a consolation prize I would give myself and a gift to those who have supported me. At this time, however, I regret I must decline your offer.

Regards,

Jason


Here was his reply:

Jason,

Many of our authors have been published on a royalty basis. We would consider your book on that arrangement. We offer the other option as being more advantageous to the author. Do not give up your dream. If you would like to be considered on a royalty basis, please call me.


I indicated that I would be interested in learning more, and he then sent this:

Jason, please keep in mind that New Century Publishing does not sell its services. We are constantly searching for submissions, because we reject such a high percentage of those we see. We often have authors offer large amounts of money for us to publish works we have rejected. If we were a vanity press, we would be happy to accept their money. Because we are not a vanity press, we turn down the money and maintain our standards. When we say your work is good, we mean just that. It is high quality, publishable work. In reading your comments online and those that followed, regarding the difficulty of being published, I would remind you, and any author, that if there was a lot of money to be made in publishing, there would be a lot of publishers.
In the meantime, our royalty is five percent of net revenue. Our books are NOT widely distributed, although they are found in bookstores all over the United States. People recommend our books to others, who go into bookstores and order them, and the store may order an extra copy or two, and if they sell, they are inclined to reorder. It is a slow, arduous process. As good as your book is, you should not expect sales in large numbers. Your first published book is a marketing piece for future books. It introduces you as an author, to the reading public. Have a good time with it. If your profit per copy is ten dollars, you only need to sell 175 copies to break even. If that is all that happens, it will have been worthwhile. If you aren’t thrilled with NCP, keep looking. You should be very comfortable with your publisher.
Call anytime. I would be happy to speak with you.


Most of NewCentury's books sell for $20. So if the royalty rate is 5% of "new revenue," what does that mean?

Very confusing.
 

CaoPaux

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Net revenue, assuming standard definition, would be whatever the publisher receives on the sale, minus their expenses. So, if the book actually sells for $20, your royalty would be 5% of (($20 - bookstore cut) - publisher expenses). If the book sells at a discount, store and pub still get their cuts but you're left with less. This is the main reason why net deals are less than desirable. Another is they can be subject to creative accounting.
 

jsouders

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In the meantime, our royalty is five percent of net revenue.
--this is almost ridiculous, IMO. That will get you, what maybe $.50 per book. Maybe. Basically what he is saying here is that he'll pay you 5% of whatever money is leftover after they pay for their expenses. I had a question about this from one of the contracts I received. They wanted to pay me 15% of net, but then ended up agreeing to 10% of cover. Which, from what I can tell, is about on par.

Your first published book is a marketing piece for future books. It introduces you as an author, to the reading public.
--this isn't necessarily true. True it would get your "foot in the door," but there's no reason why it can't do well. I'm going to use Stephanie Meyers as an example (and no one attack me here and I know it was a fluke). But that was her first book and look how well she did. Though that was with a major publishing house and she had an agent. Which you can still do. 25 rejections isn't that many.

If your profit per copy is ten dollars, you only need to sell 175 copies to break even.
--how on earth would your book make you $10 a copy. How much is he charging for your book?

I suggest telling this company "thanks, but no thanks," and hightailing it out of there. This still reeks of vanity press to me.
 

Momento Mori

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New Century:
We are constantly searching for submissions, because we reject such a high percentage of those we see. We often have authors offer large amounts of money for us to publish works we have rejected. If we were a vanity press, we would be happy to accept their money. Because we are not a vanity press, we turn down the money and maintain our standards.

I'd like to hear from anyone who has been turned down by this publisher an especially anyone who has offered them money to publish and still been turned down.

New Century:
In reading your comments online and those that followed, regarding the difficulty of being published, I would remind you, and any author, that if there was a lot of money to be made in publishing, there would be a lot of publishers.

There are a lot of vanity publishers out there, commercial publishers are a bit thinner on the ground but there are still plenty of respectable, advance paying commercial publishers that will work to put your books in stores and give you a higher royalty than a poxy 5%.

New Century:
our royalty is five percent of net revenue

And New Century should be ashamed to offer that to anyone. How they can do so and keep the smirk off their face is beyond me.

5% on net is an absolutely horrific deal for any writer and especially where you'll basically have to shill those $20 books yourself. The chances of any writer making money from such a deal is, I would suggest, slim.

New Century:
Our books are NOT widely distributed, although they are found in bookstores all over the United States.

If there's no distribution in place, then in all likelihood the only bookstores those books will be found in will be those stores that either:

(a) have been supplied by the author direct; or

(b) has hold of books that were ordered and never picked up.

New Century: (BOLDING MINE)
People recommend our books to others, who go into bookstores and order them, and the store may order an extra copy or two, and if they sell, they are inclined to reorder.

When someone's peddling shouldda, coulda to you, respond with won't and shan't.

New Century:
It is a slow, arduous process.

This is why most publishers try to put distribution in place in stores and promote their books.

New Century:
As good as your book is, you should not expect sales in large numbers.

And especially not if you go with New Century.

New Century:
Your first published book is a marketing piece for future books.

No it isn't.

New Century:
If your profit per copy is ten dollars, you only need to sell 175 copies to break even.

Except that 5% of net on a cover price of $20 doesn't give you a profit per copy of $10. The only way you'll make 10$ is if you hawk the books yourself for $30 (and I'm betting that you don't get royalties on self-bought books).

New Century:
If that is all that happens, it will have been worthwhile.

Except it probably won't happen, which means it's not worthwhile.

If it smells like bullshit, there are flies buzzing around it, and a guilty looking cow standing to one side, then there's a better than average chance that it's bullshit.

Keep on trucking, Giant Baby and you'll find a better home for your hard work.

MM
 

James D. Macdonald

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A book with a vanity press isn't a marketing piece for anyone; not with an agent, not with a legitimate publisher.

175 copies is more than twice as many as your average POD-no-distribution book sells. Even if you did make $10 per copy. Which you won't.

This guy is blowing smoke.
 

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