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Phenix & Phenix / BookPros (Ovation Books, Synergy Books, Bridgeway Books)

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DaveKuzminski

Re: Are Phenix & Phenix Literary Publicists legit??

I didn't notice them boasting of any well known clients yet they claim they're well known in the industry. That makes me wonder what they're well known for.
 

vstrauss

Re: Are Phenix & Phenix Literary Publicists legit??

They started out as publicists, mostly for small-press and self-pubbed books. A couple of years ago they started their own vanity publishing operation, Turnkey Press/Synergy Books, which charges nearly $8,000 for a few hundred books and their own publicity services. Their publicity efforts these days appear to be mainly for Turnkey/Synergy books.

- Victoria
 

asammons

Clarification

[font=&quot]It is great to see authors out there sharing information and doing research on the companies they are considering working with. This is a great resource and as the Marketing Manager at Phenix & Phenix, I wanted to take the opportunity to provide some clarification to the questions raised in this forum. Phenix & Phenix does work with authors from our imprints, TurnKey Press & Synergy Books, but the majority of our publicity campaigns are conducted for publishers and authors published by traditional houses or independent presses.

We are excited to currently be working with Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan and Al Switzler, The New York Times best-selling authors of Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High. Another recent success was our campaign for Revolve: The Complete New Testament, whose award-winning media exposure trigged the Biblezine phenomenon and made Revolve the #1 Bestselling Bible of 2003.

TurnKey Press and Synergy Books were created as alternatives to vanity press. We know that some of our competitors have made authors leery of the self-publishing process, but our purpose is to create marketable books because we know that the content of a book can get lost if the packaging doesn’t reflect the quality of what’s inside. Our partnership with Biblio/NBN, one of the largest distributors in the country, also allows authors the option to be distributed nationally.

We have a list of references we would be happy to provide to authors whose books make it through our media analysis process, so send us your title or visit our website, http://www.bookpros.com, for more information. I appreciate the opportunity to answer some of your questions and would be happy to address additional ones at [email protected][/font]
 

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The last post here was in February '05.

The next news of Phenix & Phenix came four months later in June '05:
Phexix & Phenix Literary Publicists Acquired in Management-Led Buyout


Austin, Texas - June 30, 2005 - Phenix & Phenix Literary Publicists, Inc., a top media relations firm specializing in literary publicity for authors, announced today that it has been acquired in a management-led buyout. The buyer, BookPros, LLC, will assume operations of P&P under the BookPros branding identity

Here's the new website: http://www.bookpros.com/
 

Popeyesays

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This says it all, I think:

Compare BookPros to:
AuthorHouse iUniverse Xlibris Lulu
 

batgirl

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I just wanted to bump this up, and ask if it might be an idea to add Synergy Books to the index? Their url is http://synergybooks.net/index.html (Not to be confused with SynergEbooks ePublishing, which does have its own thread.)

I ask because there's a full-page ad in Realms of Fantasy for the latest in a fantasy series by Jayel Gibson, published by Synergy, which makes it look rather as if Synergy advertises. Their 'Why Work with Synergy' page (yes, I did notice that they're pitching to authors, not readers) says:
"Our distribution relationship with MidPoint Trade Books alone makes Synergy Books an excellent choice for publishing your next book. MidPoint gives Synergy Books titles access to all bookstores and wholesale distributors in the country, and offers distribution capabilities that are as sophisticated as those enjoyed by the largest publishers in the industry. Additionally, MidPoint's sales and marketing representatives will pitch your book to the regional book buyers for major chains as well as directly to independent retailers (remember, it’s up to the stores to decide which books to purchase.)"
It wasn't until I reached this paragraph: ""Each Synergy Books author receives a full service national publicity campaign spearheaded by Phenix & Phenix Literary Publicists, one of the nation’s top book publicity firms."
that I remembered having seen this thread.
So I guess Synergy does advertise, if the author gives enough money to Phenix.
Incidentally, I notice that Phenix's bestseller list includes books published by Thomas Nelson, Dorchester, McGraw-Hill, and Zondervan. Which makes me suspect that the sales had more to do with a reputable publisher with solid distribution and publisher catalogues than with much that Phenix did.
-Barbara
 

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Bridgeway Books

Have looked at their website, but can't get a handle on whether or not they are legit. It looks like a POD operation. Anyone hear of them? Don't see any submission guidelines.

DP
 

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I checked out the site. Looks like a venue for self-publishing authors.
 

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http://www.bridgewaybooks.net/index.html

We are an independent publisher dedicated to working with self-established authors just like you. Each year, we carefully select and publish a number of titles which are then distributed through Ingram Book Group and Baker & Taylor, two of the nation’s largest wholesale distributors. Having these direct distribution relationships will allow you to keep your inventories low so you can devote more of your time and resources to promoting your book.
It's a printer for self-publishers.

Additionally, each Bridgeway Books author receives a full service national publicity campaign spearheaded by Phenix & Phenix Literary Publicists, one of the nation’s top book publicity firms. With 25 bestsellers over its thirteen year history, P&P has the insider know-how to managing a successful campaign.
Out of the hundreds of "bestsellers" a year, their PR company claims two...out of how many clients? How many of those 25 are POD? Versus how many of their clients?
 
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Donna Pudick

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So there must be a money outlay for the author somewhere, even though there's no mention of it on the website. Would like to see an answer from them on this site.

DP
 

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An outlay isn't necessary: the costs are likely built into the book's price, like Lulu (and PA).
 

M.R.J. Le Blanc

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[FONT=&quot]We have a list of references we would be happy to provide to authors whose books make it through our media analysis process, so send us your title or visit our website, http://www.bookpros.com, for more information.[/FONT]

Does this look wrong to anyone else? Maybe it's my newbishness, but if this were me thinking to submit to them, I think I'd want to see their references BEFORE the process starts. I mean, if I'm not satisfied with their references, then I've just wasted my time submitting and their time also.
 

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Thanks, Victoria, I'll pass this on to those who ask. I get a lot of questions from clients and non-clients alike who want me to submit to them. Not a chance!
 

Mark Wakely

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In 2004, I was looking for a PR firm for my soon to be published novel. Phenix & Phenix quoted me $25,000 to do a national campaign. (This was before they started their publishing imprints.) Certainly there are more expensive firms, but I wasn't impressed with what I would have gotten for the money. This was before the explosion in virtual book tours, blogs and RSS feeds, so they were primarily doing elaborate press kits sent snail mail and targeted email PR releases, with a few phone calls thrown in. Still, as nice as the sample press kits were they sent me, I found a PR firm (Dan Smith Publicity) that did virtually the same thing for a fraction of the price. I know some PR firms claim to have connections that others don't, but $25,000 was way out of my league, connections or no connections.
 

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A response from the publisher...

First off, it's great to see so many people doing their research! In our daily conversations with authors from the U.S. and around the world, we often find a great deal of misinformation and a general lack of understanding of the realities of publishing. As Marketing Director for MSB Media Group, parent company to both BookPros and Phenix & Phenix (yes, they are separate companies), I'd like to take this opportunity to answer some of the questions that have been posted in this thread.

Let me start by explaining a bit more about our business model. BookPros is an author-funded traditional publisher, meaning that we offer authors comprehensive, top-of-the line editing, design, publishing, distribution, printing, and publicity services to launch their books. Our imprints, Bridgeway Books, Synergy Books, and Ovation Books, are each aligned with a different distributor (Ingram and Baker & Taylor, Midpoint Trade Books, and National Book Network, respectively)—BookPros is not a Print-On-Demand (POD) company.

Each of our authors prints a minimum number of books offset, as dictated by the projections of their distributor. When we began publishing in 2004 with the Turnkey Press imprint, we attempted to make the POD model work (which, by the way, is solely a means of printing and distribution—it has nothing to do with actually publishing a book), but quickly realized the lack of distribution and availability within the market made promoting POD books successfully almost impossible.

As a result, we overhauled our model to create the company we are today. Our clients pay the production, publishing, printing, and other costs associated with getting their book ready, and they retain 100% of the rights and royalties of the finished product. This means that, as a publisher, we do not take a cut of the royalties from sales, nor do we own any of the rights to the books themselves. So when a publisher like McGraw Hill approaches one of our clients to purchase publishing rights to their book (as recently happened to Margie Warrell, a Synergy Books client and author of "Find Your Courage! Unleash Your Full Potential and Live the Life You Really Want"), they are free to enter into a new agreement, no strings attached.

Our model is intended to give authors the opportunity to have their books designed, distributed, published and promoted on the same level as any commercial publisher, so they too have the chance to compete in this highly competitive and overly saturated market.

In response to Batgirl's post regarding advertising for Jayel Gibson's series, BookPros does not purchase advertising on behalf of our clients, but some of our clients choose to purchase advertising for themselves. As a company, we find significantly more value in strong promotion and the third-party credibility that comes with media exposure, which is why each of our titles launches with a full service publicity campaign conducted by our sister company, Phenix & Phenix Literary Publicists. P&P is widely regarded as one of the top literary publicity firms in the country and regularly works with publishers like Thomas Nelson, St. Martin's Press, Zondervan, and many others.
I hope this answers the various questions posted here—if not, please visit our websites for more information (www.bookpros.com and www.phenixpublicity.com), or feel free to contact me with any additional questions you have, at [email protected].
 

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"Author-funded traditional publisher" strikes me as a bit weaselly, terminology-wise, especially since most people assume that "traditional publisher" (which is not a term that has any standard meaning in the publishing industry) means "no-fee publisher." What you describe sounds to me more like book manufacturing, or perhaps old-fashioned vanity publishing. Writers pay for production, publishing, and a print run, and own the books and the rights.

However, I'm confused by your use of the term "royalty," since a royalty is a percentage of a book's sales proceeds paid by a company to which the author has licensed rights. Surely, if the author keeps 100% of the rights, s/he would get 100% of the books' sales proceeds, not a royalty.

Can you give us some insight into your prices? I've heard from some writers who report very high costs.

- Victoria
 

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Hi, LGroh and welcome to AW.

LGroh:
BookPros is an author-funded traditional publisher, meaning that we offer authors comprehensive, top-of-the line editing, design, publishing, distribution, printing, and publicity services to launch their books.

I think that "traditional" is something of a red herring here in that it can cause discussions as to what is or is not traditional publishing. To cut through that, what you basically seem to be saying is that your business model involves an author paying up front to be published - is that correct?

LGroh:
Each of our authors prints a minimum number of books offset, as dictated by the projections of their distributor.

I'm not sure I'm following this - are you saying that a distributor such as Ingrams, will tell you how many books need to printed in each run?

LGroh:
Our clients pay the production, publishing, printing, and other costs associated with getting their book ready, and they retain 100% of the rights and royalties of the finished product.

Okay, so to answer my question above - yes, the authors do pay to be published.

How do your books compare price-wise with others on the market?

LGroh:
This means that, as a publisher, we do not take a cut of the royalties from sales, nor do we own any of the rights to the books themselves. So when a publisher like McGraw Hill approaches one of our clients to purchase publishing rights to their book (as recently happened to Margie Warrell, a Synergy Books client and author of "Find Your Courage! Unleash Your Full Potential and Live the Life You Really Want"), they are free to enter into a new agreement, no strings attached.

Although you do not take a cut of the royalties, you won't need to given that the author has paid for everything up front. Are you saying that your company does not take any rights at all for a book? If that's so, then how can you publish it, given that it's usual for authors to grant first publishing rights in their work?

LGroh:
Our model is intended to give authors the opportunity to have their books designed, distributed, published and promoted on the same level as any commercial publisher, so they too have the chance to compete in this highly competitive and overly saturated market.

Do you arrange distribution for your author's books so that they're stocked in book stores?

MM
 

M.R.J. Le Blanc

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First off, it's great to see so many people doing their research! In our daily conversations with authors from the U.S. and around the world, we often find a great deal of misinformation and a general lack of understanding of the realities of publishing. As Marketing Director for MSB Media Group, parent company to both BookPros and Phenix & Phenix (yes, they are separate companies), I'd like to take this opportunity to answer some of the questions that have been posted in this thread.

Let me start by explaining a bit more about our business model. BookPros is an author-funded traditional publisher, meaning that we offer authors comprehensive, top-of-the line editing, design, publishing, distribution, printing, and publicity services to launch their books. Our imprints, Bridgeway Books, Synergy Books, and Ovation Books, are each aligned with a different distributor (Ingram and Baker & Taylor, Midpoint Trade Books, and National Book Network, respectively)—BookPros is not a Print-On-Demand (POD) company.

Each of our authors prints a minimum number of books offset, as dictated by the projections of their distributor. When we began publishing in 2004 with the Turnkey Press imprint, we attempted to make the POD model work (which, by the way, is solely a means of printing and distribution—it has nothing to do with actually publishing a book), but quickly realized the lack of distribution and availability within the market made promoting POD books successfully almost impossible.

As a result, we overhauled our model to create the company we are today. Our clients pay the production, publishing, printing, and other costs associated with getting their book ready, and they retain 100% of the rights and royalties of the finished product. This means that, as a publisher, we do not take a cut of the royalties from sales, nor do we own any of the rights to the books themselves. So when a publisher like McGraw Hill approaches one of our clients to purchase publishing rights to their book (as recently happened to Margie Warrell, a Synergy Books client and author of "Find Your Courage! Unleash Your Full Potential and Live the Life You Really Want"), they are free to enter into a new agreement, no strings attached.

Our model is intended to give authors the opportunity to have their books designed, distributed, published and promoted on the same level as any commercial publisher, so they too have the chance to compete in this highly competitive and overly saturated market.

In response to Batgirl's post regarding advertising for Jayel Gibson's series, BookPros does not purchase advertising on behalf of our clients, but some of our clients choose to purchase advertising for themselves. As a company, we find significantly more value in strong promotion and the third-party credibility that comes with media exposure, which is why each of our titles launches with a full service publicity campaign conducted by our sister company, Phenix & Phenix Literary Publicists. P&P is widely regarded as one of the top literary publicity firms in the country and regularly works with publishers like Thomas Nelson, St. Martin's Press, Zondervan, and many others.
I hope this answers the various questions posted here—if not, please visit our websites for more information (www.bookpros.com and www.phenixpublicity.com), or feel free to contact me with any additional questions you have, at [email protected]

Pardon my bluntness but how are you a traditional publisher when your authors are footing all the bills? You don't do anything unless the author pays you - show me a traditional publisher who makes their authors pay for editing and publishing services and I'd gladly reverse my position, but right now these companies are not companies I would want to have represent any of my work. I'll stick to publishers who pay me, not ask me to pay them.
 

Mark Wakely

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Interesting that some hard questions were asked and now there's only silence.

Interesting too that the single posts from asammons and LGroh have similar beginnings even though they're nearly three years apart. That's just "great."

Well, perhaps it's just a coincidence...
 

M.R.J. Le Blanc

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Interesting that some hard questions were asked and now there's only silence.

Interesting too that the single posts from asammons and LGroh have similar beginnings even though they're nearly three years apart. That's just "great."

Well, perhaps it's just a coincidence...

I don't believe in coincidences. If it quacks like a duck and looks like a duck...
 

LGroh

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RE: A response from the publisher...

As Victoria observed, many of the terms we use in the publishing industry have vague, if not entirely undefined meanings. The general public would define "traditional publishing" based solely on the publisher paying the author for the right to publish his or her book—but the moniker also implies a certain level of production quality, distribution, and promotional support. Similarly, the term "self-publishing" really only indicates who is paying the bill—the author—but carries with it a stigma of poor quality and no distribution or promotional support (in other words, "vanity publishing").



We use the term "author-funded traditional publisher" because it is the best description of what we offer as a company: the ability for qualified authors to subsidize their own "traditional" publishing experience, and reap the benefits once the product is on the market. And yes, there is a relatively high cost to publish with us, due to the fact that producing, publishing, and promoting a book at this level requires substantial resources.



My purpose in posting here was simply to attempt to address the questions of posters and correct the misinformation in the answers provided by others. Our company is certainly not for everyone, but I think having information about your options in a competitive industry is important. I appreciate your questions, and would be happy to discuss them further if you'd like to contact me directly ([email protected]). Best of luck to each of you in your publishing endeavors.
 

Momento Mori

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LGroh:
The general public would define "traditional publishing" based solely on the publisher paying the author for the right to publish his or her book—but the moniker also implies a certain level of production quality, distribution, and promotional support. Similarly, the term "self-publishing" really only indicates who is paying the bill—the author—but carries with it a stigma of poor quality and no distribution or promotional support (in other words, "vanity publishing").

I'm not really sure that I follow your thinking here, LGroh. If the public would take a "traditional publisher" as one that pays an advance, and a "vanity publisher" as one where the author bears all the costs, then the fact that the Phenix & Phenix model involves the author bearing all the costs, by your own words, surely puts it in the vanity category.

At best you could perhaps describe it as "vanity publishing with a certain level of production quality, distribution, and promotional support" but you certainly can't claim to be a "traditional publisher" because you're not making any payment for the author's work. And in any event, given that the author is paying, by your own words "a relatively high cost" to use your services, Phenix & Phenix's risk assumption is negligible compared with that assumed by more commercial publishing houses because you would be expected to recoup those costs via the fee charged to your authors.

If it's any assistance to you, my understanding is that it was vanity outfits like Publish America who coined the term "traditional publishing" in an effort to distinguish their own operation.

LGroh:
I appreciate your questions, and would be happy to discuss them further if you'd like to contact me directly

Does this mean that you're not prepared to answer on a public board my earlier question as to whether Phenix & Phenix could place books in bookstores (rather than make available books to order through bookstores)?

MM
 

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