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Promontory Press

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Brazos

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I have no interest in their venture, just didn't see anything in these threads about them, so thought I'd start one.

http://www.promontorypress.com/about-the-publisher

From their About page:

"We’re better than traditional publishing houses because we’re in the business of accepting manuscripts, not rejecting them. Some may need a little more help than others to get to a publishable level, but we want to work with you, the author, to get there. Plus, we can have your book into major bookstore chains within months of first meeting you, as opposed to the years it takes with a traditional publisher."

They claim not to be a vanity press, but check out their author services.
 

mrsmig

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As an experiment, I picked one book from their catalog - The Little Woman's Guide to Personal Power. It's not yet available in print form from the publisher, but it is available as a Kindle book through Amazon. It's 53 pages long and carries a price tag of $9.99. There's a used print copy available through Amazon for $19.99. There is a single, 5-star review of the book, which happens to be from one of Promontory's other authors.

I guess that's his copy for sale.
 

Marian Perera

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If you are interested in using Promontory's editing services to prepare your book, we offer two editing options, based on the quality of the work when we receive it:

Manuscript Evaluation ($875)


Detailed Line Editing (1 to 3 cents per word)
Please note, you’re more than welcome to select a publisher package and then add a couple of a la carte items to augment.

Basic Package ($999 + printing)

Indie Package ($1599 + printing)

Marketer Package ($2899 + printing)

Master Package ($4999 + printing)
But first things first: Promontory is NOT a vanity press.
I think that says it all.

Avoid.
 

aliceshortcake

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Our authors share the financial investment in the book with us. We provide an existing team of professionals to ensure that the book is top quality, that it has excellent sales and marketing support, and that it has full access to the same major distribution channels as any traditional publisher. All this costs money, and while Promontory will shoulder some of the costs, we ask the author to do so as well. But the beauty of the system is, the author gets the lion's share of the revenue that comes back.
http://www.promontorypress.com/about-the-publisher

Yes - but how much revenue comes back, and is it enough to reimburse the authors for the money they've shelled out?

A message from PP's president:

My name is Bennett R. Coles and I'm a Canadian writer who in early 2010 made the decision to eschew the traditional road to publishing my novel, and to find the way to successful self-publishing. By then I'd discovered some unpleasant truths about both the traditional publishing market and the self-publishing market.
http://www.promontorypress.com/successful-self-publishing-message-from-the-president

Mr Coles' own book Virtues of War won the Cygnus Award for military science fiction. I'd never heard of this award, which turns out to be for one of many Chanticleer Book Reviews Blue Ribbon Writing Contests (http://chantireviews.com/). Other PP books are proudly proclaimed to be winners of zero-prestige, sticker-happy faux contests such as the US National Book Awards, the US Indie Excellence Awards and the Next Generation Indie Book Awards.

Elsewhere on the site potential authors are told that:

Almost gone are the small allocations of budget designated every year to risk on new authors - these days traditional publishers need to ensure that every cent spent goes toward guaranteed sales - and that means existing authors and celebrities. There's no room for new authors anymore...

To make a career today, new authors need to take control of publishing their own books...

No matter what method an author uses to get published these days, he or she can count on getting virtually no support from the publishing house for marketing the book. Indeed, many agents today will present, as part of their initial pitch to a traditional publisher, a detailed marketing plan which the author is prepared to fund and execute.

Apparently the only way new authors can hope to succeed nowadays is by paying for publication, marketing and awards...
 
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MikaelS

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Any other news on them? Their submissions window opens in a week and I'm considering submitting.
 

JetFueledCar

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Any other news on them? Their submissions window opens in a week and I'm considering submitting.

They're a vanity press. They will take your money and give you nothing of value in return. Why on Earth would you consider submitting to that?
 

Filigree

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*Facepalm*. Okay, look, I'll spell this out carefully for you. In general, whenever a vanity publisher goes on about how they offer 'traditional' advance-paid contracts as well as author-paying 'subsidy' or 'partnership' contracts...that means that the bulk of their writers pay to be published. They might do the occasional low-dollar 'advance' to an author they want to court (meaning they think they can maybe get money out of someday, or they can use the prestige of association). But nearly everyone else is going to pay.
 

JetFueledCar

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Even if they did both AND they offered you an advance, you'd spend the rest of your career with people assuming you paid to be published. And your book would be keeping company with books that could ONLY be published if the author paid money, i.e. poorly edited slush. Not that all your fellows will be that, but many of them will be, and your book will be judged on those standards. The "publisher" will also totally fail to make you money, because they will have nothing in place to get you sales. Best case scenario, they still suck.
 

Becca C.

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Promontory Press has a booth in the foyer of the writer's conference I'm at right now. I actually looked up this thread the other day when I got here, so was surprised to see a post here today. Yes. Vanity. I hope they don't snare anyone at this conference.
 

MikaelS

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I'm clueless about publishing. Thanks for letting me know. I obviously won't be submitting now.
 

leifwright

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Follow one simple rule, if nothing else: if they ask you to pay, run away. There's a lot to learn. You're in the right place.

I have to say, I read this thread when I was looking to see if getting my fiction published without involving my nonfiction agent was an option. I've already been traditionally published twice, so I'm familiar with how that works. I had already submitted to Promontory, so I just figured, "Mark this one off my list."

Well, not so fast.

A few months later, I got an email from Amy O'Hara, the staff editor at Promontory, saying they liked my query and wanted to look at three chapters. So I sent them three chapters. About a month later, she emailed again asking for the entire manuscript.

Two months after that (today), I got an email saying they'd like to offer me a publishing contract. Since I had read this thread, I had questions, so I called Amy at the phone number she provided in the email. The first thing I said to her was "I'm flattered, but I've read online that Promontory is a vanity publisher, and I have no interest in that kind of thing."

She sighed. It sounded like she'd heard that a few times.

"We offer two types of publishing here," she said. "One is where we pay two-thirds of the cost and share the revenue 50/50 with the author and the other is where we pay the entire publishing cost and the author gets 10 percent of revenue."

"Well, I'm not interested in the two-thirds/one-third deal," I said. "So if that's what you were planning to offer me, I'm sorry and I don't mean to be rude, but it's just not going to happen."

We continued talking and I mentioned that I'd like to receive a list of books they've published along with the names of the authors so I could do research myself and see how their authors wrote and how they felt like they were treated.

"That's probably something the publisher should talk to you about," she said. "I'll give him your number."

I expected that would be the end of it, but not an hour later, my phone rang with a Canadian number.

On the phone was Bennett R. Coles, the publisher of Promontory.

He explained further:

"We're a small publisher, and frankly, it's tough to survive as a small publisher - especially when you cater to new or almost-new authors," he said. "So to help offset the risk we take when we fully take on the financial burden, for less certain authors and books, we offer them a hybrid contract, where they foot about a third of the bill. But for authors and books where we feel like we're pretty certain to make money, we foot the entire bill."

So I reiterated to him that I didn't want to talk anymore if the one-third thing was what they were talking to me about. He kept talking, so I asked him about marketing and distribution, both of which I was disappointed with in the publisher of my second book.

He said they distribute to all the major bookstores, and unlike print-on-demand publishers, they have copies available whenever a bookstore orders them. In addition, he said, they market to those bookstores' buyers directly, both in Canada and in the US, where they employ a full-time person to make those deals.

Not only that, he told me, but Promontory only publishes 8 books per season - once in fall, once in spring, which amounts to 16 books a year, so they have to be careful about the risks/rewards. It seems a vanity publisher would publish a LOT more books than that. Then he said something that rang true. I mentioned to him the sales figures from my first book, which were in five figures, and he said, "That's amazing. To tell the truth, we consider it a home run if one of our authors sells 5,000 books. A lot sell only in the hundreds."

That unsolicited comment felt like someone who wasn't trying to pie-in-the-sky a glassy-eyed author hoping for riches and fame by vanity publishing their book.

I said all that to say this: Did I sign with them? No. I have another publisher reading my manuscript, so I'm going to wait a bit before I decide, but after my conversation with Bennett Coles, I have to say Promontory isn't automatically off the list as a "vanity publisher". I think, from my research online, the company did start off by offering services and other questionable packages, but it seems like it may have graduated beyond that now.

My guard isn't down now, but I'm certainly not rejecting them out of hand, either. I think asking authors to pony up ANY money is questionable, but then again, I'm not a small publisher trying to hedge my bets on untested authors and books. And that said, they didn't ask me to pony up a penny.

--------------
EDIT: Also, I went to their web site tonight and it says they are currently closed for submissions. I'm not entirely certain a vanity publisher would do that.
 
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Filigree

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I'm glad for the information, and look forward to the results of your experience should you choose them. I'm still really leery of a small-publisher who has any vanity segments, no matter how well-meaning, because the potential for abuse is so high.
 

leifwright

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I'm glad for the information, and look forward to the results of your experience should you choose them. I'm still really leery of a small-publisher who has any vanity segments, no matter how well-meaning, because the potential for abuse is so high.

I agree. I'm not sure what I'll do at this point. I'm not desperate to get the book published, so I think that gives me some perspective.

I'll keep everyone posted either way.
 

leifwright

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OK. The publisher sent me a list of authors to contact for information on their experiences with Promontory, so of course I instead looked online to find authors who weren't on the list he sent me.

After all, if I was trying to cover up bad things about my business, I'd send a list of people I knew would speak well of me.

So I contacted a few authors who weren't on his list, and here's what one who has worked with them recently replied, in part:

Promontory's specialty is distribution. Most small press and hybrid publishers don't supply distribution. Promontory makes a marketing plan for every book and pitch to Chapters and other book stores in Canada and they have a distributor in the U.S. that has a relationship with all the bookstores/chains. They also set you up on all the places to purchase books online.


Because Promontory makes a profit on your book sales, it's in their best interests that they promote your book. I think they do a decent job.

Again, this was from an author who wasn't on the list the publisher sent me. I received another reply from an author who had worked with Promontory when it was brand new, and his experience appeared to be vastly different:

Ben is quite reasonable to deal with and has many authors in his stable. However it is difficult to get data about where the books go although there is a 6 monthly statement on the number sold. I do not think PP has the oomph that other publishers have.

Interestingly, the first author was one for whom the publisher paid all the publishing expenses, and the second one was a shared-expenses author - and I could tell in the quality of the writing in their responses to me. Still waiting to hear back from the others I contacted.
 

leifwright

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They offered me a traditional publishing contract, where the publisher foots all the publication bills.

What that entails is the usual stuff, printing the book, creating a cover, pre-sale marketing, distributing review copies, contacting booksellers and pitching the book to them, etc.

I signed the contract today and the book, Robby the R-Word, is set for publication in spring of 2017.

I will let you know how the process goes and how this publisher handles itself.
 

C Alberts

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I'm curious if they've told you which distributor(s) they work with in the US. The only distribution relationship I can find is with New Leaf which is primarily a mind/body/spirit distributor with a pretty limited reach. Oddly, I don't see any reference to New Leaf on the PP website but the New Leaf website lists them.

Their books are listed on Ingram but with very few, if any, copies actually in their warehouses. The most recent titles are listed with a standard discount and are returnable, which is good, but the older titles have a short discount to bookstores and are backorder only.

I realize you already signed the contract so take this with a grain of salt, but I am not at all convinced that "Promontory's specialty is distribution", or that they actually have the capacity to get books on the shelves of many U.S. bookstores at all. Some of their releases from last fall aren't even in stock at Amazon in hard copy now.

(Also, I realize I am a little late to this conversation but I came across it from another thread and was curious so I did some digging around...)

That said, I genuinely hope everything goes well for you and that my impressions are wrong.
 

leifwright

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I'm curious if they've told you which distributor(s) they work with in the US.The only distribution relationship I can find is with New Leaf which is primarily a mind/body/spirit distributor with a pretty limited reach. Oddly, I don't see any reference to New Leaf on the PP website but the New Leaf website lists them.

Their books are listed on Ingram but with very few, if any, copies actually in their warehouses. The most recent titles are listed with a standard discount and are returnable, which is good, but the older titles have a short discount to bookstores and are backorder only.

I realize you already signed the contract so take this with a grain of salt, but I am not at all convinced that "Promontory's specialty is distribution", or that they actually have the capacity to get books on the shelves of many U.S. bookstores at all. Some of their releases from last fall aren't even in stock at Amazon in hard copy now.

(Also, I realize I am a little late to this conversation but I came across it from another thread and was curious so I did some digging around...)

That said, I genuinely hope everything goes well for you and that my impressions are wrong.

Sorry, I just saw this. As a former ghost writer, I've had a lot of interactions with New Leaf Press, but I do not remember Promontory being affiliated with them, especially since New Leaf is also a publisher.

Now for an update on my experience with them:

The editing process was very professional and quite thorough. I generally write fairly clean copy (I'm a former copy editor and longtime content editor), but they still nitpicked the hell out of my manuscript, which I appreciate.

The cover creation process was collaborative, with them sending me early mockups and responding to my suggestions, but when it came down to brass tacks, they put the brakes on my suggestions and basically told me, "thanks for the input, but you're being too much of a ninny here." That tells me something about them, too—that they're taking their role as publisher seriously, and even though they're open to author input, ultimately they're the ones putting up the money and therefore they get the final say. Again, I like that, even though I still think my final suggestions should have been taken.

The marketing effort is under way, and unlike other small presses I've been involved with, they center around getting the book into brick-and-mortar stores from Barnes and Noble to smaller chains, interacting with their buyers instead of relying on me to leverage my friendships and connections to get the book sold through Amazon or whatever. They have begun the process of launching an advertising campaign to the trade, rather than directly to consumers, which I believe is a key step in getting the book actually stocked on shelves. In fact, they've sent review copies to numerous reviewers, including at least one New York Times bestselling author, who has agreed to review the book.

In addition, I got notice earlier this week that the reception they've been getting from national booksellers has convinced them to release the book in hardcover first, which my research indicates may be a first for them.

So far, I have gotten absolutely no indication that Promontory is a vanity press. That said, I have to issue a caveat: My experience with them may differ from other authors, because they DO offer a "you pay part, we pay part" package that smacks of vanity press. But my experience with them is that they're footing the entire bill, and they're really writing the checks to get my book out there. So maybe they have some skeezy vanity press parts to them, but I get the feeling that this publisher is really reaching to be something bigger and better than a vanity press, trying hard to become a traditional house.
 

leifwright

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Update: My book (Robby the R-Word) has been out since May. Not only has Promontory been a pleasure to deal with, I have not given them a single red penny, and my first royalty payment (a not insignificant amount) just came in.

Promontory may have had a hiccup or two getting going, but this is by far the best experience I’ve had with the three publishers who have published my books.

I recommend them without reservation for those who are attempting agentless publishing but who don’t want to self-publish or use a vanity press.
 

Round Two

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Update: My book (Robby the R-Word) has been out since May. Not only has Promontory been a pleasure to deal with, I have not given them a single red penny, and my first royalty payment (a not insignificant amount) just came in.

Promontory may have had a hiccup or two getting going, but this is by far the best experience I’ve had with the three publishers who have published my books.

I recommend them without reservation for those who are attempting agentless publishing but who don’t want to self-publish or use a vanity press.

Did they give you any idea where the books were selling? Amazon? Brick and mortar bookstores?

Did they end up doing a hardcover version?
 

DreamWeaver

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Don't think it's Amazon, unless there was a initial burst of activity. Rank in Paid Kindle is 1,381,580. Rank in Books is 3,907,825. But of course there are other venues than Amazon.
 

eqb

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The Amazon listing shows a paperback and e-book, but no hardcover. Publishers Weekly review lists New Leaf as the US distributor.
 

leifwright

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New Leaf is the US distributor, but they don’t appear to have any lack of reach. Also, distributing my book shows they’re clearly reaching beyond the religious market, since my book is full of decidedly sinful shit, from lesbian sex to depraved cop talk.

I think they postponed the hatdback to 2018, according to an email I got yesterday. Ebooks were a tiny fraction of sales. Like, 1 percent, though I don’t have the report in front of me. It was a negligible number
 

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