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[Publisher] All Classic Books

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

Hip-Hop-a-potamus

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So this evening, I had a new Twitter follower request from All Classic Books. I'm usually pretty cool about following back if it's an agent, publisher or someone I recognize from here or Musa.

They thanked me for following back and say they're taking unsolicited submissions.

If I don't find an agent for the MS I'm shopping around, I may be in a position to go with a small publisher for it. I've sent to a few already just in case the last part of my agent search turns out to be a bust. I'm not sure if this work is Musa material or not. I can run it by them to see if it might fit in the Clio line, but if it won't...

Can't find anything on these guys. Here's their website:
http://www.allclassicbooks.com/

Anybody heard anything?
 

LaylahHunter

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Haven't heard anything, but there is absolutely nothing on their website that would make me want to trust them with my work. A few particular things that strike me as bad signs:

1. The ridiculously detailed and sometimes bizarre questionnaire on the submissions page (http://www.allclassicbooks.com/submission-guidelines/ ) , including such gems as "Provide us with details of your book publishing history, including book sales numbers, publisher, current Amazon ranking, and royalty income earned to date. (On each book title published.)" and "List the benefits provided to consumers when they read your book."

2. The fact that the website appears to be mostly set up as a cluttered aggregator of articles about publishing in general, rather than about what this publisher is or does.

3. The fact that the "Contact" page doesn't say anything about who's running this show and really just solicits blog entries rather than providing helpful information.

4. The fact that the only books they appear to have available currently are ebook (or POD) versions of classic titles that are out of copyright.

...I could keep going but I think that's enough to make a point.
 

Hip-Hop-a-potamus

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Yeah, I just wasn't sure what to think about some of the questions. I must have skimmed over the health issues one. Not sure how I missed that one!

But since I have a fictionalized biography, I noticed this one:
Are there any false, negative or derogatory statements (true or fictional) towards any real organization, company, or living person named in your manuscript?
Well, yeah...it's fictionalized. There's a whole mess of shit that's made up about real people!

Like the quote at the top of AW says, if someone's trying to solicit your stuff, it's probably not someone you want to write for! :roll:
 

kelliewallace

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I submitted to them 2 weeks ago. Yet to hear back. They have nice covers, which often sells me on a publisher.
 

Unimportant

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It looks like all the books they've published are out-of-copyright classics.
 

aliceshortcake

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What a weird little site.

We do not publish titles of vanity or self-published authors. Sorry, it is just too difficult to overcome a poor vanity or self-publishing history when we are working to build new author brands. Many of the public relations articles published for vanity or self-publishing companies today state that “there is no longer a negative stigma associated with self-publishing…” which is not true. The fact is, there is more of a stigma or negative association today with almost a million such titles being listed each year. Some vanity publishing companies are spamming the market with many hundreds of titles each day. Our print and broadcast media, book reviewers and others in the book selling industry consider these titles as slush pile rejections, passed over or not good enough to be traditionally published. We find it too difficult of an obstacle to overcome and choose not to invest our resources to try to do so.
http://www.allclassicbooks.com/submission-guidelines/

I can't see any evidence of the company "working to build new author brands", unless their non-classic titles are published by a different imprint.
 

shaldna

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I submitted to them 2 weeks ago. Yet to hear back. They have nice covers, which often sells me on a publisher.

That would not be my main priority in choosing a publisher.

It looks like all the books they've published are out-of-copyright classics.

How did all those dead authors fill out the questionnaire?


Here's my thoughts:

HOW TO SUBMIT TO ALL CLASSIC BOOKS
.......

... Your submission(s) will be carefully protected in our publishing house and through U.S.A. copyright laws, even if your copyright may not yet be filed or registered with the U.S. Library of Congress Copyright Center.

First paragraph and already I'm getting tinkly warning bells.


Also include in your email submission answers to the questions below. We understand it takes a little time to provide full complete responses to these questions. Please don’t rush this with simple short responses.
If you don’t immediately know the answer, spend a little time online researching books in your genre. Professional authors have thanked us for these questions and considered them a helpful exercise in understanding where their title fits into their genre, their buyer markets and their personal brand able strengths.

So, basically they want the author to do their job for them. A publisher who doesn't know the answers to these questions themselves has no business trying to publish anything.


We do not publish titles of vanity or self-published authors. Sorry, it is just too difficult to overcome a poor vanity or self-publishing history when we are working to build new author brands. Many of the public relations articles published for vanity or self-publishing companies today state that “there is no longer a negative stigma associated with self-publishing…” which is not true. The fact is, there is more of a stigma or negative association today with almost a million such titles being listed each year. Some vanity publishing companies are spamming the market with many hundreds of titles each day. Our print and broadcast media, book reviewers and others in the book selling industry consider these titles as slush pile rejections, passed over or not good enough to be traditionally published. We find it too difficult of an obstacle to overcome and choose not to invest our resources to try to do so.

This I don't agree with for the main reason that if the writer was good enough for the publisher to sign, then chances are her previous writing hasn't been terrible. Yes, there has been a lot of bad self published books, and that will continue to be the case, but to write off a potentially wonderful writer just because they have previously self or vanity published is shooting yourself in the foot. Note how they say they don't want the WRITER not that they don't want the individual BOOK that was self published.


We also don’t select any children’s illustrated books, poetry, coffee table type illustrated books, photography or art books, music, graphic novels, many extreme types of erotic, violent and hate novels.

That's nice. But I'd like to know what they DO publish - that list would be more helpful to me.


Please copy and paste the questions below into the body of your email, then attach your manuscript file. Send your email to info @ allclassicbooks.com. Please allow 30-45 days for reply.

Author Name:
Gender:
Current Book Title:
Manuscript Word Count:
Phone Number:
Address:
Age:

I've removed the bits that are none of your business.

What personal referral, Web URL (address), or search engine lead you to All Classic Books?

Why would they need to know this for submissions? This is the sort of marketing question that sales folk ask, not someone who is thinking of buying from you.


What genre/categories would you say classify your title?
Please explain your proposed book briefly in a one paragraph synopsis.
What are your anticipated target buyer groups for your book? (For example, women romance readers age 20-50.)

Fairly straightforward, I mean, if I write chick lit then I know that my target audience is women between 20 and 50, just like if I write military history I can guess that my target audience is going to men 35 years plus.

Does your book have an inspirational, educational, entertainment theme or purpose? Please tell us what inspired you to write it.

Does it matter?

Please identify competing titles in your book’s genre, and tell us why your book is different such as added material, more current information or a new slant, or if a fictional book, a hot topic or controversial one that separates it from other popular titles in your genre?

Again, I can understand why you would want to tell the publisher if there is something about your book that is unique and different, but the publisher should know the answers to the rest of these questions.

It's not the authors job to do the market research.


Provide us with details of your book publishing history, including book sales numbers,

None of your business unless you are buying that book.

publisher,

Fair enough.

current Amazon ranking,

This means absolutely nothing and changes on an hourly basis.

and royalty income earned to date. (On each book title published.)

Unless you are HMRC then this is absolutely none of your business and I'm slightly disgusted that they asked.

What tasks do you foresee in working with our book marketing department to help promote your book to your target audience?

?

This sounds awfully like they are trying to gauge how much of the work they can get you to do without you realising that you're doing too much.

How will your book appeal outside the usual trade bookstore channels? (For example, in bulk sales to company, organization, or associations, and direct book sales.)

Seriously what the fuck? They don't know shit. If you were in any doubt, this question says it all. The author doesn't know this. They don't need to because this is the publishers job.


How does your proposed book fill a need or a niche not presently met by current titles in your genre/category?

Fair enough question.

Have you received any awards or special recognition for your writing? Have you obtained any celebrity, expert, print or broadcast media endorsement or review of your manuscript?

I can sort of understand this question - they are fishing to see if you have usable quotes or contacts or info that they can use in future marketing. Still, it's a bit tacky to be asking it at the submission stage.

Have you been published professionally, and are you or do you intend to become a professional author?

Define 'professional' - I mean, obviously I INTEND to become a professional writer, but it's not like being a dentist, you don't just take the exams and that's it, being a professional in the arts is a difficult and unpredictable thing.

Have you written any other title not yet published, and do you intend to write any other books within the next three years?

Again, I can understand that a publisher would want to know whether an author was a one book person, or whether they were planning a career before they invest a lot of time and money and effort in them.

If so, please share your book publishing plans and goals.

Fair enough.

What are your personal goals you want to achieve in writing/publishing this book?

None of your business.

Will your book contain any risqué material such as sex with minors or abuse of minors? Does it depict ethnic or cultural stereotyping, negative commentary on individuals, hate or other content?

Why not read the book and judge on that instead of something in a questionnaire - surely it's about how you treat these subjects that makes all the difference.

Are there any false, negative or derogatory statements (true or fictional) towards any real organization, company, or living person named in your manuscript?

Yes, it's all false. Because it's fiction. That's what fiction means. And again they show their superb lack of knowledge here because this is not a black and white topic.

Does your book contain photos, diagrams or any other type of illustrations?

Not sure why this matters in a questionnaire.

Have you used or included any writing of others (such as quotes from other books) in your book that you do not have written permission from the copyright owner to put in your book?

Surely this would come up in the reading of the book - I know I've had calls and emails to check if I'd gotten permission to quote things.

List the benefits provided to consumers when they read your book.

That's your job.

What is your current professional career/line of work?

None of your business.

Please tell us about your career experience, educational credentials, and coursework in writing, journalism, or a field related to the topic of your book.

None of your business.

Please tell us about yourself.

None of your business.

Do you consider yourself well-traveled, for example? What interesting locations have you visited or lived? What makes you unique?
What unusual sports, hobbies or activities do you participate in?
What topics, causes or other items are you passionate about, and what do you do today to express them?

None of your business and not relevant in any way shape or form to my book and any business arrangement surrounding it. IF the publisher wants a three line bio for the back page then I will provide it, but I will not be sending this sort of info out to a stranger when it has nothing to do with the topic in question.

Are you involved in any organizations, associations or volunteer programs?

None of your business.

Should we accept your manuscript, how much time per week could you devote to working with our book marketing department to promote your book?

This is an odd question to be asking at this stage, and is raising alarm bells about how much they expect me, the author, to do.

What skills and contacts do you have that may be of help in the editing and marketing /promotion of your book?

Seriously? You want to know if I have the skills to do YOUR job for you?


Do you have any health issues, mental conditions or are on or off any medications that could potentially affect your ability to work with us in the editing and marketing/promotion of your book?

None of your fucking business.

Is this a multiple submission? If it is, to which other publishers, specifically, have you submitted your manuscript?

Why?

Do not forget to attach your resume or curriculum vitae and your manuscript file to this email.

Again, none of your business and not relevant to my book.

Writing a book is not like applying for a job. My previous experience and other jobs are no indication of how well I write.

I'd steer well clear of this lot.
 

shaldna

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There's just so much stuff on there that isn't relevant to anything. I could understand asking medical questions if you had a job that required physical effort etc. But for writing? No.

Also, why should a writer have knowledge of marketing or promotion etc, that's like asking a dentist is what he knows about making shoes.
 

James D. Macdonald

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Does your book contain photos, diagrams or any other type of illustrations?
Not sure why this matters in a questionnaire.

Because those are really tough to format for POD and/or e-books and they want to be able to do the very minimum amount of work possible.
 

triceretops

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Because those are really tough to format for POD and/or e-books and they want to be able to do the very minimum amount of work possible.

You totally beat me to it. I suspect they have no budget for graphics/pics at all, as well as lacking the knowledge to format such extras. This one screams "It's all on your shoulders, bub." They're asking for YOUR advice on publicity, marketing, placement, and matters of rank of sales. Clearly, they haven't done their own research, investigations and surveys.

Now, I do have a publisher who printed scores of out-of-copyright classics. But that was to gain capital to finance illustrated SF hard backs for their debut authors. It also gave them a sizable and continuous bank, allowing them to send out dozens of pro ARCs, author copies and maintain high royalties based on cover price. It's a re-investment in the house. These guys? Who knows what they're up to?

tri
 

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Having worked for an online company for several years (I manage a team of writers and also work with lots of small businesses), I can shed a little light on why a company would want to know the following:

1. Gender -- simply to know how to address a person via email. Say you start working online with an author whose name is "Robin" or "Pat" ... it's good to know upfront whether they are male or female.

2. Age -- the author's birth date is one of the questions on the Library of Congress form.

Additionally, many of the book listing forms for book publishers even ask if an author is a U.S. citizen. So it makes sense that a company like this one is asking upfront -- because they will need the info at some point during the editing/production/marketing process.

Some of the other questions mentioned above would be pertinent for most any business as a way to know if the person is trustworthy, will be able to uphold their end of the deal, etc.

As you know, it's easy to lie online, so a company needs to do what it can to protect itself. Unfortunately, I've had my own run-ins with writers/authors who appear to be legitimate, but have gotten burned when they didn't come through on their end, even with a contract in place.

Just my two cents!
 

JournoWriter

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Quote:
Please identify competing titles in your book’s genre, and tell us why your book is different such as added material, more current information or a new slant, or if a fictional book, a hot topic or controversial one that separates it from other popular titles in your genre?


Again, I can understand why you would want to tell the publisher if there is something about your book that is unique and different, but the publisher should know the answers to the rest of these questions.

It's not the authors job to do the market research.

Actually, this is extremely common in nonfiction book proposals. The idea is to sell the publisher on why your book is different from all the others out there.

Ditto for a lot of the other marketing questions people are criticizing here. They may be a bit loopy and ask some inappropriate questions, but inquiring about your professional background is directly linked to platform, and as the expert in a topic you presumably know more about groups and associations that could be marketed to than anyone. I don't find those questions problematic at all, even for a work of fiction.
 
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Chris P

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Actually, this is extremely common in nonfiction book proposals. The idea is to sell the publisher on why your book is different from all the others out there.

Ditto for a lot of the other marketing questions people are criticizing here. They may be a bit loopy and ask some inappropriate questions, but inquiring about your professional background is directly linked to platform, and as the expert in a topic you presumably know more about groups and associations that could be marketed to than anyone. I don't find those questions problematic at all, even for a work of fiction.

Which makes me wonder what type of authors, and therefore what type of books, they are looking to publish, and if they know what they are doing. Being a nonfic nerd in my private life, my first query letters were more like nonfic proposals.

Many of the "none of your business" items in Shaldna's post might have several purposes. First, they might expect you to do the marketing yourself, and if you are a member of an organization or club you can market your book to fellow members. I think they want you to brainstorm ideas of who you can reach out to to buy your book. Many of the other ones seem designed to make you feel like the publisher cares about you as a person, and that you are part of a community. That's not very useful to the publisher other than making you feel like a "team player."
 

kelliewallace

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Wow, I feel so foolish in submitting to them last year. I had no idea. I did hear from a 'Rebecca' when they declined my crime book. Glad they did.
 

shaldna

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