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[Publisher] Write Plan, LLC

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A_Read

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Hello, writers!

I just came across a brand new publisher whom I could not find on your current list. :)

The publisher is called WritePlan publishing, and I discovered them when the founder, author Haley Sulich, contacted me on Wattpad about possibly publishing my Wattpad WIP with them. Haley was courteous and professional and didn’t pressure me. She was very up front about the fact that they are a brand new company. Haley herself published a book in May of this year with WritePlan, called Crimson Ash.

It seems this company has two books scheduled to be published next year, both young adult fantasy/paranormal.

Here is their website:

https://www.writeplanpublishing.com/

thank you!
 

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I'd consider their lack of experience (and the egregious stock font on their one published title) to be a yellow flag.

I'd also consider it a yellow flag that the only substantive information on their web site concerns their paid services.

What can they do for you that you couldn't do for yourself by self-publishing?
 

eqb

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This looks like a vanity publisher. Among the red flags are:

* The publisher's website focuses on services they sell to the author.
* Their staff appears to have little real experience in publishing.
* Their only current offering is written by the publisher, and the e-book is "distributed" by Amazon Digital Services.
* The editing on that book...isn't great.
 

A_Read

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I'd consider their lack of experience (and the egregious stock font on their one published title) to be a yellow flag.

I'd also consider it a yellow flag that the only substantive information on their web site concerns their paid services.

What can they do for you that you couldn't do for yourself by self-publishing?

Thank you! I was wondering about the last one myself. You make some really good points, I will definitely take all this into consideration.
 

A_Read

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This looks like a vanity publisher. Among the red flags are:

* The publisher's website focuses on services they sell to the author.
* Their staff appears to have little real experience in publishing.
* Their only current offering is written by the publisher, and the e-book is "distributed" by Amazon Digital Services.
* The editing on that book...isn't great.

Thank you, I really appreciate you looking into this and sharing. I am so new at this, I didn’t know what to look for. Thank you!
 

eqb

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Thank you! I was wondering about the last one myself. You make some really good points, I will definitely take all this into consideration.

Ask yourself the hard questions:

What are you looking for from your writing?
Do you want to self-publish? And if you do, do you have the skills, time, and desire to act as your own publisher?
Or do you prefer to hand over the marketing, editing, cover art, distribution, etc. to someone else? (That is, trade publishing)

Ask the publisher hard questions too:

Do they charge for their services? (Are they a vanity publisher?)
Do they have real distribution (and not simply Amazon, etc.)?
What kind of market do they provide?
What experience do they have in publishing?
 

A_Read

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Thank you. I have been thinking about this and I know I don’t want to do any more marketing than I absolutely have to. All that stuff is just not my strength. Those are all some great questions I will be asking. Thank you!
 

lizmonster

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Thank you. I have been thinking about this and I know I don’t want to do any more marketing than I absolutely have to. All that stuff is just not my strength. Those are all some great questions I will be asking. Thank you!

My opinion:

If you don't want to do marketing (I don't, either :)), you're better off with trade than self pub.

If you want a trade pub deal, you're 99.9% of the time better off with an agent.

With a Wattpad-published work, you're looking at long odds agent-wise. But I'm not sure a small publisher is going to let you off the hook much for the marketing. I'd ask them specifically what they do for the book pre-release: what reviewers do they usually get? How do they distribute ARCs?

On top of that: are they ebook-only? If not, do they have bookstore distribution? (Pay a lot of attention to how they answer that question - "bookstores can order your book" is not the same as being able to get your book stocked.)

IME (which is based on my own limited experience, so take it with salt), the main advantages of a trade publisher are professional editing, visibility via pre-release marketing and reviews to well-known places, and distribution into actual bookstores. Post-release marketing is nice, but not nearly as important as word-of-mouth.

If this is an outfit that is basically going to stamp your book with their imprint name and toss it into the Amazon void, you are far, far better off self-publishing, no matter how annoying it will be to do the marketing all on your own (and AW is a marvelous resource for learning what you'd need to know for self-pub).
 

A_Read

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My opinion:

If you don't want to do marketing (I don't, either :)), you're better off with trade than self pub.

If you want a trade pub deal, you're 99.9% of the time better off with an agent.

With a Wattpad-published work, you're looking at long odds agent-wise. But I'm not sure a small publisher is going to let you off the hook much for the marketing. I'd ask them specifically what they do for the book pre-release: what reviewers do they usually get? How do they distribute ARCs?

On top of that: are they ebook-only? If not, do they have bookstore distribution? (Pay a lot of attention to how they answer that question - "bookstores can order your book" is not the same as being able to get your book stocked.)

IME (which is based on my own limited experience, so take it with salt), the main advantages of a trade publisher are professional editing, visibility via pre-release marketing and reviews to well-known places, and distribution into actual bookstores. Post-release marketing is nice, but not nearly as important as word-of-mouth.

If this is an outfit that is basically going to stamp your book with their imprint name and toss it into the Amazon void, you are far, far better off self-publishing, no matter how annoying it will be to do the marketing all on your own (and AW is a marvelous resource for learning what you'd need to know for self-pub).

Thank you! This is really helpful. I’ve bookmarked this thread so that if/when I ever do decide to try for an agent/publisher with this book, I’ll know what to do and ask. Is there any way of finding out what agents or publishers might consider a wattpad book beyond just asking them or making it clear if/when I query?
 

VeryBigBeard

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If you've written a book--even on Wattpad--you have done the work.

A publisher is buying the right to sell your book. It should bring assets to the table, ideally an advance, but with small publishers where that may not be available, it should bring proven sales experience, distribution, and marketing (which is different than promotion). If it is not bringing those things, why does it deserve a 75-80% cut of whatever sales you get? Basically, a publisher should be able to offer higher sales.

Beware of publishing badly. It is often worse than not publishing at all. Once you're published badly, that leaves a trace--low sales, maybe some PR mis-steps, reviews that mention sub-standard editing, and so on. Except now you're a proven commodity, when it comes to publishing, and agents will look at your first book when considering your second. One of the myriad advantages of finding an agent is that, if your first book doesn't sell, you're that much better positioned to make an informed decision about how to move forward.

It's true that a book on Wattpad is limited somewhat, although it can depend on the views and such. I see you've found the Wattpad thread, so read through it there, as querying post-Wattpad is discussed, IIRC.
 

VeryBigBeard

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As for this particular publisher, the litany of author services should be disqualifying, in my view. There are occasional presses try to merge these operations, but it usually doesn't work especially well and that's with a clearly established wall between editing and publishing (i.e., editing clients aren't considered for publishing contracts).

In this case, combined with the lack of experience, it's at best a recipe for the company being overwhelmed. At worst, it's charging authors for their own editing.

A_read, there are loads of publishers that exist to extract money from inexperienced or gullible authors. Structurally, these businesses just can't sell books, only many of them come up with all kinds of contorted language to try and justify this fact. None of them are good deals. None should even be considered. It can be counter-intuitive at first, but aim high with your work. Rejection is part of the process.
 

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As for this particular publisher, the litany of author services should be disqualifying, in my view. There are occasional presses try to merge these operations, but it usually doesn't work especially well and that's with a clearly established wall between editing and publishing (i.e., editing clients aren't considered for publishing contracts).

In this case, combined with the lack of experience, it's at best a recipe for the company being overwhelmed. At worst, it's charging authors for their own editing.

A_read, there are loads of publishers that exist to extract money from inexperienced or gullible authors. Structurally, these businesses just can't sell books, only many of them come up with all kinds of contorted language to try and justify this fact. None of them are good deals. None should even be considered. It can be counter-intuitive at first, but aim high with your work. Rejection is part of the process.

Thank you so much for your posts—I really appreciate you taking the time to help me navigate this all! At this point, I’ve all but decided to try and query agents with this book, even though I know it’ll likely all end in rejection. I’ll still hold out a little bit of hope that I may find representation. If not with this book, I can always write another. I really would like a publisher who could give me guidance on the whole marketing thing, because I’m clueless at that.

Thank you again!
 

lizmonster

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Thank you so much for your posts—I really appreciate you taking the time to help me navigate this all! At this point, I’ve all but decided to try and query agents with this book, even though I know it’ll likely all end in rejection. I’ll still hold out a little bit of hope that I may find representation. If not with this book, I can always write another. I really would like a publisher who could give me guidance on the whole marketing thing, because I’m clueless at that.

If you want an agent, hold out for an agent, with this book or your next. (A longshot on the Wattpad book doesn't mean it's impossible, so it's absolutely worth a try! But don't let yourself get discouraged if it doesn't pan out.) I'm a big fan of self-publishing, but IMHO too many people take that road because they're in a hurry, and not because it's the best thing for that book, or their personal career goals.

Good luck. :)
 

A_Read

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If you want an agent, hold out for an agent, with this book or your next. (A longshot on the Wattpad book doesn't mean it's impossible, so it's absolutely worth a try! But don't let yourself get discouraged if it doesn't pan out.) I'm a big fan of self-publishing, but IMHO too many people take that road because they're in a hurry, and not because it's the best thing for that book, or their personal career goals.

Good luck. :)

Thank you! I think I will look for an agent once I finish and polish this ms a bit. I just hadn’t even considered that for this book until recently because it was just a wattpad experiment. I really appreciate all the information and wisdom! :)
 

VeryBigBeard

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The thing about good publishers is that rejection happens. It's part of the process. Any book worth reading has been rejected time and time again before finding representation, finding a publisher, and finding readers.

This is one of the things vanityt/incompetent/inexperienced publishers often don't understand. You see these kinds of start-ups from authors who have gone in with the idea that they don't want to reject people, or they want to do it while somehow helping writers somehow.

But this is backwards. Rejection helps writers, and it helps the publisher. Writers grow from rejection--it hurts, but it's essential. Publishers keep the lights on, and use it to find the right book for the right reader.
 

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Says in their "news" section, about authors they work with:
Yasmin Standen at the Standen Literary Agency brokered the deal.
Unless they're taking names in vain and implying something which didn't quite happen--then this is a penny into the "legitimacy jar".
 
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VeryBigBeard

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Says in their "news" section, about authors they work with:

Unless they're taking names in vain and implying something which didn't quite happen--then this is a penny into the "legitimacy jar".

Extremely sceptical.

What kind of advance is this publisher paying to even make it worthwhile for an agent?

Plus the editing services and lack of any proven sales. No agent should be within ten leagues of this place.
 

VeryBigBeard

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Standen Literary Agency appears to have become Kane Literary Agency and is announcing this deal, too, so it's not fictional.

The same agent appears to also run Three Hares Publishing, another micro-press that's published seven books since launching in 2014.

AW thread on Standen is here, and fairly sparse. The Three Hares Press thread is here, and has more info.

I admit I know little when it comes to agents who also operate author services, but my understanding such as it is, is that this isn't ethical, especially if that agent is also subbing to other providers of author services.
 

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Ha, good job, Big Beard!

I think Waxman is also head of Diversion Books, and both the agency and the publisher are legit enough, so sometimes it can work out--no idea about the Three Hares Press. They seem to have at least one success story. Although to what extent this is thanks to their efforts, I'm too lazy to research.

The new Kane agency also seems to have one success story, and a bunch of writers in waiting. But, as I mentioned in other threads, there's room on the market for "small fry" agents as well, because some people don't want to go through the bother of dealing with indie publishers without an intermediary, and maybe that's where Kane are heading. If they can establish pipelines to the likes of Skyhorse, Diversion, Turner, Kensington, that would be none too shabby, so best of luck to them.

But yeah, the one book WritePlan has, is selling the way the books of extinct author mills like Musa, Damnation, Eternal, and such used to sell, as in the way bricks float, judging by ranking and reviews. Hopefully that's just the start of a learning curve, and not the standard of operation for the duration of their existence.
 
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Thank you! I read the threads on Standen and Three Hares. It does seem like they are legit, though not overly successful.
 

VeryBigBeard

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Thank you! I read the threads on Standen and Three Hares. It does seem like they are legit, though not overly successful.

They're legit in the sense they aren't fee-paying, but that's not a high bar to clear.

A good agent makes regular sales to the Big 5. She's repped and sold books you've heard of, that you can find in your local bookstore or library. A good way to research an agent is head down to your local branch library and borrow books that agent has repped. If you can't find any, this is a bad sign--libraries buy pretty widely.

The issue here is that an agent selling to a start-up press like this isn't likely making substantial deals. That's the concern in the Standen/Three Hares threads as well. I think a lot of agents would actually drop a client before subbing to a place like WritePlan, because there's unlikely to be an advance (ergo, agent doesn't get paid). Cruel as that is, it's probably better for the author than having the rights tied up with a publisher that doesn't look like it's going to last.

You want an agent who's out in the world making sales, handling rights, generating buzz. An agent's job doesn't end with contract negotiation. She re-sells rights the publisher didn't buy, she sells translation and territorial rights, audio rights, and consults with any film people who come calling. She sends ghostwriting and tie-in gigs your way if you're interested, handles media requests and speaking event queries, maybe even working with packagers and such, even while she's negotiating a better contract for your next three books. She can do all this because she's connected, on a first-name basis with half the publishing industry. Connected leaves a trace. Connected sells more than a handful of books over a decade. Any agent can set up shop and get lucky a couple times--statistically, they're likely to stumble on a salable author eventually. But you want an agent who does the rest of the job, too.

All of this is explained in HapiSofi's "This Is Nothing Like An Official FAQ".

If they can establish pipelines to the likes of Skyhorse, Diversion, Turner, Kensington, that would be none too shabby, so best of luck to them.

I am skeptical of this "pipeline" you've mentioned here and elsewhere.

Skyhorse and the like aren't buying books because the author has a couple badly publicized books out from some micro-press. They're buying great stories they think they can sell widely, just like any publisher.

You don't practice publish with start-up presses to prove anything to larger publishers. All you're likely to prove is that the vast majority of badly marketed books don't sell, and that's not news. Every so often there's an exception, because the author's a natural at promotion or strikes it lucky with the zeitgeist, but that's not the vast majority of people, nor is it a market I'd bank on. And two to three badly-publicized books is more likely to hurt your chances of publication than help.

There are many bad publishers between author mills and the true independent presses. Note that I'm not counting highly regional and highly specialized presses in here, which are a bit different.

This, would you believe, is all in the Unofficial FAQ:

Q. Won't my book get more attention from a small publishing house than a large one?

A. It might; but that's not the way to bet. It depends on the house in question. Are we talking about houses like Night Shade or Small Beer, or do you mean the small-press versions of Buggered Books? The latter are more numerous.

Large houses will often have far more resources to devote to your book. You may only get a fraction of a publicist's time, but it will be a professional publicist who has access to all that house's contacts, and is backed up by a substantial organization. Your editor will be an experienced full-time editor, not the publisher in his spare time, or the publisher's cousin who majored in English. The sales force will sell your book right along with all the other books on offer that season. A small publishing house may well have no sales staff, or have their books be one of several lines sold by their distributor's sales force.

How often do you hear about an author who's had several books published by a small press or presses, then turns down an offer of publication from a large well-known trade house?

Q. Thank you for the many hours you've spent explaining publishing to me, especially given that I did zero research on the subject myself; but I've decided to go with Buggered Books anyway, because that way at least my book will get published.

A. It won't work, you'll be miserable, your book will be a flop, and you'll be sorry you ever wrote it; but hey, don't let us stop you. Next time, though? If you're not going to listen to a thing we say, do your own damn research.
 

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I meant the newly renamed agency, and all such small fry agencies, gradually developing business models that funnel talent to the top level indies. Just an utopia I like to believe in.

Otherwise--all quite right. Buggered Books is a good way to kill one's ambition and chances stone dead. Unless one was only in it for hobby reasons to start with.
 
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eqb

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...I discovered them when the founder, author Haley Sulich, contacted me on Wattpad about possibly publishing my Wattpad WIP with them.

Wait, it just occurred to me.... Have you finished writing your book? (As in, written and polished?) And did she say she wanted to publish your book, or was she suggesting you submit the book when it's ready?
 

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Wait, it just occurred to me.... Have you finished writing your book? (As in, written and polished?) And did she say she wanted to publish your book, or was she suggesting you submit the book when it's ready?

No I have not finished it. I’m about 2/3 through the rough draft. And she just asked if I’d be interested in publishing with a small publisher when I’m done. Why do you ask? :)
 

eqb

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No I have not finished it. I’m about 2/3 through the rough draft. And she just asked if I’d be interested in publishing with a small publisher when I’m done. Why do you ask? :)

Ah, thanks for clarifying. If she had said outright that she wanted to publish your (incomplete, unedited) novel, that would be a huge red flag. However, just asking if you were interested is perfectly fine.
 

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