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[Publisher] Writers AMuse Me / WAMM

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

wonderactivist

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I just wanted to follow up about winning the "Hook, Line, No Stinkers" contest from Writer AMuse Me. They did send me my prize money ($100) and free book, plus evaluated my first chapter. That led to a full request and now an offer for publication. Yay!

I had an attorney evaluate the contract and he found it to be fair. I am asked for no money and the royalty percentage is based on gross (does not take out their expenses before figuring my share), plus it's very generous. They commit to helping with online and bookstore marketing, plus have me sign on to certain promotional commitments. They give me final approval on the cover, but they produce it and simultaneously release the e-books and and POD trade paperback. The rest seemed standard.

The lawyer's only serious concern was that they are based in Canada, so if there ever was a problem, you would have to go there to sue. Since I don't foresee any problem from a publisher recommended so highly by its authors, I'm seriously considering this publisher for my first book.

The editors have been professional and nice. I know there's been a lot of talk here about their quality, but have to say that the book I received, Victoria Seacress ... A Mystery, seems to be bookstore quality. I haven't read it yet, but thumbing through I found no typos. It looks like any book I would pick up in a shop.

My decision on whether to sign with them will be based entirely on whether I can achieve my promotional goals through their resources. Something we're figuring out right now. (I have special needs based on a particular connection.) Either way, my experience with them has been positive.

Regards,

Lucie

PS: I should also mention the attorney's other dislike, the publisher's first right to publish my next book (they have 60 days from the time I propose with chapters to accept it or I can go elsewhere). The lawyer hates that sort of thing, knows of authors who got burned by bad 2nd-book deals, but after checking with published friends, I find it seems to be standard in publishing. I brought up my concern with the publisher who assured me, in writing, that a 2nd book deal by them would offer no worse terms than the first. Wow.
 
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victoriastrauss

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Wonder--was the attorney you used an intellectual property lawyer familiar with publishing law? If not, he or she may not have been able to properly evaluate the contract. Publishing contracts are very specialized documents, with terms and conditions not found in other contracts.

- Victoria
 

wonderactivist

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The attorney I used has literary experience, in contracts. I do not know if he calls himself an "intellectual contract attorney." He has both evaluated and signed literary contracts before. I was honored and thrilled by his assessment.

PS: He's also NY Times bestselling author with a preference toward the big 6, but he couldn't find anything seriously wrong here. It's a fair contract.
 
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wonderactivist

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Just to follow through, I have been given a counter-offer by another publisher which I've decided to take. That decision was based entirely on very specific-to-me needs. I was treated extremely well by WAMM and hold them in high regard.

Lucie
 

Snowstorm

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Best wishes to you wonderactivist! Based on the input of some AWers who I hold in high regard and this thread, I decided to send my query and requisite chapters to this publisher today. Until now, I've been going through the agent route. Reading the excitement and satisfaction from authors who were published by WAMM was a change for me.

This afternoon, I received a nice request for a full and a 14-day exclusivity from Mary Walkden. Wow.
 

Snowstorm

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Monday, Dec. 3, Mary Welkdon offered me a contract! I took a couple days to calm down, study the contract, and sent a couple emails for clarification. Each time, she quickly responded with answers reflecting she had taken quite a bit of time to answer each one.

After the last email response, I slept on it. And signed the contract. She's made me feel very welcomed.

I was scared (okay, I'm SUCH a dork)--this is such a huge decision. She made me feel very welcomed. Now I'm ready to get started!
 

Bloo

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As part of a Facebook group for playwrights I'm a part of, I found that this publisher is looking for full length and one-act plays, which to me is a pretty niche market for a publisher. According to one of the members of that group, their contract for playwrights leaves quite a bit to be desired, and there are conflicting reports on their willingness to negotiate. Their page for playwrights is still under construction.

ETA: Doing a little looking at their website and blog post as well as the post on FB that directed me toward them. It looks like they offer a lower percentage on licensing then most play publishers do, but offer a slightly higher percentage on books sold. That to me shows that they are looking at things from a book publisher's perspective and not a play publishers, which worries me about their ability to market to theaters.
 
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Vandal

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This publisher is having financial issues and has sent the company's "new vision" to all its authors. WAMM will operate as a co-op for the immediate future.

They are reverting rights to authors who request it and removing content from internet sites.
 
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Filigree

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Sigh. I am sorry to hear this - I know it's a blow to the writers who supported them so ardently. But this is a harsh business, and a lot of small pubs have to tap out at the two or three-year mark.

Co-op is generally a bad sign. In another industry, I watched a decent venue fall into a death-spiral when it tried to go co-op. Desperate for money, they compromised on the quality of new members' work, which led to poor quality shows and reviews, which led to the more-skilled members leaving. That business ended less than two years after starting the co-op.
 

Snowstorm

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I'm sure sorry, Vandal. The web site's Submission page has changed to "Submissions are by referral only." This is so sad. I remind myself, as Filigree stated, this is a harsh business. Although with Mary still at the helm as editor, she's fantastic. I have hopes the quality will remain high.
 

Snowstorm

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Victoria, there will be no author fees, but a much higher expectation of author involvement in marketing and promotion. They still have their team of editor, cover artist, et al, on board.
 

Vandal

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I updated the earlier post to be more informational and less emotional.
 

Filigree

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Victoria, there will be no author fees, but a much higher expectation of author involvement in marketing and promotion. They still have their team of editor, cover artist, et al, on board.

So, in that aspect, not much different than from before. This is not an encouraging sign, great editing and direction aside. Most authors cannot market themselves well enough to get over the usual small-press threshold of sales. (Goes off to see their current Amazon rankings.)

I'm back. Current Amazon sales ranks not encouraging, either.

As of a snapshot a minute ago, WAMM had eight pages of results, one book currently at the 300K rank, and the rest going from 2,000,000 up past 11,000,000 for books published several years ago. Plus several items with the dreaded 'no tracking' tag, meaning no copies sold on Amazon since publication.

Now, no one takes Amazon's overall ranks seriously, because they can be voodoo wrapped in bullshit. Those ranks are legendarily off when it comes to strongly-selling works. But they tend to be scary accurate when assessing works with a low rate-of-sale, around one to ten copies sold a year. Additionally, SalesRankExpress shows a lot of books with deactivated tracking, which tends to mean those works have not had an Amazon sale in around 45 to 60 days.

Judging by that admittedly-outre metric, WAMM is not currently or historically selling well on Amazon. I'd wonder how they are doing on other platforms, but the Amazon performance worries me.
 
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victoriastrauss

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Victoria, there will be no author fees, but a much higher expectation of author involvement in marketing and promotion. They still have their team of editor, cover artist, et al, on board.
Then it's odd they'd call it co-op, since that's usually either a euphemism for fee-based publishing, or a situation in which the authors themselves run the publisher, pooling their skills and finances.

From what I know about WAMM (Writer Beware has received some complaints), authors were doing most of the marketing/promotion legwork already.

- Victoria
 

nkkingston

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The one co-op I've get the impression makes it work (or at least, consistently puts out books I like) is Book View Café. They're pretty much all trade published authors, and a lot of the works are republished backlist.

Making Permuted into a co-op suggests the staff are also all publishing books through it.
 

Snowstorm

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I'm not with WAMM, by the way. Just considering them since there are not that many publishers willing to take a book that has already been published by a house, even though mine folded. I've already got a referral to them. I'm rooting for WAMM, though.

I have warm fuzzies for WAMM. They were terrific to deal with, responsive, upfront, and imaginative and patient. Royalties were paid on time. As I stated earlier, Mary's a terrific editor. Best wishes to WAMM and to you too, TheDancingWriter!
 

CaoPaux

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Open to general submissions again. Of the three books published last month, K/pb ranks for one is 700k/0, another is 0/900k, and the third has no rank at all.
 

Elizabeth George's book Write Away