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PublishingWorks, Inc. / Peapod Press

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

KikiteNeko

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I don't know anything about them but I'm wary of anyone who calls themselves an "independent alternative to traditional publishing"
 

Cyia

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Since the only other place I've seen "traditional publisher" is attached to a certain vanity press style outfit that no one here is particularly fond of... I'd run really fast in the opposite direction.

They post pictures of their "Staff", but the part about their publishing "varying" from writer to writer is a bit odd to me.
 
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eqb

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When they talk about forming a "partnership with the author", as this one does, it means they're a subsidy or vanity publisher.
 

Dave.C.Robinson

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"Independent publishing can and should be profitable for both publisher and author."

That sentence is on the front page, which is aimed primarily at authors, not readers. A publisher which targets readers has their books prominently featured on the front page. Since this one doesn't I'd be very leery of them.
 

jeseymour

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Replying to my own question with this from Publisher's Weekly, having stumbled on it by accident:

Publishing Works, another New England company, was launched in 2003 in Exeter, N.H. According to publicity director Carol Corbett, Publishing Works deals with independent authors “on every kind of book, from picture to business.” This year, she says, marks the company's first dip into the mystery pool with Terminal Neglect by Michael Rushnak, a first-time author “who's been making a splash since his September release, with a reprint already in the works.” As scandals in the real-world pharmaceutical industry make headlines, Rushnak's work blurs the lines between fact and fiction by suggesting foul play at the topmost levels. With such alluring waters, PublishingWorks will dive right in, with two more mysteries already slated for 2009.

And yes, the language on the website certainly raised my hackles, which is why I was hoping someone might know more about them. They're in the next town over to me, and they do this monthly writers anonymous thing, with agents and authors and such, but they charge $15 to attend, which also annoyed me. I'm cheap, go figure. Anyway, thanks for all the replies.
 

jeseymour

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Here I am replying to myself again, because I sent these folks an email after talking to one of their authors. Here is my email and the response:

Hello, we do buy publishing rights through traditional, royalty-based
contracts, and occasionally pay advances. We also do non-traditional
contracts, depending on the project.

We do have POD facilities, but that's used mostly for advance reader copies
and very short runs. Otherwise, we use offset.

For a novel, I prefer to see the whole thing. Please email a Word version to
me and I will make sure readers see it.

All best,

Jeremy


On 10/23/09 3:59 PM, "J.E.Seymour" <[email protected]> wrote:

> Dear Ms. Townsend,
>
> I am a local published author of short stories looking for a publisher
> for my first novel. I wasn't able to find anything on your website
> about your publishing model. I was wondering if you could tell me if
> you are a traditional royalty paying publisher? If so, do you pay
> advances? Do you use print on demand technology or traditional print
> runs? Are you looking for first three chapters and a synopsis, or a
> simple query? Thanks for any information you can pass along.
>
> J.E. Seymour

I still don't know what exactly all this means. I guess they're both a traditional publisher and a vanity press? Would it be a disadvantage to be traditionally published by a company that also does vanity publishing?
 

CaoPaux

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Updating link: http://www.publishingworks.com/

It's like being a little bit pregnant...

Unless there are separate imprints for those who pay and those who don't, any author getting a "traditional" contract from them will need to wear that on a name badge, since folks'll naturally assume they paid.
 

jeseymour

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Unless there are separate imprints for those who pay and those who don't, any author getting a "traditional" contract from them will need to wear that on a name badge, since folks'll naturally assume they paid.

Yeah, I was thinking of that. Just got an email from them saying they like what they've read so far. But still, even if they do offer a traditional contract, like you said, people will think it's vanity. I'm a member of MWA, and they say that a publisher that does any vanity publishing at all is not acceptable to them.

So, I guess, even if they say they want to offer a traditional contract, I should say no. Sigh.

:Shrug:
 

CaoPaux

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If do you follow through, it'd be interesting to hear what they offer you (suspecting, of course, some sort of bait 'n' switch).
 

jeseymour

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As promised, here is the update.

We're not buying for 2010 now, having filled up the year already, but will
look for later possibilities, and this genre is always high on our list.
We'll keep it in house for later consideration, or you can send something
else for our evaluation.

She attached a reader's report, which was actually quite positive, but I guess this is a rejection. Sort of. Anyway, no trying to steer me to their non-traditional side at all. No suggestions for paid editing. Just a plain rejection. I think.


:Shrug:
 

Zappabark

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Just wondering if you had any updates on PW. I too have spoken with them. I even met one of their authors (Michael Rushnak) who was at a book signing. He was quite defensive about his book not being self-published. Is subsidy publishing ever a good option for fiction?
 

M.R.J. Le Blanc

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Just wondering if you had any updates on PW. I too have spoken with them. I even met one of their authors (Michael Rushnak) who was at a book signing. He was quite defensive about his book not being self-published. Is subsidy publishing ever a good option for fiction?

Short answer: no.

Subsidy is just another word for vanity, and that's not a good option for ANYONE.
 

Zappabark

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Not to keep harping on it, but what about the unlikely (but possible) case where a subsidy publisher does offer to buy the rights? Could it hurt your professional reputation as a fiction writer, as jeseymour suggests?
 

JulieB

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I don't think it would help. Sure, there are exceptions, but that's the problem. So many writers are convinced that they're the exception to the rule and fall headlong into a contract that isn't right for them.
 

M.R.J. Le Blanc

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Subsidy/vanity publishers don't buy rights. They never do. They make you sign your rights to them and then make you pay to see your work in print either upfront or after the contract is signed. Going with one generally makes you look amateur, so yeah it could hurt your career if you tried to use it as a publishing credit.
 

Quilotoa

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Publisher's Weekly Article on PublishingWorks

I've been checking these guys out too, recently, and found this from a recent article in PW (http://www.publishersweekly.com/article/CA6712331.html?nid=2286&rid=#CustomerId&source=title)

It may seem counter-intuitive at a time when large houses like Harlequin and Thomas Nelson are introducing self-publishing initiatives, but one small New England press that began as a self-publisher has seen double-digit growth by turning to a traditional model. Founded in Exeter, N.H., by former W.W. Norton assistant trade editor Jeremy Townsend in 2003, PublishingWorks merged with distribution/marketing firm Revolution Booksellers at the beginning of 2008 and moved away from self-publishing.
“Each year we have scheduled less and less subsidy work,” said v-p of marketing and sales Carol Corbett. “We do still handle a few, but that is mainly for cash flow and is now kept to small runs of a very regional or personal nature.” PW also distributes books for local institutions like Strawberry Banke Museum in Portsmouth. Although it no longer actively solicits or distributes new self-published books, the press continues to keep earlier subsidy works on its backlist of 120 titles, including Cars on Mars, a collection of poems for children by former William Morrow publisher and editor-in-chief J.D. Landis.
PW, which saw its sales jump 35% in 2009, plans to cut its list by one third in the coming year to 20 books. “That gives us more time to massage the books,” said Corbett. It also will enable the press to do galley mailings six months in advance, which was hard to even consider with a 30-book list and staff of 8.
Among the titles that could benefit most from the transition are: Japanese artist Misuzu Oyama, whose Rue de la Nuit (January) will be published in a bilingual English and Japanese edition, and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (March), retold and illustrated by Jamison Odone, the first book in the Stickfiguratively Speaking series. The latter is being released to coincide with the opening of Tim Burton’s film based on the Lewis Carroll classic.
Exeter bookseller Dan Chartrand, owner of Water Street Books, said unabashedly, “I love PublishingWorks; Jeremy brings New York publishing chops to the North Country of New England. We’ve turned our bookstore into a laboratory for their books, and they’re really an extension of our store.” When PW authors, many of whom live within a 100-mile radius of Exeter, appear at the store, PW staffers help promote the events. In turn, they give PW a chance to see how their authors handle public speaking and fine-tune their presentations. To date, Water Street’s PW bestsellers include Landis’s Cars on Mars and Michael Sullivan’s Escapade Johnson series in children's and Brooks Sigler’s cross-over YA novel, Five Finger Fiction.
Landis, whose books have been published by Knopf and FSG, among others, is equally enthusiastic about the press. “I received at PublishingWorks the same kind and level of input I had come to expect at the commercial houses by whom I’ve been lucky enough to have been published,” he said.
But going traditional isn’t the only change afoot at PW. The press is considering dividing its eclectic list into several imprints, so that it can separate out children’s books and fiction. “We specialize in not having a specialty,” said Corbett. “We publish whatever seems interesting to us.” PW is also looking to sign with a major trade distributor in the first quarter of next year.
 

Donna Pudick

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I once interviewed with a huge press that did both. They mostly charged college professors money to publish their books, because they were under the "publish or perish" rules with their colleges. I was surprised to hear my interviewer say, "We're in competition with other publishers for those contracts." She named a few and I was shocked.

Many years ago, I can't remember when, I picked up a copy of the Writers Market. There was an asterisk after many of the big house listings. At the bottom of the page, the asterisk was explained: Does subsidy publishing. When I retired in 1992, the asterisk had vanished. Be interested in finding that old copy and prove it.
 

CaoPaux

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Revolution Bestsellers looks abandoned (and hacked). PublishingWorks endures, and claims its subsidy services are now for their Peapod Press imprint only. It's also moved to primarily ebooks.
 

jeseymour

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Revolution Bestsellers looks abandoned (and hacked). PublishingWorks endures, and claims its subsidy services are now for their Peapod Press imprint only. It's also moved to primarily ebooks.

Their building is up for sale, with no activity. If they are doing all e-books, I guess they don't need a brick and mortar building, but it's not a good sign. I'd say they're on the way down. It's too bad, as it did sound as if they were trying to make themselves into a traditional small press.
 

AbbyBabble

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Be wary of this publisher. I read a recent newspaper article that they owe thousands of dollars to one of their authors, Marianne O'Connor. I can't find the article online, but it claims that they are massively in-debt. The quotes from the owner, Jeremy Townsend, make him sound like an asshole.
 

CaoPaux

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Site rebranded as Books for Animal Lovers mid-'12. Nothing further published. (LinkedIn)
 

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