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Rain Publishing

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

CaoPaux

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Oops, I'll unmuddle my sentence.
 

victoriastrauss

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While they aren't widely distributed, they do seem to have *some* distribution, which puts them ahead of many of the small presses that pop up in these threads.
I don't see any sign that Rain has more, or different, distribution than iUniverse, PublishAmerica, or any other publishing/printing company that relies on POD technology. In fact, it may have less. While Rain's books are available at Amazon.com, they can't be found at Amazon.ca.

I suspect that many, if not all, of the claimed bookstore relationships are the result of authors' efforts rather than Rain's.

There's also this interesting sentence on the Booksellers page of the Rain website: "Simply place your orders when YOU have time through our website, or meet with one of our staff, not a distributor!" Few booksellers would consider this an advantage.
The fact that they do print runs instead of just printing on demand and their average print run seems to be around 1,500 books bodes well. Again, not to be confused with mainstream publishers, but far above some of the places listed here. Last I heard, they had one book slated for a 10k print run, so it seems they are able to produce some sales.
Unless you can find independent proof of this--other than the publisher's own statements, or what authors say based on what the publisher has told them--I wouldn't rely on such claims. They are easy to make in the absence of verification.

Publishers often puff up their print runs to make it seem that demand for a book is greater than it really is.

- Victoria
 

legalwriterPR

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Hi, legalwriterPR and welcome to AW. I hope you stick around.

Hi - love it here by the way - great place!

I will say that I think contracts must have changed dramatically. I'm a former national legal advocate and have drawn up hundreds of contracts - this was legit. Not fancy, but no typos, no shady stuff at all.

Authors get a 30% discount (from time to time) on top of a 10-15% (forget the number; I don't buy my own books - I don't do book signings so there is no point). That's not bad. The additional 30 is promotions they run, but would love to see that more for those that DO signings at non-bookstores.

I know the books are in Target. Amazon. For me, that works. For some types of books, I am sure it does not; again, I do not profess that Rain is right for everyone. I just knew that my book with them needed a base outlet and it would actually get lost in a store; more people buy through Amazon and if a group works with me (I work with nonprofits) I really don't need the marketing end of it as much.

I know their authors do a LOT of networking and both the authors and Rain do a lot of grassroots marketing. Again, that isn't my goal so I am not that involved in that end of things.

If I had to outline the ideal author for Rain; it would be someone who likes to market grassroots style/book signings, who writes horror, controversial or childrens (negating what they site says, I feel those authors have done best with them) and someone who likes heavy input from author and a family atmosphere. Personally, I like the latter.
I work with other publishers and I feel like a number or worse, like a word whore. I will say, at Rain, there is a sense of community.

Again, I can't negate the comments made by others, as I haven't seen their contracts. My contract was squeaky clean and fair.

Do I think that they had to learn along the way? Sure. Do I think things are perfect there? Hardly. Yet, I would say they are fair and do want the best for their authors and- are really "human".
What you saw of Tilly IS Tilly; she is really expressive and flowery but also, there is a strong business side to her. Her staff is all business. She is actually the people-person I think there... anyway, she is great and always makes time for an author.

I know I sound like a cheerleader for her; I'm not! I just want to let people know that I've not had one ill moment there. That's all.

Again - it isn't for everyone! If you write children's books though - I envision that they will be a strong publisher in that department.

Oh and no, there was NEVER money out of my pocket EVER! That is self publishing which is not bad, and I have done that about a decade ago - but this is NOT that.
About the finances I would prefer to not discuss - hope you don't mind. I'm all for support but the internet is a BIG place and if we were all sitting at a coffee house, I'd be fine with it - but "we are not alone" (insert scary fingers and such :)
 

victoriastrauss

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Legalwriter, would you be willing to send Writer Beware a copy of the contract you signed? The reason I'm curious is that I've seen a number of Rain contracts, and all have been seriously nonstandard and author-unfriendly. If Rain has changed its ways, I'd like to be able to document that.

You can snail mail to PO Box 1216, Amherst MA 01004, or fax to 413-549-6363, or email to [email protected]. All information shared with Writer Beware is held in confidence.

One last note. Publishing contracts have many terms and conditions not found in other kinds of contracts. Even an experienced legal advocate might not be able to properly evaluate a publishing contract, unless he or she had had publishing industry experience.

- Victoria
 

victoriastrauss

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As of April 15th, Rain Publishing is closing its doors. Rain authors recently received a letter from publisher Tilly Rivers claiming that "personal health reasons" have forced her to the decision (a standard excuse among questionable/amateur micropresses for nonperformance). Till April 15th, authors can buy remaining stock at a 50% discount.

Rivers has promised that final royalty statements will be issued on April 20, and that writers will receive their copyrights back as of April 15th. It isn't said how this will be accomplished. Rivers claims that "we are in the process of having an agreement drawn," whatever that means.

Hopefully Rivers will make good on her promises, and send each Rain author a release letter or email. If she doesn't, Rain authors will be in a far worse situation than the normal small publisher debacle, where the publisher goes belly up and fails to send reversion letters. Rain didn't just claim rights in the works it published--it claimed copyright. When a publisher takes copyright, the work no longer belongs to you.

If Rain authors don't receive a written release, they cannot regain possession of their books. Want to re-publish with another small press? Tough luck. Even the tiniest micropress is unlikely to want a book whose rights are not free and clear. Want to self-publish? That could be a problem too. Most self-publishing services' agreements require authors to warrant that they are the copyright holder.

I don't want to sound too much like a schoolmarm, but there is a lesson to be learned here. A publisher with bad business practices is a bad publisher, and the odds it will come to grief--and its writers with it--are high. We see this over and over here at AW. Unfortunately, writers are much too willing to let their hope and desire trump their common sense.

- Victoria
 

legalwriterPR

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A word about the copyright

I have my copyright - it was released to me. I believe that every author had this forwarded to them. I own my book 100%.

I don't think the question of "how" it will be accomplishd (royalty checks, etc.) is any different than how it has always been.

The lesson for me has been that like any other business - some make it, some don't. More authors fail at being published than publishers fail at making a business - so though she had the odds for her, only a small percentage of business' make it the first five years.
I am fairly sure almost every author, unless completely naive' (and there could have been such) did gamble.

To me, would I like to see them in business? Yes, of course - but - was it worth it? Sure. I got checks, made contacts, yada yada.
I never was one to put my eggs in one basket so this wasn't my only publisher.... my book is now being republished with one of my other publishers.

To be honest, when I got "THE" email... I laughed; I felt it coming but not quite SO quickly. I did also openly question if Tilly was sick - there is an umbrella company and a few other companies are still going strong - it is my understanding that she is in fact ill, and that other members of the family are in charge of other companies.

I knew that they were selective in some authors; I know of several who were turned down over the past year and a few taken on - so in one way, the ones not chosen, it was a blessing - (a friend of mine was rejected and I told her it was a true blessing per "THE" email LOL)

Victoria - I appreciate your concerns about the legal side, but honestly, any bright or business minded author (or anyone) should not be with a writers group to cover their legal issues any more than as you said, an advocate may not be able to. There are plenty of lawyers who handle these contracts and personally, not only do I use them but I urge others to use them also.
If you write as a business you should treat it like a business and always have legal representation.
Although this contract was very upfront and easy to digest; no hidden clauses, no missing paragraphs. It was just fine. Now, I can't speak for ALL of the Rain contracts - and everyone should know that most every company has several contracts floating around. One should never say "CBS has great contracts, trust them" because, well, CBS may have a few and not all are going to be in the recipients best interest.
Get a lawyer - this solves all the question marks.
My career is worth far more than an internet watch dog protecting me. It is nice, it is helpful; but it isn't the end all.

I really hope everyone has a lawyer helping them through the maze.
Maybe because I did have legal representation is what saved me on this deal? Who knows. I know one author who did not have a lawyer but did have an agent and he is also fine - crushed but fine legally.

All I know is I was not thrilled to see it end because I was getting checks and yet, I did get my copyright so - it isn't the end of MY book just the end of Rain!
*I have a new publisher already as I have other books with other publishers - I lucked out.
***I do mean luck. I feel a lot of this business is connections, friends, timing. I think there are a lot of great writers and only so much demand, which sucks in plain slang.
 

legalwriterPR

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Legalwriter, would you be willing to send Writer Beware a copy of the contract you signed? The reason I'm curious is that I've seen a number of Rain contracts, and all have been seriously nonstandard and author-unfriendly. If Rain has changed its ways, I'd like to be able to document that.

No. I am serious when I say personal is personal.

I feel the contract is moot unless one is offered one, and then an internet or small "beware" group is not where you want to go - you want a lawyer.

Documenting Rain is moot but, in whole, it is dangerous for any watchdog to document anything bad OR good - contracts change, people change etc... people need lawyers to handle their affairs. It's the only truly professional way to go.

I mention this post now (I don't check back much obviously given the timing here) because ANY publisher or ANY author needs to get a lawyer. I think it is a gamble to use a watchdog group to get legal information. With all due respect, I realize this is meant to be a help, but what if it deters people from a good thing? Or worse, if you give a thumbs up and things go sour?
Because of the nature, this group is not responsible - and the truth is, is that some authors are not really business minded and don't think to go beyond a group like that. One should always treat their writing professionally and have legal representation no matter what a group says, a forum or anyone else.
The only agreement that matters is that between the individual author and the publisher, and protected by legal representation - often the mediator for any negotations also.

Just my opinion.
But no - will I ever start throwing my personal contracts around for OTHER people to OK? Hell no!
 

Birol

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That's a good question right now.
The lesson for me has been that like any other business - some make it, some don't. More authors fail at being published than publishers fail at making a business - so though she had the odds for her, only a small percentage of business' make it the first five years. I am fairly sure almost every author, unless completely naive' (and there could have been such) did gamble.

But the odds weren't in her favor. She did not take the time to learn the things she needed to know about this industry or to put into place necessary components, like distribution and marketing. What marketing she did have was much more focused on the writers than on readers and bookstores. This is a classic recipe for either 1) failing or 2) converting from bad idea to scam.

This lack of research and industry credibility is also why so many publishers (and small businesses regardless of the industry) fail. People go into it with stars in their eyes and without the necessary knowledge and skills to deliver on their promises.
 

IceCreamEmpress

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it is dangerous for any watchdog to document anything bad OR good

No, I think that's a useful (but not sufficient) piece of the puzzle.

People have limited time, and one of the resources they use to sift through the places they're going to approach are the watchdog sites.

And if a business that's been flagged for non-standard practice changes its approaches, they're free to share that information with the watchdog sites and ask for a re-evaluation.
 

victoriastrauss

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[
]I mention this post now (I don't check back much obviously given the timing here) because ANY publisher or ANY author needs to get a lawyer. I think it is a gamble to use a watchdog group to get legal information.
I agree. That's why neither I nor anyone else here offered to provide legal information. As I recall, you're the one who claimed legal expertise.

But no - will I ever start throwing my personal contracts around for OTHER people to OK? Hell no!
I'm sure you'll understand, then, why I remain skeptical of your claims about how squeaky clean and fair your contract was.

It's a moot point, anyway.

I hope other Rain authors will check in to let us know whether they've gotten their copyrights back.

- Victoria
 

triceretops

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I've received mine back. And I know of a few other authors who have also received theirs. At least they were swift about that. We'll see about royalty settlements at the appointed time.

In lieu of this situation, it wouldn't be advantageous for me and the others to start an uproar or name names and claim claims against this publisher until this is over. I just know that it was an abrupt shock for all of us, to have this come down the way it did. What can I say other than bad things happen to good people?

I know myself, and my very good friend, who has a wonderful series, by the way, will forge on. We are so fortunate to have a sympathetic agent that is fully assiting us in picking up the shattered pieces to this mess. And all of this, when he had nothing to do with the deal at all.

If there are any other Rain authors out there that would like to discuss this matter with me, send me a PM, and we can at least compare notes.

Tri.
 
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cethklein

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Am I the only one who thinks this almost sounds more like a cult than a publisher?

Maybe it's just me.
 

victoriastrauss

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Unbelievable. Tilly Rivers is still touting herself as a "celebrity author" who has been on "best seller list [sic] around the globe."

And check out these earlier puff pieces about her (or maybe by her), claiming, among other things, that she is "worth a cool six million" or "a celebrity...caught up in the twinkle and fairy dust of being labeled ‘famous'” or "the possibly richest woman in Ontario."

Meanwhile, the Rain Publishing website is still active, with no mention of closing. A "Coming Soon" page shows books scheduled through winter 2008, and the Submissions page declares that Rain is closed to submissions...until September 2008. Books appear to be selling from the site (including your book, Chris), and Amazon shows many Rain books as in stock and available. Of course, this may simply mean that existing stock is being sold off, which any publisher or bookstore has the right to do after a work goes out of print--but in that case, authors, you are owed royalties. However, the books that aren't in stock at Amazon are not shown as "out of print," but as "temporarily out of stock," which is a bit different.

So what about Tilly Rivers's claim, in her letter to authors, that after April 15, "Rain Publishing will be no more"?

Feh.

- Victoria
 

triceretops

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It's certainly hard for her to keep an ego in check, the size of hers. She'll continue to make appearances on the internet, I'm sure. I don't know why she hints about coming back in September. If that were the case she could have left off the duties to someone else to finish off the print runs in inventory until she recovered from this mysterious illness.

I have it in writing that royalties are to be sent out April 20th. We're eight days into it now and I haven't seen anything. This could be quite a problem for the authors whose books did very well for a short time, if Rain is in fact, bankrupt.

I'm in wait and watch mode right now.

Tri
 

IceCreamEmpress

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Please keep us posted, Chris. I hope it all works out for you and your fellow authors. I'm sorry to hear of this turn of events, and I think Ms. Rivers is behaving inappropriately at the moment.
 

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Unfortunately, Tilly never made her titles available through Ingram, so I can't check on iPage to see how the titles are listed. If she did, I'd be able to see whether she's gone through and listed her stock as Out of Print. The problem I see for the authors who had their rights reverted is that will be impossible to try to resell the book to another publisher since those titles are still actively for sale.
 

veinglory

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I don't know why you would ever have lost your copyright. That in itself would be extremely nonstandard and author unfriendly for anything other than "work for hire".

Also, while a lawyer my help the author concerned, the point of watchdog sites is (I would think self-evidently) to help other authors.
 
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Michael

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Well, of course. I was merely wondering because the last post was May of last year, and triceretops said he hadn't been paid as of then. Personally, I would never sign away my copyright, no matter how good the publisher. I'm just glad the authors at Rain got theirs back, at least.
 

triceretops

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Didn't have any problem getting my copyright officially returned. Just wasn't paid a dime for two books, even after the close-out, which I think is required. Some publishers state in their contracts that royalties will not be paid unleas a $25 threshold is reached. I understand that. But when a publisher goes belly-up, I would think that they'd have to clear the books, even if only $23 was earned. I might be delusional.

Tri
 

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