• Guest please check The Index before starting a thread.

Ridan Publishing

rsullivan9597

Banned
Joined
Feb 1, 2009
Messages
443
Reaction score
29
Location
Fairfax, VA
Several posts came in when I was "offline" I want to just thank people for all the well wishes and the nice things they said about the covers - as I mentioned I think they pretty important to the sucess of a book. Guess it's not such a "tough room" after all ;-)
 

Unimportant

Takes a firm stance on crit pro quo
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
May 8, 2005
Messages
13,180
Reaction score
12,334
Location
Aotearoa
Thanks for that info, R. I hadn't realised RV was that new and didn't have books out for more than a year.

If you're selling a few thousand copies per title, you're doing darned well. Kudos.
 

Daddyo

been around a while
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Aug 3, 2009
Messages
436
Reaction score
45
Location
Deep In The Heart of Texas
If Ms. Sullivan runs her business with the same tenacity as she defends it, then Ridan will certainly succeed.
 

rsullivan9597

Banned
Joined
Feb 1, 2009
Messages
443
Reaction score
29
Location
Fairfax, VA
If Ms. Sullivan runs her business with the same tenacity as she defends it, then Ridan will certainly succeed.

Tenacity, yes...but even more to the point, professionalism.

Thank you both...I can certainly say I have a "passion" for it has been my experience that even difficult tasks are doable when you put enough effort behind it.
 

Sydewinder

Banned
Joined
May 20, 2009
Messages
659
Reaction score
64
Location
Look up. you see that bright star in the sky? I li
I've read this thread from the start and would also like to say, good job to Ms. Sullivan. You’ve responded to criticism with tact and professionalism. Thank you.

It’s worth mentioning that there are some very well-regarded commercial (indie) and POD publishers out there that did not have much “publishing” experience when they started, but who brought something else to the table that set them apart from their competition. I think your experience in marketing is a considerable plus. Also, any POD publisher who manages sales in the 1000’s is worth taking note of. I can count on one hand how many non-erotic POD publishers can pull that off.

My question is this: do you have a benchmark of sales or accumulated capital whereby you intend to change from POD to offset printing? Do you have a future goal to pursue a distributor (or create in house distribution teams) to get your titles in stores? I ask because if you are managing sales of +1000 copies without bookstores, it would seem you have a very good marketing team. Add to that the fact that you obviously produce a nice looking product that is well edited (since they win awards), and it would seem you’re missing only distribution.

As it stands right now, I wouldn’t submit to your company because I can’t justify spending 3 months writing a novel only to earn, maybe, $1000.00 dollars in author royalties. But that’s nothing against you or your company, I wouldn’t submit to any POD publisher for the same reason.
 

rsullivan9597

Banned
Joined
Feb 1, 2009
Messages
443
Reaction score
29
Location
Fairfax, VA
My question is this: do you have a benchmark of sales or accumulated capital whereby you intend to change from POD to offset printing? Do you have a future goal to pursue a distributor (or create in house distribution teams) to get your titles in stores? I ask because if you are managing sales of +1000 copies without bookstores, it would seem you have a very good marketing team. Add to that the fact that you obviously produce a nice looking product that is well edited (since they win awards), and it would seem you’re missing only distribution.

Great question and certainly one that I'm crunching the number on right now. The reality is our good sales (i.e. 1000+ only started in the past few months and I want to make sure it is a trend and not a blip) but if it continues then yes I'm leaving money on the table because I can afford to do some offset printing with select titles and get the print cost cut in half. The bigger isssue is the distributor/warehosue fees that I need to spread over a large number of titles and not all my authors are selling at the level that I'm really to take that on. So...I'm putting aside my profits to build a capital pool for that aspect. I don't want to, from a business perspective have to rely on cash flow to pay those fees but if I have the cash in reserves then I'll "try" it on a limited basis and see if the returns nail me as bad as I think they will. So...not out of the question but still too far down the line to say definitely.

As to in house. I could never (well never say never - but don't intend) to entertain setting up a "in house" distribution mainly because I don't have enough titles to make the "sales" aspects of what they do work.
 

priceless1

Banned
Joined
Feb 15, 2005
Messages
1,622
Reaction score
445
Location
Somewhere between sanity and barking mad
Website
www.behlerpublications.com
In house distribution is nearly impossible because your sales team [who are more than likely commissioned sales people who have no real emotional investment in you] is competing against the big trade distributors - IPG, Consortium, Midpoint, Peseus, Partners, etc. These folks have been around forever and everyone knows them. They open doors and get their books on shelves.

Conversely, an in house sales team - even if they used to sell for the big houses - still can't open those same doors because genre buyers are shivering in their Victoria Secrets about their budgets. They'll only buy books if they believe the promotion plans in the catalog are big enough to make big sales.
 

Sydewinder

Banned
Joined
May 20, 2009
Messages
659
Reaction score
64
Location
Look up. you see that bright star in the sky? I li
In house distribution is nearly impossible because your sales team [who are more than likely commissioned sales people who have no real emotional investment in you] is competing against the big trade distributors - IPG, Consortium, Midpoint, Peseus, Partners, etc. These folks have been around forever and everyone knows them. They open doors and get their books on shelves.

Conversely, an in house sales team - even if they used to sell for the big houses - still can't open those same doors because genre buyers are shivering in their Victoria Secrets about their budgets. They'll only buy books if they believe the promotion plans in the catalogue are big enough to make big sales.

Interesting point.

I had an experience working for a small press in their acquisitions department (I was a coffee lackey and slush wrangler). But they had a small team of commissioned sales people who would go to the Bricks and Mortar stores in their area and surrounding areas, and get their books on shelves. It was limited. Absolutely. But the publisher told me that they had their eye on a distributor who needed to see x# of titles and x# of sales before they would consider them as clients. (The press I worked for was not based in the US).

Is that how it works with most high quality distributors? x# of titles required and x# of sales? (In addition to the obvious, discounts and returns)
 

M.R.J. Le Blanc

aka Sadistic Mistress Mi-chan
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Nov 26, 2008
Messages
2,195
Reaction score
271
Location
At the computer
Doesn't Ingrams work that way? I recall reading somewhere on these boards about one distributor would only consider publishers with at least a catalog of 10 titles, though I don't know what the sales figures had to be for those 10 titles.
 

Saanen

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Dec 12, 2018
Messages
1,093
Reaction score
115
I've had zero luck with unsolicited manuscripts so the only people who know about Ridan (or should) are the ones whose shoulder's I tap.

Is that why you have an extensive submissions section on your "about" page? That's where I found the information to query Ridan back in January. Sounds like I won't be getting a response.

Maybe you should close to submissions if you've changed to an invite-only policy.
 

Sydewinder

Banned
Joined
May 20, 2009
Messages
659
Reaction score
64
Location
Look up. you see that bright star in the sky? I li
Is that why you have an extensive submissions section on your "about" page? That's where I found the information to query Ridan back in January. Sounds like I won't be getting a response.

Maybe you should close to submissions if you've changed to an invite-only policy.


A guy from my writer’s group recently queried them and he was contacted by Robin. It seems they may be picky, and might be non-responders if they're not interested, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. My friend's interest in Ridan kind of spurred my interest in the company. I cannot get past the POD thing, but I'm starting to think that maybe, if I struck out with off-set publishing co's and wanted to try POD publishers, Ridan would be pretty close to the top. Some of their Amazon numbers are note worthy.

Here's the thing, I'm all about starting out small (if need be) in the publishing world. but I want a legitimate publishing credit. one I can list on a query letter that might be noticed by an agent. I forget where I read it, but I read an article where it said something like "if the publisher hasn't sold 2000 units (after returns are calculated), don't mention it."

I've tried to find out if there is some universal term for what constitutes "legitimate publishing credit" and there seems to be quite a few.

So far I've been going by the SWFA.ORG site where it states what they consider qualifying markets to apply for membership - e.g. – (and I’m paraphrasing here) they list publishers, and to qualify one not listed it you must have been, paid a min. of $2000.00 advance from a pub with 10+ titles, and, a print run of +1000 copies . . . check it out. http://www.sfwa.org/join-us/sfwa-membership-requirements/

But by the SWFA site, it seems that POD's don't really qualify. That fact alone keeps me away from all things POD. Please, if I'm wrong here, tell me.
 
Last edited:

Saanen

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Dec 12, 2018
Messages
1,093
Reaction score
115
A guy from my writer’s group recently queried them and he was contacted by Robin. It seems they may be picky, and might be non-responders if they're not interested, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Being picky is not a bad thing, but being a non-responder is (in my opinion). When I queried in January, I got a reply saying they were backed up with subs and would probably not get back to me until April. Maybe they're taking longer than they thought, but after reading this thread it seems pretty clear they're not interested in reading slush. That's fine, but they should close to unsolicited queries.

And no, POD publications aren't generally considered "real" publishing credits. I have one POD-published book (and one ebook) to my name and I never mention them when querying agents or large publishers. They don't count.
 

Sydewinder

Banned
Joined
May 20, 2009
Messages
659
Reaction score
64
Location
Look up. you see that bright star in the sky? I li
Being picky is not a bad thing, but being a non-responder is (in my opinion). When I queried in January, I got a reply saying they were backed up with subs and would probably not get back to me until April. Maybe they're taking longer than they thought, but after reading this thread it seems pretty clear they're not interested in reading slush. That's fine, but they should close to unsolicited queries.

And no, POD publications aren't generally considered "real" publishing credits. I have one POD-published book (and one ebook) to my name and I never mention them when querying agents or large publishers. They don't count.

April's just ended - LOL. okay it's not a good thing, but non-responding pubs is not uncommon. I've been waiting on Ace/Roc for 8 months, and their website states 5 months. Argh!

As per your second point. I think the issue with POD and Epubs might be that as far as agents are concerned, it's a numbers game and there are only a very few pod/e-pubed writers who break 1000 sales. If Ridan consistently breaks 1K units or more for some of their titles, I'd bump them up to the top of that POD list. 1-2K units is freaking significant for a POD.

I think their success plays to the fact that they come from a marketing background. Marketing and distribution (and producing a good-looking, well edited product) are the only two things that matter when it comes to selling books (most POD pubs have neither). That's why I was curious about their plans. They seem like just the kind of publisher who might break out successfully. I appreciate how Robin is growing her company. Seems like they're in the business of helping authors succeed. Far too many e-pubs and POD's are just book-mills.

Here's a question. Would you guys mention Samhain or EC on a query letter? Probably, right? Those are the ones who consistently break the 1000 unit sales. Of course, maybe I'm wrong, maybe they're not legit credits either. If any are, those are.
 
Last edited:

rsullivan9597

Banned
Joined
Feb 1, 2009
Messages
443
Reaction score
29
Location
Fairfax, VA
Is that why you have an extensive submissions section on your "about" page? That's where I found the information to query Ridan back in January. Sounds like I won't be getting a response.

Maybe you should close to submissions if you've changed to an invite-only policy.

Not closed to submissions - but as I've mentioned they have not yielded much results, except for a few people who I think "have potential" but are doing extensive re-edits based on feedback.

We get A LOT of queries, even though we are not out there looking for them so it can take a long time, depending on our book release schedule. If you privately mesage me your email you sent it from I'll personally check into whose stack it is and get it moved up a bit.

So far I've been going by the SWFA.ORG site where it states what they consider qualifying markets to apply for membership - e.g. – (and I’m paraphrasing here) they list publishers, and to qualify one not listed it you must have been, paid a min. of $2000.00 advance from a pub with 10+ titles, and, a print run of +1000 copies . . . check it out. http://www.sfwa.org/join-us/sfwa-membership-requirements/


But by the SWFA site, it seems that POD's don't really qualify. That fact alone keeps me away from all things POD. Please, if I'm wrong here, tell me.

I thought SWFA wanted $2,000 in sales but not necessarily as an advance - but haven't looked at it recently. We don't offer advances so if that is the criteria then no we would not qualify.

Being picky is not a bad thing, but being a non-responder is (in my opinion). When I queried in January, I got a reply saying they were backed up with subs and would probably not get back to me until April. Maybe they're taking longer than they thought, but after reading this thread it seems pretty clear they're not interested in reading slush. That's fine, but they should close to unsolicited queries.

We are not that "far" off of April but yes we were/are more backed up than at other times. Of course there is limited number of hours in the day and we have a ton of titles coming out March - May -- 5 in total which is why the submission people probably told you that it would be awhile. We have a number of conventions that we have 'non movable' deadlines for so yes producing those books will take priority over reading the slush pile. That is one of the disadvantages is we only have so many resources.

We try to be as responsive as possible, but with all agents/publishers if you've not heard in awhile then a gentle reminder/status check is certainly the right thing to do.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

JulieB

I grow my own catnip
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Feb 17, 2006
Messages
2,403
Reaction score
213
Location
Deep in the heart o' Texas
I thought SWFA wanted $2,000 in sales but not necessarily as an advance - but haven't looked at it recently. We don't offer advances so if that is the criteria then no we would not qualify.

That figure is correct, but it is either in the form of an advance or payable on publication. For everyone's reference, the guidelines for qualifying a venue are here.
 

Sydewinder

Banned
Joined
May 20, 2009
Messages
659
Reaction score
64
Location
Look up. you see that bright star in the sky? I li
Ahhh, so a POD "Could" qualify if - it had a circulation of 1000 copies (not necessarily a print run), had 10 distinct works, and author earned $2K dollars. By those standards, I suspect only the best POD's could do it.

A question for Ridan Publishing: Although most people in the USA might use Amazon or B&N to purchase books online, in Canada most people buy online through "Chapters.ca" (Because of discount cards, ease of picking up title... etc). I found all the electronic version of your books available through their site, but not the print versions.

This is a minor issue, really. Personally if I was offered a contract from a UK publisher who said my books would only be available in UK bookstores, I'd be ecstatic, so not being able to buy a book in Canada isn't really a deal-breaking issue (considering your numbers), but I was wondering if this is a logistical issue, a glitch on my end, or something else?

ETA: Shoudn't have said "Most" canadians use Chapters.ca, should have said, "a lot" of canaidans do (I don't konw if most do, just everyone I konw). Plus, I see that your books are available on Amazon.ca so now I'm thinking it's a Chapters thing.
 
Last edited:

rsullivan9597

Banned
Joined
Feb 1, 2009
Messages
443
Reaction score
29
Location
Fairfax, VA
A question for Ridan Publishing: Although most people in the USA might use Amazon or B&N to purchase books online, in Canada most people buy online through "Chapters.ca" (Because of discount cards, ease of picking up title... etc). I found all the electronic version of your books available through their site, but not the print versions.

There is no doubt that distribution is a challenge in our model - and I have to subscribe to the 80/20 rule. The issue with Chapters is they don't put in their catalog POD books. If I went the Warehouse model then it would be there - for instance note that the original version of The Crown Conspiracy (published by AMI) is listed - though of course out of stock as that first printing sold out.

For "overseas" we rely mostly on BookDepository which ships to almost anywhere in the world with zero shipping fees and the list price of the books are discounted nicely. For instance, Crown Conspiracy is 18% off and sells for $10.49, Avemparth 24% $10.49).
 

eqb

I write novels
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Feb 12, 2005
Messages
4,615
Reaction score
1,805
Location
In the resistance
Website
www.claireodell.com
Ahhh, so a POD "Could" qualify if - it had a circulation of 1000 copies (not necessarily a print run), had 10 distinct works, and author earned $2K dollars. By those standards, I suspect only the best POD's could do it.

No, the publisher must pay a minimum of $2000 in advance or on publication. It doesn't count if they eventually earn that money later through royalties.

But if you sell your novel to a reputable small press, that certainly counts as a legit publishing credit.
 

priceless1

Banned
Joined
Feb 15, 2005
Messages
1,622
Reaction score
445
Location
Somewhere between sanity and barking mad
Website
www.behlerpublications.com
...the publisher told me that they had their eye on a distributor who needed to see x# of titles and x# of sales before they would consider them as clients.

Is that how it works with most high quality distributors? x# of titles required and x# of sales? (In addition to the obvious, discounts and returns)
Yep, that's how it works. Sort of. There is a lot of criteria they consider.

Active frontlist: They want publishers who have an active front and backlist. That weeds out the onesies publishers. It also shows that the publisher has the $$ to maintain an active front list.

Genre: They also look at what kind of books you publish. The genre publishers are attractive - mystery, for example - because they have a loyal fan base.

Reputation: Like everyone else, they want to know what kind of reputation you have. Are you considered a Yoda of your particular genre? Do you get consistently good book reviews? Book awards?

Sales History: If you're an established publisher, they want to see your sales history. Depending on how long you've been in business, they'll expect to see healthy sales.

Budget: Lastly, they want to know what kind of budget you have. Distributors are all over the place, but the big guys are expensive as hell. They make money coming and going, and some expect X amount from each publisher for advertising.

If you're a new publisher, they want to see what kind of money you have and how much you budget for each title in the way of marketing and promotion.

Doesn't Ingrams work that way? I recall reading somewhere on these boards about one distributor would only consider publishers with at least a catalog of 10 titles, though I don't know what the sales figures had to be for those 10 titles.
Yes, Ingram has the 10 title stipulation, and it's not based on sales because they're simply a warehouse distributor. That particular arm doesn't have sales reps presenting your title to the genre buyers.

They may have gotten pickier over the years about having 10 titles published. Many years ago, they'd open an account with a publisher if they had a catalog with more than 10 titles in the pipeline.

Sorry for the threadjack, rsullivan!
 
Last edited:

Sydewinder

Banned
Joined
May 20, 2009
Messages
659
Reaction score
64
Location
Look up. you see that bright star in the sky? I li
There is no doubt that distribution is a challenge in our model - and I have to subscribe to the 80/20 rule. The issue with Chapters is they don't put in their catalog POD books. If I went the Warehouse model then it would be there - for instance note that the original version of The Crown Conspiracy (published by AMI) is listed - though of course out of stock as that first printing sold out.

For "overseas" we rely mostly on BookDepository which ships to almost anywhere in the world with zero shipping fees and the list price of the books are discounted nicely. For instance, Crown Conspiracy is 18% off and sells for $10.49, Avemparth 24% $10.49).

That's really interesting, and too bad, too. I see that Chapters has an agreement with iuniverse to sell on their website "certian" vanity-pubed books, but they need to be in some "star" or "rising star" program. Weird that they wouldn't let POD's when the'll let those ones.

Also, I could have sworn that the publisher of this book: http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/search?keywords=the pace shelena shorts&pageSize=10 was a POD, but perhaps it's not. they have so few authors and don't list a distributor on their site that I just assumed. AW has a thread on them here: http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=144446&highlight=lands+atlantic
 
Last edited:

LMILLER111

New kid, be gentle!
Super Member
Registered
Joined
May 22, 2009
Messages
171
Reaction score
9
I judge POD publishers on two fronts. How they get the books on the market, and how they pay their authors. Ms. Sullivan hasn't really addressed the issue of author payment. Her husband said they offer better royalties than other presses, and to be honest, that makes me worried. 99% of the time when I read that a publisher is going to offer better than industry standard royalties, it means they're going to pay on net (yuck!) or they're going to charge the author something on the backside (double yuck!).

I'd like to see a sample contract from Ridan before I'd even think of submitting. Better yet, I'd rather see a sample contract get sent to Writer Beware and have Victoria give her opinion on the contract before I'd submit.

The covers are nice though. :)

I am a fan of some POD's, but most are absolute rubbish, so I'm very critical, at least initially.
 

rsullivan9597

Banned
Joined
Feb 1, 2009
Messages
443
Reaction score
29
Location
Fairfax, VA
Sullivan hasn't really addressed the issue of author payment. Her husband said they offer better royalties than other presses, and to be honest, that makes me worried. 99% of the time when I read that a publisher is going to offer better than industry standard royalties, it means they're going to pay on net (yuck!) or they're going to charge the author something on the backside (double yuck!).

I'll agree with you that as an author the best way to get royalty is to have it based off of list. It makes it easy to know exactly what your cut will be. "Net" has a bad reputation because there are many definitions of "net. Any contract that mentions net must CLEARLY define that term.

I would NEVER suggest that an author sign a contract that specifies Net profit. It is too easy to manipulate the numbers such that there is no profit and hence no royalty - plus you have no idea what to expect "going into" the deal.

Net receipts IF CLEARLY DEFINED works and in fact is the way our contract is written. The reason I didn't go with list is because the venue fees vary so wildly I would have to set the rate to the worst case scenario and that would be less fair (IMO). I use net receipts and of course it is more than double normal list royalties.

The Ridan contracts defines a "net receipt" that our rolyalties are based on as the amount that "walks in our door". So for books sold through distribution this means the list price - printing (remember we are POD so this is not a "upfront cost") - channel cut. When we sell direct this is a little different in that it is sales price (we always discount) - printing - shipping cost - credit card processing fee.

We don't tack on anything for our "expenses" such as layout, editing, cover design, overhead etc. Because we use createspace and lightning source for printing the "printing cost" is published so authors can see for themselves there is no hidden mark-up. When we are done laying out the book and the sales price is determined we provide them a sheet indicating what they will make depending on venue.

As to charging the author "on the backside" -- Again that is something to be wary of - as it is how the worst people in the industry "get you" - i.e. publish America. They set their prices high and offer the author the ability to buy their own books at some terrible discount off of a high price that makes them pay way above market. Ridan lets authors have as many books as they want for their own "personal use" at cost. My husband's first publisher offered a 50% discount - pretty good by industry standards but he still was making about $3.00 a book for anything we bought which I think is just plain wrong. When a Ridan author buys their own book I just have the printer ship directly to them (again POD remember) - they can see the invoice so again they know I'm not cheating them in any way. I don't even ask them to send me money - I just deduct that price from their next royalty statement. As I mentioned elsewhere money does not flow from authors to Ridan.

I know there is reason to be suspicious as there are a lot of disreputable organizations out there. I have a business model that works for me and the authors that I bring on. It is not "conventional" but sometimes you have to think outside the box and do something in different ways.
 
Last edited:

John Karr

Registered
Joined
May 13, 2005
Messages
21
Reaction score
0
Website
www.johnakarr.com
So far I've been going by the SWFA.ORG site where it states what they consider qualifying markets to apply for membership - e.g. – (and I’m paraphrasing here) they list publishers, and to qualify one not listed it you must have been, paid a min. of $2000.00 advance from a pub with 10+ titles, and, a print run of +1000 copies . . . check it out. http://www.sfwa.org/join-us/sfwa-membership-requirements/

But by the SWFA site, it seems that POD's don't really qualify. That fact alone keeps me away from all things POD. Please, if I'm wrong here, tell me.

Things POD are not all bad. Budgets are smaller, but there are good works out there. To rule all of us out because an organization doesn't deem us worthy seems extreme to me. Why hand your judgement over to someone else?

Maybe click on over to the publisher's site or online seller, check out the cover art, the blurb, read an excerpt. Then decide whether to pursue.
 
Last edited:

JulieB

I grow my own catnip
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Feb 17, 2006
Messages
2,403
Reaction score
213
Location
Deep in the heart o' Texas
Things POD are not all bad. Budgets are smaller, but there are good works out there. To rule all of us out because an organization doesn't deem us worthy seems extreme to me. Why hand your judgement over to someone else?

Maybe click on over to the publisher's site, check out the cover art, the blurb, read an excerpt. Then decide whether to pursue.

John, there are some very good publishers that aren't approved by the SFWA/MWA/RWA. I don't think anyone is saying this publisher - or any small POD publisher - isn't worthy. In fact, they've been in here answering questions in a very professional manner. That's not what I'd call unworthy at all.

There's a very well-known regional press in my area. They don't have bookstore distribution and do small print runs and POD, but they back up their authors and sell to readers. They're not SFWA approved, but that doesn't make them "unworthy." Honestly, I don't know if their goal is to get SFWA approved. Yet, a fair number of their authors are also SFWA members, meaning they've sold work to larger markets.

Small doesn't mean bad. It's finding a niche and doing it right, IMO. Some publishers are doing very well with the POD model. They treat their authors well and understand that they make money by selling books to people who read them rather than selling them to the people who wrote them.

Sadly, there are some that are well-meaning but don't have the experience or resources to stay in business. I'm reserving judgment on these folks, but right now they're willingness to step in and answer questions in a professional manner speaks well of them, and I wish them the best.
 
Last edited: