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Safkhet Publishing

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Paul

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Hi AWers,

Just wonder a couple of things about this small UK press. They seem genuine enough, but wondering about their clout in the ' physical hard copy books on physical shelves world'. (that's a technical term)

Anyone seen any book on any shelves by this publisher? Anywhere? (Including your own shelf!)

Anyone any dealings with them? EDIT or seen sales figures anywhere?

love etc
Paul


http://safkhetpublishing.com/index.htm
 
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nkkingston

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I haven't, and I'd remember covers that weak if I'd seen them in a bookshop. The only bookshop I can see on the distribution list for the UK is Blackwells, but it's more likely to be for order only there anyway. They don't list Waterstones, the big brick-and-mortar player now Borders is gone. So it's online and possibly available to order, but no actual bookshop placement.

Poking around the site, it emerges they were originally 'provided text work' for other publishers (I don't know if this is a technical term, but from context I'm guessing translations and proofreading translations). They've moved into publishing for themselves, but still offer book packaging and text work as well.

They have three staff members, at least one based in Germany. The site is speckled with clunky ESL sentences, which worries me as it appears the German staff member is the Copy Editor. If their website has issues, most people will assume their books do too. Despite asking for English submissions, their current submission call includes a string of German.

The other staff members appear to be husband and wife, from the shared surnames and the picture on the blog. There's no evidence of experience beyond the 'text work'. It's hard to tell, but I think they live in Cambridge. The Pigeon Hole link gives a London and a German address, but asks mail only be sent to Germany, which makes me wonder if there's anyone at home in the London address or whether it's just for show.

They're currently seeking a design intern (which shows they know their covers aren't up to par), but it worries me it's an intern and not a full time employee, which they clearly need.
 

WillatSafkhet

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Clarification on Safkhet Publishing

Dear Absolute Write readers, Paul and nkkingston,

I could start by being reactive to nkkingston negatively-pitched post and just simply defend Safkhet Publishing, thus looking like the short, pudgy kid on the local playground (you, know, the one with the plaid shirt, pocket protector, taped glasses and mama’s-boy haircut) who always gets laughed at and picked on by the other kids. I’d rather be as I say I am on our website – open and honest. Plus, that wouldn’t answer Paul’s question.

Safkhet Publishing started trading only last year in June with three imprints: Safkhet Cookery, Safkhet Fantasy, and Safkhet Select (a select list of books that don’t fit into either cookery or fantasy). In our inaugural year, we published five titles: For Those About To Cook (a heavy metal cookbook) by Bruce Moore, The Amulet of Kings (a comedy fantasy) by Will Macmillan Jones, Faerytale (a rhyming dark fantasy fairy tale) by Rachael Fuller, Ollie the Octopus (a children’s coloring book) by William Banks, and Entschuldigund aber ich bin nur Kinderarzt (a biography on a Nobel prize-winning pediatrician – translated title is “I’m sorry but I’m just a kid’s doctor”) by Kim Maya. Since then, we’ve also started a rom-com imprint called Safkhet Soul and published a total of 12 titles.

Our covers are custom-made and do not use carbon-copy iStock images. The point of a cover is to be interesting enough for someone to notice it among the masses of similar covers you’d find in a bookstore and pick it up. We’ve had success with it so far.

As for our roots, we were a book packager, providing translation, proofreading, copy-editing, layout, design, typesetting… and have academic backgrounds as listed on our website here.

We are, indeed, based in Germany with a registered office in London – as our website says. No secrets there either.

As for bookshops, our books are available through any local bookstore, Waterstones as well. Blackwell is listed on the Press & Trade page as a distributor – because they are a distributor (and they have bookshops).

The design intern we seek is not for our covers, but rather for one specific book project.

The website is comparable in quality and content to many other independent publishers’ websites. However, if you see a mistake anywhere on our site and feel inclined to point it out, please feel free to do so and I guarantee you a warm, pleasant, and quick response – since I am not only the company lawyer and fantasy imprint editor, but also the website administrator!

We are, indeed, married – if you need to know – and there are no staff members at all, as of yet. Other than the two of us (Kim and I), we work with freelancers. The German “staff member” listed on our webpage is a freelancer for our German texts. We do like to pretend that we are actually only unpaid interns and are constantly being worked like slaves by the “real” owners, but that’s just an inside joke.

As for Paul’s actual question on sales figures, getting sales figures from anybody is difficult, even the Big Six. Just because Publisher’s Weekly and Publisher’s Monthly hasn’t listed our sales figures doesn’t mean we haven’t sold any books yet.

If you have any further questions, please ask. The only questions that I guarantee we will never answer are those that you don’t ask.
 

LindaJeanne

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This is only tangential to the topic at hand -- but as a folk metal fan, I'm highly amused by your Korpiklaani recipes page :).

Back on topic: Does "available through" mean "on the shelves at" or "available to be ordered through"?
 
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LindaJeanne

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E. S. Lark

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I wanted to make a note on the covers, Will, if you don't mind. You said:

"Our covers are custom-made and do not use carbon-copy iStock images. The point of a cover is to be interesting enough for someone to notice it among the masses of similar covers you’d find in a bookstore and pick it up."

Now, I completely understand the need of standing out amongst the crowd, but I'm afraid I have to agree with Nkkingston here. Your covers are weak, even for an indie press. Most of the text you use won't be too visible on places such as Amazon's search page. Especially the script text you use.

The books by Sheryl Browne look extremely cluttered with her name on the side of the book along with the police hat graphic.

Outside of that, when you look at a book page on the site, some of the text at the top of the page overlaps, making it look very unprofessional. I also feel it would be in the best interest of your readers if your "order here" button wasn't so blinding

This is coming from an author, a reader and someone who's built her own sites for years.

Looking at your coding, you're missing the meta data for the description of the site, which would appear in Google search results.

These are just the few things I noticed while inspecting the site. It has an okay start, but from a personal standpoint, it needs work, both with the site and the covers.

And just to give everyone an idea of how Amazon ranks work, my one book Trueblood's Plight sold 2 copies last month (I'm not actively promoting it). It has a sales rank of 277,822, which is higher than Safkhet's best seller.

This essentially might mean that they haven't sold recently, or sales only come from friends and family and it's up to the author to push their product hard.

Something to keep in mind for those looking to sub.
 

WillatSafkhet

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available through

This is only tangential to the topic at hand -- but as a folk metal fan, I'm highly amused by your Korpiklaani recipes page :).

I hope that warrants another look at Bruce's book!

Back on topic: Does "available through" mean "on the shelves at" or "available to be ordered through"?

"available through" means "on the shelves at" AND "available to be ordered through". Getting coveted spots on bookstore shelves highly depends on the bookseller and how much up-front (and never to be seen again) advertisement money the publisher can pay for it. Take a look at the companies that have titles at your local bookstore and try to find the indie ones... We do push, though, for the bookstores to carry our books, and for author signings they do stock them.
 

WillatSafkhet

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I wanted to make a note on the covers, Will, if you don't mind.

No, I don't mind! We love constructive criticism!

Outside of that, when you look at a book page on the site, some of the text at the top of the page overlaps, making it look very unprofessional. I also feel it would be in the best interest of your readers if your "order here" button wasn't so blinding

You are probably looking at our site from a mobile device, right? Well, our site was written for computer users with web browsers and I have not had the time to adjust for handheld devices. As for the button: that was a relic - thank your for pointing it out! *gone*

Looking at your coding, you're missing the meta data for the description of the site, which would appear in Google search results.
It's there for all sub sites, just not the main site. Why is our intern Herman eating code?! Thank you again! *added*

These are just the few things I noticed while inspecting the site. It has an okay start, but from a personal standpoint, it needs work, both with the site and the covers.
As for the site - I am working on it, constantly and truly appreciate feedback (what with being a start-up, there is only so much we can do at any given time)! As for the covers - opinions differ, I guess.

This essentially might mean that they haven't sold recently, or sales only come from friends and family and it's up to the author to push their product hard.
Something to keep in mind for those looking to sub.
We do market all books we take on (and hence only take on those we believe we can market) and we ask of our authors that they help market their books and cross-market. That is our business model and it seems to work. We do not have the budget (yet) to market all the books to the potential of one of the Big Six, but when we do, we might change that business model. Although... honestly? I doubt that.
 

Paul

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:) Thanks Will. Always nice to see a publisher step into the 'ring' and give account of their objectives/ ambitions etc. Mercie.
 

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"available through" means "on the shelves at" AND "available to be ordered through". Getting coveted spots on bookstore shelves highly depends on the bookseller and how much up-front (and never to be seen again) advertisement money the publisher can pay for it. Take a look at the companies that have titles at your local bookstore and try to find the indie ones... We do push, though, for the bookstores to carry our books, and for author signings they do stock them.

I disagree that publishers needs to buy advertising to get their books onto bookshop shelves: in my direct experience, all that's required is the services of a good distributor with a sales team in place. Who does Safkhet's distribution?
 

WillatSafkhet

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I disagree that publishers needs to buy advertising to get their books onto bookshop shelves: in my direct experience, all that's required is the services of a good distributor with a sales team in place. Who does Safkhet's distribution?

We currently distribute our ebooks only for Kindle - due to the restrictions of the Kindle Select program, although we are considering if it is enough of an added payoff to exclude the ePub market.

Our physical books are distributed through Ingram and their associated distributors, Betrams, Gardners, Libri, ... but they do not make much of an added effort to push sales for our books. For them to actively push our books, we would have to have a yearly turnover of more than $200,000 (same for any indie publisher using their system) and even then, they would bunch us into a bulk sales drive. Admittedly, that might be nice, but a dedicated sales team would be better - and that we cannot afford at this time. This is also why we have our authors help us out with publicity. After all, who knows the genre better than the one who actively writes in it?

Here's an insight into a situation that we've recently had to deal with:
Waterstones bookshops have decided to restrict author signings to those who are national authors (usually only those who are backed by national or international publishers). The "directive" from upper management stated that a store may have an author signing for 1 hour, the author may only passively sell the book from the table assigned, and when the "queue" in front of the table is gone (what queue? only nationally known authors have queues), the author should not be allowed to stay longer. A regional manager also told me that he is negotiating a book tour for a number of authors from a Big Six publisher. So, there is a disparate favoritism towards Big Six publishers who can pay for author signings and adverts.

Another note recently discovered: Thalia says they will only stock "bestsellers" in their stores, but we might be able to get the local store to carry one or two sample copies... interesting paradox there.
 

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After all, who knows the genre better than the one who actively writes in it?

Personally, I would hope anyone at the company who has a hand in my book knows the genre at least as well as I do. Preferably way better.

I read a lot, but I'm a baby in comparison to the people who sell these books for a living, and I don't usually think about the marketing of a book when I pick one up. The entire reason I don't self-publish is because I want my book to be marketed by people who know what they're doing better than I. Why should someone edit my book who doesn't know the genre conventions? Why should someone design my book cover who doesn't know what kinds of designs are selling in that genre now?

This is the question I want to put to every new publisher. Why your company and not me striking out on my own? Because X% royalties really just translates to (100 - X)% of the profits.
 

WillatSafkhet

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Personally, I would hope anyone at the company who has a hand in my book knows the genre at least as well as I do. Preferably way better.

I totally agree with you there.

I must say that with a big publisher, what you get is an editor who knows how to edit, a sales team who is specialized in selling (any book - not just your genre), a proofreader who proofreads, a designer who can only design, etc. However, the editor might not be able to proofread, or might not know the first thing about selling to the entire fantasy market. Maybe he only reads contemporary fiction, but he's got the fantasy genre because that's his job?

I'd love to say that I'm an expert in all fields, but as a small publisher who cannot afford a separate editor, sales team, proofreader, law team, rights team, international distribution manager, marketing specialist, warehouser, or coffee cooker for every genre I have in the company, we have to wear all the hats simultaneously. Naturally, you (as authors) should consider this when going with a small press. With Safkhet, we chose to have a business model where the authors are also considered experts, and not just the publishers. I have been active in the fantasy genre for many years, not just as a publisher but also as a writer, reader, role-player, and game master. I am an accomplished salesman of many things and not just books, and it takes only a bit of time and some serious diligence to know something about the book selling industry.

Every publisher should be an expert in his or her genre. Every publisher needs to be a salesperson, because that's what they do. They sell books. Every publisher who edits or proofreads needs to not only be well-versed in the genre but also they must be overly meticulous grammar/punctuation/sentence structure/genre-compliance/proper literary writing-Nazis.
 

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I must say that with a big publisher, what you get is an editor who knows how to edit, a sales team who is specialized in selling (any book - not just your genre), a proofreader who proofreads, a designer who can only design, etc. However, the editor might not be able to proofread, or might not know the first thing about selling to the entire fantasy market. Maybe he only reads contemporary fiction, but he's got the fantasy genre because that's his job?

I've worked for several publishers over the last three decades and none of the good ones would have employed editors who didn't know the genre in which they were working. It would be impossible for them to do their job.

To be able to work as an editor--and remember, editors are responsible for acquiring new works as well as editing them--you have to know your genre inside and out, and understand its history and where books, new and old, fit in that history. You can't acquire books if you neither know nor appreciate the panorama in which they exist.

I'd love to say that I'm an expert in all fields, but as a small publisher who cannot afford a separate editor, sales team, proofreader, law team, rights team, international distribution manager, marketing specialist, warehouser, or coffee cooker for every genre I have in the company, we have to wear all the hats simultaneously.

This is why you should specialise, and only publish genres which you know, love and understand. With all due respect you can't possibly do your best for your authors if you don't know enough about the genre they're writing.

Naturally, you (as authors) should consider this when going with a small press. With Safkhet, we chose to have a business model where the authors are also considered experts, and not just the publishers.

This worries me. What, exactly, do you expect your authors to be experts in, and how does that affect your business?

I have been active in the fantasy genre for many years, not just as a publisher but also as a writer, reader, role-player, and game master. I am an accomplished salesman of many things and not just books, and it takes only a bit of time and some serious diligence to know something about the book selling industry.

But publishers have to know a lot about publishing if they want to do it well, and if you don't know enough about it you won't know how little you know. That's a big problem, which I've seen over and over again in startup businesses.

Every publisher should be an expert in his or her genre. Every publisher needs to be a salesperson, because that's what they do. They sell books. Every publisher who edits or proofreads needs to not only be well-versed in the genre but also they must be overly meticulous grammar/punctuation/sentence structure/genre-compliance/proper literary writing-Nazis.

I agree that editors need to know grammar, punctuation and everything else inside out, but I don't like suggesting that people should be Nazis. The word is often used far too lightly, in my opinion.
 

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I'd love to say that I'm an expert in all fields, but as a small publisher who cannot afford a separate editor, sales team, proofreader, law team, rights team, international distribution manager, marketing specialist, warehouser, or coffee cooker for every genre I have in the company, we have to wear all the hats simultaneously.

If I may ask, how many editors are there? Your current submission call implies there are at least two (a "Safkhet Soul" editor and a fantasy editor).

Please don't misunderstand, I don't expect you or your editor(s) to be an expert in every genre. That's obviously not reasonable. But it's also a big reason to start in the genre you do know, rather than attempt to cover several genres that you don't.

I am an accomplished salesman of many things and not just books, and it takes only a bit of time and some serious diligence to know something about the book selling industry.

I know enough about the book-selling industry to know I don't know much about the book-selling industry. Every time I think I know, someone on AW usually sets me straight.

You may be the type that learns fast (I'm not a salesperson of any sort, so I've got that disadvantage), but even so, surely the time for learning is before the company is started, not when you've already got books for sale?
 

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I am an accomplished salesman of many things and not just books, and it takes only a bit of time and some serious diligence to know something about the book selling industry.

If you want to be part of the book-selling industry, you should become a bookseller. A publisher is in the book-producing industry.
 

WillatSafkhet

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I've worked for several publishers over the last three decades and none of the good ones would have employed editors who didn't know the genre in which they were working. It would be impossible for them to do their job.

True enough. I am not saying that I don't know my specific genre. I am saying that as a small press, I am handling my specific genre AND I am doing all the other administrative tasks required to keep my company afloat. The editors you worked with most likely did not have to make constant sales calls, write up new contracts for international rights, blog to potential customers, effectively utilize sales reports and social media, and effectively handle submissions simultaneously. This is something, I think, that you as authors should know - and thus expect that you will also have to help sell the book to the readers (whether that is blogging, using social media, orchestrating local author signings, etc.) if you go with a small press.

To be able to work as an editor--and remember, editors are responsible for acquiring new works as well as editing them--you have to know your genre inside and out, and understand its history and where books, new and old, fit in that history. You can't acquire books if you neither know nor appreciate the panorama in which they exist.

Of course. No question about that.

This is why you should specialise, and only publish genres which you know, love and understand. With all due respect you can't possibly do your best for your authors if you don't know enough about the genre they're writing.

Sounds like you agree with me.

This worries me. What, exactly, do you expect your authors to be experts in, and how does that affect your business?

I expect my authors to know their genre - inside and out. Otherwise, I cannot get them to effectively help me sell the book. They need to know what books compete with them, what the latest trends are in their genre, how to write well in their genre, and how to present their manuscript. I also expect my authors to be able to creatively come up with new ideas on how to get people interested in their work, and to work hand-in-hand with me and my team to accomplish this.

Guaranteed: if an author is not willing to get into all possible aspects of social media to help market the book, cannot think creatively outside of just sitting at home writing, expects us to pay an advance of royalties (at this time), will not support the other authors in the company, and refuses to work hard in marketing the book after the manuscript is submitted, then that person is welcome to go somewhere else. At this stage in the publishing game for us, we have to have 100000% compliance, support and integration into making the publishing house successful or the relationship won't work.

We even have submission guidelines that we essentially demand our potential authors to follow. They're pretty easy to follow, and yet you would not believe the number of submissions we get that do not follow these simple instructions.

But publishers have to know a lot about publishing if they want to do it well, and if you don't know enough about it you won't know how little you know. That's a big problem, which I've seen over and over again in startup businesses.

We can only assure you that we DO know our business, otherwise why would we invest all of our time, effort, and money into getting it to work? It also helps that we believe in what we are doing and we want to do it.

Just out of curiosity, What experience do you have in witnessing the problems of start-up businesses over and over again?

I agree that editors need to know grammar, punctuation and everything else inside out, but I don't like suggesting that people should be Nazis. The word is often used far too lightly, in my opinion.

Grammar-Nazis: It's an idiom (that I've over-abused into a rather wordy perversion of the original).
 

WillatSafkhet

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If I may ask, how many editors are there? Your current submission call implies there are at least two (a "Safkhet Soul" editor and a fantasy editor).

Two. A Safkhet Soul editor (my partner) and a Safkhet Fantasy editor (me). Officially to the public, we have a Safkhet Cookery editor too, but that person really is just us working together. :D

Please don't misunderstand, I don't expect you or your editor(s) to be an expert in every genre. That's obviously not reasonable. But it's also a big reason to start in the genre you do know, rather than attempt to cover several genres that you don't.

We do. That's why we only have three genres. We are both in the cookery genre, my partner is in the romcom genre and I'm in the fantasy genre.

I know enough about the book-selling industry to know I don't know much about the book-selling industry. Every time I think I know, someone on AW usually sets me straight.

I'm happy to be set straight when I'm wrong, too. I certainly wish there were more people out there who have the chutzpah to set me straight. Otherwise, how can we learn from our mistakes?

You may be the type that learns fast (I'm not a salesperson of any sort, so I've got that disadvantage), but even so, surely the time for learning is before the company is started, not when you've already got books for sale?

If we all had the luxury to be absolute failure-free experts before starting a business, there would either be a whole shed-load of bazillionaires out there (because none of us would make any mistakes) or everyone would have the same amount of money because everyone would be evenly good at everything (how strangely Marxist... note to self: must think about that sometime when I have more time).

Learning while actively in the business is normal. it's natural. You do things, you make mistakes, you learn from them, and you keep going. No one (at least no human being on THIS planet) is error-free from the get-go.
 

WillatSafkhet

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If you want to be part of the book-selling industry, you should become a bookseller. A publisher is in the book-producing industry.

Really? I had no idea. So, all I have to do to make money is produce books, slap an ISBN number on them, send them to a printer (any I guess will work) and they'll magically get bought by bookstores and readers around the world? I don't even have to advertise? I don't have to make sales calls to the book buyers at the major chains or even talk to indie bookstore owners?

Wow. I've been doing it wrong all this time.

Seriously, though. Yes, a publisher must produce the book, but then that book has to be picked up by the bookstore to be retail sold. Our business model also includes directly involving the customer/reader in the marketing plan, so we sell not just to the bookstores, but also to the readers themselves. In these cases, "selling the book" should be read as "convincing others to buy it using existing retail services".
 

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I am an accomplished salesman of many things and not just books, and it takes only a bit of time and some serious diligence to know something about the book selling industry.

If you want to be part of the book-selling industry, you should become a bookseller. A publisher is in the book-producing industry.

Really? I had no idea. So, all I have to do to make money is produce books, slap an ISBN number on them, send them to a printer (any I guess will work) and they'll magically get bought by bookstores and readers around the world? I don't even have to advertise? I don't have to make sales calls to the book buyers at the major chains or even talk to indie bookstore owners?

Wow. I've been doing it wrong all this time.

Seriously, though. Yes, a publisher must produce the book, but then that book has to be picked up by the bookstore to be retail sold. Our business model also includes directly involving the customer/reader in the marketing plan, so we sell not just to the bookstores, but also to the readers themselves. In these cases, "selling the book" should be read as "convincing others to buy it using existing retail services".


My point was -- and remains -- that someone claiming expertise in sales is not automatically qualified to start a business in production. Someone very good at running a bicycle shop will probably not actually be very good at producing bicycle frames.

You might want to think about the fact that everything you've posted in this thread is about how you actually can't do the job of being a publisher.

Being honest about it is noteworthy, but it doesn't change the fact that so far, it doesn't look as if you've done what's necessary to start up a micropress that has much chance of surviving.
 

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True enough. I am not saying that I don't know my specific genre.

Ah--I was under the impression that you handled several genres, some of which you had no experience in.

I am saying that as a small press, I am handling my specific genre AND I am doing all the other administrative tasks required to keep my company afloat. The editors you worked with

--I didn't just work with editors, I was an editor for years--

most likely did not have to make constant sales calls, write up new contracts for international rights, blog to potential customers, effectively utilize sales reports and social media, and effectively handle submissions simultaneously.

One can't do any of that simultaneously. It would be impossible: how could one write up a contract whilst talking on the phone and sorting through submissions? I think you're exaggerating.

I used to work with sales and marketing departments, negotiate contracts, check out our monthly sales reports, read submissions, write jacket copy, oversee production and design, find experts and authors for books we wanted to commission, and edit the books in my care (I did most of my actual editing on evenings and weekends). I also had to manage staff, interview for new staff, and do all sorts of stuff. Editors are busy people. I know that.

This is something, I think, that you as authors should know - and thus expect that you will also have to help sell the book to the readers (whether that is blogging, using social media, orchestrating local author signings, etc.) if you go with a small press.

I think most of us are aware of that.

Guaranteed: if an author is not willing to get into all possible aspects of social media to help market the book, cannot think creatively outside of just sitting at home writing, expects us to pay an advance of royalties (at this time), will not support the other authors in the company, and refuses to work hard in marketing the book after the manuscript is submitted, then that person is welcome to go somewhere else. At this stage in the publishing game for us, we have to have 100000% compliance, support and integration into making the publishing house successful or the relationship won't work.

My bold. That seems to say that you expect your authors to help promote not just their own books, but the books you publish by other authors as well.

Please tell me I've misunderstood your point.

We even have submission guidelines that we essentially demand our potential authors to follow. They're pretty easy to follow, and yet you would not believe the number of submissions we get that do not follow these simple instructions.

Oh yes I would. I've dealt with slush: I know what it's like.

We can only assure you that we DO know our business, otherwise why would we invest all of our time, effort, and money into getting it to work? It also helps that we believe in what we are doing and we want to do it.

I hope you do, and that I've misunderstood your comments here. But at this point, I don't think I have.

Just out of curiosity, What experience do you have in witnessing the problems of start-up businesses over and over again?

I've seen them fail, because they overestimate their own skills and knowledge, and underestimate how much time, money and expertise is required to make their businesses succeed.

Grammar-Nazis: It's an idiom (that I've over-abused into a rather wordy perversion of the original).

I know what you meant, but you seem to have completely misunderstood me.

It's a term I find offensive.

The Nazis slaughtered around seven million people. And they didn't do it because those people weren't very good at punctuation. To use the term in the way that you did trivialises the horrors the Nazis carried out, and is disrespectful to their many victims. It's just not appropriate.
 

WillatSafkhet

WillatSafkhet
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--I didn't just work with editors, I was an editor for years--

Ah. I didn't know that. Makes sense, considering your blogs out there. Great stuff I might add. Anyone wanting a heads-up in the business needs to read it.

One can't do any of that simultaneously. It would be impossible: how could one write up a contract whilst talking on the phone and sorting through submissions? I think you're exaggerating.

Well, "simultaneously" in the sense of handling many different jobs in the course of business. Some people are blessed in their jobs of only having two or three different roles to play during the day. I mean that, as the company is only me, my partner and various temporary freelancers (when we can afford them), we have to fulfill all the roles of a business at the same time. It's the crux of what is essentially "self-employment".

Albeit some days, I think that a 9-to-5 job dedicated to one or two roles would be simply much better. I just wouldn't have the glorious feeling of being my own boss. :)

I used to work with sales and marketing departments, negotiate contracts, check out our monthly sales reports, read submissions, write jacket copy, oversee production and design, find experts and authors for books we wanted to commission, and edit the books in my care (I did most of my actual editing on evenings and weekends). I also had to manage staff, interview for new staff, and do all sorts of stuff. Editors are busy people. I know that.

Sounds like you had quite the roles to fulfill yourself. So you should know exactly what I'm talking about... and I think you do. Primarily, I believe that there are many authors who do not understand this aspect of publishing, that every publisher has several different departments run by many people, that every publisher can give them advances on royalties, that the books somehow sell themselves, that being a publisher automatically grants you safe and secure passage to the bookstores, and that all they have to do is submit, do a couple of final edits, sit back and watch the money just pour in through the front door.

I might have been exaggerating just then. I tend to get passionate about this business and want to tell (read "educate") people about what I do to get their book out there.

I had one submission once where someone actually wrote in the email that they would only settle for 15% royalty off RRP and an advance of no less than $50,000 for their manuscript. Not a joke, it was a serious request. I'd rather have authors submit who know that we as publishers have a shed-load of things to do, and if we can get the author to help us do it, then we ask them to help.

My bold. That seems to say that you expect your authors to help promote not just their own books, but the books you publish by other authors as well.

Please tell me I've misunderstood your point.

Well, I'll clarify.

I expect my authors to be active in their promotion of their own book. I expect them to go to author signings and book fairs, do blog tours, respond on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms for their book. I expect them to be active in their genre - on forums, Amazon, Goodreads, and anywhere else that they can make the book as visible as possible. I expect them to go to schools and libraries to promote the book, creative writing and literacy. Since Safkhet is not omnipresent, I ask my authors to do what they can to make us (the company) more visible.

AND, yes, I expect my authors to support the other authors where possible to help them promote their own books. That's what our publishing family does. I don't expect them to buy the other books, I expect hem to read the other author's blogs and respond to them, get other people maybe to Like the book's or the author's Facebook page, talk to them, give whatever advice they have to the other authors, help them with book signings - advice or even going to the book signing as support.

We are a family, we treat each other as friends, and none of our authors are allowed to sit back and not participate in this company. We create a support structure for our authors, and any of our authors can talk to the others for any reason. We are always there for our authors, they can call us day and night for any reason. Of course, we don't call them day and night for any reason - but we offer to them that they can do that. They usually don't.

It's what family does.

I've seen them fail, because they overestimate their own skills and knowledge, and underestimate how much time, money and expertise is required to make their businesses succeed.

True enough. I've seen small businesses fail too. But then, this is the risk you take when you strike out on your own. Every person has that choice: to work for someone established, make a set salary and work the job - maybe someday rising to the top to be the boss (or work directly for him); OR to carve out their own niche in the world, to make their own way and to work for themselves, whether that be as a freelancer or company owner - to be the boss instead of working for the boss. It's a real risk and is fraught with danger, angst, fear, insecurity and other wonderfully phrased emotions...
... and I wouldn't have it any other way.

I know what you meant, but you seem to have completely misunderstood me.

It's a term I find offensive.

The Nazis slaughtered around seven million people. And they didn't do it because those people weren't very good at punctuation. To use the term in the way that you did trivialises the horrors the Nazis carried out, and is disrespectful to their many victims. It's just not appropriate.

I apologize for offending you (and anyone else) and being inappropriate. I acknowledge that the National Socialist Party during the Second World War committed horrible atrocities, for which there can never be sufficient reparation paid for this.

Let's say "militant-grammar-fanatics" instead. We can coin the term MGF's for future reference. Let's also save our other opinions about the actions of other world powers in history for a different forum. Last thing I want to do is start a flame-war.
 

WillatSafkhet

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My point was -- and remains -- that someone claiming expertise in sales is not automatically qualified to start a business in production. Someone very good at running a bicycle shop will probably not actually be very good at producing bicycle frames.

True, but I haven't yet told you everything that we do or have done in the past. You have no idea as to what I've done in my life that qualifies me to have a business in book production.

You might want to think about the fact that everything you've posted in this thread is about how you actually can't do the job of being a publisher.

Being honest about it is noteworthy, but it doesn't change the fact that so far, it doesn't look as if you've done what's necessary to start up a micropress that has much chance of surviving.

I have never once implied that anyone on this forum or anywhere else cannot do their job, since I don't know all the aspects of their lives, nor am I enough of a psychic to begin to guess. I have answered posted questions and given my open and honest opinions. There are many aspects about my job as a publisher that I haven't discussed - and most likely will not discuss - unless directly (and politely) asked about that very aspect.

Also, after reading your blog and your links/webpage, I wouldn't say you're qualified to judge me without knowing me. Besides, correct me if I'm wrong, but... you don't know what it's like to work as a publisher. It also doesn't look like you've ever started up your own business. You work as a technical writer for a software company. You may know what it's like to work WITH a publisher, but not as one. I'd would wager to say that Old Hack can (and - by working in the industry for many years - has earned the RIGHT to) comment on my opinions as to my capabilities as a publisher.

But I don't see how you are qualified to judge my capabilities as a publisher or whether my business will succeed, based on the paltry amount of information you've gleaned from this forum.

You might want to think about that and the fact that so far all you've done is read my comments out of context and judged me.
 
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