Schiffer Publishing Question

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APH73

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Hello everyone to give the board a update, I am a big Hulk Hogan fan and have been writing a book on his merchandise and collectibles seeing I know literally thousands of fans collect his stuff worldwide.

I submitted my book proposal to Schiffer Publishing and got this email back

Dear Austin,



In looking at the numbers, our instincts tell us we would need to pre-sell
1000 copies of a Hulk Hogan Collectible book either to you or to an
organization with which you make arrangements. The sale of these 1000
copies would be made part of our contractual arrangements with you to author
the book.



It is hard to say what that cost would be until we know more about the size
of the book, number of illustrations, etc. However, the retail price of
similar collectible books average $24.95-$29.95. The party purchasing the
1000 copies would get a 47% discount off retail. If you are that party
purchasing the 1000 copies at the discount, you would not be paid a royalty
on them. We would print a good number more for which you would receive a
royalty on those additional copies that are sold.



All my best,



Karen Choppa


Now I have a list of bussinesses that want to carry my book for thier stores. They have request samples to see which I dont have. Schiffer will publish with 1000 pre-order which I can get book need the samples what to do?

Can anyone lend some advice?
 

APH73

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Can someone on this board please offer some advice??

30 people have read my thread surely with all the intelligence and industry know how that is on this board somebody could offer some insight.

Should I go with getting 1000 pre-orders? or go the POD route?

I contacted Hastings and some other retail chains about carrying my book and they said I would need to be on Ingram distribution. Who in the POD universe offer Ingram?

Any advice anyone can lend me would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks again
 

Phouka

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I can offer only a complete novice's view -- run like hell. Money flows TO the author, never from him/her.

I don't know a thing about Schiffer publishing, but everything I know about publishing in general says that this is not a legitimate way to sell non-fiction books. You don't sell your own books unless you are publishing them yourself. A publisher asking for you to manage sales of the first 1000 books is, if not a scam, a seriously non-legitimate publisher. That's their job.

Shop the idea around to other publishers (check here on the list for legitimate publishers) and be patient. This certainly doesn't sound like any kind of deal that I would take.
 

aka eraser

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I'd stay well away from them too. I have no doubt every writer who sends them a proposal or ms gets the same response. What they want is you to buy 1000 (at least) books. They're banking on authors' love of, and faith in, their works. They make their money on the backs of writers, not the general book-buying public.

Polish your proposal and send it to publishers who publish books similar to yours. Start your research in your local bookstore with a pen and a pad of paper.

Only when you've exhausted all legit venues should you consider self or vanity publishing. If you ever come to that conclusion then start your research here at AW in our POD, Self and E-Publishing board.
 

APH73

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Thanks for the advice. I agree they want me to produce 1000 pre-orders but arent willing to support my project.

I would to submit to Simon and Shuster they have been releasing alot of pro wrestling related books lately, Unfortunately I cannot quiry without a literary agent.

http://www.simonsays.com/content/book.cfm?tab=1&pid=522752
 

frimble3

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How about instead of querying publishers interested in pro-wrestling, you look for the publishers of all those books on collectibles?
 

APH73

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I think the market for pro wrestling books is bigger than collectibles publishers. I know only of three collectibles publishers and schiffer is one of them. I thought they were a legit publisher but I guess not.
 

Dinah Roseberry

Just thought I’d slip a note into this thread since one of my other authors pointed it out to me. I am an editor with Schiffer Publishing (working with their ghost line). I felt that more explanation needed to happen here—especially since this is a site that I frequent both personally and professionally.

We are a niche publisher, but this does not mean that we are experts in every niche. The letter sent to Austin was a courtesy letter. Basically, we know that we have no experience or market for Hulk Hogan collectibles. We wouldn’t know how or where to sell it; nor do we have contacts in that field. We felt that the book, with our marketing, would not be successful. It’s always best to look for a publisher who really knows your particular area (as mentioned here)—wrestling is not one we’ve worked with.

This offer was made in the event that the author wanted to see the work in print and had exhausted other possibilities—they can come back to us if they want, but we just don’t think we can market it. Pre-selling 1,000 copies would cover the cost for a print run. We make no money on that. Any book we take on requires us to sell 1,000 books before we make anything at all. Therefore, for areas we know, we take books on knowing that we will be able to cover the print run and then sell more.

We rarely offer the option for a book we don’t understand (like wrestling) unless the author feels really strongly about his or her topic. Usually, we just say no thank you. It’s not a matter of support, rather a matter that we know we can’t sell it and can’t take the risk.

I suspect that people who have been burned by vanity publishing won’t believe me, but I can say no more than the truth. Feel free to do the heavy research on us.


Dinah
 

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Dinah Roseberry said:
This offer was made in the event that the author wanted to see the work in print and had exhausted other possibilities—they can come back to us if they want, but we just don’t think we can market it. Pre-selling 1,000 copies would cover the cost for a print run. We make no money on that. Any book we take on requires us to sell 1,000 books before we make anything at all.
If you make no money, what's in this arrangement for you, then? Why not just tell the author no?

Asking authors to ensure the pre-sale of a large number of books, with a promise (usually false, since undistributed and unpublicized books rarely sell beyond pocket markets surrounding the author) to print many more for sale to the public, is a classic vanity publisher tactic. The apparent logic of it vanishes on close examination. If the publisher can sell 1,000 books to the author, where's the incentive to try to sell to the public? If the market for the book is so uncertain that the author must guarantee sales, does it make sense to print "a good number more"? If it does make sense to print that additional number, is the market really so uncertain? If it's not so uncertain, why must the author guarantee sales?

The wording of your letter and your website, as well as the photo-album look of the interiors of your other books on collectibles make me suspect that the offer Austin received is not so very unusual for your company.

- Victoria
 

tsinder

With due respect to this discussion:

I have a contract with Schiffer and my contracts make no mention of my preselling 1000 books. The contract is legit. They are a niche publisher, probably many of their authors are experts in thier obscure hobby rather than professional writers per se. They are listed in the 2007 Writer's Market, for what its worth
 

Anastacia

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I know someone who has worked with them in the past and has a book coming out with them in the spring. She's a very intelligent woman who is head of the art department at a local community college.

Schiffer is a legitimate company. It is definitely not a vanity press.
 
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Madeline

Contract ?/Schiffer

Hello,

I am new here, and I have a fair amount of publishing experience, and just
got a contract from Schiffer for a book. One clause really bugs me:

"..the Author shall read proofs...and return...to Publisher. Author shall bear
all costs of alterations, changes, and additions in the first proofs exceeding five percent of the cost of typesetting."

Huh? Did the other Schiffer authors get this, too? Is this standard?
Any thoughts or help would be appreciated. Thanks!
 

Jaws

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You didn't provide the whole clause, Madeline, so this is very general commentary.

Yes, it is typical to have a "cost of changes in the typeset book" clause in a publishing contract, particularly for nonfiction. The trigger level is more commonly 10% than 5%, but it's very, very seldom triggered in this day of electronic typesetting that will cascade changes to later pages without direct operator intervention. In fact, I've only ever seen one such clause triggered... and it was due to a substantial rewrite of an entire chapter in a sport physiology textbook, affecting nearly 40 pages. Keep in mind that errors made by the publisher during typesetting (whether due to a bad edit, an error, miscoding a passage for italic instead of roman type, etc.) do not count in the ordinary cost-of-changes clause.

I have no idea whether Schiffer's lower trigger is meaningful. It might be "sounds good to us," it might be "we need to discourage rewrites that late even more than we already do," or it might have a less-salutory purpose.
 

CalicoCat

Hello, I realize this post comes a couple of months after the last query, but I just joined and thought I'd weigh in--I used to work as an editorial assistant to a managing editor, and this was pre-computer. I used to proofread galley sheets and compare them with the original manuscript, and also read second-pass galley sheets. I had to mark typos and other errors either PE for printer's error or AE for author's error...and I confess I forget what I used to put for the publishing house...could it really have been EE? eeeeee!

Anyway, the houses I worked with were old and venerable, and all of them charged the authors for additions and changes they made to galleys beyond a certain percentage. The only authors who must have ever reached that cut-off were the ones who used galley sheets as a chance to rewrite substantial portions of text--the sort of thing they should've done way back in manuscript stage. I think in part that the author's-error responsibility is mainly there to prevent such rewriting at a late stage.

We had one author who tried to undo all the serial commas in the book, for example--she hated serial commas, but it was house style, and she never mentioned it back when it could've been taken care of pre-typesetting.
 

Stijn Hommes

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I'm not running as hard as some of the others, but I would certainly look into POD and see if it makes the book cheaper to produce at whatever print run you want to do. If you already have a market, it's not you doing the buying, so in that case I would go with whatever is the cheapest good-quality option.
 

BlueTexas

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I just picked up a book at B&N published by Schiffer. I only bothered to look, and find this thread, because I swear the copyeditor was on drugs while they worked on this book. Wow, oh, wow, are there big problems.

What's worse, a friend of mine is the author. I really hope he didn't buy 1000 copies of his own book. I can't believe all the problems I've found in the text - a nearly complete lack of commas, typos, incorrect words. I honest-to-god don't think this book was edited, and I'm only on chapter 3.

Just thought someone might find this post useful when researching Schiffer.
 

MsArtwriter

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Schiffer Books

Just want to say I wrote a book for them that is coming out this year. I found them great to work with and they really let me write the book I wanted to write. They publish some beautiful and interesting books on art topics and who does not like ceramics, glass, etc?
 

JudyS

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Just want to say I wrote a book for them that is coming out this year. I found them great to work with and they really let me write the book I wanted to write. They publish some beautiful and interesting books on art topics and who does not like ceramics, glass, etc?
Welcome, MsArtwriter!

Did the publisher require you to pay anything to them, or to buy a certain number of copies? If not, are they giving you an advance?
 

MsArtwriter

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I was not ever required to buy any book or pay a cent (or would not signed the contract). I am not certain what they do for advances so it may vary there (so I don't want to comment on my situation but typically niche publishers do not give advances). And I am happy with my royalties. I think the person commenting earlier misunderstood their response to him/her since he wanted to market a type of book which they admitted they really had no expertise. They are honest and will pass on a book that does not fall under their marketing expertise. I think they were just trying to help out someone who had no option other than going the self publishing route. If you are a visual artist with a lot of expertise in an area, the best options are Schiffer or Lark books. The bigger publishers do not take on these topics unless it focuses on works by Picasso, Monet, etc. I knew the book I wanted to write so matched it to the publisher.
 

brianm

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I know two Schiffer authors and neither had verbiage in their contracts requiring them to purchase copies. One currently has a new manuscript under contract and that contract does not contain any verbiage requiring her to purchase copies. In fact, she will receive ten free copies when the book is published.

I own all three books written by these authors and they are of excellent quality.

Commercial publication for collector genre books is very limited, especially since Collector Books is no longer publishing new titles. Another commercial option would be Krause Publications (F&W Media).

~brianm~
 

Alessandra Kelley

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I'm not an author, just a reader and occasional collector of books on collectibles (they make interesting historical research sometimes). I have several Schiffer books, and although they seem legit as a publisher (they were certainly available in normal bookstores), the quality of the product seems to depend a lot on the author.

They are pretty niche; I don't think there's much of an audience for a collectible book outside the actual collectors, except maybe for eccentrics like me. And the editing does seem to vary a lot. Some of their books are beautifully crafted; some are glorified scrapbooks.

Their prices are pretty high also, and I have noticed that when their books are remaindered, their prices are still high. I don't know why.

I had not heard of them before as a vanity press. However, at least one other person (a Transformers collector) casually says they are on http://www.physics.ohio-state.edu/~sstoneb/tf/faq/general/merchandise.php
 

Richard Hurts 730

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Dear MsArtwriter.
I cant imagine you are Happy with your royalties at all. Schiffer Publishing yes is a niche publisher however they are a very large publisher and crank out several hundred new titles on all topics every quarter. The warehouse in Atglen Pennsylvania is 100 feet high and 3 football fields long so that makes them a big publisher for sure. I have spoken to numerous Schifter authors and not one of them have been given a single cent as an advance and have been told Never to expect one, that sorry to say is just something they wont do and I think that is wrong! 
 Also I know for a fact that they offer the same crappy contract with extremely poor author terms to all of their prospective authors and simply say that that’s just what they must do. I have read the contract and I cant imagine how you are happy with the royalties you have been paid by Schifter. The contract claims you’ll get 10% on all retail sales but I have reviewed the Authors royalty statements of my contacts and on none of them has there ever been a paid 10% royalty on a full retail cover priced book sale Schifter simply just will claim no one has ever bought one from them on any of their thousands of titles. In fact they will only pay 5% at a wholesale sliding scale rate in which every book is sold at a different price well below the 40% author purchase rate on a day to day and month to month basis. 
 They are Very Dishonest and use a very convenient explanation and excuse to cover any financial questions I quote “That their computer software they use is used by other publishers, and that they must simply be creative and flexible with all of their financial accounting to fit there own needs by misusing accounting software to RIP off all of their authors”. The fact of the matter is as a Schifter author you will only be payed maybe .25% to 3% at most on what is reported on your very confusing royalty statement and less than half of your sales will ever show up on your statement at all. I’m convinced from reviewing several years of these bogus author statements that since they are family owned and totally insulated in P.A. from investigation that Schifter publishing has a second set of books for all sales with the real sales numbers. Sorry to say, this is book sales Racketeering and a Federal crime in my opinion. I am an author of several books and I would Never do business with these folks. It also says on their news letter that if they don’t like your questioning of them by email that they will Simply ignore and delete your email outright. That’s not right but I have heard it time and time again from my contacts that it is totally true. It seems that once they have your books manuscript that it’s the last time they need you anymore and will go on their merry way making 97%-100% of the money on all sales of your Book Title and pay you literary pennies after attempting to sell you on the concept they don’t pay advances of any kind. I am also a literary agent and would advise any prospective authors to get one and wish my Author contacts would have in advance and they would not have gotten totally Ripped of by Schifter. Lastly Schifter also claims they wont deal with you if you come to them thru a literary agent because they know they wont be able to take advantage of you. Only suckers need apply. It’s a shame because Schifter has developed One of the worst reputations in the business because of their very shady business practices.

Schifter Publishing company is not a member of the Better Business Bureau or BBB accredited. The agency states the reason is the bureau has repeatedly requested basic info regarding management, accounting policies and disputes involving royalties complaints and received No responses back ever. The agency has Red flagged it as a non-legitimate business engaged in fraudulent practices. Many years of IRS audits have been uncovered. There have also been numerous Federal Supreme court cases involving unfair business ethical practices involving Author rights abuses.

Stiffer publishing WILL NOT...

• Pay you on ANY full cover price retail sales through their catalogue. They will claim none were ever sold.
• Pay you on ANY full cover price retail sales through their website. They will claim none were ever sold.
• Every single book sold entry on your 6 month royalty statement will be for a different amount day by day, month by month. All books sold will be discounted below the author 40% discount. This is not possible for an individual to call them up and get such a non existent preferential rate.
• All books are allegedly deeply discounted by Schifter for the purpose of not paying you the contractually agreed upon 10% royalty such that they will now only pay you 5% based upon the made up sliding sales fictitious book sales sold amount. This is price fixing.
• One of their favorite accounting scams is to claim most of your books are foreign sales in order to pay you just a 2.5% royalty, however they will claim those books were sold at 55% or more of a discount despite the fact that on their own website it clearly states all books sold in Canada, Europe and Australia are ordered and purchased through their website for full cover price. This effectively pays you only a 1% royalty. Shame On Them.
• Another one of their favorite accounting scams is to automatically factor in 20% or more in book returns for the purpose of deducting money from you wafer thin earnings on books royalties that you were Never paid for.

Good Luck in the future and if you ever write another book Find another Publisher, your under Zero obligation to get Screwed over again you Get Financially Stiffed. Or go the Published on Demand route. These folks are more corrupt than Donald Trump and Paul Ryan combined.

Sincerely,
Richard Hertz
ONLY THE FACTS HERE!!