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Secret Cravings Publishing

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

Stacia Kane

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A member has been offered a contract by this epublisher, and I saw they don't have a thread yet so I'm starting one. :)


Link: http://www.secretcravingspublishing.com/


The first thing I notice is the incorrect use of an apostrophe in "genres" there on the very front page, and the fact that the text boxes are incorrectly spaced so some of the words are cut off. (Granted, the spacing thing may be excused a little bit by the fact that they don't open for another couple of months and may still be tweaking, but it's still not good.)

They have "Chic Lit" as a subgenre, which is one of my little pet peeves. It's "Chick." Chick. C-H-I-C is chic, pronounced sheek, and means fashionable and smooth and all of that. They also have a non-fiction book on the site, which is unusual.


They have a contest going on for their Grand Opening, with some awfully nice, expensive prices (registration at the Romantic Times convention, a Kindle or a Nook). The details are here, but unfortunately there are a couple of typos on that page as well; no apostrophe in "winners" for the 1st prize, which I'm sure if just a typo because they spelled it correctly just above, there's no "of" in the listing for the 3rd prize, and at the very bottom a note about how "Authors, staff and their immediately families" aren't eligible.

Just typos, sure, but a publisher's website really shouldn't have typos like that, IMO.


(ETA: there's also a blurb for one of their books, which I won't link to because I don't want to upset/embarrass the author, which contains the rather unfortunate line, "Once [character's] sister is murdered, she finds herself working with...etc." "Once her sister is murdered," makes it sound like it was a plan; "once that's done, we can get tacos," you know? And who found herself working with [other character]? The first character, or the murdered sister? The subject is off. Further investigation reveals quite a few more blurbs with grammatical/subject/tense/spelling/homophone errors: http://www.secretcravingspublishing.com/OurBooks.html. There's even an apostrophe error on one of their covers; "Today's," possessive, instead of "Todays," plural. So I have to admit that makes me wonder.)


Anyone heard anything about these people? I haven't.
 
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Can someone explain to me what this means?
We do not accept multiple submissions, but will consider your manuscript if you inform us prior to or while submitting.
 

Invincibility

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So they don't accept multiple submissions, but they do?
 

Jamiekswriter

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I originally read "multiple submissions" to mean simultaneous submissions. As in, I'm sending it to you, Fred the agent and Mary at Tor.

But then I think what they meant was truly "multiple submissions" as in don't send 5 books at the same time. But after you send in the first one and asked permission to send the other 4, it's OK.
 

BarbaraSheridan

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Not confidence inspiring at all. The one blurb I read had three grammar / spelling errors and one of the sentences still wouldn't make much sense with errors corrected.

There's absolutely nothing "About Us". This may just be my personal peeve but c'mon new pubs--what is your experience in publishing & business? Who are you?

The covers are okay. I've certainly seen worse but adequate Photoshop skills do not an artist make. Sadly that big rose graphic/logo thing is noticeably a bad cut & paste job with annoying outlines.
 

BarbaraSheridan

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I saw a blurb with "there" instead of "their." Twice in the same sentence. Which makes me think the writer doesn't know the difference.

But the blurb needs to pass by an editor. It doesn't go from author to web tech. And it's not just one instance. The blurb I was referring to before has your instead of you're, suppose to instead of supposed to, and weather for whether.

Looking over the other blurbs they come across as if they were written by the same person. Nothing wrong with having a blurb editor but they'd better be dang good at the job to entice readers.
 

Phaeal

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I think they're calling simultaneous subs multiples. Because if you sent them a real multiple sub (more than one MS), why would you have to inform them it was a multiple sub? Um, couldn't they look at it and tell?

That with all the typos, my confidence is uninspired.
 

Momento Mori

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I'm not up on romance as a genre, but could someone tell me what a "Kougar" story is? I've never heard that term before. But then, I never knew there was such a genre as Nerd romance either.

Secret Cravings Publishing:
Secret Cravings Publishing, is a full-service, royalty paying* publisher of general fiction and non-fiction
books, focusing on Romance and high quality Literary Fiction. We publish in electronic, paperback and
CD formats. Books over 50,000 words will go to print.

I don't see why they should automatically take print rights unless/until they demonstrate that they are positioned to sell print books to the general public.

Secret Cravings Publishing:
*Royalty paid quarterly depending on the sales of the books online and via a third party, including exclusive
authors benefits and additional bonuses.

I'd want clarity on what they mean by "depending on the sales of the books" - i.e. whether you are required to sell a minimum number of books before a royalty becomes payable. This would be reasonable if they are paying an advance for books, but if they're not, then they should be paying a royalty on every copy sold.

I'd also want clarification on what is meant by "exclusive authors benefits and additional bonuses" because it seems to be potentially hinky.

Secret Cravings Publishing:
Our standard 40% of the cover price is paid quarterly based on e-book sales.

If the royalty is 40% of the cover price then that's good, but I'd want confirmation that royalties are paid on this and not on net.

No mention here of royalties on print copies, so I'd want that clarified if they're planning on taking print rights (and like I said, I wouldn't want to give those up).

Secret Cravings Publishing:
Our terms of contract are now for the standard three years and require full digital, CD and print rights and is fully negotiable.

Given that their terms are fully negotiatiable, negotiate out the print rights, find out what they mean by "full" (presumably worldwide) and consider the limited term because sometimes books take a while to take off and there are advantages to having a back catalogue available if a later book takes off.

Also check out the termination and expiry clauses in that contract, i.e. whether the term can be automatically extended in certain circumstances.

All in all though, the normal caveats apply - there's no information on the people behind this company or their qualifications to be a publisher, find out what their sales figures are like, wait until they've been operating for a couple of years to see how they treat their authors and sell their books etc etc etc.

MM
 

Jamiekswriter

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If I had to hazard a guess "Kougar" romance is "Cougar" romance, in which "cougar" refers to a woman over 40 going after men in their twenties.

But you threw me with "nerd romance." To me that's my World of Warcraft human mage getting it on with a male blood elf hunter. Oooooh yeah! Dance for me Baby!!! ::ahem:: ::cough:: Pardon me. It's been a rough week.
 
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Kyra Wright

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But you threw me with "nerd romance." To me that's my World of Warcraft human mage getting it on with a male blood elf hunter. Oooooh yeah! Dance for me Baby!!! ::ahem:: ::cough:: Pardon me. It's been a rough week.
Great, I just snorted soda up my nose reading this. It reminds me of all the times I've been logged on one of my female WoW characters and had some cretin whisper me with "hay, r u a real gurl, wanna cyber, lol?"

I, a lifelong proud nerd, would also love to know exactly what "nerd romance" is.
 

veinglory

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There is a small but noticeable sub-genre of romance with nerdy/geeky heroes (I would admit to being a fan). It is one of the few real non-alpha-male tropes in mainstream romance and chick lit.
 

carlag

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yeah! I'm not happy with the fact that you have to do your own copyright!
 

carlag

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Yeah! I'm not happy about them. I have received a contract and it says that you have to do the copyright for the US. Plus they can cancel the contract if you don't promote your work through any social sites.
 
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Stacia Kane

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Yeah! I'm not happy about them. I have received a contract and it says that you have to do the copyright for the US. Plus they can cancel the contract if you don't promote your work through any social sites.


Sorry, do they clarify what they mean by saying the contract can be canceled if you don't promote through social sites? Would you mind posting that clause here, or PMing it to me?

Most epublishers want you to do some promotion and at least have a website--I've seen contract clauses that require the author to have a site and don't think that's the hugest deal in itself--but I'd be curious as to exactly what they expect as far as promotion and social networking. Some people just aren't great at it, some don't have a lot of time, and some people's idea of what constitutes promotion is different from others. Do they want you to mention the book X number of times per day/week/whatever on X number of sites, you know? Because that may be pretty counterproductive.

The above is of course conjecture as I haven't seen the clause. But I'm certainly wary of the idea of it.


ETA: I've been informed by someone I consider trustworthy that the clause simply says the author is expected to help promote the book through social sites. Asking authors--especially in epublishing--to help promote is, as I said above, not such a big deal, but I'd still want to know some specifics, especially if they can cancel a contract for it. It seems to me like beyond the "Author must have a website" clause (which is again fairly common), if they're going to make this a contractual obligation they should make clear what the obligation is, exactly. Is one book-related tweet a month enough? How about a week? How many constitutes an acceptable amount of promotion? Is it okay to just link to the book in your forum signature and go about your business, hoping people will like what you say enough to check it out, or must you write a specific post somewhere about it? Do you know what I mean?

Again, I'd have to see the specific clause before commenting specifically on it. I just think things like promotion and what constitutes "promoting" are subjective, so the individual author should try to get that clarified. If a publisher expects something in particular, they need to let the author know what it is they expect.
 
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carlag

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Sorry, do they clarify what they mean by saying the contract can be canceled if you don't promote through social sites? Would you mind posting that clause here, or PMing it to me?

Most epublishers want you to do some promotion and at least have a website--I've seen contract clauses that require the author to have a site and don't think that's the hugest deal in itself--but I'd be curious as to exactly what they expect as far as promotion and social networking. Some people just aren't great at it, some don't have a lot of time, and some people's idea of what constitutes promotion is different from others. Do they want you to mention the book X number of times per day/week/whatever on X number of sites, you know? Because that may be pretty counterproductive.

The above is of course conjecture as I haven't seen the clause. But I'm certainly wary of the idea of it.


ETA: I've been informed by someone I consider trustworthy that the clause simply says the author is expected to help promote the book through social sites. Asking authors--especially in epublishing--to help promote is, as I said above, not such a big deal, but I'd still want to know some specifics, especially if they can cancel a contract for it. It seems to me like beyond the "Author must have a website" clause (which is again fairly common), if they're going to make this a contractual obligation they should make clear what the obligation is, exactly. Is one book-related tweet a month enough? How about a week? How many constitutes an acceptable amount of promotion? Is it okay to just link to the book in your forum signature and go about your business, hoping people will like what you say enough to check it out, or must you write a specific post somewhere about it? Do you know what I mean?

Again, I'd have to see the specific clause before commenting specifically on it. I just think things like promotion and what constitutes "promoting" are subjective, so the individual author should try to get that clarified. If a publisher expects something in particular, they need to let the author know what it is they expect.

Yeah but there's still the matter of the copyright! i mean you shouldn't have to pay for that! As for the promotion well, they said they'd use the media. But surely they should take care of all of it!!
 

Stacia Kane

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Yeah but there's still the matter of the copyright! i mean you shouldn't have to pay for that! As for the promotion well, they said they'd use the media. But surely they should take care of all of it!!


It's very common in epublishing for writers to register their own copyright. I don't like it either, but it's not in itself a red flag in epublishing (in standard print publishing, of course, it is).


As for taking care of all of it...yes, they should be doing some major promotion for themselves, getting the word out, etc. But again, it's not unusual at all in epublishing for authors to be required to do some promotion on their own. Most ehouses contractually obligate authors to have a website and to keep it up-to-date with new releases and links to the publisher site, and authors everywhere are encouraged to do their own promotion in conjunction with whatever the publisher does. The difference is that that promotion should be/is supporting what the publisher is doing, not the only promo that's being done at all.
 
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veinglory

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I think it is a red flag to compel the author to do it, rather than just leave it up to them. not all authors get much benefit from registering in the US (e.g. if not in the US themselves and unlikely to defend a suit there.) IMHO mandating registration is a proxy fee to publish.
 

brainstorm77

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Yeah but there's still the matter of the copyright! i mean you shouldn't have to pay for that! As for the promotion well, they said they'd use the media. But surely they should take care of all of it!!

Have you contacted the publisher about your concerns?

I have signed with them. They're new, but a decent e pub from what I gather so far.

They do not mandate you to do the copyright thing. They are saying that if you do, you have to pay for it. Just for the record like Stacia said, this is not uncommon. They are informing you that the option is there if you want it.

As for the promotion. Good luck finding an e pub that won't expect you to network and help promote. They are not expecting you to do all the work. But they are expecting their authors to be out there and active.

If you are going into this with all these issues, you're better off not signing with them(if you already haven't).
 
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michael_b

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All publishers, even the big boys in New York want their authors to do promotions as it does help sales. Many readers like to have some sort of contact with the authors they read, and the best way to get someone to read your books is to be 'out there' in some capacity, peddling your work.

Also, the more books you have available to read, the bigger the reader base you will acquire. It's best to stick with one publisher, or two at most. Spreading your work around too much means you're not building one but many reader bases, especially in the epub world. (Experience talking here.)

Did you try the larger, more established epublishers first? As with any book or story it's best to start at the top and work your way down the chain, rather than start near the bottom. You sell yourself short when you start with a newer publisher. Go for the ring and try some of the bigger fish, Samhain, Loose Id, Liquid Silver etc. I highly recommend Loose Id. They're really great to work with, pay on time, and are fast to answer any questions you might have.

I don't know of any epublisher that pays for copyright. Epublishing is still on a tight margin as far as profits go, so for many publishers that extra expense just isn't something they can afford to pay.
 
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DreamWeaver

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...the best way to get someone to read your books is to be 'out there' in some capacity, peddling your work..
I don't think this is true even of most ebooks. The best way to get someone to read your books is to have them for sale in bookstores. Not that people buy ebooks in bookstores. Rather, they find books they like and then check Amazon for the Kindle version, or other online retailers for non-Kindle books.

With ebooks, the ones on the bestselling paid lists are quite often versions of physical books that are on the printed books bestseller lists. On today's Kindle paid top 10, nine of the books are ebook versions of print bestsellers. The one that is ebook-only is loss-leader priced at $0.99.

In the future things may change. But right now, author promotion might be a contributing factor in getting people to read one's books, but it's not the main factor for most books with substantial sales.

ETA: For many ebooks, the reputation of the publisher coupled with the publisher's customer base loyalty is a very large factor. This seems especially true for romance and erotica.

EATA: One area where author promotion *does* seem to make a difference is books suitable for bookclubs. If the author interfaces well with bookclubs, that information often gets around and leads to the book being chosen by more bookclubs. Then when the book is listed on bookclub information sites ("36 bookclubs are reading [Title] by [Author's Name]"), it can lead to more bookclubs picking up the book. So I'm not saying author promotion is not useful; I just think it fills more of a supportive role.

EOMTTA: Of course, if one is not with a commercial publisher with distribution, or an ebook publisher with a viable web strategy and vibrant web bookstore, author promotion may be the *only* way to get people to read one's book. So I guess at that point it would become "the best way". It's the rare breakout star who would be able to match sales with commercial publishers or skillful epublishers, but it has happened. Just extremely rarely.

PS. Sorry for straying so far off topic. Off my soapbox now...
 
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IceCreamEmpress

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Not that people buy ebooks in bookstores.

A number of independent bookstores in my area are now selling ebooks as well; I went to a reading recently where people bought the writer's books as ebooks afterwards. It was interesting to see a cluster of people with ebook readers standing around downloading in a bookstore.
 

DreamWeaver

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I stand corrected...and surprised :D!
 

Hanukkah sameach!

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