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Semper Press

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Filigree

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Is there a thread on these folks already? I couldn't find it.

New outfit embarking on an IndieGo campaign until Sept. 23, 2015.
Statement: "Authors and readers deserve better!"

temp website until they build the new one in a couple of weeks: https://semperpress.wordpress.com/

From their What is Semper Press page: "Semper is the creation of J.S. Wayne, a veteran erotic romance author who has seen the good, the bad and the ugly of both small press and self-publishing."

I applaud them actually using crowdfunding to get some starting capital, since many small presses don't make that cognitive leap in the first place. I do worry that Semper's mission ("by placing the interests of readers and authors above profits") is going to limit investment and growth, because I don't know how long you can crowdfund a publisher. For me, standard disclaimers apply: I'll see where they are in a couple of years.

I came across them on an advertising post through Love Romances Cafe, which I'll copy here. (mods, modify if needed.)

<<Authors! 65% royalties sound about right?

Semper Press thinks so!


We're starting a new house with a new perspective and a whole new outlook on the business of publishing. We think "Authors and readers deserve better!" Because of this, we're in active negotiations with the best cover artists and editors in the business to make sure authors and readers alike get the best possible reads and a product they're proud to share around!

For authors, we offer:

  • 1-year contracts from initial publication date
  • Intense manuscript vetting comparable to Big 5 processes
  • 65% royalty share to YOU
  • Authors retain all other rights
  • Unparalleled marketing and promotional support before, during and after release
For readers, we offer:

  • The Semper Slush-Pile Angels program, which allows readers to save one randomly-selected rejected manuscript from editorial limbo and gives authors another chance to get their work into the Semper Press catalog
  • The Semper Press Readers' Club, a members-only club that gives members the book of the month each month plus a regularly priced e-book at 10% off cover price
  • Unprecedented chances for readers and authors to meet, mingle and talk all things books!
We are in the middle of our crowdfunding campaign through Indiegogo, and are currently accepting submissions. To learn more about Semper Press and what we're doing, check out:
https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/semper-press-more-royalties-for-authors/x/11673996#/story
http://semperpress.wordpress.com
http://facebook.com/semperpress
Or shoot us an email at [email protected]!
We look forward to getting this thing started. Won't you join us?


Best,


J.S. Wayne
Chief Executive Grand High Cat Herder

Semper Press​ >>




 
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Clairels

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I have no doubt J.S. Wayne is an excellent romance author and blogger and that he knows the genre inside and out. However, that still does not necessarily make him qualified to publish other people's books.

To me, all a crowdfunding campaign indicates is that the publisher is undercapitalized and expects to remain so for the near future. As you said, Filigree, IndieGoGo is not a viable long-term financial strategy.

Plus, there's this:


  • The Semper Slush-Pile Angels program, which allows readers to save one randomly-selected rejected manuscript from editorial limbo and gives authors another chance to get their work into the Semper Press catalog

Seems like a scheme to get readers to sign up to read their slush pile for free.


Like most new publishers, for me, this one is a "wait two years and see."
 

Filigree

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Oh, definitely a wait-and-see outfit. I've seen far too many great authors fail spectacularly at publishing.

The Slush Angels program presupposes a higher proportion of gems in the rough than will probably be the case. I've read slush professionally twice, and I essentially read it every time I skim a fan fiction piece over on AO3. There's a ton of startlingly, obviously bad writing out there. Electronic submissions, self-publishing, and fan fiction have given it more accessible outlets. I've also talked to junior literary agents who note that it took them a long time to become as ruthless as they needed to be, with slush.

I'll watch and see what Semper does.
 

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Good morning, y'all, and hi back at you, Filigree! :)

I stumbled across this late last night, so I apologize for not responding in a more timely fashion.

Let me say first that both of your concerns are justified, to some degree. I have no active experience from the other side of the publishing equation and will be the first to admit that. In fact, I would not be doing this at all had an old friend of mine not given me her defunct house and said, "Here...see what you can do with it." So, I figure, amateurs built the Ark, professionals built the Titanic, and it's not like I can make things any worse for authors than they already are. If my ideas pan out and things actually get better, then I'm validated. If not, I've got a lot of tolja-sos coming and a truckload of crow to eat.

Keeping the foregoing in mind:

The Slush-Pile Angels program is not exactly what you think it is. Each week, only three manuscripts will be chosen. We'll post the first chapters to a secure website. The readers who've enrolled vote for the one they think is best. These are coming from manuscripts that have already been vetted and rejected, but it gives the authors a second chance to get through again. No one will know the title of the manuscript or the author except me and MAYBE my staff. Readers will be given a short blurb about the genre, word count and heat level, and that's ALL they have to go on. The rest of it is strictly the writing standing or falling on its own merit. I know it's a strange concept, but I think the "second chance" aspect will make the "saved" books more attractive to readers and authors alike. It's true that I can't guarantee there won't be three books that really, really aren't good in a given week, or conversely that I won't come up with three that aren't all genius and for whatever reason they slipped through the nets. The reality is probably somewhere in between those extremes, playing the law of averages. See https://semperpress.wordpress.com/the-semper-slush-pile-angels-program/ for more on this.

Regarding profit: I didn't say we're not interested in profit AT ALL. (I have to pay my staff cover artist, my senior editor and the college interns I intend to hire somehow, right? And yes, I have to eat too. I'm borderline supernatural, but that doesn't mean I can live on sunlight and water. :) ) We're simply emphasizing a smaller incremental profit in favor of giving readers and authors a better product and royalty share. The point is that I believe we can make a smaller monthly profit and wind up doing far better overall than the companies that take 65% off the top for relatively little given back.

Yes, the crowdfunding is a means to attempt to raise capital, but it is by no means the only avenue we are currently exploring. We're not interested in an IPO or sell-out by next Tuesday, which does make many investors reluctant. They want the fast buck, which is anathema to everything we're trying to accomplish here. The fast buck means authors get less, readers get less and the company acts just like every other publisher out there, which ain't going to happen. So, I have to find my solutions where I can, not where convenient.

Which brings me to why I'm qualified to do this. As an author with 5 years' active experience who's read God alone knows how many books in my lifetime, I was studying the publishing industry for nearly 3 decades before I decided to put my oar in. Since then, I've self-published, published through several small presses, and I've seen the good and bad from both a writer's and reader's perspective. When Pinewood Press fell into my lap, I sat down and ran some numbers. What I found was that if I ran a very "lean" house, I could do all the things I stated above and still be able to make a modest (and then, not too far down the road, NOT so modest) profit.

So, that's Semper in a nutshell. I certainly understand your desire to "wait and see." Honestly, I'm curious to see how this works out too. The whole thing could be the Hindenburg all over again, or it may end up redefining the industry. (Guess which one I'm hoping for.) If you have any other questions, please feel free to visit Semper's website as above or email me at [email protected].

Have a great day!

Best,

J.S. Wayne
Chief Executive Grand High Cat Herder
Semper Press
 

CaoPaux

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Indiegogo funded. First books were due out in Feb, but there's no sign of one, and the other was issued via Kindle/CS, with the only mention of Semper being in the Acknowledgments. Perhaps more concerning: after near-daily activity, social media ceased in November. Anyone have recent contact?
 

CaoPaux

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No further activity, and Mr. Wayne's LinkedIn now lists Semper Press as Previous as of Feb '16.
 

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