Sky Warrior Book Publishing / Sky Dragon Press

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

skippybe

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Hi All,

Has anybody had any experience working with Sky Warrior Books? They've just accepted a short story from me but I've been struggling to find out much about them. They seem on the level. Just wondering.

Cheers
 

JulieB

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I know Maggie Bonham. She's been writing both fiction and non fiction for a long time and has edited several anthologies. I can't speak as to distribution, payment, or anything along those lines, but I've never heard any complaints.
 

akaria

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From the FAQ:
Do you do any value-added work? Yes, we do. We provide editing, covers (if required), formatting, distribution and advertising.

Value added? No, that's the bare minimum requirement of a publisher. Also, it seems you can't purchase books through the website. The "buy now" links take you to Smashwords. So what kind of distribution are we talking here?

What are your terms? We pay 50% of profits paid quarterly to a paypal account (you must have a paypal account), and the e-book term publishing is for five years for exclusive e-book worldwide rights. All other rights belong to the author, and after 5 years, the e-book rights revert back to the author. At that time, we can decide to renew the contract or not. There is no advance on royalties

50% on profits sounds red flaggishly vague. I know other places usually say x% of net or x% of cover price. Like Samhain pays 40% on the cover price for books sold through their website. That's nice, plain language that tells you what you're getting.

Thumbs down. Just because someone is legit doesn't mean it's a good home for your work.


 
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sky warrior books

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Sky Warrior Books

From the FAQ:
Do you do any value-added work?Yes, we do. We provide editing, covers (if required), formatting, distribution and advertising.

Value added? No, that's the bare minimum requirement of a publisher. Also, it seems you can't purchase books through the website. The "buy now" links take you to Smashwords. So what kind of distribution are we talking here?

What are your terms? We pay 50% of profits paid quarterly to a paypal account (you must have a paypal account), and the e-book term publishing is for five years for exclusive e-book worldwide rights. All other rights belong to the author, and after 5 years, the e-book rights revert back to the author. At that time, we can decide to renew the contract or not. There is no advance on royalties

50% on profits sounds red flaggishly vague. I know other places usually say x% of net or x% of cover price. Like Samhain pays 40% on the cover price for books sold through their website. That's nice, plain language that tells you what you're getting.

Thumbs down. Just because someone is legit doesn't mean it's a good home for your work.



Hi there! This is Maggie Bonham, publisher of Sky Warrior Book Publishing LLC. I thought I'd go ahead and answer some questions and even chat a bit with you.

I'm not going to quibble on whether or not we're a good publisher for your work. We generally don't take new writers and don't take slush. It's invitation only and the only way to get in if I don't know you is to get in through our anthologies. We have several published authors including Gary Jonas, Phyl Irene Radford, Alma Alexander, Laura J. Underwood, David Lee Summers and have many more coming in. Our upcoming anthos have some pretty top of the line authors. We just got one of our books recommended for the Tiptree award and I'm GOH Small Press at Radcon. So, those are our short credentials, being that we just started this year as a press.

Who am I? I'm a multiple award-winning author of some 30+ books, many published by big NY publishers. I've played editor with some big and small presses over the years. I got sick of the 10% net royalties the big houses pay and decided to start my own company when I knew there was a better way.

The 50% profit thing is just semantics. Basically, it's net. So, if I get $2 from the distributor from the book, you get $1. Lots better than the 20 cents per book.

If I sold them directly, you'd get 50% of cover price.

As for being value-added, yeah, we do add value to your work. We edit. Really. We provide real artwork and covers. You don't pay for that, unlike most POD houses and some agents. I wanted to point that out. Money flows to the author--right?

Smashwords--thanks for noticing! Yes, we're in the major distributors, including Smashwords! So are many big publishers, come to think about it. Check out PW and look at the deals signed with Smashwords. But we're adding distribution and knocking on new markets all the time.

Yep, we've got a bit of growing pains right now, I need to update the site and hand more work over to my managing editor and art director, but that's just the business. So far, we put out 14 e-books out and getting our first print books out. So, we're doing okay. Next year will be pretty amazing.

If you have any questions, I'm always happy to answer them. Thanks again and good luck with your writing!
 

eqb

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Hi, Maggie!

Welcome to AW. I'm glad you showed up and gave us a better picture of your operation. I also am acquainted with Alma and Laura, both smart and savvy writers.

I do have one quibble and one question for you, which I hope you won't mind addressing here.

I got sick of the 10% net royalties the big houses pay and decided to start my own company when I knew there was a better way.

Macmillan now pays 25% on net for their e-book royalties. I'm pretty sure Penguin does as well. (I just moved, so that contract is packed and I can't double-check.)

It's also important to take into account the cover price. Big Six publishers tend to charge in the $10 range, not the $2.99 price that Sky Warrior does. So while 25% is still less than the generous 50% you offer, it will depend a lot on how many sales an author makes.

But that brings me to my question. I see your books are available on B&N and the iBookstore. Do you work directly with those vendors, or do you go through the Smashwords premium catalog?
 

sky warrior books

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Hi, Maggie!

Welcome to AW. I'm glad you showed up and gave us a better picture of your operation. I also am acquainted with Alma and Laura, both smart and savvy writers.

I do have one quibble and one question for you, which I hope you won't mind addressing here.



Macmillan now pays 25% on net for their e-book royalties. I'm pretty sure Penguin does as well. (I just moved, so that contract is packed and I can't double-check.)

It's also important to take into account the cover price. Big Six publishers tend to charge in the $10 range, not the $2.99 price that Sky Warrior does. So while 25% is still less than the generous 50% you offer, it will depend a lot on how many sales an author makes.

But that brings me to my question. I see your books are available on B&N and the iBookstore. Do you work directly with those vendors, or do you go through the Smashwords premium catalog?

Quibble: Okay, yes, you're right. Big publishers give more than 10% net on e-books. I was talking trade paperbacks. I pay 50% net on trades. I also pay 50% on net for e-books which is, as you know, twice as much as what the NYC publishers do.

Question: I'll be upfront and say that we're in transition between Smashwords and the major markets. I've gone into B&N directly largely because I hate Smashwords' formatting. With the iBookstore, we're with Smashwords at the moment.

Basically, we use Smashwords because we could get in quickly into other markets while building our list. We only license rights for 5 years, with a mutual option to renew, which means we must make the time count for our authors.

Does that help? Thanks for asking.

Maggie
 

eqb

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Does that help?

That does, indeed, help. Thank you for being so forthright and clear.

And I totally understand about starting off fast with Smashwords. I've self-pubbed my collection through their premium catalog, because it was easier and less expensive than buying my own ISBN for Sony and Apple. It does reduce the net payment, but I am pleased to see that you intend to move to direct dealings with the major vendors.
 

skippybe

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Well, after a promising start - which is to say, they did publish my story - I'm now in the position of having to hassle them for a royalty statement. Not that I'm expecting very much at all, but the statement period ending June should have resulted in a statement within 90 days (i.e the end of September, or thereabouts). Nothing arrived, I chased at the end of October, got a message saying that they were behind on royalty statements (first prize for stating the obvious there), and that they would be getting them out "probably at the end of the month". Well, it's now the end of November, still no statement, and no reply to my most recent query. Should I be worried? Probably not. But I am annoyed.
 

sky warrior books

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Well, after a promising start - which is to say, they did publish my story - I'm now in the position of having to hassle them for a royalty statement. Not that I'm expecting very much at all, but the statement period ending June should have resulted in a statement within 90 days (i.e the end of September, or thereabouts). Nothing arrived, I chased at the end of October, got a message saying that they were behind on royalty statements (first prize for stating the obvious there), and that they would be getting them out "probably at the end of the month". Well, it's now the end of November, still no statement, and no reply to my most recent query. Should I be worried? Probably not. But I am annoyed.

You should be very careful about posting about your publisher when she is on the list. Your query was yesterday when I was out in the field trying to hunt an elk for my freezer so I have food for the winter.

I probably owe you about $5, if that. I've been stupidly busy trying to put out other books that have lagged behind due to other circumstances beyond my control.

Yes, I have dropped the ball. I'm sorry about that. I apologize to you here, publicly. If you wanted to drag your publisher through the mud for a short story, you just did.

I'm sending you $5 via paypal and I'll get to the reports as soon as I have more time (probably after this weekend). Normally, I'd wait to see if the payment hit the threshold of $5, but I really don't care and don't have the time. A statement will be forthcoming.
 

Theo81

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You should be very careful about posting about your publisher when she is on the list. Your query was yesterday when I was out in the field trying to hunt an elk for my freezer so I have food for the winter.

I'm sorry that things have got behind. Unfortunately as a one-man-band publisher, the meat world sometimes takes over the time I have to attend to my business.

I probably owe you about $5, if that. I've been stupidly busy trying to put out other books that have lagged behind due to other circumstances beyond my control.

Obviously I would never be so crass as to mention figures here, nor would I try and belittle you by implying that your royalites are such a small amount I'm amazed you can be bothered to get het up about it.

Yes, I have dropped the ball. I'm sorry about that. I apologize to you here, publicly. If you wanted to drag your publisher through the mud for a short story, you just did. I'm sorry I couldn't clear this up before now and I will be getting in touch with the other authors I'm behind payments with in the coming days.

I'm sending you $5 via paypal and I'll get to the reports as soon as I have more time (probably after by this weekend). Normally, I'd wait to see if the payment hit the threshold of $5, but I really don't care and don't have the time. A statement will be forthcoming.

Fixed that for 'ya.

It doesn't matter if it's $5 or $50,000, the author should receive their money on time, or (if not possible) kept up to date with when it will be done. It is not slinging mud to come in here and mention the Royalty checks were late, it's valuable to know if this is a one person thing or whether this is going to be AMP or Riden all over again.

You dropped the ball. Fine - it happens and we understand; it's one of the downsides to going with a small press. However, authors talk and they have every right to, whether in public or in private; it's part of what these threads are *for*.
 

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You should be very careful about posting about your publisher when she is on the list. Your query was yesterday when I was out in the field trying to hunt an elk for my freezer so I have food for the winter.

I probably owe you about $5, if that. I've been stupidly busy trying to put out other books that have lagged behind due to other circumstances beyond my control.

Yes, I have dropped the ball. I'm sorry about that. I apologize to you here, publicly. If you wanted to drag your publisher through the mud for a short story, you just did.

I'm sending you $5 via paypal and I'll get to the reports as soon as I have more time (probably after this weekend). Normally, I'd wait to see if the payment hit the threshold of $5, but I really don't care and don't have the time. A statement will be forthcoming.


Here, let me fix that for you.

Thank you so much for posting this on a forum where your publisher is on the list! I do appreciate it, for two reasons. One is that it gives me the chance to publicly apologise. The other is that you quite rightly note issues where I have failed to uphold my end of the business – and I clearly need a good kick in the pants.

It is my problem, not yours, that yesterday I was out in the field trying to hunt an elk for my freezer so I have food for the winter. And that has nothing to do with my publishing endeavours at all. The two have nothing to do with each other. If my personal life is interfering with my business, that is a failing on my part.

I do owe you money. My bad. Totally. I am hugely ashamed. There is no excuse.

I've been stupidly busy trying to put out other books that have lagged behind due to other circumstances beyond my control. But again, that is my problem, not yours. If I can’t manage to both publish books and pay my authors in a timely manner, I am failing as a publisher.

Yes, I have dropped the ball. I'm sorry about that. I apologize to you here, publicly. If you wanted to drag your publisher through the mud for a short story, you just did.

I'm sending you $5 via paypal and I'll get to the reports immediately, even if I have to forgo sleep and dinner to get it done. Normally, I'd wait to see if the payment hit the threshold of $5, but I care deeply about doing the right thing by my authors so will send you payment ASAP. I will do everything possible to ensure this doesn’t happen again.

 

veinglory

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Yes, I have dropped the ball. I'm sorry about that. A statement will be forthcoming.

This is what a professional would say.

Not paying royalties on time is a huge red flag when it comes to any amount and any publisher, and with good reason. Drawing more attention to it with excuses and veiled insults will not play in your favor.
 

sky warrior books

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This is what a professional would say.

Not paying royalties on time is a huge red flag when it comes to any amount and any publisher, and with good reason. Drawing more attention to it with excuses and veiled insults will not play in your favor.

You're right. But I am human, and I was more than a little put off by this.

Mea culpa. I still stand by what I said, though. There were no veiled insults. I meant what I said. Excuses notwithstanding, it was poor form for James to post it. He could wait more than one day for a response. A response I was writing to him today.

Yes, I have excuses. No, they're not good. Yes, they'll get resolved. No, it's not something worrisome. Just growing pains, but they'll get ironed out. Sadly, most publishers are NOT on time with payments nowadays. A month and a half behind isn't great, but life intrudes.

Ah well. Hugs to all.

And yes, I'll be working on those statements.
 
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amergina

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I'm glad he did post. Both his post and the publisher's followup shine a light on how professional this publisher is. It's good info for writers to have.
 

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Mea culpa. I still stand by what I said, though. There were no veiled insults. I meant what I said. Excuses notwithstanding, it was poor form for James to post it. He could wait more than one day for a response.
He's already waited two months for overdue payment. You responded with a veiled threat about him posting on a forum where you are a member.

No, it's not something worrisome. Just growing pains, but they'll get ironed out.
It may not be worrisome to you, but it'd worry the hell out of me if I were one of your authors.

As amergina noted, one dropped ball wouldn't necessarily be enough to put me off submitting. Your highly unprofessional response to someone noting the dropped ball, though, most certainly would.
 

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Sky Warrior Books, I think the point you're missing is that the whole reason the BR&BC forum exists is for Skippybe to post exactly what he posted. It lets anyone doing research on your company know what sort of interactions and time frames they should expect before they approach you.
 

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Fixed that for 'ya.

It doesn't matter if it's $5 or $50,000, the author should receive their money on time, or (if not possible) kept up to date with when it will be done. It is not slinging mud to come in here and mention the Royalty checks were late, it's valuable to know if this is a one person thing or whether this is going to be AMP or Riden all over again.

You dropped the ball. Fine - it happens and we understand; it's one of the downsides to going with a small press. However, authors talk and they have every right to, whether in public or in private; it's part of what these threads are *for*.

Yes, he has a right to do that. If he decides to post here, he's going to get an honest response, and the amount I might owe him. (At the moment, I'm doubtful the amount has passed the $5 mark where we pay out).

Not to use this as an excuse, but as an author, I've had plenty of NYC presses fail to pay me in a timely fashion for thousands of dollars. Not weeks, but half years or better. I've never taken it to public forums. I did beat on them, though, and did get my money. Yes, it was infuriating. I feel for him. But again, he gave me no chance to respond. One day isn't enough time, especially on a Sunday.

Since he posted I was behind and made it public, I posted the amount and some of the reasons for not getting back with him. And right now, I'm wasting time explaining myself. One thing I have learned is why publishers go to 6 month statements, something I will now implement. Quarterlies take too much time. Another thing I've learned is not to bother responding. I lose, regardless.

Yes, authors talk. Editors talk. Publishers talk. We all do.

Keep writing and have fun.
 
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sky warrior books

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He's already waited two months for overdue payment. You responded with a veiled threat about him posting on a forum where you are a member.


It may not be worrisome to you, but it'd worry the hell out of me if I were one of your authors.

As amergina noted, one dropped ball wouldn't necessarily be enough to put me off submitting. Your highly unprofessional response to someone noting the dropped ball, though, most certainly would.

I give up. You win. You're right. An apology and fixing it isn't enough.
 

skippybe

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For the record can I just say that I have nothing but praise for Sky Warrior Books' editorial process - I was and remain very grateful to them for finding a home for my story which had been in limbo with another publisher who kept fobbing me off repeatedly - and would encourage writers to submit work to them. Thankyou for the $5 and the apology - neither of which was necessary, but nice to receive all the same. Thanks too to those who have defended my right to voice my concerns to other writers. I appreciate that it raised some hackles, and I'm sorry about that, but I did think very carefully before I posted my comment and decided that at the end of the day somebody might actually benefit from what I had to say. We probably won't see eye to eye on that, but there it is. I sincerely hope there's no bad feelings - I certainly don't harbour any - and that Sky Warriors continues to publish brilliant stories.