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Strategic Book Group / Strategic Book Publishing / Eloquent Books / SBM

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

MadScientistMatt

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Cut 'n' paste time then. Each tenticle deserves its own thread.

I know this post is a bit long, but considering the importance of the topic, I figured all the details were necessary.

Since this forum saved me from the Children's Literary Agency, I thought I might help research this Strategic Book Publishing thing. I sent them my non-fiction "How to be a New Unpublished Writer" manuscript about a month ago. (No fees paid of any kind) Since that manuscript has nasty details of vanity publishing in it, I did not expect to hear back. But I was surprised. Below is what I got back.

Now, I'm sure that editor they refer to at the end would charge a hefty fee. However, the manuscript does need that work. The question is, would they really pursue this if I got the editing done somewhere else (or did it myself) and would they make any effort to sell it?? Hard to see how they could make a buck in this. Maybe charge marketing fees???

Maybe I'll polish this manuscript up and see what they really do with it. (No money or contracts coming from me though! Been there done that!)

From: "Joanne - Client Liaison" <[email protected]> [Add to Address Book]
To: <[email protected]> Subject: Butler Manuscript Review Date: Friday, May 02, 2008 4:45:28 PM [View Source]

Good day, James

I have received your manuscript for review. Thank you and congratulations on its submission. The purpose of the Manuscript Review is to assure that we are understanding and realizing the same goals in the production of your work. This Review covers the manuscript received on the date below. It should be understood that time does not permit an entire read-through of your manuscript. However, our skill allows us to perform an excellent analysis of your manuscript and determine if it is in need of an edit, and in some cases, a rewrite. Please reply to me with any comments that you may have. After we have discussed the Manuscript Review, we will begin the next steps in preparation of your manuscript into a finished book. Please understand that the logistics of the process will involve a large number of factors. It is important that we keep things in sync so delays don’t occur. Be sure that you provide us with correct information at the outset. Your assistance will help the process run far more smoothly. Carefully review your manuscript prior to submitting it for an edit or, if you opt to edit it yourself, that you have made certain it is perfect because the next step on its journey will be production, and any changes will slow it down. If you are diligent in the process, you can ensure that your final product will top quality.

Warmest regards,

Joanne – Review Manager

Date manuscript received: April 8, 2008

Author name: James L. Butler

Book Title: How to be a ‘New Unpublished Writer’ for 30 Years

Sub Title:


Manuscript Assessment ----


Word Count: 36,362

Formatting - okay? ( ) yes ( x ) no

Comments: In particular the paragraph indentation and spacing.

Are all elements of the manuscript in one file? ( x ) yes ( ) no
Are the margins set at 1"? Can they be easily changed if not? ( x ) yes ( ) no
Is the font at 12pt Times New Roman for all elements? ( ) yes ( x ) no
Are there any strange breaks in sections, pages, paragraphs? ( x ) yes ( ) no
Are paragraphs formatted correctly? ( ) yes ( x) no
Are headers and footers, if used, easily removed? ( x ) yes ( ) no
Is the title page correct? ( ) yes ( x ) no
Are illustrations, photos, graphs, etc. removed from text and available separately, and clearly marked? ( x ) yes ( ) no
Formatting is (check one): ( ) Perfect ( x ) Normal ( ) Needs Extensive Work

Editing needed? ( x) yes ( ) no

Comments: James, first and foremost, I laughed out loud many times while reading your manuscript. You have an extraordinary wit. Every "would be writer, working writer and most importantly, has been writer will love this book. With that said, I recommend a complete edit as I noticed errors in punctuation throughout. I question the use of both ? and / in the first introductory paragraph. The impact of the sentence stands alone. I would recommend leaving the “though” out -

I have become something of an expert at ‘keeping writing’ over the last 30 years. Not many writers would want to wait thirty years to become a ‘New Published Writer’ though.

Comma use - I think there is one and only one reason real writers write; they love to do it, no matter what the outcome.

It is very hard to get a great story, even perfectly prepared, published.

They do not understand that the internal satisfaction of creating something of their own has to be rewarding enough, on its own, to keep them going even as the cold and cutting rejection letters come pouring in.

At a minimum they will be amazed at how one writer could step on so many of the mines without losing a limb or at least his sanity, and forgotten memories of their own fear filled encounters in the minefield will surely be viewed in a new light.

That SASE came back pretty quickly, with nothing in it but a yellow Post It, with a hand written note scribbled on it.
You get the idea.
I love most of the fragmented sentences. They make a humorous - impact statement. There are times when it may be very slightly overused as in - Well, a story long enough to be a book. Or Probably a privacy thing.
You may not want to diminish the impact when the fragments are necessary by overuse.
I found a few spelling errors and mild grammar errors as in :
For those eight weeks I could care less
Beep, beep, beep, beep. Sounds like a timer counting dow
I would recommend a full edit to simply have another set of eyes making sure this beautiful manuscript gets the exposure that it deserves. The paragraphs must all be reformatted.
Being an ex-humor writer (not currently being published) myself, I fell in love with the minefields. Your style is extremely readable and funny. The transition between the minefields and the story of your life is excellent and I thought the publisher replies were great --- but without a doubt my favorite is your unique genre descriptions. I would personally love to see this book in print.

We know that you do not want to be embarrassed by mechanical errors within your text (grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc.) As your production liaison, it is important to me that your book is error-free. However, the choice for editing is ultimately yours. As you know, you are responsible for the content within your book. Further along in the production process, you will be required to sign off that you understand this, and that we are not held responsible for errors. Therefore, I would like to suggest that you consider having an editor go over your work one final time. You can choose any editor you wish, however, we do have a referral with whom we work who will do the work in a timely fashion. We trust them and their quality. Let me know if you would like to work with them, or how you would like to proceed with corrections to your text. We are happy to advise you whatever you decide. We want the book to be as professional as you do!

Dedications?( ) yes ( x ) no

Comments: Can be added

Acknowledgements?( ) yes ( x ) no

Comments: Can be added

Table of Contents?( x) yes ( ) no

Comments:

Index?( x ) yes ( ) no

Comments:

Introduction?( x ) yes ( ) no

Comments:

Illustrations?( ) yes ( x) no

Comments:

Googled Author Name( x ) yes ( ) no

Comments: No conflict

Googled Title( x) yes ( ) no

Comments: No conflict

CONCLUSION:

A book from a writer about writing will naturally have more scrutiny with regard to grammar and punctuation. This is a tremendous view in to the reality of the publishing (or lack of publishing) industry and the obsession of the true writer. This is the perfect companion (to make up for the average writer having no social life) for every would be writer I know!

THE OPENING PARAGRAPH

Good introduction. The minefields are brilliant.

THE TITLE

Good title – I hope it conveys the essence of the humor.

THE COVER

Please share with me your ideas / vision for the cover.

Please provide me with your feedback on these comments.

I look forward to working with you and creating a beautiful book of which you can be proud.

Joanne – Review Manager


I take it a title like "How to be a New Unpublished Writer" is kind of like the infamous unofficial contest to see if the Screenplay Agency could reject a logline, were people started sending them loglines ranging from illiterate to unfilmable to incoherrant?
 
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CaoPaux

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Adding some spider food:

Strategic Book Publishing (www.StrategicBookPublishing.com), is part of the Strategic Publishing Group, which also consists of:

The Global Book Agency (www.theglobalbookagency.com)

Eloquent Books (www.eloquentbooks.com)

Strategic Book Marketing (www.StrategicBookMarketing.com)

Strategic Book Agency
--Childrens Book Publishing Agency
--Writers Book Publishing Agency
--Screenplay Writers Agency
--Poetry Book Publishing Agency

Avoid!
pauk.gif
 

MadScientistMatt

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Perhaps I should have done this earlier, but now I'm going to go through the original post and point out some of the ready flags. Well, at least we have the complete form to refer to above.

First red flag - this isn't quite the way nonfiction publishing normally works.

I have received your manuscript for review. Thank you and congratulations on its submission. The purpose of the Manuscript Review is to assure that we are understanding and realizing the same goals in the production of your work. This Review covers the manuscript received on the date below. It should be understood that time does not permit an entire read-through of your manuscript. However, our skill allows us to perform an excellent analysis of your manuscript and determine if it is in need of an edit, and in some cases, a rewrite.

Nonfiction publishers can and do award contracts without reading a complete book. However, they normally do so by requesting a proposal containing a sample chapter, outline, and other information. This both saves the publisher having to look through a complete book, and the author from having to write the whole thing if the publisher doesn't want it.

Formatting - okay?


( ) yes ( x ) no


Comments: In particular the paragraph indentation and spacing.

Are all elements of the manuscript in one file? ( x ) yes ( ) no
Are the margins set at 1"? Can they be easily changed if not? ( x ) yes ( ) no
Is the font at 12pt Times New Roman for all elements? ( ) yes ( x ) no
Are there any strange breaks in sections, pages, paragraphs? ( x ) yes ( ) no
Are paragraphs formatted correctly? ( ) yes ( x) no
Are headers and footers, if used, easily removed? ( x ) yes ( ) no
Is the title page correct? ( ) yes ( x ) no
Are illustrations, photos, graphs, etc. removed from text and available separately, and clearly marked? ( x ) yes ( ) no
Formatting is (check one): ( ) Perfect ( x ) Normal ( ) Needs Extensive Work

It appears they are expecting the author to do a considerable amount of the typesetting for them. Understandable with Lulu, not understandable with a commercial publisher. A trade press would have a set of submission guidelines, but a manuscript formatted to those guidelines doesn't look remotely like a complete book. The amount of time they spend on formatting suggests they are planning to dump the file straight into a typesetting program instead of carefully copyediting it. Their choice of font also makes me wonder if that's the plan, although some trade publishers really do prefer Times for submissions.

Editing needed?


( x) yes ( ) no

Say what? If a commercial publisher ever had a check box like that, the only choices would be "yes" and "yes." A publisher not editing their manuscripts would be like a car manufacturer not having a quality control program in place. Unthinkable, and for the exact same reason.

We know that you do not want to be embarrassed by mechanical errors within your text (grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc.) As your production liaison, it is important to me that your book is error-free. However, the choice for editing is ultimately yours.

The previous line was out in left field. Here they've run smack into the Green Monster.

A commercial publisher does not want to be embarrassed by mechanical errors in a text at all, nor do they want to be embarrassed even more by factual errors. They want to make bloody certain the book's as good as they can get it before it goes to print. Bad reviews hurt their sales and their reputation. The publisher has a financial stake in the sale of the book and will make sure it's thoroughly edited. At their expense.

Therefore, I would like to suggest that you consider having an editor go over your work one final time. You can choose any editor you wish, however, we do have a referral with whom we work who will do the work in a timely fashion. We trust them and their quality. Let me know if you would like to work with them, or how you would like to proceed with corrections to your text. We are happy to advise you whatever you decide. We want the book to be as professional as you do!

Ah, sales pitch number one! It would appear they are making referals to a book doctor and getting kickbacks like Edit Ink. Or, since this is the LAG, the editor is probably the same person. Traditionally, that would have been "My Editor is a Saint," but now that they're reinventing themselves it may be some other group. A real publisher pays for the editing themselves.
 

crankykitty

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I had a rather bizarre experience with these folks. About a month ago I enquired about selling Chinese rights to my book, figuring that on their Global Publishing website it talked all about foreign rights and what not. So, I got a response saying that they don't handle non-English rights and that I could probably publish the book myself.

Weird.
 

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Sorry, but this doesn't look terribly legit. They brag about being part of a "global alliance", but when you go to that site, it's obviously a clone of their own site. Same logo and amateurish look.

Someone asked us to look into this company during a chat this week (see http://writersChatroom.com ) and between about 6 of us we just couldn't find anything to suggest this is a solid publisher.

The posts here, especially the long and weird response to an actual submission, do nothing to add to my confidence. In any case, keep doing your research. Why commit all your hard work to some company you've never heard of?

= scott
 

IceCreamEmpress

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Strategic Book Publishing has published a man who has been featured on Oprah's radio show. Don Sutton is the founder of a very successful anti-methamphetamine grassroots advocacy group in Northern Oregon, and a book he wrote about his experiences is published by SBP.

However, that doesn't mean that SBP is a good publisher; Sutton's exposure is due to his impressive activities, not to SBP's PR skills. What we learn from this is that people doing very worthy things and getting good press for it may, at the same time, not exercise good judgment in marketing their work to legit publishers.

To me, this is more along the lines of "Jamie Farr published a children's book with PublishAmerica" than any great blow for legitimacy by SBP or Mr. Fletcher.




Here's what I said about this on another thread about the Fletcher empire:

If you're talking about Don Sutton, he wasn't on the show because of his book; he was on the show because of the success of his Northern Oregon anti-methamphetamine program.

The fact that Mr. Fletcher was able to get Mr. Sutton, whose work in creating a grassroots organization to combat drug addiction is indeed very impressive, to publish with him is certainly a testament to Mr. Fletcher's sales skills with prospective authors (especially those who don't know much about the publishing industry).

If you have a story as interesting as Mr. Sutton's, I guarantee you you will be able to find a better publisher.
 
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victoriastrauss

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The air date of the episode Mr. Sutton appeared on was January 18, 2008. Mr. Sutton's book was published on March 14, 2008. Moreover, he wasn't interviewed on the Oprah TV show, but on a radio show that's part of her XM network.

On Strategic's website, they print a little testimonial from Mr. Sutton, which reads in part (my bolding):

Dear SBP: Well, it is raining here in Oregon, but the Son is shining in my heart! My Books arrived on Wednesday, just like you said. They are nearly all gone too and I will be placing another order very soon.

Any guesses as to how Strategic makes the bulk of its income (apart from the referrals to vanity publisher Eloquent Books, that is)?

- Victoria
 

Katya Bjorn

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I am soooo glad that I googled this firm and found this thread! I did their copy & paste submission yesterday -- spent much of the afternoon on it because I wanted it to be as solid and grounded as possible. I didn't google them yesterday because a dear friend and trusted colleague (we taught together at a small graduate institute in S. CA) told me about them so I figured they were legit. (I'm going to phone and warn her tonight.)

Today, less than 24 hours later, I got their response (their editors work on Saturdays?). For one thing, nothing specific about MY project was included. It was so generic that I wondered if they had even read my submission/synopsis, etc. Further, on their webpages and again in their response, they keep saying they're a "traditional publisher." Fine, then I want to hear something about the advance they're prepared to offer me. But the word never came up. Also, there was too much focus on editing. Four of my books have been published and I was never asked such questions. (I loved the points one of you made about what the obsession with editing and formatting actually implies.)

Next, they want me to e-mail the book to them w/in 10 days. Normally, if a publisher actually wants to see my ms, I get excited. But today, there was no excitement, just an odd wariness. Their instructions state that if a book is between 5-100 MG, I should send it through www.yousendit.com. That seemed odd to me. Why can't I just upload the chapter files, one by one, to the publisher?

After finally reading this thread on your forum, I checked www.yousendit.com and wasn't surprised to find that using them comes with a price. I'm wondering if Strategic gets a cut -- they must send a lot of authors to this service.

Anyway, much as I'd like to see this particular book get published, there are too many warning bells in your posts. As a "final test," however, first I'll email them and ask how much of an advance I can expect and how soon after contract-signing will I receive it. No advance, no Katya. I'll let you know what happens!

Warmly,

Katya
 

CaoPaux

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After finally reading this thread on your forum, I checked www.yousendit.com and wasn't surprised to find that using them comes with a price. I'm wondering if Strategic gets a cut -- they must send a lot of authors to this service.
Yousendit has an affiliate program, so I'd say that's a "yes".
 

Donna Pudick

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Strategic Book Publishing

Anyone know anything about them? I just noticed their listing in Writers Market, but their website lists only one book. They're not listed on P & E.

DP
 

brianm

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Here's the existing thread on this publisher.

In a word... avoid.

By the by, if you use the search button located at the top of this page you'll discover many of the publishers already have existing threads. If nothing turns up, google the publisher's name with "site:absolutewrite.com" added to the end of their name. Example:

Strategic Book Publishing site:absolutewrite.com
 

Donna Pudick

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Thanks, folks. I'm wondering why Writers Market has them listed. They are usually very careful about these things.

DP
 

CaoPaux

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Threads merged. Please check the Index before posting new threads.