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[Submission Service] Creative Byline

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DeaconBlu

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Does this sound like a good idea? A web site takes your novel/children's book, makes sure it's ready to be published (think in-house readers), then you pay $20 for a novel, $10 for a children's book and they submit it to publishers for you. The web site claims they can get you an answer in two weeks. Right now the publishers have to pay to use the site too and they only have three publishers cited as participating. Does this sound good?
 

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No.

Publishers don't have any need to join a site like that, they have more than enough submissions to deal with on their own. I would not trust a publisher who joined a site like that. Nor would I pay anyone to do my work for me.

Second, publishers HATE getting blasted with mass emails from a company. They find it offensive, and rightly so. If an author is too lazy to do the work him/herself, well then how lazy will they be come the editing process.

No. No. And again no.
 

DeaconBlu

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I was thinking nationwide sites like this would ease the burden for publishers? Wouldn't this separate the cream for them? I mean Tor/Forge and St. Martin's Press have sign on with them.

The web site contends that they don't/won't submit anything that's not ready.
 

ORION

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They don't need their burden eased. They have no need of this. Literary agents know the tastes of the publishers and editors and can screen perfectly fine.
It's writers who think the system is flawed NOT publishers...
 

IceCreamEmpress

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I was thinking nationwide sites like this would ease the burden for publishers? Wouldn't this separate the cream for them? I mean Tor/Forge and St. Martin's Press have sign on with them.

??

Could you give specifics about this company and its website?

Because, no, every version of this in the past has been either well-intentioned but useless or an outright scam. Let's see what the story is behind this incarnation of the idea.
 

DeaconBlu

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It was a story in my local paper. The guy who put up the web site lives two towns over from me. It sounded like a good idea to me at the time. I guess maybe not judging from you guys.

The site is tri-w dot creativebyline dot com.
 

Shweta

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Moved to Bewares and Background checks so it doesn't get lost in Novels :)
 

Gillhoughly

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It's a scam or a real deal run by a well-intentioned moron who is clueless about how pro publishing works. In short--that dog don't hunt.

Your newspaper had a slow news day and the writer who drew the short straw got to phone the moron for details. Or...the moron phoned the paper in an effort to put the word out about his website and thus avoid looking for a real job for yet one more day.

From the site: "We’ve worked with the great publishing houses" is not the same as saying "we've placed books with the great publishing houses" and then naming some titles.


The site has the logos of various publishers on it. I would be very curious to know if those publishers are aware of that detail and if they object to this use of their stuff.

Anyone up to asking the houses' legal departments about it? I'm a bit busy this week.


The Writer Beware Blog lately had a warning against something similar, run by--in my personal opinion--a psycho-whack job. You do not want to be on that guy's radar, trust me. I make a point to avoid the truly creepy cyber-stalkers.


Another in short--it's a waste of your time and money.


Yog's Law.

How to get published:

Write well. Send it in. Get paid.

I'll add in that avoiding moronic psycho-whack job cyber-stalkers is also very helpful! :D
 
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IceCreamEmpress

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I'm not seeing this as any different from all the other well-intentioned-but-ineffective showcase sites of the past. I guess time will tell.

Nice web design, though, and literate text, which does make this look like a better effort than many other showcase sites.
 

Marian Perera

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Right now the publishers have to pay to use the site too and they only have three publishers cited as participating. Does this sound good?

Real publishers are snowed under with submissions that they didn't have to pay to access.

Real publishers therefore take longer than two weeks to respond. Much longer. Even if a legitimate agent is submitting to them.

The web site contends that they don't/won't submit anything that's not ready.

What does "not ready" mean? Even if this didn't scream "run away, serious writers! run away!" I'd want to know exactly how this website or the, uh, brains behind it planned to vet the manuscripts it received.
 

Gillhoughly

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Okay, I gave in to temptation and sent a mail to an editor I know to ask if this Creative Byline bunch is legally allowed to use the house's logo on their website.

The other publishers are fair game to anyone else.

Will post if I hear anything on it.
 
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Bubastes

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Okay, I gave in to temptation and sent a mail to an editor I know at St. Martin's to ask if this Creative Byline bunch is legally allowed to use the SMP logo on their website.

The other publishers are fair game to anyone else.

Will post if I hear anything on it.

Did you see this blog entry? I'm curious to hear what actually happened with Tor. The entry seems rather carefully worded PA-style....

http://creativebyline.wordpress.com/2008/02/08/welcome-tor-forge/
 

BiggerBoat

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This one is really interesting, mostly because the manuscript tracking software actually looks very professional. Pretty slick, modern, "Web 2.0" look. The web site is also a level above the typical scam site in terms of polish.

Now, I can't imagine how this is really useful to publishers. Who are these "expert readers" at Creative Byline? The web site seems to be mum on this subject (unless I missed something). If the service was actually proven useful to publishers and authors, how could they possibly keep up with the flow of material. Do editors really trust what other people think? Publishers get enough material without having to go search some database for it.

I'd love to hear the story behind the publishers who have supposedly signed up.

Finally, let's look at pricing. It is $19 per submission, not per manuscript. Every time you send your manuscript to an agent through Creative Byline, it's another $19. That can get expensive. Creative Byline justifies this cost by saying that it's comparable to printing out a hardcopy of your manuscript, but the query/sample process already negates most of that potential expense. You're pretty far down a path with a publisher or agent before you're sending off a full for review (and that will often be electronic these days anyway).

Obviously, this fee contradicts the principle of money flowing toward the author. More worrying, is Creative Byline sharing this fee with editors? Are the names they have in their roster such as Tor Forge and St. Martin's Press suddenly becoming fee-charging publishers?

It will be very interesting to see what becomes of this. For now, I'd consider it a misguided effort by a fairly skilled web developer, but I want to hear what's the deal with the publishers who are supposedly on board.
 
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Stijn Hommes

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The web site claims they can get you an answer in two weeks.
Probably, but it won't be the answer you're hoping for. There's better ways to spend your money. A little bit of Googling to research agents and publishers gives you all the information you need to submit yourself to agents and publishers that will want to read your submission without the added cost.

Since Victoria Strauss is on the case, I'd definitely be looking out on the Writer Beware Blog to see if she discovers anything about them.
 

Momento Mori

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I'm a little concerned about their fee structure here and here. It looks like they're charging 19 dollars per fiction submission and 9 dollar per picturebook submission which gets you feedback from their readers (apparently MFA students and/or unspecified people with trade experience) and the chance to submit to 1 editor.

I'm not making the connection as to how an MFA student is going to know what an editor will want to buy. In fact, speaking as someone doing an MA in creative writing I would hesitate to say whether MFA students are even the best people to do a first review of a manuscript given that they usually haven't had any direct experience in the industry.

Plus they say that the first 3 months of membership are free during the "beta" period, but there's no indication of how much membership costs after those 3 months or how long the beta period is going to last for.

Personally, I think that you're much better off doing your own research on the query process and find a good on-line or local writing group who can help you perfect your manuscript.

MM
 

James D. Macdonald

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Who are these "expert readers" at Creative Byline? The web site seems to be mum on this subject (unless I missed something).

According to the website, it seems that they're grad students in MFA programs.

Someone recently asked us who our first readers are. For the most part, they’re graduate students working toward their MFAs in writing, at the direction of Creative Byline’s editorial director and using specific criteria, which we’ll talk more about in a later post.
 

Gillhoughly

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Heads up--I got new info from my source.

She/he asked me to change my previous post as that initial reaction came before checking things out. It seemed best to just delete the old news and post fresher stuff.

As a courtesy to a good working relationship, I'm leaving out the name of the house.

If Deadly Accurate could delete the name of the house from my earlier post, it would be much appreciated, as the information is out-of-date.

Here IS the latest from one of the publishers listed on Creative Byline:

(the statement I posted was) not a reflection of ______'s position on this site, so I don't want to cause problems for myself or others

--it is okay for them to use our logo.

I'm told that ___ has a good relationship with the guy who runs this site.

Which indicates professional validation for Creative Byline.


I still don't see much advantage in paying someone to do what you can do for yourself for a lot less.

If you're not ready to be published, you won't sell.

A middleman with his hand out for any spare twenties you wanna push into it ain't gonna change that.

I don't have the time to spend to read through CB's site--for the money you give them do they at least offer useful feedback for your work if it's not up to snuff? Or is it "yes, we can sell this" or "no, and thanks for the money"?

Seems to me that--slush piles being what they are--they stand to make a lot more money based on failure rather than success. PA certainly has!

I'm stickin' to Yog's Law.

And getting back to my overdue WIP!
 
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DeadlyAccurate

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So this publishing house is supporting what is essentially a fee-charging agency? Because reading the site's FAQ, I'm having trouble telling how they are acting like anything other than a literary agency.
 

Gillhoughly

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DeadlyAccurate --Since you've read their FAQ you know more than I do at this time.

Thanks for the deletion--though a simple edit on the one name would have been plenty!

My take is just because a publisher validates them, doesn't mean they're a good service to use. Their fees are very reasonable compared to scammer sites, but a neo can still drop 100's of bucks here and never make a sale.

At least with a legit agent you get a simple yes or no and only be out the cost of snail-mail postage. You can check out 10-12 agents on 20 bucks worth of stamps.
 

Toothpaste

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I'm very surprised a publisher would want to use a site like this. Who says that these MFA students even know what they are doing? Aside from that, don't the publishers have enough submissions to deal with?

In fact I have to say it's a bit icky to me that they would support a venture which is essentially making money off newbie writers, some who may not even pass the "vetting" process.

Whatever.
 

Momento Mori

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DeadlyAccurate:
Because reading the site's FAQ, I'm having trouble telling how they are acting like anything other than a literary agency.

The key point seems to be that all Creative Byline do is submit a writer's work. Assuming that an editor decides to acquire a submission Creative Byline doesn't offer to negotiate or represent the writer in acquisition negotiations. Therefore, the writer is still going to have to try and get an agent or pay for a good publishing law specialist to negotiate/take a look at the contract.

19 dollars per submission, without any guarantee that work will be accepted by the editors seems to me like a great cash cow for the company. The only "benefit" to a writer is the 3 week guaranteed response time but I can't see anything on that site as to whether you get your money back if the response time isn't met - all it says is that you can submit that same manuscript to another editor for no cost.

Creative Byline FAQ:
What if I don’t get a response from an editor?
Your submission fee guarantees an editor’s response to your qualified submission. If you see that the first editor hasn’t reviewed your manuscript within three weeks of submission, submit the manuscript to another editor without additional cost.

This worries me as well:

Creative Byline FAQ:
Does Creative Byline work with magazine, periodical, or online publishers?
We plan to! But in our start-up, we’re focusing on book manuscripts and publishing.

All in all, I still don't see what this gets you that sitting down with Publisher's Marketplace or Agent Query can't do for less money.

MM
 

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