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Sunbury Press

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

Topaz044

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I haven't worked with them personally, so most of my opinion is based on what I've found on the website alone:

I'm not crazy about the design of the website itself. It sounds like there are no attached fees for getting published here, but the author for the most part is responsible for advertising and getting sales. I'm not a fan of the cover art either, but again that's just my opinion. :)

-Natasha
 

Momento Mori

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lweinberg18:
I'm a bit wary as well, but deferred them on to my agent.

Unless Sunbury are offering an advance, I'm not seeing anything on Sunbury's website that would automatically make them attractive. Specifically, they say they do POD print books, which means they may not have supply deals in place with bookstores to stock the same.

MM
 

priceless1

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How do you sign up for Bookscan?
It's pretty expensive - the figure of $1500 stands out, but don't quote me because we have a special deal through our distributor, Consortium. It's of particular value to publishers and literary agents to get a feel for how well any particular title is selling. Numbers are based on stores who report their sales to Bookscan. There are many stores who don't, so the sales numbers are more representative than completely reliable.
 

JL_Benet

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30 second search bounces back pages of complaints against Lightning Source. That's a no go! Lol
I can't tell if this was meant to be sarcasm, or do you really not know who Lightning Source is? It's hard to interpret with the "Lol" on the end of the statement.
 

priceless1

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I just recently saw (on their website) that their best-selling book had been pre-orded "in the thousands." No way of validating that, but I would like to assume it's true. I know the book, "Fireproof Moth" is stocked at Barnes and Noble. At least it is by the ones near me. :)
I can validate sales and pre-sales to some degree. What title has thousands in pre-orders?

As for Fireproof, Bookscan (unreliable, but somewhat representative) lists 174 units sold in nearly a year of publication. This company is "distributed" by Lightning Source, so I can't imagine they are going to enjoy huge orders unless the author has a large platform. If they're enjoying good sales, they're not showing up in all the usual places - bookstores, libraries.
 

profen4

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I can validate sales and pre-sales to some degree. What title has thousands in pre-orders?

As for Fireproof, Bookscan (unreliable, but somewhat representative) lists 174 units sold in nearly a year of publication. This company is "distributed" by Lightning Source, so I can't imagine they are going to enjoy huge orders unless the author has a large platform. If they're enjoying good sales, they're not showing up in all the usual places - bookstores, libraries.

I know nothing about this press, but bookscan is notoriously unreliable. Last I checked they don't log sales from major retailers such as Walmart, Costco ...etc, and don't log sale made from digital vendors such as Amazon, B&N.com, Chapters.com ... etc.

Do they even register sales to libraries?

Point is, small presses could be selling thousands of a title through online vendors and show a goose-egg on Bookscan.
 
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priceless1

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bookscan is notoriously unreliable.
I have always clarified that Bookscan is unreliable, but they can be representative. No, they don't record library sales or the warehouses. However, it also goes to reason that if those places are buying books in the thousands, then you can be certain the mainstream stores are as well. At least, I've always found this to be the case. For instance, one of our books have sold over 25,000 units, but Bookscan reports sales at around 20,000. I can live with that. But I have very good distribution in place. This publisher is with LSI, who has no sales teams in place to pitch their titles, so I have my doubts as to their abilities until I see some solid numbers that verify these claims.
 
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profen4

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I have always clarified that Bookscan is unreliable, but they can be representative. No, they don't record library sales or the warehouses. However, it also goes to reason that if those places are buying books in the thousands, then you can be certain the mainstream stores are as well. At least, I've always found this to be the case. For instance, one of our books have sold over 25,000 units, but Bookscan reports sales at around 20,000. I can live with that. But I have very good distribution in place. This publisher is with LSI, who has no sales teams in place to pitch their titles, so I have my doubts as to their abilities until I see some solid numbers that verify these claims.

Wasn't saying that you said otherwise, sorry if that's what it seemed. Though I seem to recall you mentioned something a while back about how you didn't think that Bookscan was a realistic reflection of actual sales. Is that not the case anymore? ETA: I thought it could still be off by as much as 60%.

In any case, I meant only to reiterate that point. But no in store distribution /=/ no sales. Nor does it = no sales teams. Book store sales are great and the vast majority of sales happen through stores, but a savvy publisher can get decent (in the thousands) sales with online vendors.

Writers just have to do their homework - which is what I would advocate with all presses, this one included.
 
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priceless1

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you didn't think that Bookscan was a realistic reflection of actual sales. Is that not the case anymore? ETA: I thought it could still be off by as much as 60%.
It depends on the book. If, for example, the book is a mystery, sales may be unusually lopsided with the mystery bookstores, which are indie stores and may not report to Bookscan. In that case, the sales figures could be wonky.

OTOH, if the sales are that lopsided, then it may not take long for the mainstream bookstores to jump on the bandwagon and put through some purchase orders. The long and short of it, though, is that this particular publisher doesn't have a sales distribution channel, so it's going to be harder to know their books exist.
 

Magdalen

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I just a query answered by this press, asking for a full of my mss. I'm a bit wary as well, but deferred them on to my agent. :-\

No offense taken. TBH I had queried them before acquiring my agent so, I simply deferred them to him.

Definition of DEFER

transitive verb
: to delegate to another <he could defer his job to no one — J. A. Michener>

intransitive verb
: to submit to another's wishes, opinion, or governance usually through deference or respect <deferred to her father's wishes>
 

SunburyPress

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Response from Sunbury Press

I'm glad to see we are even being discussed in this forum. We are a small press, but growing rapidly thanks to our business model. Forgive me for intruding, but I wanted to make sure some information was clarified:

1) We do not "distribute" through Lightning Source - never did and most likely never will.

2) "Prince and the Paupers" sold over 1,000 copies at release thanks to very strong demand from independent bookstores in the target region. We believe publishers in the future will need to be retailers and distributors and have successfully pursued this approach. Generally speaking, we are off the radar because a lot of our sales are direct to customers or direct to independent bookstores.

3) Bookscan is probably a poor indication of our sales. We do not embrace the big box book retailers we believe will continue to struggle. We do not embrace the level of risk these retailers require -- especially when they themselves may experience a continued rapid decline in print sales.

4) We do not ask our authors to do all the work! However, we really enjoy working with motivated authors.

5) We do not charge our authors fees for anything --- if we believe in your book, we'll offer you a contract and put our best efforts to it. We don't make money unless the author makes money -- there is no better way to do business!

6) We are working on replacing our website, which we have outgrown. If you know of any example sites you think work best, I am open to suggestions.

Thank you for your time -- and best wishes to you all!

Lawrence Knorr
Pres/CEO
Sunbury Press, Inc.
Camp Hill, PA
 
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priceless1

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Thanks for responding, Lawrence. Your explanations are interesting, but I see a hole in your logic.

1) We do not "distribute" through Lightning Source - never did and most likely never will.
LSI has a package for small presses who are doing small runs where they (for a fee) will get the publisher's titles listed in all the online databases and stores. Their association with Ingram gets those publishers listed in Ingram's databases as well.

Conversely, LSI also provides basic printing services, but they are a lot higher than most printers and can be extremely hard to work with. If you don't use their services to get your titles into the databases, then this is my mistake, and I apologize.

2) "Prince and the Paupers" sold over 1,000 copies at release thanks to very strong demand from independent bookstores in the target region. We believe publishers in the future will need to be retailers and distributors and have successfully pursued this approach. Generally speaking, we are off the radar because a lot of our sales are direct to customers or direct to independent bookstores.
I believe you are achingly wrong. The large publishers have their own sales and marketing teams who get their books distributed to the various national accounts. But small publishers don't have that kind of clout with national accounts, so they have a relationship with a distributor who performs those services for them. The sheer volume of stores and accounts make what you're eluding to an impossibility. Small presses don't have that kind of money to hire the indie sales reps to reach all regions.

It's a far cry from simply getting your books into local stores where the author lives and getting national distribution.

I'm confused that you sold 1,000 units to indie stores and not a single one to the chains. It goes against logic. If a store sees movement on a particular title, they'll jump in on the bandwagon because they want to sell books. I've seen this happen many times.

3) Bookscan is probably a poor indication of our sales. We do not embrace the big box book retailers we believe will continue to struggle. We do not embrace the level of risk these retailers require -- especially when they themselves may experience a continued rapid decline in print sales.
Bookscan's numbers are more representative because not all stores report their sales to Bookscan. Their numbers don't include libraries or e-book sales. However, the same logic that applied above applies here as well. Sales on a hot book tends to have a domino effect and everyone rushes to stock the book in order to get in on the sales.

For example, we have a title that Bookscan lists at around 25,000 sales. The actual number is more like 32,000 because not all stores report their sales to BS. But those sales are representative to how well the title has done. The fact that your book isn't even listed in Bookscan is telling.

May I ask what kind of marketing and promotion you do for your authors? On average, how large are your print runs?
 

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Response to Priceless

Thanks for responding, Lawrence. Your explanations are interesting, but I see a hole in your logic.


LSI has a package for small presses who are doing small runs where they (for a fee) will get the publisher's titles listed in all the online databases and stores. Their association with Ingram gets those publishers listed in Ingram's databases as well.

Conversely, LSI also provides basic printing services, but they are a lot higher than most printers and can be extremely hard to work with. If you don't use their services to get your titles into the databases, then this is my mistake, and I apologize.


I believe you are achingly wrong. The large publishers have their own sales and marketing teams who get their books distributed to the various national accounts. But small publishers don't have that kind of clout with national accounts, so they have a relationship with a distributor who performs those services for them. The sheer volume of stores and accounts make what you're eluding to an impossibility. Small presses don't have that kind of money to hire the indie sales reps to reach all regions.

It's a far cry from simply getting your books into local stores where the author lives and getting national distribution.

I'm confused that you sold 1,000 units to indie stores and not a single one to the chains. It goes against logic. If a store sees movement on a particular title, they'll jump in on the bandwagon because they want to sell books. I've seen this happen many times.


Bookscan's numbers are more representative because not all stores report their sales to Bookscan. Their numbers don't include libraries or e-book sales. However, the same logic that applied above applies here as well. Sales on a hot book tends to have a domino effect and everyone rushes to stock the book in order to get in on the sales.

For example, we have a title that Bookscan lists at around 25,000 sales. The actual number is more like 32,000 because not all stores report their sales to BS. But those sales are representative to how well the title has done. The fact that your book isn't even listed in Bookscan is telling.

May I ask what kind of marketing and promotion you do for your authors? On average, how large are your print runs?

Forgive me if this post comes out a little odd -- I am new to the site. I've tried to include the post I am responding to (above).

Regarding Lightning Source / LSI / Ingram et al, we do not have an agreement with them so I am interested how we can be shown as using them as a distributor. I should know - I sign all of the agreements!

Regarding your critique of our distribution model, your frame of mind is completely embedded in the age-old "push" model used by traditional publishers. I completely agree with you that we do not follow that model - nor can small presses afford to on any scale. Now that more books are sold via eCommerce vs. brick and mortar stores, the game is changing. eBooks are also distributed via a completely different model. Agreed there is still a need to promote - but this can be done in a variety of ways that do not involve mainstream media.

I didn't say we don't ever sell through the big chains. Obviously we do - you are finding some of our sales in Bookscan. My point is, we are not counting on the continued existence of these stores. The failure of Borders is just the first. The others will follow unless they make dramatic changes to their product mixes and store footprints and adopt new technologies/formats.

Regarding our book that sold over 1000 copies on release - sales were not isolated to one locale. We sell books to customers all over the US and Canada. Granted, most of the sales tapped into a strong demand in the target market for information about a regional anti-hero. Yes, I know this book would most likely not have any chance at being a national best-seller. But, what you are missing is -- it is perfectly OK for a small press to serve a regional target market as part of its growth strategy. Additionally, selling well in that market is another indication of success. Not everybody needs to make the NYT Bestseller list to be successful in this business!

Regarding what kind of marketing and promotion do we do for our authors - the answer is virtually none! We invest in marketing and promoting our BOOKS and their associated CONTENT. The author comes along for the ride...

Regarding the size of our print runs, you are back to the old "push" model again. According to PW and other sources, printed books are experiencing a steep decline - especially hardcovers and mass market paperbacks. I am not sure where the bottom is -- 50% of sales? 30%? The short answer to your question, is we print enough to meet anticipated demand. The vast majority of our books are printed or downloaded one at a time - as a customer buys them.

Thanks for the probing questions!

Lawrence Knorr
Sunbury Press, Inc.
Camp Hill, PA
 

SunburyPress

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Reply to Triceretops

Sunbury, thanks for showing up with some explanations. Mention was made of an advance by a poster here. Do you provide an advance, token or otherwise? Or does that depend?

I'm wondering if YA fantasy/thriller is something you would consider.
Tri


I am reminded of an image from my childhood - from a picture book about dinosaurs - where the triceretops was gutting a tyranosaurus rex with its horns --- one tough critter!

Regarding advances, the best answer is -- it depends. We analyze the potential sales for a proposal vs. our current schedule and anticipated cash flow. If we feel an author has demonstrated success and will likely earn back the advance we'll consider it in our negotiations.

Regarding your YA fantasy/thriller -- hopefully it doesn't involve vampires! If it does not, I would recommend you submit a proposal. Please see "Call to Authors" on our website:

http://www.sunburypress.com/call.html

Lawrence Knorr
Sunbury Press, Inc.
Camp Hill, PA
 

SunburyPress

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LSI

If you don't use LSI as your "distribution" services, then why are they listed in Bookscan as being your distributor?

I answered this in a previous post. But I will reiterate. We do not have an agreement with Lightning Source / LSI for distribution for any of our books. So I do not know how it would be listed in Bookscan as such.
 

triceretops

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I am reminded of an image from my childhood - from a picture book about dinosaurs - where the triceretops was gutting a tyranosaurus rex with its horns --- one tough critter!

Regarding advances, the best answer is -- it depends. We analyze the potential sales for a proposal vs. our current schedule and anticipated cash flow. If we feel an author has demonstrated success and will likely earn back the advance we'll consider it in our negotiations.

Regarding your YA fantasy/thriller -- hopefully it doesn't involve vampires! If it does not, I would recommend you submit a proposal. Please see "Call to Authors" on our website:

http://www.sunburypress.com/call.html

Lawrence Knorr
Sunbury Press, Inc.
Camp Hill, PA

Ha, ha. Just a peaceful browser, here. No gutting. And no vamps either.

tri