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T. Eliot Press

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

Clairels

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This is not your typical BW&BC question, but I figured some of you knowledgeable AWers might be willing to chime in with some advice.

A family friend, a golf course architect by trade, set up this press to publish his own book, a history of a well-known golf course that recently hosted the U.S. Open. By all accounts, perhaps due its timeliness, it's been more successful than the typical self-published book. He's written one other children's book that he also self-published.

Recently, a relative of mine, successfully commercially published elsewhere, worked with this publisher to put out a nonfiction book about a different private golf club to coincide with the 100th anniversary of that club; it's a lovely book, but it didn't need to be commercially marketed because the members of this golf club were the only intended customers.

Now this same relative has informed me that the publisher is looking for a third book to publish, because, as he claimed "stores won't carry your books unless you publish someone else's." My relative suggested I be that other writer.

Is this "stores won't carry you unless..." even a thing? As a loyal semi- lurker on these forums, I tried to explain to my relative that this writer-turned-publisher doesn't really have any business taking on other people's manuscripts when he has no experience publishing any publicly-available books other than his own, but I'm afraid I made a hash of it.

Of course, this question is more theoretical than anything because at this point, I'm not seriously considering this. Not only do I not have an appropriate manuscript, I have another book coming out next year with a commercial publisher and I would prefer to continue along that route with future books.

However, I would really like some input from AWers who are informed about this thing, if for no other reason than so I can go back and tell my relative why it's (probably) not a good idea for me (or anyone) to do this.
 

veinglory

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I can really answer these questions but are they central to your decision. Rather then why they want you, perhaps think about whether you want to publish with them. What can they offer you? Unless you write about golf, not a lot?
 
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robjvargas

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I'm going to recommend against this as well. I can't answer your question either, but think about this:

Your relative wants to publish you because... he wants to open doors for himself.

What are the odds that your submission gets the attention it needs and deserves under conditions like that? And if it gets that (lack of) attention, how are you going to feel about it?

Unless you have a throwaway work you're willing to let him publish under a pseudonym, I'd tell him your work is too different and bow out.
 

Torgo

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The Pinehurst book looks pretty nice, considering it's not come out of trade publishing. You can tell it's SP - the cover design isn't bad, but there are mistakes you wouldn't associate with a trade design department. (See, for example, the way names are illegible in the bottom right corner.) I presume the content is interesting, expert stuff.

If they brought out a range of golf books, there might well be enough serious golf enthusiasts to make it a viable business. They would probably have to get a lot better at selling and marketing. The Amazon UK page for this book has absolutely no information about it - no product description, no metadata, and just scans of the covers. The websites are competently done but perfunctory; and it seems clear they're amateurs in terms of getting physical book stores to carry their books.

Basically, this isn't a mature publishing business yet, and unless you have a book about Augusta or Ben Crenshaw on your hard-drive, why would you place your book with them? There's already the slightly jarring thing with the children's book showing up on the website next to the golf course book.
 

Clairels

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Thanks everyone. I definitely don't write about golf, although supposedly this publisher is trying to branch out from that area. Although his books are well-done for SP, I think I'll go back and tell my relative that maybe this would be a better fit for someone with a trunked manuscript along the same lines of what he's published already.
 

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