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The Book Guild (formerly Book Guild Publishing)

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Sarmorrow

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I've had an email expressing interest in my book from the Book Guild. But they're asking me to pay for the first edition!

I've replied saying I can't afford it - as their info page says they don't always ask for this.

Any opinions on this lot?

Sarah
 

James D. Macdonald

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They claim to have invented joint-venture publishing? (Insert glyph of hysterical laughter here.)

That page of their's is one red flag after another.

Someone should tell them that spell-checking their own website isn't an optional step, either.

This is a vanity press. Ignore them. Avoid them. Go somewhere else.
 

Momento Mori

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Figured I'd update the thread, as a Book Guild author has been in the legal press recently, albeit for the wrong reasons (see http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=187613 for further details).

It's a strange company that claims to offer:

- a "conventional publishing" option (under which it provides an advance)

- "Partnership publishing" (where the author contributes to the cost);

- "Production only publishing" (which seems to be straight-out self-publishing for a fee); and

- "sponsored publishing for companies and charities" (and I'm not completely certain how this is different to Partnerhip Publishing or Production Only Publishing).

There are a number of things on the website that would make me uncomfortable or cause me to ask more questions before signing with them:

Book Guild Publishing Website (BOLDING MINE):
Also known as mainstream publishing, this is where the publisher will pay for all costs and may pay an advance to the author.

If by mainstream publishing they mean commercial publishing then the author will get an advance for their work. I'd be interested in knowing how many authors that Book Guild has paid advances to and I'd want to know how much those advances were.

Book Guild Publishing Website:
Due to the high level of risk in conventional publishing, books generally have to be considered to have mass market potential. At present, this means that the focus tends to be on “dead certs” - previously published authors with a successful track record and/or well-known names, particularly from celebrity culture.

This isn't true. While commercial publishers are always looking for an angle to whip up sales, plenty of first time novelists are getting advance paying deals and in fact, you've got a better chance of being published if you're a new author with no track record but a book that the publisher thinks will sell, than you do as an established author with middling or poorer than expected sales.

Book Guild Publishing Website:
The Bookseller has said that three out of four publishers’ books do not make money, so for a small, independent publisher the risks are even higher.

Does this statistic relate to all publishers (in which case, I wouldn't be surprised to know that some publishers don't make money) or commercial publishers?

Book Guild Publishing Website:
Every year Book Guild Publishing brings out conventionally published titles that we think will sell well in the mass market, and we have an excellent record of sales, though, of course, it is still a risk to us, as it is to all publishers. We are then able to apply our position in the marketplace to all of our books, not just to those conventionally published.

I'd want to know how many books on average their books sell.

Book Guild Publishing Website (BOLDING MINE):
[Partnership Publishing] is a full publishing package, which gives the author creative control and a high level of involvement. Unlike self-publishing, our full package includes a rigorous editorial service, high-quality production, professional jacket design, publicity, marketing, a UK sales force, global marketing where appropriate, warehousing, distribution, accounting, representation at the London Book Fair, and inclusion in our catalogue, on our website and on Amazon.co.uk. We also include two years of representation after publication.

I'd want to know what this means. It suggests that they're acting as agent for the published book, which would tie in with a suggestion on their site that they are taking all rights in the work (including audio, world-wide publication rights and adaptation rights). That is not a good idea for an author (notwithstanding their claims to have got some authors deals for those rights).

Book Guild Publishing Website:
Partnership Publishing offers a higher royalty rate: in general terms, the author will receive 30% of the retail price of every book sold, which is equivalent to 80% of the net receipts.

I'd want to know how much on average each author going with Partnership Publishing receives in royalties.

Book Guild Publishing Website:
You only pay for the origination costs for the first edition: any subsequent reprints are paid for in full by the Book Guild.

I'd want to know the terms for getting a reprint before deciding if this was a good deal.

Book Guild Publishing Website:
[Production Only] service includes the full editorial, production and design of your book to provide you with finished copies for your own distribution and use.

This looks like a straight-forward pay-to-publish/self-publish operation.

Book Guild Publishing Website:
An experienced marketing and publicity department with established contacts and an excellent track record of obtaining press, radio and TV coverage; bookshop and library distribution; online promotion, including Amazon.co.uk and www.bookguild.co.uk; and, global marketing where appropriate. More >

Book Guild does appear to have got some coverage including reviews for authors in the national UK press, although I haven't verified exactly what that coverage is (or indeed to what extent it was organised by the authors themselves).

All in all, not a company I'd be running to have publish my book.

MM
 

shaldna

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Just looking at their site, and they state that you can

Book Guild Publishing titles can be bought or ordered from any bookseller in the UK, including from websites. We have accounts with all the key UK bookshop chains, wholesalers and library suppliers, with whom our experienced reps have long established relationships.

You can also now buy books directly from this site by clicking on the shopping basket, or you can click on any of the links below to go through to the sites directly.

http://www.whsmith.co.uk/
http://www.amazon.co.uk/ http://www.foyles.co.uk/http://www.amazon.co.uk/http://www.foyles.co.uk/
http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/
Alternatively you can order books directly from our distributors in the UK and beyond:

UK and IRELAND


Trade Distribution
Orca Book Services
160 Milton Park
Abingdon
Oxon OX14 4SD

Tel: 01235 465577;
Fax: 01235 465556
Email: [email protected]


but you can order any book from those places, waterstones even lists Publish America books on it's website.

There's no indication that any of these books are actually physically available in stores though,.
 

Michael Drakich

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I am involved in a back and forth discussion with the people at Book Guild. Originally I queried them in regards to the first novel I have written and they responded with their OUTLINE OF AUTHOR CONTRIBUTION PACKAGE. I notified them my thanks but I am looking for a traditional arrangement. I subsequently queried them on my second novel and they replied questioning whether I had reconsidered. I politely informed them I still looked for a traditional arrangement and hoped that their observing my second novel may have them reconsider their position. They contacted me once more for clarification.

So you know exactly what is said, here are the last 3 emails.

From: [Person 1] [mailto:[Person 1]@bookguild.co.uk]
Sent: Wednesday, August 25, 2010 5:14 AM
To: Michael Drakich
Subject: RE: publishing enquiry


Dear Michael,

Thank you for your email. Can you confirm that you only wish to submit your manuscript for conventional publishing rather than with our partnership publishing package (where you make a financial contribution)? We certainly do publish novels in the conventional way. However, like a traditional publisher, we are only able to take books on (to be part of our mainstream list) that have a straightforward market, ie if someone has a famous name, or a well-known name in their field, and the books we take on conventionally are usually non-fiction.

With publishing as it is today, first time fiction is very difficult to get published on a mainstream basis. If the writer can cover the overhead, we offer a way to get published that otherwise wouldn’t be available. It does give the writer a chance to get noticed, as you can see by the coverage that we obtain.

Bearing all this in mind, if you are still happy to submit your manuscript for conventional publishing only, let me know and we look forward to receiving your manuscript. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with any further questions in the meantime.


All the best,

[Person 2]
Publishing Assistant
For and on behalf of
CAROL BISS
MANAGING DIRECTOR

From: Michael Drakich [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: 25 August 2010 18:55
To:
[Person 2]
Subject: RE: publishing enquiry

Hello Isabelle,

Yes, I am only looking for a conventional publishing arrangement. I am neither famous, have a well known name in some other field, or previously published and my works are fictions.

Nevertheless, I continue to operate under the belief there is still a market for first time novelists such as myself provided the work is good enough and the story offering a wide appeal. I believe my novels fit into both categories but obviously such a determination would be yours to make.

I would be happy to forward either or both of my completed novels for your examination. Please advise me as to which novel you would like to see (or both) and in what format you would like to receive them.

Respectfully,

Michael Drakich

Dear Michael,

I completely understand your position and admire your enthusiasm and determination. Please send in your manuscript(s) printed as hard-copies on A4 paper, no need to worry about binding etc.
I look forward to receiving them.
Kind regards,

[Person 2]

Now I don't know about things as I am a complete novice, but my first impression is this sounds legit and I should send them my manuscripts

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Michael

[Exact names and emails redacted -- JDM]
 
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M.R.J. Le Blanc

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Don't bother Michael. They lost me at the "With publishing as it is today, first time fiction is very difficult to get published on a mainstream basis.", because it's complete and utter shite. There IS a market for first-time novelists. But a publisher like these guys are not going to get you there. Search elsewhere. Publishers who have packages generally make the majority of their cash from those packages, and not selling to the public.
 

brianm

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JL_Benet

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Originally I queried them in regards to the first novel I have written and they responded with their OUTLINE OF AUTHOR CONTRIBUTION PACKAGE. I notified them my thanks but I am looking for a traditional arrangement. I subsequently queried them on my second novel and they replied questioning whether I had reconsidered.
I can't understand why you would have queried them a second time, muchless try to discuss anything further with them.
 

Momento Mori

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[Person 1]@bookguild.co.uk:
We certainly do publish novels in the conventional way. However, like a traditional publisher, we are only able to take books on (to be part of our mainstream list) that have a straightforward market, ie if someone has a famous name, or a well-known name in their field, and the books we take on conventionally are usually non-fiction.
Well, I don't recognise the names of anyone on their non-fiction sales list. I'd be interested in knowing who they've offered "traditional" publishing to.

[Person 1]@bookguild.co.uk:
first time fiction is very difficult to get published on a mainstream basis.
Bollocks.

First time fiction is published every week by commercial publishers who pay those first time authors for their work.

[Person 1]@bookguild.co.uk:
If the writer can cover the overhead, we offer a way to get published that otherwise wouldn’t be available.
Bollocks. Anyone can get vanity published and there are dozens of outfits to choose from.

[Person 1]@bookguild.co.uk: :
It does give the writer a chance to get noticed, as you can see by the coverage that we obtain.
Check out the most recent coverage here:

http://news.bookguild.co.uk/

It's not particularly impressive and I'd question how much of it is obtained by Book Guild and how much is by the authors concerned.

Michael Drakich:
but my first impression is this sounds legit and I should send them my manuscripts
Michael, I don't understand why you'd think that when Sophie's first email was clearly aimed at pushing you towards paying them to be published. I would be very surprised if she offers to pay you an advance for your book and even if she did, I'd question whether it's worth taking it as I haven't seen any copies of their books in my local bookstores.

There are other publishers out there and your best bet is still to find an agent.

Start at the top and work your way down.

MM

[Exact email address redacted -- JDM]
 
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waylander

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£17.99 is way expensive for a hardback
 

JournoWriter

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They're pitching an interview with a dead author?
 
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They're pitching an interview with a dead author?


Somebody did not remember to customize their boilerplate. At least that's what I assumed when I saw that part. It's pretty standard for review requests, normally. But if they can swing me a review with a dead author, maybe I should review the book anyway?! :roll:
 

CaoPaux

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Bought by Troubador in July '15, and now dba The Book Guild Ltd.. Same URL.
 

lonestarlibrarian

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Just out of curiosity, has The Book Guild improved any since becoming part of Troubador? Some of us were talking about one of their authors, whose book came out with them earlier this year (Jan/Feb), and I noticed that it wasn't even mentioned in their Twitter feed, or advertised in their online bookstore (currently mid-April)... So I was curious if they were still pretty solidly vanity press, or if they had improved. The Troubador thread itself hasn't been commented upon since 2014. I didn't want to go harshing on someone's publisher if they had redeemed themselves, so more current experiences would be nice to read about...
 

CaoPaux

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Nope, still a "partnership" publisher.
 

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