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The Zharmae Publishing Press

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Old Hack

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How many of its books do you routinely see on the shelves of your local bookshops?

From its website:

Travis Grundy, Publisher & Chief Executive

Biography
Travis has been devoted to the written form since he was a child. Born in Southern California, he moved to Seattle when he was 15 with his family. There he became enamored with the Pacific Northwest, the place he now calls home. He worked several odd jobs to include a yearlong stint with a major corporation that shall remain nameless as he still refers to it as "The Devil." At Age 19 he joined the U.S. Army as a Paralegal. While deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, he decided to create Zharmae. During his very little downtime, Travis put together the Business Plan that would later lead to the creation of Zharmae.

Travis enjoys reading, and writing in his leisure, as well as entertaining and cooking with friends and family.

So the business was started by someone with no knowledge or experience of publishing, which is never a good sign. I can't spot anyone else on the staff who has publishing experience either, although its chief editor has worked with signing chimpanzees which some might consider a good start.

I see nothing here to tempt me.
 

HapiSofi

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Looks to me like a writing avoidance project.
 

traveo2343

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Hello All,

I just wanted to take this opportunity to introduce myself. I am Travis Grundy, the Publisher of The Zharmae Publishing Press. I'd like to take a few moments to respond to some of the original comments, and perhaps a few more that may follow this posting.

Zharmae is an actual traditional book publishing company and we are not out to scam anyone. Far from it. We are just about to go to print with our first book. It is the first annual Anthology, entitled Ends of Man it's publication date is 1 February 2012 and is available for pre-order on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The work is comprised of our Writing Contest Winning stories as well as other contest submissions. We have signed our third author, and I have just received the the 4th recommendation for review and consideration.

We do pay advances, our website details that our max is generally $2,500 advance though our last advance paid was $6,000. We do aim to acquire full IP rights in negotiations, including all Dramatic rights, but we have full protocols in place to ensure that all of those rights are licensed after acquisition; and thus far none of our Authors, or the Agents representing them have had any issues with that. We also have no qualms with not having them, however, my goal is to make sure that when we acquire a title and an author, that author can work as an author, and nothing else. If you get my drift.

Neither mine nor my staff's full resumes are made fully available on the website, as a general legal matter, an employee could term that a breach of privacy and bring legal action against their employer at anytime. Please, however, rest assured that we do have sufficient experience in the industry on both the writing and publishing side of the table.

I do encourage you to take a closer look at our website www.zharmae.com, our Facebook page www.facebook.com/tzppbooks and try to get a better clearer understanding for who we are and what we do before writing us off. We aim to be as accessible to the Reader and the Writer as possible.

I do hope that I've been able to refute some of those first few responses, and if there are more I do welcome them.

Please feel free to respond here to this posting or to email me privately, and directly regarding this or any other matter at [email protected].

Travis R. Grundy
Publisher
The Zharmae Publishing Press, LLC
www.zharmae.com
 

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Hello All,

I just wanted to take this opportunity to introduce myself. I am Travis Grundy, the Publisher of The Zharmae Publishing Press. I'd like to take a few moments to respond to some of the original comments, and perhaps a few more that may follow this posting.

Travis, welcome to AW. Thank you for taking the time and trouble to drop by.

In order to save time and bandwidth I'm going to be brief and blunt here. Please don't think I'm being dismissive or rude: that's not my intention at all.

Zharmae is an actual traditional book publishing company and we are not out to scam anyone. Far from it.
I'm a bit of a pedant, and much prefer "trade publishing" to "traditional publishing". In fact, I don't know anyone who works full-time in trade publishing who uses "traditional pubilshing".

Please note that it's not been suggested here that you and/or Zharmae is "out to scam anyone": we're just discussing whether or not Zharmae would be a good choice for writers.

We are just about to go to print with our first book. It is the first annual Anthology, entitled Ends of Man it's publication date is 1 February 2012 and is available for pre-order on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
I'm very wary when publishers make repeated errors in grammar and punctuation. It has big implications regarding the quality of the editing that they provide.

What distribution do your books have? I don't mean "have you got them into all the usual online retailers which accept anything with an ISBN"; I mean full distribution using the established trade publishing definition.

We do pay advances, our website details that our max is generally $2,500 advance though our last advance paid was $6,000.
Advances are good.

We do aim to acquire full IP rights in negotiations, including all Dramatic rights, but we have full protocols in place to ensure that all of those rights are licensed after acquisition; and thus far none of our Authors, or the Agents representing them have had any issues with that.
My bold. I don't understand this: first you acquire rights to publish a book and then you license those same rights? Sorry, that doesn't make sense. I'm probably misreading this: could you clarify?

Also, why do you want "full IP rights"? I can see why you'd want print rights and digital rights too: but "Dramatic rights"? What exactly do you mean by that? And how do you have the expertise to exploit those rights and all the others you're acquiring appropriately?

Neither mine nor my staff's full resumes are made fully available on the website, as a general legal matter, an employee could term that a breach of privacy and bring legal action against their employer at anytime. Please, however, rest assured that we do have sufficient experience in the industry on both the writing and publishing side of the table.
So it's not a breach of your staff's privacy to put on your website that they have a whole bunch of experience which has no relevance to their jobs in publishing, but it is a breach to show that they're experienced, knowledgeable and capable? I think you've been wrongly informed here.

I do encourage you to take a closer look at our website www.zharmae.com, our Facebook page www.facebook.com/tzppbooks and try to get a better clearer understanding for who we are and what we do before writing us off. We aim to be as accessible to the Reader and the Writer as possible.
I'm afraid I see nothing on your website which would make me want to submit my work to you. I see a startup publisher without proper experience or understanding of publishing, with poorly-written copy full of grammar and punctuation errors.

If you want to appear more professional then get your website completely rewritten, and edit that writing properly. Correct those mistakes. And show that you know what you're doing by being open with your publishing experience.



ETA: I just took a quick look at your website. There's a spelling mistake in the first paragraph of the blurb for Ends Of Man, and it's confusing too. You might want to correct that.

Synopsis: Pooling the creative talent and dramatic expertise of a battalion of up-and-coming authors, Ends of Man glimpses into many possible futures, sampling how the smallest of catalysts can let loose a furor of consequences.
 
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Stacia Kane

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We do aim to acquire full IP rights in negotiations, including all Dramatic rights, but we have full protocols in place to ensure that all of those rights are licensed after acquisition; and thus far none of our Authors, or the Agents representing them have had any issues with that.

Travis Grundy
Publisher
The Zharmae Publishing Press, LLC
www.zharmae.com


Hi Travis,

I'm wondering if you can share with us some of the names of the agents you've worked with? I'm not finding any deal announcements in Publishers Marketplace, and I'm very surprised to hear that said agents have been willing to hand over all rights like that without a qualm. I've sold a few shorts and in each case my agent has suggested changes to the contract to retain rights other than print, ebook, and audio (when it appears likely that the anthology will sell audio rights.)

I do see and appreciate that you're willing to negotiate those rights.

While I do agree with Old Hack's analysis, I'd like to welcome you to AW and to thank you sincerely for your military service.
 
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Travis,

I would like to welcome you too. I was the one that had originally posted for info, and through the wonderful power of the internet, you came by per request. Although I have questions too, I am very impressed by your publishing house and only hope the best for your company. I have submitted and recieved nothing but professional emails notifying me of my work, which I sincerely appreciate as we all know as writers, it's not always easy to get such a response.

Even though I would agree with Stacia and Old Hack, which bring up very solid issues, I think your company is headed in a good direction. I wish you the very best in your publishing endeavors. Good luck to everyone involved.
 

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Neither mine nor my staff's full resumes are made fully available on the website, as a general legal matter, an employee could term that a breach of privacy and bring legal action against their employer at anytime. Please, however, rest assured that we do have sufficient experience in the industry on both the writing and publishing side of the table.

www.zharmae.com

Travis, welcome to the board.

Unfortunately, I have to say that the quote above is a big red flag to many of us here, particularly those of us who have been in publishing for a long time.

Experience is everything in this industry - there are far too many fly-by-night and scam agencies, publishers, and yes, editors out there to simply say "trust us." If you want to succeed, particularly as a new business with few publications to your name, your experience, and your employees' experience, needs to be front and center. Period.
 
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traveo2343

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Travis, welcome to AW. Thank you for taking the time and trouble to drop by.

In order to save time and bandwidth I'm going to be brief and blunt here. Please don't think I'm being dismissive or rude: that's not my intention at all.

I'm a bit of a pedant, and much prefer "trade publishing" to "traditional publishing". In fact, I don't know anyone who works full-time in trade publishing who uses "traditional pubilshing".

Please note that it's not been suggested here that you and/or Zharmae is "out to scam anyone": we're just discussing whether or not Zharmae would be a good choice for writers.

I'm very wary when publishers make repeated errors in grammar and punctuation. It has big implications regarding the quality of the editing that they provide.

What distribution do your books have? I don't mean "have you got them into all the usual online retailers which accept anything with an ISBN"; I mean full distribution using the established trade publishing definition.

Advances are good.

My bold. I don't understand this: first you acquire rights to publish a book and then you license those same rights? Sorry, that doesn't make sense. I'm probably misreading this: could you clarify?

Also, why do you want "full IP rights"? I can see why you'd want print rights and digital rights too: but "Dramatic rights"? What exactly do you mean by that? And how do you have the expertise to exploit those rights and all the others you're acquiring appropriately?

So it's not a breach of your staff's privacy to put on your website that they have a whole bunch of experience which has no relevance to their jobs in publishing, but it is a breach to show that they're experienced, knowledgeable and capable? I think you've been wrongly informed here.

I'm afraid I see nothing on your website which would make me want to submit my work to you. I see a startup publisher without proper experience or understanding of publishing, with poorly-written copy full of grammar and punctuation errors.

If you want to appear more professional then get your website completely rewritten, and edit that writing properly. Correct those mistakes. And show that you know what you're doing by being open with your publishing experience.

ETA: I just took a quick look at your website. There's a spelling mistake in the first paragraph of the blurb for Ends Of Man, and it's confusing too. You might want to correct that.


I would expect nothing less. I have a very thick skin, I deal with business men all day who want their egos worshiped before forking over investment money for TZPP, you're far sweeter.

Trade publisher versus traditional publisher is a matter of words, we're both meaning the same thing, its a void issue. We both mean to distinguish from a subsidy publisher.

Perhaps the best place to determine whether or not Zharmae is a good place for writers is to contact the writers that are working with us. They would be able to give you first hand knowledge about our processes and how they have enjoyed or not their time with us. I'm biased, but I do believe that TZPP is a great house for authors to work with.

I apologize that my Assistants are not able to look over my work right now while these response are going out, I have a terrible habit with typos. I do not generally directly engage in the editing. Anna and Christine do. I handle all of the other aspects of the title development that goes into producing a book as well as all aspects of running a company. Our website is monitored for grammar, punctuation, and other errors on our website with even stricter controls in place during the edits and revisions phases.

I have based on your concerns gone back over those areas you had noted, and I'm sorry to say that you are mistaken in errors raised.

BookMasters Group handles our distribution domestically and in Canada.

Advances are a good thing. And we pay them on all contracts.

IP rights encompass a vast amount of areas, these include the right to print the titles yes, but may also include the right to reprint the title in a foreign language, the right to print the title as an audio book, the right to print the title as an abridgment, the right to print the title in a book club, the right to have the title produced as a motion picture, the right to turn the characters, etc. into merchandise. We acquire and license these rights because we only publish in Trade Paperback and E-book format. Hardback format is reserved for special editions.

I have a number of friends in business and we collectively have the connections to ensure that these deals are made, and are secured in the authors best interest.

I can't and won't speak for my employees. I come from a business background. I worked as Audit Assistant for a Research Firm based in Bellevue, WA that as behind in their audits 5 years through a series of M&As, decided I didn't like that so I joined the Army to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. Worked with the Army as a Paralegal, and deployed to Afghanistan. Started TZPP in December 2010. I have been developing and running the house ever since. I have a BS in Social Science from UIW.

I have been very careful to take on individuals especially in the editorial and reading (acquisitions) departments that have strong literary degrees and experience, many write themselves and have gone through the professional writing process and understand the intricacies.

I do hope that I have been able to answer some of your questions.
 

traveo2343

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Hi Travis,

I'm wondering if you can share with us some of the names of the agents you've worked with? I'm not finding any deal announcements in Publishers Marketplace, and I'm very surprised to hear that said agents have been willing to hand over all rights like that without a qualm. I've sold a few shorts and in each case my agent has suggested changes to the contract to retain rights other than print, ebook, and audio (when it appears likely that the anthology will sell audio rights.)

I do see and appreciate that you're willing to negotiate those rights.

While I do agree with Old Hack's analysis, I'd like to welcome you to AW and to thank you sincerely for your military service.

Thank you so much for the warm welcome and your welcome, it was a pleasure serving the United States.

We've mainly worked with Elliot Blair (in negotiating Dr. Woods-Frankel) in NYC though he doesn't let go of rights very easily at all, and several international agents who we are still in negotiations with. Also, Ayesha Pande Literary, Nelson Agency, Gilbert Literay Agency, FinePrint Literary Management to name a few others, are some of the agents that we have begun talking with, we meet new agents and talk with them about this subject weekly. We have not announced any deals on Publishers Marketplace, and that is my fault.

Let me clarify though, we have been discussing this with Agents who have approached us and who we have approached. Those who we had approached, we had wanted to make sure were on the same page with us before they solicited their clients work to us. Often times there is a concern of whether the Publisher is capable/interested in actually licensing the rights, which is why they are often not included in the negotiations with most publishers.

I do hope that I have been able to answer your questions, please let me know if I have not.
 

traveo2343

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Travis,

I would like to welcome you too. I was the one that had originally posted for info, and through the wonderful power of the internet, you came by per request. Although I have questions too, I am very impressed by your publishing house and only hope the best for your company. I have submitted and recieved nothing but professional emails notifying me of my work, which I sincerely appreciate as we all know as writers, it's not always easy to get such a response.

Even though I would agree with Stacia and Old Hack, which bring up very solid issues, I think your company is headed in a good direction. I wish you the very best in your publishing endeavors. Good luck to everyone involved.



Thank you so much for taking the time to submit your work to us. I like to place professionalism and respect at the top of our "To Do" list when responding to everyone who approaches us. We have a lot of behind the scenes activities that go on, but I am glad to hear that you are receiving prompt responses to your queries.

I do believe also that even if your work is rejected you can ask the Reading Manager to send you the aggregate report on why it was rejected to use as a tool to improve. And obviously if your work is accepted it will go through revisions with an editor before publication. So please keep that in mind.
 

traveo2343

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Travis, welcome to the board.

Unfortunately, I have to say that the quote above is a big red flag to many of us here, particularly those of us who have been in publishing for a long time.

Experience is everything in this industry - there are far too many fly-by-night and scam agencies, publishers, and yes, editors out there to simply say "trust us." If you want to succeed, particularly as a new business with few publications to your name, your experience, and your employees' experience, needs to be front and center. Period.

I understand your concerns, and I won't beat around the bush either. I have included a brief summary of my experience in a previous response. Also, for those who would like, my full resume is available at Linkedin at http://www.linkedin.com/pub/travis-grundy/19/531/422.

I'm not trying to hide anything. Just here to publish great books.
 

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Thank you so much for taking the time to submit your work to us. I like to place professionalism and respect at the top of our "To Do" list when responding to everyone who approaches us. We have a lot of behind the scenes activities that go on, but I am glad to hear that you are receiving prompt responses to your queries.

I do believe also that even if your work is rejected you can ask the Reading Manager to send you the aggregate report on why it was rejected to use as a tool to improve. And obviously if your work is accepted it will go through revisions with an editor before publication. So please keep that in mind.

Thank you again Travis, I will most certainly remember that when the results do come in. I believe that's going the extra mile in my opinion. Most publishers won't give you the time of day to do that kind of generous service. I appreciate the tip. Good Luck with your company.

Lisa
 

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Thank you again Travis, I will most certainly remember that when the results do come in. I believe that's going the extra mile in my opinion. Most publishers won't give you the time of day to do that kind of generous service. I appreciate the tip. Good Luck with your company.

Lisa



You are most welcome. Part of TZPP's Editorial mission is to help writers become the best they can be. If we don't give you our reasoning behind declining your work, especially if it is something developmental, that you would benefit from, then we are doing a disservice.

Now if the Author/Agent fails to follow our submission guidelines and recieves an "auto-fail" response there would not have been a report generated for that title.

But I do hope that helps. I'm am glad that I have answered all of your questions.

Again I can be reached directly at [email protected] through our website at www.zharmae.com, or through any number of the Social Networks that TZPP and myself take part in engaging.
 

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Travis, you are a welcome addition here, and thank you for answering questions with grace, dignity and thoroughness. I like your pub house already, since rarely do we see a fairly new press that pays advances and has book distribution in place. I'll write to my agent and inform her of your presence, mission statement and website.

Some very nice artwork, BTW.

Tri
 

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Have they released anything yet? The anthology still seems to be the only thing listed and there's no purchasing info.

Also, on my end submission guidelines are black text on black background---ninja-only subs maybe? :)
 

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I'd be a bit worried about this company's ability to get books to market. Atlas/Bookmaster distribution doesn't have a great reputation, and they cater to self publishers and publishers who put out very few books per year. They don't begin to have the selling power of the big guy distributors, and they are quite expensive, with little to show for it.
 
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Thanks, first, Travis, for coming to the board and responding to questions politely. I am convinced of your sincerity from reading this.

But...

I do want to raise one point I hope you consider. I was about to submit to you, but the comment "we acquire dramatic rights" raises a concern. I would be concerned about you acquiring more rights than you could exploit to the benefit of the author (as well as your company) and/or acquiring non-standard rights. Dramatic rights are something I would definitely not sign away. I would look for an agent with specific film industry experience to market those rights for me. You couldn't do so effectively.

What I'm saying is: if you are inexperienced in the business, as a startup, you may have a contract disadvantageous to authors and not even be aware of it. You may have a non-standard contract.

So I would strongly suggest you have the contract reviewed by experts with specific publishing industry experience. I hate to put more work on our long-suffering Victoria Strauss (Writers Beware) and/or P&E, but if either of those would be willing to advise you, you would be well ahead. Or, see an attorney who has publishing experience for advice.

The time to act is now, when you're just getting started. Reputations are hard to build, easy to damage, and some sincerely meant mistakes could hurt you in the long term.

Just my suggestion. If I see some action taken on your part to ensure your contract is "industry standard" for a legitimate small press, I will be happy to submit to you. (We are both in Washington state, so you're almost home-town for me!)

Danielle
Author of the 2009 EPPIE Winner "The Infinite Instant"
 

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A listing for Zharmae 5k-20k word spec fic contest popped up on Duotrope recently and I went to check it out:

http://www.zharmae.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=41&Itemid=67

It looked really good, too. A fee-free contest with good prizes, and their one previously published anthology looking pretty nice. I was going to submit something, and then I read the fine print:

All submissions are subject to future use by the Publisher. Should a submission be used in any way other than and or through inclusion in an upcoming anthology, the writer will be compensated at a rate of at least $25, but not more than $100 and no further compensation will be required.

Which basically means that you forfeit First Rights to your story, because Zharmae can exercise the option to publish it at any time, and pay you as little as $25.

Also, this isn't covered explicitly but there will likely be more than 5 stories published in the anthology. Which means that the rest of them will be selected from the submissions pool and paid at these token rates.

I don't think Zharmae is intentionally being vague with their guidelines (or at least I hope they aren't) but the rights grab quoted above was buried in a large block of text, and I figured it might be a good idea to share it with other authors here.

Mr. Grundy, who operates Zharmae, was active on this thread in the past, and I hope that he might clarify further.
 

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My second sub turned into a full today. So far, well, I like them. Their swift, pay advances and have, at least, a distributor in place. Love that cover for the anthology--it gave me a wonderful case of the SF shivers. They're also soliciting writers for a shared universe, SF or Fantasy series of books. Kind of like what a book packager would do, but it's a little different since you're working with a team. I'm going to look into this and study the guidelines.

Interesting pub house.

tri
 

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That sounds interesting, triceretops. I've always liked those 'shared universe' books. Unfortunately, I don't have any short stories lying around the length of what they're looking for to submit as an installment writer. It seems like a great adventure though!
 

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