• Guest please check The Index before starting a thread.

Thurston Howl Publications

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

Filigree

Mildly Disturbing
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jul 16, 2010
Messages
16,439
Reaction score
1,513
Location
between rising apes and falling angels
Website
www.cranehanabooks.com
Anyone have any experience with this company? (If a thread exists, mods please move.)

link here: http://www.thurstonhowlpublications.com/

Newish small press in the Nashville area, been around since 2014, with some genre authors and artists I've actually heard of. I'm asking for a friend, who might have an offer from them soon. They look...interesting.
 

Zombie Fraggle

Thick Skin Pre-Installed
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jul 18, 2013
Messages
213
Reaction score
32
Location
Down at Fraggle Rock.
Pros:

  • Clever name. (For you young whippersnappers out there, Thurston Howell was the uppity billionaire castaway on Gilligan's Island).
  • Website is simple, easy to read and navigate.
  • Covers are genre-appropriate and nicely done.

Cons:

  • Splash page text is geared toward authors, not readers.
  • No principals named on the About Us page. First names only (with one clearly a handle) are listed on the Submissions page, without even vague credentials.
  • Thirteen books published by the same three authors with only two single-title exceptions.
  • Only four of the thirteen titles are available in ebook format on Amazon.
  • The most recent four publications are trade paperback only . . .
  • . . . which I would bet were printed via CreateSpace, since earlier titles are clearly marked as published by CreateSpace. Ten bucks for an ISBN buys you the ability to put your author/publisher name in the publisher field.
  • The interiors of the last four trade paperbacks, as viewed on Amazon's "Look Inside" feature, are inconsistent and demonstrate a lack of knowledge on how to format a book for print. Widows. Orphans. Rivers. Proper names split between lines (e.g., "Bob" appearing at the end of a line and "Smith" appearing as the first word of the next line, or "Mr. Smith" with the same problem). Kerning issues out the wazoo. Hyphenation problems (i.e., a hyphenated company name like Hyper-Awesome, where Hyper- appears at the end of a line and Awesome is the first word of the next line, which inaccurately means the company name should be HyperAwesome). My guess is they were produced using MS Word with hyphenation turned off (which would create both the kerning problem and the split of a hyphenated name or compound word) and then converted to a PDF for uploading to CreateSpace.
  • Anthology submission page is outdated.

That's all the time I have to dig, but the lack of ebooks alone would be enough for me to take a pass. If you're gonna do print books only, they'd better be damn pretty print books.
 

Filigree

Mildly Disturbing
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jul 16, 2010
Messages
16,439
Reaction score
1,513
Location
between rising apes and falling angels
Website
www.cranehanabooks.com
Bumping again on behalf of the same friend. Any other recent experiences with Thurston Howl? Secondhand info suggests they are reluctant to release ebook formats, don't like to send Advance Review Copies, and have a hit-or-miss marketing strategy. I'm hoping they'll do okay by my friend.
 

pschmehl

Super Member
Registered
Joined
May 31, 2017
Messages
159
Reaction score
23
Location
Richardson, TX
If they don't do ebooks, can't your friend publish on Smashbooks? Surely they didn't lock up the ebook rights?
 

Cyia

Rewriting My Destiny
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Nov 15, 2008
Messages
18,379
Reaction score
3,522
Location
Brillig in the slithy toves...
If they don't do ebooks, can't your friend publish on Smashbooks? Surely they didn't lock up the ebook rights?

You'd be surprised. Major publishers locked up e-book rights BEFORE ebooks were even a mainstream thing back in the 80's and 90's under a clause that read something like: "and all unspecified formats".
 

Filigree

Mildly Disturbing
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jul 16, 2010
Messages
16,439
Reaction score
1,513
Location
between rising apes and falling angels
Website
www.cranehanabooks.com
I've seen some of the cover art, quite nice. They're apparently ramping up their ebook offerings, and are up to 2016 titles. I'm spoiled from romance and SFF, where formats are usually released around the same time.

My friend seems mollified by his recent convos with them, so we'll see how it goes. I've read his mms: it kicks butt. Imagine Atomic Blonde and Bourne Identity, with a female werecat mercenary. Yeah, it's bloody and tasty.
 

Filigree

Mildly Disturbing
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jul 16, 2010
Messages
16,439
Reaction score
1,513
Location
between rising apes and falling angels
Website
www.cranehanabooks.com
Another update: I've seen preliminary sketches of the cover art...and not great. (Can't share details yet). If I were a Furry author seeking a publisher, I'd ask some much tougher questions about their marketing ideas first, and pin the answers down in revised contracts.
 

Gillhoughly

Grumpy writer and editor
Absolute Sage
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Feb 12, 2006
Messages
5,363
Reaction score
1,759
Location
Getting blitzed at Gillhoughly's Reef, Haleakaloha
Nopety McNope. Tell your friend to run like hell the other way.

Terrible covers, few reviews, the ones there have a flavor of friends and enablers, sales rankings in the sub-sub-sub basement, 4-7 million books sell better than most of their titles. Several titles are listed in multiple genres on the website so it looks like they have more books than they do. Have I mentioned terrible covers? Worth a second and third mention.

RUN AWAY.
 

Filigree

Mildly Disturbing
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jul 16, 2010
Messages
16,439
Reaction score
1,513
Location
between rising apes and falling angels
Website
www.cranehanabooks.com
Yeah. I kinda hope he does. But it's not my book, or my genre, so I can't wade in too far. What I know of Furry, I picked up reading Elf Sternberg in the nineties. My friend has a future 'in' with a much better publisher when they open to queries in a year or so (a self-pub outlet doing things the slow and careful way.)
 

SaraC

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Apr 30, 2017
Messages
223
Reaction score
51
Yeah. I kinda hope he does. But it's not my book, or my genre, so I can't wade in too far. What I know of Furry, I picked up reading Elf Sternberg in the nineties. My friend has a future 'in' with a much better publisher when they open to queries in a year or so (a self-pub outlet doing things the slow and careful way.)

I think I might know what book you are referring too...

But have you heard from this friend about how the experience was? I submitted to them before reading the thread, and ended up with an offer. I've gotten so many rejections for this book that I will might accept it if we can agree on an acceptable and do some of my own marketing. However, I am contacting other publishers I'm waiting to hear from before I make a decision.

I'm probably publishing under a pen name because it is my only "adult" book and it has some graphic violence and sex.

I did get an R & R from The Wild Rose Press, but I don't really like their covers and their sales aren't any better. Thurston Howl has some good covers and some that are not so good, but as long as I get a say in cover art, I don't see that being an issue. And some of their books have 250,000 or 500,000 as the amazon ranks, so it's better than the 3 or 4 million mentioned earlier in the thread.
 
Last edited:

SaraC

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Apr 30, 2017
Messages
223
Reaction score
51
Sales are limited, and the authors I've talked have some complaints about weird marketing strategies.

A couple of the editors I nudged at other publishers sounded interested, so I'm hoping I get another offer so I'm less tempted to take this one. When my confidence gets low, I tend to query first research later, which isn't always the smartest way to proceed. I swear I am going to be smarter when I start querying my next project...
 

csmalerich

Registered
Joined
Aug 10, 2018
Messages
4
Reaction score
0
For other writers who might be looking into Thurston Howl Publications, I recently had my first novel published with them. (pub date May 25, 2019) In hindsight, there's little advantage in going with them over self-publishing. Happy to talk in more detail if it's helpful.

On the plus side their contract offer let me join the Authors Guild, and I enjoyed working with my editor there, but she's no longer with them.
 

ShaunHorton

AW's resident Velociraptor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jan 6, 2014
Messages
3,482
Reaction score
314
Location
Washington State
Website
shaunhorton.blogspot.com
Giving this a little bump, since they're currently putting up submission calls for multiple anthologies. I sent in one submission that got accepted. Went through the whole thing and honestly pretty disappointed, both with the final product, communication, and with myself for not seeing all the red flags along the way.

- Their contract is vague and contradictory, and only covers the basest of bases. It's doubtful any actual lawyer has gone over and approved it.

- Covers seem to be very hit and miss, varying greatly in quality.

- Communication was spotty, and I had to reach out to them multiple times for updates on the project, my first response being that the project had been delayed, the second that they were working through edits, and would only submit changes back to the authors for "substantial" edits.

- Was given multiple assurances that the project would be out for Halloween, and proofs were sent out a week and a half before for approval. Project wasn't available on their website until a week and a half after Halloween and as of right now it still isn't available on Amazon or Kindle.

Honestly, it feels more like someone's hobby than an actual attempt at a legitimate publishing company.
 

JoshsWorstNightmare

Registered
Joined
Dec 1, 2020
Messages
1
Reaction score
0
I was just offered a contract with them and told them I need a month to think about it, basically while I wait to see if any of the other publications end up offering me one. Could you please tell me more.
 

Maryn

Fully Autumnal
Staff member
Moderator
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Feb 12, 2005
Messages
46,367
Reaction score
12,303
Location
Leather Chair
I don't mean to be sarcastic, but what part of two people saying "run away" and why needs more information? If you read the whole thread--not a real long one--there are plenty of red flags about this publisher.

I take to heart the one that said they'd have done about as well self-publishing. If your publisher can't beat that, why put your work in their hands at all?

Maryn, practical like that, and hoping you'll introduce yourself at the Newbies thread so she can welcome you properly
 

VeryBigBeard

Preparing for winter
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jan 24, 2014
Messages
2,097
Reaction score
696
I was just offered a contract with them and told them I need a month to think about it, basically while I wait to see if any of the other publications end up offering me one. Could you please tell me more.

One thing that's relevant a couple of times here and which is also relevant more broadly is that debut status actually has a certain cachet in publishing.

If you publish a first book badly, there's a record of it that will show up, one way or another, every time you go to publish another one. Thus it is far worse to be published badly than to be unpublished. Do not feel you have to sign a bad contract simply because no one else offered a good one.

It hurts to trunk a book, for sure, but in the trunk doesn't have to mean dead forever. Some books are just not meant to be first books. Query agents. Sub to good small presses if that avenue interests you, for sure. Meanwhile, because all that tends to take a while, write another book. And then another. Tendency is, you'll get better with each one, too, and you never know which one will get a "yes" from someone who's in a position to really move things for you. Even with the best of intentions, that is unlikely to be a micro-publisher that barely sells books.

Don't make the mistake of making forever vows to one project and only one project.
 

Happy Thanksgiving

Autumn image for Thanksgiving