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WiDo Publishing

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Crzywritergrl

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Has anyone done business with WiDo Publishing? They follow me on twitter and I have checked out their website, but I wanted to hear from AWers.

Here is a LINK to their site.

They seem legit, but I would love to have a second opinion.
 

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According to its About Us page,

WiDō Publishing LLC was established in 2007 by a group of writers, artists and designers committed to publishing outstanding books

I see nothing there which indicates that anyone involved in the project has any real experience in publishing. I've had some online interractions with a couple of the people behind WiDo and while they were all very keen and positive and nice, I did worry that they were lacking in publishing expertise.

Also note: many of the people listed on the "About Us" page also seem to have books published by WiDo. That's not the best of signs.
 

Crzywritergrl

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I read one of the opening chapters of a book they printed and was not impressed. Then again, this is a subjective biz. I wish they could post more of their contracts and percentages and exactly who they are distributing to.

hmmm.... I foresee some sleuthing in my near future!
 

brainstorm77

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Anything new on this publisher? I noticed they recently held a contest where the prize was publication with them.
 

victoriastrauss

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I've just seen a WiDo contract, and it has major problems. Among other things, it's life of copyright without any provision for reverting rights to the author (other than the publisher going out of business), and some of the language in the royalty clause raises the possibility (though this is not clear) that the publisher may hold royalties until 5,000 copies are sold.

- Victoria
 

Jonathan Dalar

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According to this article it's a family run business that was created to publish a family member's first book.

It could be a legitimate family-run place that's trying to become a solid small press.

It could be that they just don't have enough established experience in the business but they're breaking through.

But what it really looks like to me is a sign that they're nothing more than a self publisher trying to garner up more business for something that worked because they did it themselves.

Not sure you need to sleuth. Go into your local bookshop. See any books on the shelves by this publisher? If not, your sleuthing is finished. :)

Not necessarily, but you brought up a very good point.

There are ways to get your books out there without going with one of the established publishing houses that sells to bookshops. Many book stores don't buy from a large number of the small presses, even if they're a well established small press. There's just not the money/percentages in it.

But if you want to be sure your publisher is credible, that's the best way to do it. If you walk into Borders or Barnes and Noble or any other major book chain and research who published what, you'll be able to find most viable ones that way. And it's your safest bet as far as this thing is concerned.
 

Paul Anthony Shortt

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I was the winner of the WiDo contest for a publishing contract earlier this year.

I had a friend in the publishing industry look over the contract before signing, and was informed that it was a fairly standard contract for a 1st-time author. In addition, I found the terms quite fair and was more than happy to sign.

I can say from personal experience so far that WiDo are great to work with. They're extremely busy at the moment so there can be some delay in hearing back on an e-mail, but they're very focused on building a relationship with the author and making sure both author and editor are on the same page when it comes to any changes and revisions that might be necessary.

It is true that they expect the author to carry out a certain amount of their own promotional work, such as by building an online platform through social networking and blogging. To be honest, I'm loving this side of it. I've met so many new people and been clued in to so many new authors to read that it doesn't feel like work. In addition, it's fairly clear that, except for the big-name authors, the whole industry is shifting to the need for an author to have an accessible online presence. Check out the excellent blogs of Kristen Lamb or Jody Hedlund for more on the need for authors to maintain a good online platform.

WiDo's distribution is through Brigham Distribution, and through them to major distributors in the US, Canada, the UK and Australia. If a bookstore in those regions wants to stock one of their titles, it's quite straightforward. In addition, their books are all available through Amazon and Barnes and Noble in print and ebook formats.

it is a small publishing house, and a family-run business. But my experience so far has been excellent. I'm currently working with my editor on the first round of revisions to my novel and looking forward to seeing it come out next year.
 

217mom

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Like Paul Anthony Shortt, I too signed with WiDo earlier this year. I have a friend who is a contract lawyer, who saw no problem with their simple and straight-forward contract. (Of course, I’m privileged to have free legal representation should the need arise…:0)
I was not aware of their contest, so my submission is only a winner in the sense of being picked up. I submitted upon another writer’s suggestion.
All my interactions with this small publisher have been superb- timely, professional, and respectful. My novel has just been through a third round of revisions, and so far I feel I can honestly call WiDo Publishers ‘my dream publisher.’
The day we writers disrespect ‘family run’ publishing houses, or any publisher that dares to operate outside of the ‘big six’ is a sad day indeed.
 

veinglory

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The day we writers assume every publisher is great, unconditionally, will be the saddest day of all.
 

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I have a friend who is a contract lawyer, who saw no problem with their simple and straight-forward contract.
Contract lawyers aren't familiar with the ins and outs of the publishing industry and don't realize that it's not cool to take life of copyright.

The day we writers disrespect ‘family run’ publishing houses, or any publisher that dares to operate outside of the ‘big six’ is a sad day indeed.
I don't see anywhere in this thread where anyone taken issue about WiDo being a family publisher. There are many, many successful publishers who operate outside the NY publishers' box. The questions concerned their contract and distribution.
 

217mom

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^All good points. This is where Absolute Write shines- we’ll keep each other posted as we move along.
So far, so very good. Onward.
 

darishoward

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I have a contract with them

I have a contract with WiDo, and I personally would never sign another with them, nor likely with any small press. For any author working with a small press, and maybe even a big press, here are some suggestions from my own experiences, as well of those of fellow authors, that I would make sure were in the contract:
1) Most contracts spell out very well what the author will do to market the book, but say little about what the publisher will do to market it. I would make sure it was spelled out exactly what the publisher would do and what levels they would reach, and if they didn't, the rights would revert back to the author. Too often many small presses are no more than a type of vanity press. They publish the book and make most of their money from sales to the author. They should probably make at least 50% of the sales themselves, excluding any digital sales, since the author usually can do little to market digital books. It also might be good to insist that it be shown that the book is stocked in a certain amount of stores within a certain time limit, reach a certain amount of sales, etc.
2) I would suggest that there is a time limit on the contract that is not the length of the copyright. I personally would say 5-10 years maximum. If things are going well, the contract can be renewed, but if not, both parties are free of it.
3) I would suggest that the price they charge the author for the book be specified, not just a percent of the list price. The problem of a percent of a list price is that if the list price is set high, which often they are, it can make it so the author's price is so high that he/she has no margin to make a resale.
4) I would make sure it doesn't ask for any derivative rights. I have unfortunately seen situations where authors prefer to start a new series rather than to do a derivative work on something they wanted to do because they'd rather not work with the company on anything more.
5) I'd make sure the author controls rights like for movies, etc.
6) Another thing I've seen in some books is that one author's book has the listing of different authors for the company. This is fine to a degree, but I have seen where one author's book is almost given away and he makes almost no money as it is used to drive the sales of another author's books.
This is the list I can think of at the moment, and I'd love to hear anyone else's thoughts either here or outside of a public forum. If anyone wants to visit outside of a public forum, message me at the contact me at darishoward.com.
 

Paul Anthony Shortt

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I recently signed my second contract with WiDo and I'd like to point out that their contracts are relatively standard for a small press - I've had friends in the publishing industry look them over for me before signing.

If you're not into signing with a small publisher, that's okay, but there's nothing particular about WiDo that makes them any worse to deal with. In fact, their ebook royalties are more generous than those offered by most larger publishers.

Any concerns I've had with regard to distribution and marketing have been eased just by talking to them directly. They're very easy to work with and happy to give confirmation of things in writing.

Listing other authors' books and derivative rights are also commonly included, but again, WiDo are easygoing and have approved every idea I've had to produce something based on my book so far. Though there are no other authors' books mentioned in mine.

I don't mean to rag on your post or anything (it's early here - baby twins don't let you sleep in much! - so I hope I haven't worded anything badly), I just wanted to point out that your issue seems to be with small traditional publishers, rather than a specific one. Every author has their own needs, and not every route will be right for everyone. I hope you find a better fit in self-publishing or perhaps a deal with a larger company.
 

priceless1

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1) Most contracts spell out very well what the author will do to market the book, but say little about what the publisher will do to market it.
This is a discussion that author and editor should have before the author ever signs on the dotted line. It isn't standard practice to include marketing specifics in contracts. Authors should sign with publishers they've researched and are knowledgeable about what kind of promotion, marketing, and distribution the publisher has.

It also might be good to insist that it be shown that the book is stocked in a certain amount of stores within a certain time limit, reach a certain amount of sales, etc.
What would that time limit be? Sometimes a book takes awhile to find its sea legs.

As to your idea of a certain amount of stores, publishers have no control over this. B&N issues invoices from their corporate genre buyers. Where those books go, and to what stores is completely out of our hands because it's a BN decision.

2) I would suggest that there is a time limit on the contract that is not the length of the copyright. I personally would say 5-10 years maximum.
Many contracts have a clause that allow for rights reversion based on sales. If, in X number of quarters, sales fall below a certain number, the author may ask for their rights back.

3) I would suggest that the price they charge the author for the book be specified, not just a percent of the list price. The problem of a percent of a list price is that if the list price is set high, which often they are, it can make it so the author's price is so high that he/she has no margin to make a resale.
Solid publishers set their retail prices by market and printing costs. Authors buy in very small amounts compared to what sells in bookstores and online stores.

And many times, publishers send out cases of books for free to their authors. I'm a very small publisher, and I do this all the time. Or I sell them their book for more than a 50% discount because they want books for back of the room sales at their offsite events. Those author sales are a drop in the bucket.

So I think your main argument here is with the type of publishers you're dealing with.

4) I would make sure it doesn't ask for any derivative rights.
This is simply a negotiation point in the contract.

5) I'd make sure the author controls rights like for movies, etc.
Again, this is a negotiation point, and no big deal.

6) Another thing I've seen in some books is that one author's book has the listing of different authors for the company. This is fine to a degree, but I have seen where one author's book is almost given away and he makes almost no money as it is used to drive the sales of another author's books.
If I'm understanding your correctly, this is a marketing decision, and it's usually a short term thing. I seriously doubt that any author who has the audience to drive sales toward another author isn't, himself, getting screwed. He's the golden goose.

I realize this is off topic from the WiDo discussion, but it's important to understand how publishing really works. There are all kinds of publishers, and the size of the publisher isn't as important as their ability to sell books. It seems that your experiences have been with lesser quality publishers. Perhaps if you refined your search to solid publishers, you would avoid the things you believe should be in contracts.
 

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