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Discussion in 'Writing & Publishing Discussion' started by Firebaptized Publishing, Mar 16, 2017.
Authors, what are some things you look for when choosing a publishing company?
One that will publish my book.
We would love to take a look at your manuscript! Our authors receive great marketing and top notch support. Check us out here www.firebaptizedpublishing.com
It's with Steve Laube at the moment. Let's see what happens.
I am in dire need of some good promotion and a little extra Editting. For a self publish writer who hasn't started earning anything yet, would that be a problem to join your publishing company. I have my manuscript ready to upload. I had to do a little addition work on it, so it will need a bit of checking for little grammer corrections. Will that be something you can assist with
Hi, Firebaptized Pubishing Person!
You asked what we look for when choosing a publishing company. I want a publisher that will do right by me. I'd rather have no publisher than one that doesn't do right by me. I've been so happy for writer pals of mine who have contracts with good publishers, and I've felt so sorry for writers who have entered contracts with other publishing companies that left the writer feeling very taken advantage of. By that I mean entering a contract where the author may no longer own the book (because the publisher owns it) and may have actually lost money by getting her book published; she may have been required to pay the publisher an upfront fee, and then not enough books were sold to earn back the upfront fee.
I'm confident that you're aware of the scams we writers are warned against regarding publishing companies. You've probably read warnings to writers that say don't give publishers any money; the publisher pays the writer, not the other way around; and if a publishing company requires you (the writer) to pay the publisher, run the other way. However, my understanding from reading your website is that your company does require an upfront fee from the writer. I'm thinking many writers here have heard the warnings I've mentioned, and it would be useful for you to explain about your upfront fee. Why is that a good thing, even though we've been warned it's a bad thing?
I would look for a publishing company with a good reputation and with good sales. Could you provide some information about those things, please? Also, I saw at your website that you are an "international publishing house." When telling us about the number of books you have sold, could you please include information about international sales?
I'm also wondering if you could say more about this, which I saw at your website: "With many other publishers authors can expect to wait several months to a year before they ever see there [sic] book, but at Firebaptized Publishing we want you to have your book in your hand as soon as possible and guarantee your book will be completed in just three months or less." Should we take that to mean that with your company the author would not get the level of editing she might expect from a traditional publisher?
The statement at your website that I'd probably most want clarification on is this: "We guarentee [sic] that if your book is chosen for publication it will be read by a great multitude of eager readers." Has that wording been changed since last week when I looked at your website? I think it said "thousands" last week instead of "a multitude." Are you making a guarantee about how many books will be sold? "Multitude" can be seen as a vague and relative term--like we guarantee all four people in our four-person company will read your book. See what I mean? This is another place where some real numbers could also be useful.
For all I know, your company might have great sales and treat its authors wonderfully. Given the warnings writers see about publishing scams, it would be good for you to give more information so our members here can be confident that you're not running one. And I keep thinking about that upfront fee. If you're confident the books you publish will sell well and make you and the author money, why do you need the upfront fee? Can you see where I'm coming from?
I have some reservations as well. A publishing company that is able to place a book before 'thousands and thousands' of readers is big enough and successful enough not to need a fee of any kind from its authors. I personally will not pay a cent to a lit agent or a publisher. They can collect from sales of my book.
Also, anyone in the publishing game knows a publisher cannot guarantee to "take those books and give them everything they need to be a success". There is no magic formula that guarantees a book will succeed, i.e. be bought by a lot of readers. Typically over half a publishing house's books bomb financially. It is the other less-than-half that succeed enough to carry the publisher. All they can do is put books out there and cross their fingers.
I suspect that Firebaptized produces ebooks and POD hard copies, i.e. a hard copy is printed only if someone orders it. A list of books available for POD is offered to various outlets but not the printed books themselves. This limits the considerable cost and risk of a regular printing run but does not actually place the book in potential buyers' hands.
But I stand to be corrected.
(From your website: What is Co-publishing) "The way the author contributes is with a small upfront fee and the way the publisher contributes is with marketing, distribution, and all the other aspects that go into creating a great book."
No need to read any further. You might want to call this co-publishing, but calling it anything other than what it really is (vanity publishing) is just misleading.
Hi there my name is Matthew Mitchell and I'm the publisher for Firebaptized Publishing and I'd be glad to address these things for you. Yes I am aware of the scams writers are faced with since I am a writer myself. By me being a writer first I know the struggles that we face and I didn't start my publishing house so that I can put other authors through scams and disappointments . There are some people who tell other authors to run the author way if a publisher is asking for money but the thing is publishing is changing, and changing for the better. Traditional publishing has many flaws and many things have to be sacrificed by the author. The traditional publishing company gets majority of the money and you no longer own your book. That doesn't seem very appealing to me. And not to mention the fact that these days traditional publishers are not looking for average joe's but they want influencers and well known people in the church so that they are a hundred times more likely to get their money back double. Our publishing model takes away the risk so more authors can have their books published and not be turned away because we're afraid to take a chance on an unknown author. The money that we receive from the author is used to make sure your book receives what it needs and you have our expertise and knowledge to guide you through the publishing process. Co-publishing is simply a way for authors and publishers to meet on middle ground, everything that authors want such as marketing, distribution, and things such as that are included and everything that they don't want such as no longer owning their book and barely receiving a dollar if a copy of their book is sold is taken away. But in order for authors to have their cake and eat it too there is a small price involved, and many authors have no problem with it at all because they get to have publishing done their way.
I'd also like to address the statement that you need more clarification on which is "We guarantee that if your book is chosen for publication it will be read by a great multitude of eager readers." While this statement may sound too good to be true it is not. We use the same marketing strategies that Big Five Publishers use so our marketing effort results look very similar to theirs. We use the word multitude because it lets the author know that their book will be read by a lot of people without under promising or over promising. Generally the numbers will be in the thousands.
I have worked very hard to be able to guarantee fellow authors things like this and it makes me happy to know that I can back it up with results and I would love to prove it to you with your book if you have written one. I really appreciate your caution and for asking these questions. If you are looking for a publisher I assure you that we will do right by you.
Justin you can not speak on behalf of all publishing models. Everything that happens in traditional publishing does not happen in co-publishing. And your statement "Typically over half a publishing house's books bomb financially" is exactly why they are starting to publish fewer and fewer books by unknown authors. Do you seriously think that they see that their is a flaw in their business model and just are not doing anything about it? No that is not the case. They have stopped "putting books out there and crossing there fingers" and started only publishing books that they are guaranteed to make their money back with, and the ones who have not are failing and dying.
Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.
If a writer wants to pursue a traditional writing contract, there should be absolutely no money flowing from the writer to the publisher (or agent). Period.
If you're serious about trying to "save" writers from publishing scams, then you shouldn't do this by adopting the same fee strategies as the scammers. At the very least you need to be upfront on your website about the fee that you're charging.
I have some experience of how traditional publishing houses work and the fact is that they have always preferred established authors, i.e. authors with a committed readership who are guaranteed to buy their next book. This is nothing new.
What is new is that the proliferation of tablets and smartphones have put ebooks smack in the middle of publishing. Amazon's sale of ebooks has now surpassed that of hard copies and in a few years ebooks are expected to corner over 80% of the publishing market. This is both good and bad: good in that an author can create and offer for sale an ebook without having to pay anyone a cent; bad in that every man and his dog is doing it, and the number of titles on Amazon, Smashwords and similar sites now number in the hundreds of thousands.
Which means that publishers are likely to resemble literary agents and become sifters, offering to the public the books they think worth reading. Problem is there are no reliable rules for determining what Joe Public wants to read. Most classics were initially rejected by dozens of publishing houses. But somebody has to reduce the offerings to a manageable quantity and publishers are best placed to do that.
Bottom line though is that a successful publisher never needs to take money from an author. He gets it from the sold books. Royalties on hard copies are around 10%, for ebooks it's around 40% I think, and most authors are happy with that because there is simply no other way for them to get their books known. The publisher pockets the rest but doesn't get rich on it.
The plus about a publisher is that he already has a readership who are prepared to read the books he offers, either because he specializes in the subjects that interest them, or because he is established and well known, and readers trust him to give them the good stuff (which doesn't guarantee of course that a particular book will be to their liking).
A publisher who promises an author that his book will be a success and offers him greater financial returns immediately raises a question mark for me. Publishing is financially a very tight game. The biggest publishing names can neither give you 60% royalties nor guarantee that they will make your book a success, and hope to stay afloat. For a new outfit to promise that makes me wonder: how is he doing it? POD? How much is the 'small fee'?
Once again I say that Co-publishing is an entirely different model and you can not say that a successful publisher never needs to take money from an author when that is how our business model works. We are a successful publisher and we give our authors what they want.
That is correct, if a writer wants to pursue a traditional writing contract, there should be absolutely no money flowing from the writer to the publisher (or agent). Period. But we are not a traditional publisher, and we clearly state that on our website. So we are in no way scamming writers. When you hire a professional service to do something for you are they scammers because they require payment? No.
Just one question: do you do POD?
Hi Marshalee, Yes we can definitely help you with these things and would be glad to. Please go to our website and send your manuscript and we will be in contact with you shortly.
fwiw, from John Scalzi a couple of years ago:
"Yog’s Law: Money flows toward the writer.
Self-Pub Corollary to Yog’s Law: While in the process of self-publishing, money and rights are controlled by the writer.
Which is to say that when the self-published writer pays for editorial services, she’s at the head of the process; she’s employing the editor or copy editor or cover artist or whomever, and she’s calling the shots. If she’s smart she’s listening to them and allowing them to the job she’s paid them for, but at the end of the day the buck stops — literally — with her. This differs from the various scammy publishers, who would take the money and the author’s work, and then would effectively disappear down a dark hole, with the writer entirely out of the loop on what was going on (what as going on: generally, almost nothing).
This corollary, I think, is useful for self-publishers because there are still lots of ways for self-publishers to use their money foolishly, primarily by losing control of how it get spent and by whom. If at any step the self-published author asks, who controls this money I am about to spend? and the answer is not “me,” that’s a flag on the field. Likewise, if control of the work is somehow compromised by the process, that’s another flag.
And of course outside the self-publishing process, i.e., when the work is out there in the world, Yog’s Law continues to apply. It continues to apply however the work is published, actually.
So, Yog’s Law: Still not just a law, but a good idea. The self-publishing corollary to Yog’s Law: Also, I think, a good idea."
In the interest of open discussion and more information, here's one author's comment on co-publishing:
And another article on co-publishing:
Co-Publishing: What’s The Catch?
A co-publisher will ask you to pay something up-front. This is expected but the fees should not exceed the price of marked-up offshore production services. Also, be wary of co-publishers who ask you to commit to printing a “short run” of several thousand books unless you’re being guaranteed physical bookstore distribution. Knowing what it costs to edit and design a book and get it to market is the only accurate measuring stick against which you can evaluate a co-publisher’s contribution. Ideally, you’ll pay a discounted rate for quality production and benefit from the publisher’s knowledge of the publishing process.
Co-Publishing: Know What You Don’t Know
Self-publishing is not as easy as it’s often made out to be; editing, design, production, distribution, and marketing all require skills that diverge from most writers’ core competencies. Services that offer to “make all those problems go away” offer enticing bait for new writers, but new writers are targeted by charlatans precisely because their lack of experience makes them vulnerable. Before you sign a “publishing” contract with anyone, read up on how publishing works, ask questions in discussion forums, and check out what Predators and Editors has to say. Writing is an art but publishing is a business; learn the ropes or you’ll hang from them. Paying someone to manage the publishing pipeline for you may be a wise investment but only if you know what you’re getting, who you’re getting it from and what it’s worth. Learn the business or you’ll wind up investing in your own ignorance—a classic formula for failure.
Co-publishing—the notion that an author and a publisher can share both risk and return—is an intriguing concept and a potential blessing for writers who want to hand off marketing and distribution challenges to professionals who are better qualified than themselves. It takes years of insight to write a great book and only a moment of oversight to fumble one. The ideal path lies somewhere between “hire a professional if you want professional results” and “if you want a job done right, do it yourself.” Sound advice to writers remains the same: do your homework.
Thank you Phy for sharing this unbiased article. It shows that authors shouldn't fear co-publishing. As long as you know what you're getting into and you choose the right company that has what you're looking for co-publishing could be right for you. We don't ask authors to purchase thousands of books knowing that they will have a hard time selling them. In fact we may be one of the cheapest co-publishers in the business. We only require an upfront payment of $333, and even when authors come to us who aren't in the best financial situation we find a way to work with them and get their book published because we love making dreams come true.