Publish and be dumbed?

Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Montague, Mar 13, 2008.

  1.  
    Montague

    Montague New Member

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    Hi

    I recently had an 'offer' from a publisher, agreeing to publish my novel (all editing etc with it), provided I pay a fee. I know that author contribution is becoming a norm, if only to show belief in one's own work. I agreed to see a contract and was stunned to see the fee as £2,700.00. I said 'no'; can't afford it and, while some like this route, I'm not a fan of what I believe is in reality self-publishing. The publisher, I have to say, disagreed that this was the case.

    I've now been asked to send my novel in to another publisher. They're not very big and having looked at their books on Amazon, do not appear to be selling many books or indeed pushing them. I'm also concerned that I will be faced with another large fee.

    I've also come around to the idea of a Literary Agent; I've approached one and am awaiting a response.


    So, I've got myself in a bit of a mess. Do I pursue the publisher, whether good or not, or wait on the Literary Agent? I'm interested in any thoughts or similar experiences. Feel free to harangue me for dithering.
  2.  
    iansales

    iansales Active Member

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    Yog's Law - money flows towards the author. "Author contribution" is not becoming the norm at all. Any publisher or agent who asks for a fee - avoid.
  3.  
    Montague

    Montague New Member

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    Yeah, which I adhere to as a philosophy, but given the costs of printing, a contribution is not unreasonable: a colleague of mine who's in publishing estimated a decent contribution to be around £300.00 to £500.00. It does show the author is willing to back their work up and covers some of the publisher's costs, though the publisher still has to invest themselves.

    I'm neither pro, nor anti.
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    Urien

    Urien New Member

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    Publish or be duped. Mostly a year or more of one's life writing a book gives some idea of committment. Any publishing cost is effectively controlled by the advance they give or the backing thereafter. In other words they can reduce the advance/backing if they need to, to cover any theoretical author contribution.
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    The Ace

    The Ace Aye fur Alba

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    If they're charging, either the publisher isn't good enough or the book isn't good enough. That's why most writers have enough rejection slips to paper the living-room.
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    Montague

    Montague New Member

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    I thought of 'publish and be doped', but couldn't come up with a decent meaning...

    So, what seems to be the thread so far is if the writer is good enough, he'll be picked up and receive remuneration. According to other threads, if he's good, but unrecognised then he can self publish and may achieve reimbursement. However, a halfway house in the form of a contribution shows the publisher is up to something or the writer is a dud. Is it really that clear cut?
  7.  
    Urien

    Urien New Member

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    I think at 2,700 pounds then they're up to something.

    I can't see the point in asking an author for 300 to 500 pounds, that amount of money is controlled by how much they pay you or back the book.

    I have a suspicion that the clean ends of the market are self-publishing or the publisher paying the lot.

    John Jarrold (a regular contributor here) and Teresa Edgerton will know for sure.
  8.  
    Montague

    Montague New Member

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    At the time, I was a little more direct about £2,700! But, I don't know about a small contribution, especially if it's a small publisher. In this case, however, it was quite a well known publisher, so I was very surprised!

    However, in the ramble I started with, I wondered whether it was wiser to hold out for an agent or to go with a publisher that may be quite unknown. :confused:
  9.  
    Ursa major

    Ursa major Bearly Believable Staff Member

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    The job of a reputable publisher is to make money from the books they publish, not from the authors of those books.

    If a book can't cover its costs, why should anyone publish it? The "small contribution" is neither here nor there. There are no exceptions to Yog's law. (The amount of money flowing, however, is another matter.)
  10.  
    Montague

    Montague New Member

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    Unfortunately, I'm being tempted away by the discussion of Yog's law!

    Yes, the publisher should make money from the books, but given the risk, should a publisher seek to share the costs, at least to some degree? Can publishers afford to take all the risk? The big ones maybe, but what about smaller publishers?

    I'm just an aspiring author, and in a moment of bitter self-pity, have to confess I'm having damn all luck at it after a number of years. However, I also believe that, in the main, publishers are trying to make a decent business of things.
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2008
  11.  
    Ursa major

    Ursa major Bearly Believable Staff Member

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    The risk is that the book the publisher takes on won't sell enough copies to cover their costs. The "small contribution" is neither here nor there if there is no prospect of sales; if there is a decent prospect, what's the money for? (It doesn't sound to me as if it's a reverse advance, i.e. a loan.)
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    Montague

    Montague New Member

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    Precisely, so is it not reasonable for a publisher to ask the author to cover some of the risks? I'm suggesting some, not a whacking great big amount.
  13.  
    Ursa major

    Ursa major Bearly Believable Staff Member

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    If a publisher needs a loan to cover their operating expenses, there are banks.
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    Figures

    Figures New Member

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    If your aim is just to have a book with your name on that you can show to friends (and if that's what you want, then there's no shame in it)... go and spend money. But go to somewhere like Lulu.com or some PoD company and self-publish. At least you know there that the money you pay is being spent on production costs, and you'll pay per book.

    But, if you want to be published because you feel your work is good enough to warrant it, then don't spend any more money than your costs for photocopying and mailing out your manuscript. Otherwise, it's a hollow meaningless victory.

    I think we all would like our ego stroked and to be told we're great writers, but you know... I'd rather be told the truth and suffer the bitter disappointment that my writing isn't just good enough than pay someone under the pretense of sharing the costs.
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    iansales

    iansales Active Member

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    What was the name of this well known publisher?
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    Figures

    Figures New Member

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    I tried to post this before but I think the browser ate it

    If you want to be published so you can have a physical book in your hands just for you to show to friends and family, then by all means go and spend money. But go to a PoD printer such as Lulu and just order the number of copies you need

    However, if you want to be published because you've written something you feel worthy of publication, then don't spend any more money than that which you spend on photocopying your manuscript and posting it out. To be good enough, publishers must feel they will make a return on it, and if they feel that then it's not unreasonable to expect them to front the production costs (after all you've done the hard work of actually writing the thing). Anything else is a hollow meaningless victory. Yes small publishers are strapped for cash, but if they need contributions from you, then I'd seriously worry about whether they'd still be around by the time your book is due to be published.

    We all want our egos to be stroked, to be told that we are great writers and worthy of publication. But in order to get that sweet taste of success, you need the bitter pill of defeat. There's nothing wrong with paying to produce your book if that is what you want but be honest with yourself on what you are paying for, and more importantly choose a company that is honest with you in return. Afterall, it's your money and your story.
  17.  
    Havlen

    Havlen Unregistered User

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    Any publisher who asks for money from an author is a vanity press, self-publishing press, and/or a scam.

    Real authors pay the author, not the other way around.

    The "risk" a publisher takes is limited by only taking on books they think will sell.
  18.  
    Tirellan

    Tirellan Member

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    Does this publisher make their money out of selling books, or out of author contributions?
    I have strong suspicions.
    Have you ever seen any of their books for sale anywhere other than their website?
  19.  
    Montague

    Montague New Member

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    Hi

    Thanks for all your thoughts. I would still question whether a publisher's risk is limited to the books they think will sell, but I guess what we're saying is that if they're demanding cash, the book is not going to stand on its own.

    Cheers guys:)
  20.  
    Montague

    Montague New Member

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    Hi Tirellan

    I'd rather avoid a 'kiss and tell', but they're one of the larger 'small' publishers and they have quite a number of books on the open market.

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