Friday, 25 November 2011

Writers' Forum UK Jan 2012 Edition - Mick Rooney

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Writers' Forum is the UK's leading writers' print magazine. As some of you may know, I was delighted to take over as the magazine's self-publishing contributor and my first column is included in the January 2012 edition which went on sale worldwide today. Over the coming months I will include reviews of self-publishing services, news, interviews and readers' feedback. 

Each month Writers' Forum helps thousands of new and aspiring writers to achieve their dreams. It's packed with up-to-date market information, advice from experts in the publishing industry and inspiring stories and tips from fellow authors and writers.
We also feature interactive reader workshops in fiction, poetry, children's books and self-publishing, so you can see at first hand how to improve and successfully target your own writing.

Our monthly writing contests for fiction and poems are world-famous, awarding cash and prizes each issue, plus publication in the magazine.

Grab your copy

Writers' Forum is available at WH Smith and your local newsagent – just ask. For subscriptions please visit our publisher's secure website, where you can also order back issues. For a free sample, call 01202 586848 or write to the address below.

Now available as an App!
Download Writers' Forum to your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad. The App, including your first issue, is £1.79 and subsequent issues are just £2.99.

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Monday, 21 November 2011

Book Country - For or Against Self-Publishing?

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There is an interesting article on about Penguin's entry into self-publishing services with Book Country, launched fully last week.

Many popular self-published authors are coming down hard on the self-publishing services that Penguin added to community writing site Book Country earlier this week, calling the initiative overpriced, royalty-grabbing and “truly awful.”

The primary criticisms are that Book Country’s services, which range from $99 to $549, are much too expensive—“vanity press, pure and simple,” writes one commenter at The Passive Voice—and that Penguin takes a cut of 30 percent cut of royalties authors earn from third-party retailers like Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN). In other words, an author who directly uploads his or her work to Amazon receives a 70 percent royalty. An author who uses Book Country to upload his or her work to Amazon receives 70 percent of that 70 percent. An author who publishes a $2.99 e-book directly on Amazon will receive $2.05 for each sale. An author who publishes an e-book to Amazon through Book Country will receive just $1.47 for each sale.

I've a mixed opinion on this. I don't remember seeing the same vociferous opinion expressed from authors when AuthorSolutions Inc. partnered with Thomas Nelson, Hay Publishing and Harlequin. Much of the criticism came from author bodies and predominately voices within the established publishing industry. It's interesting that this time around high profile self-published authors like Konrath and Gaughran are heading the steam to highlight the second rate deal authors are getting from Book Country.

Gaughran said he “can’t imagine” why anyone who has already self-published would use Book Country, but “I am afraid that less experienced writers will go for it because it is backed by Penguin. That dream of a Big 6 publishing deal is widespread, and hard to shake.”

Okay, so David thinks Book Country is a rip-off, buy why now? Self--Publishing and rip-off existed long before 2008. I don't disagree with anything Konrath or Gaughran say in their reaction to Book Country,or any self-publishing service that takes a profit from what those companies provide. It's a law of business. Sure, if I employ a middleman service, I have to accept that my profit is not going to be the same if I went to source (Amazon and B&N in this case). I'm just not sure Konrath and Gaughran are taking on board the reality that most authors want to write and not engage in the process of book production and distribution. We can shout from the rooftops that it is easier than it looks, and DIY and true self-publishing is the way to go, but most of the authors I deal with, day to day, want a middleman. I can't help that no more than Konrath or Gaughran can.

But there is something deeper here going on that we should not ignore. For so long the self-publishing community has fought for acceptance and recognition within the publishing industry. Just when we have eroded some of the stigmas, and proven that some self-published authors and their books can compete at the forefront of publishing, it would be a shame to start to show a divided front in self-publishing. I understand Joe Konrath's ire because he came from a foundation within traditional publishing, did an about turn, and embraced the changes and benefits for the author as an individual business concern by self-publishing. So, I can understand him having a pop at one of the big six when they 'cream' it off the little guy. I'm just offput by Joe's 'Harry Enfield's Loads a Money' approach to highlighting his success, and that that should be the underlying perception of self-publishing to new authors entering the precarious field of self-publishing. Because the reality of self-publishing is far from the world of Konrath.

One of the greatest strengths of self-publishing over the past few years has been its adaptability, using online communities to celebrate, disseminate and promote books, as well as passing experience on, author to author. Crucially, it's no substitute for connecting with readers, unless all your readers are authors themselves! Readers congregate on forums like Amazon and Goodreads - hybrids of publishing/sales platforms. The biggest challenge for the self-publishing community is to stretch beyond selling books to its own community, and its important we are as critical of ourselves as we are so openly to criticize the broader publishing industry.

Divided we fall - united we conquer. 

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Thursday, 17 November 2011

Penguin Enters the Self-Publishing Service Arena with Book Country

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Book Country Launches Self-Publishing Services PW:

"Book Country, a free online writing community and publishing services venture launched by Penguin in April, has now added a suite of economically priced, easy-to-use self-publishing tools for its members. The launch of the fee-based self-publishing service makes Penguin the first big New York trade house to aggressively enter the self-publishing market with an online community aimed at developing aspiring genre fiction writers tied to the ability to self-publish their works.
Penguin CEO David Shanks said, “With its focus on nurturing and supporting new voices, Book Country is the perfect vehicle for introducing a new kind of self-publishing that offers a more professional product and provides guidance that isn’t currently available from other players.” Since its launch in April, Book Country has attracted 4,000 members who have posted about 500 book manuscripts on the site and generated thousands of critiques and reviews from the site’s community."

Some very lively comments today on this piece from PW on Penguin's new venture, Book Country, which has just launched a self-publishing service. Below are my own comments on the discussion:

Some excellent points, Inanna. The problem with the term self-publishing is that it is now so whored and overused - it has transcended what it should mean, but no more than the equal pointless, *traditional publishing* , a term actually coined by one of the most twisted and deceptive vanity houses in the business - PublishAmerica! I'd sooner focus on the quality of publishing, than the misuse of publishing terms.
I don't think author guilds and associations are up in arms with *self-publishing* simply because it's not on the radar for many members of those groups. Most of those groups' members are established authors and semi-professional writers. They are not *self-published* and will never choose that path. Standards in publishing - in general - will only improve and see a balance debate as well as a charter of quality and accountability when author groups have larger memberships of authors who have chosen a route outside of *traditional publishing*. As many bar such authors - this is always going to be a them and us argument.Right now, the changes in the publishing world call for a concerted effort to progression and change on how publishing will be, not conservation and preservation on what has been.
I'm not happy about a lot of what is published in the name of *self-publishing*, but I'm also not blind to the fact that self-publishing as a viable path for some authors and reputable services have vastly highlighted great deficiencies with the greater publishing world.
["The writer as revenue source is where the publishing industry is headed, and it's halfway there now."]
This utterly baffled me! Hasn't the book publishing industry used the 'writer as revenue source' as its profit cornerstone since Guttenberg? The entire publishing industry survives by the core work generated by the author? I don't know of any other industry where the producer takes 85%+ of the retail profit derived directly from what the creator/author generated. Certainly ebook and digital publishing in general is starting to seriously challenge that. The only difference I see is that publishers now cream the profit at the back end (after publication), rather than the front end model operated by publishing services.
Publishing is a business, and as a business man, I'd rather know my outlay and investment in time and expertise upfront, rather than discovering that my 'advance' on royalties is the only profit I will ever see on my endeavors after a year or so.
[ Readers won't read self-published books and reviewers won't look at them--unless they're paid to, which is a growing trend from PW's new "PW Select" on down.]
I'm not sure who is being referred to as readers here - true readers or reviewers - but either way, most ordinary readers don't know what a self-published book is in the first place! Ordinary readers buy what intrigues, interests or inspires them. The only key here for author and publisher is to do the best to get that book in front of the reader by distribution and marketing. Both are the key areas that most self-published work falls flat on the face because of a lack of distribution reach, promotion and professionalism. As regards professional reviewers, most read and consider less then 5% of what is submitted, let alone respond with a published review, whatever means it has been published.
I think it is important here to realise that Penguin's new venture is less about being a pro-active move to embrace authors willing to pay for publishing services, but rather more about being a reactive move to where they find themselves within the publishing industry. Sure, we can make Penguin's move all about *self-publishing*, but if you are an author with a publishing contract, I'd be more concerned about what is going on in the publishing world than pointing the finger at *self-publishing* as a convenient scapegoat.
Publishing is a business.
True self-publishers get it, and that is why some authors do it properly and are prepared to invest so much in their books.
But, ultimately, business is business...

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Thursday, 10 November 2011

Tate Publishing US - Reviewed (Updated Nov 2011)

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When I go to a publisher’s site I like to see books and publicity for those books, but with Tate Publishing, I wonder how much can be attributed to the publisher or the author's own efforts and the professionals the author chooses to employ under their own steam. I see some of this publicity when I go to the main website page of Tate Publishing. I get a single pane for a ‘featured book’ and video clips of author events and media exposure. I also get this:

Have you written a book? Are you looking for a publisher? Have you searched out and submitted your manuscript to dozens of publishing companies only to be turned away, time and time again? If you've answered yes to any of these questions, Tate Publishing could be your answer.
Tate Publishing & Enterprises, LLC, is a Christian-based, family-owned, mainline publishing organization with a mission to discover and market unknown authors."

(A revision of the Tate site in late 2011 has included far more video clip information and appearances for their authors in the USA.)

Yes! I’ve written a book. Yes! I’m looking for a publisher. Yes, I’ve submitted to dozens and dozens of publishers and been turned away. Yahoo! I’ve obviously found my publisher by right of frustration and rejection.

“We do not require any money from any of our authors for any aspect of production. We are not a self-publisher in our approach, operation, or philosophy in any way. We receive tens of thousands of submissions and author inquiries each year, but we choose to accept only a small percentage of the authors who submit manuscripts to us. We will look at your work and respond within weeks with our observations.
Join the Tate Publishing family today and make your dream a reality!”
[my colouring]

I’m always wary of publishers and author solutions services that engage in the ‘make your dream a reality’, but on balance, Tate has just about got the balance right on the main website page without engaging in gushing recommendations and citing a plethora of authors who historically paid or made financial contributions to be published.

So what is Tate Publishing?

Based in Oklahoma, Tate Publishing was founded ten years ago by Richard and Rita Tate in response to their own experience of publishing a book with a ‘mainline royalty publishing company.’ They decided to set up Tate Publishing in an effort to ‘redefine’ what a publisher should be. For them, that meant a publisher should allow their authors to retain all rights to their books and earn a fair share of royalties. Fundamentally, like Xulon Press, Tate Publishing is a Christian-based company. However, unlike Xulon Press, it is a family-owned business with Ryan Tate as its CEO.

What impressed me most in the first instance about Tate is the disclosure of a full staff roster, from top to bottom, by department. All of them are identified by name, role and with contact email. This is not a small publishing organisation by any means, boasting 150+ staff from departments like editing, design, PR and marketing, distribution, print and shipping. Tate’s real strength is that the company has developed a strongly motivated team who are all passionate about what they do. This can be difficult to achieve in a company of Tate’s size, and as a mark of their work and mission philosophy, the company was ranked the no. 2 ‘Best Place to Work in Oklahoma, 2008’. The executive staff of Tate also avidly engage in networking and the blogging community to engage with authors and wider writing and reading communities.

Tate publishing say that their mission is to discover unknown authors, and help them realise their potential in combination with Tate’s ‘unique approach to publishing’ by providing them with high quality books and an inclusive benefits package. I’ve looked at a lot of publishers in my time—big and small—and very few of them describe their approach to book publishing as ‘unique’, and even fewer have actually proved to be unique. For the most part, being good or successful is not about what you do, but how you go about doing it.

“At Tate Publishing & Enterprises, we believe your work is just that—your work. We believe that you should make the most money from your project. You will retain all rights to your manuscript, PLUS retain the highest royalties in the business from your sales. That's the way it should be! And that's the way we do business.”

I have no doubt in my mind that Tate Publishing and their staff are passionate about the books they publish and the authors they work with. I’ve two irks at this point. One, I mentioned above, about the lack of books on the main page of their website, and two—more importantly—it takes a little time for a prospective author to work through to the deduction that Tate Publishing operate a ‘unique’ approach to publishing—that is—one of partnership publishing. Tate’s philosophy is that modern publishing is about sharing the risk between author and publisher. I also wonder how many prospective authors submit to Tate regularly under the assumption that they will not have to stump up any financial contribution to their book's publication. Tate really need to have this information at the front end of the website before an author  decides to make a submission. The diehard anti-self-publishing/vanity publishing protagonists will argue the publisher should take 100% of the risk when taking on an author’s book. Co-founder of Tate Publishing and now Author & Acquisitions Manager, Richard Tate, takes a different view of modern publishing and Yog’s Law. Recently on his blog, he wrote:

“A few years ago an individual created out of thin air a concept he called "Yog's Law." I have no idea who "Yog" is or what planet he may be from but just like Superman there is "kryptonite" in this concept and that "kryptonite" is the facts. His over-simplistic “Money always flows to the writer” is his central argument. The problem with that concept is that he makes it sound like a movie script. Write a book, ask mom how good she thinks it is, send it to a publisher, they take it and make you a millionaire while you sit at home and watch TV. Of course writers should make money for their work, but the premise that they will never have to spend money if they publish, promote or market their books is incredibly na├»ve.”

I will qualify the above by stating that the ‘individual’ cited above was US author and critic, James D. MacDonald, who coined the term Yog’s Law, and it was quite a bit longer than ‘a few years ago’. The Tate model of business for book publishing is based on a contribution from their authors of $3985, with Tate contributing $15700 to $19700. The author’s contribution is only redeemable if the author’s book sells more than 5000 copies. That is a pretty steep number for any new author and it is hard to see any more than a fraction of Tate’s authors achieving a figure like that. In addition, Tate will also waive any fee on a subsequent book. For most authors signing with Tate the contribution fee is applicable, but in some circumstances, where an author has a proven sales record and/or a strong publicity machine already in place, the contribution may also be waived. Tate say that the author’s contribution goes toward the marketing and promotion of the book and not its production and distribution.

The Tate publishing deal includes:

Custom cover and interior design
Full Professional editing (includes conceptual and technical editing)
ISBN and Copyright Registration (ISBN is assigned to Tate)
Nationwide Distribution (Ingram, Spring Arbor and other small distributors)
Returns accepted by publisher and physical books stocked with Distributors
Online sales listing and availability
Professional Publicist & Marketing Representative (Author’s fee contribution)
Print edition of Book plus a choice of audio book, book trailer, website or networking site set-up
40% royalties on direct sales and 15% royalties on distribution sales
60% - 80% author book discount (dependent on qty ordered)
10 author copies
Inclusion in Tate Catalogue for booksellers
Book listed in Tate online Bookstore
Ebook set-up and online distribution through Amazon
Book Trailer ($299 separately)
Website Design & Hosting ($399 separately)
Audio Book ($999 separately)
Option for TV Advert (on acceptance of book)

Tate Publishing’s book retail prices are pretty competitive, on average $14 to $16 for 200 pages plus. I’d expect them to be competitive because Tate operates an in-house print facility and only outsource printers if the print run is above 5000 units. I always think this is a very strong point in favour of a publisher. The print books and design quality is high and Tate pretty much has everything in place you would expect from any publisher. I did feel that their website and in particular the online bookstore could be visually improved. Both lack a degree of styling and panache and just don’t do justice to the strengths of Tate Publishing.

Overall, submitting a book to Tate Publishing does not guarantee publication. Tate claim to publish a single figure percentage of the 10,000 submissions sent to them per year. After ten years of book publishing, and with 6000+ titles, the figures do stack up and suggest Tate is very much committed to selling books to readers with a professional infrastructure in place.

Partnering with a publisher is not for the faint-hearted, but then, neither is self-publishing. While the contribution fee of $3950 may seem high, authors must reflect that they are getting a book designed by professionals and marketed by professionals, and that does not come cheap. Just like the acquisition editors at Tate, submitting authors must weigh up the risk of their investment and whether their book is strong enough commercially to balance out that risk.

The earlier provisional ranking given to Tate was based on my review at the time. Since Tate's website revisions, I find a lot less transparency regarding the 'publicity fee', and though recently Tate has had great success, I'm now less convinced about Tate. In short, Tate want it both ways - to be considered a 'traditional mainline publisher', and also expectant that authors they sign should have a professional publicist. In the big bold world of publishing - that's what a 'mainline' publisher is meant to provide for an author. For me, you are either a 'traditional' publisher, or a publisher seeking financial assistance from an author. In a nutshell, if an author signs to Tate with a professional publicist, then that author is already paying their publicist a fee or royalty cut, and thereby removing a significant financial onus and responsibility from Tate.

For me - Tate is an example of 'You can't have your cake and eat it too.'

RATING: 6.8/10
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Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Dublin IMPAC Literary Award 2012 Long List Announced

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The Dublin IMPAC Literary Award long List was announced earlier today.

From the website of the award...

Three Irish novels are among 147 titles that have been nominated by libraries worldwide for the €100,000 International IMPAC DUBLIN Literary Award, the world’s most valuable annual literary prize for a single work of fiction published in English. The 2012 Award was launched today, by the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Cllr. Andrew Montague, Patron of the Award, at a ceremony in The Dublin City Library & Archive. The Irish titles are:

Room by Emma Donoghue, nominated by libraries in Ireland, England, France, Maldives, Australia, New Zealand, the USA and Canada.
Faithful Place by Tana French, nominated by Lincoln City Library, USA.
Skippy Dies by Paul Murray, nominated by libraries in Ireland and the USA

Other novels nominated for the 2012 Award include A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan, winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, The Memory of Love by Animatta Forna, winner of the 2011 Commonwealth Writer’s Prize and Cool Water by Dianne Warren, winner of the Governor General’s Award for Fiction 2010.

The 147 eligible nominations come from 122 cities and 45 countries worldwide. 34 are titles in translation, spanning 18 languages and 31 are first novels. Among the 34 translated authors are; Isabel Allende, David Grossman, Daniel Kehlmann, Per Petterson and Bernhard Schlink.

Emma Donoghue’s Room received the greatest number of nominations from libraries worldwide for the 2012 award and with 20 nominations; Room is one of the most nominated titles, in the seventeen years since the Award began in 1996.

Expressing her delight that three Irish authors were selected by 23 libraries worldwide, Margaret Hayes, Dublin City Librarian, said that the Award is presented annually with the objective of promoting excellence in world literature. “The success of the three Irish authors in being nominated by so many libraries reinforces Dublin’s UNESCO City of Literature status and Emma Donoghue’s success in achieving 20 nominations from libraries worldwide, demonstrates once again, the international appeal of Irish writing.”

Lord Mayor, Andrew Montague urged Dubliners to borrow nominated novels from their local Dublin public library. “You will find books and authors, particularly those novels in translation that you might otherwise never come across and you can pick your own favourites, before I announce the winner on 13th June next year”, he said.

The 2012 Judging Panel comprises Irish author, Mike McCormack; Elizabeth Nunez, writer and academic from Trinidad & Tobago, based at Hunter College, New York; Tim Parks, British writer, translator and academic; Evelyn Schlag, Austrian poet and writer and Dubravka Ugresic, freelance writer based in Amsterdam. The Non-voting Chairperson is Eugene R. Sullivan.

The shortlist will be made public on 12th April 2012 and the Lord Mayor will announce the winner on 13th June.
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Monday, 7 November 2011

Pegasus Elliot MacKenzie - Reviewed

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Pegasus Elliot MacKenzie is a UK-based publisher with a registered company address in Castle Park, Cambridge. I’ll leave it to Pegasus to describe their publishing business:

“Over the last decade, the publishing house of Pegasus Elliot MacKenzie Ltd has flowered, growing strongly from its well-established roots in the cobbled streets of Cambridge. The well-loved and historic City itself has seen many changes and absorbed innovative ideas making it even more famous than ever. Similarly, our authors have enjoyed launches of their published books not only in some of the outstanding buildings within the City but in locations world-wide.
Please feel free to browse our site and note that you can buy any of our titles securely online. Just click on a cover, search, or browse using the category list at the bottom of the page.
If you are an author and would like to submit an [sic] manuscript to be considered for publication please read our submission guidelines.”

It’s never a good start to include a grammatical error on a company’s landing website page, and I found several others as well, but on the whole, Pegasus would invigorate an author with quite a degree of hope. Everything is there that you want to see on a publisher’s website; plenty of books, author success stories, and what seems like a very open policy for new and unpublished authors. In fact, to the casual eye, all seems in place, and Pegasus is a real runner for the aspiring author.

First, I have a few cursory observations. I don’t like a company where cash seems to evaporate like dust every couple of years. I don’t like a publishing company operating various publishing options for an author, where one of those options means an author has to pay several thousand pounds to see their book published/printed. Nowhere on the Pegasus website is this option possibility indicated. In fact, continually, the perception wrongly presented is that Pegasus is a standard mainstream publisher with sympathy for new and unpublished authors.

Pegasus, whilst accommodating for the effects of the trend by publishers only to look for celebrities, produces and encourages particularly the work of first-time authors, and supports them in proving their abilities.

“The Company numbers amongst its authors those with diverse and excitingly new talents, and these are encouraged alongside their literary prowess. Their various abilities embrace a wealth of expertise from eg drawing and illustrating their own books, painting and literary research, to becoming experts in 'Sudoku', memorable singers, songwriters and musicians.

They often contribute fascinating details with their diverse talents and use material and experiences from their unusual, exciting and sometimes challenging backgrounds.

Alongside such celebrities as, for example, the many talented writers whose work is currently acclaimed and about whom we write on our website.”

What Pegasus is not telling you is that their publishing policy is focussed on charging authors a fee for publication, and that policy is not reflected anywhere on their website for unsuspecting authors. I am not suggesting that Pegasus has never offered a publishing contract to an author without a fee, but I simply do not believe that that is the norm with Pegasus.

It’s unfortunate for Pegasus because their book covers are reasonably okay, though I’m very circumspect about their ability to distribute their authors’ books beyond wholesale listing. But that is another criticism, and one I can direct at many POD (print on demand) author solution services. Lack of transparency is unforgiveable for a publishing service. It’s why a publishing service never moves from OVERVIEW to REVIEW. And I’m not sure that is going to change by the authors who have contacted me after their experiences with Pegasus, and also their experiences elsewhere.

Here is what Publishing Advisor, Kathleen Nicholls of Pegasus thought of one author’s criticism when their publishing model and approach was questioned:

Willmot questioned their approach to submissions:

“Here is how its done. You take anything that is sent to you, send out a message that you are interested... hold on to the manuscript as if it were being read... send out a FORM LETTER as if it were read... and then... and only then offer a vanity press deal. Well your tactics are being uncovered and made known. Of course your web site would be littered with contented cow authors but the rest of your "marks" can eat vanity pie.”

And the reply from Kathleen Nicholls of Pegasus:

Dear Dr Wilmot

Your vitriolic email has been passed to me by the Editorial Section.
This is due to the fact that your communication did not state what you wish to have done with the work you have sent to us for consideration. It is clear that you have been corresponding with other authors who have also submitted their work to us, and, of course, it is entirely your own decision regarding how you respond to the publishing offer we have sent you.

Our present authors are all in a harmonious relationship with us as their publishers and are pleased with the progress of their work. Many authors return to us several times to us to have further books published, thus showing their satisfaction. This can be verified by viewing our website
The Publishing Board of Pegasus have now been shown your message and have stated that they are unable to comprehend what you wish to achieve by writing to us in this manner since a short, courteous email to us would have sufficed. We suggest that you submit to US publishers from now on.

Kathleen Nicholls, Publishing Adviser

On Behalf of Pegasus Publishing Board

Hmmm. So Pegasus is speaking for all UK publishers.

I think not.

Pegasus is what we commonly refer to as a vanity publisher. Most of these companies are disappearing on the UK market, however, a few seem to foolishly think they can still ply their trade without being exposed.

RATING: 3.0/10
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Sunday, 6 November 2011

Callio Press and Miller Under The Spotlight Again in Writing Magazine

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If you are passing your local newsstand or newsagent tomorrow on the way to work, and you are also a keen writer on the lookout for an author solutions service, then you would be wise to pick up a copy of December's edition of Writing Magazine. In the Writers' News section (p27), UK author, Brian Lux, recounts his experience with Callio Press (formerly Discovered Authors and Bookforce), a company run by former Random House UK employee, Graham Miller.

Brian also commented here on The Independent Publishing Magazine some months ago about his experience:

"As a regional winner of an Undiscovered Authors competition, I was excited, knowing I would be published, AND receive a cash prize, as well as royalties. The prize came in dribs and drabs, and I was alerted to possible problems, when I was asked if I would take the last amount in books! Also, one printed batch was awful, and I was alerted by a fellow author. I remember Graham's son suggesting I should have noticed the mistakes, as I had a proof copy! The answer to that was the proof copy didn't have those mistakes. The staff were very supportive, though I was concerned at the changes, suggesting D/A was not a happy ship. Now I am trying to get my files back, and as for outstanding royalties...."

You can follow the full history of Callio Press here at this link, as well as the comments section which feature some hair-raising stories from Callio's former authors. You'll need to make yourself a strong cup of coffee before you begin reading the piece.

Not surprisingly, Callio Press and Graham Miller were unavailable for comment when Brian Lux's piece when to press in Writers' News. But then, Callio Press has been on our 'Not Recommended' list for quite a time on TIPM.    
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Friday, 4 November 2011

Faber Academy: Self-Publishing Session with Catherine Howard - Book Now!

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via Catherine Howard at Catherine, Caffeinated:

On Friday 17th-Sunday 19th February 2012, Faber Academy, London, are running a 3-day course called BRING YOUR BOOK TO MARKET, and I’m delighted to say that none other than yours truly (Catherine Howard) will be leading the self-publishing session.
About Bring Your Book to Market:
The digital publishing revolution has transformed self-publishing from a last resort into an ever-expanding world of opportunity that writers at all stages of their career can take advantage of. This hands-on, three-day course is aimed at writers who want to take the first step towards finding their readership through digital self-publishing, and then market their work online. First you’ll learn how to prepare your manuscript for publication, to a professional standard, and decide which of the many options out there is best for you. Successfully self-published author Catherine Ryan Howard will explain – in practical terms – the steps to self-publishing a finished work through print-on-demand and e-book websites. At the end of day one, a Faber editor will also outline golden rules for authors – and the most common pitfalls to avoid. Then, on days two and three, equip yourself with the skills and confidence to build an author platform across the main social networks (Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and so on) with the help of social media consultant Ben Johncock. Ben will cover everything from setting up accounts to building your online profile, showing you how to use your author platform effectively to promote and sell yourself and your work. So if you want to build a readership, showcase your work, publish high quality books and – if you’re pursuing traditional publication – build the kind of online platform, fan base and sales record that will convince an editor to say ‘yes!’, this could be the course for you.
About Faber Academy:
Drawing on Faber’s 80 years of publishing experience, Faber Academy offers the best tuition from hand-picked authors, editors and agents, on focussed, practical writing courses. One of the original publishing houses to be founded in London’s famous literary quarter, Bloomsbury, Faber remains family-owned and fiercely independent. Today it is a thoroughly modern business, still based off Bloomsbury Square, still finding, developing and promoting the best new writing. As one of the great publishers, there is no one better placed to understand what a writer needs. We know that what writers want to do is to write. They want support and they want structure, but all to one end: to write more, and write better. That’s why, on a Faber Academy course, you will always be focused on your own work. Because you have your own voice and your own stories, your own aims and experiences.
(And remember a while back I reviewed the fantastic Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson? Well, Faber Academy helped him write that by way of their Write a Novel course.)
A self-publisher, an editor who works for Faber & Faber and a social media expert – this course is really everything you need to self-publish professionally and build a readership using social media, and in doing so lay the foundations for a great writing career. Whether you intend to focus solely on releasing your own books or have it as a sideline to traditional publishing, this weekend is going to give you all the knowledge, tools and advice that you’ll need to move forward confidently and successfully.
And if you’re anything like me, i.e. if you think one of the biggest bonuses of being a traditionally published author is that you get to hang around publishing houses every once in a while, you might like to know that the course takes place in Bloomsbury House, London, the offices of Faber & Faber.
And if all that wasn’t enough to convince you, like, hello? It has me!
So now you know what to ask Santa for.
(Or, HINT HINT, book your place – there’s only 15 of them!)
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Thursday, 3 November 2011

A Look Behind The Scenes at Scholastic US Headquarters in New York

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A look behind the scenes at the world's largest educational and children's publisher, Scholastic USA, with VP Billy DiMichele.

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