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Physical Book Publishing > Experiences with RED DOOR Publishing / other collaborative publishing companies

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message 1: by Michael (new)

Michael Fleischer (michaelfleischer) | 8 comments Hello everyone,

I do apologise if this question has already been asked, but my search hasn't produced any results.
My first novel (not my first book though) is currently being copy-edited, and I've been thinking of maybe giving collaborative publishing a shot. It seems like Red Door is the market leader in the UK in this field, and yet I haven't been able to find any reviews / experiences. Have any of you perhaps dealt with them or similar companies in the past?
I'd be grateful for any kind of information / tips.

And no-one ever indicates their prices... I do realise that costs vary, but having some rough idea would be nice. It's like everybody's been sworn to secrecy.

Many thanks in advance!

message 2: by Lori-Ann (new)

Lori-Ann Claude | 76 comments What you have to remember, in all those not quite traditional, not quite self-publishing options, you pay something. Money is supposed to flow toward the author and that's not the case for such a company.

I took a peak and there's probably a good reason they don't cite price. The author underwrites the production cost. That's probably higher than you want to invest. Just what does that mean? Only the print runs? You pay for the cover? Too vague a statement.

They lure you into thinking they're like a traditional publisher but don't take the risks of a traditional publisher.

As they show very little of their process and costs to the author and they brag they only take on books they believe in, I would be wary.

If you really want to go this route, at minimum find a company that is up front about the costs to you and what you get in return.

message 3: by Michael (new)

Michael Fleischer (michaelfleischer) | 8 comments Many thanks for your reply, Lori-Ann!

To be fair, the only reasons why I'm willing to go this route are:
- Brick-and-mortar bookstores would be (theoretically) willing to display my book
- Although I wouldn't mind making some of my investment back, I first of all really want to share my ideas with people, get them out there, and those guys help you with the marketing, too, apparently

I had a look on the Companies House's website, and their business figures seem rather small... I think. Every figure is under £50,000, be it the credit on their bank account or anything else. Not sure how important this is.

message 4: by Michael (new)

Michael Fleischer (michaelfleischer) | 8 comments I tried to call them, but I think it was maybe a bit late... Will continue trying next week. And many thanks for your advice!

message 5: by Michael (new)

Michael Fleischer (michaelfleischer) | 8 comments P.S. Just sent you a pm.

message 6: by B.A. (new)

B.A. A. Mealer | 943 comments From what little you said, it sounds like a vanity publisher. Here in the US, their costs are around $1500 and up for a no frill set up. You would do better using something like Digital2Digital. I got sucked into Vanity publishing, believing it was worth the costs, only it wasn't. Not only do they have their imprint on it, they take part of the royalties for 'handling' your book. You can use your version of Ingram Spark for paper and hardback with your own ISBNs and a distributor like D2D as they go to all the big book sellers plus.

I quickly discovered the price you pay for the vanity press is excessive. Read what you get for the price, then figure what it would cost if you did it yourself. With having your book edited already, you can get a cover from places like 100 Covers custom made for $300 for print and e-book. Save your money. You can do what they are offering for a heck of a lot less and do better at it. As it is, you still have to do the marketing.

message 7: by Michael (new)

Michael Fleischer (michaelfleischer) | 8 comments Oh, I definitely wouldn't do vanity publishing. So far, I've always published my stuff via CreateSpace, but this time, I feel so confident about the book that I'm willing to invest more money, though still within reason.
It's really primarily the marketing part that I was hoping to get help with and reckoned that a renowned hybrid publisher may offer some respectability. But I've spent the last two days thinking, and I'll definitely do my utmost to find an agent. If that doesn't work out, I'll think long and hard about investing the money into promotion... so yeah, I guess you're right, and it's probably not worth it...

message 8: by Ian (new)

Ian Bott (iansbott) | 269 comments I strongly suspect this isn't worth it, but that's just my opinion from reading their website. They are very coy about pricing and vague about their business model, which IMO is not a good sign.

One alarm bell is that you underwrite the production costs. At best, this simply means that you do everything you would have to do to self-publish (editing, cover etc.) But without knowing what this phrase actually means you could be letting yourself in for paying for a print run that is then on you to sell. Self-publishing via CreateSpace (now transferred to Amazon) is POD so you have no print costs to worry about. But this sounds more like vanity publishing than anything.

Secondly, they talk about marketing but provide no information on what they actually do. It would be worth insisting on specific - and worthwhile - examples of what they do for you.

Finally, don't be lured by the enticing prospect of getting books into bricks & mortar stores without hard evidence that they have a team of sellers successfully placing their books into stores. Unless they have that, it's all back on you and you are likely no better off than you would be going it alone and placing your books into the Ingrams catalogue. Having a book available to bookstores is a long way from persuading a bookstore to actually stock it! The first part is easy, the second part not so much :)

message 9: by Michael (new)

Michael Fleischer (michaelfleischer) | 8 comments Yes, Ian, I suspect you may be right in all of these points... I may try again to give them a call, but will certainly spend the next few months trying to find a traditional publisher first!

message 10: by Michael (new)

Michael Fleischer (michaelfleischer) | 8 comments Again, thanks everyone for your contributions!

message 11: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4378 comments Mod
Jay wrote: "To be fair, the only reasons why I'm willing to go this route are:
- Brick-and-mortar bookstores would be (theoretically) willing to display my book

They're flat-out lying to you. Every pocket on a book-store must earn its keep. So they are not going to take the work of an unknown self-publisher with no track record over a book from a publisher who has made them money. And even were they to agree to accept a book from that publisher,, all books in the store are on consignment, which means you, pay to produce them, and you, pay to ship back any unsold product. Can you afford to supply give copies to every store in a given chain store?

And what are they offering to do for you? Print copies of the book you had edited, that you, pay for. They're "sharing" nothing with you, and investing no money in your book.

Always sample what the publisher is offering and ask yourself if you would pay to read it.

In short: keep clear."

Jay, the stuff quoted above is good advice and helpful, so I kept it. I'm deleting your comment due to your rambling about the quality of the books you looked at. It's negative and not serving any real purpose.

message 12: by Ian (new)

Ian Bott (iansbott) | 269 comments Dwayne wrote: "Jay, the stuff quoted above is good advice and helpful, so I kept it. I'm deleting your comment due to your rambling about the quality of the books you looked at. It's negative and not serving any real purpose. "

Avoiding any negativity, this comment included a useful tip that I think is worth emphasizing - when scouting out a publisher, have a look at the books they already publish. Check out the books themselves, the quality of cover and editing. Look for reviews, and research sales. Search the catalogue of library networks - I would expect titles with good public visibility in bricks & mortar stores should also have some presence in libraries. In short, see if you would be joining company you would be proud to keep.

message 13: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4378 comments Mod
Yes. I agreed with that point and several others, which is why I copied most of Jay's post and quoted it. This just isn't the forum for posting reviews of other people's work, unless they're asking for help on a blurb, a chapter, etc.

message 14: by Michael (new)

Michael Fleischer (michaelfleischer) | 8 comments I actually found Jay's comment re: book quality a pretty convincing argument. Shame it was deleted.

message 15: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4378 comments Mod
Michael wrote: "I actually found Jay's comment re: book quality a pretty convincing argument. Shame it was deleted."

The point is still here, the nitpicking over two books that were not to his liking is against group policy. It's gone.

message 16: by Jay (last edited Oct 14, 2018 08:37PM) (new)

Jay Greenstein (jaygreenstein) | 264 comments The point is still here, the nitpicking over two books that were not to his liking

My liking or not liking those books is irrelevant. A question was asked on that publisher's fitness. I pointed out, in a few words, why two of four books they claim are good work are amateurish (the other two provided no sample), and would have been rejected quickly by any publisher or buyer in the bookstore—a professional, not personal analysis. No rambling involved. Always best to cite the reasons for a given judgement.

Not trying to start a fight, but the group rules don't mention the moderator editing other people's words if they don't break the posted rules. Is this a new policy?

message 17: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4378 comments Mod
#1 - Remain Positive. No hate speech.

No negativity. This is our number one rule and we do enforce it. This includes, but is not limited to, bashing of authors, books, and movies of any kind. If an author is looking for advice on a cover, a blurb, on why their book is not selling, it is appropriate to offer constructive criticism. (“The color of your background makes it difficult to read your title.”) It is never appropriate to be insulting. (“Your cover is the worst ever. It sucks.”)

Jay, you've been around this group long enough that I'm not buying that you're ignorant of the rules or how the group functions. I edited your post as I felt most of it was good advice and only cut out the parts that were against a policy we've had for quite some time. I thought I was being kind by not deleting the entire post.

message 18: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4378 comments Mod
Jay wrote: "No negativity. This is our number one rule and we do enforce it.

Negativity might be discouraging, or belittling someone. Or, according to the dictionary, being pessimistic. We can't change the meaning for our own convenience,

Nothing has changed. We've always deleted comments where a member has chosen to critique a specific book or cover or what have you, unless the author or cover artist is asking for such a critique. You keep stating someone asked you to critique the books on display on this web site. I can't find that request. Even if it is here, their request does not trump the rules that we've had in place for a good long time.

Now, if you feel you're still being wronged in some way, please contact me or Ann via PM instead of using this thread. Thanks.

message 19: by Roger (last edited Oct 17, 2018 12:46PM) (new)

Roger Cave | 14 comments Michael

For my first book, I tried a few publishers and hit upon a "vanity" publisher. They did read my book, as the 7 page response covered the detail in the story completely. They advised type setting, hardback, cover design, and would do the marketing, which I'm really poor at. Anyhow, at the end of the letter was a fee £3200 ish. To me, it wasn't worth the gamble. I calculated that unless the whole run sold, I'd be out of pocket, and of course, once you've paid, where is their driver to deliver. They are negating their risk, which I get, but if they believe in the product, they would be willing to take a gamble. Essentially, the risk remains yours, with no way to offset it if they don't follow through on their offer. Right of recourse by you if they fail to fulfil their obligation would probably cost you even more if they left you in the lurch.

Hope that helps somewhat.

White Diamond Editing (wwwgoodreadscomwhitediamondedits) | 22 comments Hi Michael,

this is a very broad subject that covers a multitude of sins, unfortunately, and many warnings have been voiced by others in the comments above but I thought I'd add in my advice from an editor's point of view!

The word 'vanity' is one we all avoid as author's (I'm an author as well as an editor) but is one the publishing industry tends to sweep under the carpet. Obviously many companies won't advertise themselves as vanity, but it is essentially what they are as they request substantial amounts of money for very little return to you as the author. I've worked with many clients who have been stung by such companies, believing they were working with a collaborative publisher or hybrid publisher (those are the latest terms being used by vanity presses). Their costs are often astronomical and their input hardly worth it. Past clients of mine have paid upwards of £3000 and received little if no royalties back. The marketing aspect is what draws many authors in, but this is where you need to be aware.

Red Door seem a little vague, but there are many of them who are not. Many of them go into pages of information about how they will market your novel and get it into bookstores, which is not often the case. Many of these companies don't have to put any effort into marketing at all - they have your money at the end of the day. Many of these companies also have a red flag against them as far as bricks and mortar stores are concerned and I know that many bookstores won't stock books from these publishers. In other cases, their 'amazing marketing' is nothing more than uploading a book to Amazon, which you could do yourself for free. They also seem to think publicity is to bombard bloggers, magazines etc with a drab, generic email about your book that doesn't do anything to entice them to read it and only serves to have your book listed in the 'spam' folder, never to be reviewed by these otherwise valuable resources. It also then creates a bad reputation around your name so that future books are likely to be overlooked just for association. Sad but true.

I've had a brief look into Red Door and although I couldn't find anything major against them, I did find a reference to them being affiliated with another company called Authoright, which is definitely one to be wary of.

If you are interested in the hybrid/collaborative publishing route, I would suggest you look into the website self publishing (without breaks obviously but I'm unsure if links are allowed!). They have a self-publishing service directory on their site which shows all companies known that do this type of collaboration and rate them accordingly, helping you to see in advance which ones you should be wary of and which ones are highly rated for their service, value etc. Red Door are not on here as yet, but Authoright are, noted as one to be highly cautious of!

Definitely worth a look.

Hope it helps.

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