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Find a New Publisher/Self-Publish?

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message 1: by D.L. (new)

D.L. (silversurfer1221) | 41 comments Hello all. This is my first post in my first group on goodreads! Thank you for having me here. I hope that someone can provide a little advice or at least point me in the right direction. I am going to be very frank/open with this topic because I really want to get help before I get in too deep. If there is a better group for this type of topic, please feel free to let me know. And please feel free to speak bluntly. I am looking for help, not to be coddled.

I am 46 years old and have, like many, dreamed of writing a novel. About two years ago I finally got to it and wrote a sci-fi/fantasy novel - about 133,000+ words worth! It was rough, needed work, but people who read the draft loved it and I was encouraged to move forward.

A friend of mine introduced me to a start-up micro-publisher. From what I knew, this person had been a publisher before. They seemed to know what they were talking about and seemed to have some very nice connections. I was willing to forgo the possibility of larger "royalties" on any sales of my book by having a publisher if that meant that I could concentrate on my writing and art (for the most part) while they did a lot of the legwork. The micro-publisher read my manuscript and loved it! Now I have a contract in hand.

To make a long story shorter, As we've begun to work together, I began to feel uncomfortable. And as I research certain topics I am starting to see that the micro-publisher seems to know less than I do about the topic of publishing. Considering I am a complete neophyte, that's pretty scary to me.

I'll give some examples that I hope will help (some simple, some more complex).

The contract looked good and, upon researching the average percentage for new authors, it looked even better. I was being offered a 20% commission (and even a split of the remainder should there be anything left after the publisher took their cut and everyone else - printing costs, Ingrams cut, etc - got theirs). But there was something in the contract that caught my attention (as minor as it was).

I am a graphic artist by trade and wanted to create my own cover for the book. The micro-publisher, of course, was more than happy to have that done since it would mean no out-of-pocket expense for her. Therefore, in the contract she wrote a clause about any artwork created for the cover and promotion of the book. In the clause, the micro-publisher demanded that all print quality artwork be created at a MINIMUM of 600 DPI (Dots Per Inch)! If you are a graphic artist, then you know that 300 DPI is what most people use and that you can get away with 225 or so in a pinch. 600 DPI can be used if you want to enlarge the image later, but 300 is way more than enough for even a very large book cover and even posters. But, despite the time I've spent on this part, this is very minor. It did, though, cause a flag to go up in my mind.

The next issue was the price she set for the printed edition of the book: $20. The book will be printed in 6x9 format and comes to about 420 pages. I was appalled at the price. I have a fairly extensive library and have never spent $20 on a new book unless it was a hardback - and certainly not from an unknown author. I was afraid that no one would want to risk $20 on an unknown writer. However, the publisher insists on selling the book at this prince and I am uncomfortable with this. I realize that she wants to maximize profits, but ...?

Doing a quick cost calculation on CreateSpace showed me that I can get the book printed for under $6. Why would we need to sell the book at $20? To top it off, I went to a sci-fi/fantasy convention and independent authors had paperbacks (6x9 and other sizes) and NONE of them approached the $20 mark.

Next, in the contract it asks that both the publisher and I split the cost of the production of the book. There is a company that will create the layout for the print version and also create all the e-versions you need (Kindle, Nook, etc). The cost comes to something like $3/page + $100 for the conversion to all e-book formats.

As a graphic professional, I have a license to Adobe Indesign and I can do the layout myself according to standards. My research shows that e-book conversions are FREE! Amazon, for example, provides you with both a command line converter and an Indesign plugin so that books can be converted over to the Kindle format. The other e-version creators are also free! And, of course they are! Amazon wants to make money. And they want you to sell your product on Amazon. Therefore they provide you with the tools to do just that! Makes sense to me. So why should I pay someone $100 to convert my book when I can do it at the click of a button for nothing?

When discussing the topic of print costs and things like print-on-demand, the publisher became defensive. I brought up CreateSpace and the publisher was adamantly against using it as a print source for things like give away copies and copies for us to bring to conventions, etc. Later at an event, the publisher met another micro-publisher and they had lunch. The other publisher ended up talking about how they use CreateSpace to print give away copies and to print books that they bring to events, etc. After that discussion, my publisher ended up all excited about CreateSpace (and seemed to forget that I was the one that brought it up to begin with).

There is more, but I will end here. Thus far, I have done all the work promoting my book. In fact, with the book due to go to print in April, we had started some pre-sales. All pre-sales sold have been by me and my promotion. None by the publisher yet. All pre-sale ideas have been mine and, as a result, I have a list of names added to my newsletter list, etc. She has contributed nothing yet.

I admit, I am pointing out the bad things (or what I see as bad) and glossing over any good points. But I am concerned and these points are causing me to have doubts. According to the contract, I can be released from it if we both agree. Then I can move on and go my merry way. So I do seem to have a way of escape should I need it. However, I also don't want to do the dumb thing and give up on a person who may actually benefit me and my novel. I am very ignorant in this area (it's all new to me, though I am learning) and I don't want to make a huge mistake either way.

Any advise that any of you can give me (if you have any) would be greatly appreciated. I need all the help I can get. I love the book I have written. I do want people to read and enjoy it. I don't want someone else to have control of it and possibly kill it before it is even born.

Please feel free to ask any questions. Obviously, this is an important topic to me. And, to quote a famous Clash song, "Should I stay or should I go?" ;)

message 2: by D.L. (new)

D.L. (silversurfer1221) | 41 comments I just got an email form my publisher. When I brought up the free converters, she shot them down, demanding that they "brand" books as "self-published" within the code. I don't believe this to be the case. And even if it were, who would know (or care)? When it comes to the Nook, it looks like the Nook does not even have it's own file format (like the Kindle does), but simply displays PDF, ePub and other file formats that are readily available for various apps so that they can be exported.

Am I missing something crucial here?

My publisher is now saying things akin to "You are the graphics professional. I am the publishing professional. You do your job and leave me to mine." She may be correct, but I am doubting her professional capabilities. However, I am just wondering if I am having jitters, like before a marriage or something. ;)

message 3: by D.L. (new)

D.L. (silversurfer1221) | 41 comments After sending the publisher an email on my findings concerning making Kindle, Nook and other e-versions, here is the title of the email I got back from her:

'Free means "self publishing" which means "crap" in publishing-speak'

message 4: by D.L. (new)

D.L. (silversurfer1221) | 41 comments I also forgot to mention that we attended a sci-fi/fantasy convention and we had promotional materials (4x6 cards and 11x17 posters of my artwork for the book). The purpose of these materials was to promote the soon release of my book. However, I was to pay half for the materials. Recently, a friend told me that I should not have paid at all since marketing materials was a cost the publisher should cover.

Lastly, we did sell a few pre-orders of the book (the book is due out in April or May) - actually, I should say that I sold the copies - and the publisher kept the money stating that they wanted to divert 100% of the funds to marketing. So I won't even get my 20% from these few sales, it seems.

message 5: by Sharon (new)

Sharon (fiona64) D., if you can get out of this contract? Do it. There are far too many red flags here. Indie publishing is no longer "crap" ... and if your publisher were a pro, she would know that.

message 6: by D.L. (new)

D.L. (silversurfer1221) | 41 comments Thanks, Sharon. I agree. I am just too new at this game and want to get some other clear heads involved. I don't want to make a mistake and potentially burn a bridge that I don't need to.

message 7: by Kathy (new)

Kathy Davie (kathydavie) | 35 comments I agree with Sharon. She doesn't sound very knowledgable. How old is she? What's her previous actual work history? Are the expenses and income in writing? Who else has she published and what were their experiences with her? When she edited your book, did she use a software program or a real person?

message 8: by Sharon (new)

Sharon (fiona64) I just re-read some of this, and I have some questions in addition to Kathy's:

-- Was there an advance that needs to be "cashed out"? In other words, if you were given XYZ sum of money up-front, the publisher will keep all earnings until that is repaid. After that, royalties come forth. If there was no advance, I find it extremely unethical to suddenly say "Oh, BTW, we're keeping all the monies against marketing." Budgeting for such things, including your share, should have been spelled out in the contract. With small publishers, it is not at all unusual to share costs in this regard, or for you to have to develop your own platform. Even the Big 6 are not putting that much into marketing these days unless you are already a known commodity -- although the Big 6 most likely still give you some tools, LOL.

-- I am concerned that the quit clause must be bilateral, per your earlier post. Either one or you should be able to invoke the quit clause by giving notice in writing. Requiring that both of you agree to quit the contract gives this publisher far too much control over you.

-- Which brings me to my second question. Under your contract, who retains the rights to your work? You, or this publisher? Because some publishers demand to retain rights ... which means they hold all the marbles over the work now and forever.

If you haven't checked out Predators & Editors, I highly recommend that you do so. If you find your person there, have a look at what other people said. Not finding a listing is a neutral thing; it may be that no one has worked with her before. Read some of the comments about the "not recommended" companies, though ... you'll see that there are a lot of companies out there busily ripping off indie authors in much the same fashion that this person appears to be.

message 9: by D.L. (last edited Mar 03, 2012 10:36AM) (new)

D.L. (silversurfer1221) | 41 comments Before answering the questions, I will say this: I was/am completely new to this. I was excited about the prospect of being published and I allowed my excitement to overshadow my good reason. So I take responsibility for what I am coming to believe is a bad decision.

Now, on to answering the questions (which, by the way, I appreciate you all taking the time to ask):


How old is she? She is older than I am, so she must be about 50. I don't have an exact age.

Her previous actual work history is varied. And, again, I should have done my homework ahead of time and did not (my fault). She ran a small micro-publisher called Heroides. From what I recently discovered, Heroides had published only ONE book (Pulani) which sold a total of 1000 copies. The publisher claims that there were legal issues with the book (not all rights were obtained for the people names in the book), etc, and this is why she stopped selling the book. However, for reasons unknown to me, she allowed Heroides to become an imprint of Joshua Tree Publishing (of which I know nothing about).

Are the expenses and income in writing? Yes, the royalties are. I am to get 20% + 50% of the net (if there is any net at the end of the day). According to the contract, I am to pay for 50% of the production of the book (i.e. the formatting and getting the book into all e-formats). I am NOT to pay for editing (which the publisher is doing herself as well as finding alpha readers). However, there is NOTHING about splitting the costs on marketing whatsoever. According to the contract, we pay for our own travel expenses, convention expenses, which made sense to me.


Was there an advance? No, none whatsoever.

I am also concerned about any "quit clause" as, frankly, I don't see one (and I feel like quite an idiot at the moment). The publisher states that as long as a letter is submitted and both parties agree, then the contract is amended or cancelled. But there is no specific "quit clause" for the author, though there is an "out of print" clause for the publisher (and, yes, in the case of "out of print" all rights instantly return to me, the author).

The copyright for the book, characters, title and all associated art are mine and they are copyrighted in my name. The publisher is LICENSED to use them in accordance with the contract. This is also in the contract.

message 10: by D.L. (new)

D.L. (silversurfer1221) | 41 comments My communication with the publisher as escalated as of last night. I found the conversation quite strange. I am verbose, but I try not be offensive nor do I attempt to attack someone's person.

I am a professional graphic artist and have a license to Adobe's Creative Suite, which includes InDesign. I let the publisher know that I can easily do the book layout and that the production of the e-book formats is free. For example, Amazon provides an InDesign plugin to export to the Kindle format. Nook reads PDF, ePub and various other e-formats. My suggestion was to have me do the layout and e-book formats in order to save on the hundreds of dollars it would have cost to have the book done by the company she wanted to use (my cost would have been around $700). After all, I am doing the cover (have done the cover - and have created book covers for many years) and marketing materials myself. Why not do the layout, etc?

She did not like the idea, though I am no certain why.

During my research on the e-formats and how they are created, I discovered the KDP program. I asked the publisher to look into this (since she had never mentioned it) and said that perhaps it might be a good tool to help promote the book initially BEFORE we had the book available at other e-stores (since Amazon demands a 90 day exclusive on the book with the KDP program). I thought that the KDP program would be a great way to introduce a new, unknown author to the masses.

She freaked (in her email responses), insisting that this all smacked of "self-publishing" and insisting that self-publishing is "crap."

Frankly, I was so appalled by her continued comments about self-publishing being crap that I called her on it. I showed here where some PUBLISHING companies (not self-publishers and not necessarily micro-publishers) were giving the pros and cons of both using a traditional publisher or going the route of self-publishing, etc - that not all traditional publishers think self-publishing is crap.

She responded by telling me that if I were to talk to "real" publishers (and she put the quote marks around the word "real") that they would indeed tell me that self-publishing is crap. Then she sort of went on a tirade. It was very sad. She painted a picture of self-publishers as a group of people who DO NOT get their books professionally edited, DO NOT get a professional layout, etc.

Frankly, I was appalled and I responded by stating that I personally think that many larger publishers are frightened by the self-publishing market and that they purposefully show the many bad apples that are there (those that do indeed self-publish without getting the book edited, etc), but that these same publishers failed to show that they are also putting tons of "crap" (i.e. books with bad grammar, books with misspellings, book with horribly written stories, bad layout, terrible covers, etc). It is the old bait and switch routine to hide their own flaws while attempting to bring down their competition.

In all honesty, I love the book I have written (whether anyone else does or not). I want the best for it and I would certainly love for others to read it. That is my primary concern.

message 11: by D.L. (new)

D.L. (silversurfer1221) | 41 comments I wanted to add something about her work history, since Kathy asked.

The publisher's main work is as a CPA. She claims (and that is a word I may return to!) that she had worked as a script writer, script editor and a ghost writer (for scripts and books) for quite some time. She claims to have connections in LA (i.e. Hollywood) and claims to know many of the stars there. It was these claims that started to catch my attention because it seemed that anyone I brought up was someone she had "personal" knowledge about. In fact, she recently claimed that she was responsible for getting Goldie Hawn her role in Private Benjamin! That is absurd for two main reasons: 1) Godlie Hawn was one of the PRODUCERS on that film and 2) the movie came to the theaters in 1980. This would mean that the publisher was 18 or so when she was "responsible" for somehow securing the role for Goldie Hawn? And 1980 was when the movie was released. For all we know, it could have been in the can for a few years before hitting the big screen. It was stories like this that made me start to reevaluate my working relationship with the publisher.

message 12: by D.L. (new)

D.L. (silversurfer1221) | 41 comments I reread an email and the publisher claims to have also been a literary agent for over 9 years.

message 13: by Kathy (new)

Kathy Davie (kathydavie) | 35 comments None of this sounds good. Can she list or provide evidence that she actually DID work as a script whatever and ghost writer. Have you seen a resume listing the movies and books she worked. Physical evidence NOT provided through her heresay...?

message 14: by D.L. (new)

D.L. (silversurfer1221) | 41 comments No, she cannot provide any evidence. For example, she claims to have known Frank Herbert (author of Dune). She claims to have done an extensive interview with him, to have had photos of herself with him and his wife. She claims to have documented Herbert's completed dissatisfaction with the 1984 movie of his book Dune. I asked if she had any of this because, as a fan of Herbert, I would love see the photos and read the article. The publisher told me that she lost all the photos, etc, in her divorce and has not been able to recover them. I can find no evidence of this interview. Also, if she interviewed Frank Herbert AFTER the Dune movie was already out (1984) wasn't his wife already dead? And if so, how then did she get herself photographed with both Herbert and his wife? I could be wrong on this. I do not know exactly when Herbert's wife died, if it was a quick or slow death, etc. But I do know that the publisher was unable to substantiate any of her claims to fame (i.e. being script writer, being a ghost editor, having interviewed Herbert, etc).

message 15: by Kathy (new)

Kathy Davie (kathydavie) | 35 comments I'm not a lawyer, but...surely there is some way to get out of this contract with all these lies she's tellin'...

message 16: by D.L. (new)

D.L. (silversurfer1221) | 41 comments I am working on that now. I believe, despite all this, that I can mutually end this via a written agreement.

message 17: by Mary (new)

Mary Findley | 19 comments D., I am coming late to the party, and you have already gotten some great advice. Just let me add a run, don't walk. Smashwords, Amazon, and CreateSpace will do right by you for self-publishing, and the ice is starting to crack with traditional publishers to notice Indie books. Join an authors' group (maybe several) to ask questions, listen, get yelled at, whatever it takes (they aren't always nice, but they are almost always helpful) and you will grow on your own. We started seriously promoting with a blog and Twitter last September, and already have over 400 followers, close to 5000 views, 300 Twitter followers, many of whom have thousands of followers themselves, and I seriously think we are about to launch. I do our writing, editing, converting, book covers, everything! And we have great advice from many more experienced indie authors. May you be free to succeed!

message 18: by D.L. (new)

D.L. (silversurfer1221) | 41 comments Thank you, Mary. I appreciate it. As I have embarked on this journey, I have not liked the shackles I have felt tightening on me. I want to be free ... free to dream ... free to pursue my art ... free to write. And this particular publisher makes me feel tethered (and, of course, I am not liking what appears to be lies, the lack of success with her previous attempt, etc). And, of course, I am very embarrassed. I should have been asking these questions months ago, but I believe I was blinded by the mere fact that a "publisher" took interest in ME and MY WORK. Ugh.

message 19: by Mary (new)

Mary Findley | 19 comments Well, D., I didn't say you would be free, because maintaining a blog and making Tweets and spending time online looking for sites to upload your books and garnering followers and stuff will make you say, "When do I write?" But even traditional publishers make authors do a lot of that themselves. We have 15 books now, and everything I do, I do x15. :-)

message 20: by D.L. (new)

D.L. (silversurfer1221) | 41 comments Hi Mary. That is not what I meant by "tethered". I enjoy blogging, enjoy promotion and marketing. I enjoy developing the website for the book, creating the cover and the marketing materials. So I would not feel tethered at all doing the work to promote my book. What I meant was that the current publisher makes me feel that way as a result of her (what I perceive to be) lies, her attitude toward self-publishing, etc. And that I would be tethered in that any sales of the book, the vast majority is going to the publisher for her cut and cost recovery. And if I am feeling (more than) uncomfortable with the publisher, than this makes me already feel more uncomfortable. ;)

As a side note, I already work for myself as a graphic artist. Have done so for 2 decades. So, self promotion and all that is not new to me. Doing so for a book? Yes, very new. But it sound like a fun learning experience to me. ;)

message 21: by D.L. (new)

D.L. (silversurfer1221) | 41 comments On a side note, what attracted me to this publisher? There were a few things. The publisher said that they were looking for particular manuscripts. Not only were they looking for manuscripts that they thought would sell well (of course, it is a business) but that could be turned into scripts to be sold for movies. The publisher told me that most authors don't make a dime off of movie deals (other than increased book sales) and that she would write a deal into the contract that ensured I got a decent cut of the sale of any such script. She also said that most authors make about 10% royalties and that she was going to give me 20%. All of this sounded good to me at the time. I wasn't just accepting the first offer I had as I was contemplating self-publishing at the time.

message 22: by D.L. (new)

D.L. (silversurfer1221) | 41 comments I want to thank all of you that have posted here to help me think through these issues. I truly appreciate it. And, please, by all means, continue to share your thoughts on the matter, to ask questions. I will do my best to respond.

message 23: by D.L. (new)

D.L. (silversurfer1221) | 41 comments Thanks again for all the advice. Between what I have read here and my own research, I have drafter an Intent to Terminate letter. I was polite and apologetic (not mean, nasty and emotional). The publisher had paid to copyright my manuscript title and concept (in my name). I offered to repay her for that (provided she gave me receipts to see exactly what she paid). The contract had stipulated that there as a $3/page charge for editing that was waved as long as the contract was in existence. Since 98 pages (of 420) were edited, I stated, in my Intent to Terminate, that I would pay the $3/page fee for pages edited. Therefore, I have honored the contract and I have gone BEYOND the contract in that I volunteered to pay for something that was not stipulated within the contract.

Let's see how this goes. Wrings hands. Paces floor ...

message 24: by D.L. (new)

D.L. (silversurfer1221) | 41 comments Okay. There is news ... not sure if it is good or not. We'll see as things progress.

The publisher is not happy with my Intent to Terminate Contract letter. Now they are deciding to create an invoice of all that they think is due them in order for me to get the rights back to my book. They want to include their editing fee ($3/page) and though I have only received 98 pages of edits, she insists that she has edited all 420 pages. Actually, her $3/page is based on my total number of words divided by 250 words per page. Since there are over 133,000 words, that makes me in debt to her for just under $1,600. However, I don't have these edits (only the first 98 pages) AND just because she may have gone through all the pages (she claims she printed the pages, edited with a pen and has not yet transcribed them) this does not mean that the edits are, in fact, COMPLETE, right?

She also wants to invoice me for the copyright (and, actually, I am fine with this), marketing costs and some other odds and ends. I told her to submit the itemized invoice and I would look it over and respond.

Now, here's an interesting thing (to me, at least). I am a graphic artist and I do website design. The publisher is also a CPA and she asked if I would design a website for her as she liked my graphics work. I generated a contract and began the work. She still owes me $850 on that contract. She somehow thinks that we were contracted for THREE websites. I pointed out the contract and let her know that it was only the one, but that I would be happy to do the next two as well. In fact, I made her an offer that I would be willing to contract her for the next two websites and that we would deduct the amount due from the invoice she wants to submit to me to get out of the contract. I am certain that my amount (total) would exceed hers by a good some. I was willing, as a gentleman, to simply wave any amount she would have due to me when all was said and done and to provide that to her in writing.

In other words, I would do the work and she would sign the agreement to terminate contract, which includes a clause to immediately restore the rights to my book to me.

If she is unwilling to go this route, then fine. My invoices for contracts she wants far out way her costs incurred for editing and marketing. She will, in the end, owe me money and I will still have my rights restored.

By the way, I was NOT at all attempting to tie the separate contract for website development in with the publishing contract. The publisher brought it up, sort of hung it over my head (for some strange reason that I cannot yet fathom), as if she were demanding that I do the work and that I would get my rights to the book back until I did! Seriously. I should post a copy of her text on that. I kindly reminded her that she owes me $850 on that contract and has not agreed to the others (since we had only briefly discussed the creation of these other two websites).

Ah, well. I am stupid. I admit it. At least I feel frickin' stupid. But we live and learn (at least I hope I learn).

message 25: by Kathy (new)

Kathy Davie (kathydavie) | 35 comments Don't forget the marketing materials you paid for and the money she kept from it to "plow back in". Do your own invoice and see where you stand...

message 26: by D.L. (new)

D.L. (silversurfer1221) | 41 comments Hi Kathy. Yes, indeed. In fact, my website development (which she desperately wants done) and things like what you have mentioned seem to have turned the tables a bit. Her last few emails have been wonderfully friendly and she seems pleased that we can resolve this "amicably". She has also stated the following:

"I will need to have you sign a termination agreement from ____________ as well."

(Where the blank is the name of the publisher)

So it looks like she is resolved to solve this and to let me have the rights to the book back and that, in the end, there should not be any out of pocket expense to me since what she owes me (coupled with what she wants me to do for her - websites) is much less then what she will owe me.

I am glad to have a little leverage for a change. ;)

message 27: by Sharon (new)

Sharon (fiona64) Kathy wrote: "None of this sounds good. Can she list or provide evidence that she actually DID work as a script whatever and ghost writer. Have you seen a resume listing the movies and books she worked. Physical..."

This is a great point. If she has been a literary agent, etc., surely she can provide you with a list of references with whom you may speak.

message 28: by Sharon (new)

Sharon (fiona64) D. wrote: "Hi Kathy. Yes, indeed. In fact, my website development (which she desperately wants done) and things like what you have mentioned seem to have turned the tables a bit. Her last few emails have been..."

Oh, good. Again, don't let her bully you. Smashwords is a wonderful service, as is KDP. My one recommendation: do not get into KDP's select program. It may seem like a great plan, but you cannot sell your eBooks anywhere else during your 90-day (minimum) enrollment period -- including your own website. That cuts off every Nook, Kobo, iPad, etc., user from being able to obtain your books. Smashwords does all of the formatting conversions for you and has a great extended distribution network -- to which Baker & Taylor has just been added. I cannot say enough good about them.

message 29: by Sharon (new)

Sharon (fiona64) D. wrote: "Hi Kathy. Yes, indeed. In fact, my website development (which she desperately wants done) and things like what you have mentioned seem to have turned the tables a bit. Her last few emails have been..."

Oh, good. Again, don't let her bully you. Smashwords is a wonderful service, as is KDP. My one recommendation: do not get into KDP's select program. It may seem like a great plan, but you cannot sell your eBooks anywhere else during your 90-day (minimum) enrollment period -- including your own website. That cuts off every Nook, Kobo, iPad, etc., user from being able to obtain your books. Smashwords does all of the formatting conversions for you and has a great extended distribution network -- to which Baker & Taylor has just been added. I cannot say enough good about them.

message 30: by Kathy (new)

Kathy Davie (kathydavie) | 35 comments D. wrote: "Hi Kathy. Yes, indeed. In fact, my website development (which she desperately wants done) and things like what you have mentioned seem to have turned the tables a bit. Her last few emails have been..."

Yeah!!! :D

message 31: by D.L. (new)

D.L. (silversurfer1221) | 41 comments @Sharon - Concerning the KDP program: I knew about the 90 day exclusivity clause, but I thought that might be okay for me. Why? Because my book is not out yet (due for release in April or May ... as long as I can successfully resolve the issue I have with the publisher). As a result, it is not currently being offered anywhere in e-format at all. So I thought I would offer it FIRST on KDP for 90 days and then EXPAND by then offering it elsewhere. In this manner, KDP would become a vehicle of introduction to my novel.

How does that sound?

message 32: by Sharon (new)

Sharon (fiona64) D. wrote: "@Sharon - Concerning the KDP program: I knew about the 90 day exclusivity clause, but I thought that might be okay for me. Why? Because my book is not out yet (due for release in April or May ... a..."

To be frank? Like cutting off a significant number of potential customers. :-( No one on a Nook, Kobo, Sony eReader, etc., will be able to read your book. Everyone runs his or her business differently, and only you can ultimately decide what's right for you. My attitude is that having a book available in as many places as possible just makes solid sense. Other people feel differently, which is also fine. My ePub sales outnumber my .mobi (Kindle) sales by a factor of just about 100 to one. Other people have a different experience.

message 33: by D.L. (new)

D.L. (silversurfer1221) | 41 comments Thanks. I appreciate the advice and will certainly consider it. What I was thinking is to only do this for the first 90 days as a launch and use the freebees to promote the book (getting the $1.70 or whatever per free download) and then (hopefully) moving on to paid customers on the non-free days. Then, after the 90 days, move on to offer the book everywhere. During that 90 days I can also push the print edition as well. If the KDP program was permanently exclusive, then there would be no way that I would do it.

In a sense, I was thinking of offering the book on KDP as a sort of "pre-offer" ... exclusive to Amazon. That sort of thing.

message 34: by Carolynn (new)

Carolynn (Molly.Groot) Evans  (molly_groot) | 38 comments Wow.... what a wild ride she's taken you on! I was coming on to make a say here, but it looks like you have plenty of solid advise, so I'll simply wish you much luck- and virtually pat you on the back for listening to your instincts. We have 'em for a reason!

Hope it is smooth sailing from here on. :)


message 35: by D.L. (new)

D.L. (silversurfer1221) | 41 comments Thanks, Carolynn. I'll let everyone here know what happens. The publisher states that they will consider my proposal (my Intent to Terminate Contract) this coming week.

message 36: by [deleted user] (new)

D., you're getting some great advice. Your story sounds like what my publisher tried to do to me last week - bully! If you haven't yet, consult a lawyer. I did, and did caved to the bullying.

For my 2 cents - I'm both - traditional and indie, and for what it's worth - indie is much better. I use Createspace and the quality and cost is great. I fully agree with Sharon - don't use KDP Select. As a indie, you can't afford to put your eggs (book) in one basket, especially when starting out. You need as wide of exposure as possible.

For all those so-called successes on KDP - where they claim obscene thousand of downloads and sales, there are many other who flop! In fact, in my personal experience and those I know, it is around nearly 20 failures to 1 success. The majority of authors I know who jumped on-board Select in December, are falling - fast. Most haven't had sales since. Thus the initial boost of hundred to thousands of free download did nothing but rob them of sales. 20,000 x 0 = 0

Also, several readers I know boasted of up to 700 FREE downloads. They won't be 'buying' books any time soon with that many on their TBR list. You need to make your books stand out, not join the sea of freebies and risk getting lost for 90 days.

message 37: by D.L. (new)

D.L. (silversurfer1221) | 41 comments Hi Shawn. Thanks for the advice. I will certainly consider it. If I appear to disagree, I am not. I am simply asking questions, attempting to learn. So please don't be offended.

As far as KDP goes, my book (obviously) is not out yet. As such, why not FIRST put it in the KDP program for 90 days. I could act like the book is not yet released ... that it will be in 90 days. In other words, the exclusivity of KDP would be for only 90 days and be sort of a pre-launch to get the word out. After the 90 days, it all-out sell the book everywhere in every format in any way. I could use those additional 90 days to further prepare my ad campaign, to continue to update the Dremshift Chronicles website, etc. And, as has been pointed out, each free download earns money for the author. So, it would not be like I was pulling my book off the e-shelves of other venders for 90 days. The book is not on any shelf at the moment.

From what I understand, each free download via KDP counts as a sale. As a result, this helps to drive your book up the "Best Seller" list for Amazon, which has the result of making your book easier to find for those that do not know about it. Only those with Amazon Prime accounts get the free downloads (is this correct?). So if the book does get downloaded quite a bit, it becomes more visible to those that do not have a prime account and, as a result, may get purchased.

These are my thoughts, anyway. I am certainly not opposed to offering the book everywhere. And I didn't think that KDP would give me instant success, but perhaps a small boost.


message 38: by [deleted user] (last edited Mar 06, 2012 07:55AM) (new)

No one I know has 'earned' money from the free downloads. Remember tens of thousands of authors are competing for a piece of the monthly pot Amazon is offering. So $600,000 divided by around 60,000 does leave much. Then take the amount of downloads each of those 60,000 authors and start paying out from the most to the least and there may not be anything leftover toward the end of the list So that is misleading to say free downloads equal money when it comes to number crunching.

Also that "Best Seller List" is bogus and misleading. Counting free downloads as sales is really fraud! Yes, fraud, since no money was exchanged so it can't be claimed as a true sale. Take the NY Time Best Seller List as example. A publisher plays the system by counting "Wholesale" books - meaning 25,000 copies are ordered by bookstores and that number places the author on the NY Times Best Seller List when not 1 copy has been sold to a reader - no retail sales record. Oh, and returns are not taken from the count used to make the NYT List, but the amount is subtracted from the author's royalties.

The "Best Seller List" is just another way for Amazon to game the system by calling non-legit sales as sales. So in essence authors are lying to the public by claiming those free download place them in the same class as REAL best selling authors. In fact, I know some who claim equality with James Patterson and Nora Roberts on their first book - based ONLY upon 'Free" downloads. There has yet to be any concrete study to show the correlation between 'free' and a boost in sales.

I'm not offended. I've been down this argument road before. Some I've convinced, others I haven't. But some who did join KDP Select recanted later of how the lack of sales hurt them rather than helped. But you make your own choice.

message 39: by D.L. (last edited Mar 06, 2012 08:12AM) (new)

D.L. (silversurfer1221) | 41 comments Thanks, Shawn. I appreciate the words of wisdom and you knowledge and experience.

Amazon has a best sellers list. They determine how books are moved up and down that list. It is their list. The idea here is exposure. And the further up that list you are, the more exposure you get.

As you have pointed out the NY Times best seller list is no more "honest" than Amazon's. Again, the point is exposure. Amazon wants to sell product to make money. Publishers want to sell books to make money. All will manipulate the system in an attempt to get exposure for their products in order to sell them. Amazon has the ability, via their KDP program, to entice people to use it, thus giving Amazon more product, which brings more people, which produces more sales. Its a game.

But the question becomes, for those of us that may go the independent route, how do we take advantage of that? What do we avoid and what do we embrace.

I hear your words. I will dwell on them and digest them. I have a few months before I am ready to do anything. However, 90 days on KDP as a pre-launch? When I don't have the book available anywhere else electronically? No obligation past those first 90 days? Doesn't sound like a bad thing (even if I earn no money). And, sure, I would like to make money from my book. But that's not why I wrote it. I wrote it to be read. Making money is just a means of allowing me more freedom to write even more.

message 40: by D.L. (new)

D.L. (silversurfer1221) | 41 comments Good news! Just got a text from the publisher. Here is what they said (in relation to my Intent to Terminate letter):

"It seems workable with no cash exchanging hands."

message 41: by Sharon (new)

Sharon (fiona64) D. wrote: "Good news! Just got a text from the publisher. Here is what they said (in relation to my Intent to Terminate letter):

"It seems workable with no cash exchanging hands.""


message 42: by [deleted user] (new)

You scared them, D. But from what I read of your experience, run, don't walk to the nearest exit. Even if you did KDP Select, you'd be better off than with that publisher!

message 43: by D.L. (new)

D.L. (silversurfer1221) | 41 comments I just read through this entire thread. I am sorry that I wrote so darned much! Thanks, though, for reading it all and providing advice. I can never thank each of you enough. :)

message 44: by Sharon (new)

Sharon (fiona64) D. wrote: "I just read through this entire thread. I am sorry that I wrote so darned much! Thanks, though, for reading it all and providing advice. I can never thank each of you enough. :)"

The good thing is that you were able to provide us with enough information to go on rather than being vague! It takes as much as it takes. :-)

message 45: by D.L. (new)

D.L. (silversurfer1221) | 41 comments Woohoo! The publisher has stated that they will send over a termination agreement for me to sign IN THE MORNING! So, hopefully I will be "independent" tomorrow!

message 46: by Kathy (new)

Kathy Davie (kathydavie) | 35 comments Fingers crossed...

message 47: by D.L. (new)

D.L. (silversurfer1221) | 41 comments Indeed ... ;)

message 48: by Sharon (new)

Sharon (fiona64) D. wrote: "Woohoo! The publisher has stated that they will send over a termination agreement for me to sign IN THE MORNING! So, hopefully I will be "independent" tomorrow!"

That is great news. I would recommend that you write a report of your experiences for Predators & Editors.

message 49: by D.L. (new)

D.L. (silversurfer1221) | 41 comments Good news, ladies and gentlemen! I have a signed Termination of Contract from the publisher! We were able to come to an agreement. Since she wants me to develop a website for her (see posts above) we agreed that I would do the work and she would terminate the contract and restore all rights to me for my book. My contract to her (for the website development) also states that she agrees to terminate the contract and restore all rights in exchange for the work. Both contracts explicitly state that no cash will exchange hands. I am now free to do what I please with my book. I feel much better now.

message 50: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl Landmark (clandmark) | 9 comments Good luck with your book, D. It sounds like you made the right decision by terminating your contract with this publisher.

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