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Thread: Contributory Publishing Deal?

  1. #11
    Offline: Depressed Trollheart's Avatar
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    Thanks for that, Musty. That was a very enlightening - if depressing - read, but it looks like it saved me from making a fool of myself. I kind of wasn't going to go ahead anyway - don't have the money and if I had I don't think I'd want to spend it - but that article went a long way to making up my mind for me.

    I'm going to compose a polite but firm refusal letter and send their contract back to them, unsigned of course. If anyone would care to look over it when it's written I would appreciate it.

    I'm assuming that since, according to that piece, they're not actually real publishers they can't publish my work anywhere? Or do I need to advise them of that, threatening the old legal action if they do? They only have email attachments but still, I wouldn't want to see them using my work. Mind you, if it costs them and I'm not about to shell out that cash then it seems from what I read that they won't be putting their hand in their pocket, but I'd like to be sure.

    Thanks again, to you and everyone else here who gave me advice.
    TH
    Come away, human child to the waters and the wild
    With a faery hand in hand.
    For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand. - WB Yeats "The Stolen Child"

    I drink to forget, but I never forget to drink.

    "If the real Jesus Christ were to stand up today
    He'd be gunned down cold by the CIA" - The The, "Armageddon Days Are Here (Again)" - Mind Bomb, 1989


    The most destructive force on the planet is not nukes or global warming...it is the human ego. - Ralph Rotten

  2. #12
    Offline: Depressed Trollheart's Avatar
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    Here's a draft of the letter. If anyone has any comments on it before I print it please let me know. I've tried not to be too confrontational and yet firm in my refusal. Thanks to any who reads it, thanks for any advice.

    Wednesday, November 6 2019

    Austin MacAuley Publishers
    25 Canada Square
    Canary Wharf
    London E14 5LQ

    Attn: Katie Idle, Alexander Holiday, Jade Robertson

    Re: “A Harmless Old Man” (also “The Yellow Windows of the Evening Train” and “Behind the Mask”)

    Dear Sirs and Madams,

    Thank you for your interest in my writings, as detailed above, and for the publishing contract you sent to me by post, which I received this morning. I was somewhat surprised, firstly to be successful with my first submission (and the hint that my other two were also being considered for later publication) but secondly that you had intended to publish “A Harmless Old Man” as a book. Odd, as this is more a long short story, running only to 50,000 words, hardly sufficient to qualify as a book, ie a novel. I had expected that, were any of my works (especially this one) selected, it or they would be published perhaps as part of a collection. And yet you seem to intend to publish this as a book. Who, I wonder, is likely to pay for a book that only fills fifty-odd pages when printed?

    I was rather disappointed (though I had expected as much) that you are offering me a “contributory contract”, which entails my outlaying what is, to me, in my circumstances, a rather large amount of money. I understand when you say that this is to help defray publishing and marketing expenses, but quite frankly, I doubt other reputable publishing houses such as Penguin or Random House use this model. I also understand that you would be taking a risk by publishing an unknown author, but then, isn't that the risk every publiishing house takes anyway? Nobody is famous from the first; every writer had to start somewhere, and I'm willing to bet that even the likes of Stephen King or Clive Barker or, hell, Charles Dickens, were not asked to pay to have their first works published!

    My brief but illuminating investigations into your company and its practices have not given me any confidence in your reputation or ability as a firm who could best serve my interests, and I have no wish to join in “a partnership” with you, as you put it. I regret to inform you therefore that I am unable – indeed, quite unwilling - to accept your offer. I would also point out that I believe it is disingenuous of you to expect me to pay to have my writing published. If my writing is good enough – and it may very well not be – I believe it will stand on its own merits, and will hopefully eventually find publication with someone who is willing to invest their capital in my future, believing it to their advantage to do so, and who will not ask me to pay for the privilege. If not, then perhaps I will look into self-publishing. I am not, however, so desperate to see my name in print that I would pay someone like yourselves to achieve that. Whether I am a good writer or not will only be proven in time – and given the ulterior motives behind your praise for my stories I cannot help but doubt its sincerity – but I have my integrity, and will never allow this to be compromised.

    I would like to take this opportunity to remind you that any and all manuscripts already sent to you remain my own exclusive copyright, and should not be published, disseminated or altered in any form without my express written permission.

    I thank you for your time, but respectfully decline your offer.
    Yours Faithfully,

    Deryck O'Byrne.

    Come away, human child to the waters and the wild
    With a faery hand in hand.
    For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand. - WB Yeats "The Stolen Child"

    I drink to forget, but I never forget to drink.

    "If the real Jesus Christ were to stand up today
    He'd be gunned down cold by the CIA" - The The, "Armageddon Days Are Here (Again)" - Mind Bomb, 1989


    The most destructive force on the planet is not nukes or global warming...it is the human ego. - Ralph Rotten

  3. #13
    Honestly, I'd just block them. There's really no point talking to scammers and there are tons of them out there. Good job asking BEFORE you signed a contract or sent them any money, though. So many authors only think of that after the damage is already done.
    Last edited by Ma'am; November 6th, 2019 at 10:57 PM.

  4. #14
    Offline: Depressed Trollheart's Avatar
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    I know what you mean, but from what I read of them in that article I don't want to give them any quasi-legal basis to demand money, eg you never returned your contract so we took it that you accepted. I want them to be in no doubt that, sorry guys, it's a NO from me. I also want to piss them off a little, showing them that I know what they're up to, while couching that in vague enough terms that they can't threaten to go legal on me.
    Come away, human child to the waters and the wild
    With a faery hand in hand.
    For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand. - WB Yeats "The Stolen Child"

    I drink to forget, but I never forget to drink.

    "If the real Jesus Christ were to stand up today
    He'd be gunned down cold by the CIA" - The The, "Armageddon Days Are Here (Again)" - Mind Bomb, 1989


    The most destructive force on the planet is not nukes or global warming...it is the human ego. - Ralph Rotten

  5. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Trollheart View Post
    I know what you mean, but from what I read of them in that article I don't want to give them any quasi-legal basis to demand money, eg you never returned your contract so we took it that you accepted. I want them to be in no doubt that, sorry guys, it's a NO from me. I also want to piss them off a little, showing them that I know what they're up to, while couching that in vague enough terms that they can't threaten to go legal on me.
    It doesn't work that way. Until they get a signed contract, they have no contract. They can't just assume you agree. It would never stand up in court. They're just trying to scam you and I'm sure they're doing the same thing to 100 other people right now. They have no leg to stand on, legal or otherwise. They'll just go on to the next hopeful sucker. They don't care about your response.

  6. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Trollheart View Post
    Need your help here guys, especially those who are well versed in the world of publishing.
    My heart is racing as I just received a publishing contract for one of my longer short stories, which I reckon these guys intend to publish as a book. Novella I guess - about 50,000 words. They seem very enthused about it. However they're offering me a contributory contract, which means I have to stump up £2,300 as a one-time payment.

    Does this sound right, and has anyone any experience of doing this? I don't make much money, being a fulltime carer, and that's a hell of a lot of money for me to find. I'd have to ask family for help, and that's fine if it's a loan against sales, that I can pay back to them later. But if it just disappears into a black hole and I never see anything back from it, then I'll be very upset.

    I know nobody can predict how a book will sell, but is this the way to go? Or, since these people expressed interest in the story/book, should I look further afield to see if some other publisher will take it on without asking me for money? If I decline this opportunity am I losing my only chance at publication or should I not move too hastily?

    Any help very much appreciated.
    Thanks
    TH

    What you are describing is known as a "Vanity Press."
    Run, don't walk, away from these guys.
    Avoid them like the plague.

  7. #17
    Offline: Depressed Trollheart's Avatar
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    Thanks for that Ralph. The guys and gals here have made me aware of how fake it is, and I'll be returning the unsigned contract tomorrow.

    I'll also be cancelling that purchase of the Maserati, but sure, you can't have everything, right?
    Come away, human child to the waters and the wild
    With a faery hand in hand.
    For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand. - WB Yeats "The Stolen Child"

    I drink to forget, but I never forget to drink.

    "If the real Jesus Christ were to stand up today
    He'd be gunned down cold by the CIA" - The The, "Armageddon Days Are Here (Again)" - Mind Bomb, 1989


    The most destructive force on the planet is not nukes or global warming...it is the human ego. - Ralph Rotten

  8. #18
    If they're that enthusiastic, they should be more than happy to pay you. If they won't, they're scammers. If they can't, they're poor publishers.

    This is an easy one. Don't bother sending polite letters, this is a bridge you want to burn. Tell them to fuck off.
    "If you don't like my peaches, don't shake my tree."

    "Perhaps I write for no one. Perhaps for the same person children are writing for when they scrawl their names in the snow."

    “Remember this: Dumbo didn’t need the feather; the magic was in him. ”

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  9. #19
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    I believe that the situation swings both ways. My first book had a deal that they withdrew due to bookshops unilaterally changing their terms of payment (the tail was wagging the dog). They went onto govt printing. I fully understood their following offer some months down the line for a pay to publish. Not a lot but being broke I could not indulge. I had some colleagues beta proof my work and it changed significantly enough for a UK publisher published it for me. A huge lesson on set outs and formats etc. But it made me appreciate the huge investment of time needed to get a book to print. I had done the graphs and illustrations myself, not needing complex pictures.

    Take my second book. I have a massive amount of time invested in its production, well critiqued to this point it still has a way to go. The pictures need professional illustration. I know that there will still be a lot of work for an editor. The publishing costs include graphics cheaper than the amount my very slack artist has quoted. I would like to stay with my illustrator but she is doing me no favours and I have missed my more important deadlines.

    Publishers have a vast volume of manuscripts being submitted only a precious few make the cut and even fewer succeed to make money. This is against slow paying book stores. They don't go in much for further risk on new genres and authors unless you have a brilliant topic well edited and presented.

    Saying that - you need to set your goals and priorities. Pay and pray or have the validation that others have faith in your work and presentation enough to back you. If it is money then you have to tick all the boxes so that they can make money off your work.

  10. #20
    Offline: Depressed Trollheart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moose.H View Post
    I believe that the situation swings both ways. My first book had a deal that they withdrew due to bookshops unilaterally changing their terms of payment (the tail was wagging the dog). They went onto govt printing. I fully understood their following offer some months down the line for a pay to publish. Not a lot but being broke I could not indulge. I had some colleagues beta proof my work and it changed significantly enough for a UK publisher published it for me. A huge lesson on set outs and formats etc. But it made me appreciate the huge investment of time needed to get a book to print. I had done the graphs and illustrations myself, not needing complex pictures.

    Take my second book. I have a massive amount of time invested in its production, well critiqued to this point it still has a way to go. The pictures need professional illustration. I know that there will still be a lot of work for an editor. The publishing costs include graphics cheaper than the amount my very slack artist has quoted. I would like to stay with my illustrator but she is doing me no favours and I have missed my more important deadlines.

    Publishers have a vast volume of manuscripts being submitted only a precious few make the cut and even fewer succeed to make money. This is against slow paying book stores. They don't go in much for further risk on new genres and authors unless you have a brilliant topic well edited and presented.

    Saying that - you need to set your goals and priorities. Pay and pray or have the validation that others have faith in your work and presentation enough to back you. If it is money then you have to tick all the boxes so that they can make money off your work.
    Yes but that's not the point. If you read that article it clearly shows that they only take your money, print a few copies (maybe even just one for you) and do no marketing or promotion whatsoever. They do what you could do yourself for a much cheaper price, and there's no chance that your book will sell, unless by freak chance, assuming they've actually printed up enough and shown them to or submitted them to someone. They're just playing on people's dreams to fleece them and that is not cool.
    Come away, human child to the waters and the wild
    With a faery hand in hand.
    For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand. - WB Yeats "The Stolen Child"

    I drink to forget, but I never forget to drink.

    "If the real Jesus Christ were to stand up today
    He'd be gunned down cold by the CIA" - The The, "Armageddon Days Are Here (Again)" - Mind Bomb, 1989


    The most destructive force on the planet is not nukes or global warming...it is the human ego. - Ralph Rotten

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