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#1 Faiyth

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Posted 05 January 2015 - 11:16 AM

So I was recently (ok.. it was this morning) contacted by a small press who does e-books.

 

They wanted to chat with me on facebook, so emailed me to ask me to friend them. That felt weird, but I figured, whatever so I did it.

 

On facebook they offered for the entire series, they've spoke with illustrators and they liked the story. They didn't give me many particulars. Just said they'd spoken to illustrators and that they wanted to know how many in the series I had and when I wanted to release them.

 

Is this how business is done for Picture Books? This is a publisher, not a agent, so I'm not sure.

 

I had my phone number in the query so I'd have thought they'd just call me, but they didn't. I've googled around for this press, but they must be super new because I can't find anything about them. They favorited my pitch at #SFFpit. Their website is pretty "eh" as well, so I'm wavering. They even have errors on it. I've checked on amazon and some of their authors are listed, but I dunno about an ebook Picture book. I'm excited to be offered for, but then again I'm all not sure what to think.

 

Any thoughts?

 

 


If you'd please comment on my query, I'd GREATLY appreciate it. They are linked below. :)

 

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#2 Guest_AWExley_*

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Posted 05 January 2015 - 12:46 PM

My only experience with Picture books is as a parent, but here's my two cents worth... There's no way I would sign an e-book only deal for a PB.

Think about your market. How many toddlers/early readers use tablets & devices? I only ever bought physical PBs the kids could touch, chew, look at on their own. I would suspect e-book sales of PBs would be very low as they are predominantly sold through bookstores in physical form.

#3 mwsinclair

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Posted 05 January 2015 - 12:59 PM

I'm always leery of anyone who approaches me in that manner about publishing something I've written. As a parent of children who love books, I've downloaded a couple kids' books but they don't want anything to do with them. (That said, I have an old Kindle that doesn't have images, so probably not the best example.)

 

And as AWExley said, I wouldn't want to do an ebook-exclusive picture book. The terms of that contract would need to be viewed very carefully.



#4 sharpegirl

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Posted 05 January 2015 - 01:07 PM

AW and MWSinclair brought up most of my concerns. Anyone who contacts you through Facebook comes off as SUPER unprofessional to me. What are the ranking #'s of their books on Amazon? If the web site is bad and there are actual ERRORS on it, I'd personally run away. If they can't bother to edit their web site, which is the professional face of their business, then how can you expect them to publish your book correctly? What kind of marketing plan do they have to combat the fact that digital picture books don't really sell? 

 

You don't want to give up your rights for a book and often these places have really convoluted contracts that may not be purposefully predatory, but are the result of people not really knowing their stuff. You want the people who are writing your contracts to know what they're doing. Remember that being published poorly is much worse than not being published at all. Your rights to publish this book elsewhere could be tied up for years, especially if the press folds, which many new small presses do within the first 5 years. 

 

The Picture Book Market is already incredibly difficult to break into, mainly because you're competing against picture books that sometimes have been in print for 40, 50 years (which is very mind boggling!) and many parents will naturally start building their PB library with the books THEY remember as kids. 

 

There is a reason why PB, MG and YA books do not do terribly well digitally. Partly it's because the main audience (i.e.: children) don't have credit cards or total control over any money they do have. Also, by digitally publishing, you are limiting yourself to parents and children who are wealthy enough to have access to an e-reader or smartphone, and a lot of family's cannot afford that, but they can afford an actual picture book sometimes.

 

In all honesty, you might be better off self publishing the picture book rather than going with a digital only publisher. At least then you get more royalties, have control over the art and cover, and can tailor the marketing to fit you and your vision. And you protect your rights. 

 

Edited to Add: Another red flag is them asking you "when you want to release them." That's now how a publisher works. You don't set the release dates, the publisher does. Have they even read this book? You mentioned they approached you during PitMad but not that you sent it to them (and if you did, I'm very confused as to why they contacted you through Facebook instead of just emailing you back?) Have they seen outlines for the rest of the series? I'd honestly be wary of anyone offering for a whole series without requesting additional information about said series. 



#5 RSMellette

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Posted 05 January 2015 - 01:14 PM

Ditto.


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#6 Faiyth

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Posted 05 January 2015 - 01:37 PM

Edited to Add: Another red flag is them asking you "when you want to release them." That's now how a publisher works. You don't set the release dates, the publisher does. Have they even read this book? You mentioned they approached you during PitMad but not that you sent it to them (and if you did, I'm very confused as to why they contacted you through Facebook instead of just emailing you back?) Have they seen outlines for the rest of the series? I'd honestly be wary of anyone offering for a whole series without requesting additional information about said series. 

 

I've only sent the book out to like 5 people and have gotten 2 nos and this "we want the entire series".

 

I haven't discussed the book with them other than I sent them the query and the PB text after they favorited me during #SFFpit. Their website went down during that time so I couldn't do much research. It's only now as I look as their "authors" list (they aren't listing the books) that I'm getting wary. They have 10+ authors listed, but when I went on amazon to research the authors and books I noticed almost all of them are ebooks. (free or $.99 kindle editions....) Their website doesn't say they are an ebook only press, but I'm assuming it since I only found 1 regular book listed under them.

 

When I search them on amazon as a publisher I get 15 books, all from about 4 authors and like I said, the books are free or $1. That doesn't sound like something I want.

 

I just wanted justification that my worries are not in vain. I don't want to throw away a chance to sell my PB just because I'm being extra protective.

 

It's just that they aren't coming across as I'd expected them to. I mean they did say that I would get to see the illustrations and all that. Then the discussion about they wanted to know how many books I'd be seeking to be published, when they could expect them, etc. I always thought we focused on the first book first, but this press seems to want the series before I've even written it or know how many will be in the series... There's been no talk of sales, etc. They want to send me a contract, so I may ok them sending it so I can see what the details are, but so far I'm on high alert and likely to say no. :)

 

This'll be the second time this has happened with a twitter pitch party publisher.... the first one was for my YA book and they were calling me daily begging me to sign the contract, but they ended up being a vanity press after further research. They'd have published it free of charge, but I had to sell it myself.... IE buy the book and sell it...


If you'd please comment on my query, I'd GREATLY appreciate it. They are linked below. :)

 

~ Amber

Author of:

Web of Lies (Query, First 250)

Web of Lies: Secrets

Web of Lies: Redemption

Death to Prince Charming
Prey

 


#7 sharpegirl

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Posted 05 January 2015 - 02:01 PM

If they aren't even selling books, but giving them away for free, then run away. How do you expect to get royalties if you don't actually sell the book for money?

 

While it's absolutely the choice of the self published author to put a book up for free (and I know it can be a great marketing tool), this is not something a legit publisher would do. How in the world would they recoup their investment? Who is paying the illustrator? The editor? The formatter? The marketing team? 

 

They are not acting like a legit publisher, just to let you know. We as authors don't get to decide a) how many books to publish or b) when to publish them. There are publishing seasons and certain books do better at certain times, which is why release dates can be important and are often planned YEARS in advance. You are indeed right, a legit publisher focuses on the first book in a series first. While it wouldn't be out of the norm for them to request a brief outline or synopsis of the second book, the focus should be the book that is actually written and ready for editing. Also, as far as I know, while the publisher does have final say over the illustrator typically (depending on the contract), usually they take the author's input into consideration and often offer several options. Or at least that's been the experience I've heard of from my friends who have published PB. 

 

Badly run presses and scam agents are becoming a problem with Twitter Pitch Events. Small presses have taken notice of all the people pitching and try to get their piece of it. And while some of those presses are totally legit and great, not all of them are. It's very frustrating and you are smart to carefully research anyone who approaches you through something like this.

 

Personally, this is not something I'd be willing to pursue. There are way too many red flags already and they just emailed you this morning. If you do decide to get a contract sent to you, you'd be best served by hiring a lawyer to look over it for you. Don't sign anything unless you have a lawyer, because you may be signing away rights that you don't want to give away. I'd also ask them who is running their press and what publishing experience they have. If they have none, or dodge your question, RUN. 

 

A publisher who gives away their books instead of selling them, who has errors on their web page, who doesn't act like most presses do, and who is very new is likely not a good choice for anyone. I'd focus on PB agents if you want to go the traditional route and consider this a bullet dodged, in all honesty. Remember that anyone can put together a web site and call themselves a publisher. Actually having the experience and connections to make a small press work is much harder. It doesn't sound like these people have those things. They may have great intentions, but the reality of publishing requires much more than good intentions. 



#8 IsabelEmilyD

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Posted 14 January 2015 - 12:30 AM

Don't do it!  Your intuition has already told you something's off. Anyone can put up a website, but have others mentioned them somewhere else on the web? If not, BIG red flag!  gosh!:






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