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Old 08-28-2008, 11:21 PM   #1
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John Hunt Publishing / O Books / Perfect Edge

aka John Hunt Publishing?

This is what was provided regarding this publisher from a colleague:

"This publisher publishes books in English and distributes in every English speaking country. He uses the very best distribution service for MBS books in the US, so the books have a good chance of getting into bookstores. They’ll get on Amazon etc. He expects authors to help with promotion and marketing (they all do nowadays anyway). The downside (for authors and agents) is that he does not offer any advance payment of royalties. The upside is that he makes his decision quickly (in a few days, not a few months) and he offers 10% royalty on net price (graduating upward) based on # of books sold. He pays royalties twice a year."
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Old 08-28-2008, 11:30 PM   #2
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Old 08-28-2008, 11:39 PM   #3
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I'm so sorry...thank you, veinglory. Rushing out the door as usual....
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Old 08-28-2008, 11:41 PM   #4
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No problem. I had nothing useful to say about them but thought I could at least throw up the link. I thought some of their books looked very interesting and nicely presented.
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Old 08-29-2008, 01:58 AM   #5
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That 10% royalty on net bothers me a bit. I've seen elsewhere on this forum that this is an indicator of someone who might not necessarily be on the up-and-up as royalty on net means they can take out their costs (everything from the lightbulbs in their fixtures to paperclips) before paying you a dime.
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Old 08-29-2008, 02:04 AM   #6
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I've never encountered the term "MBS books" before. What does it mean? A Google search leads to thousands of results for the large US textbook wholesaler, and clearly that's not what's being talked about here.
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Old 08-29-2008, 02:16 AM   #7
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MBS is "mind, body and spirit." I just learned that myself. LOL.

Supposedly, this publisher is the UK equivalent of New World Publishing here in the States (new age, though the original publisher of The Power of Now).

I received an extraordinarily long document that details their operation. I had the link here but realized it wasn't available for public view, so I thought I'd better remove it!

They're definitely different -- and I'm a fan of different. I would simply appreciate the professional expertise (or even gut instinct) of those of you who've dealt with various publishers on any level in the last few years.

It's all soooooo different nowadays.

We all know the author is essentially responsible for marketing in today's publishing world, so that part doesn't concern me. However, the fact that you get no advance whatsoever is disappointing, as that's often what is used TO market the book.

This seems like one of the many hybrids that have popped up in recent years, a mixture of self-publishing and traditional, though reputable.

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Old 08-29-2008, 02:39 AM   #8
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We all know the author is essentially responsible for marketing in today's publishing world....
We may all know it, but it's just flat untrue. Publishers market books. That's what their job is; that's what they do.

Why in the world would they leave the most important part of their business in the hands of untrained, underfunded amateurs?
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Old 08-29-2008, 03:04 AM   #9
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Really? I realize publishers fund marketing campaigns for their A-list authors, but aren't the lesser-known authors assuming the vast majority of marketing efforts nowadays?

I'm asking sincerely, as that is all I have heard in the last few years...and how advances are being used to fund marketing and PR efforts.

Last edited by nccreative; 08-29-2008 at 03:30 AM. Reason: no excuse, just careless :)
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Old 08-29-2008, 03:11 AM   #10
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It seems this would be a Plan B, if traditional publishing didn't materialize as an option.
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Old 08-29-2008, 04:42 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nccreative View Post
Really? I realize publishers fund marketing campaigns for their A-list authors, but aren't the lesser-known authors assuming the vast majority of marketing efforts nowadays?

I'm asking sincerely, as that is all I have heard in the last few years...and how advances are being used to fund marketing and PR efforts.
The A-list types may get bigger marketing campaigns, but commercial publishers do marketing for all of their publishers. This includes listing in catalogs.

The other day I ran across a cover flat of a book of mine from over ten years ago. I'm a D-list author, but attached to the cover flat was information about the book, an author bio, and details intended to convince the bookstore that they really ought to order in some copies.

Shoot, another thing commercial publishers do (from the small presses on up) is offer discounts to booksellers, plus their books are fully returnable. I'm not sure that directly falls under "marketing," but a decent discount can help convince bookstore to stock a few copies.

Authors generally do what they can to help promote books, but Jim is right:

Quote:
Why in the world would they leave the most important part of their business in the hands of untrained, underfunded amateurs?
I have some background, but I certainly don't have the training in marketing to booksellers, nor do I have the time and money to spend on the effort. That's not my job. Publishers make money selling books. Writers make money selling books to publishers.
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Old 08-29-2008, 04:52 AM   #12
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I really don't know anything about this particular company, but from the first post it says that the company expects the author to help with marketing and promotion. That's pretty standard for most publishers--the more an author helps promote the book (usually) the better it sells.
Regarding royalties on net, it's not ideal, obviously, but it's not necessarily a sign of a shady publisher. Lots of smaller publishers pay on net these days because the cost of producing a book is so high. It's the only way those publishers can make money. You probably can negotiate that net royalty higher, though; 10% of net isn't very much.
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Old 08-29-2008, 05:02 AM   #13
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Really? I realize publishers fund marketing campaigns for their A-list authors, but aren't the lesser-known authors assuming the vast majority of marketing efforts nowadays?
Authors are doing a lot of the post-publication marketing nowadays--signings, appearances, websites, blogs, etc. But commercial publishers still take care of the vital marketing that has to be done pre-publication, to ensure reviews, bookstore and library orders, and some degree of pre-pub visibility through such things as catalogs and trade advertising. In other words, it's not an author's job to get his or her book into bookstores.

For non-blockbuster books and authors, this pre-pub marketing is way more important than just about anything that can be done post-pub. Also, for post-pub marketing to be effective, the pre-pub stuff has to be in place. Authors don't have access to the channels through which the pre-pub stuff is done, so if the publisher doesn't do them, the author is probably not going to able to duplicate them, no matter how hard s/he works or how motivated s/he is.

Not for nothing, but the emphasis on post-publication marketing for ALL authors, not just the A-listers, is relatively new to the publishing world. Two decades ago self-promotion not only wasn't the norm (because it wasn't really necessary--publishing has changed so much in twenty years!), it was considered rather tacky.

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Old 08-29-2008, 05:03 AM   #14
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O Books is distributed in the US and Canada by NBN, so they would seem to have an important component of pre-pub marketing in place.

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Old 08-29-2008, 05:05 AM   #15
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Since this is primarily non-fiction, I'm wondering if that "net" connotation is typical of this type of publisher. But, agreed, 10% on net is dismal.

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Old 08-29-2008, 05:09 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nccreative View Post
Really? I realize publishers fund marketing campaigns for their A-list authors, but aren't the lesser-known authors assuming the vast majority of marketing efforts nowadays?
"Marketing" and "promotion" are not the same thing in the publishing world.

Quote:
I'm asking sincerely, as that is all I have heard in the last few years...and how advances are being used to fund marketing and PR efforts.
Any author who's funding marketing efforts for anything that's not self-published or co-op is being ripped off, in my opinion. Promotion and PR are something else entirely.

Quote:
It seems this would be a Plan B, if traditional publishing didn't materialize as an option.
It seems like a Plan G or H to me, after trying all the large houses, middle-sized houses, and small houses that do the marketing themselves. It might be a better bet than self-publishing, though.

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Old 08-29-2008, 05:27 AM   #17
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Popping in to thank you all for responding. I will try to read through that extraordinarily long document, and come back with any questions as a result of doing so.

Your feedback is greatly appreciated.
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Old 08-29-2008, 04:12 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nccreative View Post
Really? I realize publishers fund marketing campaigns for their A-list authors, but aren't the lesser-known authors assuming the vast majority of marketing efforts nowadays?

I'm asking sincerely, as that is all I have heard in the last few years...and how advances are being used to fund marketing and PR efforts.
Okay, let's talk about marketing campaigns.

First, the number one reason anyone buys a novel is they've read and enjoyed another book by the same author.

The number two reason anyone buys a novel is that it was recommended by a trusted friend.

All the other reasons vanish down into the single-digit percentages. (The reasons people buy non-fiction are different ... and not important right now.)

The marketing that you're thinking of -- newspaper and radio ads, for example -- that the A-list authors get serve one purpose: "You know that book you were going to buy the minute it came out? It's out!" That only works because of reason one above: The public has read and enjoyed previous books by the same author. You could get the same print ads that a Rowling or a Grisham get ... without getting the same results. Because there aren't enough people waiting for your next book. If you're a first-time author there's no one waiting for your next book.

Smaller stuff -- end cap placement, for example -- gets spread out pretty well among all the house's authors. The bigger houses have more money to spend on that.

Trusted friends ... you know who they are. (That's one reason you want Oprah to recommend your book; she's the trusted friend to millions.) That's also where reviewers come in. That's why publishers send out hundreds of ARCs (Advance Reading Copies) to reviewers, and not just for their A-listers ... for everyone.

Here's what all publishers do for all their authors, first-time no-names and everyone else:

1) ARCs to reviewers
2) Ads in trade mags (you won't see those unless you're running a bookstore)
3) Listed in the publisher's catalog, which is sent to every bookstore and library in the country
4) Touted by paid salespersons who visit bookstores and chain buyers. There will be a publicist assigned to your book. That publicist will be handling many other books, but he or she has contacts that you just don't have.

You, as an author, can't do any of those things. Those, however, are the things that actually sell books.

Having the book on the shelf is the important part, and the publisher will be moving the heavens to get a couple of copies of their entire line on every bookstore shelf in America. That's for the early-adopters, the people who will pick up books that look "interesting," and (it is to be hoped) recommend them to their friends (see above, reason two why anyone buys a novel). It's also for the folks who want to buy your book for whatever reason (they read another of your books, for example). The publisher wants your book to be on the shelf when that person walks in the door, because if it isn't, the odds are low that they'll seek it out. They'll buy another book instead.

Another thing that all publishers do is put an attractive cover on your book. Book covers are meant to be point-of-sale ads for the book. The publisher may well have paid as much to the cover artist as they did to you.

You could hire your own publicist. Sure. But rather than that, blowing your entire advance to make back pennies on the dollar, you'd be better advised to spend your advance on groceries while you're writing your next book. Because each of your books is the best possible publicity for all the others. Write another novel. You're an excellent, professional author, right? Do what writers do. Write. The short story you sell to a major magazine is better publicity than anything you could buy.

If merely running external marketing campaigns was all that it took to make any book a best-seller, publishers would run them on every book. Who wouldn't want every book to be a best seller?

The idea that publishers don't market and promote their products effectively is a strange one, and it's retold by people who aren't your friends. Publishers want to sell all their books, including yours, because that's how they make their money.
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Old 08-29-2008, 05:48 PM   #19
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Victoria and Jim put it better than I did*: If your publisher can't get books into stores, all the promotion you do most likely won't get the book noticed beyond your family and friends, and perhaps the city where you live.

This isn't to say that you shouldn't be doing promotion, but you need to know what your publisher is going to do to back you up.

(*Darned sinuses.)
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Old 08-29-2008, 08:34 PM   #20
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Okay, let's talk about marketing campaigns.

First, the number one reason anyone buys a novel...
I'm pretty sure nccreative's book is non-fiction, as John Hunt Publishing doesn't seem to do fiction.

I totally agree with everything you said about marketing and getting books into stores. But the number one reason people buy non-fiction is because they're looking for books on a particular topic.
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Old 08-29-2008, 08:44 PM   #21
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And in that context they do seem to have books by qualified people in specific niches, some of which are interesting to me at least.
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Old 08-29-2008, 10:11 PM   #22
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Hi, Everyone

Once again, thanks for the thoughts in this thread. James, thank you for taking the time to spell things out as you did; it certainly puts it all into perspective.

We (I'm a collaborator) are passing on this option and shall exhaust the traditional route before entertaining anything such as this. The book in question is non-fiction, but you'll also see me post questions pertaining to a novel, as well as a WWII memoir.

Have a great holiday weekend!
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Old 08-29-2008, 11:05 PM   #23
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But the number one reason people buy non-fiction is because they're looking for books on a particular topic.
Indeed they do. And they'll hunt down books if they have to. They'll hunt down self-published books if that's what it takes to get the information they need.

I don't see author marketing in that, either, particularly not of the spend-your-entire-advance variety.

What you need is obvious, known expertise. You get that by being an expert. (Let's leave aside squishy fields like New Age Marketing, where... well, the rules are different there, too.)

If you are a solid expert with a reputation in your field, and there's a big enough market, finding a publisher shouldn't be a big problem. (If there isn't a big enough market, no amount of author marketing will make it bigger.)
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Old 08-29-2008, 11:22 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by James D. Macdonald View Post
Indeed they do. And they'll hunt down books if they have to. They'll hunt down self-published books if that's what it takes to get the information they need.

I don't see author marketing in that, either, particularly not of the spend-your-entire-advance variety.
Agreed!
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Old 08-29-2008, 11:27 PM   #25
Sheryl Nantus
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Originally Posted by JulieB View Post
Victoria and Jim put it better than I did*: If your publisher can't get books into stores, all the promotion you do most likely won't get the book noticed beyond your family and friends, and perhaps the city where you live.

This isn't to say that you shouldn't be doing promotion, but you need to know what your publisher is going to do to back you up.

(*Darned sinuses.)
repeated for the truth.

been there, done that - won't torture you with the details but I did a lot and got nothing back.

my "publisher" did no ARCs, few if any review copies, no distribution and no catalogue.

you can't go it alone. Unless you have more money than common sense.

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