Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Five dead micropresses
May they rest in peace.
All of these were startup POD publishers which didn’t charge their authors for publication and which seemed like good ideas at the time to many people. All of them are now defunct, taking the dreams (and sometimes money) of writers with them.
1. Rain Publishing, 2005-2008
Writers were told that “Rain Publishing has begun a new revolution of conventional publishing”. A claim from a startup that it will change the industry is usually a red flag, but Rain’s insistence on taking the writers’ copyright was a more serious warning sign.
Rain went out of business in April 2008 due to “personal health reasons” on the founder’s part. One of their authors said that Rain’s books were priced even higher than PublishAmerica’s and Rain did not send out review copies even when major reviewers requested them (after being contacted by the author). Read more here.
2. Capri Publishing, 2005-2006
Capri was started by a former PA author, and named after the founder’s child*. The founder had a full-time job and a family, so the publishing was a part-time deal at best, although she claimed that Capri would accept only “a limited amount of manuscripts for 2007”. This limited amount included 50 novels.
In late 2006, newly released books stopped appearing on Amazon. A few authors received replies to their emails or phone calls about this.
I received an email stating that the reason I didn't get my books is because she was depressed.
Capri Publishing was taken over by new management which seemed to be as much out of touch with publishing as the old management, but which charged fees into the bargain. Finally it went down for good.
3. Luna Brilliante, 2006-2007
Although Luna Brilliante had no distribution (normal for POD presses), it started out with good intentions, claiming that it would publish only 4 – 5 books per year. Book prices were also more competitive than those of a lot of POD presses. Then one of the partners pulled out, leaving the company short of money.
But if funds don’t come from the publisher then there’s always another reliable source.
Luna Brillante Publishing, a Florida based business, announced the company is now accepting submissions from prospective authors for their new venture in Collaborative Publishing... The packages – Moondrop, Moonebeam, and Moonglade range from $399 to $899.
The publisher admitted that Luna Brilliante was run by people without much experience (or hope of doing anything more than breaking even), but that they were learning. In early 2007, Luna Brilliante went out of business. The fallout was severe for the publisher as well.
After we shut down LBP, our creditors began coming after us, we've burned through our savings and we're struggling to prevent leins against our home. One of the authors didn't take our demise too well and is threatening to sue.
4. TICO Publishing, 2004–2007
TICO Publishing started by offering paid reviews, though the publisher addressed concerns and seemed willing to make changes to their policies.
Unfortunately TICO had an very author-unfriendly contract that grabbed rights and did not require the publisher to commit to a publication date**. The publisher also claimed that,
All manuscripts get commented on by (at least) the first reader. The comments include a synopsis of the story and comments on what the reader did and/or didn't like about the story.
I’m not sure why the writer would need this synopsis. Including comments also doesn’t seem like the most productive use of reader time.
TICO’s website no longer exists and its blog has not been updated since May 2007.
5. Light Sword Publishing, 2006-2008
The first thing we ask each of our author's to remember is that YOU must sell your book. --> Link
Light Sword Publishing was founded by Linda Daly, a former PA author with no experience in publishing. Much like PA, Light Sword paid a dollar advance, described itself as a “traditional, royalty paying publisher”, and expected authors to do the bulk of marketing and distribution.
And much like PA, there were issues about nonpayment of royalties and unprofessional behavior. In 2008, an author successfully sued for breach of contract. Light Sword Publishing then changed its name to LSP Digital.
In addition, LSP will direct our authors to further promote their work by:
*** Requesting that they mail out a minimum of 100 announcement letters to family, friends and colleagues introducing their release.
In late 2008, Light Sword Publishing filed for bankruptcy, although LSP Digital did not. I’ll close with this quote from LSP’s “In the News” page, about an author’s self-promotion tactic.
…if the reader can get 10 others to buy a copy, they will have their purchase reimbursed. Getting 20 new customers earns the referrer a free copy of the book and 50 gets them a free 18 inch by 18 inch throw pillow.
I should hope the pillow was free. I’d hate to take part in what looks like a tacky pyramid scheme, only to find I had to pay for my pillow.
*If I were starting a publishing company, I’d find a rich person to invest in it and name it after their child.
**Which goes to show that “the publisher did everything specified in the contract” is not much of a defense of the publisher.