Wednesday, May 28, 2008

I've said it before and I'll say it again--veinglory

I know I sound glib sometimes, when it comes to new small presses. And some of you guys are a bit harsher than me! But it comes down to this. A start up epublisher is a small business. And an author is being asked to invest in this small business. We are not asked to invest money, but hundreds or thousands of hours spent writing a manuscript. A manuscript that could become a book... that could earn money.

Being skeptical is not about being a bitch, a know-it-all or being paranoid. It is not about thinking the owners are scam artists, or even incompetent (although that is a possibility). It is about having someone walk onto the digital podium and ask for an serious investment. It is about sitting back, folding your arms, and thinking 'why would I give my book to you'? At least that is the issue from the writer's point of view and this blog is written from a writer's point of view.

So when I make one of my glib comments about a start-up this is not because I am an expert. I am, statistically speaking, a very average sort of ebook writer. I counsel caution because when it comes to investing in a small business everyone counsels caution. And I put it glibly because I'm a bit of a smart-ass. It's congenital, you know. Here are a few quotes about what the investor needs to consider. For the full article see: A Consumer's Guide to Small Business Investments.

1) How long has the company been in business?
2) Consider whether management is dealing unfairly with investors.
3) How much experience does management have?
4) Do you know enough about the industry to be able to evaluate the company?
5) Does the company have a realistic marketing plan and ... resources to market the product?


Anonymous said...


As one of those former publishers that have been mentioned on your blog a time or two, I would say that you do a very good job at counseling caution without being a bitch.

Every new house, no matter how big or small, no matter who owns it or runs it, should be researched and investigated. If only for the simple fact that a writer is turning over a potentially money making work of art that could possibly be tied up in this new company for years.

I think you are doing a great job Em.


Anonymous said...

I made the mistake of going with a small pub because I got caught up in the shine and glare that they had a good "rep" and a major author in their stable... only to find out that their marketing plans consisted of leaving it all up to ME while they delayed releases and then got snarky when anyone asked/asks questions.

keep on warning people to NOT fall for the "family" line and to check out their prospective publisher. There's actually something worse than not being published - and that's being published by a bad company.

Seeley deBorn said...

Well, if people want to think me a bitch for not immediatly subbing to their neew best friend, Brand New Epublisher, then so be it.

Too many startups are self-publishing ventures by people with no idea of how to run a real business. And too many writers don't have enough sense to be able to see the difference. The desperatin to see one's name in print will make otherwise reasonable people make some strange decisions.