A Cattle baron or Pensioner?

Having just received a publishing contract for Almost There, I thought asking your advice. The PDF file I sent off some weeks ago did receive a favourable response from a UK Publisher from the salubriously situated address at the Canary Wharf, London. There was an oval table and an editorial board who decided that the words of the book’s synopsis and its first couple of chapters had enough merit to consider publishing. They asked for the whole book in Word file. I obliged.

I was overjoyed but somewhat baffled by an Editorial Board having a meeting and the somewhat profuse praise over submissions from an utterly unknown Author of which they must receive dozens, if not hundreds every day. Even so, who would not be pleased by some praise and smooth language? I can tell you, praise is always welcome and at my age, even a shopping trolley without going off a tangent makes my day.

After I sent off the entire manuscripts I was told it might take up to six weeks for a reply. Today, exactly about six weeks, I received a thick envelope By Airmail ‘1st Class Royal Mail,’ from Austin&Macauley, London, with a proposal and contract to publish my book. The covering letter confirmed that all the reports and further meetings by staff, editors and the ‘board’, my work was found to be interesting and engaging. Fair crack of the whip. Could it get any better?

However, after further board meetings, they also felt that due to the marketing team having some doubt about future sales and target audiences it would be best to come to an arrangement of a ‘contributing publishing’ arrangement. The contract came in Duplicate and already signed by the sub editor. The sum of the contribution would be 2500 pounds for a paper back and 3500 pounds for a hard cover.

The letter stated that my book does deserve to be published but the contributing sum asked was only small considering the very considerable costs involved in publishing and above all the marketing of the book. They also stated it would be well worth it, seeing my book would be launched for the reading public alongside other famous publications. My question is; Are they coming the raw prawn? Is it on the level? Twenty-five percent royalty? How many books do I need to sell to recuperate 2500 pounds, even if I live another ten years?

Is it possible they are massaging, assuaging my ego? Might they think of an Australian author as a rich cattle baron? You know, half a million hectares and fifty thousands heads of cattle. Do they see me wearing a slouch hat battling flies and fires while leaning against a fence post? A rich man wanting his book with photo doing the social rounds at Wangaratta or Oodnadatta?

I am a pensioner trying to sell and sharing words around, living with wife and Milo! I mean, I just received five proof copies of my well printed and imminently, (after further correcting,) readable book with over forty photographs and counting 277 pages, all printed for free through CreateSpace. The cost of the proof books airflight posting to Australia from the US, within five days of me finishing uploading the book was about $60.- Trust the Americans to be so efficient!

I don’t know. Google showed some unflattering remarks about publishers seeking contributions from authors. I could not believe my eyes receiving the CreateSpace proof copies today from the Post Office. They look terrific despite some faults and mishaps. I am proud having done it all. I made a mistake of re-sending the same file back again without the corrections. I was furious, but after some reflection decided to up-load the corrected file. This meant starting all over again, including re-designing the cover. It could only be done by making it a new ‘the second’ edition of Almost There, and includes a code number for inclusion in the Australian National Library.

The second new book I sent to the previous UK trusted editor. I have learnt a lot. I am warming up to order some fifty copies or so and will try an sell them through some of the local bookshops. Shall I carry them around in a satchel wearing a beret, knee socks and heavy work-boots?

Life is interesting.

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37 Responses to “A Cattle baron or Pensioner?”

  1. Tammi Kale Says:

    Very enlightening – don’t give up!

    Like

  2. shoreacres Says:

    Gerard: at today’s conversion rate, that’s US $3,500. While you’re imagining the mahogany conference table and the well-dressed, literate editorial board, I’m seeing a half-dozen jokers with computer terminals. Perhaps it’s cynical on my part, but t’s my conviction they care not a whit for you, your words, your status in life, or your ego. They’re concerned with their bottom line.

    In any event, you might want to have a look at this before making a decision.

    Liked by 3 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, Linda. That’s exactly the opinion I have of publishing after being groomed by the oval table group. The money merchants are lurking everywhere. I shall self-publish and save the money and heart-ache. Thank you for that long list of rakes.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Carrie Rubin Says:

    2500 pounds for a paper back and 3500 pounds for a hard cover? That would make me very leery indeed. There are some hybrid publishers out there where authors put up some of the cost, but this seems very excessive. I don’t know who the publisher is, but you might want to check out on Preditors and Editors to see if their on the list — make sure they’re not a vanity press or have any complaints against them. (Here’s the link: http://pred-ed.com/peba.ht)

    But as for getting copies from Createspace, congrats! That’s a lot of work you’ve done. Hold that book in your hand with pride!

    Liked by 3 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, Carrie.
      I as much thought they were not the real McCoy. There even is a video out on U-tube complaining about many publishers asking for contributions from the writer. It is a real war-zone out there and the crooks have finely honed their skills in getting money up front.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Carrie Rubin Says:

    I left a different comment, but I included a link for you to check out, so I think it sent me to spam. You might want to check your spam folder and see if I was banished there.🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. auntyuta Says:

    Oh, life is so interesting!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. lifecameos Says:

    A most fascinating and educational post. You are an explorer sowing us the real world in publishing. Arm yourself, and good luck.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, it is a slippery world out there. One has to develop a Teflon attitude towards so much now-a-days. It is all money. The rich richer the poor poorer.

      Liked by 1 person

    • chris hunter Says:

      Yes, lifecameos. I remember a certain, rather infamous international poetry organisation, in the newer days of the internet, how you could even go so far as to buy your own trophies/scrolls etc, a local poet did this and held the mighty ‘silver’ cup aloft, to the naive local rag and unknowing reading public’s delight, a giant trophy, lots of elaborate scrollwork, history’s final nod.

      Arise the arrived!

      Gerard, Could you please add one more copy to the chalkboard, can I pay online?

      Cheers

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Yvonne Says:

    Good for you, for smelling a rat! That typeof folks no doubt make a pretty darn good living preying on folks who want to see their book in print. No wonder they can afford that snappy table.🙂

    PS I’m enjoying reading your memoirs on Kindle.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Julia Lund Says:

    Createspace seems the way to go. Well done on getting your book to this stage. I have the ebook version lined up on my summer reading list.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, by mistake the second edition is almost there now, Julia. Both paperback and Kindle. Thank you for your kind advice. Just now I discovered a small error on the back page blurb starting a sentence with a verb. Never mind. My daughter tells me it is becoming very common. A result of rapid texting.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Curt Mekemson Says:

    Have to agree with all of the comments above, Gerard. The London thing sounds iffy at best and a rip off at worst. I’d tread warily. –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, it is a con, Curt. I have put the contract back in the envekope. The signatures are even printed on their contracts. It probably is run by just one or two people. I can imagine this outfit checking the bank statements each day, hoping to have caught another sucker. Even if they catch one in a hundred, it must be worth their while. ‘Talk about rubbing hands together in glee.’

      Like

  10. hilarycustancegreen Says:

    Don’t spend a penny in Canary Warf. That is as nearly a scam as it could be. They may not have broken any laws, but that is a stupid amount of money even for vanity publishing. Anyway, you have already published, so you don’t need to pay to do it again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, Hillary. I thought it a bit iffy, but I momentarily savoured the words ‘ are considering your work to be suitable for publishing.’

      It did not last long. Just a Google and it seems I was foolishly taken in by own egocentricity. H said to be always be prepared for bricks in our paving, not gold!

      I enjoy feeling those moments of enthusiasm.

      Like

  11. stuartbramhall Says:

    I signed a similar contract with a print on demand publisher in the US and regretted it. They did absolutely nothing to help me with marketing (if I wanted marketing I had to pay for specific services). LIkewise they overpriced my book, which made it extremely difficult to sell and reneged on a number of aspects of the contract (eg they kept finding reasons to reduce my royalties and they kept demanding additional fees for services promised in the contract listing on Amazon, Barnes and Noble etc).

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      With CreateSpace I did not sign a contract and I can price the books. One does sign the acceptance of their conditions as regards ownership etc. I have a feeling that traditional hard copy publishing is going the way like newspapers.
      I have to market the book myself but there are lots of ways in doing that as well. I’ll try the local bookshops first.
      The road to selling books is littered with the carcases of writers being fed upon by the ravenous vanity publishers. So far I am still alive and kicking.

      Like

  12. petspeopleandlife Says:

    Self publish for Pete’s sake and stop sending your work to crooks. That is clearly a bunch of cheats and could well be only one or two people involved in a money scam.

    You can do pretty darn well and maybe really good all on your own. Good luck and as they say in Great Britain, “keep a stiff upper lip.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, Ivonne. I am doing just that. I do it by mistakes. I certainly acknowledge nothing comes out of perfection. I re-sent the book after correcting many mistakes in formatting, spelling and funny fonts. Unbelievably, I sent the original and faulty file back instead. I sunk into deep gloom, and had to go through it all over again.
      The final version is now ‘second edition’ and should be in the US Amazon carousel within the next few days.
      I hope you are feeling well and thank you for your kind support.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Patti Küche Says:

    Oh my God!!!! Aren’t they meant to be paying you??? OK so it’s an on demand publisher but no way would I be paying out that money. The last thing I want to do is burst your bubble after all your hard work but I get the feeling there’s a large rip-off factor at work here. Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, that’s what I thought, Patti. The rip off factor is always present. Anyway, the contract is in the bin ready for shredding and feeding to the worm farm.
      I did feel dark, Patti. All is good now. Thank you for your kind words and lovely photography.

      Like

  14. kaytisweetlandrasmussen83 Says:

    I don’t trust the Canary Wharf London thing Gerard. Walk softly.

    Like

  15. rodhart (@roderick_hart) Says:

    I agree with other comments here. Don’t give them a penny, let alone a pound. I am reading the Kindle edition right now. I will review Almost There, but right now I am far from almost there myself.

    Liked by 1 person

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