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A Book Deal That Was Too Good To Be True

• A late August news story about a six-year-old boy who was allegedly given a 23-book deal caught the attention of numerous global news outlets and became something of an urban legend. In truth, it was a hoax.

• The story was a hoax fabricated by the child’s mother, who’d already previously published several books with vanity presses.

By Noel Griese

Maybe it was the heat? In late August, a number of worldwide newspapers and online news outlets, particularly in Great Britain, carried a story about 6-year-old Leo Hunter, who is said to have been offered a 23-book deal with Strategic Book Publishing of Boca Raton, Florida worth thousands of dollars after he supposedly wrote a book titled Me and My Best Friend about him and his dog.

Among the UK newspapers that were taken in by the story were the Daily Mirror, The Sun and The Daily Telegraph. Several US outlets also bit on the tale.

A story by reporter Paul Whyatt at the “This Is Derbyshire” website originated most of the new urban legend that generated worldwide media coverage.

According to that story, Leo’s mother, Jamie Hunter, a novelist who lives at Derby Road, Spondon, in Derbyshire, England, and writes under the pseudonym J.S. Huntlands, “gave her literary agency Leo’s tale, and they brought it to the attention of U.S. publisher Strategic Book Publishing,” which then offered the alleged 23-book deal.

As to Jamie Hunter’s author credentials, she wrote a novel about domestic violence, Nick Twisted Minds, which she paid to publish with U.S. vanity press AuthorHouse.

According to TheCelebrityCafe.com, Strategic Book Publishing liked Leo’s book so much that they agreed to a contract in which Leo will receive “20 percent from early sales of the 25-page books. But this will rise to 50 percent if more than 500 are sold.”

Leo supposedly will write under the same pseudonym as his mother, J.S. Huntlands, to protect his privacy.

Trouble is, the story is a hoax. Mom Jamie was, indeed, under a contract with Strategic to publish Me and My Best Friend, when son Leo was only four. In the introduction to the book, she writes, “Thank you to my son for the inspiration to write this series.” But, as for a publishing deal, Robert Fletcher, the principal in Strategic Book Group, responding from China, where he attended the 2010 Beijing Book Fair, said there were no contracts at his company with Leo Hunter.

Me and My Best Friend was published in July 2009. It has gone nowhere since then. On Sept. 5, the paperback children’s book was ranked #6,099,472 on Amazon.com, about as bad as an Amazon ranking can get.

There’s a camp that believes publicity sells books, and that any publicity is good publicity. Here we have a story that went around the world, resulting, likely, in millions of impressions. Did all that publicity sell any books? Not if we look at the Amazon ranking. Despite all the publicity, there was no movement for Me and My Best Friend.

If there’s any other lesson, it’s that it’s important for aspiring authors to remember that there are hundreds of hard-working legitimate publishers, large and small, who don’t charge and are vying for your business. Before deciding to pay to produce your book, consider seeking them out. If you can’t find a conventional publisher, do your due diligence research and don’t fall for a seductive sales pitch that’s too good to be true. Your hard work deserves better.

DISCUSS: How young is too young to publish?

UPDATED 9/17/10: The original article incorrectly stated that author Jamie Hunter paid Strategic Book Marketing to publish Me and My Best Friend. In fact, Me and My Best Friend was published by Strategic Book Marketing under a contract with the author. “There was no cost to this author,” wrote Robert Fletcher, CEO of Strategic Book Marketing in our comment thread. “We pay an advance/royalty of $1000 when 1000 books are sold, that way we can invest in marketing for our authors.”

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27 Comments

  1. Posted September 13, 2010 at 3:19 am | Permalink

    All it took was a little digging and the rest of the world that knew how to do their homework knew the story was a hoax last week

  2. Posted September 13, 2010 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    Thanks for a professional story. It just goes to show that “you can only believe half of what you read out there, and that half is suspect”. We’ve now published 2500 authors and sold a half million books. Our outreach to China and the rest of the world is paying off for our authors. We expect to have at least 12 deals with Chinese publishers. Luckily, we take mistakes like this in stride and just keep doing what we do best, finding great authors that want to succeed and helping them with all our ability. Onwards, ever onwards!

  3. Posted September 13, 2010 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    So many things about the original story stink, one wonders if all those who reported it as fact were drunk. Tell me again why bloggers have such a reputation for being factually unreliable?

  4. Posted September 13, 2010 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    For more information on Strategic Book Publishing and its network of related literary agencies and editing services, see this Alert from the Writer Beware website: http://www.sfwa.org/for-authors/writer-beware/alerts/#Literary . Writer Beware has been receiving complaints about these companies since 2001.

    The hoax that’s the subject of this article was first exposed on the Writer Beware blog: http://accrispin.blogspot.com/2010/08/how-media-gets-it-wrong.html

    It should also be noted that the principal of Strategic, Robert Fletcher, is being sued along with several of his colleagues by the Florida Attorney General for deceptive business practices: http://www.myfloridalegal.com/newsrel.nsf/newsreleases/0CA04161DA4BE29C8525762600550D21

  5. Posted September 13, 2010 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    Once again, facts are important. Author House is not a “vanity” press. As I understand it a vanity press is one which gives the author no editing or advice but simply provides printing and charges the client/author for a determined run of printing. Author House and iUniverse [to name just another one] provides all the services of a traditional house, albeit, the author does carry the cost. I am not commenting on the quality of the mother’s book because I know nothing of it. I do expect this was an ill conceived publicity stunt.

    But facts are important. Unfortunately, this article paints a negative image of all indie authors.

  6. Posted September 13, 2010 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    I’m 99% sure I saw this story reported/repeated in numerous reputable publishing newsletters, but never read the whole tale, so it wasn’t until I saw this story in PP that I learned it was a fake. I guess the lesson for me is that I’m so tuned out to the stupidity of publishing, that I’m willing to believe there are silly book publishers out there willing to pay for just about anything, even 23 books from a 6 year old.

  7. Nick Caruso
    Posted September 13, 2010 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    Victoria Strauss, with her endless assault on Strategic Book Group, needs to get a life. Enough already Vicky! There are numerous authors with Strategic that are doing very well. You are a pitiful person and your continous negativity does little to serve yourself or the publishing industry.

  8. Posted September 13, 2010 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    Mary E Martin wrote, “Once again, facts are important. Author House is not a “vanity” press. As I understand it a vanity press is one which gives the author no editing or advice but simply provides printing and charges the client/author for a determined run of printing. Author House and iUniverse [to name just another one] provides all the services of a traditional house, albeit, the author does carry the cost.”

    Mary, you’ve got that wrong I’m afraid. A vanity press is one which earns the majority of its income from its authors; a commercial publisher makes its money from selling books to readers. As for the editing that books receive: I worked for some time as an editor for the big commercial publishers and for the past two years I’ve been reviewing self-published and vanity-published books on a blog of mine. In all that time I’ve not found a single book which has been edited, designed, typset or printed to the standards of commercial publishing. Those services might be offered by the vanity presses: but if that’s the case, the quality of them is very, very poor.

    My thanks to Victoria for providing those links here: the more people who discover the truth about Robert Fletcher’s operations, including Strategic Publishing, the better. Good on you, girl.

  9. Posted September 13, 2010 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    I note that “Robert” above says, “We’ve now published 2500 authors and sold a half million books.”

    I note that that works out to 200 books per author.

    Tell me, “Robert,” how many of those books were sold to the authors themselves?

  10. Posted September 13, 2010 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    The publishing snobs are harming the chances of indie publishers with their sneers of ‘vanity publishing’ and the like. There are plenty of writers doing a very good job with self-publishing, and showing the sales to prove it. In our area, writer groups have banded together to provide editorial support and design services, and our books are produced to a highly professional standard. We’re gaining sales through bookstores at similar levels to mainstream publishers, and we have the even more profitable option of selling direct to readers. We have control of our own production and marketing, we pay all the costs but retain all the profits. Nobody is falling for spurious promises from scam artists – we’re just getting on with business!

  11. Edward Nawotka
    Posted September 13, 2010 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

    I don’t believe this article disparages anyone other than the subject(s) involved. Not “vanity publishers,” “indie publishers,” “self-publishers” or however one opts to describe their own DIY publishing track. Simply put, though, there is a difference between DIY publishing and traditional, conglomerate publishing. Some DIYers do it well, others less so. The nuances vary from company to company, writer to writer. This piece is about the news of a hoax and the lengths one writer would go to promote a work (or set of works). Traditional publishers, it bears repeating, have also fallen victim to similar stunts and hoaxes in the past, as have media organizations (Oprah) with steely-eyed gatekeepers and a much deeper pool of resources than almost any of us could hope to muster.

  12. shelly
    Posted September 13, 2010 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think anything is that clear cut. I’m an author under Eloquent, and my book is doing okay. Do I think it’s going to hit the top 10 list anytime soon? I don’t know, but I can tell you if people keep slandering our publishing company the chances of anyone wanting to read our books will decline. My book is ranked at 316,788 for Amazon. I’m using the internet as a large part of my marketing.

    I have seen many books with grammar problems. I’m talking about books that are textbooks , and some romance novels. They weren’t under Strategic Publishing. They were under other publishing companies. Some of you say that you are here to help writers. However, by yelling slander at our publishing company you are hurting us.It would be nice if we could all just respect the craft.

  13. Posted September 13, 2010 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

    In response to Jane Smith[above]. Since your experience with vanity press has been poor, try my novel, the Drawing Lesson, which is published by iUniverse. Check my website and I think you’ll find good quality.

    I think Edward Nawotka makes an excellent point. First and foremost, the article was about a scam and the reaction to the article [mine included] shows the sensitivity on all sides over what’s happening in the publishing world. We can hope that, in the not too distant future, both the traditional and indie world will learn to complement rather than undermine each other. Does any one else see it as a publicity stunt by and for the child’s mother… a sort of back stage mother in reverse, for herself?

  14. Posted September 14, 2010 at 1:51 am | Permalink

    Bev and Shelly, I’m not sneering at writers who are working hard at their writing and publishing it as well as they can, and getting a lot of positive things from that process: what I object to are the publishers who charge writers to publish and promise them all sorts of things which never materialise. It’s misleading and heartbreaking.

    I’ve read SO many misleading and/or ill-informed statements about commercial publishing from self-published writers and self-publishing service providers over the years: it makes my head spin. And it does no one any good because it confuses us all, and makes it seem like we’re on two different sides of a fight, rather than in two different positions on the road to publication.

    For example: some self-published writers’ recently-acquired label of “indie publishers”, which started off as “independent publishers”. In commercial publishing, independent publishers are those which aren’t part of one of the Big Six conglomerates, and they’re often pretty sizeable: consider Canongate in the UK, which is a large, prestigious press to be published by. Individual writer-publishers aren’t in the same place as those independent presses that I know, and from my stance it’s confusing and erroneous to suggest that they are. It would have been far clearer and more encouraging if “indie publishers” had realised that label was already in use, and had found themselves a different one. That way we could concentrate on the books involved, and not on working out what we all mean and where we each fit in the publishing scheme.

    Mary, if you’d like to send me a copy of your book for review I’d be delighted to have it. Here’s a link to my review blog: you can email me from there.

    http://www.theselfpublishingreview.blogspot.com/

    I agree that this was probably all just a publicity stunt, and a pretty shabby one at that. I would never use my children to get me attention like this, and I feel more than a little uncomfortable with this story.

    But let me now attempt to swing this back on topic: no matter what books you write or how you prefer to be published, I don’t think that Strategic is a good way to the market. If you want to know why, just read the links that Victoria has provided; and consider Mr Macdonald’s comment above. Strategic’s authors average just 200 sales each, which is a horrifyingly small number (and if we had more detailed data we’d probably find that the median is far lower). Compare this to commercially published books which usually sell in the thousands and you’ll begin to see why Strategic is not the way I’d want to be published.

  15. Shelly
    Posted September 14, 2010 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    I think it really depends on the writer. My book is in Amazon, Amazon.co.uk,Barnes and Noble,South African online store, and an Indian online store. Now I’m tweeting about my book everyday sometimes five and six times a day. I want to get my name out there, and then I can gain respect as a writer. The only that can happen is for me to keep plugging my name and my book name. My goal is to get my writing style out there,and I hope people like what they read. Everything else will come in time.

  16. Posted September 16, 2010 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    I am the CEO of Strategic Book Publishing and would like to set this straight.

    Even Mr. Griese’s article is wrong. We published this book at no cost to the author. (Having just got back from the China Book Fair, I finally had time to research it).

    I so appreciate the Eloquent and Strategic Authors’ comments above and they are duly noted for sticking up for us. Our thank you’s will be substantial. We support our authors and they support us. I hope that shows.

    But let’s talk ACCURACY AND RESEARCH AND JOURNALISM FOR A MINUTE. And let’s talk about sloppiness and laziness. (Victoria and James, we really are an open company. I would have been happy to share any information that would help provide ACCURATE reporting, but of course, you love to pontificate, and that won’t change, but hopefully the readers will really understand how low on the totem pole you are). It really is sad that success attracts the carrion feeders and so called “journalists” of the world. Even people as respected as Noel Griese, should have taken an extra half hour to get the facts. (and I highly respect his monthly newsletter, Southern Review of Books). And Noel, your pontificating about subsidy press is another bone we’ll pick with you later. It didn’t belong in the “article”.

    Strategic published this under our traditional publishing agreement with NO COST TO THE AUTHOR. We liked the author, and the pitch, and we paid for the publication. So the article is wrong, Noel’s summary is wrong, and Victoria and James continue to natter on endlessly about old crap.

    Here is the link to the contract. http://www.strategicbookpublishing.com/me-and-my-best-friend-contract.doc . There was no cost to this author. We pay an advance/royalty of $1000 when 1000 books are sold, that way we can invest in marketing for our authors. We think it is a better use of the money than an up front payment. (I’m sure the naysayers can gripe about that for a while too, sigh).

    Furthermore, when you see the joint venture agreements that we are bringing back from China, you are all going to realize how leading (and sometimes bleeding) edge we are. These kinds of discussions are such a waste of time. We should all be selling our business work.

    And finally, James and Victoria, you can be the first to tell the world that we have countersued the Florida AG with a half-dozen frivolous lawsuits actions and a series of defamation suits are following those. The AG’s “research” is as sloppy and lazy as the rest of these pundits. I think they basically took Victoria’s documents and turned that into the suit. Their research was superficial at best and an ethical violation at worst. When we win our countersuit(s), it is literally going to be the shot heard round the world when we PR it.

    Now, I’ve wasted enough time on this, I need to get back to selling books for our authors and taking them to Frankfurt in 3 weeks and then selling our authors to the world. Did you know that the Middle East has 300-400 million people in it? We are also going to be taking our authors to the Abu Dhabi book show in March. By focusing on Asia, the Middle East, and Europe, we are increasing the audience for our authors’ books by FIVE-FOLD. We firmly believe that we can sell authors with books “Just like Twilight” into foreign markets and our authors can become best sellers there more readily than in the more closed US and UK markets. If you want a publishing company with an intense international focus, please visit http://www.StrategicBookPublishing.com to query us. To see our Chinese site and pictures from Beijing please visit http://www.StrategicBookAgency.com.

    And finally, Ed and Noel and Victoria and James, this is your legal notice to print a retraction. The lawyer letters will follow.

    Thanks, and let’s all realize that most writers have their own particular axe to grind and let’s all make up our own minds, hopefully AFTER some modicum of due diligence.

    Onwards, ever onwards,
    Robert Fletcher, CEO

  17. Mi
    Posted September 16, 2010 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    If these conversations are such a waste of time, I wonder then why Mr. Fletcher even bothered to comment. If his company is so legitimate and he’s being so wronged, the wisest thing he could do would be to keep his mouth shut because success would speak for itself. He also wouldn’t be advocating his authors to stick up for him. That’s what PR people are for, and I don’t think authors are getting paid to be PR people. Threats of legal action are still threats, and I don’t know a single practicing lawyer who would advocate their client to behave like this, at the risk of it doing more harm than good.

    Countersuits mean nothing unless you win them. Everyone countersuits, that’s part of the legal process. You’d almost be foolish NOT to countersuit, so there’s nothing impressive about that fact Mr. Fletcher. PublishAmerica has countersued LS, but that doesn’t mean the judge will rule in their favour. I would hold off on the bragging until you have something to brag about. It’s a shame you’ve chosen not to take the diplomatic approach.

  18. Mi
    Posted September 16, 2010 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    Oh, and one more thing Mr. Fletcher. Good job exposing yourself to a potential breach of confidentiality by publically linking to a contract that has your author’s personal info without her expressed consent or probably even knowledge.

    This is why lawyers don’t have their clients making public statements. Flubs happen.

  19. Posted September 17, 2010 at 5:19 am | Permalink

    A retraction, Bobby? What am I supposed to retract? I asked a question, which you failed to answer.

    Here’s another question:

    You say, “Furthermore, when you see the joint venture agreements that we are bringing back from China, you are all going to realize how leading (and sometimes bleeding) edge we are.”

    Isn’t “joint venture” another name for “vanity”?

  20. Posted September 18, 2010 at 3:41 am | Permalink

    Robert Fletcher wrote, “But let’s talk ACCURACY AND RESEARCH AND JOURNALISM FOR A MINUTE. And let’s talk about sloppiness and laziness. (Victoria and James, we really are an open company. I would have been happy to share any information that would help provide ACCURATE reporting”

    Rogert, I’m pleased that you’re so keen to be open about your publishing company. I’d love to be able to discuss the sales figures that your authors achieve on my blog, where I do my best to dispell the many myths which circulate about mainstream, self, and vanity publishing.

    Would you be prepared to provide me with some statistics about your company? For example:

    1) How many books has Strategic and its subsidiary and associated imprints published?

    2) How many authors have you published?

    3) How many copies (total) have your books sold?

    4) How many of those books have sold more than five hundred copies? How many have sold more than one thousand, ten, twenty, fifty thousand copies?

    5) How many of your authors go on to publish second books with you?

    6) How many copies has your biggest-selling title sold? Over what time-period?

    7) How many of your authors complain and are let out of their contracts?

    8) What is your authors’ average earnings per title?

    As you can see, only one of those questions is specific to any particular author and so can’t be considered a breach of confidence; the question that IS specific (question 6) isn’t intrusive either as it gives you a good chance to promote your star writer (you could provide information about your top five if you’d like).

    I hope you’ll reply here, but I shall email you privately too. I’ll look forward to hearing from you. And I’m sure that there will be lots of people interested in your statistics. Thanks for being so keen to be open and to share your information with us: it’s very good of you.

  21. Posted September 18, 2010 at 3:42 am | Permalink

    Oh, look! Point eight turned into a smiley. So much for me presenting myself as a professional. I’ll just have to hope that Mr Fletcher finds it amusing.

  22. Posted September 23, 2010 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    Response to questions above:

    Thanks Jane,

    We are open and amenable to this, but a couple of caveats..

    First let me assure you that we have enough legal experience that if I make a quote or statistic I can legally back them up. That is why our case is so strong against our detractors.

    Where do you write? I want to check the tenor of your writing. Your questions are balanced, but I am sure you understand my concern.

    Next, if you want to style it like an interview, that’s fine, but I’ve learned to not allow abridgment, so what I write is either to be used as I write it, or not used, or you can tell me you want it to be a bit different.

    I’m not trying to be obstructionary, just cautious

    Thanks,

    Robert

    —–Original Message—–
    From: Jane Smith [mailto:writer@tesco.net]
    Sent: Saturday, September 18, 2010 3:58 AM
    To: pubinfo@strategicbookpublishing.com
    Subject: Blog Post About Strategic Publishing: help, please.

    I’d be grateful if you could forward this email to Robert Fletcher. Many thanks.

    Dear Mr Fletcher,

    In your comment to the news story linked to below, you wrote,

    “we really are an open company. I would have been happy to share any information that would help provide ACCURATE reporting”

    http://publishingperspectives.com/2010/09/a-book-deal-that-was-too-good-to-b
    e-true/comment-page-1/#comment-9369

    I’m so pleased that you’re keen to encourage accurate reporting about your
    company: I’ve seen so many very inaccurate blog posts and articles about it over the years, and I’d like to be able to play my part in addressing that imbalance.

    I run a reasonably successful blog about publishing (it gets between 300 and 1200 unique hits a day), and would love to showcase Strategic Publishing there in an effort to display your real achievements.

    In order to do that, I’ll need you to supply me with some hard statistics about your authors, their books, and the sales levels they achieve. Would you be able to answer the following questions?

    1) How many books has Strategic and its subsidiary and associated imprints published? Over what time period?

    According to a lookup on Amazon.com in mid-Sept. 2010, Strategic, our “traditional publisher” has published about 568 books and Eloquent, our joint venture subsidy publisher has published about 1824 books.

    As we tell authors, if the pitch is good enough, we will publish the author at no cost to the author through our Strategic imprint. If we see business risk and if we have concerns about sales, then we ask the author to help us buy down the risk and that is our Eloquent joint venture, subsidy imprint.

    On the flip side, the Eloquent authors get a 50% royalty and the Strategic authors about 15% so it is a tradeoff.

    If I were an author who believed in my book I would go for the 50% right away. The contract is not exclusive and I would want the money and the control of my book that the Eloquent contract offers.

    2) How many authors have you published?

    As of September 2010 about 2500 authors have been published by us. We publish and release about 100 authors a month. We really only got started about two years ago so it is too early to draw too many conclusions.

    3) How many copies (total) have your books sold since you started trading?

    We expect one million books sold per year before 2015. We are closing in on about 500,000 books sold now since we began. Our growth spurt is pretty recent though, so the number of books sold is increasing each month it seems, and each author’s sales are increasing as well.

    It is too early to “total them up” though, because the first 6-12 months after a book’s release is loading the distribution channels and letting the marketing, PR and advertising take effect. You have to give the book and the author time to find their “sweet spot”. It is rare that a book “jumps off the shelves”. That’s why we work so hard to teach our authors marketing with us and why we take them to the international book shows. Those deals take years too.

    4) How many of those books have sold more than five hundred copies? How many have sold more than one thousand, ten, twenty, fifty thousand copies?

    Everyone wants to assign ‘number of books per author’. It’s too early to take score. We just sold 5000 books to the Boy Scouts of America and we think we have another deal for 10,000 books into Tuesday Mornings and Big Lots. These things take time, but we can assure you, we will have a best seller or two within the next few years and when China numbers hit, they will have to create a new scale as the New York Times best seller lists will be minor leagues.

    5) How many of your authors go on to publish second books with you?

    I can tell you that once an author learns our system, they tend to stay (unless they have a knee jerk reaction to misinformation they read on the web). Our authors tend to come back to us. My best guess is that our repeat authors mirrors the same statistic as the “number of authors that have penned multiple books”.

    We get a lot of authors from Authorhouse, Lulu, iUniverse and Publish America that want access to our marketing techniques. I’m sure they get our rejects too, smile.

    6) How many copies has your biggest-selling title sold? Over what time-period? (I’d welcome titles and sales figures for your five highest-selling books if you can provide it–this could really be
    impressive.)

    I guess our biggest seller is 5000+ and counting, but the book was only released in January this year. We have a half-dozen that are crossing 1000 and have a great upward trajectory, and some of the foreign rights deals are starting out at quantities of 100,000. As I said, we are too new out of the starting gate to really answer this. Come back in 5 years and I can guarantee you that we will have at least 1-3 worldwide bestsellers. We can already see the movement that will get our authors there.

    7) How many of your authors complain and are let out of their contracts?
    (Sorry, I have to provide a balanced view and lots of people are interested in this side of things: if you could tell me a few of the problems some people have encountered with Strategic it would provide a useful counterpoint to the sales figures and so on.)

    Authors terminate with us for a variety of reasons. First you have to understand that we, as the publisher, are the ones blamed for a book not selling (or not selling quickly enough). Our complaint and termination rate is less than 1 in 10 in the publishing business. Frankly, we’re glad to be rid of most of them as their expectations are just nuts. The ones we really hate to lose though are the good ones that have read a negative blog. Those are sad because the author is going to go into limbo and not know what to do. And because their “mentor” is some negative blog writer, they usually give up their career because they don’t have the intestinal fortitude to go for the facts themselves.

    8) What is your authors’ average earnings per title?

    This is a meaningless question. We just wrote a $2500 royalty check, we also write a lot of $25 checks. We don’t put our authors into a pool so the average doesn’t count. We have stars and duds.

    According to an interview I saw from the CEO of Author Solutions, the average is 300 books per subsidy author. I am pretty sure we are above that because of the intense efforts we put into marketing.

    If I could get one thing across to our authors, it is that we will be selling your books for decades. It just takes one “sweet spot” and the author WILL make a lot of money. But patience and consistency of purpose is called for.

    In that same comment you also wrote,

    “We firmly believe that we can sell authors with books “Just like Twilight”
    into foreign markets and our authors can become best sellers there more readily than in the more closed US and UK markets.”

    I’d therefore also like to ask how many Strategic etc. titles have been sold into foreign markets, and what levels of sales they’ve achieved.

    It is too early to tell. Our foreign outreach just started in 2009, last year. These deals take forever to reach fruition. I can tell you my belief that we will be the largest rights agency selling into China within 2 years and Jane, those numbers are staggering.

    Any further information you think might be helpful would also be much appreciated. I’d love to be able to show what writers can achieve with Strategic, and to be able to put straight so many of the people who just don’t get what you’re trying to do.

    R: I appreciate it and hope so. Like I said, you can use any comments in their entirety only and if you want me to be shorter or longer or give more info, please let me know.

    If this really is going to be a neutral writeup, I will certainly be willing to share a bit more. We haven’t even touched on our ebooks and our Kindle and our m-books for mobile phones around the world.

    It’s a GREAT time to be an author and a publisher. We hope to convey that enthusiasm to the world.

    Rob

  23. Posted September 23, 2010 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

    I wrote a long email giving the facts and figures about the lawsuit Robert Fletcher brought against Writer Beware, but it was never posted. Maybe a glitch?

    If the blogmaster wants me to try again, please contact me at anncrispin@aol.com and I’ll be happy to provide accurate info regarding how the suit Mr. Fletcher brought against Writer Beware was dismissed, including how Massachusetts Superior Court Judge Thomas Connelly, in his ruling, identified Mr. Fletcher’s “literary agency” as “fraudulent.”

    -Ann C. Crispin
    Chair, Writer Beware

  24. tammy
    Posted September 25, 2010 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    it may be a minor point, but proofreading/fact checking seems like it should be an important thing on publishing web site.

    is the woman’s name Hunt or Hunter? Two paragraphs right next to each other don’t agree.

    I find it hard to take any article seriously if the names of the main players are not spelled correctly.

    and, yes, it does matter.
    i would be happy to send you my rates list.

  25. Edward Nawotka
    Posted September 27, 2010 at 12:30 am | Permalink

    Yes, there was a typo. It has been corrected. Appreciated.

  26. Christine tripp
    Posted September 28, 2010 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    Ooooooo, letters from a lawyer. Sounds like a child in a school yard, “I’m taking my ball and going home”
    The uses of statements such as, At no cost to the authors and, Traditional publishing sound so familiar. I’m trying to think of where I have heard them used before…..hum….. Oh yes, Publish America!
    There is no issue here between proper self publishing and COMMERCIAL publishing (it’s not called traditional except by those that are not) The only issue here is a vanity press miss leading writers into thinking they are actually published authors and with this mom, who must have clued in by now that she is not published and is, perhaps, using her son to attract attention, sell some of her book stock, generate buzz over her two books and trying to recoup her losses having had to buy so many of her own books.
    With picture books you DO judge a book by it’s cover and in the case of this book, it is simple to see there was no professional artist used. A Commercial publisher ALWAYS uses a professional Illustrator.

  27. Nick Caruso
    Posted February 23, 2011 at 12:34 am | Permalink
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