The owner of FirstWorks posted this to the wrong thread. WritersWeekly.com has moved it here:
Joined: 25 Feb 2005
Posted: Sat Feb 26, 2005 9:38 pm Post subject: FirstWorks Publishing - Inquiry Only
I hope you'll allow me to respond to your recent inquiries about FirstWorks Publishing Co., Inc., a Georgia corporation. I'd also like to thank the aspiring authors who are thoughtful enough to make inquiry about a prospective publisher. It is our opinion that far too many companies in this industry have appealed to the ego and vanity of aspiring authors which is not only inappropriate, but a questionable business practice.
Our publishing approach is "quasi-traditional" -- we perform all of the requisite functions of the conventional houses-- AND go well beyond in a multitude of ways. My late husband and I (writers ourselves) experienced the pitfalls of aspiring authors and knew there had to be a better way. After all, that's the American way. Our website (www.firstworkspublishing.com
) provides some of the specifics and, it is true that, as Moira pointed out, our publishing license agreement is for a three-year period with options to renew.
Moira stated that inquiries should be made about the numbers of books a publisher has published. FirstWorks currently has in distribution (through Ingram, Baker & Taylo0r, Amazon.com, etc.,) the following: The Pale Horse Cometh by Dani Dubre' & Rod Mauck; Dundury: The Secret by Ava Lindsey Chambers, Sugar in the Gourd by Dr. Ben Garrison, and Into The Twilight by S.W. Lowery.
During the 2005 cycle, FirstWorks will be publishing: Stepping on Memories, by Marge Griffin-Glausier and Whore of Madness, a second novel by Dani Dubre' (both of whom we will be bringing to BookExpo in NYC in June). An additional three books are slated for publication by year's end.
Moira stated that: "If the books are not on the (bookstore) shelves, that generally means YOUR book won't be on the shelves either." This is an interesting point deserving of our response. It is one of the facts I shared with those who attended our Birth of an Author: An Insider's Look into the World of Publishing seminar in Dahlonega. Self-published books, including vanity, subsidy and some POD, are rarely, if ever, distributed through either of the two book distributors; i.e., Ingram and Baker & Taylor. Rarely, if ever, are these books carried by booksellers. However, for a good many independent publishers who are actually "competing" with the conventional houses, booksellers have hesitated in ordering for either their individual store, or for the chains. FirstWorks allows booksellers open quantity ordering for the full discount, rather than huge quantities of each title in order to qualify for highest discounts.
The salient point, in answer to Moira's comment about "books are available in major bookstores when what this really means is that they can be ORDERED..." is this: FirstWorks does not sanction returns--which is one of the points I stressed during our seminar. Returns are a costly reality for AUTHORS, and for booksellers who, first, must unpack the quantity of books only to find that if they don't sell, they must repack the books remaining and ship them back to the distributor. This is a "hidden cost" to the booksellers who engage in returns. However, the "little secret" about which many authors are not aware is that returns represent lost royalties to the author.
Case in point: a chain ordered two books for each of their 500 stores (or, 1,000 total books).
250 stores sold out their 500 books and reordered.
However, the 250 stores that did not sell their 500 copies, were told to return the 500 books. Now, logic would dictate that the 250 stores which had 500 remaining books should have shipped their books to a central point for shipping on to the first 250 stores that had sold out. Right? Well, because of the "return policy," here is what really happened to the AUTHOR'S ROYALTIES:
Let's assume that the 250 stores which sold the first 500 books represented $280 in royalties to the author. (That's about 7% of the $8.00 unit cost for a $21.95 retail book.)
The 500 books that were returned represented a $280 royalty credit--or a reduction of royalties to the author(!)
Thus, the first royalty amount was wiped out by the credited returns ($280 royalties) and the re-ordered 500 books (with $280 royalties) was AGAIN reduced by restocking fees. Therefore, instead of the AUTHOR receiving $560 in royalties, he/she received approximately $200 = the AUTHOR, unfortunately, is going to be the loser when a publisher sanctions returns.
Subsidiary Rights is yet another "little secret" about which Authors have little to no understanding. You see, folks, FirstWorks is a "hybrid" publisher with an entirely different approach--believing that fairness and equity to both the Author and the bookseller is not only good business, but the right thing to do.
Thank you for the opportunity to share our company's approach and philosophy. (And, thanks for pointing out Abode (sic) which I will pass along to our webmaster.)
D.A. Martin, Publisher
firstWorks Publishing Co., Inc.
PO Box 93 / Marietta, GA 30061-0093