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December 17th, 2007

9:44 PM

How not to defend your new epublishing company


Remember Circle Dark Publishing? I briefly mentioned it in a recent blog entry as a platform to flog my self-righteous but so pretty horse to death but for some reason two of the people behind the publishing house decide to storm the castle gates with their Encyclopedia of Ways on How to Look Stupid, all six volumes of them. I don't want to make fun of them because I'm sure they are earnest in what they do, but really, I think people should know what they are getting into when they get published with these fellows. Their responses reveal that they at the very least behave online like every other small minnow fools in the epublishing business out there. Bringing up personal issues in what is supposed to be a professional business matter? It's here. Putting words in other people's mouth to make them come off the like bad guys? It's here. Not even reading properly my blog entry before imagining that I am hating on them? It's also here.

This is "CDP Sabrina" in the comments section:

It's always amazing to me how people's first reaction is to insult and belittle. You don't know us. You could have asked for an interview. Instead, you choose to demean what we're doing without trying to know us as people, or as business people. In the end, though, that’s all right, because we are going onward anyway, and you getting the name of Circle Dark Publishing out there will only help.

Oh honey, if that is the case, Gail Northman and AP Miller will be superstars by now.

But most worrying is the response by big boss "Heidi McVay", whose attempt to portray the company in a positive light by insisting that there is a business plan instead backfires and makes the whole thing seem even more like a house of cards standing in the way of a hurricane. Thankfully, the word count limitation cuts off Heidi before she ends up stuffing her leg into her mouth right up to the knee.

It stuns me the lengths you will go to in order to make your point. Not once did CDP receive any contact from you regarding this matter. Thus, you don't know the reason why we have dayjobs or why we used money out of our own pockets to start the company.

To assume that we are in the to rip people off, is a slanderous accusation at best, and a blatant lie at worst.

To set the record straight, we pay out of out own pockets so that when that first book went live for sale, we started off in the black. How many small businesses can say that they did that? Every dime we make, according to our rather detailed business plan, goes back into the company for the first five years. This means we have no loans to default on, no credit cards to pay, and no investors to disappoint if we fail save ourselves.

Honesty and integrity are intrinsic to our mission, and yes, in our eyes, it is a revolution. If we succeed, we do so on our own merit. And if we fail, we know we have done our very best. And that is more than some small publishers can say in this world. To assume ill motive is natural I know, but to infer such without even attempting to get the truth is not only insulting, it's also just plain wrong.

As to the topic of dayjobs, yes, we do work. We do not rely on others to support us. Sabrina works in the health industry and I have taken this year off to deal with matters of an intensely personal nature. Namely, two failed adoptions. So I'm sure you can see how delicate a balance we must maintain, and I believe that any of the authors who work with us will agree that we maintain it well.

In the future, I'm sure that other companies would agree, that criticism is not only acceptable to a new business, but it's also craved. However, criticism is not what you have done here. Here, you have painted us as thieves who are only out for profit. And that is simply not true.

I wish you well and certainly hope that you will do your research a little more thoroughly in

You've been warned, people. They are operating on a "delicate balance". They said it, not me. And judging from their "professional" responses, I don't think they know what they are doing, at least when it comes to doing things professionally. But I can be wrong. Who wants to place bets as to how long these guys will be around?

13 comment(s).

Posted by Jane:

What is with the constant referral to personal issues when there is trouble in business? How is your personal life even relevant?
December 17th, 2007 @ 11:38 PM

Posted by Alessia Brio:

When did "day job" become one word? Is it like blowjob now?
December 18th, 2007 @ 12:03 AM

Posted by Shiloh Walker:

Every new business operates on a delicate balance. I don't know much about business, nor do I care to, but I'd imagine that a lot of established businesses operate on a delicate balance.

But I don't know that I'd go advertising that. The consumer (Ie: the reader) and the employee (Ie: the author~yes, I know technically authors aren't employees) these people want to see confidence and capability, not read about delicate balances that might bring to mind worries about the stability of said business.
December 18th, 2007 @ 5:25 AM

Posted by December Quinn/Stacia Kane:

I don't understand...what are they paying out of their own pockets? Shouldn't they be paying royalties out of, y'know, sales? Or are they talking about cover artists. Because I swear I saw menton somewhere of them paying royalties from book sales out of their own pockets and didn't understand it.

I'm really curious, I don't get it.
December 18th, 2007 @ 5:54 AM

Posted by Mrs G:

But I don't know that I'd go advertising that.

Exactly. I'd think that after the Triskelion debacle, people would have learned. If *this* small matter has them bringing up their family issues, I wonder how they will respond to any queries of more significant matters.

I wonder if these two silly women have mistakenly responded to some other blog here because I did not accuse them of trying to cheat people. I was commenting on what seems like their poor business model - getting funds from the day job as they go along doesn't seem like a solid business plan to me - so I am tickled when Heidi shows up with her comments. She's just told everyone that she is having some problems on the home front, she's not above taking a year off from the day job (the one that she's going to rely on to fund the business), and... and... oi. That is one example of a terrible defense of her company because it only makes her company come off even worse!
December 18th, 2007 @ 8:02 AM

Posted by Angelia Sparrow:

December Quinn, they paid the flat fee for the first anthology's stories from the seed money.

Novel royalties will come from sales.

Has anyone read a copy of _Twilight and Thorns_ yet? Just asking here.

Maybe checking out the available work might be better than pointing and mocking?
December 18th, 2007 @ 9:00 AM

Posted by Ann Bruce:

Angelia -- I went to CDP to get TWILIGHT AND THORNS, but a few things turned me off:

1 - The product is not on the front page. In fact, the link to the book at the bottom of the menu. Shouldn't the book (the product) be front and center?

2 - No excerpt. Some readers want a taste of the book before forking over $$$.

3 - As an author, I was a little offended by the message on the home page: "We feel many publishing companies take away the dignity of authors and readers by forcing authors to fit their plots and especially heroes into a comfortable mold."
December 18th, 2007 @ 9:32 AM

Posted by Mrs G:

Maybe checking out the available work might be better than pointing and mocking?

Except, in this case, I don't think CDP has the right to get on its high horse given that, instead of giving a proper response, the two clowns behind the outfit instead launch into a flurry of accusations, none of it even halfway true, while providing even more ammunition for their critics in their very own words.

The matter here is not the books they put out. For all I know, those books could be pure gold when it comes to quality. But all the good books in the world will not take away the fact that these two, especially Heidi, have shot themselves in their foot with their public response.

Fortunately, they did it here, where there aren't so many visitors given that I don't popularize this blog on my website, instead of somewhere else more high profile like the EREC blog, Karen Scott, or Dear Author!
December 18th, 2007 @ 9:46 AM

Posted by Mrs G:

We feel many publishing companies take away the dignity of authors and readers by forcing authors to fit their plots and especially heroes into a comfortable mold.

I've always felt that publishers are better off giving concrete reasons as to why they are better than the rest (good business plan, distribution plan in effect for print books, qualified and skilled editors, et cetera) instead of giving vague high-faluting quasi-philosophical mumbo-jumbo.
December 18th, 2007 @ 9:50 AM

Posted by veinglory:

Readers, like writers, form impressions about a press *before* giving it their money or manuscript. That actually isn't at all unfair or unreasonable. With 60+ epublishers out there we'd be tapped out otherwise.

I did offer to review a book from Dark Circle specifically and any new epress, but interestingly enough the only result was books in my inbox from editors at Red`Sage and Dark Eden. The offer remains open.
December 18th, 2007 @ 10:20 AM

Posted by Ann Bruce:

Oh, I couldn't resist:

If the above doesn't work, just go to http://icanhascheezburger.files.wordpress.com/2007/12/funny-pictures-cat-with-santa.jpg.
December 18th, 2007 @ 12:34 PM

Posted by December Quinn/Stacia Kane:

Thank you, Angelia. So you sold a story to an antho for a flat fee? No royalties, like work-for-hire?

Mrs. G., saying "How dare you say we're out to cheat people" is the default outrage sentence in these situations, whether or not anybody actually mentioned cheating people. Kind of sad, when it's a reading compehension issue, but I don't think I've ever seen a situation like this where that sentence didn't shove its way across the screen at some point. The difference between "inexperienced" and "illegitimate" doesn't seem to exist for so many people, sadly.
December 18th, 2007 @ 3:49 PM

Posted by bettie:

"Is it [dayjob] like blowjob now?"
If it was, it would either be a lot more fun, or they'd pay me more for it.

If we wrote a list of things no publisher/editor/other businessperson who hopes to earn the trust of authors should post on the web, I believe "I've been having personal problems and they are affecting my cash flow." would be at the top of it.
December 18th, 2007 @ 4:40 PM