How Often Do We Allow Others To Tell Us What To Think?
How Do You Choose Your Publisher?
How Much Credit Do
You Give A Negative Recommendation?
Have you ever heard of ensuring due diligence when you are reporting information on something, someone or a business?
These are all questions I’ve been asking myself a lot lately. It’s
not an easy decision to make, and, frankly, sometimes it’s made even harder when
your research doesn’t report all the facts you need to take into account when
making a choice. Sometimes listening to other people's opinions doesn't help
either, it hinders.
In fact, I once considered an editor for a position in my company
on the recommendation of one author I respected and considered a knowledgeable
friend. She gave me her opinion and her view of her own interactions with this
person. It was a decent recommendation on a person unknown to me.
Then I spoke with another author who had used the applicant's
services and was dismayed by what I found out. Her opinion was far from
This encouraged me to check out more of this applicant's listed
Thankfully, however, the personal and work references provided by
this individual didn't quite have as narrow a view and the truth about certain
unsavory behaviors of the applicant’s past revealed themselves.
applicant offered additional references when I brought the results
of my background check to their attention, I was confident that the information
I had already obtained was significant enough that I was able to make a more
informed decision. One that likely prevented a lot of additional stress within
my company. Due to the views and opinions of several people rather than just
one, I didn't end up hiring this person for the editor's position.
like to think I did due diligence in my investigation, and taking the time to do so saved my
butt and my business.
Today I had some information that crossed my desk via
one of my loyal writers that concerns me. In fact, it concerns me, my business,
Naughty Nights Press, the writers with NNP, and, in fact, any writers out there
that may have otherwise considered Naughty Nights Press for their publication
It was brought to my attention that Naughty Nights
Press has been included on a website called Preditors & Editors
intentional misspelling, not mine
). This site’s intention is to
assist writers in making an informed choice of where they wish to send their
manuscripts for consideration on publication.
Now, P&E and those who run the site are human (gasp
They are only able to determine their recommendations and ratings based on the
information handed to them by writers, even if it may be embellished,
fabricated or simply a misreporting of the facts to the powers that be over at
P&E. Either way, the fault isn’t with P&E for that, so despite the fact
I dislike their recommendation, which by the way is far from favourable or
encouraging, I am not angry at P&E, nor am I about to launch a rampage
against them as others have in the past. Where would be the point? It is simply
an opinion. It could be a biased, one-sided opinion, yes, but it’s an opinion
Yes, I know from past experience that the NNP writers
will hate me for asking them not to run over to the P&E site and give their
differing opinions on their own experience with NNP, but I am asking it all the
same. Don’t, please don’t. Your positive intentions can bring more harm than
good if P&E feel, that just for providing a recommendation we disagree
with, they’ve been attacked by a lynch mob. It’s okay.
We will survive this as
we’ve survived in the past. Eventually, in all things, the truth comes out. I
think we are all aware where and why this recommendation has been entered
there. Can’t do anything to change that, now.
P&E claims to rely on “documentation” before
determining their recommendations and that is fine, documentation is only as
good as the person, or writer, who submits it to P&E would like it to be.
It doesn’t, or at least shouldn’t take the place of facts, one’s own actual
research into a publishing house, or another writer’s experiences with a
particular publishing house like NNP.
However, I feel these sites can also do a disservice
to writers at times too. When listing a publisher based on information garnered
from one or two sources (often related to one another
how can their recommendation be anything to base your entire decision on when
they fail to give factual details? Just because one writer may have had an unhappy experience and chose to write to P&E about it, does not make that publisher
one to be completely avoided without at least some other fact or form to back
up the recommendation, don’t you think? It does happen, publishers and writers
don’t always have a happy go lucky interaction with one another and from time
to time one of those parties may leave the relationship feeling disgruntled or
shafted. Their pride and feelings have been hurt. It happens
When you begin your search for a publishing house, I’m
curious, how do you make your decisions on the ones that may be a viable
possibility for you to pursue? Do you ask the current and past writers for that
publishing house how they found their treatment? Have you inquired as to
whether the house pays their writer’s royalties, on time, every time? Do you
ask about the process of editing offered by the publisher and whether or not
the writers found it acceptable, educational, perhaps even enjoyable? Have you
looked around and observed the effort the marketing team of that publisher puts
into promoting, doing that little bit extra to assist authors and may make that
publisher stand out from other publishers because of something they do? What do
you know about the people that run it, the management? What do other writers
who may not be part of that house have to say about their interaction with the
people from that publishing house on blog posts, assistance in information
gathering, knowledge given about the publishing world? Do non-house writers,
authors who are not published with that house, have good things to say about
that publisher and the things they have seen them accomplish?
Whatever your questions may be, do you rely on one
source when buying a car, a house? Of course not, so why would you do that when
shopping for a publisher? I know I wouldn’t.
So, despite the fact that yes, NNP did have a rocky
start a year and a half ago, and we did have to ask an editor step down, and we
have had one or two writers for whom NNP was simply not the best choice, and
unfortunately for all, the issue was discovered *after*
contracts were signed,
it doesn’t make the entire publishing house a “bad” place and one to be
avoided, does it? In my world most businesses have trials and tribulations they
go through. Perhaps I’ve just been more open and honest about ours rather than
deal with it all hush, hush behind closed doors. My fault for not keeping the
secrets to myself, I guess. I’m simply an honest person. I know I have proven
that honesty and openness of everything at NNP to many writers, so I’m not worried.
As a general rule of thumb, for any viable businesses
I have personally dealt with, it can take a couple years to show the true worth
and success of a business. Judging a publisher so harshly within the first year
harms them, and the writers who do happen to believe in them and do so for a
very good reason.
That reason: NNP has proved themselves as a worthy
publisher and the writers within my publishing house, for whom NNP does
whatever they can to help bring out their best and publish their books, might
be a good place to start your research. Many of them have been with us since
the day we officially began our publications and continue to submit their
manuscripts, receive their royalties on time, every time, and, as far as the
writers have told the management, are more than happy with NNP. If my writers
are not happy I’ve always asked them to come to me, to let me know what I can
do to help, and I have done whatever was within my power to do. Unfortunately,
I can’t please everyone. This is one way, perhaps, I do fall short, but that cannot be
I can also honestly say that from the day NNP opened
its doors we have struggled, yes. We have had to work at fixing some issues we
had in our startup yes, and even some day-to-day issues that may crop up.
But, we have also been in the black since day one, meeting the needs of our
writers, our contractual obligations, paying all our expenses and, most
importantly, our authors. There has been one exception to this, yes, but many
feel that exception was no fault of NNP and rather the writer’s personal intention
instead. What can we do when we are not afforded an honest chance to try to fix
something a writer is unhappy about? Or, consider if that writer may have
actually had an ulterior motive to his behaviour and subsequent report to
P&E. Could we have made that situation different? Maybe, but it’s doubtful.
As the saying goes, don’t believe everything you hear,
for you may just miss an otherwise wonderful opportunity. Do yourself a favour,
be independent and form your own opinion. I’m not saying you’ll make any
different decision than you may have based off another’s recommendation, but at
least get more that *only*
one opinion before you judge. Also try to remember
that sometimes sites designed to help writers can be given and report false
information too. It happens.
They are only humans behind the postings. The
facts as they’ve been given them may not be the true situation. Who really
knows? In my world, there are two perceptions to everything, three if you count
the true facts.
Do your research into any publishing house. I am the
first to agree with that. AND, READ
the contract. Honestly, very few writers do
and then they get all upset, blaming the publisher when something isn’t quite
the way they wanted it to be. If you didn’t read the contract you willingly
signed don’t you have some fault in it too?
It’s too bad, though. I would like to think that the
things I’ve been told about NNP, about what I’ve attempted to do for writers
over the last year and a half are true. It’s always been my goal to help my
writers, not to be lumped in with some of the publishers who may not be so
honest out there. Yes, they are many, and we hear about more and more horror
stories every day. But there are just as many, if not more, good, honest
It saddens me, though, when my own business is listed
up there and I have tried to be an honest, writer-friendly publisher that
authors can be proud to be with. This morning, finding out that we are on
P&E as “Strongly not recommended. A
publisher in Canada” really hit me in the heart. That simple little phrase
lumps us in with several other publishers who have been in the limelight lately
and may not be quite so honest with their writers. Publishers who are not
paying royalties, and who just plain flat out treat their authors like crap. It also lumps us in with vanity publishers and ones who have committed crimes or unreasonably scammed authors, conning them out of thousands of dollars to publish their work.
NNP doesn’t do that, we never have and we never will, so why are we listed
in the same light? A single, one-sided, biased opinion can hurt many writers
instead of helping them. One opinion, one noted recommendation without a listed
“reason” even, makes Naughty Nights Press a bad publisher? One comparable to the others with the same recommendation?
Wow. Just freaking
wow. I’m not even sure how to take this, but I guess I can only do what I’ve
done since the beginning and keep trying to make NNP the best that we can be
and prove these judgments as incorrect.
Let our history, our reputation with our authors speak for itself.
There’s little more I can do about it.
I’m sorry that P&E felt NNP belonged up
there with that type of statement. I’m sorry to the writer we were unable to
appease, but most of all, I am sorry to the writers who might miss out on what
NNP can offer them and I’m sorry to my current, loyal, long-time writers for
the tarnish this puts on your good names for being a part of Naughty Nights
But, all this negativity aside, it doesn’t
change the very true fact that NNP has so many happy authors, does it?
The only thing I can
think of to do about it, despite my initial gut reaction to want
to loudly protest
this negative recommendation, is to prove the recommendation and opinion of one
person as false. I can only continue to strive for the vision I have for my
writers and my business, and for those who chose to believe in this small
publisher, thank you. I am proud to have earned that faith and trust. I will do
everything as I always do to continue to earn it.
I am happy to say that
I’m positive at least 99% of NNP writers are happy and shall continue to write
for us. The other 1%...well, perhaps they are lost in a world of their own
making as I’ve not been in contact for quite some time... It happens, you know.
It is fiction after all.
I welcome your opinions and comments on what I have written here today. I feel that sometimes, despite the intention of some of these "helpful" sites to actually help authors avoid "not so good" publishers, they can also provide information on occasion that isn't all that helpful because their recommendation was based on information that may not be 100% true. They can provide information and recommendations that can unfairly harm a publishing business that is still attempting to gain its ground in this cutthroat business market.
What do you think sites like Preditors & Editors
or Bewares, Recommendations & Background Check
on the AbsoluteWrite Water Cooler forum should be required to do before they report negatively on a publisher? Do you think it's reasonable or fair to expect explanatory documentation to accompany a "not recommended" opinion, or, should authors just take their word for it? These people are, after all, writers themselves, I believe.
I'm not suggesting names be shared, that is unethical, but just the facts that the opinion and recommendations are based on. The varying of reasons offered for such a response from P&E is quite a long list. How is one to know what might need to be improved within their business model if one is never informed of the possibility that something may be not such a good thing? Assuming, of course, that any potential change was reasonable and possible while still maintaining an equal opportunity to both the author and the publisher for what each give to the agreement and working relationship.
Not every publisher is a big bad rip off artist trying to steal one from a writer and waiting to pounce on the next unsuspecting soul to send in a best selling manuscript. Nor are we all closed off to suggestions and learning what may make us a better publisher in the eyes of the masses of writers out here.
I, for one, have never claimed to be perfect, and if someone could show me reasonable cause and benefit as to why something I do at Naughty Nights Press should be changed, I am more than happy to consider it.
Life is, after all, a learning experience for us all. Just as writers don't start out as best selling authors, nor do small, independently owned publishing houses have an immediate opportunity to join the"big six". I wish we all could.
Wishing you all a wonderful day. Blessed be.