I am always a work in progress... We never stop learning to master our craft.

Some of my favorite personal quotes..

"Everything I do, everything I am, all that I breathe is 18+ and will contain sexually suggestive material. ~ Gina Kincade 2011

"If you never have any expectations of other people then you will never be disappointed. When a positive experience occurs it is always a reason to rejoice." ~Gina Kincade, 2009

"I have learned, as a rule of thumb, never to ask whether you can do something. Say, instead, that you are doing it. Then fasten your seat belt. The most remarkable things follow." ~Julia Cameron

Saturday, April 27, 2013

How Often Do We Allow Others To Tell Us What To Think? How Do You Choose Your Publisher?

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 favorable.

This encouraged me to check out more of this applicant's listed references.
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. 

Though the 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.

I 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 needs.

It was brought to my attention that Naughty Nights Press has been included on a website called Preditors & Editors (their 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 nonetheless.

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.

P&E is designed with the intent to help writers. And, they can and do provide that assistance to writers just as the forum “Bewares, Recommendations & Background Check” on the Absolute Write Water cooler does.

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 helped.

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 publishers.

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 Press.

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. 

Lady G

Monday, April 1, 2013

What's Always Better Than One? Why, Three Of Course! Three Shifters, Three Publishers And Three Hot & Sexy Stories That Is...

What is always better than one? Why, three of course! 

Three Shifters, Three Publishers and Three Hot and Sexy Stories for the price of one...Only $3.49!

Shifting Gears Anthology

One conference. One snowstorm. One nearly empty bar. Half a dozen small press publishers... and an organization was born.

Now we're shifting gears...

Three publishers step from behind the desk and work together to bring you a very special, hot and sexy, shifter anthology.

The first of many collective anthologies by The Association of Independent Digital Publishers, this book is sure to be the cat's meow.


Buy Link at Naughty Nights Press

Stories and Blurbs

A Shot at Love (Gina Kincade, Naughty Nights Press)

When faced with the displeasure of his lover’s family over their son’s sexual preferences, as well as the issue of him being 'not of their kind', Jay, an eagle shifter, thinks he’s doing the right thing for everyone when he chooses to walk away from the only man he’s ever loved.
Quickly realizing how hard it is to stay away from Mark, a panther shifter, Jay watches from afar and suffers a massive bout of jealousy at the first sign of another man in Mark’s house.
Will Mark turn him down in favor of this new person in his life, or will Jay convince him they belong together?

The Twilight Mew (Rian Monaire, Mojocastle Press)

Rhylie loves the idea of becoming a cat shifter, and decides to cast a spell that will finally give her the abilities she's been seeking. But she needed to be careful what she wished for...or at least, be more specific.
Giordian just wanted peace and quiet, and the woods offered just that. Unfortunately, his twilight visitor was going to shake all of that up.

Buy Link At Mojocastle Press

Better With Mustard (Shelby Morgen, Changeling Press)

When a stray cat blackmails Officer Joe Callahan down at Coney Island Dogs, Joe thinks he’s got a case for Animal Control. But this is one of those rare times when Duct Tape can’t fix everything. The stray cat’s under Joe’s skin. She’s all too familiar, but can she find a place in Joe’s bed--and his heart?

Buy Link At Changeling Press

Posted by:
~ Lady Gina Kincade,
Author of Erotica and Erotic Paranormal Romance

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