date: Fri, Nov 22, 2013 at 9:33 PM
Hi! Aja sent me to you from Twitter. Here’s a list of my initial concerns from looking at your kickstarter page and website for 10 minutes, from my perspective as a publishing…
I really wish the parties involved had consulted with the individuals behind Verb Noire, another small press that came out of fandom with great goals and ideals, who discovered just how difficult it is to make this kind of thing work. It’s great to want to give a boost to writers coming out of fandom. It’s better to KNOW WHAT YOU’RE DOING.
I’m also concerned that the bulk of Anna’s questions were not addressed in any way. Like, all of that stuff is still necessary even for a limited print run, and the way to get people off your back about your shit is to give even the slightest inkling you DO have plans, you DO have proper paperwork, etc. Because you’re asking for our money, so we kind of are allowed to ask the questions (those of us who/when we know to ask), and we’re allowed to Reach Conclusions based on your reactions to them.
I figured they didn’t answer my questions because they literally don’t even know what I’m asking because none of them have any kind of publishing experience. Oh, sorry, except for the one person who is an editorial assistant yet working as the production manager. Sure, that will go well.
yeaaaaaah, i’m pretty much sure this big bang press thing is p full of bullshit. would not support.
i would also like to point out you can withdraw your support from a kickstarter while it is still running.
There’s a lot of really, really concerning things about this Kickstarter campaign that Anna (and others) have pointed out—and continue to point out—which are well beyond my area of expertise, so I’ll let them talk. But I’d like to point out something that I am qualified to comment on.
One of my first reactions upon reading the Kickstarter was, “wait, your lawyer here is who now?” Because their “Legal and Business Consultant“‘s bio on the Kickstarter says:
She used to do legal stuff once upon a time in New York.
I was at work at the time, and read that to my boss (who is, in fact, an Actual Entertainment & Business Attorney), and he laughed and said, “so they got their friend who dropped out of law school to be their consultant then?”
Which worried me, because I had also seen this on the Kickstarter page, under the “Risks and Challenges” section:
All of our authors are experienced at finishing novel-length works at an unusually fast pace, and this time they’ve signed a legally binding contract to do so.
Legally binding contracts, huh? Who is writing those contracts? So I looked up this Legal Consultant’s LInkedIn page (it was the first google result for her name) to check her professional credentials and:
Kostelanetz & Fink, LLP
Law Practice industry
October 2011 – Present (2 years 2 months)
Performs legal research and organization for cases ranging from tax law to contract procurement.
Oh. Oh I see. Her education does not list any law school. Her current profession is listed as “Writer and Translator (Japanese <> English) “.
As someone who works as support staff (often in a paralegal role) to entertainment attorneys, a lawyer should be writing your contracts. A paralegal without any law school experience is not qualified to be drafting final contracts without an attorney. Paralegals are not licensed to practice law.
So I repeat: who is writing your contracts??? And this is your business consultant as well? Presumably the person who is advising you on financial stuff? And you’re asking for HOW much money???
If all of the other stuff to be worried about with this project wasn’t already keeping me from giving them my money, this alone would have me running screaming in the opposite direction, clutching my wallet protectively.
Reblogging for the legal commentary. A+ information.
The more I read about the Big Bang Press project, which as far as I can tell is some fandom people banding together to be a publishing company of sorts and they have three writers who are working on three different books of original fiction, and their $40,000 Kickstarter, the more I am going NOPE. NOPE. NOPE. THAT IS NOT. WHY DID YOU THINK THAT IS A GOOD IDEA?
Most small publishing companies tend to publish in a particular niche or genre that gets ignored by bigger publishing companies, like how several small publishing companies publish M/M romance because places like Harlequin don’t do it. Big Bang Press’ three offered books all seem to be in different genres. One seems to be a YA satire of Harry Potter and other Chosen One fantasy novels, another seems to be femslash in the suburbs with family issues, and the third seems to be urban fantasy with added detectiving. So already I’m wondering what kind of stories Big Bang Press wants to put out there. What is their brand? What niche are they filling?
Big Bang Press also plans to sell ebooks for $10. TEN. DOLLARS. Ebooks for TEN DOLLARS. And I don’t know if anyone’s been looking at the prices for ebooks lately, but the majority is lower than that, and the ones that are $10 or more are by people like Stephen King who can get away with it because he is Stephen King. Someone at Big Bang Press needs to take a long, hard look at ebook pricing in the genres of the books they’re publishing and realise that they are not a big publishing house with bestselling authors.
And also, there’s a lot of useful information not available on the website. Like how long those three books are going to be, for instance. Or how Big Bang Press plans on splitting the royalties. That’s kind of important if they want to attract more authors.
If those three authors are keen to get their books out there, there are easier way to do this. They can selfpublish. They can query with existing small publishers. They don’t need $40,000 for it.
A summation of the important facts found through the reblogs of this post:
+None of the authors have finished their novels.
+None of them “have a history” of writing novel-length fanfic.
+None of the publishing team have actual publishing experience.
+Anytime someone is asked a legit question about the ins and outs (the contracts, the credentials, the detailed break-down of where the money’s going), they circle around the question with doublespeak and avoid answering altogether.
+Their legal person has no actual education or background in practicing law—the fact of which is hidden by the phrase “used to do legal stuff in New York” in her bio (hint: she was a paralegal). Also of note here: it is illegal for someone to practice law or offer legal expertise if they are not, in fact, a lawyer. So unless she’s just the liaison with an actual lawyer, this whole project is already starting out wrong.
+There is no marketing plan for the three novels in question.
+There is no business plan of any sort on their website, nor anything indicating how they do business.
+All of this above and more that I can’t even parse right now is not the kind of attention fandom needs if this actually goes through. Especially since one of the novels is a vaguely disguised Harry Potter fic with the serial numbers filed off (it’s a satire, guys!), and many of the backer rewards include unfinished fanfiction from the three authors being pushed by the project.
This is very important information for anyone who is considering backing Big Bang Press. I’d advise you to investigate yourself if you’re curious or need more info. Also important to note: if you’ve already backed them and wish you hadn’t, there are still 18 days left in the Kickstarter and you can pull your backing anytime before it ends.
Oh, and yeah, this whole thing was originally Aja’s brainchild. Not too surprising for a project that conflates itself with fandom as a whole and lambastes skepticism of it as “tearing down other fans.”