*HEMA ALLIANCE PRESS Opinions

For project proposals, updates, and volunteering. Please read the forum rules before posting.
Forum rules
HEMA Alliance approved projects are marked with an asterisk. You do not need to be a member to propose or contribute to a project, though you do need to be a member to be a project team lead. Non-Alliance projects that are for the primary benefit of the full HEMA community are welcome in this forum.
User avatar
Richard Marsden
HEMA Alliance Member
Posts: 2539
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 1:17 pm
Location: Phoenix Arizona
Contact:

*HEMA ALLIANCE PRESS Opinions

Postby Richard Marsden » Fri Jun 28, 2013 10:41 pm

The Election thread brought up the fate of the HEMA Alliance press.

User avatar
Michael-Forest
HEMA Alliance Member
Posts: 717
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 12:05 am
Location: New Hampshire
Contact:

Re: HEMA ALLIANCE PRESS Opinions

Postby Michael-Forest » Fri Jun 28, 2013 10:48 pm

To my knowledge, the fate of the HEMA Alliance Press is what it's always been—we had always planned, from the beginning, to print using POD services.

It is possible that Jake and I disagree as to how the particulars of that should work (I still believe that the Alliance should act as the publisher and clearing house, and receive a portion of the proceeds), but POD is unquestionably the way to go in the market as it currently stands. We simply cannot afford to gamble Alliance funds on a niche market, and going POD allows us to provide the Alliance Press without having it as a (potential) drain on Alliance funds.
Michael-Forest Meservy
Noble Science Academy
HEMA Alliance

User avatar
Richard Marsden
HEMA Alliance Member
Posts: 2539
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 1:17 pm
Location: Phoenix Arizona
Contact:

Re: HEMA ALLIANCE PRESS Opinions

Postby Richard Marsden » Fri Jun 28, 2013 10:50 pm

Richard Marsden wrote:I'd not press too hard for this one. I certainly did not bring it up as a council member and if elected again or as President it ranks wayyyy down there on my list. I wouldn't block someone from in the GC (or anyone) from going guns blazing on it though. I've been published about fifty times, including in print by small-time and one mid-range publishers, and I've also self-published. The costs of running a press correctly is rather high- if you want to do it right. It's easy just to churn out a book. It's a bit harder to do it so your book at the very least ends up on Amazon, looks good, is edited, laid out, and loaded up correctly and so forth in a timely manner. Not to mention the politics of deciding whose book we front the cash for, how much, and whose we do not. I can go on and on. If elected, I have some nuts and bolts of the organization I'd like to attend to, well before the Alliance Press. It's not impossible! Freelance does it, right? But it's intensive and costs money. Sometimes it can be a lot of money. Contracts! Ohhhh my head hurts at all the hoops I jump through on the author end.

That said, if anyone has a manuscript, or plans for one, please contact me in person. If I were to find out there is a great interest for this, then the press would rank higher on my priority list. At the very least I can offer what insight I have on publishing in the small-timer field.


Ben Floyd wrote:That's because no one has taken up the offer yet. However, I have been talking with an author that will be using it when he has finished his book.


Michael-Forest Meservy wrote:This isn't technically true. We've had two books in the pipeline before. The first was Mike Cartier's book on Meyer. I was working with him on it and then we discovered it had significant copyright issues, and I never heard from him again after encouraging him to resolve them.

The second was Michael Chidester's book on Fiore. Unfortunately, I was the only active guy participating in the Press, and I've been extremely busy and out of the country a lot. I also didn't make it as much of a priority as I should have. So I ended up not doing much work in publishing it, which means that no one did much work to get it to press.

There are a few people in the Alliance who have extensive publishing experience. Jake Norwood is one of them (having run a publishing company for a short while). He's ostensibly the "Editor-in-Chief" of the HEMA Alliance Press, but to my knowledge he's only written the guidelines. I'm another—I have extensive editing and some publishing experience; I've been the sole editor for one published book, and I'm currently working with someone as the editor-in-chief of another. In practice, I've been the go-to guy for the Press, but I just haven't had adequate time to devote to it lately (the past two years). Unfortunately, it does not look like that's liable to change much for this coming year.

I know how the Alliance Press is supposed to work, and I'd be glad to brief the current GC on it some time (I'd talked to the GC about it a few years ago, but leadership changes, and little of this was written down). It doesn't have to be expensive for the Alliance.


Ben Floyd wrote:I never knew about the others, but I've talked to Jake briefly about the one being written currently. Of course, the first thing that needs to happen for it is for it to be finished. The author has committed to using the HEMAA Press though.


Jake Norwood wrote:Just to chime in on the Alliance Press thing, which Michael-Forest already covered pretty well. We haven't gotten a finished manuscript yet...just lots of plans from lots of earnest, well-intentioned people that they'll send us a complete manuscript eventually. Making books is really hard work, and not a lot of people appreciate that until they get in the weeds of it. Or real life takes over, or whatever.

All that said, self publishing is so easy anymore, I'd rather see an Alliance "brand" on self published books, earned via assistance to self-publishers via the expertise in the Alliance, than an Alliance specific publishing house nowadays.


Richard Marsden wrote:I like that! It is costlier on the author, and leads to issues of what gets the stamp of approval what doesn't, how do we not make something HEMA curriculum (we have a freedom of study thing) and so forth.


Richard Marsden wrote:I JUST re-released a book that's been self-published. So, that's two self-published pieces, plus around 50 through small-time and one mid-range publisher. I'll claim that I have a fairly good understanding of what it takes. There is a lot more than just the writing. I know some say they can get it done cheaply. Well, if so, I'll hire you myself!

I'd love to hear options on this. As I said in my Election pitch- this doesn't rank high up there for me. I meet lots of authors with ideas, but very few with finished products. If there is stuff out there in our community that's ready to go- then great! Love to hear everyone's ideas on this since I'm about midway done with a Polish Saber Book based on the Polish Saber PDF. Jake Norwood, did you have plans to be a go-to guy on this one? You have publishing experience.

User avatar
Michael-Forest
HEMA Alliance Member
Posts: 717
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 12:05 am
Location: New Hampshire
Contact:

Re: HEMA ALLIANCE PRESS Opinions

Postby Michael-Forest » Fri Jun 28, 2013 11:02 pm

Sounds like you certainly understand what it's like from the point of view of an author, and if you've self-published a book, you'd have a good idea of what goes on with POD publishing, as well. That makes at least three of us, then, in the Alliance, with some extensive experience with this.

As you know, it's a lot of work to bring a good book to press. Many authors have great ideas, and sometimes can work to the point where they can slap together a book, but, in my experience, they usually need professional help in shaping that book into a good, effective work. This is where the editing process comes in (and this is not unique to new authors! Established authors still usually have to go through an extensive editing process, sometimes making significant revisions to their earlier drafts).

I'd personally much rather see the Alliance press provide full editing services and publish the books itself (albeit via POD printing) than simply have us slap our brand on works which are entirely self-published, because we can ensure a level of consistent quality much more easily in the former case, and, more importantly, we are thereby providing an actual valuable service to potential HEMA writers.
Michael-Forest Meservy
Noble Science Academy
HEMA Alliance

User avatar
Richard Marsden
HEMA Alliance Member
Posts: 2539
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 1:17 pm
Location: Phoenix Arizona
Contact:

Re: HEMA ALLIANCE PRESS Opinions

Postby Richard Marsden » Fri Jun 28, 2013 11:20 pm

I want to keep my money in my pocket as an author. I'm going to pay for the Polish Saber Book team, the LSI fees, the barcode and so forth. So, the costs are on me. I am not going to then share my profits with a small-time press that will offer me webspace and that's it. Sell me your services as if I weren't on board!

Also, imagine I'm an author who has just the manuscript. Imagine, step by step, and cost by cost, what that author would do with 'us'. And I use 'us' loosely since I'm skeptical of a press at this point. But clearly I'm interested in listening to people's plans! So, don't let me rain on the parade.

User avatar
Michael-Forest
HEMA Alliance Member
Posts: 717
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 12:05 am
Location: New Hampshire
Contact:

Re: HEMA ALLIANCE PRESS Opinions

Postby Michael-Forest » Sat Jun 29, 2013 12:20 am

Richard Marsden wrote:I want to keep my money in my pocket as an author. I'm going to pay for the Polish Saber Book team, the LSI fees, the barcode and so forth. So, the costs are on me. I am not going to then share my profits with a small-time press that will offer me webspace and that's it. Sell me your services as if I weren't on board!

Also, imagine I'm an author who has just the manuscript. Imagine, step by step, and cost by cost, what that author would do with 'us'. And I use 'us' loosely since I'm skeptical of a press at this point. But clearly I'm interested in listening to people's plans! So, don't let me rain on the parade.


As an author with an external publisher, the publisher always takes a portion of the proceeds. You should already know this—you don't get 100% royalties on your book, period. If you're self-publishing and going POD, then any books you order and have shipped directly to you come at only the cost of the printer's costs, but even then, if you sell through Amazon, you're not getting full royalties. Now, if you are capable of self-publishing, and your goal is to self-publish, and you're absolutely not interested in paying for editorial services in any capacity (up front or in royalties), then you're going to publish your book how you see fit. In those cases, the Alliance Press really wouldn't mean much to you other than a free source of advertising. I am of the opinion that it makes no sense for the Alliance Press simply to be yet another way self-publishing authors promote their books.

There are other authors whose books could really benefit from having good editorial oversight, and recognize (as anyone who has ever published with a traditional publisher does) that editorial oversight and publication services come at a cost. The HEMA Alliance Press, as originally envisioned, would be to support these authors.

I really don't see what your problem with the Alliance Press is. If you don't want to use the Alliance Press, you don't have to—I don't think we've ever viewed it as becoming "the only way to publish a book in HEMA". Self-publishing is still an option. Traditional publishing with publishers like Paladin Press is also still an option. So is "almost-traditional" (no advance) publishing with Freelance. The HEMA Alliance Press was always designed to be something between these two extremes. Not fully traditional, but not like you've-got-to-do-everything-yourself-and-you're-on-your-own self-publishing. If you've got a book started but are not sure where to go with it, you can work with us. If you've got a book written but want help in improving it without signing away your rights, you can work with us. We can help with formatting and layout, content editing, proofreading, etc. I'm even confident we can get a (fairly simple, using free art) cover designed as part of the process. But obviously, some people will want to work with a traditional publisher to license images (do Freelance and Paladin go out and license manual images from museums on behalf of their authors? I've never heard) and/or not have to pay for illustrations, diagrams, and cover art/design (which is generally not great in the HEMA world anyway). Others will want to keep complete creative control and not share a penny of their royalties.

HEMA Alliance Press was originally intended to be for those in between.
Michael-Forest Meservy
Noble Science Academy
HEMA Alliance

User avatar
Michael-Forest
HEMA Alliance Member
Posts: 717
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 12:05 am
Location: New Hampshire
Contact:

Re: HEMA ALLIANCE PRESS Opinions

Postby Michael-Forest » Sat Jun 29, 2013 12:28 am

BTW, this thread should be moved to the "HEMA Alliance Projects" forum, IMO.
Michael-Forest Meservy
Noble Science Academy
HEMA Alliance

User avatar
Richard Marsden
HEMA Alliance Member
Posts: 2539
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 1:17 pm
Location: Phoenix Arizona
Contact:

Re: HEMA ALLIANCE PRESS Opinions

Postby Richard Marsden » Sat Jun 29, 2013 6:57 am

Yes, yes, I know the author doesn't keep every dime. I'll have you know I make dozens of dollars every month off of sales. Sometimes...dozens of dozens. This is the reason Mrs. Marsden lives in a life of comfort in which she may choose to go to Walmart or Target. Even self-publishing requires that you set distributor discounts. What I'm driving at is that the more up front money the author pays the less they'll want to share with the publisher. Too much up-front cost, and they're better off not using the publisher.

I'm not entirely against the HEMA Alliance press and am thinking beyond myself and using my experiences as a bench-mark to ask questions. It ranks low on my list of things to do for HEMAA from a GC standpoint and the financial issues also come to mind as well as legal. That doesn't mean it can't be taken up as a project by the community at large. On more than one occasion I misjudged the desires of the community. Don't consider it an affront toward publishing or a desire to make it fit my personal needs, and more a healthy level of skepticism of someone who as of now is in the GC.

Some questions that you answered, but I think should always be forefront are...

A - What will it offer exactly? (And who is going to provide these services in a timely manner. Editing? Layout? ISBN? Printer Costs? Cover?)
B - Why would an author use its services?
C - Is there a demand for it?
D - How much will it cost? Both Author and Publisher? (IE- Alliance funds)
E - Is there criteria to be published?
F - Does the above fit with the HEMA Alliance bylaws?
G -Who will track contracts as well as write them?
H -How will products be advertised?
I - Is the goal to help members gets their works published? Make the member money? Make the Alliance money?

Not all of these questions need to be answered NOW- but I'd surely raise them at some point and keep them in mind.

As for images, that's a tricky one when selling a product and the world of copyright 'sucks' but like all things is not impossible.

User avatar
Michael Chidester
Wiktenauer Project Director
Posts: 2301
Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2010 12:19 pm
Location: Brighton, MA
Contact:

Re: HEMA ALLIANCE PRESS Opinions

Postby Michael Chidester » Sat Jun 29, 2013 7:41 am

I'd just like the throw out there that my Fiore translation book is pretty much dead at this point. I didn't get any feedback on the rough draft I submitted, then Tom Leoni released a book covering a lot of the same material, so ultimately I just stuck the draft on the wiki and called it a day.
Michael Chidester
Wiktenauer Director
HEMA Alliance, WMAC

Insquequo omnes gratuiti fiunt

User avatar
Michael-Forest
HEMA Alliance Member
Posts: 717
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 12:05 am
Location: New Hampshire
Contact:

Re: *HEMA ALLIANCE PRESS Opinions

Postby Michael-Forest » Sat Jun 29, 2013 8:22 am

Richard Marsden wrote:Too much up-front cost, and they're better off not using the publisher.


I disagree, unless they're paying for full editing services from a qualified professional up-front, and even then, if you're not using any publisher at all, you're doing 100% of the marketing on your own (as opposed to some percentage slightly lower than 100).

A - What will it offer exactly? (And who is going to provide these services in a timely manner. Editing? Layout? ISBN? Printer Costs? Cover?)

Editing, layout if necessary, ISBN, "printer costs", cover if necessary. Because it's "volunteer"* driven, "timely manner" isn't necessarily in the picture, here. But consider that taking a book to a traditional publisher can often take months to a year (or occasionally more) to get it to print anyway, so "timely manner" is relative in the publishing industry to begin with. That said, if no one's willing to step up to the plate here, then we've obviously got pretty much nothing to offer here. (I had been, but then my education/"day job" got in the way.)

Why would an author use its services?

Why would an author use any publisher's services? Are you simply hostile to anything like a traditional publisher, Richard?

Is there a demand for it?

Define "demand". There have been authors who had intended to use these services, yes. Given the discussion which has already occurred, you already knew this.

How much will it cost? Both Author and Publisher? (IE- Alliance funds)

Nothing up front to the Author (at least nothing up front to be paid to the Press), and nothing at all to the publisher (us), thanks to POD publishing options these days. The idea was that it would generate a small trickle of revenue for the Alliance, some of which could then perhaps be funneled back into the Press.

E - Is there criteria to be published?

Yes. Look on the Alliance website. Some of it is listed there.

F - Does the above fit with the HEMA Alliance bylaws?

I am assuming so, given the fact that Jake pioneered the idea of the Press, was the first president of the Alliance, and sits on its BoD. But IANAL.

G- Who will track contracts as well as write them?

The Editor-in-Chief needs to be doing this. We should be using a standard contract.

H - How will products be advertised?

I don't think we've ever gotten far enough to consider this in detail, though they'd certainly be promoted on the Alliance website.

I - Is the goal to help members gets their works published? Make the member money? Make the Alliance money?

Primarily option #1, though it may incidentally do both #2 and #3. Niche publishing is not a great way to make a ton of money, particularly when you're giving the author a high percentage of profits (this was the plan), you're going POD (a safer investment, but less room for profit), and you're not asking for exclusive rights (only an issue for us as a publisher).


*Volunteer: The initial plan was to see a small percentage of profits from the book given to the editing team that worked extensively on that book as an incentive for them to do quality professional work (as it takes a ton of time and effort, not to mention expertise, to do a good editing job on a book), so while the editor(s) are not getting paid up-front, they are not truly volunteering because that there is some expectation that if the book does well, that they might see some form of compensation. I don't think it would be possible to run the Press and get professional-quality work done without some form of incentive.
Michael-Forest Meservy
Noble Science Academy
HEMA Alliance


Return to “HEMA Alliance Projects”