Dieselpunks

Dieselpunk + Steampunk Culture

Recently I've been in contact with a local independent publishing house called Twit Publishing. I had to opportunity to meet with both the editor-in-chief Chris Gabrysch and his brother Craig Gabrysch who is also a business partner (Writer, Layout, Webmaster) yesterday at the Steampunk convention, The Difference Engine, Fort Worth, Texas. 

 

They describe their company on their site as:

Twit Publishing LLC is an independent publishing company based in Dallas, Texas. It specializes in electronic, visual, and print media. PULP! Summer / Fall 2010 is the first of eight anthologies focusing on genre fiction that is the direct descendent of the pulps of the early 20th century.

http://www.twitpublishing.com/

 

Thanks to the convention website they've learned that some of the fiction they've been publishing was actually Dieselpunk but they didn't know it had a name. In addition, I learned yesterday that they're interested in publishing a "Dieselpunk Anthology" and that they are looking for writers.

 

This could be big for DIeselpunk, folks. To have a hard copy anthology of Dieselpunk stories in print could really be helpful for getting us some of the respect the genre deserves.

 

So, check out their site. Show some support and buy their publications. And contact them if you're interested in having a book or story published.

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Replies to This Discussion

Larry,

Wouldn't an independent person be more independent than an independent company? isn't independent company an oxymoron?

Unfortunately, it sounds like the person who had no say in their cover may have made an unformed decision. I can guarantee you that any writer who wants to bring a book to market, can do it with...

- 100% control of the cover

- 100% control of the content

- 100% ownership of the product

- 0 interference from anyone, and sell books. 

also this...

"So to go with an average publishing house you would be put at a disadvantage of (explaining dieselpunk)"

...Is too far of a leap for the anecdotal evidence presented. You might put some at a disadvantage, but we don't know how often that would be true. Who was the publisher you were referring to so that others can decide to avoid them based on your warning?

John

John,

Your comments seem to indicate that you've had a lot of experience with publishing. How many books have you published? Titles and where can we find them online?

Hi Craig,

My name is Tome Wilson and I am the creator/editor of Dieselpunks.

Sorry if it seems like you're getting the third degree, but we've had several unscrupulous "anthology" publishers hit the site in recent years.  It sounds like John has been burned by a similar incident, so we're just making sure you're the real deal.

My opinion is to give Twit a shot if you're not in it for the money and just trying to get your work into the wild.

Otherwise, do your homework, get educated on the publishing process & author's rights, and then contact Twit if you think they can help.  

Larry,

These are in order of publication.

** Creating 3D Models from 2D Cartoon Characters

- Lulu

http://www.lulu.com/product/ebook/creating-3d-models-from-2d-cartoo...

- Apple ibookstore

http://itunes.apple.com/us/book/creating-3d-models-from-2d/id397140...

** LIGHTWAVE FIRE TUTORIAL: GASEOUS FLAME

- lulu

http://www.lulu.com/product/ebook/lightwave-fire-tutorial-gaseous-f...

** Pandora Driver: The Origin 

- Apple ibookstore

http://itunes.apple.com/us/book/pandora-driver-the-origin/id4338237...

- Amazon Kindle Store

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004XMRZ1S

- Lulu

http://www.lulu.com/product/ebook/pandora-driver-the-origin/15572753

** I'm currently finishing up the artwork for a fourth ebook. It will be available on lulu, ibooks and amazon when it's ready.

I've chosen to create only .epub and .mobi formats and have no plans to create any physical books. My focus in on the largest e-reader user bases, ipads (25 million), kindles (2.5 million), nooks (3 million).  most other ereaders can view them too.

Each of my ebooks has been an experiment  and i've learned different things with each. Most importantly to me I own everything. Most importantly to the discussion, I've sold more than 100 copies. 

Oh and I almost forgot, we are recording for Pandora Driver: The Origin: The Audiobook. (it's another publishing experiment for people who don't enjoy or have enough time for reading.)

John

Tome,

Actually I've never felt burned in a publishing venture because I proceed with extreme caution in all business deals. But I have also learned from other's mistakes. If anyone following this thread hasn't heard of, Dave Steven's fight for the Rocketeer or Alan Moore's behind the scenes experience with v for vendetta and the watchmen, should look into them.

I have read about plenty of others who have been burned to various degrees, including Larry's cover, story, and other dieselpunks.org members tales.

My objective in this discussion was to try an identify any unique value in Twit's offer. My inquiry wasn't really about being screwed, it was about about uncovering what's really in the offer for you, the creators? Only then can you make a decision with your eyes wide open.

John

I completely understand where you're all coming from. John is right, you should enter into any business deal with extreme caution. I do the same thing when I consider what Twit is entering into.

To answer the ebook vs. print sales:

YES, ebooks are growing. YES, they have overtaken hardcopy books sales on Amazon. But, Amazon doesn't control the entire marketplace. All indicators point that people still REALLY like print books. As of last year, ebooks represented 8.5% of the market share on book sales. Indie publishers represented 10%.

That's why we cover BOTH markets.

Also, I would like to remind you guys that Dieselpunk right now is a niche genre. Ebooks are a niche market. Niche genre meets niche market? The point of the anthology is to GROW the genre, right? That means getting a book in front of an audience that hasn't seen it. Conventions and events do this. Ebooks don't go well with conventions.

Furthermore, we'll never own characters, or the actual plot of a story, etc. We get print rights, not character or intellectual rights.

So, we'll be posting the submission information to our website in the next week or so, and putting an additional copy on duotrope if you want to  submit. One important note that I'd like to make is that I'm going off the dieselpunk vision YOU GUYS have. I think this anthology here completely missed the mark on every level.

Thank you for your consideration.

-Craig

I guess I'm a Luddite in that love real books I can hold in my hand. I like to be able to buy a copy for a family member or friend. I love the way an old book smells. Or when you pick up one you've had for years and it's yellowed like a fine antique. My wife has an Kindle and she loves it but I don't want one. Plus, I like it when I can go to a convention and meet the author, buy his or her book, and have the author sign it. That's so cool.

 

So I like a service that offers both hardbacks and ebooks..

THis is all great stuff. Thanks for the thread. Very interesting. and Good luck with the publishing house!

Craig,

I merely pointed out, that I am more interested in ebooks in response to Larry's question. however i will point out one thing i find ironic.

"Ebooks are a niche market."

that was same tune i remember music publishers singing in response mp3s at first. Where are all the music stores now?

I hoped to avoid an in depth discussion on marketing strategy for three main reasons. 

1- because twit publishing and john picha are obviously starting with a different set of premises and using different strategies to proceed in our independent ventures. remember I'm not seeking anyone else's creative content to make money. I'm not trying to convince twit publishing of anything. If the twit team wants to go to conventions and sell books let them. It sounds like that's the marketplace they understand best and are very interested in.

2- Quite bluntly, companies usually pay me for that type of information.

3- The conversation will drift too far from the original point.

Here are my responses as they pertain to the larger discussion. 

"Amazon doesn't control the entire marketplace."

I only used amazon as an example to illustrate a point about royalties, and said that's where i've chosen to focus my ebook efforts. but you'd have to acknowledge that they are a dominant player in the total book market space, right?

"All indicators point that people still REALLY like print books."

This is too far of a leap. There are strong indicators that specific groups of people are only willing by physical books but not all. And I'm not telling any person that they shouldn't make physical books if that's what they want. In fact I've practically handed anyone who is interested a road map how to do it. I'm just not interested in perusing it for myself.

"As of last year, ebooks represented 8.5% of the market share on book sales. Indie publishers represented 10%."

I'm not sure how these numbers help the case to choose you as a publisher. You don't have unique access to either of those percentages, that I'm aware of. Anyone who decided to publish for themselves would be in the same space.

"Also, I would like to remind you guys that Dieselpunk right now is a niche genre. Ebooks are a niche market. Niche genre meets niche market?"

anyone who published something targeted at that niche would be in the same position as twit publishing. you have to decide if twit's unique service proposition is enough to help you, the creator, gain a sales advantage in that market segment. Then you have to decide if the risk is worth the reward for you.

3% of the cover price for each unit sold.

"The point of the anthology is to GROW the genre, right? That means getting a book in front of an audience that hasn't seen it."

what is the current size of the dieselpunks audience, both US and international?

"Ebooks don't go well with conventions."

i get that twit thinks going to conventions is a great way to sell physical books. I'm not sure their number validate it, yet. but i hear loud and clear that they believe it. also I haven't suggested that anyone try to sell ebooks at a convention. 

"Furthermore, we'll never own characters, or the actual plot of a story, etc. We get print rights, not character or intellectual rights."

circling back to questions that i've asked earlier...

- What would trigger the end of the 1st electronic rights? how is that duration defined?

- What would be the motivation for twit to ever remove something from electronic publication?

- can i see a copy of the contract(s) you referred to?

(everyone reading please note that i've asked for the contract that twit "insists on" several times and i still haven't gotten it yet.)

maybe i should have been more specific when i brought up ownership/control issues to avoid confusion. but let's be realistic, a creator working with twit on their anthology will not have full control of their work or how it's presented. this issue can be a lot more sticky that craig is making it sound, and you may have to lawyer up to unstick it if things go bad.

twit already gave us one example of the creator loses full control earlier, "if we(twit) did publish a short story by you, you wouldn't have rights to submit that story to another print or electronic publisher without our written permission. It's not that big of a deal." 

an author can bring a book to market (ebook or physical) in a way that this would never be an issue. 

Also to use an example like larry's. What if the twit team really liked the cover art of the first dieselpunk book, but you the creator thought it looked like crap? who has the final say? My guess is that publisher would. What if all of the contributors in the first anthology loved the cover except you? what if you felt that other stories you're stuck between were really bad and would hurt the market success of your own story? can you pullout? can you pull out without penalty after all the twit prep work has been done? what if you disagree with a BA from UT on his edits? can you refuse to accept them and still get published? can you pull out without punishment? 

how does the secondary agreement/contract with smashwords fit into this scheme. There may be a rider in it that specifies a book they publish and distribute may not be published elsewhere without a royalty paid back to the original publisher, meaning smashwords, for every unit sold in perpetuity.

anyone involved in the anthology project might want to get a look at the smashwords agreement that twit publishing signed.

these are just a few examples off the top of my head. but use your imagination, and you can come up with many, many examples of how the creator's control could be chipped away by signing on with twit or other publishers offering similar services. but it doesn't have to be that way. What happens if a problem comes up and lot of money is at stake? you'll see how quickly the LLC will clamp down to protect themselves. 

getting into a business deal is a little like getting into a marriage. everyone starts of happy and friendly. but if things get bad like a divorce/bankruptcy, it can get real ugly real quick. you have decide if these risk outweighs the reward of going with twit.

3% of the cover price of however many units sold.

"One important note that I'd like to make is that I'm going off the dieselpunk vision YOU GUYS have."

can you give us detail on what you think that vision is?

"I think this anthology here completely missed the mark on every level."

http://duotrope.com/market_5498.aspx

do you know how many units they sold?

--

everyone reading, don't lose site of that fact that the core of this deal is about making money. 

twit publishing has as much of a chance of success entering this target market as anyone else. if they had international brand recognition like say, simon and schuster it would be completely different. You may not be a twit, but you have access to most of what they have.

they are using smashwords to publish both physical books and ebooks and anyone can do the same thing. a quick google search will get you to a list of other companies offering comparable services. as far as i know anyone has access to these...

http://www.smashwords.com/

http://www.bookbaby.com/

https://www.createspace.com/

http://www.lulu.com

http://www.fastpencil.com/

http://www.publishgreen.com/

http://www.ingramdigital.com/

http://www.lightningsource.com

http://www.overdrive.com/

http://www.libredigital.com/

http://pubit.barnesandnoble.com/pubit_app/bn?t=pi_reg_home

http://www.scribd.com/

I can only recommend the ones I've dealt with or looked into. but do your own research, I'm sure each one has their own strengths and weaknesses.

every party in between your work and the purchaser will take a cut. twit publishing is acting as an intermediary. As far as i can tell the only unique services they offer are...

- connections to texas bookstores

- a brother with a BA from UT

- the fact that the twit team is willing to go to conventions to promote and sell physical books

- undemonstrated claims about dieselpunks insight

and there is value in these, but ask yourself...

do they have impressive sales figures to show for their efforts so far? 

do they have examples of impressive dieselpunk customer conversion rates?

is the offer worth your time?

 

John

larry,

i remember giles discussing how important the smell of old books was to him on buffy the vampire slayer. it was very well stated. and i hear this olfactory argument before. i have friends that tell me records sound better that mp3s.

but when it comes to buying new books I say, "save a tree."

john

John,

 

I think we'll just have to agree to disagree on this. All of your arguments are sound, which is why we still publish through ALL of the markets you mention.

Your argument is for just ebooks. I get that. Our argument is for ebooks and print.

OK?

And, by Niche Market, I mean small with a specific user base. By 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 or 2020 it may be the complete opposite. But it's 2011.

I don't see the point in ignoring a segment of the market. Presumably you do?

-Craig

John Picha said:

Craig,

I merely pointed out, that I am more interested in ebooks in response to Larry's question. however i will point out one thing i find ironic.

"Ebooks are a niche market."

that was same tune i remember music publishers singing in response mp3s at first. Where are all the music stores now?

I hoped to avoid an in depth discussion on marketing strategy for three main reasons. 

1- because twit publishing and john picha are obviously starting with a different set of premises and using different strategies to proceed in our independent ventures. remember I'm not seeking anyone else's creative content to make money. I'm not trying to convince twit publishing of anything. If the twit team wants to go to conventions and sell books let them. It sounds like that's the marketplace they understand best and are very interested in.

2- Quite bluntly, companies usually pay me for that type of information.

3- The conversation will drift too far from the original point.

Here are my responses as they pertain to the larger discussion. 

"Amazon doesn't control the entire marketplace."

I only used amazon as an example to illustrate a point about royalties, and said that's where i've chosen to focus my ebook efforts. but you'd have to acknowledge that they are a dominant player in the total book market space, right?

"All indicators point that people still REALLY like print books."

This is too far of a leap. There are strong indicators that specific groups of people are only willing by physical books but not all. And I'm not telling any person that they shouldn't make physical books if that's what they want. In fact I've practically handed anyone who is interested a road map how to do it. I'm just not interested in perusing it for myself.

"As of last year, ebooks represented 8.5% of the market share on book sales. Indie publishers represented 10%."

I'm not sure how these numbers help the case to choose you as a publisher. You don't have unique access to either of those percentages, that I'm aware of. Anyone who decided to publish for themselves would be in the same space.

"Also, I would like to remind you guys that Dieselpunk right now is a niche genre. Ebooks are a niche market. Niche genre meets niche market?"

anyone who published something targeted at that niche would be in the same position as twit publishing. you have to decide if twit's unique service proposition is enough to help you, the creator, gain a sales advantage in that market segment. Then you have to decide if the risk is worth the reward for you.

3% of the cover price for each unit sold.

"The point of the anthology is to GROW the genre, right? That means getting a book in front of an audience that hasn't seen it."

what is the current size of the dieselpunks audience, both US and international?

"Ebooks don't go well with conventions."

i get that twit thinks going to conventions is a great way to sell physical books. I'm not sure their number validate it, yet. but i hear loud and clear that they believe it. also I haven't suggested that anyone try to sell ebooks at a convention. 

"Furthermore, we'll never own characters, or the actual plot of a story, etc. We get print rights, not character or intellectual rights."

circling back to questions that i've asked earlier...

- What would trigger the end of the 1st electronic rights? how is that duration defined?

- What would be the motivation for twit to ever remove something from electronic publication?

- can i see a copy of the contract(s) you referred to?

(everyone reading please note that i've asked for the contract that twit "insists on" several times and i still haven't gotten it yet.)

maybe i should have been more specific when i brought up ownership/control issues to avoid confusion. but let's be realistic, a creator working with twit on their anthology will not have full control of their work or how it's presented. this issue can be a lot more sticky that craig is making it sound, and you may have to lawyer up to unstick it if things go bad.

twit already gave us one example of the creator loses full control earlier, "if we(twit) did publish a short story by you, you wouldn't have rights to submit that story to another print or electronic publisher without our written permission. It's not that big of a deal." 

an author can bring a book to market (ebook or physical) in a way that this would never be an issue. 

Also to use an example like larry's. What if the twit team really liked the cover art of the first dieselpunk book, but you the creator thought it looked like crap? who has the final say? My guess is that publisher would. What if all of the contributors in the first anthology loved the cover except you? what if you felt that other stories you're stuck between were really bad and would hurt the market success of your own story? can you pullout? can you pull out without penalty after all the twit prep work has been done? what if you disagree with a BA from UT on his edits? can you refuse to accept them and still get published? can you pull out without punishment? 

how does the secondary agreement/contract with smashwords fit into this scheme. There may be a rider in it that specifies a book they publish and distribute may not be published elsewhere without a royalty paid back to the original publisher, meaning smashwords, for every unit sold in perpetuity.

anyone involved in the anthology project might want to get a look at the smashwords agreement that twit publishing signed.

these are just a few examples off the top of my head. but use your imagination, and you can come up with many, many examples of how the creator's control could be chipped away by signing on with twit or other publishers offering similar services. but it doesn't have to be that way. What happens if a problem comes up and lot of money is at stake? you'll see how quickly the LLC will clamp down to protect themselves. 

getting into a business deal is a little like getting into a marriage. everyone starts of happy and friendly. but if things get bad like a divorce/bankruptcy, it can get real ugly real quick. you have decide if these risk outweighs the reward of going with twit.

3% of the cover price of however many units sold.

"One important note that I'd like to make is that I'm going off the dieselpunk vision YOU GUYS have."

can you give us detail on what you think that vision is?

"I think this anthology here completely missed the mark on every level."

http://duotrope.com/market_5498.aspx

do you know how many units they sold?

--

everyone reading, don't lose site of that fact that the core of this deal is about making money. 

twit publishing has as much of a chance of success entering this target market as anyone else. if they had international brand recognition like say, simon and schuster it would be completely different. You may not be a twit, but you have access to most of what they have.

they are using smashwords to publish both physical books and ebooks and anyone can do the same thing. a quick google search will get you to a list of other companies offering comparable services. as far as i know anyone has access to these...

http://www.smashwords.com/

http://www.bookbaby.com/

https://www.createspace.com/

http://www.lulu.com

http://www.fastpencil.com/

http://www.publishgreen.com/

http://www.ingramdigital.com/

http://www.lightningsource.com

http://www.overdrive.com/

http://www.libredigital.com/

http://pubit.barnesandnoble.com/pubit_app/bn?t=pi_reg_home

http://www.scribd.com/

I can only recommend the ones I've dealt with or looked into. but do your own research, I'm sure each one has their own strengths and weaknesses.

every party in between your work and the purchaser will take a cut. twit publishing is acting as an intermediary. As far as i can tell the only unique services they offer are...

- connections to texas bookstores

- a brother with a BA from UT

- the fact that the twit team is willing to go to conventions to promote and sell physical books

- undemonstrated claims about dieselpunks insight

and there is value in these, but ask yourself...

do they have impressive sales figures to show for their efforts so far? 

do they have examples of impressive dieselpunk customer conversion rates?

is the offer worth your time?

 

John

Craig and anyone reading the thread,

This isn't a discussion about ebooks vs physical books, and i think you know that. craig is trying to reframe the argument.

opinions about ebooks vs physical books are irrelevant to the larger point. it's a red herring.

the real point here is a demonstrable fact.

anyone who wants to publish physical books and/or ebooks can do so following exactly the same steps twit publish is using. and you will receive a higher rate of return per unit then what twit is offering. 

more than 3%

http://www.smashwords.com/

http://www.bookbaby.com/

https://www.createspace.com/

http://www.lulu.com

http://www.fastpencil.com/

http://www.publishgreen.com/

http://www.ingramdigital.com/

http://www.lightningsource.com

http://www.overdrive.com/

http://www.libredigital.com/

http://pubit.barnesandnoble.com/pubit_app/bn?t=pi_reg_home

http://www.scribd.com/

This thread is a discussion about identifying the value of making a deal with twit publishing. from what's been disclosed, twits sales number aren't great in 2011. maybe they will be by 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 or 2020 or maybe they will be gone. 

everyone paying attention to this thread, make sure to note which specific questions i've asked, pertaining to the larger discussion, remain ignored or unanswered.

these are your red flags.

John

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