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Black Rose Writing

PO Box 1540

Castroville, TX 78009


Accepts Queries Via...

Snail-Mail: No

E-Mail: No

Online Form: Yes

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from KayBeyus
Jul 16, 2020 11:22 am

QF: 7/9
ER: 7/16

YA Speculative 72K
from Samazra
Jul 08, 2020 11:50 am

Online Form Query: 07/01/20
Form Rej: 07/08/20

YA Sci-Fi 60k
from Workinghard
Jun 16, 2020 11:51 am

I published my first novel with BRW, and while it's been frustratingly hard to get my books into bookstores, I've found them to be really great people to work with. They're not a vanity publisher, but they are a sort of "hybrid," I guess, because they ask you to pay part of the cost for things like goodreads giveaways and Bookbub features. They are super responsive, friendly, and I've learned a lot about the publishing industry from them.
from miamishagger
Jun 03, 2020 4:54 pm

I have not seen any evidence that BRW is a vanity press. There is nothing required from you other than a polished manuscript. BRW doesn't pay an advance, and it takes a big share of sales, but it helps with the editing process, does the formatting, designs the covers (or works with your preferred cover designer) and works with savvy marketers who are good at key words and categories (digging beneath the ones Amazon limits or hides.) When you self-publish, you do all of those things yourself. Also, BRW has some very successful books in its stable, and authors who have done the work get more attention from BRW, more marketing efforts, more investment. If you think, "Okay it's published now, I can just sit back and watch it become a bestseller," BRW will not invest in you. Also, I have a several author friends who are with one of the Big Five, and they work their tails off, even if they have a publicist and PR person and a whole entourage of support behind them. So BRW is a small publisher that provides a platform to launch your book without putting a dollar on the table. What you do from there to make your book a success is up to you. Big Five publishers care about one book a season, and that's the "famous person's" book, and they don't focus on you. It comes down to marketing yourself, no matter who your publisher is.
from Charlotte27
Apr 23, 2020 2:47 pm

Debdebb, I am not Claxton, but I wanted to address your post. While it's true that Black Rose Writing no longer contractually requires writers to purchase a large stock of their own book as "inventory," I agree with Claxton that BRW still bears many similarities to vanity publishers. I am basing my comment on the contract and offer I received from them, as well as research I have done into the other books they have published. If you personally use a strict definition of vanity press to refer to a press that requires upfront payment from an author, then BRW is not technically a vanity press. However, I argue that they still seem to operate as one, and bear in mind that they did require author payment in the past, which they came under fire for. My reasoning for them still being vanity-press-adjacent is that they provide very little in terms of services in exchange for a large chunk of royalties. Specifically, having researched all of the books in my genre that they've published, I am very personally underwhelmed by the cover art they provide, to put it politely. Cover art is one of the services that they, as the publisher, take care of in exchange for their cut of your profits. In my opinion, at least, the cover art they provide does not appear to justify the ultimate price tag -- and again, that's just in my genre. Next, consider that one of the biggest benefits of going with a traditional publisher is getting into brick-and-mortar stores. From everything I can tell online, BRW does not actually put your book on physical shelves; rather, they sell print-on-demand copies via such outlets as Barnes & Noble. To understand why this is a red flag, you need to understand how bookstores work. Typically, a store like Barnes & Noble doesn't outright purchase a stock of books to sell. Rather, traditional publishers are so selective on what they publish because they have to "put their money where their mouth is," proverbially speaking, and make an upfront investment to produce X number of copies of a book, which they then distribute to brick-and-mortar stores. Only when a brick-and-mortar store sells a copy does that store, say Barnes & Noble, have to pay the publisher for that copy. If the book isn't as popular as the publisher thought it would be, the bookstore may even send back the stock of unsold books, which the publisher may have to write off. In other words, a non-vanity traditional publisher will only take on projects in which it has great financial faith, because the business model incentivizes them to work hard to sell off that inventory. In the case of a publisher such as BRW, from what I can tell, they do not invest in an inventory of physical books. So, objectively speaking, they simply don't have the same incentive to publicize and market your book in the way that a traditional publisher does. Based on that business model alone, I am wary of working with BRW.

In my opinion, your assertion that they are not a vanity press simply because they don't require payment from authors is understandable but misguided. Always remember with any publisher or agent: you ARE paying them, in the form of royalties. So if BRW is taking, for example, an 80% cut, it's not unreasonable for a prospective author to wonder whether that payment structure is justified by the services rendered in exchange.

Edited to add: Also like many vanity publishers, BRW does not offer an advance of any kind.

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