Red Door Publishing.com -- what do we think?

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E G Logan

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Just seen what I took to be a new indie publisher, via a book review in last week's Hello magazine. But actually it's not.

What do we think about this -- the underlinings are mine:

"RedDoor operates exactly as a traditional publisher in that we market, sell and represent subsidiary rights on a curated list of top-drawer titles. We have a small roster of authors we believe in, and are extremely selective about who we take on.
Extremely selective’ (their itals) is just that – our business stands or falls by the quality of our list. We publish very few books annually, and we won’t take anything on if we can’t get completely behind it.

Our authors underwrite the cost of the production process of the UK edition of their book. This is the element we take from the self-publishing model; it shares the initial commercial risk for us, meaning that our sole consideration can be: ‘will this be a great book?’ It also gives the author immense control over every aspect of the process."
After this point we share the commercial returns equally. We’re invested long-term in the book’s success through sales and through subsidiary rights representation – another reason that we can only consider titles of genuine merit."

The RedDoor Niche | RedDoor Publishing
 
My thinking precisely. The author would need to police both the publishing costs and the 'commercial returns' very closely. The proposed share method is not specified, though obviously one should ask, if interested..
 
Personally, I would stay clear and far away.

*Rant on*

Commercial risk is part of business, and if someone isn't willing to take that risk, maybe business isn't for them.

Starting a business means a financial outlay up front. There's no way around it. If these folk are starting up, then they should sort their own funding instead of using the author to pay for it. No serious business / manufacturer would ever start a company and ask their supplier to fund them. That's like saying, hey, I'm opening a candle factory. All the wick and wax suppliers will have to help pay for the manufacture of the candles if they want us to use their wicks and wax. Don't worry we'll give you a profit of each candle once where're in the High Street ... Or hey, I'm opening a yarn company. All you lovely sheep shearers will have to pay to have your wool used by us ... Methinks not. No hairdresser ever asks the shampoo suppliers to fund them. Just because authors are keen to sell their books doesn't mean they should be used this way. I started my own business 20 years ago. It cost. That's that. I'm about to start a new one, more along my interests. It will cost. That's that.

And, if they need backers, why aren't they using crowdfunding? Or serious business investors? Hey, why not go on Dragon's Den?

And would the author actually make money? Marketing or no marketing, what if the book doesn't sell? A share in the returns means nothing if the book doesn't sell. The publishing company still needs to have sales reps to go to the big (and small) bookshops to sell the book. Would big bookshops even give them a look in? I'm not so sure. I somehow doubt Waterstones would give their rep an appointment. It's hard to be seen by the buyer of any big shop. They have regular sales reps visit whom they trust and feel loyal to.

I read in your post above that they say: We have a small roster of authors we believe in, and are extremely selective about who we take on. Of course they would say that. They're not going to say that they take on anyone who's willing to fund them.

*Rant off*

Then again. It might all be perfectly legitimate, above board and well meaning, but that has no influence on whether the authors will make any money or whether they just end up spending it ...
 
The "Hybrid" model screams keep away to me. Loads are doing using that term now since aspiring authors know to keep away from 'vanity' publishers. I guess the question is , what can they do for you that you cant? But here is the biggest red flag for me, "RedDoor operates exactly as a traditional publisher in that we market, sell and represent subsidiary rights on a curated list of top-drawer titles. "

Its the carrot dangling on the stick that gets the author to think 'what if' or 'maybe they can..'. If they are representing excellent titles to sell rights for, then why bother with the self publishing bit? Why not just be agents? I think it answers itself.
 
RedDoor have been going for a few years, here's an article from 2016 by owner Clare Christian where she tries to sound like a saviour:

Self-publish and be sneered at? | The Bookseller

Personally, I cleave to the mantra that "Money should flow to the writer, not away from the writer." Look at it this way—you've got more to lose than RedDoor—how transparent is their accounting?

Reddit is a useful site to check on all things to do with writing and publishing:



A basic litmus test of a publisher's clout is to search your county library catalogue. To my surprise, I found ten titles from RedDoor in Cornwall's libraries, including fiction and self-help books.
 
RedDoor have been going for a few years,
Aha, that's interesting. If they've been going for a while, I can't see any reason why they would ask authors to front the cost / support them financially other than they aren't making any profits and need more money. But I don't know the ins of their book keeping.

I cleave to the mantra that "Money should flow to the writer, not away from the writer."
Look at it this way—you've got more to lose than RedDoor
I totally agree with you @Paul Whybrow.
 
I am fascinated to know how they make it work, especially since they appear to have quite a large team (though they may not be full-time) of women, all with some respectable publishing credentials. That costs money, even if they are all working from home, or only on commission!

Presumably, too, to preserve the company's 'brand' -- i.e. to keep standards at a desired level -- they have to exercise 'conventional' publishing standards/selectivity.

This poses an important question for anyone who might be thinking about going this road: if these people think you are worth publishing, might not some conventional (they pay you) publisher, perhaps a digital publisher, think so, too?
 
I am fascinated to know how they make it work,
Print on demand, maybe, or e-books? Still, there will be outgoings. Maybe the author's contribution covers most of the production costs as it would in self-publishing (I think). The business might be a sideline for all of them. But it would be interesting to know. Their list isn't very large so it does make one wonder how much revenue they actually make.

An acquaintance of mine has set up her own publishing comp. She's writing under several pseudonyms to get it going. No idea how she's getting on.
 
It is basically a self-publishing model and there seem to be a number of similar companies with comparable approaches, from the searches I've done on the internet.

The Children's Writers and Artist's Yearbook has an article praising this type of approach by a successful self-published author — she went in with Matador, I believe. Like Red Door, Matador editors are fussy about the authors they accept for "partnership" — they want the Matador brand to be well thought of. I suspect that is also true of Red Door.

Approaching this type of publisher for a partnership deal is something I've considered myself (if I ever have enough money to spare!!) I want my children's novels to be printed because I want them to include illustrations, and the ebook market for children is teeny. This kind of self-publishing would mean I wouldn't have to do everything myself, I could use a reputable partnership publisher (if they would have me!) and pay them to do the marketing/distribution etc. aspects of it I would otherwise have to sort out from scratch. After all, the publisher should have the existing networks, contacts and experience and I don't.

So I don't think it's necessarily dodgy (and @Paul Whybrow has found evidence of their output in his local library, so it sounds like they're the real deal), provided you are approaching the publisher as an author who's opting for the self-publishing route.
 
Just seen what I took to be a new indie publisher, via a book review in last week's Hello magazine. But actually it's not.

What do we think about this -- the underlinings are mine:

"RedDoor operates exactly as a traditional publisher in that we market, sell and represent subsidiary rights on a curated list of top-drawer titles. We have a small roster of authors we believe in, and are extremely selective about who we take on.
Extremely selective’ (their itals) is just that – our business stands or falls by the quality of our list. We publish very few books annually, and we won’t take anything on if we can’t get completely behind it.

Our authors underwrite the cost of the production process of the UK edition of their book. This is the element we take from the self-publishing model; it shares the initial commercial risk for us, meaning that our sole consideration can be: ‘will this be a great book?’ It also gives the author immense control over every aspect of the process."
After this point we share the commercial returns equally. We’re invested long-term in the book’s success through sales and through subsidiary rights representation – another reason that we can only consider titles of genuine merit."

The RedDoor Niche | RedDoor Publishing
Just another money-making-scam by wannabee publishers, losers all of them.
Writer Beware is more.
Rule number one for authors, do not pay anybody anything to have you writing read or displayed or published, you are the author, it is YOU who gets paid.
 
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