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Was I the only person who read Kassia Krozser’s How I Spent My Summer Vacation post and felt that it was slightly…glib? Casual, even?

Welcome back from whatever you did this summer. Me, I spent my time building a digital publishing company. It went mostly okay, though, in the end, there was no company to show for it. That has nothing to do with the work and talent of the people involved. Talk about amazing, smart, and creative.

You’d never know that all that summer long we’d been bombarded with messages of how QP was going to revolutionize the e-book industry, and change the digital publishing world forever.

You’d never know that people who took a risk and jumped on board ended up losing their jobs, their time, their money.

You’d never know that they made big promises that they broke.

KK’s post seemed far too casual in my opinion. A lot of people commended them on the fact that they held their hands up, and shut up shop before the bodies started piling up, but I wasn’t one of those people. In fact it didn’t impress me much at all.

If Ravenous Romance, who seem to think quality erotic romance is an urban myth, can open up, (and churn out crap after crap) and stay open, then why couldn’t Quartet Press?

I can’t understand how crappy e-presses can spring up day after day, and somehow manage to keep going, and yet a company that seemed to have it all, in terms of quality of personnel, couldn’t get their act together?

Kassia’s post was rather long-winded, and yet at the end of it, I still understood very little about what had actually gone on. Admittedly, long-arsed posts full of twenty dollar words tend to hurt my brain.

At one point, she gave advice on the perils and pitfalls of starting a digital publishing company, and I must say, the majority of the advice seemed like plain common sense to me, which begs the question, why didnt they know these things already? Didn’t they conduct a feasibility study, to ascertain whether the venture was worth going ahead with?

Kassia wrote:

The first thing you need to know is that there are very few industry best practices. They are developing rapidly…. I would not, however, suggest, for anyone starting in the digital first or digital only realm, to look to traditional publishers for guidance. Okay, maybe a few, but only in the instances where those publishers are doing it differently and taking real chances. Anyone who isn’t engaged in a level of messy experimentation, they’re not worth using as a role model.

Now pardon me for being slightly confused, but haven’t we (a general we you understand, because quite frankly I couldn’t give a rat’s arse) been bitching and moaning about how traditional publishers who have added a digital dimension seem to treat e-books in the exactly the same way as print?

KK also talks about ISBN-related issues, format quandries, third party distributor headaches, DRM problems and retail outlet visibility issues. Yeah I know, it’s all fucking Greek to me too, but nevertheless, surely these are issues that should have been ironed out before asking people to leave their existing, mostly secure jobs at the beginning of the venture?

Kassia and Angela James were good buddies, could she not have been consulted about some of these issues? Would it not have been a good idea to seek advice from some of the people who have managed to navigate the shark-infested waters that is digital publishing first?

Or am I being too simplistic?

Anyway, I don’t want to go on, because quite frankly, I’m about to eat my own arm out of boredom, but my main point is, I read that bullshit post, and all could think was, your company made promises, broke them, people lost their jobs, wasted their time, and you’re giving advice on what not to do, without sounding the least bit apologetic?

Utter bullshit.

I still like KK, but in my opinion, her post was full of jargon, said very little, and far too glib and light in tone, considering the collateral damage.

Not cricket, not cricket at all.

Rant over.

16 Comments »

  • Perhaps there is something more going on behind the scenes that is not being mentioned?

    Still in the reading “blah” mode? 🙁

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  • A few people assume that it’s because the money guy left, but why not just say that, without leaving it open to interpretation?

    And yes, the reading, it is not happening.

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  • Carrie Lofty
    September 22
    12:03 pm

    A friend of mine who applied for an editing job still hasn’t received an official notice that QP has closed up. Unprofessional, IMO.

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  • Was I the only person who read Kassia Krozser’s How I Spent My Summer Vacation post and felt that it was slightly…glib? Casual, even?

    No.

    http://www.racyromancereviews.com/2009/09/14/monday-morning-stepback/

    http://www.smartbitchestrashybooks.com/index.php/weblog/comments/quartet-press-is-no-more/

    It is bizarre.

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  • The whole Quartet Press story annoyed me. The advance PR was overkill IMO, but then I don’t read many ebooks, so it was of less interest to me than to some readers. I found the gross vs. net explanations frustrating. I still haven’t a clue how QP were planning to pay their authors. Anything which requires that much explanation and causes that much confusion is NOT transparent, which is what QP were claiming to be.

    Their sudden closure was surprising but the reactions of some of the QP members were even more bizarre. Posting long-winded crap about nothing and offering no explanation as to why they closed before they opened is bullshit. Do I have a right to know what happened? Perhaps not. But why say anything at all if you’re not prepared to say what went wrong?

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  • Personally I think that Kassia was trying to defuse some of the backlash towards Booksquare–because, honestly, regardless of why it happened, all their reputations got tarnished by this fiasco–but made a huge mistake when she choose to be flippant about it.

    I believe radio silence would have been better–or even, as Angela James said over at DA in response to kirsten saell’s comments, a brief “if they could explain, they would have already”

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  • I know next to nothing about the people who were running QP. From my POV, all I saw was a major publicity campaign from a new digital company, which hadn’t yet opened, who then shut up shop days before opening.

    The general tone of the post does seem to be glib and what I did read made my eyes cross over.

    Perhaps there is a reasonable explanation of why it closed, but since they haven’t or can’t give further explanations, speculation is going to be rife for quite some time.

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  • sallahdog
    September 22
    2:26 pm

    Havent read much about this, and since I dont read ebooks, its no skin off my nose one way or another. But I can give a bit from the business perspective..

    Over 50 percent of all start ups fail within the first year. I would guess that epublishing is no different. This eonomy only doubles the odds, because when money is tight, people tend to stick with what they know and are comfortable with, making it that much harder for a startup to get a toe hold…

    It very well could be that the money person got cold feet. I know that I would be in a heap o trouble if I hadn’t made the decision when things were good, not to leverage myself out as far as the banks and financial advisors said to a few years ago… Right now I wish I was leveraged even less, but that is rear window driving.

    I think being glib might very well be covering up for feeling like crap that they put other peoples livlihoods in jeopardy. I luckily only have my family in the boat with me, I can’t imagine the stress of having employees right now.

    I could also be wrong, and this was a whim that went bad, and she is really that glib.. but from the people that got sucked into this, I doubt it…

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  • Ghetto Diva
    September 22
    5:29 pm

    I don’t think we’ll ever know what truly happened with QP. And yes, the fact that Angela knew none of this was going down, after they hired her, is truly messed up.

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  • anonymous
    September 22
    6:42 pm

    I was extremely sympathetic when I first heard the news. Truly felt horrible for everyone involved. But now I’m pissed. I could say so many things here, but it would all come back to bite me in the ass. If you start a publishing house that collapses before it opens because you didn’t know what you were doing, just admit it.

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  • writer
    September 22
    6:50 pm

    No you aren’t alone. DA seems to think it is all fine and dandy because nobody got hurt or lost anything. If you read Theresa Weir’s blog you can see that she’s definitely lost something and been hurt. http://monkeywithapen.blogspot.com/
    QP does not seem to be acting in a very professional manner. All hype and no trousers.

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  • And: http://www.erecsite.com/2009/09/with-whimper-quartet-closing.html It was glib.

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  • anonymous
    September 22
    10:20 pm

    I don’t believe they opened their doors for submissions until late June. That gave them approximately 3 months to acquire, edit, revise, edit, format, publish. That doesn’t even include the time it would take a writer to hear about QP, write or polish a book, query, have the query read and manuscript requested. Given the unrealistic time frame, I assumed they had several books acquired, edited, designed, and formatted before opening their doors, but apparently that wasn’t the case. Query to release, three months? Quality fiction?

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  • Ann Bruce
    September 23
    12:49 am

    Kassia’s post was rather long-winded, and yet at the end of it, I still understood very little

    This statement pretty much sums up all communications from QP before and after the unexpected closing. However, I really can’t get worked up about them since I didn’t understand the big deal about them in the first place. I didn’t know anything about Kroszer or Don Lind or the other principals before QP. Actually, my CURRENT knowledge of them wouldn’t fill a thimble. What I do know is QP felt very clique-y–and I’d look askance at any future business endeavor by anyone involved in QP.

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  • Throwmearope
    September 23
    7:31 pm

    As the owner of a business, I can tell you guys, it’s a lot harder than it looks. (And unlike Sallah, I do have employees.) So I can imagine that when QP started doing the “Oh, we need this to get started. But wait, we can’t get that until we get this… What do you mean, I have to have that before I can get the other two?” tango, that things got dicey quickly.

    That said, from encountering some of the QP folks on line, I would have thought that they were capable of doing their homework better.

    I know I was looking forward to seeing some OOP books being more easily available and I am very disappointed that KK didn’t start prep work a whole year earlier than she apparently did.

    Edited to add: They used up a lot of RomanceLand goodwill by doing it the way they did.

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  • […] This is very interesting:http://karenknowsbest.com/2009/09/22/quartet-press-wheres-the-remorse-are-we-any-the-wiser/ […]


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