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Thread: Polymancer Press / Polymancer Studios

  1. #1

    Polymancer Press / Polymancer Studios

    Does anyone know anything about this publisher? I've been offered a job writing manuals for role-playing games, but they pay very little.

    Thanks for any information.
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  2. #2
    Link: http://www.polymancerstudios.com/

    They had their website hacked recently and are in the process of rebuilding it. You also have to have to sign a lot of story release forms and other contracts to be considered, but their customer service response is good.

  3. #3
    practical experience, FTW LloydBrown's Avatar
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    Rowdymama, I wrote a column on RPG Freelancing on RPG.net, have about 60 articles out and 4 RPG books. One book I began work on but never finished thanks to a publisher backing out was a sort of Writer's Market for the RPG industry.

    Polymancer pays a half-cent per word, Canadian, unless they've changed their rates since the last time I e-mailed them.

    I have heard no rumors of them failing to pay. They seem to keep to a schedule. If the horrible pay rate doesn't put you off, I've seen no reason to avoid them.

    There are lots of publishers that pay more, though, and Polymancer doesn't have an exclusive game, so I can't really see any reason to write for them, either.
    Lloyd Brown
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  4. #4
    Thank you, Lloyd, for that info. I would be interested to know a few of the gaming sites that pay better, as this is something I believe I can do and would enjoy doing. Alternatively, what keywords would you suggest I google?
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  5. #5
    practical experience, FTW LloydBrown's Avatar
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    If you're not familiar with the RPG industry, go to a game store. Look at what's on the shelves. Publishers who can afford to print books generally pay better than the PDF/POD crowd. You can write all day for publishers like Polymancer. You'll sell at will, which is good for the ego, I guess, but at the end of the day you might have $1.25 in your pocket.

    White Wolf, Steve Jackson, Wizards of the Coast, Fantasy Flight Games, Paizo Publishing, Mongoose Publishing and lots more all use freelancers. Steve Jackson's online magazine, Pyramid, pays .03/word--six times better than Polymancer.

    I've had 5 books published by Kenzer & Company and written many articles for their magazine, Knights of the Dinner Table. I've been happy to work with them. KoDT also pays .03/word (they used to pay higher, but the market has been down lately).

    If you are familiar with the RPG industry, find the website of a manufacturer whose games you like. You'll have the best luck writing for them.
    Lloyd Brown
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  6. #6
    Gorsh, it looks like the market is down everywhere! I guess my days of writing for ten cents a word are over

    Thank you, Lloyd, that is all good information. I wrote to Polymancer and asked for the contract and haven't heard from them since. I'll just cross them off my list.
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  7. #7
    practical experience, FTW LloydBrown's Avatar
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    When/where did you get .10/word in the RPG industry? Even Dragon only paid .06. InQuest paid .15, but that's a CCG market.
    Lloyd Brown
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  8. #8
    I don't think I said it was in the RPG industry. It was for contributions to an anthology.
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  9. #9
    practical experience, FTW LloydBrown's Avatar
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    Ah, okay. 'Cause the RPG industry and the "real world" are two different groups with their own pay scale. I'd never write non-fiction for rates I gladly accept for RPG work.
    Lloyd Brown
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  10. #10
    That is very interesting, Lloyd, but I am curious - why would you take less for RPG work than you expect for regular writing, if you don't mind saying?
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  11. #11
    practical experience, FTW LloydBrown's Avatar
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    The main reason is that I understand the market. It's just not feasible for RPG publishers to pay .25/word because their sales won't justify it. You don't expect small-press publishers to offer a $20,000 advance, but you might very well see it out of Random House.

    It's justifiable in other ways. You don't have to be particularly talented to write for the common rates these days. The higher rates usually have some competition, but if you can write complete sentences and your work has a beginning and an end, you can find a buyer for mediocre RPG material. Even at the top end, if you show knowledge of what's already on the market, show moderate development and design skills, and have high school graduate-level writing skills, you can sell consistently.

    Only for the top payers do you really need any real proficiency in the medium. For most markets, I can sell first drafts, and they appear more or less as written. Few RPG publishers have (or are) editors with even basic copy editing skills, much less substantive editing. They don't know or appreciate the difference between weak and average writing or average and good writing.

    This might sound like I'm denigrating a market I write for, which some would consider foolish. I can justify every observation, though. I once castigated a publisher for offering .01/word. I took a sample he had provided and edited it. I found something like 17 errors in a 300-word sample. The errors ranged from punctuation to design flaws, and they were rampant throughout the article. I tried to explain that THIS is the difference between .01/word writing and .05/word writing. Offer higher rates, get better writing, sell more stuff. Publishers don't appreciate that superior writing--a skill which costs money--equates to better sales.

    A lot of this attitude comes from the current environment of PDF/POD publishing allowing any hobbyist to become a publisher. They start with no business plan, no money in the bank, and no real goals other than "sell some kewl stuff." They don't budget for good writing, and by putting out poor quality product, they ensure that they'll never be able to bootstrap themselves up to a position where they can afford to pay for good writing.

    Also, many fanboys will write for free or nothing, which really sets the market. A publisher can fill his magazine or book with low-quality material and sell x copies at y cost, where y is practically 0. Paying for top-notch writing would sell x+25%, but cost y+500%, making it non-feasible.

    Many "publishers" in this environment are happy to sell 100 copies of a PDF. Yes, that's 100 copies of a PDF that might sell for $5 or $10, and a 25-40% cut goes straight to the hosting website. They might sell a few POD copies through Lulu.com. They might go to a couple of conventions where they set up a table, take a couple of copies with them and sell or give them away.
    Lloyd Brown
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  12. #12
    Lloyd, I don't know how I can thank you enough for all that information. I feel as though I've had a complete education re the RPG marketplace. It sure says a lot for Polymancer's offer of "deferred payment and 35% of net profit," doesn't it?

    I've had plenty of offers from vendors who don't particularly care whether the writing is good or bad. I refuse to write for them; I didn't spend 40 years learning how to do this to "write down" for 0.01 cents per word. They do enjoy stealing my work, however!

    If you enjoy this and make money at it, good for you.

    Thanks again for your encompassing answer. You're a peach.
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  13. #13
    practical experience, FTW LloydBrown's Avatar
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    Good luck with it. Obviously, I enjoy doing it. It was, for me, an easy intro into professional writing. Early successes gave me confidence, and a lucky experience with a brilliant editor gave me a quick education in how to improve my writing. In that respect, I saw it as a sort of paid internship.
    Lloyd Brown
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  14. #14
    Holding out for a Superhero... Sheryl Nantus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowdymama View Post
    It sure says a lot for Polymancer's offer of "deferred payment and 35% of net profit," doesn't it? .
    IMO this should automatically send up signal flares - deferred payment and a share of the NET profits... well, that could mean anything. They may be as honest as the day is long and all that but it still comes down to what YOU expect to be paid - and WHEN you expect to be paid.

    I'm waiting out a contract I signed with a small RPG outfit that put the project on ice due to 4th edition... meanwhile, I've gotten no payment at all for the work I did. That's not sitting well on my shoulders, as you can guess.

    I've also done some nice work for another outfit that pays quickly, if not high amounts. It all depends on what you're looking for and what you're willing to put up with, as Lloyd so expertly laid out. There's a lot of gamers out there who think they can write and vice-versa...

  15. #15
    Eh-sorry, I'm not sure. When I submitted a couple of years ago there was a really long delay in getting back to me for even basic questions. Eventually the editor apologized and she said they had a staff turnover.

    It doesn't sound like much has changed......

  16. #16
    Hagiographically Advantaged AW Moderator HapiSofi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ladyhawke_18 View Post
    Anyone do any work with Polymancer lately? I have signed contracts to sell them two short stories and one short comic book script and can't even seem to get a publication schedule to learn whether I'll ever actually see my work in print.

    And my first story was accepted way back in 2009.
    Gotta say, that sounds bad. Have you checked to see when they last published anything?
    Winner of the Best Drycleaner on the Block Award.

  17. #17
    Hagiographically Advantaged AW Moderator HapiSofi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ladyhawke_18 View Post
    Then on March 18, 2011, I inquired with the editor to see if he could give me a publication schedule so I'd have an idea when my 3 pieces would run. He forwarded my note to the customer service chick.
    The editor ought not be referring publication scheduling questions to customer service.

    I don't think you're going to get any satisfaction out of these people.
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  18. #18
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Has restructured a bit, including forming a book imprint, Polymancer Press.
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    I've never known any trouble that an hour's reading didn't assuage. -- Charles DeSecondat

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  19. #19
    practical experience, FTW bladestalker's Avatar
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    Anyone with any new info on this publisher. I have a contracted book project with them and have heard nothing from then for months with is long even for thier abysmal turn around on queries.

    At this point I'm simply waiting out their contracted kill times before self publishing (kickstarter probably)

  20. #20
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Website now reads: "Polymancer Studios Inc. is NO longer in business, it shutdown operations in 2012." Nary a word of warning or why, that I can find.
    ICAO
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    Achievers strive for excellence. Perfectionists drive themselves to extinction. -- A Grapple A Day
    I've never known any trouble that an hour's reading didn't assuage. -- Charles DeSecondat

    II 2016: 2017:

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