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Thread: [Publisher] Mandrake of Oxford

  1. #1
    Where did I put me specs? euclid's Avatar
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    [Publisher] Mandrake of Oxford

    I couldn't find anything in B&BC about this publisher.

    Any information on them, anyone?

    They have a 21-point questionnaire for aspiring authors which sent me into a tailspin! Interesting questions, though.

    www.mandrake.uk.net
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  2. #2
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Seems to be a niche publisher specializing in the occult. Can you find their books in stores? The prices suggest POD, and the covers a low budget.
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  3. #3
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Quote Originally Posted by euclid View Post
    I couldn't find anything in B&BC about this publisher.

    Any information on them, anyone?

    They have a 21-point questionnaire for aspiring authors which sent me into a tailspin! Interesting questions, though.

    www.mandrake.uk.net
    I recently published my new novel, The Great Purple Hoo-Ha, with Mandrake of Oxford. They are a very well-respected occult publisher in the UK who also have a great selection of genre fiction. When I was in London on several recent trips, every time I mentioned Mandrake, in bookstores or among friends, I got nothing but glowing responses.

    You can find their books in stores - tho perhaps more in occult bookstores than in mainstream. Their prices seem comparable to those of other publishers of trade paperbacks.

    They are easy to work with - and that questionnaire asks many of the same questions I was asked when I published with a larger publisher in the USA. Tho if I were you, I'd just query them with an e-mail and get back to that kind of stuff when it seems you might have a deal.

  4. #4
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    Phil93, welcome to Absolute Write.

    Quote Originally Posted by Phil93 View Post
    I recently published my new novel, The Great Purple Hoo-Ha, with Mandrake of Oxford. They are a very well-respected occult publisher in the UK who also have a great selection of genre fiction. When I was in London on several recent trips, every time I mentioned Mandrake, in bookstores or among friends, I got nothing but glowing responses.
    That's funny, because I've worked in publishing for years and I've never heard of Mandrake. Admittedly, I've never been involved in occult publishing--oh, hang on, I have. For a few years I was an editor at a packager which specialised in esoteric non-fiction, some of which could have been called occult. And I've still never heard of Mandrake.

    You can find their books in stores - tho perhaps more in occult bookstores than in mainstream. Their prices seem comparable to those of other publishers of trade paperbacks.
    Only a tiny proportion of bookshops specialise in occult titles: if Mandrake's books are only really stocked in those specialist bookshops, then their sales profile is going to be tiny. They'll need to find sales elsewhere to stay afloat.

    They are easy to work with - and that questionnaire asks many of the same questions I was asked when I published with a larger publisher in the USA. Tho if I were you, I'd just query them with an e-mail and get back to that kind of stuff when it seems you might have a deal.
    And here we differ. You see, I prefer to check out publishers before I submit to them: that way, I don't waste anyone's time--including my own--if it turns out that the publisher doesn't actually edit the books it publishes, or is operating as a vanity press by expecting me to buy my own books.

    A quick look at Mandrake's website reveals a rather unpleasant design, some very clumsy navigation, and number of typos. It also leads me to this, from Mandrake's "submissions" page:

    We may look more favourable [sic] on a title if the author can undertake to provide us with CRC, that is copy ready for the printer. This considerably lightens our workload and enables us to move forward quickly to publication. We would need a printed copy and the digital files in something like Pagemaker or similar DTP programme. In some cases we may ask the author to preorder a small quantity of the title on publication. All this is subject to the manuscript being accepted in the first instance and passing our normal reading process.
    So: they "may ask" their authors to buy their own books, which is a huge red flag; and they prefer authors to submit in a print-ready form, which implies that they don't edit the books that they publish.

    Either one of these two issues would stop me submitting to Mandrake: but the two together? A definite no-no. I won't be submitting to Mandrake.

  5. #5
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Hack View Post
    Phil93, welcome to Absolute Write.



    That's funny, because I've worked in publishing for years and I've never heard of Mandrake. Admittedly, I've never been involved in occult publishing--oh, hang on, I have. For a few years I was an editor at a packager which specialised in esoteric non-fiction, some of which could have been called occult. And I've still never heard of Mandrake.
    So, in short, you kind of sort of worked for a company that had a tangential connection with some non-fiction that could have been called occult? Very authoritative.

    Seriously, if you haven't heard of the authors published by Mandrake, for instance, Peter Carroll, Julian Vayne, Jan Fries, Tim D'Arch Smith... you know squat about occult books, as these are some of the more well-known authors world-wide.


    And here we differ. You see, I prefer to check out publishers before I submit to them: that way, I don't waste anyone's time--including my own--if it turns out that the publisher doesn't actually edit the books it publishes, or is operating as a vanity press by expecting me to buy my own books.
    Which, of course, I did... including talking to some of their authors. Google works, too.

    http://www.google.com/search?sourcei...SNA_en___US356

    So: they "may ask" their authors to buy their own books, which is a huge red flag;
    None of the authors I talked to said that was the case, nor did they require me to buy my own.

    and they prefer authors to submit in a print-ready form, which implies that they don't edit the books that they publish.
    Who said print ready copy can't be edited? Got pagemaker? Got adobe acrobat?

    Either one of these two issues would stop me submitting to Mandrake: but the two together? A definite no-no. I won't be submitting to Mandrake.
    Good for you.

  6. #6
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil93 View Post
    So, in short, you kind of sort of worked for a company that had a tangential connection with some non-fiction that could have been called occult? Very authoritative.
    Sorry, Phil, I obviously didn't make myself clear, and you obviously don't get my feeble attempts at humour. I was a commissioning editor at that packaging company and during my time there I commissioned and edited books for the publishers we worked for: so I've edited esoteric non-fiction for many of the biggest and the best publishers including HarperCollins, Chronicle Books, and Ebury and yes, several of those books were about the occult. One of the authors I edited during that time was Colin Wilson who, love him or hate him, has written a bit about the occult. So I do have a few years' direct experience of working within publishing in this particular genre.

    I'm glad Mandrake didn't ask you to buy any of your own books: that's good. Authors should not have to commit to buying any of their books if they're publishing with a reputable company. But Mandrake does state that they might do this, on their very own website, and whether you were asked to or not does not change the fact that this is a very dubious practice for a publisher to engage in and yes, in my opinion it should be enough to put people off submitting to Mandrake. If it changes its practices on this issue, that would be a very good thing.

    As for print-ready copy not being editable: I didn't suggest that. I read this on Mandrake's website:

    We may look more favourable [sic] on a title if the author can undertake to provide us with CRC, that is copy ready for the printer. This considerably lightens our workload and enables us to move forward quickly to publication.
    And I wrote this:

    ... and they prefer authors to submit in a print-ready form, which implies that they don't edit the books that they publish.
    Perhaps you could describe the sort of editing procedures they took your book through: that would be more positive than us bickering over the capabilities of various types of software which writers might or might not have, it would give your book a bit of exposure here, and might well convince me that Mandrake is worth considering.
    Last edited by Old Hack; 04-05-2010 at 10:21 PM. Reason: Typo. Bah.

  7. #7
    Brian Boru brianm's Avatar
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    Welcome to the forum, Phil.

    We have a rule here in AW that we respect our fellow members and writers. Just giving you a heads up on that rule so that you'll be aware of it for future posts.

    ~brianm~
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