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Thread: Red Hen Press

  1. #1
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Note on Red Hen Press

    Hi, I'm new here and I'm dabbling in fantasy and have tried to write general fiction as well in the past. I submitted some undisciplined and foolish bad poetry to Red Hen in the past, but they don't take submissions right now.

    They solicit most of their work.

    I just wanted to point out for the sake of clarity that Red Hen charges a fee to submit to the contests only. You don't pay to submit since they don't take submissions. You pay to submit to a contest (which I would advise against since I don't believe in contests as such). Anyway, they are a well respected press in their community. I would have been happy to have been published there, but I gave up writing bad poetry.

    btw, I have a friend in New York who works at Penguin. I'll write her about the pitch thing.

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  2. #2
    Girl Detective Stacia Kane's Avatar
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    Welcome, Rebecca! I hope you stick around.


    Quote Originally Posted by Rebecca Gallison View Post

    I just wanted to point out for the sake of clarity that Red Hen charges a fee to submit to the contests only. You don't pay to submit since they don't take submissions. You pay to submit to a contest (which I would advise against since I don't believe in contests as such).
    Red Hen's website says, under Submission Guidelines (bolding mine):

    Red Hen Press is not currently accepting unsolicited material.

    At this time, the best opportunity to be published by Red Hen is by entering one of our contests. Please find more information in our award submission guidelines.


    The contests charge between $20.00 and $25.00 to enter.


    Therefore, the only way to submit to Red Hen Press is by paying to submit. They will not take a submission without it being paid for.


    Just because they don't specifically say "You have to pay to submit" doesn't mean they aren't charging writers to submit. They clearly and obviously are. Debating semantics doesn't change the facts of the situation.
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  3. #3
    Hapless Virago IceCreamEmpress's Avatar
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    Red Hen Press

    Publishers of "Fine poetry, literary fiction and non-fiction" per their website; located in Pasadena, California.

    Again, per the website: "Red Hen Press is not currently accepting unsolicited material. At this time, the best opportunity to be published by Red Hen is by entering one of our contests. Please find more information in our award submission guidelines."

    Contest entry fees are $20-$25 (US).

    (The information above was retrieved on March 4, 2011; I am not sure the website, which is very image-heavy, is accessible to people using programs designed to provide Internet access to people with visual disabilities.)


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  4. #4
    Hapless Virago IceCreamEmpress's Avatar
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    Some of the authors published include Percival Everett, Camille Dungy, and Chris Mazza (among those with whose works I'm familiar); I've never seen any of their books in my local bookstores, so can't comment on the production quality, &c.


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  5. #5
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Note on Red Hen Press

    Just because they don't specifically say "You have to pay to submit" doesn't mean they aren't charging writers to submit. They clearly and obviously are. Debating semantics doesn't change the facts of the situation.
    I didn't say they weren't. Yes, and you are clearly and obviously stating the clear and obvious, except you stopped after "submit" and forgot to "for contests." They charge writers to submit to contests. I made that very clear. The facts of the situation is that Red Hen charges a fee to submit to their contest. It's right there in black and white.

    They are charging writers to submit to their contests, because there is a contest fee, but taking fees for contests is not the same as paying a fee when you submit, outside the contest context. If you paid to submit outside the context of a contest, Stacia, then that would be a bit eyebrow raising.

    Red Hen publishes most of their people via solicitation. They make money from the contests, grants, and sales, however reasonable or modest those are. Course, I never sold a single copy because I never got published, and for that matter, I didn't deserve to.

    As I said before, I recommend against entering contests.

    By the way, I got a late night note from an editor friend at Penguin. She's been to the New York Pitch thing a few times, and she says they don't get picked up in any cars. She says she hasn't published anyone from there yet, but that some Penguin types did.

  6. #6
    Do Not Walk on the Grass Emily Winslow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rebecca Gallison View Post
    I didn't say they weren't. Yes, and you are clearly and obviously stating the clear and obvious, except you stopped after "submit" and forgot to "for contests." They charge writers to submit to contests. I made that very clear. The facts of the situation is that Red Hen charges a fee to submit to their contest. It's right there in black and white.

    They are charging writers to submit to their contests, because there is a contest fee, but taking fees for contests is not the same as paying a fee when you submit, outside the contest context.
    Welcome Rebecca! Hope to see you around some of the other discussions here at AW.

    I believe Stacia's point is that because Red Hen doesn't permit submissions outside of their contest, that they are forcing all submissions to go the fee-paying route. In that way, they are charging to submit, because there is no free submission option.

    I trust a mod will magic this conversation out of this thread and over to the new Red Hen discussion...


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  7. #7
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Done. (Discussion broken out from Algonkian /WebDeSol.)
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  8. #8
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    And on Clarion Grads

    I was considering Clarion at one point, even once something as useless as Breadloaf (in my bad poetry days), just all over the place, and I know Clarion has good but expensive program. Anyway I saw the information Stacia provided on the subject of Clarion success ratio vs. other conferences, and I did some digging and could not verify much of anything. I mean, there is a list of people who went there, like Cory Doctorow, but there isn't a nexus as such between many of them and Clarion. In other words, between Clarion leading directly to a specific publication.

    And a poster here links to Clarion, comparing their "success rate" to another conference, and I followed and like I say found Cory Doctorow among the various writers on the list because he stood out. I followed his bio from the link and did not see anything giving Clarion credit for getting his first novel published. Is Clarion saying they're responsible for the start of Cory Doctorow's career? Or is Stacia saying this is the case? Or more likely, Cory attended Clarion at some point and it just so happens he was later published many times? I can't help but think that Cory would have made it regardless of Clarion, but perhaps Clarion is responsible. Another fellow I clicked on to Wikipedia published short stories. That's fine. Gotham does this also, they follow past members for years and every time one is published they publish the news as if they are responsible. It is good for business, a great marketing ploy, but like Gotham, one can't conclude based on this gathering of information alone that Clarion has a better or lesser success record than anyone else. Also, one needs to compare other organizations that provide a full six weeks instruction before the comparison can be meaningful. I don't think this logically makes the case that any other writer event or even academic program must be inferior to Clarion simply because it has a big list of names on its site.

    The thing to do would be to make a study of a random sample of Clarion grads over one year to establish a direct nexus between attendance at Clarion and actual publication as a result. You really can't infer a list of names was published as a result of Clarion attendance simply because they appear on the Clarion website in a list.

    Of course, I could be wrong. Maybe I didn't follow enough links and might have found specific testimonials from Clarion grads making the point.

  9. #9
    Hapless Virago IceCreamEmpress's Avatar
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    Rebecca, I'm really confused as to what your last post has to do with Red Hen Press. If you're comparing Red Hen Press's contests to workshops like Clarion and Bread Loaf, I don't see how that is helpful--contests and workshops are very different.

    If the post was meant for another thread entirely, perhaps the mods could move it?


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    Quote Originally Posted by Rebecca Gallison View Post
    They are charging writers to submit to their contests, because there is a contest fee, but taking fees for contests is not the same as paying a fee when you submit, outside the contest context. If you paid to submit outside the context of a contest, Stacia, then that would be a bit eyebrow raising.

    Red Hen publishes most of their people via solicitation. They make money from the contests, grants, and sales, however reasonable or modest those are. Course, I never sold a single copy because I never got published, and for that matter, I didn't deserve to.
    The pertinent question, then, is how many authors are published because they paid to enter a competition, and how many are through solicitation. If the majority of their books are through contests, then they're essentially charging a reading fee. Think of certain dodgy publishers that occasionally invite big names to publish through them (though usually the big names aren't normally writers, or they'd know better), but charge fees for average joes.

    The website is too graphic heavy for me to check myself (my netbook isn't exactly overburdened with RAM and apparently the wrong resolution too) and when I attempted to open 'Authors' I got what appeared to be a coding error. It all looks very swish, but I'd rather have a plain website I can actually navigate in a reasonable amount of time than the prettiest website in the world.

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  11. #11
    but appreciated anyway... Unimportant's Avatar
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    AFAIK (which, admittedly, isn't far) Red Hen is a respectable small press in its niche (literary/poetry), and its lesbian imprint Arktoi has been putting out some good books to some acclaim in relevent literary review circles.

  12. #12
    I agree that not accepting unsolicited submissions and specifically directing people to submit via their paid contests is basically charging a reading fee.

  13. #13
    I grow my own catnip JulieB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IceCreamEmpress View Post
    Rebecca, I'm really confused as to what your last post has to do with Red Hen Press. If you're comparing Red Hen Press's contests to workshops like Clarion and Bread Loaf, I don't see how that is helpful--contests and workshops are very different.

    If the post was meant for another thread entirely, perhaps the mods could move it?
    This was split out of the Algonkian thread, where there had also been some discussion about Clarion.
    Last edited by JulieB; 03-06-2011 at 12:00 AM.

  14. #14
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    That Clarion Post

    I apologize for making the Clarion post on this thread. I believe I was in a zone between the thread being cut off from Algonkian.

    I wish to make a hopefully final comment about Red Hen Press. If you say "Red Hen Press charges a reading fee" you give the misleading impression that Red Hen charges a standard reading fee for taking "submissions" in the sense that the literary community understands that word; however, if you say Red Hen charges a fee for contest submission, that creates the correct impression.

    If you make that important omission it blackens the eye of Red Hen press unfairly.

  15. #15
    I grow my own catnip JulieB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rebecca Gallison View Post
    I apologize for making the Clarion post on this thread. I believe I was in a zone between the thread being cut off from Algonkian.

    I wish to make a hopefully final comment about Red Hen Press. If you say "Red Hen Press charges a reading fee" you give the misleading impression that Red Hen charges a standard reading fee for taking "submissions" in the sense that the literary community understands that word; however, if you say Red Hen charges a fee for contest submission, that creates the correct impression.

    If you make that important omission it blackens the eye of Red Hen press unfairly.
    No worries about the Clarion post. That sort of thing happens as threads get moved. Welcome to AW, BTW!

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Rebecca Gallison View Post
    I wish to make a hopefully final comment about Red Hen Press. If you say "Red Hen Press charges a reading fee" you give the misleading impression that Red Hen charges a standard reading fee for taking "submissions" in the sense that the literary community understands that word; however, if you say Red Hen charges a fee for contest submission, that creates the correct impression.
    Any way you want to word it, Red Hen Press is engaging in unethical practices designed to collect fees from writers who want to submit their manuscripts. I don't see any reason not to categorize it as a reading fee simply because they are trying to dress it up as something different. In fact, I think pointing out that it is a reading fee is quite accurate.

    And I certainly think would-be writers should be aware that they are engaging in unethical business practices. We are quick to cry foul when an agent tries to refer a writer to a specific editor or editing service, we should be just as quick when a publisher tries to cash in on the slush pile.

  17. #17
    Today is your last day. FOTSGreg's Avatar
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    Hmmm...

    So, if Red Hen says it charges a contest entry fee, that's not really the same as a reading fee, right?

    What's the difference? They charge a fee to read a manuscript entered into submission into a contest in which the prize is publication.

    I can send my manuscript to any traditional print editor on the planet, for a nominal fee of postage, and have that editor read the first few pages of said manuscript and decide whether kr not I win the prize of publication. All I've paid is postage.

    So, Red Hen charges a fee for reading a manuscript. A traditional editor does not. Thus, Red Hen charges fees. Correct?

    The end prize is the same - publication. However, I'd bet that said prize entails no distribution and further charges the author for "complimentary copies" via some exorbitant shipping charge (yes, I've seen that practice too - charge $25 for the product and $150 fr the shipping & handling).

    If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and looks like a duck, there's a pretty darned good chance it's a duck.

    Avoid.

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  18. #18
    but appreciated anyway... Unimportant's Avatar
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    While I strongly disapprove of reading fees, it seems to be quite common with small literary presses. Frex, Gival Press, which to my knowledge is a highly respected, well established press, is, like Red Hen, closed to general submissions and is only publishing new authors via their contests -- which also charge a reading fee of ~$20.

    Adding: Red Hen's Arktoi imprint is open to submissions, and does not charge a fee. So I think Red Hen is closed to unsolicited subs, but does run annual contests with a fee charge; in the past, if I recall correctly, Red Hen was also open to subs and did not charge a fee. So: contest = fee, submissions = no fee; may or may not be open to submissions.
    Last edited by Unimportant; 03-06-2011 at 05:46 AM.

  19. #19
    Hapless Virago IceCreamEmpress's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JulieB View Post
    This was split out of the Algonkian thread, where there had also been some discussion about Clarion.
    Ah! Light dawns on Marble Head (mine, that is). Maybe that bit can be ported back over there. Thanks, mods, for untangling this complex discussion.


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    Cultus Gopherus MacAllister Medievalist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IceCreamEmpress View Post
    Ah! Light dawns on Marble Head (mine, that is). Maybe that bit can be ported back over there. Thanks, mods, for untangling this complex discussion.
    Since the charming OP vis vis Clarion has ever so thoughtfully duplicated the entire post,( and added subsequent posts in stream-consciousness style that's just darlin') there's not much point in doing much of anything retroactively.
    Last edited by Medievalist; 03-06-2011 at 08:05 AM.

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  21. #21
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IceCreamEmpress View Post
    Ah! Light dawns on Marble Head (mine, that is). Maybe that bit can be ported back over there. Thanks, mods, for untangling this complex discussion.
    In point of fact, all that was ported precedes my note of same. IOW, it wasn't moved; it was posted in the wrong thread.
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  22. #22
    Do Not Walk on the Grass Emily Winslow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaoPaux View Post
    In point of fact, all that was ported precedes my note of same. IOW, it wasn't moved; it was posted in the wrong thread.
    I was writing a reply in the Algonkian thread (to a red hen post) and, when I hit "submit" it appeared in the Red Hen discussion! It was *magic*

    I suspect that's what happened to others too.
    Last edited by Emily Winslow; 03-06-2011 at 11:01 PM.


    "[Winslow is] brilliant at portraying the ragged fragments of these lives. What emerges isn't a single killer with motive and means, but a tangle of stories crossing and colliding, stray intersections of incidents and accidents, misunderstandings and misreadings, all thanks to the myopia of individual perspectives and the self-centeredness of individual desires.
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  23. #23
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Huh? Your only post before this one was posted yesterday at 5:44 a.m. PST, and moved at 7:57 a.m. Any posts after mine (7:58 a.m.) were posted to this thread -- not moved.
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  24. #24
    Do Not Walk on the Grass Emily Winslow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaoPaux View Post
    Huh? Your only post before this one was posted yesterday at 5:44 a.m. PST, and moved at 7:57 a.m. Any posts after mine (7:58 a.m.) were posted to this thread -- not moved.
    All I know is, I was *in* the Algonkian thread, replying to a post within in. All I can think is that when that post I was in the process of replying to was moved, my response was in a way attached to it.

    I hit "submit" and page that then appeared was Red Hen, a thread I had not yet visited. It was cool, actually.

    I don't think I'm crazy. Am I crazy?

    Anyway, my point is that I sympathize with the poster whose thoughts on conferences ended up in the wrong thread.
    Last edited by Emily Winslow; 03-06-2011 at 11:03 PM.


    "[Winslow is] brilliant at portraying the ragged fragments of these lives. What emerges isn't a single killer with motive and means, but a tangle of stories crossing and colliding, stray intersections of incidents and accidents, misunderstandings and misreadings, all thanks to the myopia of individual perspectives and the self-centeredness of individual desires.
    -Washington Post

  25. #25
    Hapless Virago IceCreamEmpress's Avatar
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    Maybe we can prune the conference stuff out of this thread?

    My take on Red Hen Press is that it is a small literary press that publishes a group of writers--some of them quite distinguished--by invitation and doesn't accept submissions otherwise. Except for the contests, which involve reading fees (as do contests from some other small literary presses and magazines, so Red Hen is far from alone in that).

    Arktoi is an imprint of Red Hen; it is (the website is a bit confusing) a venue for "lesbian writers" or for "gay and lesbian writers", which accepts submissions for a brief period each year; submissions are limited to one genre in each year, and Arktoi seems to publish one book a year (the website says that the imprint "will publish a minimum of one book per year").


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