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Thread: Martin Sustainable Books / The Environmentalist Magazine

  1. #1
    figuring it all out MeeMee2000's Avatar
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    Martin Sustainable Books / The Environmentalist Magazine

    Didn't see a thread so decided to start one. Does anyone have any info or experience on/with Martin Sustainable Books?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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  3. #3
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    This is my first post. (Hello). I've dealt with them. The magazine has been around for a while. The publisher has a lower profile, but is legit. I sent in a manuscript last year. They liked my writing and, while the plot didn't work for them, they left it open for me to send something else outside of the contest, so it was good for me.

  4. #4
    figuring it all out MeeMee2000's Avatar
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    Thanks for letting me be your first post, OnceAgain! May I ask, what genre of book did you submit to their contest? Was it about the environment?

    Since the Martin company is geared towards the environment and spirituality, I was afraid that even though they say they take nearly every genre of book, that they really are looking for environment messaged novels.

  5. #5
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    For me, it's always something of a red flag when publishers encourage writers to submit via a contest (according to Martin's FAQ, writers can submit outside of the contest, but "We review contest manuscripts first"), especially if the contest charges fees and there's no monetary prize. In this case, the fees are pretty high--$45 for a book submission--and the prize is publication (as an ebook only). In such a situation, the contest entry fee skews awfully close to a reading fee.

    The Contest Terms and Conditions contain some terminology borrowed from the film world, which contestants should carefully consider before entering, specifically:
    6. CONTESTANT recognizes that MARTIN SUSTAINABLE and its associates have access to and/or may create literary materials and ideas which may be similar or identical to said ENTRY in theme, idea, plot, format or other respects. CONTESTANT agrees that CONTESTANT will not be entitled to any compensation because of the use of any such similar or identical material that may have been independently created by MARTIN SUSTAINABLE or any ASSOCIATE, or may have come to MARTIN SUSTAINABLE or such associate from any other independent source.
    People in the know usually advise striking "or identical" from such waivers. That's not possible here.

    Other concerns: The book covers don't look especially professional, and to submit a query outside of the contest (limited to three paragraphs, submitted through the contact form) you have to sign an elaborate release form, much which, again, is taken from the film world, and which seems to be really absurd overkill for a short query.

    All in all, this looks to me like a rather odd operation.

    - Victoria

  6. #6
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Hi MeeMee2000. My genre was historical fiction, which interested them. The book company is definitely everything, not just the environment. They asked me if I wrote literary or commercial fiction, as well. The magazine is environment and politics, but it has more, too. I think the "sustainable" has more to do with how they operate their business. My impression was that something heavily violent or 'sensational but not true' would turn them off, but they seem open to everything.

  7. #7
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Hi Victoria, My first approach was through a query. I didn't have to pay anything. I would have paid to enter the manuscript, but they asked for it without payment. So, it was a good experience for me. I didn't have a problem with the terms because I've seen the same language when I've submitted unsolicited requests to agents. Are you an agent? Do you protect yourself or do you not take unsolicited requests? As for the artwork, it looks like it's for upcoming stuff, so I'm not sure how relevant that is. Maybe you can contact them to find out more.

  8. #8
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    I'm not an agent. And in the book publishing world, waivers like the one Martin uses are very rare.

    The artwork is relevant because it's a marker of a publisher's professionalism. If the artwork is unprofessional, it suggests a publisher that's working with inexperienced staff, a very limited budget--or even worse, a publisher that doesn't know the difference.

    Never pay a publisher a reading fee.

    - Victoria

  9. #9
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Again, I didn't have to pay. My query was enough for them to want to read my manuscript. I ended up getting great advice on my writing. I can't say whether that would be the result for others, but it was my experience.

    Victoria, I sent this thread to the editor there who was so nice to me. He was surprised you hadn't contacted them before you posted. He said the the covers are preliminary for 2012 titles and that you or anyone else are welcome to use their contact form for questions.

  10. #10
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    It's rarely a good sign when there's no mention of who's who for a publisher. More telling, perhaps: the author of two of their books is in fact their managing editor.
    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

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  11. #11
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    The editor I dealt with is a guy. The author you're referring to is the managing editor of the magazine and she's one of the judges. I'm cynical by nature, so I get where you're coming from, but I'm hearing assumptions. I made a point to contact them. They said, if people have questions, they should do the same. My impression is that they're hoping to find something publishable. I've seen their contract. They weren't shy about showing it to me. It pays great ebook royalties and standard print royalties, so I'm hopeful the changes I made to my manuscript works for them. If it doesn't, I got advice for free.

    I'm out of here. This feels like a dead horse. Query them or not. If you pass judgment without reaching out to them and you're wrong, I'm not sure who you're helping, but that's up to you.

  12. #12
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Relatively recent activity on the magazine side, but book side hasn't been updated since '11 (which was also last activity on Tw/FB), and I'm not finding anything published.
    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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