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Thread: Big Sky Press (formerly Mythic Dragon Publishing)

  1. #1
    Just me...keeping it real deborahbusby's Avatar
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    Big Sky Press (formerly Mythic Dragon Publishing)

    Hi all.

    I saw a post on LinkedIn that Big Sky Press is looking to add authors. They seemed to be the "nice guy" in publishing. However after hearing back from them, it's just a scam to get you to pay for professional editing.

    I said thanks but no thanks.

    Anyone else have experience with them?
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  2. #2
    I grow my own catnip JulieB's Avatar
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    Is this the place?

    From the home page:

    We are not a Vanity Press or Self-Publishing Company. We never charge our authors to publisher their works.
    That doesn't exactly give me confidence.
    Last edited by JulieB; 01-29-2016 at 03:31 AM. Reason: Hit Enter too soon.

  3. #3
    Write. Write. Writey Write Write. mrsmig's Avatar
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    Them are some butt-ugly covers.
    KINGLET: Coming from FIERY SEAS PUBLISHING in August 2017



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  4. #4
    Cat hair collector PVish's Avatar
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    A couple of red flags. From the Our Books/Buy Now page:
    For Authors Only — 25 books $368.50, (shipping included in price) please add your State Tax (If actable) to the total and email Big Sky Press (​info@bigskypresss.com) for our PayPal email.
    Actable? Wouldn't that be "applicable"? From the main page:
    We are unlike most traditional publishers—we don't like to turn down a great story because its not ready for publishing.
    Um, I think they need the contraction for it is instead of the possessive pronoun. And, on the same page:
    We encourage new and self-published authors to submission their works.

  5. #5
    Now with more stubble VeryBigBeard's Avatar
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    PVish, from the look of that and what the OP said, it's an author mill. They say they won't charge fees, and they probably won't if they're making money back off authors buying their own books.

    Proper publishers usually include a negotiated number of copies for free and will usually make more available for promotional purposes.

    Of course, doing it that way relies on those promotional copies making reviewers/readers want to read the book, which is unlikely if the house is accepting stuff that's not ready for publishing. Especially given the editing on display. Yikes.

    Is the publisher geared towards authors? If it is, strike it off your list.

    There are other red flags jumping out, but I don't think it really bears moving on.

  6. #6
    E Conchis Omnia Helix's Avatar
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    The About Us page is uninformative, unless you're interested in reading about Ingram.

    ETA: And Big Sky appears to have been Mythic Dragon Publishing in an earlier incarnation. There's quite some discussion about it online.
    Last edited by Helix; 01-29-2016 at 04:18 AM. Reason: updating info
    She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.

  7. #7
    Wilde about Oscar aliceshortcake's Avatar
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    From Big Sky's Facebook:

    We are different than most traditional publishers - we don't like to send out rejection letters.
    https://m.facebook.com/bigskypress
    The registrant of Big Sky's website didn't want to disclose their identity but the person representing the company on Facebook is Julie Hartwick, who is variously described as an editor, acquisitions editor and publisher. She also designed many of Mythic Dragon/Big Sky's covers. From Hartwick's own Facebook:

    If we like your story, but your manuscript is not ready for publishing. We will not send you a rejection letter. It's our policy to do a first page edit and advise you on some options.
    I'm guessing that one of these options - assuming there's more than one - will be connected with Big Sky Publishing.

    Are you in need of a professional editor but don't know who to go to. We recommend you seek out author Juls Duncan for all your editing needs.
    https://m.facebook.com/story.php?sto...00003977380979
    Juls Duncan is published by Mythic Dragon/Big Sky.

    I'm intrigued by the cover of Juls Duncan's The Forest of Carren. The man on the left looks so much like a photo-manip of Jude Law wearing Hugo Weaving's Lord of the Rings coronet it took me a while to notice the irate garden gnome on the right.

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Forest-Carre...sap_bc?ie=UTF8

    ETA: *did a bit more digging*

    HOLY COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT, BATMAN!

    The elfin hero of Duncan's book really is Jude Law. The pic is based on the first photo in this gallery:

    http://www.moviestarspicture.com/jud...photo-gallery/

    I've informed Mr Law's agent about the unauthorized use of his image. This is probably the most entertaining misuse of an actor's photo since Orlando Bloom appeared on the cover of Night Travels of the Elven Vampire! Funnily enough Messrs Law and Bloom both appeared in the film Wilde (waves to Oscar).

    The upper part of the photo is taken from an image of Hugo Weaving as Elrond, possibly this one:

    http://cdn.collider.com/wp-content/u...-the-rings.jpg

    And it doesn't stop there. The photo of a woman wearing feathery false eyelashes can be found elsewhere and is marked displaypix.com. The dragon in the background appears on several Russian websites but I was unable to trace the artist. Funniest of all, the furious garden gnome (I like to think that he's shouting "Get off my lawn!") is...wait for it...a 'Big Head Evil Gnome Adult Costume':

    http://www.wholesalehalloweencostume...t-costume.html
    Last edited by aliceshortcake; 01-31-2016 at 03:27 PM. Reason: Evidently I can't tell the difference between a half-elven lord and an Estonian railway company

  8. #8
    Cat hair collector PVish's Avatar
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    It appears the author's other books were from CreateSpace. This one also includes the feathery-false-eyelash girl.
    Last edited by PVish; 01-30-2016 at 02:02 AM. Reason: typo

  9. #9
    Writer Beware's Faithful Igor Richard White's Avatar
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    The first question to ask is have I ever seen their books?

    Then, have I ever read one of their books?

    If the answer to either is no, what can this publisher do for you that you can't do for yourself?

  10. #10
    Wilde about Oscar aliceshortcake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PVish View Post
    It appears the author's other books were from CreateSpace. This one also includes the feathery-false-eyelash girl.
    Well, at least she's wearing a different hoodie in that picture!

    And for anyone tempted to employ Mythic Dragon/Big Sky author Juls Duncan as an editor, here are a few extracts from her own books:

    A trimmer shot up her spine at the fear she heard in her voice.

    Standing with her hand pressed against the window wasn't one of her most brilliant idea, she thought. She threw every bit of strength she had into her hands and tried to back away from the violence-the thin sheet of glass was protected her from.

    'Wow, they're married!' She mumbled under her breath.

    A low cry of enthusiasm encased the group.

    Rex was ginning at her and the sight of his smirk set her teeth on edge.
    The fact that the two books from which these extracts were taken were edited by someone else doesn't alter the fact that anyone offering their services as an editor should have picked up such obvious errors themselves.

    OH FER THE LOVE OF MIKE! The Look Inside sample for the Kindle edition of The Other Island isn't a sample at all. It's a letter written (very badly) by Duncan in her capacity as Big Sky's recommended editor. Let this be a lesson to all of us to be careful when uploading files! The letter is worth quoting in full:

    Thank you for the submission, I read through your pages and love your story idea. But your manuscript is not 90% ready to go to layout which all publishers/agents require of the author to do before sending out query letters. Your manuscript is in need of some editing/formatting (see attached - first page edit. I did some formatting and added your Contact and Title pages.)

    We do not like to send any author a rejection letter, so I am going to offer you some advice. But first a little information...

    There are rule that we as a publisher must follow...

    The start of any story is the hardest to get right, therefore, the first paragraph, then the first page and then the first chapter are the most important of a manuscript - and the hardest to write. Here you have to introduce your protagonist (s) first and last name (if they have one). And must be written in the protagonist's POV (point of view) and this will bring your character(s) forward and off the page, this is showing as opposed to telling what is happening in the story. You also need to set your scene, voice and flow and start some kind of conflict. It's best to start your first paragraph with an action scene.
    http://www.amazon.com/Other-Island-M...=UTF8&qid=&sr=
    Big Sky is certainly a unique publisher - I've never seen anything like that before!
    Last edited by aliceshortcake; 01-31-2016 at 03:28 PM.

  11. #11
    Cat hair collector PVish's Avatar
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    OH FER THE LOVE OF MIKE! The Look Inside sample for the Kindle edition of The Other Island isn't a sample at all. It's a letter written (very badly) by Duncan in her capacity as Big Sky's recommended editor. Let this be a lesson to all of us to be careful when uploading files!
    But—but—the 4-star review left on Aug. 14, 2013:
    It is a shame that an author trusts Amazon to print what he or she has written and to see it come out in a way that does not resemble the English language!
    . . . and the author/editor replied (Jan. 14, 2014):
    Thank you Gary for posting this review. I re-uploaded all three of the [title redacted] books and the conversion to ebook format went great.

  12. #12
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin katjapants's Avatar
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    A trimmer shot up her spine at the fear she heard in her voice.


    Now I'm imagining someone shaving some random lady's back with one of these:


  13. #13
    Wilde about Oscar aliceshortcake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by katjapants View Post


    Now I'm imagining someone shaving some random lady's back with one of these:

    [cut to save bandwidth]
    Are you encased by my low cry of enthusiasm for this mental image?
    "There is only one thing worse than being obliged to sit cross-legged on the grass, and that is being obliged to sit cross-legged on the grass near an ant colony"
    Oscar Wilde (citation needed)

  14. #14
    E Conchis Omnia Helix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aliceshortcake View Post
    OH FER THE LOVE OF MIKE! The Look Inside sample for the Kindle edition of The Other Island isn't a sample at all. It's a letter written (very badly) by Duncan in her capacity as Big Sky's recommended editor. Let this be a lesson to all of us to be careful when uploading files! The letter is worth quoting in full:

    [snip]

    Big Sky is certainly a unique publisher - I've never seen anything like that before!

    That's...remarkable. I am particularly impressed that it refers to someone else's book.


    She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.

  15. #15
    Totes Legit Author Becca C.'s Avatar
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    A TRIMMER SHOT UP HER SPINE.

    That's... just hilarious. And hilariously sad.
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  16. #16
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Did you read their submissions guidelines?

    They don't accept "homophile content" or underage authors (I guess they'd turn their noses up at The Outsiders?)

    You couldn't pay me to submit to this press.

  17. #17
    Wilde about Oscar aliceshortcake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Providence View Post
    "homophile content"
    Ha! I missed that one.

    It's odd that a Google search for Julie Hartwick turns up nothing other than her association with Mythic Dragon/Big Sky. Big Sky is based in Montana - Juls Duncan lives in Montana. I'd be tempted to conclude that they're one and the same person were it not for the Yahoo!Answers conversation mentioned by Helix, in which Hartwick sounds too dissimilar to Duncan to be a sockpuppet.

    The letter accidentally uploaded by Duncan gives the impression that she's more than a Big Sky author with an independent editing business. "WE as a publisher", "WE do not like..." Yet on her own website she says:

    FYI: I am not a representative of the publishing company that referred you.
    Her price list:

    Professional Edit:
    1,000 - 7,500 words: $295
    7,501 - 20,000 words: $475
    20,001 - 50,000 words: $595
    50,001 - 100,000 words: $695
    100,001 - 150,000 words $875
    150,001 - 200,000 words: $995
    http://www.jdediting.com/
    Finally, from an Amazon review of one of her books:

    Duncan can create a good plot, but the problem with this book is the atrocious grammar, spelling, syntax, subject-verb agreement. I could go on.
    Last edited by aliceshortcake; 01-31-2016 at 02:25 PM.

  18. #18
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Quote Originally Posted by aliceshortcake View Post
    Ha! I missed that one.
    When I read it, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. The moment someone writes something like that (and they're not even trying to be insulting) is the moment I lose all respect for them.

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  20. #20
    Wilde about Oscar aliceshortcake's Avatar
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    Earlier today I sent Big Sky a sting ms in the form of the first five pages of a brilliant historical novel (not by me, alas). Their response was predictably hilarious. More about this tomorrow as I have to go out in five minutes, but suffice it to say that in Julie Hartwick's opinion the sample I sent her needed a lot of work. She recommended...yes, Juls Duncan, who if the ms was genuine would have stood to pocket $695 (presumably for turning a silk purse into a sow's ear).
    "There is only one thing worse than being obliged to sit cross-legged on the grass, and that is being obliged to sit cross-legged on the grass near an ant colony"
    Oscar Wilde (citation needed)

  21. #21
    Mildly Disturbing Filigree's Avatar
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    Does this nincompooop know how to use Google search to look for plagiarized text?

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  22. #22
    Wilde about Oscar aliceshortcake's Avatar
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    *Theme from The Sting plays in background*

    Firstly, I'd like to apologise to the wonderful Sylvia Townsend Warner (1893-1978) for playing fast and loose with the opening pages of her novel The Corner That Held Them. If you're not familiar with Warner's quirky and magical work I suggest that you remedy this deficiency at once.

    Back to Big Sky's submission requirements:

    Submit the first— FIVE (5) pages of Chapter One (MSWord Doc) and attach to your email.​
    Arial or Times Roman Font 12 pt and double-spaced for readability.
    Please include with your email—

    Query Letter (In email body). Please include your bio in the query letter.
    Publishing Proposal

    Email Subject line: Query, Proposal, (Author Name), Book Title, Genre, Word Count.

    FYI: If subject line isn't done as shown above, Your query could go to our spam folder and be deleted unread.
    I thought publishing proposals related to non-fiction, which Big Sky doesn't accept. Why would anyone need to provide a publishing proposal for fiction along with the first five pages of their book? I was already confused, but not confused enough to take Big Sky's advice:

    Note:If you do not know how to write a Query Letter, Proposal, or need other editing, formating. We urge you to contact Professional Editor-Author Juls Duncan.
    Yes, I thought you might. Anyway, I followed the above instructions to the letter and sent off the first five pages of The Corner That Held Them, cunningly disguised as Wise and Foolish Virgins by Julia Greenwood. Bear in mind that this novel was republished by Hachette with an introduction by Philip Hensher as recently as 2012 and I didn't alter a word of the text.

    Julie Hartwick of Big Sky replied within hours. Remember, she's passing judgement on the work of one of the finest English writers of the 20th century:

    Thank you for the submission.
    I read through your pages and love your story idea. But your manuscript is not ready for a publisher or agent. Its in need of a lot editing and formatting (see attached — first page edit. I did some formatting and added your Contact and Title pages.) Your blurb and proposal are missing from the submission.
    A proposal isn't relevant and you didn't ask for a blurb.

    However, we will not hold this against you.
    That's very decent of you, but by some mysterious sixth sense I know what's coming next:

    We do not like to send any author a rejection letter, so I am going to offer you some advice. But first a little information...
    There are rule that we as a publisher must follow...
    The start of any story is the hardest to get right. The first paragraph, then the first page and then the first chapter are the most important of the manuscript—and the hardest to write. Here you have to introduce your protagonist(s) first and last name (if they have one). And must be written in the protagonist's POV (point of view) which will help you set the scene, voice, flow, and add depth to your character. Also in this very important first paragraph start some kind of conflict, it will help engage your reader. This will also bring your character(s) forward and off the page. This is showing as opposed to telling the story. Miss even one of them and you will not engage a reader, publisher or agent to continue reading.
    Yes, it's exactly the same advice offered by Juls Duncan in the file she accidentally uploaded to Kindle. Duncan's editing website was registered by a Julie Johnson - make of that what you will.

    Additional Information to be aware of—
    1st person narratives:
    We have tried 1st person narratives in the past, but found them to be unsuccessful; unless you're a well known author. At this time the online market is flooded with self-published books, and most of these are written in 1st person. Readers are backing away from these narratives because of poor editing.
    I too back away from poor editing, which is why Big Sky's website is torture to read.

    Starting your story in dialogue causes a problem, it doesn't allow you to set this very important first scene, voice or flow. Also, the use of backstory on the first page or first chapter is never a good idea for it halts the voice, story flow and forward motion from the get go. There is away around this; write it as a short prologue.
    The chapter I sent you didn't open with dialogue. Not that it matters because you obviously send the same response to every query.

    The issues I found in your pages have me concerned with the amount of editing your manuscript's going to need.
    Oh, Sylvia, Sylvia! I expected better of you!

    All reputable publishers demand that the author have their manuscript be 90% ready for publishing. In other words, unless you have sent your manuscript off to a prestigious Professional Editor—who knows the difference between showing and telling (writing in the protagonist's POV) then you don't stand much of a chance of being published by a traditional publisher.
    Something tells me that Julie Hartwick has never been within sniffing distance of a reputable publisher.

    This is why I am going to recommend that you have your manuscript professionally edited. I know there are some exceptional professional editors, and some appalling ones, online. We have gotten some of their work and had to advise the author to seek another editor.
    I laughed out loud at this, because Juls Duncan's books are edited by another editor.

    Please be aware that there's a lot of work to editing and a skilled editor will charge you for this service. Therefore, I urge you contact Juls Duncan. We know her work.
    I suspect that it's the money from her editing, rather than book sales, that’s keeping Big Sky in business. Had my submission been genuine she would have stood to earn $695.

    She is reasonably priced. Can provide references from the authors she's worked with. She's the author of four published novels with the fifth and sixth books soon to be released. But more important, she edits a different way than most, she teaches her authors how to write in the protagonist's POV. How to fix wordy, awkward, and combined POV and dialogue, and she's very skilled with blurbs, proposals and query letters.
    Another laugh-out-loud moment, as Duncan's own work reads like the worst kind of self/vanity pubbed writing. She doesn’t even know how to punctuate dialogue (sorry, but in this case I see no need to respect my fellow writer).

    We, and other publishers, have advised many authors to seek her out. Some we have published and some not—for reasons that had nothing to do with their manuscripts.
    My imagination is running riot. "We can't publish your book because you're a homophile"?

    Anyway, let’s take a look at what Hardwick thought of Sylvia Townsend Warner’s work. I’ve cut her opening comments because we already know them by heart.

    Alianor de Retteville lay on her bed and looked at Giles, who was her lover. She did not speak. (Telling, vague, no voice or flow, no conflict to keep the reader engaged. Need to set your scene, voice and flow, and start some kind of conflict. Write it in the protagonist's POV.)

    She had nothing to say. He did not speak either. They were not alone, for in a corner of the room an old woman sat spinning, but she was no more than the bump and purr of her wheel. (Telling, no voice or flow. Need to add to the scene, writing it in both their POVs.)

    The rest of the pages are about the same as your first two paragraphs.
    Did you even read them? And that's not a "first page edit", it's a 58-word edit.

    You have a great story here, but it needs a lot of editing and some formatting.

    I hope to see this story again.

    Julie Hartwick
    You can find it here, Julie:

    http://www.amazon.com/Corner-That-He...that+held+them
    "There is only one thing worse than being obliged to sit cross-legged on the grass, and that is being obliged to sit cross-legged on the grass near an ant colony"
    Oscar Wilde (citation needed)

  23. #23
    Mildly Disturbing Filigree's Avatar
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    Bravo.

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  24. #24
    E Conchis Omnia Helix's Avatar
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    I think that Julie Johnson, Juls Duncan, Julie Hartwick and Dakota Castle are all the same person. I know...I know...I was shocked too.
    She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.

  25. #25
    Wilde about Oscar aliceshortcake's Avatar
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    On reflection I'm prepared to give Julie Johnson a pass as she's associated with over 300 domains, which suggests that she's employed by Godaddy. But Dakota Castle certainly keeps a suspiciously low Google profile.

    Big Sky Press now has a "not recommended" ranking on Preditors and Editors!
    "There is only one thing worse than being obliged to sit cross-legged on the grass, and that is being obliged to sit cross-legged on the grass near an ant colony"
    Oscar Wilde (citation needed)

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