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Thread: Radiant Crown Publishing / Helios Quarterly / Selene Quarterly

  1. #1
    a demon for tea EMaree's Avatar
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    Radiant Crown Publishing / Helios Quarterly / Selene Quarterly

    Just had a #PitMad fav from these guys: Twitter | Website.

    They've got some lovely branding, and I really like their stated mission statement (from Twitter bio): "Specializing in diverse books, dark fiction, and unexpected protagonists."

    However... they formed in 2016, there's one one staff member (Elizabeth Smith, a member of the Independent Author Network). I wish her all the best with what's obviously a brand new venture, but the website doesn't list any trade publishing skills or publishing industry experience, which is a concern.

    I'll definitely be keeping an eye on what they produce over the years, though. I'd love to see more diverse books out there in the world.
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  2. #2
    Birdie wrangler JeniferTidwell's Avatar
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    I got a fave from them too, and I have the same reservations.

  3. #3
    Mildly Disturbing Filigree's Avatar
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    My gut feeling is it's way, way too soon to take them seriously. It's heartbreaking, but after having been burned many different ways, I try not to let new businesses navigate their learning curve with my work.

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  4. #4
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    I signed with them 5 months ago and am super happy with everything so far!

  5. #5
    practical experience, FTW akaria's Avatar
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    The concept is right up my alley, but they are way too new. Asking for support on Patreon doesn't inspire confidence.

    Ralphie, can you be more specific? They don't have any books for sale until May so what about the company has kept you happy so far?
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  6. #6
    Now with more stubble VeryBigBeard's Avatar
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    The Patreon thing is interesting, but I'm not quite getting why the publisher needs to be on Patreon. The whole point of Patreon is that artists can get direct/crowd-funded patronage to produce work. The model fits for self-pubbing, I'd think. I guess if a publisher is promising to promote a specific type of work (e.g., diverse books) and there's an audience out there wants that access. But I'd be cautious because the usual Patreon pull in works by having a lower overhead for a single artist. If I'm running a publisher and need to keep the lights on, pay staff, pay advances, market, and so on, then I'm looking at needing a much bigger ask and/or a much bigger crowdfunding base. If the publisher isn't doing that stuff, that's a.) a red flag, and b.) the author is better off trying for an advance elsewhere or setting up her own Patreon. (ETA: Wrote this before digging into website. Patreon's getting more and more traction in the indie game community, because the model works really well for indie devs who basically self-publish to the App Store, Google Play, or any of the other varied and largely open markets out there. The model works less well with a conventional publisher. Kind of defeats the point. You wouldn't see a "AA" studio that has a deal with Sony asking for crowdfunding, though God knows some have tried.)

    Ralphie, I hope you'll forgive my skepticism--it's what we do here; see rest of BR&BC for why--but if the book hasn't come out yet you're very likely still in the "honeymoon" phase. A good publisher sells books. A great editing and production process is nice to have, but it's sales that count.

    Radiant Crown is apparently the publishing imprint of an indie game studio (Cherubim Scribles; same owner) that specializes in Ren'Py games. This is my area. There's some market in interactive fiction, but I wasn't aware it was large enough to finance a print publishing operation. Radiant Crown is POD for now, anyway, only pays a $100 advance, and pays royalties on net (though they define it). It doesn't look like they're going to move a lot of copies, frankly. That set up is very micro-publishing. Not necessarily a bad thing, on its own, but I still suspect you'd make more money on Patreon.

    Looking at there website, there are a couple little cues that this is someone with a humanities degree, loads of passion, and no capital. The site calls it "fantasy literature" and uses "gothic horror" as a genre, both of which have a slightly academic bent compared to what you'd see in a bookstore, say. There are also more than a couple sentences that needed a proofreader, and good publishers should know one or two (or more).

    To be kinda blunt... I love indie IF studios, but I've never seen one, even the larger ones like Choice of Games, that's set up to run a successful trade book operation. Some run small lit-mags and do decently. The IF market is largely online, it's small, and there's very low overhead. Its publishers also tend to not have the editing or marketing clout of even a small book publisher, ostensibly because it's a totally different industry with different audience expectations. Cherubim Scribes looks like most of these studios I know--it's a solo op, lots of collaboration on an adhoc level. This is a great way to make IF. It's a terrible way to run a publisher.

    (Credit where due: according to the Cherubim Scribes' website they have a game coming out on the Nintendo Switch. So at least someone does. I'm glad to hear it, frankly, for Nintendo's sake.)
    Last edited by VeryBigBeard; 01-24-2017 at 10:47 PM.

  7. #7
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Quote Originally Posted by akaria View Post
    The concept is right up my alley, but they are way too new. Asking for support on Patreon doesn't inspire confidence.

    Ralphie, can you be more specific? They don't have any books for sale until May so what about the company has kept you happy so far?
    I don't know anything about Patreon, although it appears to be for their magazine. The website is a new concept to me so I can't comment on that aspect.

    So far, they have kept very open lines of communication and laid everything out on the table. They hired a wonderful editor for my novel, booked a sought-after cover and interior designer, and commissioned custom maps. My suggestions have been well received and opinions asked for. It's been a great collaboration so far.

    So, while I obviously can't comment on sales as my novel isn't out yet, I can say I enjoy working with them. Our vision for the novel is the same, and I like their plans moving forward with it. I totally understand the reservations of working with a new publisher though. I just thought to give my opinion on them so far.

  8. #8
    a demon for tea EMaree's Avatar
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    The 'About' page has improved in leaps and bounds from when they first faved me on Twitter -- if they'd originally had the information that they wrote visual novels, I'd have been a lot more taken by them I was by the original bios. And they definitely didn't have my fellow tea-fiend on the roster!

    I'm a big fan of IF (Ren'Py dating SIMs are a joy and I love them so much) so I'm really diggin' that Radiant Crown are trying to expand from that ring into this. It's interesting that already they seem to be transferring over some of the Ren'Py world's strengths -- focusing on art and design, with attractive covers on their site and custom maps in the work for Ralphie.

    I'm not a big fan of the Patreon involvement, and I'd agree that it's best left to the individual artists, but I will note that Fireside Fiction magazine and Lightspeed magazine have both used crowdfunding via Kickstarter to great success over the years.

    It does concern me a bit that their magazine and novel publishing imprints are under the same banner. The small 'zine industry is very different, operating a lot like indie publishing with crowd-funding very common. Publishing doesn't work that way, and relying on crowd-funding to start-up a publisher is a recipe for disaster.

    Also, having the publishing arm under the same name and following the same model is super confusing. While the Patreon may appear to be for the magazine as Ralphie said, there's no way to be sure it's not also funding the publisher with the exact same name.

    I like the release schedule. It seems nicely paced, with each release two months apart. Good to see a new pub pacing itself! (March 2017: Volume 2, Issue 1 of Helios. May 9th, 2017: Object Relations. July 11, 2017: Fragile Chaos. September 8th, 2017: Tomorrow Isn't Promised.)

    If the Cherubim Scribes happen to be lurking, I'm rooting for you! Very impressed by the changes in their website between September and now.
    Last edited by EMaree; 01-26-2017 at 02:25 AM.
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  9. #9
    Sick and pale with grief. StoryofWoe's Avatar
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    Selene Quarterly Magazine

    Does anyone have experience working with Selene Quarterly Magazine? Particularly with regards to their short and serial stories?

    Submission guidelines and payment info: http://selenequarterly.com/index.php/submissions/
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  10. #10
    Grr. Argh. Thedrellum's Avatar
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    No experience with them, but I'd possibly throw a story their way if I'd tried all other more established markets first. They pay half pro rates, which is okay. They also have a Patreon which has 1 patron for $1, so not so good on that front (and that makes me feel like they might not be able to stay around very long, if they're counting on Patreon funding them in the long term).

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