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Thread: Flying Pen Press

  1. #1
    practical experience, FTW Josie's Avatar
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    Flying Pen Press

    Hi: Can anyone give me input on the above publisher?

    Apparently it's a new small press operating out of Denver. It's also a POD which doesn't appeal to me, but who knows?

    http://www.flyingpenpress.com

    Also it's not listed on Prededitors and Editors.

    Thanks.
    Josie

  2. #2
    I'm really shy... joyce's Avatar
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    I just looked at their website and did not give me a warm and fuzzy feeling. Even the job positions they have posted are on a contractor basis and employees seemed to only get paid if the project they are working on makes any money. I don't know about you, but I would not want to work for a company that I could not be guaranteed my paycheck, much less submit my manuscript for printing.

  3. #3
    practical experience, FTW Josie's Avatar
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    Thanks Joyce.

    I totally agree and needed someone else to confirm.

    I, thank goodness, have AW forum, which is the best thing in my "internet" life.

    Didn't really want to submit to them as my muse is saying get out of that website!!! I mean Flying Pen Press.

    Cheers, Josie

  4. #4
    practical experience, FTW
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    I know one of the editors and it is legit, albeit a startup, press. Carol Hightshoe runs Lorelei Signal and Sorcerous Signals on-line magazines. I've had stories published in Lorelei Signal and Carol has always been great to work with. She uses formal contracts, with total protection for the writers, for the zines and pays quickly through PayPal. I'd have no problem subbing to any business with which Carol is associated.

  5. #5
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin Lady K'Lyssia's Avatar
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    Yes, Flying Pen Press is a start-up and like many start-ups we are operating on a shoestring.

    Many of the small press publishers out there are using Print on Demand Technology, through companies such as Lightning Sorce (LSI) to produce and distribute their books. The use of Print on Demand Technology does not equal vanity press - at least not in this case and not in most of those cases either.

    Yes, we are a royalty press in that we are not paying advances and those of us who are starting with this company are willing to work as editors, etc. on a royalty basis for the projects we work on instead of a regular salary. We are doing this because we are willing to take a chance with a new publisher entering the market and because we have a passion for this business.

    Granted this not an arrangement that many people are willing to work with and if you are one of those people, then I agree you probably wouldn't be comfortable submitting to us at this time.

    However, as with most publishers when they first start out, we need time to prove ourselves and we hope you will watch us and see that we do plan on becoming a stable part of the publishing world.

    David, will be officially launching Flying Pen Press at BEA this June, along with our first four titles.
    Last edited by Lady K'Lyssia; 05-12-2007 at 08:13 AM. Reason: used wrong word
    Carol Hightshoe
    www.carolhightshoe.com
    Don't Write What You Know; Write What You Care About -- Passionately!

  6. #6
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    By "Print on Demand Technology" do you mean digital printing? Or do you mean the print-on-demand business model?

    Or do you mean both the print-on-demand business model and digital printing?

  7. #7
    figuring it all out wez's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Good Call!

    Quote Originally Posted by Josie View Post
    Hi: Can anyone give me input on the above publisher?

    Apparently it's a new small press operating out of Denver. It's also a POD which doesn't appeal to me, but who knows?

    Thanks.
    Josie
    All I will say is that I would have no problem submitting to anything Carol Hightshoe is involved with. She is legit and not in the scam market. She genuinely cares about the craft of writing and writers. Ok, the venture is new, but so were the bigger boys at one time. Everyone has to start somewhere, and I believe Carole has the nous and will to succeed. We all know how difficult the market is for a new publishing company to start up and be a success, but trying to pull new outfits down with negativity before they get going makes it all that much harder. No, I have not submitted. I had an offer from another publishing house before I became aware of Carol's involvment with flying pen, ot I would have submitted there.

    I, for one, wish Carol and Flying Pen every success.

    My two cents worth, for what it is worth.

    Wez

  8. #8
    practical experience, FTW Josie's Avatar
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    My apologies to Carol Hightshoe and her new company, Flying Pen Press.

    I wish her success in her venture.

  9. #9
    practical experience, FTW JohnB1988's Avatar
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    Well, it looks like a company that wants to succeed. However, after reading over the website a couple of major questions come to mind.

    That no-risk to the company policy on top of POD printing. POD is still a bit more pricey than offset, couple that with everyone involved in the book’s work beside the author receives part of the gross. That’s the guy doing the cover art, Editing, & copyediting if it’s done? Along with more behind the scenes stuff I’m not aware of. I could see how that could force the price of a paperback well over $20 and an equally steep price on the e-books. Books that expensive from relatively unknown authors don’t sell well; it’s just the way it is.

    Also, will this “we don’t have much invested” policy result in most everyone who sends a manuscript getting accepted. Truthfully, that’s kind of the way the website reads. I’m not the world’s greatest writer, but I’ve read some self-published books and even I have to grudgingly admit there’s a reason agents are always complaining about nitwits. If a publisher pushes too much trash out there, the readers are going to move on. Even the few good titles might get...well, tainted. (The state of Maryland has taught writers to be very, very careful.)

    I hope these questions can be answered, because it looks like this is an enterprise of some savvy people who are willing to make a real effort. And another decent publisher in the world would be a wonderful thing indeed.

  10. #10
    figuring it all out wez's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Josie View Post
    My apologies to Carol Hightshoe and her new company, Flying Pen Press.

    I wish her success in her venture.
    Why apologise? You had every right to ask the question, and the Bewares site does sort out the wheat from the chaff.

    Wez

  11. #11
    practical experience, FTW Josie's Avatar
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    Wez:

    I apologized because it looks like Flying Pen Press is not a fly by night publisher.(hey, is that a pun?)

    But I'm still not going to submit to them. I just don't want to get into the beginnings of an e-publisher's efforts to sink or swim. Selfish me. Been there, done that.

    And yes, I still do respect all your opinions.

    AW Forum is terrific.

  12. #12
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin Lady K'Lyssia's Avatar
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    James,

    We are are using Lightning Source - which is a print-on-demand printer. That is what we mean by Print-on-Demand Technology.

    LSI is well established - books are listed in Books in Print and available through Ingram's.

    Many other decent small press publishers publish their books through LSI. Some of them are even now starting to get their books into the Brick and Mortar stores - (Mundania's books are starting to be carried in Borders) and David says he has a plan for getting us into Barnes and Noble.
    Carol Hightshoe
    www.carolhightshoe.com
    Don't Write What You Know; Write What You Care About -- Passionately!

  13. #13
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin Lady K'Lyssia's Avatar
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    Josie,

    Thanks you for the well wishes.

    I do agree with Wez - you had every right to ask the question. I'm glad some of my cyber friends let me Flying Pen Press was being discussed here.

    I've been a member of the boards for a couple of years - being a contributer to the Stories of Strength anthology Jenna put together, but I just don't have the time to play here that much.

    Again, thanks for asking and thanks for the well wishes.
    Carol Hightshoe
    www.carolhightshoe.com
    Don't Write What You Know; Write What You Care About -- Passionately!

  14. #14
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin Lady K'Lyssia's Avatar
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    JohnB1988,

    Glad you took the time to review the website a couple of times.

    Yes, we are limiting our risk by not offering advances.

    This also means we can take more chances on new authors as well as books that don't fit neatly into specific categories.

    One of the books I have recommended for publication is a fantasy, that actually is a blend of fantasy and literary. I also recommended that is also more a blend of mainstream with fantasy - both very well written and interesting books.

    As for more books being accepted just because of the low amount of risk - only if they meet our standards. Of the first thirteen manuscripts, I have reviewed so far - I have recommended 5 of them for publication - one of those was ultimately rejected by David after his review.
    Carol Hightshoe
    www.carolhightshoe.com
    Don't Write What You Know; Write What You Care About -- Passionately!

  15. #15
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin Lady K'Lyssia's Avatar
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    Wez,

    I appreciate your support.

    I hooked with Flying Pen Press after meeting David at Mile High Con in Denver last year. I liked what he had to say and I could see he was determined to do this right. If I thought it was a scam or something like that, I wouldn't have spent the time I did talking to him, or contacting him later to ask about a job as an acquisitions editor.

    David has some great ideas - all of which are founded on the idea that publishers must treat authors with respect.
    Carol Hightshoe
    www.carolhightshoe.com
    Don't Write What You Know; Write What You Care About -- Passionately!

  16. #16
    Outline Maven Tirjasdyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnB1988 View Post
    Well, it looks like a company that wants to succeed. However, after reading over the website a couple of major questions come to mind.

    That no-risk to the company policy on top of POD printing. POD is still a bit more pricey than offset, couple that with everyone involved in the book’s work beside the author receives part of the gross. That’s the guy doing the cover art, Editing, & copyediting if it’s done? Along with more behind the scenes stuff I’m not aware of. I could see how that could force the price of a paperback well over $20 and an equally steep price on the e-books. Books that expensive from relatively unknown authors don’t sell well; it’s just the way it is.
    Since the first books are not off the press yet. It's hard to say, but my first answer is no. I'll get to why in a sec.

    Also, will this “we don’t have much invested” policy result in most everyone who sends a manuscript getting accepted. Truthfully, that’s kind of the way the website reads. I’m not the world’s greatest writer, but I’ve read some self-published books and even I have to grudgingly admit there’s a reason agents are always complaining about nitwits. If a publisher pushes too much trash out there, the readers are going to move on. Even the few good titles might get...well, tainted. (The state of Maryland has taught writers to be very, very careful.)
    No, the editors, that's plural, have a slush pile. They have to read it. David has pretty high standards.

    They are trying. The website need mucho work. I know, I'm rewriting it. I was a little horrified at first (okay alot horrified) but David spent too much time describing the printer and not enough describing the publisher. Due to a Kickoff here in Denver and a BEA booth shortly after, followed by first publication.....David's been too busy to provide the okay change in website. Right now it's badly worded info dump. Which is a shame.

    As for pricing it is a small press but David is looking at competetivly pricing the books. I don't have all the information in front of me...I'll look at getting it.
    Tirjasdyn
    http://michellejnorton.com
    http://denverfictionwriters.com
    Web Designer, Writer

    I used to be amused by Utopians. With life experience, I have grown to fear them. The great failing of Utopians is that they can never accept that someone else might not want to
    be a part of their utopian vision. Like ill-mannered tourists, they assume that if you don't agree with them, it must be because they're not explaining it simply enough, or often enough, or loudly enough, or ultimately, because you're stupid. Utopians always think achieving Utopia is simply a matter of education—and then re-education—and then coercion, legislation, litigation medication conditioning threats book-burnings eugenics surgical modifications hunting down the counter-revolutionaries killing the reactionaries genetic engineering—and ultimately all Utopians, no matter how nobly they begin, always end up at the same conclusion: that the only thing that keeps Man from building a secular heaven here on Earth is the nature of Man, therefore we must build a New and Better Man.


    --The Ranting Room



    Insurance is a bet that only the insurance company can win.

  17. #17
    practical experience, FTW
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    Thank you for posting this, Tirjasdyn. On the morning that Josie posted this thread, I was having this uncanny intuition that I really want my Colorado based fiction piece to published by a Colorado publishing house. Hope you guys and gals do well!

  18. #18
    Outline Maven Tirjasdyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lisamer View Post
    Thank you for posting this, Tirjasdyn. On the morning that Josie posted this thread, I was having this uncanny intuition that I really want my Colorado based fiction piece to published by a Colorado publishing house. Hope you guys and gals do well!
    Thanks for the good mojo!

    Our first four books launch June 1st. Hopefully we'll have a more functional website way before that.
    Tirjasdyn
    http://michellejnorton.com
    http://denverfictionwriters.com
    Web Designer, Writer

    I used to be amused by Utopians. With life experience, I have grown to fear them. The great failing of Utopians is that they can never accept that someone else might not want to
    be a part of their utopian vision. Like ill-mannered tourists, they assume that if you don't agree with them, it must be because they're not explaining it simply enough, or often enough, or loudly enough, or ultimately, because you're stupid. Utopians always think achieving Utopia is simply a matter of education—and then re-education—and then coercion, legislation, litigation medication conditioning threats book-burnings eugenics surgical modifications hunting down the counter-revolutionaries killing the reactionaries genetic engineering—and ultimately all Utopians, no matter how nobly they begin, always end up at the same conclusion: that the only thing that keeps Man from building a secular heaven here on Earth is the nature of Man, therefore we must build a New and Better Man.


    --The Ranting Room



    Insurance is a bet that only the insurance company can win.

  19. #19
    For the record, I don't see anything wrong with the business model of paying a percentages to editors, illustrators, etc. You can easily target a specific amount to pay for editing by looking at average book sales when calculating the percentage. While the pay for editing individual books might vary, on average the pay will even out.

    If anything, it gives a little extra incentive to editors that the better quality their work the better chances they have of being paid more.

    This isn't to say I would neccesarily submit any work to Flying Pen specifically, but I don't see anything inherently wrong with the business model.

  20. #20
    Outline Maven Tirjasdyn's Avatar
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    K...

    Our first four books will be released as trade paperbacks. The price will be around $14.95. This not an exact quote as we are awaiting some final details.
    Tirjasdyn
    http://michellejnorton.com
    http://denverfictionwriters.com
    Web Designer, Writer

    I used to be amused by Utopians. With life experience, I have grown to fear them. The great failing of Utopians is that they can never accept that someone else might not want to
    be a part of their utopian vision. Like ill-mannered tourists, they assume that if you don't agree with them, it must be because they're not explaining it simply enough, or often enough, or loudly enough, or ultimately, because you're stupid. Utopians always think achieving Utopia is simply a matter of education—and then re-education—and then coercion, legislation, litigation medication conditioning threats book-burnings eugenics surgical modifications hunting down the counter-revolutionaries killing the reactionaries genetic engineering—and ultimately all Utopians, no matter how nobly they begin, always end up at the same conclusion: that the only thing that keeps Man from building a secular heaven here on Earth is the nature of Man, therefore we must build a New and Better Man.


    --The Ranting Room



    Insurance is a bet that only the insurance company can win.

  21. #21
    goodsnow
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    Flying Pen Press

    I'm also an editor with Flying Pen Press, and I'm glad to see these questions. I think the POD discussion is a good one to have now because traditional publishing just isn't working to most writers' benefit. Somebody has to eventually do POD publishing right, and I think Flying Pen Press is on the right track, although we know we're up against a huge stigma.

    The biggest stigma we face is the association of POD with vanity presses. Our standards for recommending mansucripts to the publisher are high, and we're committed to publishing books that the public will want to read. We're also committed to working with writers whose work shows promise. I've spent almost as much time on rejection letters, explaining why the book was rejected and offering suggestions, as I have reading manuscripts. Even if the writer resubmits, however, we offer no guarantees that we'll publish it. Often we don't. In that regard, we're no different than a traditional publisher who wants to turn a profit. Good books sell, regardless of whether they're printed once a week as they're sold or whether there's a warehouse full of them waiting to be sold. Makes absolutely no difference to the buying public how they're printed.

    Like Carol and the rest of the staff, I'm willing to work for a percentage because I think reducing risk is smart. I've seen too many small presses go under before they can even get off the ground because their upstart overhead is too great. Likewise, I've seen too many writers sell manuscripts that take years to publish, if they're published at all, because the publisher can't afford--even with the best intentions--to have them printed after paying editors, artists, typesetters, and the writer. Starting a publishing company is an expensive proposition with the traditional model. Why not reduce the risk if it's possible, print quality books, and pay a bigger royalty in the end? I think it makes sense, and I'm excited to be in a company that's willing to shake things up and do it right.

    Debbie Fanatia
    Editor
    Flying Pen Press

  22. #22
    Outline Maven Tirjasdyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by goodsnow View Post
    I've seen too many writers sell manuscripts that take years to publish, if they're published at all, because the publisher can't afford--even with the best intentions--to have them printed after paying editors, artists, typesetters, and the writer. Starting a publishing company is an expensive proposition with the traditional model. Why not reduce the risk if it's possible, print quality books, and pay a bigger royalty in the end? I think it makes sense, and I'm excited to be in a company that's willing to shake things up and do it right.

    Debbie Fanatia
    Editor
    Flying Pen Press
    Debbie means well but we are not trying to say that authors normally have to pay to be published. We know this is not true...she's just trying to say we believe in Yog's Law. We are not self-publishers which is the only situation where this would be true.
    Tirjasdyn
    http://michellejnorton.com
    http://denverfictionwriters.com
    Web Designer, Writer

    I used to be amused by Utopians. With life experience, I have grown to fear them. The great failing of Utopians is that they can never accept that someone else might not want to
    be a part of their utopian vision. Like ill-mannered tourists, they assume that if you don't agree with them, it must be because they're not explaining it simply enough, or often enough, or loudly enough, or ultimately, because you're stupid. Utopians always think achieving Utopia is simply a matter of education—and then re-education—and then coercion, legislation, litigation medication conditioning threats book-burnings eugenics surgical modifications hunting down the counter-revolutionaries killing the reactionaries genetic engineering—and ultimately all Utopians, no matter how nobly they begin, always end up at the same conclusion: that the only thing that keeps Man from building a secular heaven here on Earth is the nature of Man, therefore we must build a New and Better Man.


    --The Ranting Room



    Insurance is a bet that only the insurance company can win.

  23. #23
    practical experience, FTW
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    Thanks for the clarification, Goodsnow. Love your user name! BTW, A-Basin is still open!

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by goodsnow View Post
    I think the POD discussion is a good one to have now because traditional publishing just isn't working to most writers' benefit. Somebody has to eventually do POD publishing right, and I think Flying Pen Press is on the right track
    May I inquire as to how "traditional publishing" isn't working to most writers' benefits? (I'm not using the quotes in to be snarky, but to quote you) Additionally, you say that someone has to do POD publishing right. May I ask what FPP is doing differently to make this happen?

    The biggest stigma we face is the association of POD with vanity presses.
    I disagree. POD presses have a faulty reputation for a number of reasons. One of the big ticket items is that they lack the funds and/or strong enough presales and selling capabilities to do large print runs. The small quantities don't make it worth a distributor's time to try to push the books, therefore they'll decline to rep a POD company. I'm not talking about Ingram and B&T - they are warehouse distributors. I'm talking about distributors that have sales teams all over the country that are meeting with the chain, indie and library buyers on the national and local levels.

    Since buyers know POD companies have small runs and little money to have first rate editing teams, they generally decline to purchase POD books. Provided you can get some stores to buy your books, you have to discount them, and this is going to eat into your pay. Just because the book is in the store doesn't mean they'll stay sold. Returns can kill a POD company faster than anything else because they still have to pay for the print run. It's a double-edged sword and the blade be mighty sharp.

    Our standards for recommending mansucripts to the publisher are high, and we're committed to publishing books that the public will want to read.
    Benevolence is great, but it doesn't pay the bills, and your claim that you're committed to publishing books that the public will want to read is a non-statement. Again, please know that I'm not being snarky, but sharing some realities with you. And facts are that the genre buyers at the chains and indies don't know what your standards are. That holds true for any new publisher. All buyers care about is that there's demand for a book and that the publisher and author are working their tails off to a large enough degree that their efforts are creating demand. This takes money. Lots of it. It's only when you've been in business for a number of years that you begin to catch the notice of the industry buyers. That is how your standards are set.

    Good books sell, regardless of whether they're printed once a week as they're sold or whether there's a warehouse full of them waiting to be sold. Makes absolutely no difference to the buying public how they're printed.
    Oh, this simply couln't be more wrong. Do you know this for a fact? Books sell for a lot of reasons, but it all begins with having stock. If I had a nickel for the times authors have told me about a huge event they missed because the printer couldn't get the books printed in time, I'd own Hawaii.

    You're thinking in a perfect world scenario where printers guarantee their delivery dates, and, believe me, publishing is anything but perfect. Just try to get a timely print run around BEA time or the holidays. I'll say it again; you must have stock sitting on the shelves or you'll get caught with your pants down more than once - I guarantee it. Even if you do a small digital run of 250, it's far better than printing onesies and twosies. But, again, it takes money and relative confidence that those books are going to move.

    Starting a publishing company is an expensive proposition with the traditional model. Why not reduce the risk if it's possible, print quality books, and pay a bigger royalty in the end? I think it makes sense, and I'm excited to be in a company that's willing to shake things up and do it right.
    What exactly needs to be shaken up and done right? I see this statement all the time about how publishing needs to be fixed, and you know what? It ain't broken. It works just fine. It's achingly hard work, very expensive, the learning curve is huge, and you cannot take short cuts. Ever. If you're willing to work for a cut of the sales, then more power to you. But you have to be rock-solid sure that there will be sales in which to draw your salary, or you'll be working for free. This requires distribution.

    I wish you nothing but the best of luck, but I get the feeling there's a lot you don't know about the industry, and it'll come back to bite you on the behind. POD can work, but it's rare.

  25. #25
    a work in progress
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    Tirjasdyn, I had no idea you were involved in Flying Pen Press too! That's awesome. And hi, Debbie! Welcome to AW!

    I just wanted to put in a good word for FPP on the basis that I know these folks (Debbie's in my writing group! As is another team member). I'm impressed thus far with how they've been attempting to address the typical foibles that futz up a typical POD.

    Granted, I'm kind of waiting to see what will happen after the first books are released, too, because being a POD does indeed come with the disadvantages you get with small print runs. And I'm not sure how I feel about the "everyone works on royalty" scheme--although my suspicions are with Havlen's, in that I think that will be an added incentive for staff to do a good job with a book they've chosen to publish--much as the same scheme keeps agents' paycheck dependent on their authors'--but I think the experiments are based on a more than casual knowledge of what usually goes wrong with POD and how one might do those things right. Whether they will be valid solutions for those problems, only time can tell, but FPP are definitely aware of the problems a POD faces.

    I've got my fingers crossed for 'em. And I hope that Carol and Debbie and Tirjasdyn will continue engaging discussion here. Nothing but good can come of that.
    Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little (Niki)

    Author, occasionally published. Watch this space for more, or visit the amazing actually writing blog. (It actually writes!)

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