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Thread: Alyson Books

  1. #1
    Insanity is a Blessing Yami Dragon's Avatar
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    Alyson Books

    Does anyone have the guidelines for Alyson Books? I emailed them a couple of months ago and never heard back.

    I know there's a sticky that has links and stuff on it for this sort of thing, but it's three pages long. Am I missing something? Is there another place that has these links listed?

    Thanks in advance!
    YD
    Normal is something boring people are afflicted with
    I don't have a split personality, you're seeing double

  2. #2
    fantasy dweller
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    Alyson usually calls for specific submissions rather than a blanket sub-genre like M/M erotica or F/F sci-fantasy where the submissions become a free for all.

    Here is what they are asking for at the moment. http://www.alyson.com/html/99_submis...ubmissions.htm

    I don't know anyone at Alyson now. But you may want to contact Angela Brown. She used to be their chief (?) editor and she may be able/willing to give you a lead.

    Good luck

  3. #3
    Insanity is a Blessing Yami Dragon's Avatar
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    Thanks a lot!
    Normal is something boring people are afflicted with
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  4. #4
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Since the LPI takeover I've heard vague rumors of big "changes" in Alyson's plans, especially for book length fiction, with new leanings toward a more "blended" or "mixed gay/straight" catalog. I'm not sure if this means the content will change, or if they see the audience changing towards a younger, "queer" reader who does not like sexual ideneity or gender identity labels. Can anybody shed light on what's going on over there, and if there is new terminology in use for acquisitions, what it is? Thanks a bunch.

  5. #5
    Insanity is a Blessing Yami Dragon's Avatar
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    Suzanne....I'd love to know what you hear. I always thought there should be a "middle road" for that sort of thing. I began a fantasy book years ago where some of the characters were same sex paired and some weren't and bisexuality was the norm. I put it aside after hitting roadblocks to getting it published at all and moved on to other things. I'd LOVE to dig it up again. I think it had great potential.
    Normal is something boring people are afflicted with
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  6. #6
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Alyson moved their main offices to New York last summer and some of their editors, Nick Street and Angela Brown that I know of, didn't move with them.

    I've been in Best Gay Love Stories 2005 and 2006 and for the '05 edition, I got galleys and had a chance to make tweaks to my edited copy. For '06, it didn't happen that way. I got my 'trib copies before the pub date, which was fine. But I have heard complaints that there were typos in the final copy, though I haven't gone through it with a fine-toothed comb to tell you the truth.

    The BGLS is still scheduled for an annual edition with themes such as cities or travel-based as a common thread for the stories. Their new policy not to respond to authors unless the story is chosen is something that rankles me. That's unacceptable in my book. How long are authors supposed to wait until they decide to send their story elsewhere? At least the courtesy of a date is in order.

    FWIW.
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  7. #7
    Insanity is a Blessing Yami Dragon's Avatar
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    beatkay

    "Their new policy not to respond to authors unless the story is chosen is something that rankles me."

    Easy solution to this.....let them know you're making multiple submissions. Heck, in my books they can't expect you to wait forever. If they're not going to respond, you can't wait on them. But it's just common courtesy to let them know. As Nana used to say...don't burn your bridges. *grin*

    From what I understand, some publishers don't like you doing this. When I was writing children's books, I never submitted to those publishers. It limited my choices, but kept my principles.

    *YD gets down off soap box, bows, and exits stage left*
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  8. #8
    Elle est arrivée! Barbarique's Avatar
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    Alyson Books

    *
    Last edited by Barbarique; 08-30-2007 at 05:56 PM.
    "The world hid its head in the sands of convention, so that by seeing nothing it might avoid Truth." ~ Radclyffe Hall, The Well of Loneliness

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  9. #9
    Hangin' with the gargies KAP's Avatar
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    They have a website. I imagine you know that but there it is anyway. The short write up on them at AgentQuery.com says:

    Alyson Books
    (gay fiction & nonfiction)
    Alyson Publications publishes fiction and non-fiction books for gay teens, gay men and lesbians, and their children. Exploring the political, legal, financial, medical, spiritual, social and sexual aspects of gay and lesbian life, Alyson books reflect the rich diversity of gay life in America.

    kap
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  10. #10
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    A well known gay/lesbian press.
    Emily Veinglory

  11. #11
    Cultus Gopherus MacAllister Medievalist's Avatar
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    They're a respected niche publisher, and the quality of their production work has gone up a couple notches in the last couple of years.

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  12. #12
    practical experience, FTW JulesJones's Avatar
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    As Veinglory and Medievalist say, a well-known gay/lesbian niche publisher.

    I have a short story in one of their erotica anthologies. One clause in the contract I didn't like (and Jaws didn't like it either, when I asked for advice over at the Rumor Mill), which I struck out, but it was a fairly standard try-on rather than actively clueless or malicious. Reasonable editing, good communication, paid promptly on publication. Other people I know who've had short stories in their anthologies have said the same. I've seen their books on the shelf in various bookshops (and in a gay sex shop in the UK, so their books are in the UK import market). I've been happy to send further short stories, though I've not had any more accepted so far.
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  13. #13
    Luv's Conscript AyJay's Avatar
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    Question Alyson Books Bought by Here!

    Hi folks,

    Newbie here (Andy) with a question. I'd like to send a query to Alyson for my coming of age, fantasy novel with a young gay male character. When I did some research on Alyson, I saw that they are going through the process of being bought by Here! Networks from the previous owner Planet Out. Their editor is out the door (Joseph Pittman), and I can't find any info. on a new contact at the publisher. Alyson is currently in NYC, but here has offices in LA, so I imagine it's possible that they will be moving. So...my question is, might this be a bad time to send a query to Alyson. Their website does not acknowledge any of these changes (and their guidelines for submissions are confusing and have several grammatical errors, by the way). Anyone have the inside skinny?

    thanks!
    Andy
    Last edited by AyJay; 08-05-2008 at 08:01 AM.

  14. #14
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    I'm not finding anything new about the sale.

    What question(s) did you have re: their guidelines?
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  15. #15
    The King and Queen of Cheese BenPanced's Avatar
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    This sounds a bit off the usual track, especially for fiction:
    For both fiction and non-fiction proposals be sure to include the target audience, and at least three similar books already in print (title/author/publisher). For fiction or memoir, the publisher first needs a proposal from the author, highlighting the target market and at least three similar books already in print (author/title/publisher/price/no. pages/pub date), and the author’s brief outline of how his/her book will compete against those similar titles: What are the similar books about? Why will the author’s book be as desirable to the book buying public? Also included in proposals are the author’s writing credentials, a list of previously published works (books and/or feature articles, current columns and length of assignment of the column), and author affiliations that he/she would be able to actually *use* in promoting the book (e.g. editor of a social consumer blog since Nov 2007.)
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  16. #16
    Luv's Conscript AyJay's Avatar
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    The above paragraph did confuse me a bit, but I was most confused about their directions to query by e-mail. They want a ton of info. (query letter, chapter by chapter outline, synopsis, and at least one sample chapter), presumably embedded in an e-mail, though it doesn't say specifically to NOT send an attachment? I called Planet Out (current owners of Alyson) a few weeks back for clarification and was transferred to someone's voice mail. No return call. Anyway, the submissions guidelines are a side issue. I was just wondering if it was worth my time submitting now since they are going through changes.

    Andy

  17. #17
    The King and Queen of Cheese BenPanced's Avatar
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    Well, they seem to be currently open to submissions so if you have something ready, I'd say go ahead. Give them a little extra time, however; the site says give them two to four months for a reply. They also request you don't do a follow-up but in this case, I'd say because of the state of transition that if you haven't heard back from them in six months, follow up.

    As far as the requested materials go, put everything into the body of the email with a simple header after the query, i.e. OUTLINE, SYNOPSIS, etc. Many companies have their email set up to automatically filter out anything with any sort of attachment, so I wouldn't assume it's okay because it doesn't specifically state "no attachment".
    I still poop rainbows.

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  18. #18
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    I realize this post is three months late, but I would like to clear up a few points about Alyson Books, in case anyone is still trying to submit material.

    Alyson was moved entirely to New York City in 2005, shortly before PlanetOut's acquisition of LPI Media, which is perhaps best known for the national LGBT magazines The Advocate and Out as well as several gay men's erotic publications. Before the move, Alyson's Los Angeles staff was totally replaced. Until recently, LPI also had an agreement with Bruno Gmünder and a few other presses to put out photo books and other erotic titles in addition to any released by Alyson. For a brief time, Alyson also had an Advocate Books imprint.

    All that is now a thing of the past, now that a nearly bankrupt PlanetOut finalized the sale in August of LPI (Alyson and all the magazines, including all the erotic titles) to Regent Entertainment, which owns the here! network.

    I can't tell you much about Alyson now, other than that it has a tiny in-house staff, a few off-site freelancers, and is still based in New York for now at Regent's behest. Before the sale to Regent, the business model for Alyson was already moving away from fiction, gay social issues, and even erotica in favor of things like college guides and travel guides for LGBT readers, self-help manuals, and fluffy Queer Eye–type stuff like dating or fashion do's and don'ts and humorous tales about gay people and their beloved pets. I can only imagine that at this point things have moved farther in that direction.
    Last edited by Calmuse; 11-07-2008 at 04:22 AM.

  19. #19
    but appreciated anyway... Unimportant's Avatar
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    I've also heard that authors who contributed to various Alyson anthologies are waiting for long-overdue payment and contrib copies, and that they've been asked to be patient as the lines of communication at Alyson are having some hiccups. FWIW.

  20. #20
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Hiccups...

    Unimportant, the hiccups are quite real. I did a little freelancing for Regent, the new owners, and it was nearly two months before I was paid. Before that, I had given more than eight years of my professional life to this company as a full-time staff member. But I'm hardly the only former employee, or contributing writer or photographer or illustrator, who has been treated this indifferently. Unlike many, I did receive a small severance, about enough to buy a used early '90s Chevy Cavalier, for which I guess I should still be thankful. Major figures in the LGBT Media like Judy Wieder (a pioneer in that field if there ever was one) were let go beginning with the 2005 PlanetOut acquisition. The Regent sale brought on more cuts in full-time staff and may well lead to more.

    I'm told that Regent, for all its TV and movie glitz, has a rather primitive computer server, compared to what LPI and PlanetOut had been using to coordinate the work of offices on three continents, and that it took over a month just to get the basic operations of the business going after the August sale, including processing payments to any freelancers or contributors. It must have also been hell for some of the remaining full-time staff, too.
    Last edited by Calmuse; 11-07-2008 at 12:57 PM.

  21. #21
    but appreciated anyway... Unimportant's Avatar
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    Thanks for that additional info, Calmuse. I've only heard it a bit from the authors' side -- no payments for stories, no contrib copies, and no information forthcoming from Alyson or the anthology editors.

    It sounds like Alyson would not be a good choice for authors to submit to, at least for a while, until they get things settled.

  22. #22
    Luv's Conscript AyJay's Avatar
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    Thanks Calamuse and Unimportant. I never did send anything to Alyson, truly because I have been re-evaluating my manuscript. This info is really disappointing. Alyson had a great track record with diverse gay fiction. If either of you have suggestions for other gay or gay-friendly presses, I'd greatly appreciate your passing along some ideas. I tried Kensington a few months back (quick rejection, though I've done some major revision to my manuscript and think that it's a lot stronger now).

  23. #23
    but appreciated anyway... Unimportant's Avatar
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    AJ, is your book gay (male) or lesbian? What genre?

  24. #24
    Luv's Conscript AyJay's Avatar
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    The MC is a fifteen year old gay boy. The genre is mythic fiction. The setting is Atlantis. It's a re-telling of Plato's legend that stays pretty accurate to the pre-historic era when the fantastical kingdom supposedly existed (i.e. no laser beams or floating cities). It's a coming of age tale with a backdrop of natural disaster and a re-imagining of icons from Greek, Egyptian and Mayan mythology as real people struggling for political power, love, self-acceptance. All that good stuff.

  25. #25

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