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Thread: Poisoned Pen Press / The Poisoned Pencil

  1. #1
    RejectME
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    Poisoned Pen Press / The Poisoned Pencil

    Hi Folks,

    Has anyone out there ever worked with Poisoned Pen, or have knowledge of their editorial process.

    Being fairly knew to the 'game', I'm somewhat aware of the agent-publisher relationship and the rejection vs. acceptance processes with the big houses, but as I've decided to seek a small independent house for my first mystery novel, I thought that PPP was a good choice.

    After querying, I was asked to send a 30-page sample, which got reviewed and then sent on to a couple readers. I then was informed that the readers found enough promise in the project to have me send them the full mss. to be sent to a couple more readers. Apparently if all of these readers are favorable toward the mss. it goes to four others, and then possibly to the executive editor.

    Is this a fairly common practice? I have had a wonderful experience with PPP thus far and was even pleased with some of the harsh criticism I got, as I know it will just make my work better. Do other houses work in this manner, and if there is someone who has experience or knows about PPP, do you know how many full mss. they actually review?

    I'm just curious and would love to hear from anyone's insight.

    Thanks, :hat

    Jay

  2. #2
    Gala
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    Poisoned Pen

    Are you speaking of the publisher, and also bookstore of the same name in Scottsdale, AZ?

    <a href="http://www.poisonedpen.com/" target="_new">Poisoned Pen</a>

    I visited that store for a Lawrence Block signing; they get big names in the genre such as Michael Connelly, James Lee Burke, and David Morrell.

    I can tell you the store and their author reading/signing/workshop relationship has a good reputation. I've heard nothing negative about the Press--which is significant considering that some authors I (used to) interact with like to slam everything.

    PP has a newsletter you can subscribe to which will give you an outsider view of their mentality...they review books from their press therein.


    Please forgive if this is info is redundant; at least I can give you the benefit of my personally interacting with the store and newsletter. I had a brief conversation with the woman who ran or worked for the Press when I was there last year...I came away with the impression they consider themselves a "real" publisher.

    Good luck.

  3. #3
    RejectME
    Guest

    Huh?

    I came away with the impression they consider themselves a "real" publisher.

    Are you insinuating that they aren't a real publisher?

  4. #4
    wwwatcher
    Guest

    Huh?

    Quick Gala

    Hand this person the addresses of your friends that cut up every publisher and run!!!!!!!!!!!!:ack

    Dear Rejectyou
    There is a thread for checking whether publishers and agents are reputable. I would suggest you post your question there to get more information.

    Watcher

  5. #5
    emeraldcite
    Guest

    Re: Huh?

    i'm moving this on down to background check. it's spent enough time floating here in novels. good luck with your question, you may find some more info there.

  6. #6
    NancyMehl
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    Poisoned Pen Press

    I've been reviewing PPP titles for years. They are a small press, but IMO, one of the best around.

    If they want your book - go for it!

    Nancy

  7. #7
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Poisoned Pen Press

    Still a good indie press. http://www.poisonedpenpress.com/
    ICAO
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  8. #8
    practical experience, FTW J. Y. Moore's Avatar
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    Yikes, she's selling her husband and daughter! Look at the first sentence on the "About Us" page: http://www.poisonedpenpress.com/aboutus/index.php Sorry, couldn't resist. It was the first thing I saw.

    J. Y. (Jean) Moore

  9. #9
    figuring it all out
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    PPP absolutely reputable

    I live in Scottsdale and have had the opportunity to attend many book signings Poisoned Pen bookstore featuring esteemed authors--many Edgar winners--it is a small store and they recently opened a larger location in mid-town Phoenix. The bookstore and press don't necessarily work hand in hand, although the store does feature the Press's offerings prominently.

    Barbara Peters is the owner of the bookstore, her husband is the President of the Press and the one who ultimately decides what is to be published.

    It is common practice for PPP ask for the first 30 pages which are then review by 3-4 readers. In the experience of 5 writers I know of, all have received requests to consider their complete manuscripts after this initial acceptance.

    PPP is a recognized press by the newly founded International Thriller Writers orginization. This is a major coup. It is reputed as the list those working in the genre will be steering their works for in the future.

    Hope this helps.
    DJLedford

  10. #10
    She Who Resonates... NancyMehl's Avatar
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    Poisoned Pen Press

    Quote Originally Posted by the debster
    It is common practice for PPP ask for the first 30 pages which are then review by 3-4 readers. In the experience of 5 writers I know of, all have received requests to consider their complete manuscripts after this initial acceptance.
    DJ,

    I didn't mention it when I posted about PPP in June, but my novel was submitted to them over six months ago. I believe that it made it through at least the first round. I'm on pins and needles waiting to hear something.

    It was encouraging to read your post. I've been a huge fan of PPP for many years now and have reviewed a number of their books. Acceptance by them would mean a great deal to me.

    One of their authors, Mary Reed, tells me that the length of time they've been considering it is an encouraging sign. I hope she's right!

    Nancy
    Nancy Mehl
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  11. #11
    figuring it all out
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    Time to follow up

    Nancy:

    I think 6 months is adequate time for you to follow up. Perhaps just an e-mail to the editor who gave the acceptance for you to send the full manuscript. As long as you're not demanding or pushy in any way I can't imagine they would put off by your request for an update. It's still considered a small press and you should receive personalized attention.

    By the way, is it Mary Lou Reed in Phoenix, AZ you referred to?

    DJLedford

  12. #12
    She Who Resonates... NancyMehl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by the debster
    Nancy:

    I think 6 months is adequate time for you to follow up. Perhaps just an e-mail to the editor who gave the acceptance for you to send the full manuscript. As long as you're not demanding or pushy in any way I can't imagine they would put off by your request for an update. It's still considered a small press and you should receive personalized attention.

    By the way, is it Mary Lou Reed in Phoenix, AZ you referred to?

    DJLedford
    My agent has done that. She was told that my manuscript had been passed along to another reader. That was about 3 or 4 weeks ago.

    Nancy
    Nancy Mehl
    May 2014 - Gathering Shadows - Finding Sanctuary Series
    September 2013 - Unforeseeable - The Road to Kingdom Series *Nominated for RT Reviewer's Choice Award
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  13. #13
    practical experience, FTW Kristen King's Avatar
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    Question Poisoned Pen Press

    Does anyone have any experience with Poisoned Pen Press? I'd welcome any feedback.

    Thanks,
    Kristen
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  14. #14
    haz a shiny new book cover Christine N.'s Avatar
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    Nope, but I would note this NOT Poison Pen Press which sells non-fiction,; specifically cookery, costume and non-fiction books based on the domestic areas of the Medieval period and Renaissance periods, and is most certainly legitimate (and nice people too!).

    They also sell fantasy books with worlds based on these periods, and are vendors at many SCA events and cons.
    Last edited by Christine N.; 09-11-2006 at 11:08 PM.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kristen King
    Does anyone have any experience with Poisoned Pen Press? I'd welcome any feedback.Thanks,Kristen
    If you're talking Robert Rosenwald, then, yes, he's a great guy. We've gotten together a couple times out in his hometown of Phoenix. He has a terrific reputation and wonderful distribution to the libraries and indie bookstores. He's garnering some great NY Times reviews, and is regularly reviewed by all the big names. Wholly legit.

  16. #16
    The grad students did it NeuroFizz's Avatar
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    They (Poisoned Pen Press) looked at a full manuscript of mine some time ago. It was a little off from what they usually publish, but they took a look nonetheless. Ultimately, it wasn't what they were looking for. But, here's the good part. I asked if they ever give feedback, and I got critical summaries from their two readers. I don't know if they routinely do this--I just asked. It was very kind, and very helpful. On the basis of that, I give them my appreciation and respect.
    Last edited by NeuroFizz; 09-12-2006 at 12:41 AM.
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  17. #17
    I'm a believer AmyBA's Avatar
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    I've read manuscripts for them, and from my experience, they've been nothing less than professional, courteous, and a pleasure to work with.

  18. #18
    figuring it all out bfloxword's Avatar
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    Poisoned Pen Press

    I recently read one of the books they published, Fitzgerald's Ruse, and realized that if that book was a 'mystery', then mine was too. So, I sat out to send them an inquiry.

    Their web page clearly states they generally do not consider books by authors who have previously been published. I liked that, even though it might have been the opposite of what they intended to say.

    Then, I clicked on the link (submissions@poisonedpenpress.com) for sending them an email inquiry, one that actually goes to 'editor@poisonedpenpress.com'. I gave them the bare bones information they wanted and promptly got a reply that I had sent my inquiry to the wrong email, since the one I sent it too can not be used for replies. ???? So, I tried again, changing the addressee to 'submissions@poisonedpress.com' after pulling up the newmail form.

    Does anyone know if I have fouled things up?

    P.

  19. #19
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    The mistake wasn't yours. Be sure let them know their sub link misdirects (although one would think they'd wonder why all the subs come to the wrong address...).
    ICAO
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  20. #20
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Poisoned Pen Press

    I just discovered that there is an error as of 12/9/2009 on our website which we will get fixed shortly. Queries do need to be sent to submissions@poisonedpenpress.com and not to editor@poisonedpenpress.com. The current mailto link for submissions@poisonedpenpress.com is bad. I apologize for any confusion or inconvenience this may have caused.

  21. #21
    practical experience, FTW
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    I love that book store! We lived in the Phoenix area for nearly five years. I have friends who go there every year just to visit the Poison Pen Book store. They are a very reputable publisher. I spoke with Barbara a few years ago and she asked me to send my manuscript. She ultimately determined that it wasn't really mystery (It's not. It's more like courtroom drama.), but she was so pleasant and encouraging. I hope it works out for you. They really care about their authors.

  22. #22
    figuring it all out bfloxword's Avatar
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    Poisoned Pen Press

    Happy to say that they apologized for the misleading link and answered my question about the statement that they don't solicit manuscripts from previously published authors. They do not, in fact, want new submissions from outside their stable of published authors IF YOU ARE ALREADY PUBLISHED. They do, however, feel they need to refresh their catalog by finding new talent, thus, do not ask for submissions if you are already aligned with some other house.

    So, happy to say, they asked for my full manuscript and promised to get back to me in a month, or so. Since I was anxious not to screw this up, I spent many hours microediting again. Yes, I found even more glitches and formatting errors.

    Everything I have read here on Absolute Write tells me they are an excellent small publisher. I'll follow up when I get a reply. Wouldn't it be nice? But, I won't expect miracles.

  23. #23
    figuring it all out bfloxword's Avatar
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    Rejected

    not a good fit. Fair enough, it wasn't. Too much local history, not enough mystery. Too much character development, not enough mystery.

    Great publisher, very polite, better luck next time.

  24. #24
    practical experience, FTW c2ckim's Avatar
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    I went to Poisened Pen Press but can't click on submissions, does anyone know what's going on with that? I would like to see what they want and don't want and how long the books should be.
    Thanks
    Last edited by c2ckim; 12-22-2009 at 09:47 PM.
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  25. #25
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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