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Fantasy Works Publishing

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Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

Maggie Maxwell

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They're a start-up opening officially on the 15th. No one on their authors page yet, placeholder slideshow on their releases page. They're as fresh as fresh can be.

http://www.fantasyworkspublishing.com/

It seems like they're using social media to spread attention for themselves, as I got both a Goodreads friend request from them and a Twitter follow from one of their employees.

The staff seems like they have small bits of experience, but don't give enough specifics to know for sure. As it is, they seem mostly like authors with secondary skills they could apply towards running a publisher (ex: The art director's art experience is buried at the bottom of a list of publications and other writing work.)

I'm not planning on subbing to them, but I figured since they got my attention via social media, I'd get their name up here for anyone else looking into them.
 
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veinglory

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I am wondering what this means: "Nationwide distribution by Ingram Spark (optional)" -- specifically the "optional"?
 

CaoPaux

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Especially since Ingram Spark is for self-publishers, not publishers.
 

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If a publisher approaches YOU, unless it's an editor you've worked with before, that's a red flag.

Here's another red flag: "We deal exclusively with the author, not lawyers or agents."

A publisher that won't talk to your lawyer? I can understand not working through agents, but...

And they're fee charging? Source on that - I find no evidence of it on their site...which means, well...I'm willing to toss a note to Strauss if you can show where you found that. Was it in email after initial contact? They're certainly hiding it well...
 

Maggie Maxwell

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They say they're willing to negotiate, but want to foster a family atmosphere, so no lawyers or agents. So they'll negotiate, but not with the people who do negotiating the best. No thanks.

And just so there's no misunderstanding, when I say they approached me, I don't mean they came to me soliciting submissions or the like. They just added me on a few social media sites. Sorry, a bit jumbled phrasing there.
 

Filigree

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They say they're willing to negotiate, but want to foster a family atmosphere, so no lawyers or agents. So they'll negotiate, but not with the people who do negotiating the best. No thanks.

Yeah, no, not happening for me, either. I'm sorry to be cynical now, but I tend to put on the brakes and bring out the Skeptic Hat, whenever I hear any kind of consignment business say 'we have a family atmosphere'.

I love my galleries and publishers. We're friends. But we are business partners, not family.
 

DreamWeaver

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Totally agree. It's a business relationship. Definite wait-a-minute for me when I see a business deploy the family word. At the least it's a sign to do more digging into their practices, competencies, and results.

At the best, it's simply a code word for we'll take care of business in a friendly manner; at the worst it's a sign that they are using affinity marketing to hide their incompetencies. There's a lot of spectrum between those two extremes, and one can only hope to pinpoint the business's placing on it through solid research. Or, one can simply avoid the conundrum by submitting to publishers that don't use that kind of emotion-based author recruitment. Everyone makes their own choices in the end. The more I see, the more I agree with Filigree's Rule.


*I exempt "family-style restaurant." Because, yanno, chicken-friend steak and mac & cheese. :D
 
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Filigree

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'My Mother's Kitchen' in Phoenix, AZ...because I will drive 40 miles outta my way for their roast beef and coconut cream pie, and they're definitely a family place.

But consignment businesses (in which I include publishers, galleries, retail boutiques, etc) need to show me they have all ducks in a row - or I'm investing only a small amount of work into the enterprise, stuff I can afford to lose.

And I have lost stuff: art listing firm in 1990, lost 1 cheap tapestry wall hanging. Not worth looking for.

Art gallery in Scottsdale, 2006: lost 1 fiber art book (we think stolen, I filed an insurance claim.)

Art gallery in Sedona, 2010: lost a 20" x 20" painting and a copper mask. Or it's in storage, either way I can't get back in contact with the owners.

Design firm in Scottsdale, 2010: essentially stole $1200 worth of paintings and lied about where they were sold to. I knew they were sharks with a previous bankruptcy going into the deal, so I didn't lose as much as other artists did when they were court-ordered to auction inventory at a 90% loss. I easily made 5 times what I lost, and the rest wasn't worth fighting over (not my original work, but riffs on another artist's style).

By the time I'd started looking at publishers in 2011, I'd already seen and fallen for most the shady ways affinity fraud can be used to sweet-talk artists and writers.

That's why I commit to the two-year rule with new publishers, or I have to know their principals' backgrounds. I'm not being 'mean' or a 'hater'. I want every small press to succeed! But at the same time, I want to see them do it honestly and with skill, as a business and not a personality cult.
 

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Yes, I like the idea of this place. But commit to an entire series before hand plus "family atmosphere"? I am a deep skeptic.
 

pepe1701

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While most publishers offer little to no help marketing, we have a comprehensive marketing team and individualized marketing plans.

Really?
 

The Otter

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Well, their website background is pretty. But yeah, some of the phrasing gives off an amateurish vibe. Whenever a website seems to be targeted toward authors rather than readers, it's a red flag for me.

"While most publishers offer little to no help marketing, we have a comprehensive marketing team and individualized marketing plans." By this, I assume they mean most small pubs/epubs don't help with those things (which is true, in many cases). The large, well-established publishing houses absolutely do have comprehensive marketing plans for their authors.
 

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Definitely agree that the site is geared toward authors. To play devil's advocate though, if they haven't begun taking submissions yet they don't really have books to target at readers
 

Filigree

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True. It's the terrible Catch-22 of the new publisher. That's why background info and street cred are important. Even those are no guarantee (see the Musa thread).

As with any new business venture, invest only what you can afford to lose. Thus their stated policy of series preference is a concern for me. That's a lot of work riding on unknown performance, of both author and publisher.
 

Filigree

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I read their blog, and I have to admit: I hope they make it. I don't quite agree with Jen's opinion that Fantasy has somehow been 'shackled' or 'barely tolerated' by Science Fiction the last couple of decades (if anything, I suspect it's the other way around: fantasy is much more popular than hard SF. SF movers and shakers know this and seethe sour grapes about it often enough.)

I like Fantasy Works' obvious love of the genre. I think they mean well. I'm still not sending them the loosely connected sword & planet series I've been playing with for three decades. It's Big Five, proven independent, or self-publishing for these things. If I even thought of it, I'm sure my agent would have Words.

But I'll watch these folks over the next year or two. Are they another Tor or Beneath Ceaseless Skies? We'll see.
 

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I welcome the comments, both helpful and not, but please allow me to clear up a few issues. Some of the wording on our site wasn't as clear as it could have been, and has since been corrected. On to the other stuff.

The family oriented atmosphere mentioned involves the authors working together and promoting each other. This improves book sales, and the statistics bear that out. Also, it's simply more fun.

There are absolutely no fees, and there never were. The 'optional' Ingram Spark distribution involves additional commitment from the author. If the author is willing to commit to it, we're willing to pay for it. Ingram Spark is not only for self-publishers, but also publishers.

Yes, we are indeed using social media to get attention for ourselves. We're guilty as charged. It worked didn't it?

I believe we're a little more than authors who possess secondary skills. I have owned five successful businesses, two of which are listed on my bio, the other three didn't really relate. I was at another press for two years before arriving at FWP, and have edited for ten years. I am more than qualified for my current position, and am surrounded by equally qualified colleagues.

We don't negotiate with agents. Again, guilty as charged. We want the authors to receive all their royalties. It's a simple matter.

Also, we don't deal with lawyers. No great conspiracy there. Recommending our authors have a lawyer look at our contract bears that out. As someone who has offered many contracts, I am surprised at the number of authors who blindly sign with no legal advice and sometimes not even bothering to read it. Of course we don't want that.

Thanks everyone for your time. I hope this helps.
 

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What if an author is willing to forgo some of their royalties so that they can have an agent who they have worked with for years, who they completely trust and has never steered them wrong, to look over a contract of a brand new publisher with no track record? What does it matter what the author wants to do with his/her money? Are you going to tell your authors how to spend their royalties ("Yes you can go use your royalties to go to the movies, but only if you see Marvel films.")?

Quite frankly, your reasoning makes no sense to me and sounds disingenuous. To me it sounds like you simply don't want the hassle of having to negotiate and go a couple rounds with a contract. Any time a publisher doesn't want to deal with an agent or any representative of an author's I am deeply suspicious of their business skills. Either they are lazy and don't want to have to deal with talking with an agent/lawyer, or manipulative and don't want the author to ask for what they rightfully deserve out of a contract, or they have no idea how the publishing business really works and have fallen for the strange unfounded assumption that agents are horrible middle men who take advantage of poor unsuspecting authors and make easy money off of an author's hard work. If you can give me a fourth thing that could be a positive, I'd love to hear it.
 
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Maggie Maxwell

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Hi Jen! As the OP, I felt I should welcome you to AW, wish you luck on your upcoming pubications, and explain my post. So first off, welcome!

Nothing wrong with using social media to attract attention. I personally found your method well done: no over-the-top "follow me" message, no bombarding everything I had, just a quiet "hey, we're here." Obvious it did work and I hope it continues to.

Regarding the "secondary skills" comment, I said it because in your staff bios, as I writer, I want to see experience first. I want to know what qualities you and your team have to publish my book to the best of your abilities. You've got ten years of editing experience? Fantastic! It should say so in your bio. I'd also like to know the small press you edited for before. Armada's graphic design experience is the second to last paragraph of her bio. As the director of art, this should be near the top, not buried beneath her own published books. It feels, to me as a reader and writer, like those important skills and experience are secondary because they're not listed in a position of importance.

I hope this clarifies my POV. Again, welcome to AW, we hope you stay around and that Fantasy Works Publishing gets nothing but success. :)
 

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Since you boasted that you co-wrote/directed/produced Ryan Gosling Must Be Stopped, then I am assuming you are a person of means. Most authors are not. You are also depicting all agents as honest, upstanding, and competent entities who only have the author's best interests at heart. I know you started it out with a 'what if', but that's a big 'what if'. However, 'if' that was the case, perhaps I would make an exception.

And on a parting note, agents were originally instituted to serve as a buffer between author and publisher, thereby weeding out the rift raft. I'd rather do it myself. I'm not a traditional publisher.
 

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