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First Edition Magazine / First Edition Publishing

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

Old Hack

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First Edition is a UK-based magazine which I understand publishes short fiction and is distributed in WHS, a decent UK national newsagent chain. Which sounds good.

It has recently begun distributing short stories in electronic format and is now soliciting stories for inclusion in this new format. Sounds good too, right? Until you realise that First Edition expects writers to pay £25 in order to have their stories included in this e-publishing scheme. This sounds a lot like vanity publishing to me, but I'd be interested to hear your views. Is this a good business model for a new venture? I'm not sure.

You can read First Edition's solicitation email here, in Nik Perring's blog, and a response to Nik's criticism of this new scheme from Jeff Webb, First Response's Editor In Chief, here.
 

Unimportant

but appreciated anyway...
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My opinion is no, no, and hell no.

If they're selling tens of thousands of copies of each magazine issue, then they're doing it right: selecting from a huge slush pile the gems that are worth publishing. Good on 'em.

If they're turning into a pay-to-play display site for all the crap in the slush pile, they're a vanity publisher.
 

eqb

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If they're turning into a pay-to-play display site for all the crap in the slush pile, they're a vanity publisher.

What Unimportant said. They've turned into a vanity publisher.

Yes, there are reputable contests that charge entry fees. But there are no reputable magazines that charge to submit, or charge to publish a story.
 

Aitchdee

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Hello,

I'm a newbie to AW but instead of the customary bland ' Hello, I'm Harry -pleased to be aboard' message my first posting is a warning about people you should try to avoid.

There’s a UK short story magazine based in Wimborne, Dorset called First Edition. It began in the early months of 2009 as a monthly print publication with 9 Issues appearing. For a while I believe it could be bought in W.H.Smith.
I had a look at a copy, it seemed reasonable, sent them a story, had it accepted for the next Issue. As they said to me ‘Issue 10 will be available in all good magazine stockists from Thursday Nov 12.’ Then it became down for inclusion in the December Issue (still No 10).
Nothing happened till at the end of November, then I was offered, and accepted, a special offer and became a subscriber – 12 copies for £24 ( a third off). Still no signs of Number 10.
I started to enquire about what was happening and was told of a delay and the word ‘relaunching’ surfaced.
A refund was offered but I chose to stick with them. I was in Spain at the time and preferred to give them the benefit of the doubt. After more chasing, in March an email arrived referring to a ‘revamped’ Issue 10 in PDF format for downloading, but the printed publication was to follow quickly.
By early May I’d had enough. Attempts to complain were stymied when some emails were returned undelivered – their specific addresses at First Edition longer valid – so I had little option than to mail using their ‘info’ address and then to write. Finally I did get an email reply, still promising ‘jam tomorrow.’ On May 13 I asked for a refund. That was the last I heard from them.
Since then I have sent recorded delivery letters and emails, tried phoning and leaving a request for a call-back. Nothing. To them I have fallen off the edge. I don’t exist.
Two names I can quote specifically. Jocelyn Wauchope ‘has gone back to Australia’, and Jeff Webb – Editor-in-Chief - who signed personally for at least one of my letters.
Because of my complaints – Dorset County Council Trading Standards Department is involved. I have also advised PayPal who handled the payments. Because of their ’45 day rule’ there is no redress from them.
The magazine is still advertising for subscribers. On its website references to print publications seem to have disappeared, and new copies in any format have dried up. On Duotrope they still list themselves as a ’12 times a year print publication.’
My action at present is to give these rogues and thieves as much adverse publicity as I can and any advice to help doing just that would be welcomed.
If anyone has any doubt at all of what I’m saying, just ask for a look at the file I have compiled. Everything I say can be substantiated.
All I can say, friends, is don’t touch them with the proverbial barge pole.


 

defyalllogic

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so do you want your money or your story back?

why did you gave them money? was it that subscription?

(welcome aboard)
 

eqb

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Adding a link: http://www.firsteditionpublishing.co.uk/

I skimmed through the site. It appears they accept articles, short stories, poetry, and serialized novels. No mention of any genre restrictions. No mention of pay. Worse, they include the phrase "Submit your work for free." (What? Do they think publishers normally charge authors to submit work? Oy.)

Oh, and here's a good one:

There is NO LIMIT to how much you can submit. Due to the volume of submissions we cannot get in touch with all authors to let them know if they have been successful in getting published - though as a rough rule of thumb we let successful authors know within four months.

So they can hold onto your work forever, pretty much, and not tell you if they intend to publish it or not. Wow. Isn't that special?

I also note that the website is in a state of disrepair. Many links don't work, including those for subscriptions, e-shop, and contact us. They are currently selling issue #11 for a special low price, but again, the link doesn't work.

Bad market. Run away.
 

defyalllogic

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ten minutes later and i don't even see a site... just those placeholders saying someone owns it.
 

eqb

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Oh my. I think that's a record.

Ah, a visit to WHOIS reveals that "Renewal request being processed."
 
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Aitchdee

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Defyalllogic,

The money they owe me is for the subscription. I signed up for a print mag that is not appearing as promised.

Regarding the story itself. It has been in a PDF they compiled. I am instructing them that I want it withdrawn. Whether that has any effect I don't know but rather doubt it.


EGB,

Basically the terms you quote are not unlike many other small mags have - certainly not different enough to flag them as baddies. I'm familiar with many of them - all UK based. How many of them offer to pay? Hardly any.
As for holding on to submissions - how long they're allowed to is down to the submitter surely? He should follow up and can always withdraw material if he wants to.
I've seen many websites saying similar things but wording it differently, but none I personally know of who are stealing like this.
Don't forget that when I signed up their track record appeared to be OK with 9 print issues coming out apparently as promised.
I know with 20/20 hindsight it may look different, but I don't have that.

Thanks each of you for your interest.
 

BenPanced

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I've never heard of a market saying they cannot guarantee a response if a submission has been published. A response for receipt of the submission? Yeah, sure. That's pretty much a given. But if they can't send a card or an email to an author to let them know their submission has been accepted, there's something seriously wrong with them.
 

eqb

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EGB:
Basically the terms you quote are not unlike many other small mags have - certainly not different enough to flag them as baddies. I'm familiar with many of them - all UK based. How many of them offer to pay? Hardly any.

I don't think they are "baddies" necessarily. I think they are rather clueless, and that submitting to them is a poor idea. There are plenty of other markets that give, at the minimum, a couple contributor's copies or a token payment. Usually these markets have a focus instead of an everything-and-anything approach. And usually those markets don't tout "submit for free" as if that were something special.

As for holding on to submissions - how long they're allowed to is down to the submitter surely? He should follow up and can always withdraw material if he wants to.

Sure you can withdraw the submission, but according to their own website, they might have published the piece already without telling you. Maybe that's only a faint possibility, but their whole submission page makes me think they aren't a market I'd trust.

Don't forget that when I signed up their track record appeared to be OK with 9 print issues coming out apparently as promised. I know with 20/20 hindsight it may look different, but I don't have that.

True. The reason I'm posting is not to berate you for submitting to them, but to provide a warning to other writers who might be considering them. An even better outcome would be if the publishers noticed this thread (it happens) and mended their ways (that's happened too).
 

Momento Mori

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Aitchdee:
Basically the terms you quote are not unlike many other small mags have - certainly not different enough to flag them as baddies. I'm familiar with many of them - all UK based. How many of them offer to pay? Hardly any.

There are a number of print publications in the UK though that do pay - some at professional and semi-professional rates, e.g. Crime Wave, Interzone, Black Static, and Smoke. If you don't already use it, then check out www.duotrope.com as it's a great directory giving useful information about short story markets. If you write SF, fantasy or horror than www.ralan.com is also worth checking out.

I don't know to what extent Trading Standards are going to be able to help you with this because if they've shut up shop, then there's nothing for them to take action against. Hope it all comes good though.

MM
 

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Site went down Oct '10. Facebook is gone, too.
 

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