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Medallion Press, Inc. / Medallion Media Group

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jkorzenko

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I have a little background info on Medallion but, unfortunately, no proof because I'm pulling from braincells of two years ago. If I remember correctly, the founder(s) of Medallion are part of the Wrigley fortune and have no problem investing their money in advertising and promotion. Prior to obtaining an agent, I did submit to them and they requested my ms. My agent didn't want to pursue that avenue due to their very limited distribution. Once again, this was two years ago when they were brand spanking new.

J.
 

jkorzenko

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Okay, I went and checked out their website this morning. Leslie & Wendy Burbank are moving on from Medallion and they are the ones with the Wrigley connection. I was in a writers' forum w/ Liz Wolfe, Michelle Perry and Jewell Mason. Michelle seems to be the only one that is continuing to write for Medallion.
 

Memnon624

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Hi all,

I came across the Medallion references in this thread and hopefully I can provide a little clarification. I'm a Medallion author; in fact, the party from BEA 2005 mentioned in a previous post was the release party for my first novel, Men of Bronze. My experiences with the company have been extremely positive. Distribution remains a constant bugbear (actually, only one area of distribution remains problematic -- Barnes and Noble . . . a large area, to be sure, but one MP is trying to overcome), but I've seen my books actively stocked in Books-a-Million, Borders, and Waldenbooks. Their marketing campaign has been aggressive: the cover of PW, full page ads in the same, ads in NYT Review of Books, the BEA presence as well as handselling to buyers at various indie trade shows, and probably things I'm not even aware of. A curious side effect of the PW coverage and BEA was quite a few foreign sales, including Transworld UK (at the end of July, Men of Bronze comes out in the UK as a Bantam paperback).

Medallion's a solid company, but they are relatively new and they're still finding their stride. Not every writer will have, or has had, the same experience with them, but they've done right by me so far.

And, for the record, Medallion's owner and Editor-in-Chief, Helen Rosburg, is the great-grand-daughter of William Wrigley (I've seen a couple of references to her as 'the Wrigley heiress').

Hope this helps!

Scott
 

jkorzenko

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Thank you, Scott. That was a very insightful post. See, I told you my braincells were dead. I apologize for the misinformation re: Wrigley. It sounds like you're doing very well with them. Best of luck.
 

Memnon624

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jkorzenko said:
Thank you, Scott. That was a very insightful post. See, I told you my braincells were dead. I apologize for the misinformation re: Wrigley. It sounds like you're doing very well with them. Best of luck.

Thanks, jkorzenko! I understand about the brain cells . . . myself, I'm hard-pressed to find two to rub together right now :) Though I'm pleased with Medallion's efforts, I really do need to step up my own self-promotion campaign. It's unfortunate that I'm horribly reclusive and would much rather spend what I've earmarked for self-promo on more research books (I mean, can you really know too much about Ptolemaic Egypt?).


Scott
 

victoriastrauss

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jkorzenko said:
My agent didn't want to pursue that avenue due to their very limited distribution.
This confirms what I've heard as well. Medallion seems to put a lot of effort into advertising and production (their books are solid and attractively-designed) but much less into the nuts and bolts of marketing to the book trade.

- Victoria
 

UrsusMinor

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victoriastrauss said:
This confirms what I've heard as well. Medallion seems to put a lot of effort into advertising and production (their books are solid and attractively-designed) but much less into the nuts and bolts of marketing to the book trade.- Victoria

I've actually spent some time talking to people at Medallion, and I don't think that's a very fair characterization.

It is extraordinarily difficult for a start-up, indie press to get any mainstream bookstore distribution at all, but I've walked into Borders and Waldenbooks and found Medallion books sitting on the shelf.

Medallion has been running what, two-and-a-half years, and already they are getting shelf space at Borders? I think this is just evidence of how much of an uphill slog it is to get distribution running. Some respected small presses (Poisoned Pen comes to mind) have been running for more than a decade without getting the kind of distribution Medallion has.

No, I'm not an author with Medallion; nor do I work for Medallion or have any connection with them other than having had some long talks with their staff at BEA. But I have a lot of respect for what they are trying to do, and I'm frankly amazed they've made as much headway as they have.
 

Lauri B

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UrsusMinor said:
It is extraordinarily difficult for a start-up, indie press to get any mainstream bookstore distribution at all,I think this is just evidence of how much of an uphill slog it is to get distribution running.

I disagree with you there, Ursus. We've had many, many discussions about the importance of having distribution in place BEFORE a publisher gets up and running. It's a vital part of a business plan, and should be one of the first areas of concern a publishing company tackles before the first book is printed.
 

UrsusMinor

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Nomad said:
I disagree with you there, Ursus. We've had many, many discussions about the importance of having distribution in place BEFORE a publisher gets up and running. It's a vital part of a business plan, and should be one of the first areas of concern a publishing company tackles before the first book is printed.

Yes, I understand that, Nomad, and bow to your hands-on knowledge in this area. But I also understand that this is exceedingly difficult to accomplish with start-up fiction. At least, this is what I have been told by talking to fiction publishers who've been in business for a number of years. The point that I was making is that having book distribution agreements in place is a long ways from having books on the shelf in stores.

Outstanding houses like MacAdam/Cage were scarce on the shelf until "Time Traveler's Wife." And folks there have told me in conversation how hard it is to get real, bricks-and-mortar, books-on-the-shelf distribution for a start-up fiction house.

In fact, one publisher told me that Ing. and B&T won't even consider handling a fiction start-up until they have three titles; this is apparently done to weed out self-published stuff masquerading as small press. I was also told that Library Journal, Kirkus, and the gang, also tend to follow a three-title rule for reviewing. (This was from a small, fiction-only publisher that has been in business a decade and now has more than 300 titles in print; and his advice was that any fiction house needs to start with three simultaneously published titles.)

I guess what I'm reacting to here is that I think Medallion has achieved an amazing amount in 2 1/2 years as a start-up, fiction-only house, and I'm a little puzzled by the rather vague criticisms posted here. I just ran an inventory check, and of the six Borders stores within 25 miles of my house, four of them have Medallion's "Men of Bronze" on the shelf. Seems pretty effective to me.

So, what I'd like to see, if possible, is:

1) Some concrete information about how Medallion did/is doing something wrong (rather than hints); and,

2) Examples of start-up, independent, fiction houses that did it 'the right way,' and had their books in the chain bookstores from their first title.

I am genuinely willing to be re-educated on the topic; I'm just watching from the sidelines, and am not in the publishing biz. But to judge by what folks at MacAdam/Cage, Poisoned Pen, Soft Skull, and other places have said, Medallion is ahead of where most fiction houses are after 2 1/2 years.
 

jkorzenko

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Popeye --

I don't think that anyone was inferring Medallion was doing something wrong or bashing them. I put some info out there that I had personal knowledge of (having submitted to them) but did state that this was two years old and belonged to dead braincells. :)

Your perspective has merit. I suppose we need to hear from a few other authors that write for them. Let me see if I can find my contact info for Liz and Michelle and point them in this direction.

J.
 

UrsusMinor

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Actually, what I was responding to is the statement that they have put all of their efforts into publicity and not enough into "the nuts and bolts" of distribution.

I was curious as to the evidence for this, and curious as to examples of presses that had done better on start-up.

And, by the way, agents tend to dislike Medallion, as they offer small advances and don't generally negotiate on the topic. Medallion expects authors to make their money on actual royalties. This understandably irks a lot of agents, many of whom apparently refuse to deal with Medallion--although the limitation on advances isn't always the reason they give. (My own agent simply dismissed them with a sniffy "not a first-rank house--they can't deliver what we need.")
 

jkorzenko

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Wow -- I really shouldn't post when I'm at work. Sorry about calling you Popeye. I think I need to wear my glasses more often.

Yes, that's the exact same reaction my agent had. In fact, she went as far as to tell me that the advance they offered was less than a thousand dollars and not worth a further looksee. Also, I believe her other concern was that they insisted on a 2-book contract.

Honestly, I don't know much about the "nuts and bolts" of distribution. I had no problem putting a marketing plan together for Medallion. That part didn't bother me at all. I'm of the opinion that the best "Marketeer" for my project is me. But that's a whole 'nother conversation... ;)

J.
 

UrsusMinor

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I've been called worse things than Popeye, J!

The area of advances is one where the interests of the writer and of the agent are not always in good alignment--even though it seems at first glance as though they are...
 

Roger J Carlson

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UrsusMinor said:
(My own agent simply dismissed them with a sniffy "not a first-rank house--they can't deliver what we need.")
On the other hand, maybe your agent knows what he/she is talking about.
 

UrsusMinor

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Roger J Carlson said:
On the other hand, maybe your agent knows what he/she is talking about.

I'm not saying she doesn't. But she thinks there are only eight publishers in the world worth dealing with for commercial fiction sales.

Maybe she's right. And maybe a few years from know, there will only be one, or two...
 

Roger J Carlson

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UrsusMinor said:
I'm not saying she doesn't. But she thinks there are only eight publishers in the world worth dealing with for commercial fiction sales.

Maybe she's right. And maybe a few years from know, there will only be one, or two...
Let me explain what I meant. (I guess it did sound a bit snarky.) If she knows that Medallion has problems with distribution, then saying that "they can't deliver what we need" is good advice because you NEED distribution, right? If, on the other hand, she will only submit to the top eight publishers and then lose interest in your book, she's not really doing her best for you either.
 

UrsusMinor

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Roger J Carlson said:
If, on the other hand, she will only submit to the top eight publishers and then lose interest in your book, she's not really doing her best for you either.

That, unfortunately, seems to be the situation. And her strategy has paid off in a big way for a few of her authors. (But who knows how many have found themselves in the situation that seems to be emerging for me?)

I'm increasingly hearing about "agents who won't bat unless they can hit home runs" (a description from a novelist friend who has been publishing for about 30 years and has watched the industry change).

This tendency is becoming magnified. I spoke to a young agent the other day whose policy now is "I don't take on any book I don't think I can take to auction."

[And, no, I didn't think your remark was snarky, but rather an interesting point.]
 

jkorzenko

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Ursus --

You need to determine what's best for you. I just released my agent. It's hard. But --- hey, you are in control of your own future, and you need to determine where your future is. Sometimes, being with the wrong agent is far more damaging than having no agent at all. That wasn't my case, thank dog, we both realized our goals were not braided well. But I ended it, I took control for what I thought was best for ME. It was a fair parting. Anyhoo -- the bottom line is that YOU are in control of your own destiny. Not an agent. Not a publisher. Not anyone, but you. However, I'm sure you know all of this. I was just offering my pov based on my recent exit into the non-agented world.

J.
 
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UrsusMinor

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Appreciate your comments, jk. Like the song says, breakin' up is hard to do...and it's even harder after investing so much energy in getting the agent in the first place.

{sigh}
 

jkorzenko

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I hear ya and I empathise. :( I also believe in gut and intuition. You'll know when it's time, when enough is enough. I'm very nervous being unagented and have bouts of self-debt that revolve on an hourly basis. LOL. In the long run, I think I did the right thing....I hope I did the right thing.

J. smacking Self Doubt off her back
 

Sakamonda

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Medallion. . .

has been recognized as a professional market by the Romance Writers of America (RWA), which means that it pays competitive, industry-standard royalties and consistently achieves at least 5,000 copies sold of all its titles. RWA is pretty rigorous about what it considers a professional market (and checks out all publishers who apply for that recognition), so the fact Medallion is one with RWA raises their credibility pretty high with me. I also find their titles on chain bookstore shelves consistently.

And my agent isn't hesitant about submitting to them, either. I guess what publishers legit agents will submit to really depends on the agent.
 

triceretops

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Sakamoda, we share the same agent and he and I did a LOT of examination about this pub house. We actually concluded that it was one of the better small presses around. I certainly balked at writing a 14-page chapter by chapter outline, in addition to a full marketing plan, because this was a little outside the normal parameters for a fiction title. Damn if I didn't hate it. But my agent did submit the whole nine-yard package and we haven't heard back yet.

I don't turn my back on small advances and verified bookstore placement. Look at the rest of the small press alternatives out there--they're a joke, with absolutely nothing going on for them. These micro-presses are SO close to the PA business model (just skirting it) that I'm getting ill every time I google one to find it's a vanity author that has trumped up an imprint, or it's a printshop and you're expected to cover 100% of the marketing.

Just my opinion, of course.

Tri
 

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