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Reagent Press

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triceretops

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I've just recently run into two publishers, Madallion and Regeant, who not only want an itemized marketing plan, but who also want detailed chapter by chapter outlines of novel manuscripts. I find this particulary distressing and, or mysterious. So did my agent. Madallion found my agent's listing on Publisher's Market Place and wanted to see my book. I told my agent, "well, I guess it's worth a shot--I won't hold you responsible." But man, did we have to jump through some hoops and write another 10,000 words on top of the normal submission process.

Gad. I'd hate to be accepted for publication purely on the aspect of my excellent marketing skills and promotion savvy, rather than my talent as as author. I've had enough T.V. and radio shows in the past to last me a lifetime with legitimate presses that did the ground work for me, and I'm certainly not in the best of health or mind to do these massive publicity campaigns all over again. But I will participate within reason, of course.

What the fud is up with these types of publishers? I've never heard of such things for novels. Although it might be taking hold as a trend nowadasy, I still find it a bit uncomfortable. I see pink flags here, and that is being optimistic.

Tri
 

victoriastrauss

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Tri, I just got a question about Reagent Press, and visited its website. Have you ever heard of Robert Stanek, of Ruin Mist fame? If so, you'll need no further warning when I tell you that he's the owner of Reagent Press. If you haven't, he's a self-published SF author who briefly became notorious for pseudonymously posting reviews of his books and creating enormous numbers of Listmania lists featuring his books on Amazon. Apart from his self-publishing venture, I don't believe he has any publishing background at all (I'm being kind and tactful here). Not to mention, the only books listed on the site are by him.

- Victoria
 

triceretops

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Yes, Victoria, I did notice that and alarm bells went off. You just now helped me put two and two together to see the scope of this. Having been given free reign to research and recommend small presses to my agent, I'm afraid I'm not doing a very good job of isolating the true non-commercial venues from the legit small presses.

I see a trend where the small, clueless companies are requesting full marketing plans, complete with distribution information. That right there is tellling me that these outfits do not have, nor do they intend to promote on behalf of the author. It's the "let's let the author bust butt on this and concentrate on the highest profits." Some of them come right out and ask what your advertizing budget looks like.

I think, and I've said it before, that the small, lucrative press is dying, or is in fact dead. The middle class of publication is nearly extinct. I think we are left with the large houses, who run offset and have great distribution, along with the poor, clueless POD outfits who are having trouble gaining a foothold in the competition. Either that, or anybody under the sun, who wants to take advantage of Print on Demand tech, is calling themselves a publisher and getting listed in the major sources. And I ran across 70 (out of 100) listings, who were in fact self-pubbed authors, who had only their own books listed as credits, and no other authors in their stable. Yet they were advertizing for submissions.

Tri
 

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triceretops said:
I think, and I've said it before, that the small, lucrative press is dying, or is in fact dead. The middle class of publication is nearly extinct.
I really don't agree, Tri. There are many successful smaller publishers, some of which are doing very interesting work. Of course, they're as rigorously selective as the big houses, so even if they're open to unagented authors, the waiting times and the competition are similar. I think many authors want to have it both ways: the relaxed acceptance standards of the amateur publishers with the reputation and distribution of the commercial publishers. Unfortunately, the two are mutually exclusive.

Clueless amateur presses are incredibly numerous, and if you're guessing that there are more of them than there are reputable commercial independent publishers, I think you're probably right. (The same thing is true for agents.) I think an author is best off excluding this class of publisher completely, rather than sifting through listings hoping to find one that's worthwhile.

I think Reagent Press deserves its own thread, so I'm going to split off this part of the discussion.

- Victoria
 

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triceretops said:
I think, and I've said it before, that the small, lucrative press is dying, or is in fact dead. Tri

Ahem--alive and well, thanks. What's interesting about Medallion is that they must have deep pockets. They advertise heavily in PW, had their own booth at BEA, hosted a big party at BEA in 2005, and yet put out some of the ugliest books I've ever seen. I don't know how they sell, but someone, somewhere, has put money into the company.
 

soloset

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There's always someone willing to invest in these sorts of start-ups, if the CEO talks fast enough and convincingly enough. And when that investor falls through, there're others who want the cachet or the tax write-off.
 

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I personally think the small press is doing quite well although it is going through a period of rapid change. the internet just means you have to wade through a much larger number of scammy or clueless outfits to find the genuine small presses. If in doubt emialing authors from their catalogue normally helps in working out whether a company is legit and successful.
 

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Nomad said:
Ahem--alive and well, thanks. What's interesting about Medallion is that they must have deep pockets. They advertise heavily in PW, had their own booth at BEA, hosted a big party at BEA in 2005, and yet put out some of the ugliest books I've ever seen. I don't know how they sell, but someone, somewhere, has put money into the company.

I reviewed a book by Nomad for The Wichita Eagle - How to Handle School Snafus.

Very well done!

Nomad is certainly a prime example of a small press that does it right!

Nancy
 

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victoriastrauss said:
Tri, I just got a question about Reagent Press, and visited its website. Have you ever heard of Robert Stanek, of Ruin Mist fame? If so, you'll need no further warning when I tell you that he's the owner of Reagent Press. ...
I thought his name was spelled R*b*rt St*n*k. ;) Didn't he threaten Dave Langford with a lawsuit over an item about him in Ansible? Or am I thinking of another cartoony?
 

triceretops

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Oh, I agree Nomad! I didn't mean to put you in there. In fact, I've always considered you middle-sized, anyway. That's way I feel about Behler (sp?) too. Anything that gets even minimal distribution, sends out arcs and catalogs is a nice bet. Let me clarify that I'm looking for SF and Fantasy only, and I do not have a current Writers Market. All of my research is done on the internet, so this might have something to do with my search results. I basically think that anyone can list themselves on the internet as a pub house, and this is what I'm running into.

Thanks for moving this, Victoria.

Tri
 

triceretops

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I'm certainly taking this one on the chin. I went over the Reagent website again. This time with a crictical eye. It does nothing but showcase Robert. This is the most egocentric, one-sided, bloviating production I've ever seen. Only his books are showcased, both in fiction and non-fiction, and in every catagory possible. I don't know where in damnation I got the guidelines to submit, but I did find them, and they rang true of a legitimate press for outside authors. The only other featured authors appears to be reprints of famous authors, and of course he's listed shoulder to shoulder with them. He links himself all over the web and claims a ginourmous fan base--has all the bells and whistles, reviews, bios, articles and more.

So it appears that all this person has to do is reject (outright) anything that comes his way, and still maintain the guise that he is a commercial publisher. And it seems the only reason he'd do this is to give his own books a legimate platform and try to snag the eyes of a large distributor.

I also read the lawsuit and comments about it. Eye opener. Can anyone say "literary serial killer?" Now I'm even ashamed to have submitted anything there.

Tri--oh, woe.
 
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Popeyesays

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triceretops said:
I'm certainly taking this one on the chin. I went over the Reagent website again. This time with a crictical eye. It does nothing but showcase Robert. This is the most egocentric, one-sided, bloviating production I've ever seen. Only his books are showcased, both in fiction and non-fiction, and in every catagory possible. I don't know where in damnation I got the guidelines to submit, but I did find them, and they rang true of a legitimate press for outside authors. The only other featured authors appears to be reprints of famous authors, and of course he's listed shoulder to shoulder with them. He links himself all over the web and claims a ginourmous fan base--has all the bells and whistles, reviews, bios, articles and more.

So it appears that all this person has to do is reject (outright) anything that comes his way, and still maintain the guise that he is a commercial publisher. And it seems the only reason he'd do this is to give his own books a legimate platform and try to snag the eyes of a large distributor.

I also read the lawsuit and comments about it. Eye opener. Can anyone say "literary serial killer?" Now I'm even ashamed to have submitted anything there.

Tri--oh, woe.

Me too, Tri~ especially since I gave you the link, remember? I submitted before you, and have never even gotten back the self-addressed postcard to show that it was received~though I queried twice by e-mail. He never answered those questions either.

Regards,
Scott Charter member and past president of the Sam Vargo "Whiner's Club" Circle Literary Agency.
 

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I do not have a current Writers Market. All of my research is done on the internet, so this might have something to do with my search results.

Your local public library should have a current WM, or be able to get one via interlibrary loan. It will repay the time and trouble, believe me.
 

triceretops

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Thanks, James. It's a long walk to my local library, but probably one of the best productive strolls I should endeavor to take.

Popeyesays--not your fault, my good friend. It was my fault for not checking everything out on the website. My normal procedures were lax. Sometimes I find myself rushed, overly enthusiastic--not good, when time should be taken to evaluate and appraise the true nature of the beast.

Tri
 

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victoriastrauss said:
Stanek is that very cartoony.

- Victoria
Wow. I'm ashamed to say I was taken in. A few years ago, swayed by glowing reviews, I ordered one of his books from Amazon. Despite the reviews, I found it unreadable, but never put two and two together. I just shrugged and thought, "Well, there's no accounting for taste."
 

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Is it just me?...

When I see the name Reagent Press, I think of chemical reagents, as in "a substance used (as in detecting or measuring a component, in preparing a product, or in developing photographs) because of its chemical or biological activity." I wonder if this is the meaning this publisher intended? :) Or were they trying to go for something more like "Regent"?

Take this as another sign that you might want to avoid this publisher. :D Reagent Press might make a great name for a scientific publisher, but while it looks like a cool "fantasy" term, its actual meaning isn't really suited for a fantasy publisher.
 

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From the department of useless trivia department: in the fantasy computer game series Ultima, you used reagents as the basis for spells. It's pretty common to find reagents that mix up into potions in other fantasy games as well.
 

Popeyesays

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soloset said:
From the department of useless trivia department: in the fantasy computer game series Ultima, you used reagents as the basis for spells. It's pretty common to find reagents that mix up into potions in other fantasy games as well.

As a name it was okay with me. After all, a reagent brings about change in a compound. Good books should bring about a change in the reader's mindset. So the name always struck me as fine.

However< I doubt I'll ever get a response from Reagent on my manuscript, if it's a one author and occasional reprint house.

Regards.
Scott
 

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Stanek's going to achieve his greatest fame as a Very Bad Example. What kind of idiot goes out of his way to feud with Dave Langford? It's like drawing steel on Inigo Montoya, only with more jokes and less blood.
 

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HapiSofi said:
What kind of idiot goes out of his way to feud with Dave Langford? It's like drawing steel on Inigo Montoya, only with more jokes and less blood.
I'm now visited by the image of David Langford writing an entry for Thog's Master Class and muttering, "I do not think that word means what you think it means."
 
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