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Author Topic: A list: of some of the brighter stars in the publishing galaxy
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Do you have a really great book agent, or have you heard of an exceptional book publisher, and wish more people knew of them? If so, this list is the right place to tell the world about them!

As a new author, I've been looking around for a book publisher and agent for the last couple months, but it's quite a daunting task. I've discovered a number of places online with huge lists, but it can take so long to sort through them to find good publishers. Perhaps there are others here that feel the same way.

So instead, how about a much smaller list--a list of perhaps only a few dozen agents and publishers? And not just any agents or publishers, but hopefully the better ones out there?

That is the purpose of this thread: to find some of the brightest stars in the publishing galaxy, pardon the metaphor. I'll be including the names of a few promising publishers and agents that I've found, but I'd also like to hear from others out there, particularly authors, that have discovered good publishers and agents.

Just what constitutes a "good" publisher or agent, you might ask? Admittedly it's subjective, but lately there are a few particular qualities I've been looking for. A publisher that pays higher royalties than the 10-15% that's standard for the industry, for example. Also, a publisher that is effective at marketing books, and makes a real effort to do so, even for new authors. And a publisher that doesn't use unconscionable or unfair contract clauses, or deceptive language.

If you're interested in contributing to this thread, please heed the following rules. If you have the name of an agent to add, please put their name in italics. If you want to add the name of a publisher to the list, please put their name in bold. Please include a short description of the agent or publisher, their website link if possible, and if you've personally had experience with them, include a summary of that experience. Additionally, I think it would be helpful to include the genres they publish or represent, what sort of royalties they pay out, and any reasons you can think of that especially set them apart from their competition.

Alternatively, if you find a name on this list that you believe shouldn't be on it, please leave a post here indicating that, and giving some reasons why you think it should be removed. By following these rules, I hope that this thread will be as useful as possible to as many authors as possible.

And finally, if you have any questions, comments, or concerns related to any of this, or for more detailed criteria on what publishers and agents to include, you can visit my other thread I set up for discussion, titled "A middle way, between big publishers and self-publishing." http://www.hatrack.com/cgi-bin/ubbwriters/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=13&t=000316

Remember: THIS thread is just to be a list of publishers and agents, with some reasons as to why they should either be on the list, or not. Any other discussion should be taken to the other thread.

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CROSSROAD PRESS: I believe they publish all genres.

I don't really know what their contracts might be like--but from their "About" page, they have a strong commitment to their authors, not just maxing out their own profits. They give the author 80% of net sales (and apparently net sales means all the money taken in from all the books sold, minus any money for returns, damaged or lost books, that sort of thing).

And if you're wondering why I don't try to go with Crossroads Press if I like them so much, they apparently only work with authors that have already been published, but I'm trying to get my first book published.


TCK PUBLISHING: They accept fiction and non-fiction, in pretty much every genre out there. And, from their submissions page:

"At TCK Publishing, we believe in creating long-term partnerships that are good for you and for us. That’s why we split all royalties with our authors 50/50, so you’re earning 3-6 times the amount of royalties you would with a typical traditional publisher. Our goal is to help you earn a full-time income from book sales."

These guys sound pretty good to me, but right now I feel like I want to continue researching still.


Hopefully others will also start commenting on this thread with better publishers they know of out there.

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Publisher and agent ratings range across a spectrum of professionalism and personableness. Degree of personableness is about all the substantive difference between many business activities, overtly, not so for publishers and agents. The publication industry had enjoyed a siege mentality's first self-interest for most of its few hundred years. The Digital Age has upset the apple cart, though, and anyone and everyone anymore can be a prose celebrity. Few do become such, though, because of overlooked composition and appeal skills.

Certainly, the past hundred years, the industry has had first say about the submission process and acts as though the barrage of unsolicited submissions is trash. Frankly, much of it is, though, nonetheless, some respect is due regardless because rejection affects lives. Hence, the usual form decline response makes no commentary, at most, something to the effect of, Thank you for your submission. The work is not a fit for us at this time. Agents and publishers respond similarly.

Anymore, most of the book marketplace refuses unsolicited submissions, most of the Big Six and affiliated imprints refuse unsolicited submissions and more than a few agents anymore refuse those, too.

It is a catch-22; unpublished writers are all too often rejected outright; only published writers receive any attention. What's an as yet unpublished writer to do? First and foremost, learn the skills of effective composition, learn the marketplace, learn and stay ahead of the consumers' sensibilities and sentiments. Learn the culture's parameters and write for and to it and ahead of it.

Lead the pack from behind with the power of the pen. Express social commentary -- as that is what effective prose's strength and appeal is, in other words, satire of one of the several types, four of which are the main categories: Juvenalian, the satire target victim is a person real or fictional; Horatioan, the satire target is a social entity real or fictional; Menippean targets social morals, real. Lucilius and Persius are other Roman founders of present day satire schools of thought and movements.

The fourth and most sublime satire form is that of Socrates' eironia, Socratic irony; eironia's satire target victim is, generally, imprudence -- without wisdom, in other words, sentience without sapience. Sapience is moral aptitude, and is aggregate to a species, not an individual, though an individual may be wise or not and along an axis of wisdom degree.

Two primary features for Socratic irony are persuasive exhortations for personal maturation, moral as well as intellectual, and practical irony's avoidance of overt instructional dictates -- after all, the best learning outcomes come from self-learning's trial and error rewards. Beware, though, John Locke's corollary laws are that all are born into a pure state of Nature each generation and mightily refuse, to everyone's peril and detriment, learning and respecting Natural law.

Publishers that enjoy a full and profitable list can be fickle and dictate terms. The commercial markets base their processes on revenue potentials and realities; high-end ones are more selective and pay writers only what they must; low end-ones are far less selective and promise high returns for what amounts to far less revenue. Lower quality products, lower revenues.

Agents are similar in their processes, high-end ones and low-end ones, high-enders have an ample client base, low-enders strive to succeed and take more risks.

An effective agent, regardless, works to develop an acquired raw product's full potential. Writers invariably resist the brutal editorial process that accomplishes that end. My experiences are that writers will not engage in the process. What little they will engage on they feel is overly picky and not worth the time or the expense or effort. Productive agents who find worthwhile products and amenable clients expend exhaustive resources.

One, the Donald Maass Literary Agency, does, and charges a thirty percent agent fee. The success of the agency speaks for itself and its high fee. However, like all culture gatekeepers, the agency blanket rejects upward of 99 percent-plus of unsolicited submissions, mostly for extensive grammar issues on the first page and thereafter, never mind craft, voice, and audience appeal considerations. The agency does accept submissions from all genres except children's literature.

Several of fantastic fiction's publishers accept unagented and unsolicited submissions. Their submission guidelines generally request a cover and a query letter, a synopsis, and a few sample chapters. That, too, is anymore the basic submission package for agents' guidelines. Otherwise, independent and guerilla publishers submission guidelines vary. Note though, that many of those are first and foremost firms that represent their own works and consider others' works only as sidelines.

Self-publication becomes more and more appealing to publication aspirants, yet the mass is generally unscreened to any degree of composition proficiency: weak grammar and style and rhetoric, weak story craft, weak or nonexistent voice, weak audience appeal. Yet competent self-publication works stand above the mediocrity fray: those were carefully and artfully crafted and closely proofread and edited by likewise competent screeners, in very rare cases, by their writers.

And self-publication is itself a whole other art and science from prose composition, that has a steep learning curve just on the technical aspects, let alone the storycraft arts. If a writer would go that path, much to learn and wisely and bluntly appreciate.

Some writers give up altogether; some writers languish in mediocrity book after book; some enjoy a measure of satisfaction after several abysmal, heraclean efforts; very few transcend the hurdles, hazards, and heartaches. After all, the culture, no matter how chaotic it was, is, will be, separates somehow, eventually, the cream from the whey.

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