Monday, February 11, 2013

Mystery and Horror LLC - New Anthology Press

As usually happens in the vast world of the ether, one press closes - another opens.  The new press is Mystery and Horror LLC and is owned and operated by Sarah Glen and Gwen Mayo.  At the present time they are only publishing anthologies and have posted two calls.  One for humorous paranormal stories and the other for mystery stories set during Halloween.  1500 to 5000 words with no deadlines posted at this time.  More details to come as they get settled in.  They've also set up a poll to see if writers would prefer payment of $5 or a copy of the book as payment.  You'll find the poll on their blog link at the top of the page.  Good luck with your new enterprise, ladies!!


Michael Bracken said...

It's depressing to see how much publishing has changed and how little some of today's publishers value their contributors.

Once upon a time it was standard operating procedure for publishers to provide writers with one or more contributor copies of any anthology or magazine containing that writer's work. Even the smallest, operating-on-a-frayed-shoestring-budget publishers ensured that contributors received copies.

Too many of today's publishers act like they're doing writers a favor by offering a "free" contributor copy or by giving their contributors a choice between a contributor copy or $5.

Bullshit. If you're too f'ing cheap to ensure that every contributor gets a contributor copy of the anthology or magazine you publish, DON'T BECOME A PUBLISHER.

sandra seamans said...

I know, Michael. It's also depressing to realize that they'll probably be out of business within the next year or so like Pill Hill and any number of the multitude of new epublishers who think all you need to become a publisher is a computer and a shoestring.

I like that many of the new publishers are raising the money to start up with the Kickstarter program but even then, it's probably the people who will be contributing that are footing the bills.

I've been trying to post only paying markets here but when it's a crime fiction market I do post up the non-paying calls.

Gwen Mayo said...

Thank you wishing us luck. I am hoping that a background in business, a solid business plan, and a lot of hard work will make a success of our little press.

Michael, I have contributed work to non paying anthologies. Usually, I reserve donating a story to books that give the proceeds to charity, but not always.

As a writer, I have a responsibility to know and respect the terms a publisher offers. As a publisher I have a responsibility to make my terms clear and respect the writers I work with.

Sandra, I have nothing but good things to say about Pill Hill. Jessie closed the press because she couldn't manage being the mother of new twins and running a small press, not because she had a bad business model. She put out some very good books in the years she ran her press and managed to turn a profit. If I do as well I'll be very happy. Since I am old enough to have grandchildren in high school. I don't think there is a danger I'll be having twins.

sandra seamans said...

But it was a bad business model, Gwen. Number 1, there was no back up for things like illness or having twins or any other of the things that life throws at a small business owner. There should have been trusted people in place that could take over extra duties when she couldn't. When there's no backup plan its simply a hobby that can be dropped whenever the owner feels like it. And number 2, she did turn a profit but it was at the expense of the authors. She provided no copies and rarely paid. Her profits probably came from the authors themselves who purchased the books as I saw no advertising or reviews for any of the books that Pill Hill put out.

A small press will never become a notable press if they only get work from newbie writers. Yes, they're good but they don't have the name draw of someone who has a track record. Since the press' success depends on the quality of work they publish, the writers should be treated with the respect they deserve. They should receive a copy of their work, they should be paid, even if its only a token payment. If you're an ebook press the press and the author should be equal partners in the profits because one doesn't get paid without the other.

I know about small business, my husband and I ran a dairy farm for many years. You learn in a big hurry that if you don't take care of the source of your income (in our case, the cows) you won't make a profit. You manage to get the work done through illness, bad milk companies, and bad weather and any number of things that can go wrong with cows, equipment, and money flow.

It's a business, and if you don't take it seriously as a business and not a hobby it will fail.

Gwen Mayo said...


Does the fact that you and your husband no longer run a farm mean that it was a hobby? Businesses choose to sell or close all the time. That doesn't mean they were run badly. Pill Hill was a great little press. They produced quality books, on time and for the agreed terms. Jessie bought ads for my novel in trade publications, she sent postcards, and did whatever she could to help me promote my book. I got very good reviews and as much support as a larger press would have given me for a first novel. The reviews for the book were great.

Yes, I was disappointed that she decided to close and will not be there to publish my second novel. I'll have to find a new publisher for the next book. No, I won't be self-publishing my novel at my new little press. I have neither the experience nor the desire to take on a novel, yet.

Pill Hill did a lot of books that they offered no payment for, but many of those books were done at the request of the writers. She also did several anthologies that the writers were paid industry rates and got copies.

On the subject of Mystery and Horror's poll to see which writers preferred, a small payment or a copy of the book: I am sorry Michael finds the question depressing. I am sure, his writing is worth much more, but we won't be offering more for our first anthology. Why? Because this is my first anthology. Even if it is the greatest anthology ever put together, it will still be the first book from a new press. It is not going to be taken seriously by the writing community.

Sarah and I have to get through whatever amount of time it takes to lose the stigma of being "new" before our books will be ordered in the quantity that will allow us to pay top writers what they are worth. We won't get many writers of Michael's caliber to consider Mystery and Horror until we grow the press. Those who do choose to work with us know up front what we offer.

sandra seamans said...

My husband and I sold the cows when we retired because neither of our sons wanted to farm, Gwen. It's a hobby for my husband now as he plants corn and other crop plots mainly for the deer.

I don't know how Pill Hill conducted the novel side of their business, I only watched the anthology calls. Most of them were non-paying, no copies. At least one or two a year were called "contests" where the winner was the only one who received payment. There are quite a few presses that are set up in this manner, which is not good for short story writers looking to make a living with their writing. For those who only want the publication credit it works just fine.

I do wish you and your partner luck with your press, Gwen. I know how hard it is to start a business and make a go of it.

In my watching of the online markets and presses I've seen too many people start out with too much enthusiasm and very little in the way of a business plan which doesn't bode well for their future.

Gwen Mayo said...

Thanks Sandra. I do know how many little presses start up with no plan, little money, and more idealism than business knowledge. My plans for this year can't include doing books that can offer writers professional payment. I did want to make sure every writer got something for their contribution, which is why we ask our writing friends to tell us if a small payment or a copy would be their preference. Once Mystery and Horror builds a market we will revisit payment.