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  1. #11
    Dave Kuzminski
    Guest

    Re: preditors and editors

    Okay, let's get some of this out in the open. P&E does have criteria posted for what will generate a negative recommendation from P&E. Got it? Good. P&E sticks to that very closely. In fact, we try to have documentation on file for every single negative recommendation we make, even though in some cases we can't divulge the information because it would expose the source. When we promise confidentiality, we do our best to live up to that promise. You don't like it, well, that can't be helped. Either we live up to that promise or we're not worth trusting to begin with. So far, we've lived up to that trust for over ten years; in other words, the entire time P&E has been in operation.

    Now let's look at positive recommendations. First all, try to designate some criteria of your own that will describe a successful publisher or agent. Kind of gets difficult when you start taking the difference in size, doesn't it? You can't state that a single agent who makes 20 or more sales in a year isn't successful because some other larger agency managed to make 200 sales. The same goes for how many books a publisher puts out. Success is based upon different variables for different size businesses, not for how many sales or publishings each makes. Because there are so many sizes in publishing, P&E doesn't post all of the criteria that would have to exist for each and every size.

    Likewise, other intangibles come into effect. In fact, for some of those intangibles, it's like the old Supreme Court justice saying about knowing pornography when he saw it, but not being able to define it specifically. We can recognize those intangibles, but we can't possibly define them all. Consequently, P&E isn't going to list all of those intangibles.

    Now this might come as a shock, but P&E has to look at both tangibles and intangibles with a nod to common sense and to what's ethical. We simply can't accept four book sales by the Literary Agency Group as legitimate. They've been making that claim for years now that they're legitimate because they have four sales and that most agencies are fortunate to make just one. P&E knows that's not a true statement. Furthermore, their sales are actually quite questionable; not by just P&E, but by others within the industry.

    Likewise, we regularly encounter publishers who claim they're not vanity publishers, yet they have a branch that is nothing but vanity publishing. As far as P&E is concerned, it's like that old saying about pregnancy. You can't be a "little bit" pregnant. Either you are or you aren't. We're not going to label a publisher as a commercial trade publisher when we have reason to suspect that the branch that operates like a commercial trade publisher may be operating solely as a means of gathering leads for the vanity publishing half of the publishing house. We already know of some that are doing so. It's a harsh way to handle that, but we're not going to help feed vanity publishers with writers who are really looking for legitimate commercial trade publishers.

    Lastly, P&E has always stated it is not the sole source of information. We recommend that writers and others who use P&E also use other sources as a way of verifying that our information is correct. We attempt to be accurate and the fact that we are quoted often by others shows that we are. Still, we still recommend that writers and others use multiple sources.



  2. #12
    carlos montoya
    Guest

    Re: preditors and editors

    Dear Mr. Kuzminski,

    While I appreciate your atempt at "getting things out in the open, " I found your response somewhat sarcastic and even mean-spirited. No need for that, sir.

    If it is true, as you suggest, that the multitude of variables, some of which are intangible, make the process of giving publishing companies and/or agents positive recommendations difficult, perhaps it would be a good idea not to give any at all. You would still be providing a very positive service by warning unpublished writers away from the bad ones.

    Carlos

  3. #13
    Ande Francis
    Guest

    Re: preditors and editors

    Anthony! Where have you been? I was just thinking about you the other day and wondering what happened to you.

  4. #14
    Anthony Ravenscroft
    Guest

    derail

    Me? Heck, I've dropped off of no less than four sites since October -- this is about the only place I hang out nowadays.

  5. #15
    Dave Kuzminski
    Guest

    Re: derail

    What I essentially stated was that the criteria would be too bulky to list properly. Besides which, it should be obvious that fair and honest dealing with writers by publishers, agents, and others would be solid foundations for earning a positive recommendation from P&E. If not, then maybe anyone who doesn't understand that needs a shot from Miss Snark's cluegun (TM, PP). I'm fairly certain she'll lend it to me so long as I use my own ammunition.

    What I didn't state was that our experience with scammers has taught P&E that scammers will try to position themselves into a positive light according to any published criteria. By not listing the criteria for a positive recommendation, we've eliminated most such attempts. Otherwise, we'd have to fend off daily attempts to cast sales to vanity publishers as legitimate book sales by scam agents, just to give one example.

  6. #16
    carlos montoya
    Guest

    Re: derail

    Dear Mr. Kuzminski,

    Perhaps others who visit Absolute Write more regularly than I understand the meaning of "...if not, then maybe anyone who doesn't understand that needs a shot from Miss Snark's cluegun (TM, PP). I'm fairly certain she'll lend it to me so long as I use my own ammunition." Frankly, I don't know what you mean.

    You wrote: "It should be obvious that fair and honest dealing with writers by publishers, agents, and others would be solid foundations for earning a positive recommendation from P&E." Fair enough, but I wonder why the publishers you deem fair and honest, and have therefore chosen to recommend, are so often e publishers and/or publishers of science fiction?

    Carlos

  7. #17
    Dave Kuzminski
    Guest

    Recommendations

    Simply because we've been provided more information about those than other publishers. P&E relies heavily on writers to provide information. We have a very small staff, so we consider all information provided to P&E. We have no control over what is provided to us regarding the category it might fall within. Since science fiction fans have been early adopters of technology (Gee, I wonder why?) they tend to be among those who more frequently provide P&E with information.

    What I stated before is that certain things ought to be obvious and if they're not, then the individual needs a clue. By the way, Miss Snark is an agent who dispenses information, advice, and common sense in her blog. However, you might not want to read it since her tone is, shall we say, snarky? I say this only because you seem easily offended by others who talk frankly.

  8. #18
    carlos montoya
    Guest

    Re: Recommendations

    Mr. Kuzminski:

    If you reread my posts, you'll see that it was never "frank" talk to which I took offense; rather, it was your inability to respond without taking a sarcastic tone. So go ahead and be as frank as you like, but please save your sarcasm for someone else.

    Furthermore, at least one other person on this thread has been concerned about your rating system, specifically how you go about granting positive recommendations, so perhaps your rationale is not quite as obvious as you maintain.

    Finally, before you hypothesize regarding how readily someone else is offended, you might try some introspection and discover how incredibly defensive you become when anyone questions anything about the procedures used at P&E.

    Adios

  9. #19
    Dave Kuzminski
    Guest

    Re: Recommendations

    Defensive? I doubt it. though it's largely a matter of viewpoint. I answered with reasons why P&E did things a certain way. If you want them done a different way, then establish your own site. You're more than welcome to share in the sheer aggravation that the watchdog sites put up with in the form of threats from scammers and complaints from those who feel we didn't operate our sites the way they feel it should be run. If I'm not mistaken, that's the final answer I gave to another individual who shared observations on what criteria was posted and what wasn't. Personally, I'm not into posting rules that require more time, attention, and space than the rest of the P&E site. P&E is there to offer guidance and perhaps even some wisdom, not be an exercise in writing complex rules. The criteria for negative recommendations are already more extensive than I prefer, but the scams just keep developing new tactics and those have to be taken into account.

    For my own part, I really don't care if you were personally offended if only because it's part of the process writers need to go through in order to toughen themselves in preparation for submitting to agents and publishers. This is a very subjective industry and it's better to learn to deal with that now. In other words, don't expect me to be soft and polite. I've already been described by others in the industry as brutally honest when it comes to making recommendations and that is what it takes, unfortunately, to not only make those evaluations, but to also stand by them.

    So, before you get all upset about what you don't understand, perhaps it might be to your advantage to setup such a site as P&E and find out for yourself just how difficult it is. Barring that, how about you post suggestions on what might work? Don't just complain about what you see as a problem. Make some suggestions and be part of the solution.

  10. #20
    carlos montoya
    Guest

    Re: Recommendations

    You're not mistaken Mr. Kuzminski. I am the second person who asked about criteria you use to evaluate publishing companies, and I am the second person you told " If you don't like it, set up your own site." To you, that type of response apparently qualifies as "brutally honest;" from the viewpoint of others, however, it is indeed defensive.

    Also, I am quite aware of the process writers need to go through to "toughen" themselves, and while I'm prepared to admit that toughness may be required in dealing with publishers and agents on occasion, I suspect there are many gentle people with sensitivity and talent who do quite nicely, irrespective of the thickness of their skin. And, it's always possible that you can't possibly know how tough, brutally honest, soft or polite any other human being is simply because you've read what they say on a message board.

    Finally, you've urged me to stop complaining and "make some suggestions and be part of the solution." With all due respect, Mr. Kuzminski, had you read my posts a little more carefully, you might have noticed that I did make a suggestion.

    I sincerely wish you good luck with Predators and Editors and with your writing endeavors.

    Carlos

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