Agent With Style

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This publisher is no longer in business, despite the fact the webpage appears to be active. Do not send payment to this zine publisher.

Name: Agent With Style
Contact: Mysti Frank
Type: agent, publisher
Fandoms: multimedia
Status: 1997-2016
URL: Agent With Style
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Agent With Style was one of the biggest zine publishers and zine agents in fandom. It was run by Mysti Frank.

"Agent With Style" began in 1997 and was an offline business. It started taking credit cards in July, 1998. Around January 1999, it went online. It had a major site overhaul in February 2001.

The first zine published through "Agent With Style," at least according to whom checks were to be addressed, was Come to Your Senses #10 in October 1998.

There was a lot of cross-pollination between "Agent With Style" and Frank's zine publishing business Whatever You Do, Don't Press! (first zine published was in 1988). At some point, the latter morphed into "Agent With Style." "Agent With Style's" Facebook page says the site "began in 1986" which probably reflects Frank's combining of the two presses. [1]

Activity at the site had slowed in recent years, and updates and announcements were few.

The last update to the site according to its "What's New" information was August 5, 2015. [2] The last update to its Facebook page was August 9, 2015. The site was apparently taking orders but not filling them in early 2016, perhaps earlier. See Site Closure. While the site still accepts orders through Pay Pal, fans have not received what they have ordered for many months.

Many Controversies

"Agent With Style" has continued to be the subject of regular controversies which incited disgruntled muttering and out-right shouts from zine fans. Some fans felt she gave zines a bad name; others felt she provided a valuable service.

See Controversies.

See Dear Disreputable Zine Publisher (2003).

Some History

a 1999 flyer printed in The Limits of Trust
a 2001 flyer printed in Come to Your Senses #20
a flyer printed in the 2003 ZebraCon program book
From Chalk and Cheese #16 (May 1997):
I've... started a zine agenting business called Agent With Style. Since Bill Hupe has left the arena, and left no one to take up the business, I'm hoping to do just a fraction of what he did in getting the zines most fen would never see out and into fandom's eye. I have a long list of zines available — many new, some older and hard to find — for a double-stamped long SASE. Or you can just write me at, and I can send you a long list of available zines.

By 1994, Frank was sending formal letters of agreement to her contributors. From one author:

"Some publishers are now changing the standard "rights revert to author on publication" notice. Mysti Frank (of Chalk & Cheese) is sending a "Letter of Agreement" to all authors which states that she retains all rights to distribute the story for a period of one year, after which the author can do whatever she wants with it. This serves to put the above, previously unwritten "politeness rule" into a written form, which should certainly help prevent potential misunderstandings, and I think it's a good idea."[3]

Frank was also on the lookout for new authors who could contribute to her zines. As another author remembers:

"I, along with with a group of fans, traveled to New York one summer in the mid-1990s to see a British TV star in an off-Broadway stage production. As we stood in the endless line for the ladies room during intermission, we chatted (perhaps too eagerly) about our love of the TV show. A woman standing in front of me turned around and exclaimed: "Are you a slash writer? I'd love to print your work" and handed me a card. Keep in mind this was a time when slash was still not very mainstream in some fandom circles - let alone in a ladies room off-Broadway filled with audiences. I took the card, but remember asking my friends: "Why would she publish my fic? She doesn't even know what I write. Or if I can even write!" I never did submit anything to her, being only a sporadic writer, but it left an impression on me. Mysti was like a boulder rolling down hill. Sometimes you wanted to jump on board and go for a ride. And sometimes you just wanted to run. But we all bought zines from her no matter which way we went."[4]

Web Presence

On or before Jan 1, 1998, Frank launched her "Agent With Style" website. A copy is archived here

See: a sample 2012 home page for the site.

See: What's New; archive link (2001-2015).

It had a very inactive mailing list; archive link (founded in 2000) and a Facebook page; archive link.

Requesting Zines to Sell

From the website (2001-2016):
Agent With Style goes to conventions throughout the year and we would love to take your zines with us and get them out to the largest audience possible. We also are very excited about getting older, out of print zines back into print, so that new fans can enjoy them, too.

If you would like us to agent your current zines, or put your older zines back into print, we would love to agent for you!

With only as much effort on your part as you care to make, from sending us ready-to-sell copies on a continuing basis to sending us the masters and having us do all the work for you (we can even take the last copy of a zine and make a master from it, and return your original) -- we can give your babies new life and fantastic exposure to hungry fans! We also carry other fannish items such as CDs, keychains and artwork!

So, please take a few moments to fill out the form below to tell us about your zines (or other items). Once you've done so, you'll receive an e-mail from us detailing all the terms and conditions involved in our agenting for you.

If you have any questions, or cannot fill out the form below, you may reach us by sending e-mail to: AWS Agenting Department. We look forward to hearing from you! [5]
a 1999 humorous disclaimer, printed in the Sentinel zine Nadir, click to read

The FAQ Page

From the website (2001-2016):

Q: Is shipping and handling included in the cost of the zines?

A: Yes, all shipping and handling is included in the price of each zine.

Q: Why are there three prices for each zine?

A: Because we include shipping and handling in the cost of the zine. To figure out which price to use, choose which area best describes where you are having the zine shipped to: USA, Canada/Mexico or overseas.

"Can't decide what to get for the fan who has everything? Just fill out this form and worry no more! We can send the gift certificate to you, so you can present it in person. Or we can mail it to the recipient in the mail, or even e-mail it to them on the date you choose! Never be caught without a gift again!"

Q: Can I get a refund if the zine I want isn't available?

A: We do not give refunds, but do issue a credit for the amount of the unavailable zine, which may be used on your next order.

Q: How long is a gift certificate or AWS-issued credit available?

A: All credit and gift certificates are good for one year from the date they are issued. We are required by our bank to hold firm to this policy, so we can not redeem any credit or gift certificates after they expire.

Q: Why don't you have a shopping cart on your webpage?

A: We're working on that and hope to have one installed soon.

Q: Why am I only getting the main page and why don't the links work?

A: If you have a Webtv account and are experiencing trouble pulling up some of the pages, you are unfortunately the recipient of a Microsoft Messenger upgrade which is causing some webpages to go blank or not load. There's nothing we can do on this end, sadly -- your best bet is to call up a Webtv representative and ask them how to fix the problem. Friends with Webtv accounts have told me this is an easily fixable thing, thankfully.

Q: Why are both 'gen' and 'slash' listed under 'type' for some zines? Does that mean there are two versions?

A: If 'gen' and 'slash' are both given, it means that the zine contains both of those types of stories. Only if it says 'gen and slash versions available' does it mean that there are two separate versions of that zine.

Q: Why didn't I get an e-mail confirmation on my order?

A: Since we don't yet have a shopping cart, we don't have the software that automatically e-mails a confirmation to you when you place an on-line order. There is a screen that comes up after you hit the 'submit' button on the order form that says 'Order Confirmation' and gives you the delivery times for domestic and overseas orders. This is the only confirmation you get right now. Since we're a small business, we can either spend time sending out individual confirmations or spend time filling orders. We'd rather do the latter.

Q: I sent my order in two days ago. Why haven't I gotten my zines yet?

A: While we ask for 2-4 weeks for domestic orders to be shipped out, and 4-6 weeks for overseas orders, we often get zine orders shipped out within a couple of days if the zines are in stock. If not, sometimes we have to go to an editor for more zines or reprint the needed zines ourselves. We also go to a lot of out-of-state conventions (see the link 'cons' at the top of the page) and are gone for sometimes a full week or more. This means an order might take a little longer. Please wait until the full 2-4 weeks or 4-6 weeks has expired before inquiring. Each order we have to research takes away from the time we spend filling orders.

Q: It's been four weeks and I haven't gotten my zine yet. Why?

A: More than likely, the editor we've requested the zine from is running a little behind. Usually, we e-mail you to let you know this and give you a choice of waiting until the zine comes in and getting the full order at once, or having us send a partial order now and the other zine when it arrives. If we fail to let you know this, I do apologize most sincerely, but as I mentioned, we're a small company and sometimes notifications slip through the cracks. Filling these orders takes time. Since this is a hobby and not our profession, we can only devote so much of our free time. Like most of you, we also have professional (work) and personal (family, advanced education, etc.) commitments.

Q: I sent in a Paypal payment, so why didn't I get my zine?

A: Did you also fill out an online order form? Since the order forms generate an order for us to fill, without that form, we're not aware that you've ordered anything. Likewise, if you've filled out the form, but stop before you hit the 'submit' button to go off to Paypal to make a payment, that order has not been sent in. You should submit the order first, then go to Paypal. Or go to Paypal, but come back to the order form and hit 'submit'.

Q: Do you have any zines with my favorite fandom in them?

A: We sure do! And the best way to find them is to use the search engine. It will pull up any zine, including multimedia zines, that have the fandom you're looking for. This is also a great way to find stories by your favorite author or artwork by your favorite artist. The search engine is a great tool that can help you find just about anything. And if nothing comes up on your first try, you might try shortening your request to just one or two key words, like 'Xena' instead of 'Xena: Warrior Princess.'

Q: I wrote you several e-mails in the last few days and you didn't answer any of them. Are you ignoring me?

A: No, absolutely not. We try to answer e-mail immediately, but sometimes we're out of town at a convention and unable to answer your e-mails quickly. If you're curious, check out our list of cons (the 'cons' link is at the top of the page) and see where we'll be and when. Don't forget to figure in travel time, as we drive everywhere we go. If we haven't answered an e-mail within a week, please write again.

Q: I wanted to buy a particular zine at a con you were at, but you'd sold out.

A: That happens a lot, especially with brand new zines. The best way to insure that a zine you want to buy doesn't sell out on you is to submit a pre-con order form (look under the 'orders' link at the top of the page). When you send us a list of zines you want to pick up at a con, we'll package them and hold them for you behind our tables. This also works great for older zines you're not sure we'll be bringing (the more new zines we have, the fewer older zines we can bring). You can go through our webpage, work up a list of zines you want and send them in as a pre-con order form, then pick them up at the con at your leisure.

Q: How do I submit a story for one of the zines you've got listed on the 'upcoming zines' page?

A: You send your story, poem or artwork to Mysti in an e-mail stating it's a submission and she'll take it from there. We're always looking for unposted stories or novellas to publish, too! If you're not sure, ask! We don't bite! (Unless you ask nicely.)

Q: I have a question you haven't answered here. How do I get an answer?

A: Send your question to Mysti and she'll be happy to answer it for you. If enough people ask, it may even be added to this list! [6]

The Shopping Cart-- At Least Eight Years in the Planning Stage

An announcement on the site's front page asked fans to be patient as a "shopping cart" was being planned was present from at least 2008 until the site's inactive status in 2015/2016. The shopping cart announcement: "NOTE -- We're in the process of installing a shopping cart on our site, and some listings will have an 'Add to Cart' button on them, and some will not."

One early mention of this shopping cart was printed in the zine Seasoned Timber in May 2008: "No bribes of someone to help with the database for the shopping cart were offered. Dammit. Laugh. Cry. Send LoCs!"


Over the years, there have been complaints about unauthorized publication of fan fiction, unauthorized editing of submitted stories, selling bootleg print runs of agented zines, the poor production value of the zines themselves, of failures to account for zines sold, selling zines without permission, difficulty in getting property (including masters of their zines) returned, of unanswered emails, of false promises, poor bookkeeping, and general duplicitous actions.

The majority of the comments on this Fanlore page are from 2001 and after. It is unknown if fan's concerns and complaints about Frank's decisions and behavior started to escalate after 2001, or if fans' access to the internet and thus wider general communication, made comments and observations easier to find and respond to.

A fan in 2003 wrote:
Bootlegged zines, misrepresentation of her own inflated printing quotes as the *printer's quotes", refusals to let me see the printer's records/receipts, tacking on $5 to copies of my zine sold at cons (buyers informed me of this), trying to intimidate buyers who complained directly to me about problems with their copies of Changes or with receiving their orders, offering copies of the zine's art as reparation for a problem with an order, later threatening to sell my pre-printed zine illos as art prints without my knowledge for her own profit when I was considering putting the story online due to anemic sales, under-reporting the number of Changes she printed and sold (our conservative estimate, calculated from the discrepancy in the number of copies of pre-printed illos remaining after Mysti returned the masters/illos to me -- a number that could not even remotely be attributed to mistakes by the printer, a printer who has never made any mistakes with the illos for Changes when doing the zine for *me* currently -- was approximately 65 copies). In order to get my master returned, I had to hold a commissioned piece of art hostage, then eventually deny Mysti all printing rights (which I always own on all of my work, including the cover of Textual Poachers) when she simply continued to deny any wrongdoing (as she seems to be doing now.) My own perception, after what I've experienced and seen, is that she lies constantly, bootlegs whenever she can get away with it (which is often), uses artists' work shamelessly (my own prints came back from her all sticky -- with what, I shudder to think, and another artist had her artwork returned damaged and written-upon -- when it was returned at all) -- something that makes me unquestioning of the many writers who've posted here regarding her changing their work without permission. [7]
From a 2003 thread:
In the past years, Mysti Frank has altered stories without authorial approval, failed to give zine publishers money for zines they sold through her, failed to stop selling zines when asked, produced substandard zines for exorbitant prices, and generally been rude, obnoxious, and alternately intrusive and unreachable to just about everyone she's ever dealt with. She makes a living off of fandom, and she doesn't really appear to care who she hurts in the bargain. (More specific details, once again, in this thread].) The solution for this is ridiculously simple: Need a zine? Don't buy hers. Need an agent? Don't use her. Want a story zine-published? Don't give it to her. [8]
Another 2003 comment:
According to the people we know who attended the first convention [my zine] was available at, Mysti sold out of that first run of the zine at the con. According to the report I got back, she sold two copies of it. And continued to sell two here and three there at different cons for the next year, while the reports of people [we] knew who attended those cons indicated that she was selling enough of them to make up three or four print runs, rather than the one run we had agreed to. Also, the zines she was selling were really *badly* photocopied and bound rip-offs of the master I had sent her, not a true printing. [9]

Some fans felt flattered that Frank offered to zine their fic [10], other felt she indiscriminately trawled for fic and being solicited by Frank was no distinct honor [11].

Her site was easy to find and order from, and she advertised widely, so many newbies first found zines through her. She also was a very reliable and visible presence at conventions.

Many fans were probably unaware of the behind the scenes issues and complaints, something the arrival of the internet shined a brighter light upon.

Regarding why fans continued to submit and purchase fics and songtapes to the site? It was the biggest print zine site on the internet and in that respect, very powerful in terms of visibility and that of a gatekeeper, something that online fic started taking a bigger and bigger share from.

In 2003, a fan wrote: "I also wonder if there's been reluctance to actually a) say anything and therefore be the first up to the plate to make accusations or b) believe and therefore actually admit that The Person Who Was The Answer To Your Zine Sale Prayers was ripping you off, big time." [12] In 2008, a longtime fan somewhat jokingly described "Agent With Style" as a crack dealer; fans were afraid to rock the boat and cut off their, and others', source of fanfic. [13]

In 2003, Frank herself stated that she did the work because she was a hard worker doing a thankless task: "And anytime you want to step up and take over, sending out 1,500 zine orders a month world-wide, going to more than 20 cons a year, putting out over fifteen zines a year and not really having a life, I'd be more than happy to trade with you. Just say the word." [14] Another 2003 comment by Frank: "Not one -- not ONE of you -- has tried to do the agenting at the level I'm doing it at." [15]

Regarding the various specific sections below: some of the topics overlap.

Controversy Regarding Profit

Agent With Style sold a lot of zines and other fannish goods, and the amount of profit she made has been called into question on many occasions. [16]

There's certainly some debate in fandom about [Agent With Style's for-profit reality]. I don't like the idea of someone living off of what's supposed to be an amateur, not-for-profit enterprise that historically has been done purely for pleasure. In theory it raises a legal concern, and morally, hell, if I'm providing stories for someone else to sell and live off of - not clear costs, but profit from, I'd like more than a trib copy, you know? I'm by no means an expert - I've only witnessed the debate on it and personally was appalled at the idea that for all these years people have felt that fanzines were, you know, what we fans did for each other. Not, I hasten to add, that I think a publisher should have to pay herself to put out a zine (the whole concept of fandom is that it's as cost-free as possible, and that any costs are shared by the whole fandom); I understand wanting to break even if you're putting out zines. But that's the difference between sharing expenses on a labor of love (which is what I thought fandom was) and a profit-making enterprise. And, again, nothing against the publishing business - but I always believed fandom wasn't business. That it couldn't be, legally, and that we all were operating under the assumption that it wasn't someone's profit machine. [17]
Mysti's problem is that she charges the same price for a zine that's poorly xeroxed, has fewer pages, has no art or poorly reproduced art, and has had little or no actual work put into it. She does make a profit -- enough that she lives off of it. For that, I wouldn't pay her one red cent. [18]
Don't we rip Agent With Style six ways from Sunday for trying to use the excuse "I don't profit from the zines, I profit from the action of agenting the zines"? (Granted, Mysti gets ripped for other things too and I'm not trying to start that flamewar again, I'm just saying it's a handy example for why this is confusing me.) [19]
Paper zine producers (Mysti Frank excepted) don't make a profit off their zine readers. [20]
Let's see. Cost a book.
5% to the author. Fanzine: nothing to the author.
10% to the editor. Fanzine 10 % to editor?
25% to printers. Fanzine: 90% to printers
60% to publisher. Fanzine... er, unless you're Mysti Frank, no percentage left. [21]
But there have always been quite a number [of fanzine publishers] that make a few hundred dollars off of each issue. Sometimes more. .......[I know of one fanzine publisher who] always turned out a good product. But there's no way they weren't making a couple of dollars a zine -- with a 200-300 per zine print run. Minimum $400-600 a zine, and no, none of that went to charity. And I'm pretty much okay with that. A) I've always figured that the odds were good that a judge would look at the puny amounts and not even consider them true "profit", since if the zine ed were paying herself any sort of rational wage for her time, the profits wouldn't cover it, and B) everyone needs to make these decisions for themselves. I think Mysti charges too much -- but if she were putting out the best zines in fandom, I'd almost certainly pay. I don't pay, now -- but that's because they're generally mediocre, and I don't like to support someone who knows better putting out crap. [22]

Controversy Regarding Selling Zines After She'd Been Requested Not To

There have been complaints of failures to account for zines sold and difficulty in getting copies of zines that they themselves had printed, along with masters of their zines back.

A zine publisher's 2001 comment:
PLEASE NOTE: Mysti Frank/AGENT WITH STYLE is NO LONGER AUTHORIZED (as of May 29, 2001) to produce, sell or distribute Jean Kluge's zine, Sentinel zine)|Changes, or any portions thereof. If you buy the zine from Agent With Style at a convention or elsewhere, you are getting an unauthorized copy. [23]
A zine publisher's 2006 comment:
At first, she sold a decent number for us and all was well. But sales slowly dried up and she claimed it was because now our zines were old and people had moved onto newer stuff. Except word got around that she was still selling plenty of older zines for us and everyone else. But she had made her own masters and printed up her own copies, and THOSE were the ones she was selling! [24]
Azine publisher's 2011 comment:
Agent with Style is, effective IMMEDIATELY, November 1, 2011, no longer permitted to sell our books on her website, or in person. Please do not place orders for them, no matter how long they remain on her site. [25]

Controversy Regarding Printing Quality

A lot of the classic writers [ Professionals ]are already on the web, and people who are still keeping their zinefic with editors like Agent with Style are not necessarily... that good, to be honest." And "Agent With Style? Blech. So overpriced, and the paper and binding quality are always low." [26]
Agent With Style produces zines that look like they were printed out in someone's school computer lab. I've bought things I was dying to read, but the prices are through the roof for what is typically an inferior product. The advantage there and with eBay is relatively timely shipping and a professional interface. Other zine buying usually requires more interaction, so if you're a lurker looking for a 'buy it now' link, this is offputting. (Yes, Agent With Style is a frequent cause of wank in zine circles. The woman who runs it is prone to flaming people and throwing fits when she's criticized too.) [27]

Regarding vids in 2000: Originally, copies of Escapade vid shows were mastered, duplicated, and mailed directly to convention attendees on behalf of the concom by staff member Kandy Fong. At one point, she supplied some of these high-quality tapes to Mysti Frank to sell at cons Kandy herself wasn't attending, but after learning that Mysti had inflated the prices and kept the profits, Kandy rescinded any permission for Mysti to copy, distribute, sell, or in any way be associated with Escapade con tapes. [28]

In April 2014, it was discovered that Mysti had been making and selling lower-quality Escapade tape copies without the concom's or vidders' knowledge or permission, and also without including any of the vidder credits that Kandy had originally provided. Concom member Charlotte Hill then contacted Mysti and asked her to stop distributing tapes in order to protect the quality and reputation of both the vidders and the vid show. [29]

Controversy About Fans Not Receiving Their Trib Copies or Masters

A fan in 2001 broadcast her displeasure on a many zine, Highlander, Sentinel and other mailing list, saying she'd asked Frank to stop selling Chronicles of the Heart #1. She wanted fans to know that any copies of this zine "Agent With Style" was selling at cons should be considered a bootleg, and sold without the publisher's permission. The reasons she had pulled her zines from "Agent With Style's" website were due to inaccurate and duplicitous recounting of funds, profit, late checks, and general duplicitousness. The fan also relayed a long, detailed recount of trying to get her zine masters returned, of countless emails that were never responded to, were responded to with promises that weren't kept, and were responded to with "nasty grams." The fan said she'd hoped to keep this issue private, but felt forced to now alert everyone on public mailing lists. [30]

A 2003 comment:
There is a zine out there called "Lover's Walk". There is a story of mine in there. It's an Angel/Wes, previously unpublished story that I wrote a few years ago. I submitted the story, got immediate feedback from the person putting the zine together and then didn't hear from them for over a year, even though I wrote a few times to try to find out what the status was. I then heard from them out of the blue saying they were doing the zine at last and could I give my address for my trib copy. I said sure, sent my address along and then never heard from them again. I also never got my trib copy. Since then I've heard scattered reports of this zine appearing, Elvis-like, at various locations. The worst of which was on an Agent With Style table so I would like to make it clear that no, I did not publish anything with AWS and I probably wouldn't have submitted the story in the first place if I'd known it would end up there. I don't know if the original zine publisher had a deal with her or if it was just a random copy that AWS got ahold of though. I have to admit I'm slightly bitter about the whole thing and not inclined to recommend the zine to anybody since I'm not overly fond of encouraging zine publishers who take stories but don't fulfill their end of the deal. I mean it's not even the free zine itself - I'd have paid if I had to - but the lack of communication is a little lame if you ask me. Who knows? Maybe my emails all got lost or something. It could happen. And because of that possibility I haven't backed out of my end of the deal, which is to not post the story on the net for at least a year after the zine's publication. But beyond that that's all I can tell you. Yes it's a story of mine, yes you haven't read it yet and no, I don't know that I can say you're going to get anywhere if you try to buy it. (Or at least buy it from the publisher directly. I don't want to cast aspersions on anybody out there who is simply selling or agenting the zine. That's a separate issue.) More than that I couldn't say. And hey - if anybody out there can actually get in touch with the publisher and ask what happened to my trib copy, more power to you. =)" [31]

Controversy Regarding Quality of Editing, Revisions Without Permission, and Publishing Without Permission

A 2003 comment:
I got the slash zine and opened it eagerly to my story. My first zine story... And the very first sentence had been rewritten! It had a nice repetitive quality to it when I wrote it ("waiting to be waited on") and she blunted the feel of it completely! I was so mad, I could hardly think! I believe I did confront her on it, and she said something vague like "oh! I was sure we sent you an edited copy..." Whatever. [32]
A 2003 comment:
...I replied to one of MF's solicitation letters and sent her a story, figuring to be a mensch; luckily, she sent me the story back to review before printing. I was skimming it and I was--well, at first confused, and then angry. The anthropologist? The smaller man? She'd taken out my names and my nice clear verbs (is and says) and put in epithets and "exciting!" verbs like "yowls"--okay, not yowls, I don't remember what she put in, but she put in things for "said" which flipped me out. So I pulled the story from the zine, but the thing is--what does this mean for the newbie fan who doesn't realize that she's being edited poorly? or doesn't feel she has the right to complain? [33]
A 2003 comment:
I made the mistake of agenting a 'zine through her once--*shudder*. Took me 6 months to get my cheque to cover printing costs, and then I found out what she did to a friend of mine--which consisted of re-printing said friend's 'zine (after said friend had said NO) badly (from a xerox instead of the master) and lying about it (even after getting caught selling one of the pirated 'zines) and keeping the damn money--and that was IT as far as I was concerned. [34]
A 2003 comment:
I was just getting into online *fanfic* (as opposed to *fandom*), and I got one of the standard irritating emails (which, as a newbie to the whole net/zine thang, didn't strike me as irritating at the time), and sent off two stories, one slash, one gen. I got no edited version back, and given that I'm a little psycho/anal about editing myself before sending things for printing, I figured there were no problems.

[rant on] I got the slash zine and opened it eagerly to my story. My first zine story... And the very first sentence had been rewritten! It had a nice repetitive quality to it when I wrote it ("waiting to be waited on") and she blunted the feel of it completely! I was so mad, I could hardly think! I believe I did confront her on it, and she said something vague like "oh! I was sure we sent you an edited copy..." Whatever.

This made me eschew zine writing at all for years. [35]
A 2005 comment:
it boils down to the lady who runs AWS being a piss-poor editor (in love with epithets), refusing to listen to the authors when it comes to formatting/editing, financing her lifestyle by overpricing the zines and publishing some people's work without their permission. It was a bit more complex than that (and -- Mysti Frank, I think her name is -- found the discussion and turned it into a full-blown argument) but those were the basic accusations, and there were too many well known names weighing in on it for me to discount it. While I've never published with her, as a reader, I don't care for the zines either. Nearly every zine I bought from that place was loaded with "the dark haired man" and "the Mountie/Cop/whatever," plus, and you're right, sometimes the quality just plain sucked with faded and/or missing pages, badly hole punched, grainy, copied artwork, etc. If I were to buy zines again, I'd buy them used or from other publishers. [36]

Controversy Regarding Content Quality and/or Labeling

In 1993, Sandy Hereld wrote:
Well, Blake, Rabble and Roll #2 really only has one good story, and this is it. It is 37 pages (I counted this time) and the only slash in the zine, and most of the gen should be ashamed trees died for it.

It doesn't have a price, but most of hers run around $15--It's a little small, but has a (badish) color cover.

So that explains why I didn't just say, run out and buy this (though I do think it is still in print).

The bigger thing is Mysti as a whole editor/pub. She is a nice lady (I don't know her well, but have never had any trouble with her) but she is one of the most inconsistant editors out there. I admit I am a slash slut, and will read almost anything, but I wouldn't publish much/most of what I read. Mysti is great about deadlines, mails her orders out as soon as she gets them, does proofread for typos and basic grammar mistakes, and puts out very regular zines, which is enough for some good writers to trib to her. She also prints great amounts of shlock.

I keep hoping that someone a bit more discriminating, with a real interest in editing, as opposed to proofing, will volunteer to work with Mysti.

She has a long running series of Pros zines, (Chalk and Cheese, from Cowley calling Bodie and Doyle that). Many of them have good stories, all of them have some dreck. It is a pain to copy comb bound copies so you can keep the one or two good ones. I don't think we (even with a multiperson [b]uying group) have bought one in many issues. I haven't heard good things about Green eggs and Ham, or Brit Shriek.

Basically I guess this rant is because of the waste. There aren't that many really good motivated publishers in fandom. As Jenn has pointed out, it is hard thankless work. Someone with the skill and motivation to turn out full zines every year, on time, make her committments, be a good publisher, should have an editor so that all of that work isn't just wasted.

Generally, I hate to complain (openly) about things I don't intend to do anything about; but I don't know what I *could* do in this case. Maybe that's way I find it so frustrating!

Sandy [37]
A 2003 comment:
I cannot comment on what has happened to others. In my case I bought a zine from Mysti a few years ago. Luckily I started reading it at the con and found that many pages were missing. Mysti was willing to allow me to exchange it at the con -- but I had to sort though the box of zines myself before I found one that did not have missing pages. I didn’t mind doing this -- but what bothered me was her unwillingness to remove any other defective zines I found or to advise others that they may want to check for the missing pages. She said that was the responsibility of the zine editor. In any event, a simple note on the table asking fans to check their zines would have been fine, IMHO. She did not do so. Most other zine sellers have sent out e-mail messages or alerts when they find they may have sold zines with missing pages. And since Mysti has her own announcement mailing list I was surprised she didn’t use that either. I am left with the decision to be very very careful before buying any zines from her again. I want to also say that this experience has *not* soured me on zines or buying zines. Most fans are really kind and will bend over backwards. ~Meghan [38]
A 2007 comment:
I didn't realize until I wasted money on *two* 'zines, that h/c gen is sometimes code for J/D preslash. At least that's what the stories seemed like to me. I was furious about it. Hell, I'm still pissy about it. Agent With Style is lucky I didn't burn her table down at Shore Leave last year. Now I know better and won't waste my money on *any* 'zine anymore. I can't trust the descriptions because I don't know all the code words, apparently." [39]

Controversy Regarding Outing of Legal Names/Not Respecting Changes in Pseuds

In June 2001, a fan angrily took Frank to task on a mailing list for not only not returning the masters for her zines, not responding to or sending rude emails, but also outing her real name. The fan wrote that Frank had done it on purpose out of anger and when confronted, told her ""And sorry, I just posted also on the lists, using your real name since you decided to take everything public. If you're going to so open, I am, too." [40]

Fans have also complained about Frank's refusal to remove full names off of the "Agent With Style" webpage when requested to do so. Decades later, there are still names there that fans have asked multiple times to be redacted or changed. [41]

A fan in 2001, astolat, posted a comment to Prospect-L, saying "feel free to repost this. :/" In the message, she said that she'd submitted a story to Mysti Frank some time ago to a zine. Despite the fact that she'd always posted under her pseudonym, Frank printed the story using her real name. Not only was this real name in the print zine, it was also on Agent With Style's website. astolat said she'd written Frank five times over the last two to three years and had never gotten a reply nor was the change made to the zine or the website. astolat said that she strongly urged other fans not to submit anything to Frank until she deals with this outing issue. [42] In 2003, astolat wrote: "I'm the person who had problems with Mysti using my real name on a zine story and in the website listing and not removing it. Anyone who's interested in my comments on the topic can see my lj entry on the subject, since this thread is getting gigantic." [43] [44]

Controversy Regarding Fiction Publishing Rights Permission

While "the rules" changed over the years, Frank kept a tight hold on submitted fiction early on.

By 1994, Frank was sending formal letters of agreement to her contributors. From one author:

"Some publishers are now changing the standard "rights revert to author on publication" notice. Mysti Frank (of Chalk & Cheese) is sending a "Letter of Agreement" to all authors which states that she retains all rights to distribute the story for a period of one year, after which the author can do whatever she wants with it. This serves to put the above, previously unwritten "politeness rule" into a written form, which should certainly help prevent potential misunderstandings, and I think it's a good idea."[45]

Controversy Regarding 2015-2016 Site Closure, Failure to Deliver Products Paid For

If Mysti Frank has indeed gafiated and not settled accounts with customers beforehand, then she owes customers their zines, publishers their sales receipts, publishers their preprinted copies back, authors and artists their trib copies, agreements regarding future publications, as well as many other financial obligations.

A February 22, 2016 repost from Zinelist:
If you possibly can, and permission to forward to other lists and venues where fanzine information is WELCOMED....

Please let people know that if they were considering ordering a zine from Agent With Style that they should perhaps ask here in zinelist or ask about and see if the zine is offered direct from the publisher. From an inquiry I've seen by someone who ordered a book from AWS, there are people who do not realise she is not the publisher of all those books, and they may get it far sooner going directly to the publisher. (and often cheaper).

AWS currently is MIA (but not deceased) and is not filling orders. MANY MANY of the zines on that site are offered by others. But some fen simply don't know that. [46]
From a fan on February 24, 2016:
Mysti I need you to contact me. I've been trying to reach you for months. [47]

Zine Agents Withdraw Permissions: May 2016

From Elan Press:
Agent With Style no longer has permission to sell any zines from Elan Press. These include any issue of Our Favorite Things, either issue of Vice Verse, or The Real Ghostbusters and the Web of Evil. At MediaWest*Con, Elan Press zines can be obtained from Jan Keeler, who sells out of her room. Otherwise, you may contact me directly for prices, info, and availability. Thank you. -- Elaine Batterby
From The Presses:
Agent With Style, and Mysti Frank, is no longer authorized to sell/distribute publications produced under THE PRESSES (specifically Bodacious Press and Heart of the Matter Press), or any titles by author Tami Marie, TM Alexander, or Robyn LaSalle. Agent With Style was ordered to cease production and sales of these publications in 2010, with an additional request to return all masters. As of May 2015, only a limited number of masters had been received. All zines are still listed for sale on the AWS website but it has been reported that no orders are being filled. This is considered an act of fraud. At this time, there are no authorized dealers of THE PRESSES publications. -- Tami Alexander
From Ancient's Gate:
As of February 2016 Agent With Style no longer agents our zines. Please do not purchase there as it appears they are not fulfilling orders. [48]
From Ashton Press:
Agent with Style is no longer authorized to sell/distribute any Ashton Press publications. To the best of my knowledge they have not been filling orders since last July or August. I have received no communication from them since shortly after ShoreLeave. I have had no payment from them for zines sold since last MediaWest nor has the stock I provided them with been returned to me. Some of my zines are listed for sale on their website. Please do not order from them -- not only are they not authorized, they are unlikely to fill your order. All zines remain available directly from Ashton Press. -- Ann Wortham
From Requiem Publications:

Any Requiem Fanzines listed on Agent With Style website SHOULD NOT BE ORDERED. Orders there are not being filled, and therefore, Requiem has withdrawn all authorization for any sales of our publications.

Please order anything directly from Requiem... We'll be happy to help. -- Bast
From MKASHEF Enterprises:

As it's become extremely clear over the past month or so that Agent With Style is no longer functioning, I am withdrawing all my fanzine titles from Agent With Style. This means AWS is no longer permitted to reproduce any of my fanzines. Also, all my titles should be considered UNAVAILABLE through her website.

I'm sorry it's come to this, but it's obvious she isn't replying to any e-mails from fandom so I've been forced into this action.

All MKASHEF Enterprises fanzines are available from me, the editor/publisher. My website is only partly functioning at the moment so if it doesn't work for you, please contact me directly via e-mail ( with any questions.

Should anyone become aware of my fanzines either being sold at conventions or via the AWS website, please let me know.

Thanks and sorry for the interruption!

Dovya Blacque

Agent With Style's Ironic Re-Creation: 19 Years Later

In 1996, Peg Kennedy took over Bill Hupe's zine publishing and agenting empire, calling her new publishing company New Leaf Productions.

In a July 1997 open letter, Mysti Frank, owner of "Agent With Style," ranted about Peg Kennedy's inability/refusal to fulfill financial obligations, something Frank duplicated nineteen years later. That letter's content:

This is a call-to-arms. I need to hear from any dealers who have been lied to and deceived by Peg Kennedy (aka New Leaf Productions) and would like to join a group of dealers who are putting their collective foot down. We are informing fandom at large that Peg Kennedy no longer has the right to sell our zines and we demand our stock and all monies owed to us be sent to us IMMEDIATELY. Join us and be counted. I will be writing up a statement that will be sent out to all dealers who wish to stand with us and make a joint statement so that they may make corrections and additions, then together we will be sending this missive to everyone in fandom we can think of. Please pass this message on to ANY list and ANY person you can think of so that we can stop Peg Kennedy from drawing in any new dealers who are unaware of the situation and how she has been treating all the people she is supposedly agenting for! Let's show Peg that fandom as a whole WILL NOT TOLERATE THIS.

See Thief in Fandom for more context, including a follow-up letter by Frank.

General Reactions and Reviews

  • "I've ordered a few fanzines from them and received them very quickly, with no problem, but be warned some of them are pretty expensive." [49]
  • "I hope you get [the zines you ordered]. Personally, I wouldn't buy from Agent With Style. Or if I did, it would be in person, at a con, and not via mail order. I hear nothing but complaints about their mail order service.  :-( [50]
  • "Dear Disreputable Zine Publisher: Thank you very kindly for your sixth letter of sycophantic praise for my four-year-old story, and for your praise of my blog, which I hope you find a pleasure to read today. I am flattered by your excitement at finding my email address (which has not changed in four years, and which is the admin email address of a list which I run and of which you are a member). While I am happy that you enjoyed the story, assuming you've actually read it rather than simply calculating its popularity and possible profit margin, nothing has changed since your last request to put this story in a zine. As I said then, I still find you morally reprehensible -- a parasite upon the back of fandom rather than a participant in fandom -- and I still wouldn't let you publish another story of mine if you were the last zine publisher in an ever-expanding zine-starved Universe. Though it is true that you haven't cheated and lied to every single writer and artist I know, I am confident that this is merely an oversight on your part, due most likely to time constraints for which no one could hold you responsible. Still, thanks for checking in! I promise to alert you to any change in my value structure significant enough to allow me to work with you (though in that event I may be too busy holding all Middle Earth in my dark thrall to respond to email in a timely fashion). Please address any further correspondence to someone who actually did just discover fandom yesterday. No love, -- Merry [edited to add: Comments on this post are now disallowed due to the fact that there were waaaaaaay many of them and I was getting bored.]" [51]
  • "Agent with Style... Yes, she's a wee bit pricey, but she is reliable and agents for a lot of people and for several fandoms; I think it's worth paying the extra for the convenience of credit card payment to abroad and the certainty of getting your zines." [52]
  • "As regards Agent With Style I've used them several times and found them to be prompt. It's a way to get zines otherwise not available, and to be honest I don't find their prices too bad. The normal price for K/S zines from the various publishers is $26/$28, and AWS's media zines run from $19 - $30, so it's much the same. Perhaps someone not used to paying $26 regularly for zines might be shocked but I've done it in K/S for so many years AWS doesn't seem overpriced." [53]
  • "I don't think we've ever actually tried actively shunning someone. We all whispered about Mysti Frank, we even spread information, but how many of us tried banning her from posting her ads on our lists? Or even calling for her to be banned? (And hey, guilty there myself.) From selling at our cons? Maybe shunning doesn't work, but I'm personally willing to give it the old college try." [54]
  • "I would also like to thank Mysti Frank for agenting my zines. Mysti, you're all doll!! And please feel free to visit her website for more great zine deals." [55]
  • "I'd just like to point out that Zines Aren't Dead. I mean, it's a specialist practise, like radio drama, but people still do it! (I know, because Mysti Frank keeps spamming the few mailing lists I'm on!)" [57]


  1. This 1986 date, however, is a bit perplexing, as her first known published zine was Chalk and Cheese in 1988.
  2. What's New, accessed March 1, 2016
  3. Feb 23, 1994 post to the Virgule-L mailing list, quoted anonymously with permission.
  4. Morgan Dawn's personal notes accessed April 19, 2016.
  5. from WANT US TO AGENT FOR YOU?, accessed March 2, 2016
  6. from WANT US TO AGENT FOR YOU?, accessed March 2, 2016
  7. Jean Kluge at Dear Disreputable Zine Publisher (2003)
  8. PSA about zine publisher, post by Lorelei, March 6, 2003
  9. Public Service Announcement Bandwagon, March 7, 2003, accessed November 14, 2008; reference link.
  10. "I was just getting into online *fanfic* (as opposed to *fandom*), and I got one of the standard irritating emails (which, as a newbie to the whole net/zine thang, didn't strike me as irritating at the time), and sent off two stories, one slash, one gen." -- comment by deannie at Dear Disreputable Zine Publisher (2003)
  11. "Thank you very kindly for your sixth letter of sycophantic praise for my four-year-old story, and for your praise of my blog, which I hope you find a pleasure to read today... While I am happy that you enjoyed the story, assuming you've actually read it rather than simply calculating its popularity and possible profit margin, nothing has changed since your last request to put this story in a zine." - comment by merryish at Dear Disreputable Zine Publisher (2003)
  12. timberwolfoz at Dear Disreputable Zine Publisher (2003)
  13. Mrs. Potato Head's personal recollection.
  14. her comment at Dear Disreputable Zine Publisher (2003)
  15. her comment at Dear Disreputable Zine Publisher (2003)
  16. "I'm thinking about the attitude towards Mysti Frank, who makes her living from selling zines and is much reviled for it because it is so out of the fannish norm." -- moonlettuce: So, I was thinking..., Archived version (2004)
  17. But, seriously folks, comment by leethet at MCU_Canteen, June 7, 2009
  18. PSA about zine publisher, post by Lorelei, March 6, 2003, accessed November 14, 2008, a copy is archived here</
  19. The Brat Queen at Explain this to me like I'm a four year old, April 7, 2004
  20. So, I was thinking..., comment by mandragoral, August 8, 2004
  21. So, I was thinking..., comment by temaris, August 8, 2004
  22. anonymous, discussion on a private mailing list dated July 19, 2000, quoted with permission
  23. a post to a mailing list, July 2001
  24. On Zine Costs post dated Jul. 13th, 2006; reference link.
  25. [1], forwarded post to MFU_Canteen by Bast of Requiem Publications, November 2, 2011
  26. Re: Old fandoms, comments at fail-fandomanon, June 6, 2015
  27. Fandom, uh.... unicycles? Re: Does anyone here buy fanzines, or have you bought them in the past?, January 26, 2013
  28. from Escapade/Escapade 2000
  29. from Escapade/Escapade 2000
  30. Mrs. Potato Head's notes and general recollections.
  31. comment by The Brat Queen On zines and such, September 7, 2003
  32. from a comment by deannie at Dear Disreputable Zine Publisher, 2003
  33. from a comment by cesperanza at Dear Disreputable Zine Publisher, 2003
  34. comment by ljc at Dear Disreputable Zine Publisher (2003)
  35. from a comment by deannie at Dear Disreputable Zine Publisher, 2003
  36. Missing the Zine Love, mythdefied, April 5, 2005
  37. post to Slashfen on May 4, 1993, quoted with permission
  38. from a comment by Meghan at Dear Disreputable Zine Publisher, 2003
  39. Canon vs. Fanon, part 8: Daniel, Pacifism, and Weapons Skills, comment by shuttthef-up, February 7th, 2007
  40. Mrs. Potato Head's notes and personal recollection.
  41. Mrs. Potato Head's personal recollection
  42. paraphrased message posted to Prospect-L, August 9, 2001
  43. from Dear Disreputable Zine Publisher
  44. Reply from Frank at Dear Disreputable Zine Publisher: "One person asked me to change her real name to a psuedonym on the table-of-contents listing on my webpage, which I did immediately in March, 2001. She continued to harrass me about it; I continued to tell her I *had* changed it. She finally complained on a mailing list in August, 2001, so I repeated that I *had* taken her name off the webpage months ago. It turns out that she was repeatedly accessing the search engine on my webpage rather than looking at the listing directly. The search engine, since it was free, hadn't updated itself in several months, even though I had requested that service from the company. Had she simply looked at the actual listing, she would have seen that I complied immediately. Yet the rumor still persists. Did she say she was sorry in the same public forum she had used to accuse me? Of course not. Did she even apologize in private e-mail? No. And as you can see from my various posts, even though I know many of your real names, I'm not using them because that would be a breach of confidence. Since I understand the need to keep real names hidden sometime, I am always willing to make *any* changes to names when asked."
  45. Feb 23, 1994 post to the Virgule-L mailing list, quoted anonymously with permission.
  46. Tea and Swiss Roll: Zines and Agent with Style Distributor, February 23, 2016
  47. comment at AgentWithStyle Facebook
  48. Ancient's Gate, Archived version
  49. The Quantum Leap Podcast, comment by blue enigma, January 13, 2013, another fan replies: "Update: Good Heavens, I just checked out the Agent With Style site and they ARE expensive. I will use discretion in deciding which ones to get and proceed with caution."
  50. Shayney at Mary Rottler & Lynn Syck , July 7, 2001
  51. Dear Disreputable Zine Publisher accessed November 19, 2008, a copy is archived here
  52. from DIAL #14
  53. from DIAL #16
  54. 2008 comment by cereta at one evil preppie
  55. from The Alternate Sentinel, author's introduction
  56. comment by Melody C at FYI About my fanzines, December 4, 2011
  57. Re: Old fen, new Dreamwidth, comment by zvi, April 16, 2009
  58. Missing the zine love, April 5, 2005