Agent With Style

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Name: Agent With Style
Contact: Mysti Frank
Type: agent, publisher
Fandoms: multimedia
Status:
Other:
URL: Agent With Style
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Contents

Agent With Style is one of the biggest zine publishers and zine agent in fandom. It is run by Mysti Frank.

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
a 1999 disclaimer, printed in the Sentinel zine Nadir, click to read

"Agent With Style" began in 1997 and was an offline business. Around January 1999, it went online.

1999 online home page, perhaps the earliest

There was a lot of cross-pollination between "Agent With Style" and Frank's zine publishing and agenting business Whatever You Do, Don't Press!, but at some point, the latter was folded into the "Agent With Style."

Agent With Style continues to be the subject of regular controversies and disgruntled muttering from long-time zine fans. However, her site is easy to find and order from, and she advertises widely, so many newbies first find zines through her. Some fans feel she gives zines a bad name; others feel she provides a valuable service.

Activity at the site has slowed in recent years, and updates and announcements are few.

Some History

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 zines-for-sale@juno.com, and I can send you a long e-list of available zines.

Controversy Regarding Profit

Agent With Style makes a lot of money selling zines and other fannish good, and the amount of profit she makes has been called into question on several occasions.

In 2003, there were complaints about unauthorized publication of fan fiction, unauthorized editing of submitted stories, bootleg print runs of agented zines, and the production value of the zines themselves. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5][6]

From the zine publisher's end, 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.[7]

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. [8]

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. [9]

Other Reactions and Reviews

  • "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." [10]
  • "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." [11]
  • "There are a number of truly bad things that have been and are being said about Agent With Style zine publications. I've never used them to publish a zine myself so I can't confirm or deny any of those accusations. However, there is one thing I'm forced to agree with after years of buying their zines: the person who does the editing for AWS is in love with epithets. It's exceedingly rare to get an AWS zine without the stories being over-filled with "the other man," "the blond man," "the shorter man," etc. This is something that I can't stand to read..." [12]
  • "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." [13]

References

  1. comments made on FCA-L, March 2003, accessed November 14, 2008
  2. PSA about zine publisher accessed November 14, 2008, a copy is archived here
  3. Public Service Announcement accessed November 14, 2008 (locked when trying to access on August 10, 2012)
  4. Public Service Announcement Bandwagon accessed November 14, 2008 ("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.); reference link."
  5. Dear Disreputable Zine Publisher accessed November 19, 2008, a copy is archived here
  6. Psychic Serpent Live Journal, accessed 5.11.2011 ("I just got off the phone with a lawyer friend of mine who is sending a cease-and-desist letter to AWS on my behalf, inasmuch as I did not authorize them to print the zines (I was never given the opportunity, as [Agent With Style] never sent me the files they claimed they would);" WebCite.
  7. A zine publisher's comment in the On Zine Costs post dated Jul. 13th, 2006:"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!"; reference link.
  8. from Escapade/Escapade 2000
  9. from Escapade/Escapade 2000
  10. from DIAL #14
  11. from DIAL #16
  12. Confessions of a Former Zine Slut/WebCite
  13. from The Alternate Sentinel, author's introduction
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