Friday, May 18, 2012

Some Pretty Scary Stuff

No it's not Halloween. But some of the stuff the site (I discuss) publishes can make your spine tingle...

Writers Beware (a warning for you, but also a great site to check out!)

 and small presses need to pay attention...

Evidently there is a non-fictional tale (via internet) about UnDead Press and its editor and publisher and self promoting writer (aren't we all on many accounts), Anthony Giangregorio, who is being mentioned on Twitter, Facebook, and various blog posts- he 'allegedly' twisted and unprofessionally edited and published a fledgling author, Mandy DeGeit's piece 'She Makes Me Smile' in UnDead Presses latest anthology. I do say, and borrowing from another blog post's words, there is 'a flurrying of blog posts' about her ordeal.

You can go read more details here- Zombie Bible (which I follow) and Kelli Owen's blog, for whom I applaud, because she gives you more links to make a more informed 'alleged' judgment. Yes, as in judge and jury; the kind of rash judgment of a lynch mob with various sharp and pointy farm tools might be involved. Whatever weapon you pick up, do so with caution, as in I almost poked my eye out with a barbeque tool last night in an excitement moment when I first read Mandy's ordeal. However, I'm a firm believer in both sides need to be heard.

I say 'alleged' to insure we are not sued, but also to be fair. I do not know any of these persons involved. Our justice system is built on innocent until proven guilty. I would hope others do the same for me one day. I always try and stand back before making judgment's toward someone I hardly, uh um, I absolutely do not know.  However I do feel for this girl, as Kelli obviously did and is trying to inform everyone. I too would be upset if someone changed something I slaved over.

Unfortunately in excitement I have clicked 'agree' and signed contracts in rash excitement to see my name and work appear so I could proudly sing from a mountain top 'the hills are alive with the sound of ...'. Okay we all can visualize Sound Of Music when we get accepted by a publication. But what I do not like is to hear someone has been screwed. But was she...

Mandy DeGeit admits she signed the contract without really understanding the press's version of 'Editing'. But she says she did not agree to the changes the editor made in her story and is offering a free copy to anyone who bought Giangregoio's version (UnDead Press) to prove hers was a better read. She is what the industry, publishing and Indie Authors call a fledgling author. Many of us, me included, because I have two poetry books coming out this year, are not experienced with the world of publishing and reading contracts. I usually have several people read them and give me their opinions, and always a publishing adviser (many years of publishing experience or lawyer).

Who has money for lawyers when there is little money in this to begin with? 

I as in just me, would chalk it up to 'Big Mistake'. Warning people is a good idea. This is a great place to stop and rethink rash decisions. Maybe not rash? Time to stop the presses and think about the process. Speak to other Indie authors. I am sure there are plenty of people with opinions about the right and wrong of publishing with small presses.

Ask for references. How many books have they published. Ask questions. Don't just assume they know everything. I myself answer any questions since our launch in February. I would want an editor to do it for me. Editors aren't suppose to be trolls under a bridge. I may be jumping out there on this, but my feeling as of this morning is editors of small presses are now going to be required to explain why and what we are all about.

I feel my own press(es) are going to be under a microscope. As it should. I am admitting to you all, I am new at this publishing (and I hesitate to say 'game), but I have many friends in this small press business to learn from.  I will be discussing this with many of them throughout the coming weeks- Referential, unBound Content and SRP and a few others. I started my two because of lack of genre in the two areas, but then so many lurched out of the wood work. I realized there were more than I had found in research, but I'm happy to offer a great site for writers, poets, and artists.

I think most will agree anyone should have the right to ask for references. We have to in life in general. Can we? Sure why not, I would give them once we get more issues behind us. I am compiling an email survey as we speak. My policy at Z-composition and Cowboy Poetry Press - if an author sees a mistake once his/hers work is up, email us ASAP and it will be corrected. We all have afterthought revision issues. Our editors never change any of the published work. They are suppose to pick authors whose work is already void of errors in spelling, etc., that wasn't there for a purpose (creative license).

Okay I'll say it again, we do not alter any of the work during the submission period or up-loading process or ever without asking the author first. Poetry is a little different than flash and short story. I have in particular, an author who saw a mistake on her own part after the fact, in which I did offer to make the change once she saw it in the archives, but she chose to chalk it up to her own mistake and said "don't worry about it". I still would do it for you Andrea.

I will be very cautious about and have turned down a few manuscripts of lengthier fiction, as and because I am only beginning to write my own. I understand the true meaning of extra eyes. No one is perfect. Kelli Owen does a good job of expressing how new authors are 'excited' and will make mistakes. But we needed this subject to come to the forefront. I have noticed to many new presses being thrown up in haste, and am cautious about submitting my own work as a fairly new author. I want to be represented by quality, not quantity.

We (as in I have many editors to whom work as a roundtable) are beginning a publishing site, TBA sometime this year. I'm in no hurry, because I want the best possible for my own Indie Publishing site. I was planning to publish my own books within the site. But I never looked at it as I do now, self promoting. I decided to take on others in an afterthought, but also for Z-composition and CPP's anthologies. Which will be poetry, prose, and micro/flash fiction (under 1,000 words).

Did I mention the UnDead Press website is ratty? What is 'Ratty' you ask? There may be a difference of opinion on this one, maybe I should say 'shoddy'. But I have warned a few Z-composition submitters who tell me about sites they have been accepted (I often go check them out for my own purposes), and often a few seem suspicious (shoddy design, etc); as in looks and the fact they don't list who edits the work and other pertinent information I would want to know. To me personally as a writer, it seems one person is accepting and reading and editing and publishing and that might not be a great idea- again, one pair of eyes.

Did I mention our artists are paid, and out of my own pocket I might add.

Okay back to 'Ratty', this site looks like they just slapped it up there. The cover art is...go look...horrible. I wouldn't buy one, and I buy fellow writers books on a regular basis. On another note, possibly because of the entire internet blurb about them, they have chosen to shut down the acceptance/submission section of their site and a few other links (Facebook link isn't working).

This is the reason I am taking my time, and hiring experienced designers and artists and tech people (okay my husband the software hero doesn't charge me, but he has 30 + years under his belt) my sites look professionally done. At least I get emails saying so.

What else is there to say?

Thanks Zombie Bible, Beverly Bambury, Kelli Owen, and all you others I forgot to name, for bringing this to our attention. Now, I have a lot to think about. We all do.

I rambled as I often do with no caffeine and being up since 4 AM, but I hope this was fair and informative and rambling...Appreciate comments!