Authors Beware of Unscrupulous Publishers
by Jason Harris
Recently, I found out about the experience of two authors who submitted stories to the same editor and had their stories butchered. One of these authors, Alyn Day, is a member of the New England Horror Writers. Here is Day’s blog entry, http://alyndayofthedead.blogspot.ca/2012/05/suffering-in-silence.html?zx=e7bf7a141b1b1d6b. Author Mandy DeGeit’s account of her experience can be found here, http://mandydegeit.wordpress.com/2012/05/14/when-publishing-goes-wrong-starring-undead-press/.
All new authors should read these posts so they will be cautious when finding a publisher for their work. These two authors didn’t do anything wrong. They were excited to be published and to see their name in print. I understand that feeling. As a journalist, I like seeing my name on an article so I know how these new authors felt when they found out their stories were going to be published.
All authors, new and old, should always find out about a publisher before submitting something to them. By Googling them, you will definitely find out about any kind of problem or horror story about them.
Publishers and editors should know what the word “edit” means. Editing means revising or correcting a manuscript. Basically, an editor is there to smooth out a story, make sure all punctuation and spelling is correct and to make sure the story makes sense and all facts are correct. Editing doesn’t mean adding something or deleting something that changes the stories meaning. And if an editor wants to add or change something then they should be contacting the author to find out if they approve of these additions or deletions.
These two blog posts show an unscrupulous practice a publisher has decided to perform so authors do your research because there are probably more than one shady company doing business out there.
To avoid future issues, I’d highly recommend — in addition to Jason’s suggestion of Googling (Googling is a great idea, because you’ll find true experiences on smaller blogs), and only if you don’t find anything through Google– visiting Absolute Write’s Water Cooler’s Bewares and Background Checks as well. Here’s that link: http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?s=4146046e855de42c7662b441a512e2d8&f=22
Kristi, thanks for the link.
Before I published my first novel I bought a book called “The Fine Print of Self-Publishing” by Mark Levine. This book should be required reading for anyone looking to publish. I won’t go into detail – but suffice to say that it will be the best $15 you will EVER spend (as far as writing goes).
Thanks for the recommendation, Tim. I’ll pick it up.