Friday, May 10, 2013

Publishing With Crazies

You know, it seems like every other day a new publisher appears. At first they look great,
are positive and seem to want to help their authors. And every day, a new author is grown. A person who acts like a professional and wants nothing more than to tell a good story. Fast forward a few months and the crazy hits the fan.

A new thread found elsewhere clued me in that Damnation Publishing is now shafting its authors. Termination fees (fees included in a contract so that if an author thinks of terminating his/her contract, they must pay to reimburse a publisher's expense for cover art/editing, etc.), not relinquishing rights, and a general air of negativity seem to be the order of the day. For some of their background, note this from one of their authors. And this was back in 2010.

Now in 2013, another author (one of many, apparently) is having issues with them that started over a year ago. Read the link here.

People always ask, if you knew the publisher was crazy, why did you sign with them? Well, most of the time, the publisher doesn't seem crazy when they open. My very first publisher (not Damnation Publishing) seemed normal. I made good money with them. And then... they stopped communicating. Readers had poor customer service and contacted me. When I contacted the publisher, I heard nothing back. Edits stopped coming. Releases were pushed out for no reason. Mind you, I'd had around six books with them at the time, and would not have signed ANY contract had the publisher been acting up. By the grace of God, I'm now beyond that place, legally, emotionally, and financially. And I learned some valuable life lessons. Just because a contract has been signed and is legal does not mean people won't violate it.

I firmly believe that all authors should do their due diligence and look around and talk to those in the know before signing a contract. Absolute Write Water Cooler is a wonderful tool to help figure out which publishers are reputable. Preditors and Editors is another. I like to email authors at said houses and ask them what they think. However, be warned-- sometimes the authors can be owners. I actually tried to ask a fellow author at my first publisher what she thought--back when everything started doing wonky--and she told me she was so happy there. Turned out she was one of the owners writing under a pseudonym. 

This blog post is not to be meant as a place to bash publishers. There are many authors out there just plain loco too. A few engage with other new authors to put them down in forums just because they can.Some authors take to the proverbial streets slamming reviewers and readers and even their publishes. It always baffles me when authors get on author loops (usually in-house to authors of a particular publisher) and air their laundry, complaining about payments or cover art or edits--things best discussed one-on-one with one's editor.

It's both sad yet fascinating when authors meltdown in virtual public, like on Goodreads or in blogs. And you have to wonder, do they think no one reads them? I'm extremely conscious of anything I blog about. Granted, I don't have all that many readers, but it only takes one to see the crazy and tell others. Then before you know it, Marie Harte is that psycho author hanging from a chandelier and screeching insanity. Nope. I prefer to do that within the privacy of my own home. :)

The point of this post was to warn everyone. The Internet is a big place, but it's small enough that what goes around comes around. Smart authors ask about publishing histories before signing on the dotted line. And smart readers avoid authors who have a history of being nutso. 

Now go have a happy Friday, and try not to be crazy.

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