May 14th was an interesting day for authors new and old. An aspiring writer from Canada named Mandy DeGeit snared a spot in an anthology. Getting one of your works published in an anthology is a big deal. It’s a bigger deal when it’s your first published work. It’s akin to having a kid; you beam, you’re proud and you feel ten feet tall and bulletproof.
How terrifying then, to discover that the ‘editor’ not only spelled the name of your story incorrectly, but changed it. (Note: editing doesn’t involve that ever.) Disfigured it somehow, pissed on it like a drunken yard cat and essentially abused your kid. What do you do?
Mandy wrote to the publisher head of Undead Press (I won’t link to those pricks) with a very legitimate gripe, to which she was effectively told “too bad” and was even lightly threatened with legal action. The following is taken from Mandy’s blog. Keep in mind when you read this is that this isa response from the fucking publisher…it has not, according to Mandy been edited in any way except that it is in italics.
“wow, i truly cant believe that e,mail. you go girl. this one one hell of a story about dealing with unstable writers
on the contract, it clearly says publisher has the right to EDIT work. you signed it. are you saying you are a dishonest and immoral person and will now try to deny you signed the contract? well i have a copy right here
and as for the story. the editor had a hard time with it, it was very rough and he did alot to make it readable. despite what you think, your writing has a long way to go before its worthy of being printed professionally.
we did what we had to do to make the story printable. you should be thankful, not complaining. ah, the ungrateful writer, gotta love it
the contract also says any disagreements you have about the contract must be filed legally in Massachusetts and when you lose, you must pay all court costs.
so, we are done here. any more correspondences from you must be from your lawyer. i will then send any of those letters to my lawyer and they can hash it out as i dont waste my time arguing with writers over legalities. thats what lawyers are for.
you are so funny. thanks for this email, it truly made my day.”
Wow. What a tremendous douche bag.
So, what to do next? Your publisher insults you and because they were nice enough to publish your story, tell you to go fuck yourself effectively punching you where you live, what could you do?
What Mandy did was to write about it rather eloquently on her web site.
In a span of no time, Mandy DeGeit went from disgruntled author to a poster author in the relatively small universe of writers trying to carve out a name and a career for themselves.
And yay to that says this writer.
I read her blog after it had been ‘shared’ on Facebook by author friends of mine and by none other than F Paul Wilson, I did the same thing and shared it as well. One of my publishers sent it out and if you look carefully at the comments section of her blog, you’ll see that it was spread around by the likes of Neil Gaiman and Warren Murphy. (Trust me, if Warren Murphy thinks you’re a tool, you indeed are a tool.)
I’ve been fortunate in having worked with great publishers in my writing career and I can only imagine that Mandy will be able to say that as well on her next published works. Still, if you’re going to have a bad experience, you could do a lot worse than get universal support from authors both big and small from all over the place.
Big thumbs up to you, Mandy. That took a lot of spine to do and frankly, some other writers might have actually taken that shit from a lousy publisher.
On a side note and this is directed at Mandy if she reads this; there is potential for a Café Press T-shirt. It’s wordy, but I think it works.
On the front, a picture of you, grinning wildly.
On the back, it says “More People Have Read My Blog than the Entire Undead Press Library of Books.”
You can have that one-that’s yours.
Just send me a shirt.