When publishing goes wrong…Starring Undead Press

You all know I’ve been ranting about my first ever publication coming out for the last little while… “She makes me smile” was picked up by Undead Press (Anthony Giangregorio) to be published in their anthology called Cavalcade of Terror and the book was released May 1st 2012.

I waited… and waited… I was SO excited to see my story and name in print.

One of my friends even went as far as to pay 40$ to Expresspost me a copy of Cavalcade, I waited around two days for the delivery. (Apparently I’m dealing with a buzzer issue here at the house.)

It finally came in and believe me, I didn’t waste any time ripping into the package…

FLIP, FLIP, FLIP… Find the Table of Contents.
Scan down…

…and my heart sank.

Wtf? :( There’s a spelling mistake in the title of my story. *(Not from my submission however… They changed it to wrong.)

“She Make’s Me Smile” by Mandy J. De Geit

Well that made me sad, but okay the Mandy part is kinda cool. Let’s see the story itself…

ARGH!!! Same mistake on the title page. Fack, She Make is Me Smile… Really? Oh well… Read on.

… … …
..Wait… What?
Read read read… WTF? WHO THE HELL? (Run to computer and load up the submitted file with great difficulty, cause your breathing is laboured from a really tight chest, your hands are shaking to the point you can hardly type and you can hardly see the screen cause you’re about to lose your shit waterworks wise… and you NEVER do that…)

Fucking Bastards! They changed my story without telling me.

Let’s see: They turned a non-gendered character into a boy, they named the best friend, they created a memory for the main character about animal abuse. They added a suggestion of rape at the end… I feel like they ruined the suspense in the story. I don’t know what else, I haven’t even read the whole thing through yet because it makes me SOO FREAKING ANGRY!!! *(I’m angry now… just talking about it riles me up. EFFIN GRRRRRR! I could totally kill someone with a paperback, I wonder if that’s been done…) Grrr… I hate anger.

… anyways…
THEY SHOULD’VE ASKED!!!
(I’d have said NO, give me my story back, because you can’t spell and your story makes no sense, but that’s neither here nor there.)

The story didn’t pay anything, not even a contributor’s copy, but still I signed the contract (which said “EDIT” not “revamp”) and let them publish my story. I was rushing on the fact that I was actually going to be a published author.

Let’s not forget the fact that I stayed in contact with the owner of Undead Press throughout the entire time since I was ordering a large quantity of books to sell to my family and friends here in Canada. Never once did he tell me anything about the story being changed. I called friends to make sure that he can do that to the story and found out that he can’t.

I sent him an concise email covering the following points:

1- Why there was a mistake in the title
2- Why my bio was shortened? There were much longer ones (like his own) so it wasn’t for space issues.
3- Why the story was changed?

I told him it wasn’t acceptable and that he should pull the story because it was different from the one I submitted and this was his response. (I haven’t changed anything from the email, I simply cut and pasted and italicized for easier comprehension.)

“wow, i truly cant believe that e,mail. you go girl. this one one hell of a story about dealing with unstable writers

lets see.
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.”

Wait one fucking dickfaced minute… If my writing has a long way to go before being published professionally… Then you aren’t a professional publisher? Thought so. As for the “publisher has the right to EDIT work”, I know what EDIT means, do you?

———–

Here’s a paragraph copied directly from She Make’s Me Smile in the book.

“Something strange happened then. I recalled a moment when I was a boy. I was playing in my backyard when the dog in my neighbor’s yard escaped through an open gate. My neighbor, an elderly man who lived alone and spoke in a thick accent (I later discovered that is was German), managed to corral the dog back into his yard. I watched, fascinated as the man ripped his long black belt from the loops at his waist and brought it down with a hellish fury upon the dog’s back. The dog slunk down and rested it’s head upon its paws, resigned to its fate. Why didn’t it fight back? Why didn’t it bite the hand of the master?

With the only friend I ever truly had writhing between my legs, I became aroused.”

———-

This was what was in my story.

“”

NOTHING OF THAT IS IN MY ORIGINAL STORY!!! A-D-D-E-D! THIS IS ADD NOT EDIT!!!

*(It’s also shitty writing and I don’t like it in my story… It hurt my face having to retype it here on the blog.)

Shortly after that douchey email from Tony G. I received another one. (I hadn’t even responded to the first one yet.)

“hey
here’s something else i am gonna give you cause youre not happy. it should “make you smile” get it?
though the contract says the story is exclusive for 365 days, i am gonna wave that with this email and the story is now NON exclusive.
that means as of now, you are free to resell that story to any market you wish and get it out there again.
cheers”

His email DID NOT make me smile…

*Fast Forward to Next Day*

I find out that the box of books has been here in Ottawa, Ontario Canada for the last 4 days. Because I don’t have a tracking number, I have no way of knowing this. Only cause Tony FINALLY sent me this…

——-

“Re:update on your books

i double checked the address, too, the one you sent me is the address i made the books out to. see, this is why i dislike international mail.

2012-05-11 06:19 AM Address Correction Required via OTTAWA, ON depot
2012-05-10 06:32 AM Address Correction Required via OTTAWA, ON depot
2012-05-09 01:45 PM Address Correction Required via OTTAWA, ON depot
2012-05-09 06:27 AM Address Correction Required via OTTAWA, ON depot
2012-05-08 04:49 PM Address Correction Required via OTTAWA, ON depot
2012-05-08 12:30 PM Address Correction Required via OTTAWA, ON depot
2012-05-08 07:58 AM On vehicle for delivery via OTTAWA, ON depot
2012-05-08 05:00 AM Shipment In Transit via OTTAWA, ON depot
2012-05-07 09:43 PM Left via TORONTO SORT CTR/CTR TRIE, ON depot
2012-05-07 09:33 PM Shipment In Transit via TORONTO SORT CTR/CTR TRIE, ON depot
2012-05-07 09:32 PM Picked up by Purolator via TORONTO SORT CTR/CTR TRIE, ON depot
2012-05-07 11:24 AM Left via DETROIT, MI depot

——–

(If he had that information, that means there’s a tracking number… FML!)

So he has one, but I don’t… I took a chance anyway and went to fight with Purolator.

Approximately two hours after getting my book… I received this email from Tony G. (I emailed him earlier in the day for the tracking numbers, again… but never mind that, it’s the end part that gets me.)

“here ya go. there are 2 tracking #s. sorry i haven’t gotten back to ya, been busy all morning, not all email at all till right now.

you should take pride in the story you wrote, its still your story, the editor just enhanced it some more so everyone who
reads it likes it. hell, i hope people say yours was the best one in the book. and if they dont, you can blame the editor, LOL, so its win win for you either way. good luck, hope you sell them all :) happy

 

So that’s my story. I have a bunch of books that have stories in it that really aren’t mine. I don’t care what he says. I don’t like it more. I’m offering a copy of the REAL story I submitted to Undead Press to anyone that purchases a copy of Cavalcade of Terror. (I’m eating the cost of ink and paper, because I think that my story is the better one. If I’m wrong, by all means tell me, but if I’m right, tell him.) Get in touch with me and we’ll figure it out.

 

I end with this note.

 

“If my story wasn’t good enough to publish, then you shouldn’t have accepted it. I’d rather have a rejection letter compared to what happened here. Wordr*pe is a good term, which would makes you (and your editor) storyr*pists. Ideamolestation? (Maybe if you drive a van with no windows…) It has to be something invasive sounding like those words to explain what you do to submitted work. This is not plagiarism, I’m going to call this storyslaughter. You accept the story under false pretences, “edit” (Cough,massacre,cough) the story and then leave my name hovering over the lot to cover the mess. I wish there were Literary Police for people like you. I SCREAM STORY SLAUGHTER*!”

 

*(Edited from the original word, I never meant to offend anyone, I just felt extremely violated at the time. It was the only word I could think of to explain how I felt.)

 

~MDG~

 

~INSERT BLOG EXPLOSION HERE~

 

Updates:

While all this was going on, Vincenzo posted an apology and explanation, I had just agreed to do the interview with Books of the Dead and I thought it would be a good opportunity for Vincenzo Bilof to state his side of the story. Please take a moment to check out the interviews.

549 comments

  1. J.R.D. Skinner

    I’ve never had a story changed without permission first, what a bunch of idiotic amateurs. If they wanted to write their own stories, they shouldn’t have bothered asking for submissions.

    (Like, in this instance, isn’t so much “like” as “I will avoid this market at all costs.” What garbage, sorry you had to go through that. )

    • Kelli Owen

      “If they wanted to write their own stories…”

      Ahhhh that may be part of the problem here. Let’s see… did Mr. Storyraper get published by anyone else before he desperately created a “publishing house?” I think he just may be the vein of “writer” that can’t stand rejection so he starts his own. why? so he could publish his own “work”?

    • mandydegeit

      Response #1 :D (It’ll prob be longer than any other one… hehehe) I would like to state there was no bestiality in the story, he became aroused thinking of the girl that was in the room, but I didn’t approve or like that there was animal abuse added… Never mind the fact the memory was entirely created. Thanks for the support. :)

  2. garrettcook

    Adding bestiality where there was none is way to make a story make sense? Wow. I shall remember this handy little trick while writing future pieces. This is completely abhorrent. It must have been hard for you as a new writer on the scene to speak out vehemently against a publisher, so I applaud your courage. That was unprofessional and not at all classy of them.

    • mandydegeit

      Thanks for the support! Yeah, there was no bestiality, but the animal abuse was, so was the arousal. I honestly spent a HUGE part of my editing to make sure there was no “arousal” because I wanted my character to remain non-gendered.

    • mandydegeit

      I call poor publishing. He should’ve just messaged me with the changes, we could’ve gone from there, no worse for the wear. Thanks for reading and the support!

  3. Jessica McHugh (@theJessMcHugh)

    Wow, that was the most insane thing I’ve ever read. Okay, not really, but I can absolutely understand how devastating all of this must have been for you. If I received an email from a publisher/editor that was as casual and fraught with errors as yours, I might throw my laptop out the window. I would definitely kick something.
    I had a similar (though not so terrible) incident with one of my published novels. The editor changed the word “Foreword,” as in the foreword of the story, to “Forward.” Then to “Foreward.” GROAN.
    Writing is rough enough. You shouldn’t have to deal with that nonsense. I hope your next publishing experience is a lot more gratifying. :) Think in Ink!!

    • mandydegeit

      Hey, thanks for reading and taking the time to respond. Yeah it sucks, but I’m happy it happened to me instead of someone else. I’ve been known to be a little “louder” than most. :D

  4. dejahathoris

    Well, I just posted a comment that got swallowed up for some reason. But, gist of it is, a professional publication would never do what they did to you. All that leaves is unprofessional leeches who can’t spell or edit and think it’s okay to screw people over. I’d make sure you publish this far and wide to warn other writers away from these idiots.

    Wow. What clusterf**ck.

  5. dejahathoris

    What a mess. these people are dishonest, sucking leeches. “Edit” does not mean what they think it means. In fact, no reputable editor would do what they did to you, which means that Undead Press is not to be trusted and that they need to be exposed for the shitasses they are.

    You are correct to spread the word. Others need to be warned about these jerks.

    For the record, I AM a professional editor and published author. I know what I’m talking about when I say that nobody legitimate would do to you what was done. You got screwed over by a passel of idiots.

    • mandydegeit

      Hey there, thanks for the responses. I definitely think this was published far and wide. Lol! I can’t believe how this just caught like wildfire. All I did is write the blog, you guys did the rest. Thanks for helping me get my word out!

  6. Lisa Lane

    Any professional publisher would send edits back to the author for approval–and would definitely not make such drastic changes on their own (they would send suggestions to the author for him/her to work on and send back). Also, any publisher worth its weight would have a basic grasp of proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation (I’m sure I’m not the only one here who noticed the numerous errors both in the “edits” and the response letter)…. Wow.

    • mandydegeit

      I know… I was caught up in the “OMG I’m getting published” bullshit. I know better now. :D Thanks for the support and taking the time to read.

  7. Prof. Writer

    I’m sorry about your experience, but I’m glad you are sharing. There’s nothing worse than going through a mess like this and then finding in the contract where you can’t ‘defame’ your publisher. I hope you get this straightened out. Make sure to turn them into Predators and Editors :) (AkA Ruin them)

      • mandydegeit

        I have Pred/Ed written down. Thank you both for your support and taking the time to read my blog. I’m glad we’re getting the word out. It sucked at first that this happened to me, but look at how it turned out… ;) Now, I’m glad it happened to me.

  8. Richard Salter

    Just for your info, Tony and “his editor” are one and the same person. You are not the only writer to whom this has happened. I’m deeply sorry that this was your first experience of being published — it is not typical. I can only advise you in future to talk with other writers who have worked already with a prospective publisher of your work and get opinions before you sign any contract.

    Also be aware that if you try to sell She Makes Me Smile to other publishers, they may well be reluctant to buy it because it has already been printed so recently in another anthology, so the cancellation of the 1 year exclusion is effectively worthless.

    I do feel bad for you, Mandy, so here’s what I’ll do. Do you have any other stories that are looking for a publisher? If so, I would be happy to read your best work and, if I think it’s publishable, pass it on to a very good small press publisher who has agreed to consider it for a forthcoming anthology (I just chatted with the editor five minutes ago and he’s up for it). No guarantees, I may not think it’s worthy to be passed on, but at the very least you’ll get an honest critique from me :)

    Let me know if you’re interested. I hate seeing this crap happen to any writer, but to happen to a new writer sucks even harder.

    • mandydegeit

      Hey there. :) Wow, first of all thanks for the interest in my plight. Second, thanks for the opportunity. I’m sure I have stuff floating around to get into an anthology. However, my main goal is to do something with She Makes Me Smile at the moment. *(Might as well maximize on the fame it has right now.) We’re FB friends… I’ll find you. *(Hey and you’re Canadian! Excellent!!!) Talk soon.

    • mandydegeit

      Thanks for the comment and yeah, I know what not to look for anymore. As for his fingers falling off, he’d still be able to type with a pencil in his mouth, so that won’t help us. Hehe! ;)

      • Ella Grey

        lol probably not. is he actually replying to this blog? I see some replies that look like they might be his. I’m also following your blog now. I look forward to reading some good news.

  9. Douglas Vance Castagna

    This guy is a douche. I am sorry you fell pray to his Douchebaggedness. I entered this anthology and, well did not like his tone. He said in his email, that he cannot hold spots, and I need to get him my contract ASAP. I sent it in, well I didnt sign it because another anthology said that the initials were adequate. He then became, shall we say, a big snotty prick? Yes we can say that. He said “I said SIGN the contract. You need to SIGN it and mail or scan it back to me” and there was some back and forth, he seemed like he would fuck with me and my story and be a nightmare and luckily I dodged the bullet. That same story was rejected from another press, so while it still needs to find a home, I am glad it was not left in Tony G’s care, for fear it would be molested and damaged beyond repair. Again, I am sorry for your experiance.

    • mandydegeit

      I’m sorry that you had to deal with him as well, but at least you walked away unscathed. From my side, I suppose I can’t really complain about this experience anymore. I’m currently a household name! :) (Well, authorhousehold.) Thanks for the support!

  10. Scott

    Sad to see this happen, but he has a very shady history. This is why writers need to Google publishers before submitting.

    • mandydegeit

      Totally noted (as of now, lol). I made a mistake on this one BUT, things happen for a reason and I’m happy it happened to me and not one more person that would just stay quiet about it. Thank so much for the support!

  11. chantellyb

    I dealt with them once – one story in one anthology. They didn’t do this to my story, but one experience with this press was enough for me. I turned down a request for a story from them later. Believe it or not, I’ve seen worse problems with other publishers. I’ve also had some *excellent* experiences with small presses – some are very professional. I hope this doesn’t stop you from pursuing the dream, just be careful, learn from experience and be prepared that you might have other problems from other people along the way. This was just a bump in the road. Chin up. Keep fighting the good fight.

    • chantellyb

      Correction to my post – the press I dealt with was another one run by Anthony Giangregorio – Open Casket Press. He is associated with more than one.

    • mandydegeit

      Hey Chantellyb. It’s funny because my friend has a story in the same antho and they didn’t touch his. I understand that maybe my story wasn’t good enough to publish, but I wish they would’ve rejected it, so I could rewrite it, not them. I’m going to keep writing forever I’m sure, if anything this just makes me want to be published more now. To prove that I’m good enough. :D Thanks for the support.

      Bracken: Thanks for the support and the clarification. :D

  12. Monica

    First, for an “editor” to add to your story (other than a clarifying word, such as “the” or “an”) takes brass ones to begin with. No editor should contribute to a story without the express permission of its creator! Second, to not send you galleys of your “edited” story screams of unprofessionalism. Third, that this book was not professionally proofread is more than clear. Fourth, I’m sorry you experienced this! To have your first acceptance brutalized in this manner is not only unacceptable, it is egregious and, for the “publisher,” embarrassing behavior.

  13. Stephen Theaker (@Rolnikov)

    Idiots – you have every right to be angry. You should have been supplied with proofs, and given the extent of the changes they wanted to make you should have been given the option of withdrawing your story. Like it says in the Berne Convention:

    “Independently of the author’s economic rights, and even after the transfer of the said rights, the author shall have the right to claim authorship of the work and to object to any distortion, mutilation or other modification of, or other derogatory action in relation to, the said work, which would be prejudicial to his honor or reputation.”

    • mandydegeit

      Yeah, I know now. As long as I’ve learned from this, it’s a good thing. *(The avalanche my little blog created is a good thing too.) Thanks for your support.

  14. JC Hemphill

    I’ve been published over a dozen times this last year alone–some of them professional publications–and I have NEVER had my work altered like that. He was quick to insult your level of profession, well … there is obviously a good reason he owns a low-level publishing company that can’t even manage to offer token payment. He sounds like a very bitter and not-so-intelligent person, so I would just shrug it off. Chances are, he failed as a writer and now gets his self-worth from acting like some small time Dic(k)tator.

    Don’t let it get you down. Most publishers have more sense than that. Keep writing and one day down the road, when you have more publication credits under your belt, you’ll look back and have the final laugh. He’ll still be the owner of a non-paying pulp mill and you will have moved on.

    • mandydegeit

      Hey there, thanks for posting. It’s been a nerve-wracking experience that turned into something crazy. (Crazygood that is.) I’m not down, if anything this whole experience has pushed me to write even more… and better. :D Hehehe. *(Now if I can finish answering all these comments, I can get to writing.) :D Thanks for the support my friend!

  15. shayfabbro

    Edit does NOT mean that they have a right to change your story without approval :( At least now you know to ask to see the fine print next time you run into this in the future. I’ll certainly make sure to keep en eye for this for my short stories I submit in the future.

    • mandydegeit

      Oh I know… The next contract I deal with, will be carefully inspected. Now I get it. ;) Thanks for the support and I hope this information helps a bunch of people. It definitely got around. :D *(My blog’s a little promiscuous.) LOL!

  16. Michele Lee

    I sympathize, but the first non-promotional link under google about good ‘ole Tony is a long list of his bad behavior, including plagiarism. Not too long ago he had to abandon his first press, Living Dead Press and form Undead Press because he had such a bad reputation. No author should be treated the way you were, but alas with as easy as it is to find authors tickled to just be published it’s easy for people like him to find new people to exploit.

    • mandydegeit

      I didn’t Google him and I’ll be the first to admit that. I made a mistake, but this “mistake” may have turned into the best thing that could’ve happened to me. *(I guess it’s all in how you deal when things go wrong…) Thanks for the support and I know now. ;) Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, I should stop writing cause I’m not all there when it comes to submissions. :D

  17. Nicole Hadaway

    It’s days like these that I wish I was licensed to practice law in Massachussetts. What I’m about to say is (1) not legal advice and (2) you and I have no attorney-client relationship, however, if it were me — I’d send him another email asking him for the name/address of his attorney. Then, re-read that contract. The definition of “Edit” will be in question, however, there is a difference between a publisher “editing” a story (changing grammar, some inconsistencies, etc.). He changed material portions of your story, such that it’s really not your work any longer. I’d need to read the contract to be sure, but you can definitely make arguments that he is the crazy-assed unprofessional who breached a contract, not you.

    • Dan Cooper-Vince

      I from my jejune 1L Contracts perspective had the same thought. Making material alterations to the plot and characters without the knowledge or consent of the author certainly sounds like a breach.
      It also seems to me, again this is not legal advice and I am not a lawyer, that if the contract does not define “Edit,” then “Edit” should be interpreted according to its customary usage in the publishing industry, and not any idiosyncratic definition held by the drafter and only the drafter.

      • elfwreck

        The customary use of “edit” in the publishing industry includes changing book titles, character names and identities, adding clarifying details, remove scenes that don’t further the plot, and a lot of other potentially drastic things. Editors can and do remove entire chapters, rearrange the order, and change the endings of books. It’s just that, in most of the industry, the author’s approval is required before the story is published–but that has to be part of the contract.

        The author can say “okay, I guess those first two chapters aren’t important; I needed to write them to understand the background, but it’s better to read from a later point when the action starts,” and so on.

        Most publishers don’t bother *doing* that editing… they hand it back to the author and say “get rid of the first two chapters; figure out how to bring up that he was already married in a paragraph in what’s now the first chapter; put the fight scene ahead of the first-day-of-school scene, and leave the enemy alive at the end so there’s room for a sequel.” And then the author is stuck writing it. Publishers who are competent at being publishers don’t have *time* to rewrite scenes, even if they could do it better.

    • mandydegeit

      Nicole: Thanks for the advice. I am working on getting my rights to my story back at the moment and I’ll keep everyone posted on how it turns out.

      Dan: Yeah, I’m not sure what “edit’ means on a contract.

      Elfwreck: I wish they handed it back to me and said “FIX” or sent it back to me and said “SUCKS” I’d be okay with either of those. They didn’t though. :(

      Thanks for taking the time to read my blog and post :D It wouldn’t have turned out like this if it wasn’t for all of you!

      • poǝןɔɐɯ uǝʞɔɐɹq

        Mandy,

        I am a lawyer in Massachusetts (I am NOT seeking to represent you), and I just wanted to say that while I’m sure many of these people commenting are very nice and well-meaning, there is some absolutely horrendous advice floating around here. Free legal advice on the internet is worth much less than what you pay for it. There is, on the other hand, an organization in Mass., that provides limited legal services to artists in the Bay State. The only advice I am not legally barred from giving you (since I am not your lawyer and I do not wish to be) is that it might be worth your time to speak with a professional about your situation and have him or her take a look at the contract you signed. Giiven that you are not a resident of the state (or the country for that matter) however, I can’t be certain they can help. It can’t hurt to call. http://www.artsandbusinesscouncil.org/programs/volunteer-lawyers-for-the-arts.html

        Cheers and good luck,
        Bracken

  18. Angel Haze

    Wow. This guy just sounds sleazy. His emails are not professional in the least. You should have been supplied a copy of the final “edits” before it was put into print. I don’t know much about legal stuff, but you can try going to the Better Business Bureau and I would take them to court. I don’t know how much you are out, but the changes to your work, including sexual themes and spelling mistakes…I think you stand a better chance than they do. He is just trying to scare you into thinking you’ll lose and be out all the money. Plus, include all his sleazy emails and that quote from the Berne Convention. Those will be helpful.

    If you want your books in print, check out CreateSpace. CreateSpace is the only place where your self-published books can appear on Amazon.

    Good luck!
    :)

    • Jessica

      The BBB wouldn’t do anything. A publishing contract between an author and a publisher is considered a business-to-business dealing, and the BBB only handles business-to-consumer dealings. (See: their responses to authors filing BBB complaints against PublishAmerica.)

      • JW

        I would just like to point out that he did in fact mistreat her even as a customer – he never did give her a tracking number for the massive number of books she ordered. :P

    • mandydegeit

      Hey there, thank you both for the support. I don’t think court would work, (being Canadian and all just adds to issues dealing with this). I just want my rights back from the publisher and my name removed from the book. We’ll see how that turns out. Thanks again!

  19. Peter Dudar

    As painful as this was for you to write this, the heads-up you’ve given to the rest of us in the writing community is invaluable. This guy should be reported to Predators and Editors. What a goon. :(

    • mandydegeit

      Thanks Peter. I will be getting this to Pred/Ed, if it hasn’t been done already. I’m surprised by how many people dealt with the same thing but just stayed quiet. I’m happy to be the voice of many. Thanks for reading!

  20. Running from Hell with El

    This leaves me speechless. I was sent over here by Astrea Baldwin and am going to share this on my FB Page–to all 5,000 (almost fans) and at least 500 additional page admins–let’s get the word out, right?

    • mandydegeit

      Hey there, thanks for reading. Your share and the many MANY others ensured that EVERYONE saw this. Thanks for helping me get my word out, way, way out. :D

  21. K. Allen Wood

    This isn’t the first time Crazy Tony has done this. It’s his M.O. It’s why he keeps creating new antho-mills, to try to hide all the damage he’s caused. Undead Press is his third publishing “company,” I believe.

    Sorry this happened, Mandy. A hard lesson learned. Just wash your hands of this clown and keep writing. =)

    • mandydegeit

      Thanks for taking the time to read and yeah, I get that now. I’m happy I was able to stop this from happening to others though. I have no problem being the voice of many, I am quite loud. Ooh and I will also keep writing. :D Thanks again!

  22. Cate Dean

    I am so sorry you had such a horrifying experience. Douchebag is far too nice a term for him. And the fact that he has several “publishing houses” as well as calling himself a “writer” speaks volumes. If one fails, he can just run to the next. I agree with one of the above posters – turn him into Predators and Editors. He has absolutely earned it. Just reading his emails made me want to throw something. Best of luck!

    • mandydegeit

      I guess I can’t really complain anymore as this whole ordeal seems to have turned my lemons into lemonade the moment it went viral. Thanks for the support and the wishes of luck.

      • Cate Dean

        I’m happy to help – and let me know if there’s anything else I can do. Featuring your next book/story on my blog comes to mind . . . :)
        ~Cate

  23. mandyeward

    Hi Mandy,

    I’m the editor of a webzine called “Welcome to Wherever” and even though I run a one man show, I never, ever change the story that has been submitted to me without the author’s permission.

    I’m also a published writer (short stories and novellas at the moment) and I cut my teeth on anthologies like this – thankfully the ones that I submitted to were definitely edited professionally and any changes were passed through me first – so I can understand what you’re going through and feel for you! Shop him to Pred & Ed, then start shopping around!

    While I’m not able to buy a copy of the book you appeared in (not enough cash I’m afraid) I would like to read the original story and possibly publish it in the webzine next month – there’s also a chance it could get selected for the next webzine anthology.

    Email me on editor(dot)welcometowherever(at)gmail(dot)com if you’re interested.

  24. Stacey

    It’s this kind of behavior that gives all small presses a bad name. They should never have published your story without sending it to you, after edits, to approve. Our contracts read much the same way, but I would never publish a story with edits the author hadn’t seen, let alone approved, without their express permission. You have every right to be angry and upset.

    The poor grammar and style of his emails should clue everyone in on his lack of professionalism and writing ability. Kudos to you for blowing the whistle. Do not let this sour you on small presses. There are many of us who pride ourselves on quality work and treating our authors well.

    Stacey Turner, Owner and Managing Editor,
    Angelic Knight Press

    • mandydegeit

      Hello there, thanks for taking the time to respond. I have no desire to paint everyone with the same brush, I understand that this was a one-off situation *(Which unfortunately touched sooo many people…) I have faith in small presses and now I know what to look out for. We live and learn. Thanks for the support!

  25. Von Savant

    Send your original story over to me, please. I will see if I can place it (and we’re a paying market)

    • mandydegeit

      Hey there. :) Thanks for the offer. I’m not sure what I’m doing with it yet. I want to make sure that I have all the rights back as well, just in case… You know. I’ll be in touch though! Thanks for the support.

  26. Axel Howerton

    There are, unfortunately, an ocean of these self-obsessed megalomaniac doucheswoggles out there. The rise of easy-peasy self-pubbing has given every crackpot with a 12 year-old Dell the idea that they too can be a literary legend. T.G. in particular seems to be a real piece of work. I had a similar problem with a publication I actually worked for. They rewrote my story entirely, and not for the better. Luckily I saw the edits and raised hell, but they still published a watered-down and unfavorable version. I took that story back by changing the title and revising it, expanding it beyond their required word count and content guidelines. I republished it myself in ebook format. While I may not be making a great deal of money off of it, it gives me no end of pleasure to know that I have had excellent reviews (and not from staff or friends) and a few thousand downloads, which is probably 10x their circulation. Fix up your story, change the title, live and learn. These kinds of bastards will eventually burn in their own special hell, reserved for plagiarists and con-men.

    • mandydegeit

      There was no money involved with the sale of the story. The only thing I want is all rights to my story and my name removed from the book. It would be nice to get back the money for the books I bought as well, but that’s it. :D I’m pretty easy. Thanks for taking the time to read my blog.

  27. Colum Paget

    This is terrible, I would want to kill too. But remember that one day this will be one of those things that you look back on and put down experience. The thing to do now is get back on the horse, write something else, send it out again, get back in the game. 90% of small presses are great people, you’ve just been unlucky to hit one that’s… not great. So it goes. Write something new, send it out!

    • mandydegeit

      Experience and becoming a household name (even if just for a day… hehehe) I can’t complain about how this turned out. My little rant became a worldwide scream, thanks to everyone’s support. I couldn’t have done this without all of you! Thanks again.

  28. brettjtalley

    Wow. That’s crazy. I can’t even imagine what you must have felt like. I don’t know Anthony, but I have a lot of mutual friends with him and it surprises me that you would have had such a negative experience.

    • mandydegeit

      It doesn’t surprise me anymore… The outpouring of comments from people he’s done this too has been massive. I’m glad to be the voice of many in this case. Thanks for the support!

  29. Rebecca

    Lord! So sorry that happened to you! This is going to be tweeted far and wide and for a long time! Writer beware and don’t submit to that press! I can’t believe the errors in his messages to you.

  30. Julia Sullivan

    I’m so sorry this happened to you. Please don’t let this man bully you into retracting or deleting your story! Other writers need to know about these shoddy, unprofessional practices. Even in a “contributors’ copies only” anthology, writers have the right to good-faith editing and a final signoff on significant structural changes.

  31. Nick Cato

    Sorry to hear this. I’ve met the owner of this press at a couple of writer cons and he seems to NOT take any professional advice given to him. Very nice of you to offer your tale for those who were shanked.

    • mandydegeit

      I can’t believe how my snowflake-sized rant turned into an avalanche of suck for the publisher. Thanks for helping spread the word, we definitely got it out there. :D

  32. Peter David

    His behavior is completely unprofessional, to say nothing of the fact that someone who is clearly illiterate has no business lecturing you about writing quality and editing. Standard procedure is to send you a copy of the copyedited manuscript, followed by a copy of the galleys. They may be able to edit, but you have to agree to it. You have the option of withdrawing your story, and refunding them the princely $0 that they paid you. No wonder they’re called “Undead Press.” They’re either souless bloodsuckers or else they’re wandering around looking for brains that they themselves do not have.

    • mandydegeit

      Yeah I know everything now. Hehe, well not everything, but enough to make a more informed decision next time I submit something. Thanks for reading.

  33. Pingback: Writers Beware! Small Press Publisher Changing Work Without Consent! | Dr. Shay Fabbro: Author of Scifi and Fantasy
  34. Hannah

    I suggest you take it to court. This was both highly unprofessional AND a breach of contract. If you do, I suggest you save and print all correspondence to use as evidence -on the strength of that alone I’d be inclined to make them pay! Dear god! I don’t care if your story was the most poorly thought out thing on the planet, it’s yours. Fixing up spelling and grammar, fine. Adding in random scenes? Changing characters? All without a word to you?! That is beyond the pale.

    • shayfabbro

      Contracts can get iffy. The anthology I submitted to said that edits won’t be added without author’s approval but if the contract with this press doesn’t say that, it can be a slippery slope and open to interpretation. I’m not saying this guy is right, but as one of my fav lines from Law Abiding Citizen states: “It’s not what you know, it’s what you can prove in court.”

      • A

        Take him to court. You can cancel the contract for misrepresentation (http://www.sse.gov.on.ca/mcs/en/Pages/Cancel_a_Contract.aspx). His assertion that you must file in Massachusetts court doesn’t stand – in Ontario you can’t sign away your right to file in Ontario superior court. He would have to come to Ontario in order to try and get it moved.

        You can also ask for damages, as small claims court can still award you damages if he severely damaged your reputation or somehow affected future earnings.

        It’s a small fee to file, and you really have little to lose and lots to gain.

    • brettjtalley

      Problem with taking it to court, what are you going to get out of it? He doesn’t owe you any money. He gave you back the rights to the story. You have no monetary damages. At best, you could get money for the books you bought, but that can’t be too much money.

      • Gordon Brooks

        If I’m not mistaken, Massachusetts (unlike New Hampshire, where I live) allows punitive damages. This work was represented as Mandy’s, and casts aspersions on her abilities as a writer. Probably still not worth pursuing, because of the upfront cost, but dirtbags like Tony should keep this in mind.

      • Mandi M. Lynch

        Brettjtalley – bullshit. First of all, not only did she order a crapload of copies for a story that, really, isn’t hers, this has potential to damage her reputation at least somewhat. Second, if she had intended to buy copies to resell, she won’t now, so she can count loss of future sales. No,it’s not going to be thousands of dollars, but she should be able to get several hundred. Also, if she wins, he pays filing charges.

      • elfwreck

        Potential result of winning a court ruling: Getting the story pulled from the collection (after all, the print version is POD; he can just edit & re-upload) so her future writing career isn’t affected by his bad editing. Nevermind trying to get any specific money back, even money for filing court fees unless they’re really high. If she has to pay a hundred dollars to get her full rights back and get the story pulled from publication, that’s better in the long run than fighting for a huge penalty that he’s never going to pay.

        If he got hit with a court ruling that he had to remove the story, he can easily comply with that–and probably would do so rather than risk a full copyright lawsuit for publishing a story he has no rights to.

      • Richard Thomas

        we should start a kickstarter campaign to go after him and shut him down for good.

    • mandydegeit

      Hey there… To everyone who posted, thanks. I’m not bothering with suing him in court, I just want my name and story removed from the books. Restitution for the books I have would be nice, but I’m sure if I have to, I can sell them. I’d rather not have ANY more financial dealings with him. Thanks for taking the time to read. I couldn’t have done this without you.

  35. glitchwerk

    I have heard too many stories like this and they always make me homicidal. I am so sorry that you had to go through this. I’m glad you had the courage to speak up and tell people how aweful this company is. Not many people do. I suggest you look into things like the Kindle, Nook, etc. and self publish. Sell your stories for $.99 or more and get YOUR stories out there with no middle man.
    It’s company meddling and thinking they have more ownership than they do that led myself and my husband to start our own company to get our work out there.
    Good luck in all of your ventures. Again, I’m sorry you had to deal with this.
    -Kat

    • mandydegeit

      Hi there. Thanks for the info. I think I just might do that with She Makes Me Smile in light of everything that happened here. Thanks for reading and taking the time to post a comment. :D

    • M Todd Gallowglas

      Shay, I found out about this through another source on Facebook, but yes! Let’s spread the word and take this douche-nozzle down!

      Mandy: So sorry you have to go through this.

    • mandydegeit

      People FB’d and Twittered the HELL out of it… Like holy crap, I was even blogged about by Neil Gaiman. You guys did great work. :D *(Honestly I can’t complain about what happened anymore though, everyone knows me now.) Lemons into Lemonade… right here. Thanks again for all your support and shares!!!

  36. Dianna Hardy

    How. Very. WRONG. I’m so sorry this happened to you. I would be just ready to explode with rage. I do think you should try to take it further and into court if you can. Or put a curse on him so his thingy goes green and falls off. Hmmmm … I may just do it for you….

    I am spreading the word so everyone know about this and this scam of a publisher.

    And I admire the way you’re dealing with it. I have no doubt you will find a good publisher. Don’t give up! x

    • mandydegeit

      I ranted and wrote, you guys shared and spread my blog like a dirty girl and we conquered. Even if it was just one small step for now… The voices of many were heard through one. *(Sorry for the flowery stuff, I’m trying not to repeat things too much) Thanks for the support and no worries, I don’t give up easily… Hehe!

    • mandydegeit

      I have that on my to-do list. (Beside “Write” which I’ll do after answering 300+ comments on here…) ;) Thanks for taking the time to read!!!

  37. warren murphy

    mandy, i sympathize with you for your experiences with this cretin, whose aggressive stupidity demonstrates yet again why “traditional publishing” is going down the toilet. be sure to write of your experiences to every writers group, or association, every publishing and agents group, every blog and every magazine to alert them to the work of these literary rapists at braindead press. and keep your full paper trail: it might very well inspire you later to do a piece for publication…hell, this is the kind of thing the ny times sometimes is delighted to have. remember, the best revenge against gavones like this isn’t living well; the best revenge is revenge. take yours.

    • Tim Lieder

      Tony G does NOT represent traditional publishing in any sense of the imagination. He represents the worst excesses of POD publishing which flowered when LSI was created. With POD, you have low overhead and there are a lot of interesting things coming out that don’t necessarily need to sell more than 2000 copies to make a profit. Carlton Mellick and the Bizarro movements are examples of what POD is about. However, with low overhead means that there are guys like this who have no fucking clue about publishing or editing and will never have a clue. Don’t blame traditional publishing for Tony G. There’s a world of difference between him and Random House.

    • mandydegeit

      Warren: Things happen for a reason and looking back now, I’m glad this happened to me and my story. I became the voice for so many that have kept quiet about the same thing happening to their stories. Everyone knows about what happened, cause of you guys! Thanks for the support.

  38. Marcus

    Like Richard Salter and mandyeward, I’m a publishing professional, the senior editor at a small press. I’m horrified at what happened to you. No editor acts like that, not even my interns. That he calls himself (or his colleague) an editor is a misuse of the term. I’ve worked with anthologies and periodicals before, and they do get cramped schedules, but no change should go unseen by the author before press. This is disgraceful.

    We don’t publish anthologies at Gray Dog, and to be honest we’ve never really done a work in (what I understand to be) your genre, so there’s not much I can offer you on that front. I’d love to run it on the front page of our website if you want some exposure, but I think another venue will get you more attention and more satisfaction.

    When I took up editing a decade ago I swore I would never do what’s happened to you. When an author feels s/he has lost control of the work, that’s when the editor has failed. And this editor failed you, big time.

    Keep at it; most editors do actually know what they are doing. Check a publisher’s history and try to talk to previous authors who’ve worked with them. Good luck!

    • mandydegeit

      Thank you! I will be getting back to writing as soon as I’m done answering these comments Ha! I know now what to look for when I’m submitting… Besides if I messed up a submission again… my friends would probably kill me. ;) Thanks for the support and taking time to read my blog.

  39. Nicholas Kaufmann

    Mandy, we don’t know each other, I came via someone’s link to your blog entry, but I wanted to thank you for having the courage to share this story with others. You’d be surprised how many writers, both new and established, are afraid to rock the boat, but we all need to look out for each other and share these kinds of experiences so others won’t fall into the same traps we did. I already suspected Undead Press wasn’t a publisher worth working with just from looking at their website and their output, but now I know for sure. They’re going right onto my “never publish with” list. Thanks for the heads up. I’m only sorry that you had to go through such a terrible experience.

    • mandydegeit

      Don’t be sorry! We learn from our experiences. It could have been worse. I know people who have novels caught up in bad contracts. :( This was just a story and it turned into a huge opportunity for me. I’m glad I can prevent others from having the same thing happen. Thanks for reading!

  40. brettjtalley

    You know what, you should post the original story on this site. With all the traffic you will get off of this post, you might get a real publisher to notice your work . . .

      • Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

        I’d read it. It’s disgusting to think someone mangled your work like that; if you weren’t seeking money, then I say get it out there to the widest audience possible by self-publishing it online.

    • Tim Lieder

      Probably not. Tony G is like Nick Pacione in the crazy department. People may be able to get to know each other based on the crazy factor (I met a few authors and publishers that way) but it’s not going to guarantee publication.

    • mandydegeit

      Thanks for all the comments. :) People have been fantastic and offering to read the story, but I think I may self-publish it… I am looking at a few things, for now, I have to answer the 300+ people who read my blog ;) Thanks again for reading!

  41. shaunduke

    While I’ve never had anything exactly like this happen to me, I have had absolutely terrible experiences with less-than-professional editors. Your pain is completely and utterly understandable. What they did is storyrape. It would be interesting to see the contract you signed, though. It is entirely possible that they violated their own terms…

    • mandydegeit

      I’m still going after getting my name and story removed from the book. We’ll see what happens, but thanks so much for the support and taking time to comment. :D

  42. appleblossomnights

    This is disgusting! Almost makes me want to give up writing. Thankfully, not quite. I will steer clear of Undead Press and advise anyone I talk to not to deal with them. Vile little creature. I hope he realises what a talent he’s missed out on. I’m so sorry you had to learn a lesson this way, but hang on a minute, that contract did say EDIT – he did not edit, he obliterated. It was he who violated the contract, and not you.

    AND I HATE SHODDY SPELLING. Fume!!!

    • mandydegeit

      DO NOT GIVE UP WRITING! That’s just crazytalk… :P

      Just be sure to check out who you’re sending stuff to. (Do as I say, not as I do… Ha!) Thanks for taking the time to read.

      PS: I was going to LOAD this comment with spelling mistakes but I decided against it. Heehee!

  43. theinkmuse

    WOW! That is disgusting behavior from a publisher. I am shocked a publisher would make changes like that without consent to the author (in fact, if changes are needed, they should be REQUESTED not made FOR the author). I’m so so so sorry this happened to you!

    • mandydegeit

      I felt bad, but then the world noticed me. You can’t complain about that. ;)
      *Sits back and sips her lemonade made from lifelemons.*

      Thanks for reading!!!

  44. Pingback: Nicholas Kaufmann - A Publishing Horror Story
  45. dakkster

    Wow, what a horrible experience. You have my sympathy. I emailed him off the cuff and I’m also tempted to start one-starring his stuff on Amazon.

    • mandydegeit

      Thanks for commenting. Before attacking his books, remember that most of his things are anthologies and I wouldn’t want the other authors to suffer cause of that. (Plus it’s bad karma and no one needs that.) BUT Super thanks for the support… He will eventually get his dose of karma, we all do. Thanks again!!! :D

  46. Lee Thompson

    Fuck that guy. He’s digging his own grave and he taught you a very valuable lesson. I wonder if he’s the same guy that was messing with Brian Keene and a bunch of other people. Nicolas something. Could be his brother. Definitely comes from the same gene pool.

    As hard as it is to break into professional Horror fiction markets like Shock Totem, Dark Discoveries, Black Static, F & SF, Clarkesworld, Darkside Digital, Weird Tales, Cemetery Dance, etc., it’s worth taking the time to hone your craft to accomplish it because they will treat you right, as a professional, because they’re professionals.

    When Tom Piccirilli made the statement “Publish Well…” it rang a serious chord for me. It’s better to have 3 short story sales to respectable markets than dozens to some douche bag like that guy and his press.

    • Tim Lieder

      Nickolaus Pacione lives in Illinois and has been quiet lately. Most of his shenanigans are via “rivalries” with other writers based on a persecution complex.

      Tony G lives in MA and does shitty books through his presses – Open Casket, Undead, etc. – he’s less toxic than Nicky but possibly more damaging since people get roped into publishing with him.

    • mandydegeit

      Lee: Thanks for the post and yeah, I’ve learned my lesson. DO MY RESEARCH! *(Oh yeah and NOTHING IS FREE. GET PAID!) Hehehe. I hope that others learn from the mistakes I made. Enough people have heard about it. Lol! Thanks again for your support.

  47. Eric Beebe

    I am the founder/owner of Post Mortem Press.
    It is sad that I am not surprised by your experience.
    There are too many small presses out there taking advantage of writers. It is too bad you purchased copies of the inferior book.
    Here is an example of how our contracts read regarding anthology edits:

    5. EDITING AND PROOFREADING
    The Publisher shall make no changes in, additions to, or eliminations from the original Work
    without the consent of the Author. Typographical and spelling errors are exempt.

    You should be careful to sign only contracts with similar language or intent.
    We are open for a haunted machine anthology until the end of the month.
    Joe Hill will have a story in said anthology. If you submit I will be sure the editor pulls your from the slush pile.
    http://www.postmortem-press.com/submission-guidelines.php

    • Tim Lieder

      Holy crap. You guys really like to fuck around in your submissions guidelines, don’t you? Damn, it’s like you are testing the authors to make sure that they can jump through hoops in order to get into your anthology. Most of them are pretty standard but for a non-paying anthology, you are really asking a lot. And when you say that you pay royalties, are there advances?

      • Karen Syed

        Um, their guidelines are not even as detailed as ours are. There is a reason publishers have submission guidelines, it’s not to fuck around, it is to allow us to make the best use of our time. When you get a crapload of submissions, it is simply more time efficient if they are all formatted the same instead of having to go through and correct a dozen different types of issues.

      • Ween Wee (@weenwee)

        Are you kidding me, those are easy guidelines, meant to make the process as efficient as possible. If you think those standards are difficult, you would crap yourself at what the big houses ask of you.

    • mandydegeit

      Eric: I’m glad it happened now, the support has been amazing, I’m sure that I’m not the only one that learned from my mistake. Thanks for the support and offer. Haunted Machines Eh? Interesting… (and wow, I just wrote eh. Totally Canadian of me.) Thank you again!!!

  48. Chuck McKenzie

    So sorry to hear about your experience. :( Kudos to you for sharing, rather just rolling over and playing dead. Will be sharing this with all of my friends in the specfic community.

    • mandydegeit

      I’m a screamer… Hahaha! ;) Seriously, I am loud though. Thanks to everyone, I think everyone who needed to hear about this, did. :D Thanks again!

  49. Jen Midkiff

    You are correct; that is totally unprofessional of Undead Press. And not only were those not edits (and a GOOD publisher allows the author to see and sign off on edits before it goes to print), but their proofreading, especially that of Anthony Whatsisface, is truly awful. I am a stickler for good proofreading, because even the best writing loses a lot if there are typos: it’s no fun for the reader and looks totally unprofessional. I wish you the very best in future publishing endeavors, and I hope this unprofessional jerk gets his just deserts: that NO ONE buys his stuff and he goes out of business. Restore your original work and send it out there again!

    • mandydegeit

      I wish he just showed me. I’d have respectfully pulled my story or whatever it took. *(I bet it would’ve been messier though cause he probably wouldn’t have liked me saying no…) Anyways, thanks for the support and I’m working on what to do with my story. :D

  50. hatfinch

    Please consider posting this story as a review to the amazon.com page for Cavalcade of Terror. Only if there is a financial cost to this Giangregorio will his behaviour change.

  51. Kevin

    Its possible others have mentioned this – but this d-bag has NO right to insist that you hire a lawyer to handle correspondence. If he wants to pass this duty off to his attorney, he can do so, but there is no way on earth he can presume to demand that you hire one to pass along your communications. This guy is a complete moron.

    • mandydegeit

      He was trying to scare me, so I came to my computer and ranted about it. I hit send and everyone created an avalanche of suck that landed on his doorstep. Thanks for your support and for taking the time to post!

  52. D. VonThaer

    Mandy,
    Nearly every sentiment I have has already been shared in the previous comments. Thank you for putting this out there so writers have a way of knowing what actually happened and not just ‘heard it through the grapevine.’ I own a small-press and in no way, shape, or form would I rewrite another author’s story. I hope this can be a cautionary tale for other writers who don’t want their work bastardized.

    • mandydegeit

      No problem, I’m glad I said something. There were so many others that hadn’t said anything. Now people know it’s okay to stand up for your work and that you won’t be “blackballed” by a shoddy publishing house for saying something. Thanks for your support. :D

  53. Pingback: I Read Odd Books » Blog Archive » This Is Not an Odd Book Discussion: A handy guide
    • mandydegeit

      It went like wildfire. Very cool! Thanks for sharing my message, hopefully this will stop things like this from happening to others. Thanks for taking time to post!

    • mandydegeit

      Thanks for the share and good thing you resisted… Although, this turned into a positive for me, it was a negative for sooo many others. Hopefully we can stop this from happening to anyone else! Thank you again for taking the time to post.

  54. Imelda Evans

    Oh hell, Mandy, I actually physically hurt, reading this. This is a terrible, terrible thing. Your word baby has been violated and by someone who DOESN’T KNOW THAT A LOT IS TWO WORDS. Thank you for sharing this as a cautionary tale and I hope you find a much, much better home for your stories in future.

      • Imelda Evans

        What was NEVER acceptable, but, yes! Very pleased to see the rapid and wide spread of the story. Still sorry it took your terrible experience to out him! :)

  55. Kelly Lucas

    I am so sorry for what happened to you.

    You are SOO right. If they didn’t like it, they should not have accepted it. “Edit” means add a comma here, a comma there, personally. Not ADD TEXT.

    I think you should try to contact other authors in the book and see if the same happened to them. You may have a case if they storyrape everyone’s work.

    • mandydegeit

      My friend is in the same anthology and his story is fine. Mine was “hard to understand” so they fixed it. They should’ve asked me to verify the changes, I obviously would have said no, but it should have been my choice. Thanks for your support!

  56. gezza11

    Well, that’s a press I’ll add to my blacklist – it’s growing. Very sorry to hear what happened to you. Never, I repeat never, sign a contract unless it stipulates that a publisher’s editors will only make minor changes themeselves, and you must clear it.

  57. Nyki Blatchley

    That’s appalling. If an editor likes your story but thinks it needs substantial improvement, the correct course is to explain to the author what they think is wrong and invite them to resubmit a revised version. I’ve experienced that (very successfully) a few times. That assumes, of course, that it’s an editor who’d recognise what makes a good story if it smacks him in the face. They might change the odd comma or correct a typo without telling you, but that’s as far as it should go.

    As other people have said, this isn’t what small presses are like in general, and I’m sure you’ll have plenty of proper publishing experiences in future. Thanks for sharing this – the more these people are exposed, the quicker they’ll go out of business.

  58. Chazz

    Reblogged. The word is in the wind, spreading from village to village and from ear to ear. People who fail to act in a classy, professional manner should understand by now that there shall be no court case (for there is no money exchanged nor a solid measure of loss to compensate. I can’t imagine any sort of court case would be worth the time or trouble.) However, that doesn’t mean there will be no judgment. This is in the court of public opinion now and anyone reading the author’s evidence or glancing at the comments here sees who won. There are even offers of possible recompense from third parties!

    One reservation: this is not, as someone suggested, an argument against self-publishing. It is an argument *for* self-publishing and staying in control of your own material and destiny. I am not blaming the victim but making sure there is not undeserved collateral damage to self-publishers.

    That said, the first email reply you got invited wrath and wrath is one thing the Internet does well. (Don’t people remember the little cooking magazine from a couple years ago that took a writer’s work, called it public domain, edited it badly and brainlessly and spoke in a similar, patronizing manner to a freelancer? Here we go again.)

  59. mrdisvan

    In Europe, unless you specifically agreed to waive your authorial moral rights, this would count as violation of the moral right of integrity and you could shut the guy down. I’m afraid I don’t know if moral rights law applies in the USA though.

    • mandydegeit

      I agree but I should’ve looked for a clause of some sort in the contract, which I didn’t. Shame on me… but I know now, and it will not happen again. Thanks for the support!

  60. clparks

    Wow. I really have no other words! I’m so sorry that happened to you. Honestly, this is one of the reasons I chose to go indie…total control. Good luck with resubmitting!!!!

    • mandydegeit

      Thanks! I’ll prob publish She Makes Me Smile on my own, then go back to submitting stuff with (well-known) publishers. LOL! Thanks for the support.

  61. Tahlia Newland

    Oh wow. That is scary, and a good warning to be very very careful with anyone who calls themselves a publisher. I think I’ll do major research before agreeing to anything. Maybe googling the name of the publisher along with the words, amateur, wordrape (an exceellent term) breach of contract etc etc. I’m glad you’re yelling about this because people need to be warned about this guy. I’ll tell my contacts.

  62. edenglenn

    I don’t really have anything to add to the comments. I am outraged with you. You are right. If you work wasn’t good enough to publish then the publisher should have rejected it. If it was rough but they support your talent and developing you as a writer for their team, then they needed to make line edits and send it back to you to write and polish some more.

    My editor and publishing house accepted my story for an anthology. The way these things are handled by a professional publisher is they accept it, contract it. Then, a line editor goes over the story and sends me copy with questions, asking for clarifications, some line edits, word tweaking. the editor requests that I deepen motivation or explain this or that etc as the case may be throughout the story etc. Basically she/he “edits” the story. That is what editing is, not writing. I am the writer! I make the changes they’ve suggested. Or, I make a note that explains why I don’t support the change they have suggested or the word change to leave it as it is for xyz reason.

    I am so sorry you’ve had this experience. Don’t let it get to you. For every cad like this one there are ten great editors and publishers who do handle this business and their team of contracted authors in a professional manner.

    Eden Glenn
    http://www.edenglenn.wordpress.com

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  64. digitaldivaducky

    This is absolutely horrible, sanctimonious tool. I am going to link this to my epublishing blog if you don’t mind – what a horrible experience for any writer to have to live with. Self publish then you can stay way from these types of charlatans. Creeps of the highest order.

  65. Dave B.

    Thanks for warning us all about Undead Press. I will neither submit there nor buy their publications.

  66. Leia

    Neil Gaiman retweeted your post. You can’t get much better publicity in the literary world than that :). Chin up, and keep writing!

    • Ween Wee (@weenwee)

      I sent the warning off. Their reply? “The publisher looks like an amateurish jerk–but it’s up to writers to make sure that the contracts they sign don’t have vague editing clauses.” Helpful. :P

      • Karen Syed

        Authors, keep in mind that it is not enough to read the postings about a publishing house on sites like Writers Beware, P & E, etc. While you will often get solid information, very often the things that get posted are sour grapes when an author does not get their way. This is NOT the case here, but it happens a lot. You have to talk to people who are with those publishers. Authors who were with them previously, authors who remain with them. Get ALL sides of the situation. You cannot just read one warning and assume the company sucks. DO not rely on hearsay. I can list a dozen or so instances where a publisher was reported and after months of having this derogatory listing up and circulated, the site discovered the author had either lied or exaggerated greatly. Do the research on your own. And don’t believe the first thing you read anywhere, good or bad. Dig deep.

  67. wordhord

    All editorial “corrections” should be reviewed & approved by the author. Is this not standard? Getting paid used to be standard too :) Caveat author.

    • mandydegeit

      So many people have the same story as I do, I’m just glad it got around. Hopefully he’ll change his business ways. Thanks for the post and support.

  68. hmmmmm

    Sorry to hear this, glad to see Neil Gaiman’s boosted the signal and hope that will shame/pressure the wanker into making some kind of good on this, though I am not sure how exactly that would come about, but mainly I am commenting to say that every time I have read his full last name, my brain goes, “What is that, the Italian word for ‘gangrene’?” for a few seconds. Every time. Hope that provides at least a bit of a bright spot in this mire of douchery.

    I wonder if good ol’ Tony was working out some of his own personal… uh… issues in that section he added. That’s the only explanation I can think of. (And even then it’s not a GOOD explanation, nor by any stretch of the imagination an excuse.)

  69. Ivan Turner

    Wow, you’ve gotten a tremendous amount of feedback, and deservedly so. These vultures are everywhere and unfortunately make it all the more difficult for reputable publishers to do business. I don’t have much to say that hasn’t already been said. I would like you to know that my first experience with being published was different but no less terrible. I gave up trying to get published afterwards. Don’t do that. Already, your post here has opened more doors for you. That sounds like a tremendous silver lining. Best of luck!

  70. London Calling

    Oh my god, first let me say this: You have my sympathies, and you are COMPLETELY justified in feeling both violated and treated like crap.

    Tony G., whoever he is, is INCREDIBLY unprofessional, for one. I work for a small press as a graphic designer and editor and they would NEVER treat someone like that. The way he spoke to you was so demeaning and just plain MEAN, I just can’t wrap my head around it.

    While I wholeheartedly approve taking this slimeball to court, one thing I will say is unless “edit” was somehow defined in your contract–i.e. grammar/spelling, or with approval–that may be an issue. I definitely encourage you to contact a lawyer to simply ask them what they think (many will give you a few minutes of their time), to see what options you have. This whole mess is a farce, and I completely support you in it.

    Best of luck. <3

    • gezza11

      Largely, you have to put this behind you as a bad learning. However, I think at the very least, Undead Press should cease their production, remove your story (or reinstate it in its intended format), and they off they can go. This is easy to do, as they are a small press and they don’t have large print runs – POD in all likelihood. I wouldn’t bother litigating as it is a waste of your money and time, not to mention stress factors – but you should look to see if you can force one of those two changes mentioned above – perhaps litigation (if viable) can cause this to happen.

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  72. Shirley Meier

    I’m sorry to hear that. I writer I know, I believe it was Karl Wagner, though I could be wrong, sold a book to a California publisher who happened to have a cover painting of a white guy with red hair so they used it on his book. Despite the fact that the main character happened to be black. Of course they changed the description of the hero. But only in every other chapter. Fortunately that publisher is not active any longer.

    • J. F. Gonzalez

      Yes, it was Karl Edward Wagner, and it happened with his first novel, Darkness Weaves. An editor butchered the text, changed Kane’s physical description to match the cover art. Actually, the cover art they had was of a dark skinned man, suggesting African descent. Karl’s Kane is clearly white, with fiery red hair. But yes, to match that cover art, they changed Kane’s character description throughout the text and deleted other portions of it. It was clearly not Karl’s book when it came out. At least Karl had the luxury of being paid when the book was published.

  73. Jo

    I had a similar disaster with Midwest Literary Review. NEVER AGAIN. On their website in fine print, it states that by simply SUBMITTING, the author gives up all rights to the story. They didn’t even tell me they were going to publish it – when it was accepted by another magazine, I tried to withdraw and discovered they’d put it in a print publication without so much as a “by the way”.

    The editing was horrible, they removed all of my formatting, so italicized internal thoughts were now incorrect tense. The rest of the stories in the book were downright embarrassing to be next to. I feel for you, I really do. It blows because it’s YOUR name on it. Hard lessons learned, I guess is all I can say. Most of us learn one or two of them along the way. :)

  74. shadowspawned

    I am not a writer but an avid reader. I saw this linked on Twitter by Neil Gaiman. Your story just hit the message center of 1.7 million followers many of whom are writers and publishers. Hopefully this will keep this from happening again.

  75. angloadventure

    That sucks. Basically, you get sucked in emotionally to the “you’re published!! buy 30 copies of your own work…” and then find out it’s been mutated. I feel for you and I am glad you wrote about the experience. Don’t worry about what this douche said about your story needing a lot of editing to be published as I am sure that stung. A writer is a writer, published or not.

  76. VM Zito

    Hi Mandy, that really sucks. I also had an experience with this individual, but I got off easy compared to you. I remember reading my published story, and stumbling over sentences that were poorly written. “God, I wrote that?” I’d say to myself. “That’s not like me. I can’t believe I wrote that.” The grammar was off in some places, and things were just generally… weird. Finally, I pulled out my submitted manuscript to double-check it, and, sure enough, nicely constructed sentences had been inexplicably altered for no apparent reason. He even changed the last line of the story so that the original meaning (and impact) was lost.

    In writer’s forums, I’ve since seen accusations that this “editor” significantly alters or adds to each submission so that in the event you become successful, or if your story is picked for some honor, he can claim a co-author’s credit on it. I don’t know if that’s true, but it’s as good a reason as any for some of the “edits” he made.

    As writers, we all agonize over our words, and for someone to irresponsibly make these changes (or for god’s sakes, ADD CONTENT) without our consent is an intellectual crime. Since then, I’ve worked with great editors at my publishers, and I look back on Living Dead Press as a learning experience — and an example of behavior I would never accept again. Good luck, and don’t let this faze you! The best thing that came out of it is that you stood up for your work, and you believed in yourself enough to say, “What I wrote was better!”

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  78. tawnystokes

    So awful for you.

    Instead of sending out your story to some other douche baggery outfit, selfpublish it yourself, your way, with your own amazing cover and no one messing with your content. Promo the hell out of it and make a mint. :-)

  79. Clancy Nacht

    When I worked for the college newspaper, we didn’t have our own press, so we sent it to the local newspaper to do our print runs. Apparently the guy who did the print runs really liked me a lot because he noticed that I had a “typo” throughout one of my stories about a “Gallery of Angles.”

    Oh, if only it had been a mathematical gallery rather than one full of those damned winged creatures.

    Thanks, guy. Totally owe you one.

  80. Matt

    I have to agree with an earlier comment – I call bullshit! And I’m glad you did too. Sorry for the experience. This isn’t the way it is supposed to work.

  81. Cain S. Latrani

    Holy hell. I am very sorry that your firs experience went like this. I also want to thank you for sharing your story. I’ve been out of the game for a while, and could easily have fallen for this myself. Though it it is painful, you have done your fellow writers a great service by sharing this. You are to be commended, and I sincerely hope to get to read YOUR story one day.

  82. MPLanglinais

    Wow. I’m so sorry to hear what happened. I’ve never had a contract that said “edit” turn into “rewrite.” (But then, I’ve also never had an editor make changes without running them by me, either.) What happened to you is not at all standard practice from my experience. Let’s get the Undead Press on the Writer Beware watch list . . .

  83. goblinbox

    Your experience sounds like a standard vanity press scam: the ‘press’ solicits material from unpublished writers, gets the stories for free, anthologizes them badly, and sells the only copies its ever going to sell right back to the authors themselves. Your story probably would not have been ‘accepted’ if you hadn’t agreed to buy copies.

    • chantellyb

      Actually, that’s not the case. Open Casket Press accepted my story for the anthology without me ever buying a copy (I did receive a contributor copy). In fact, he got my address wrong and had to re-ship it after it was returned to him. Despite this, he came looking for a second story for a different anthology, a story I chose not to give him.

  84. C.M.

    I’ve checked out their website to see what all I could gather. Undead Press appears to be a one-man publisher. With that said, I ran into a couple of magazine publications that did something similar, although it wasn’t nearly as bad. It was more like some “editing” that became a restructuring of the plot.
    At any rate, I have a few questions:
    A) Are you in Cavalcade of Terror? I might mention, if so, you’re not highlighted in the Amazon page.
    B) Do they no longer sell your book? I was kind of interested in making an apples to oranges comparison.
    C)Would you be interested in a horror-based short story collection coming out in August?

    • mandydegeit

      I am but I removed my name from it when I realized that it wasn’t really my story. The book is still available, or I have copies for sale. 3- I’m not sure what I have on the go at the moment, as I’m heading out of town for a week, but I’m noting your short story collection and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible. The support has been overwhelming today. Thanks so much.

  85. Shawn Oetzel

    Did you research them before submitting? Did you read any of there other anthologies? I did a cursory glance at their website after reading this post and they look pretty amateurish so this is not surprising. Anyone can start a “Press” these days, and many of these have no idea what they are doing. Chock this up to a lesson learned – always…always…always research! Do not be blinded by the idea of getting published.

  86. Wrath James White

    That is truly fucked. I had the same thing happen to me many moons ago when I submitted an article to a well-known and highly respected weekly newspaper in LA.(big enough hint?) They butchered it and then said they merely edited it for length, but they actually deleted words from sentences, words that changed a sarcastic essay to one that almost sounded apologetic. When I complained and told them they could publish the essay, but not with my name on it, the editor freaked out and said she felt threatened and I was called into the head editor’s office to make sure I wasn’t planning on doing anything physical. I was so insulted I could barely speak. It ended with them giving me a handsome kill-fee (remember those?) and pulling my story. And that was a “professional”, award-winning publication. Bullshit like this happens to the best of us. Chin up, darlin’. You’ll have many more sales in the future and this will just be an amusing story one day.

  87. hbpattskyn

    What a horrible experience. They are *totally* unprofessional. REAL publishers will work with you during the editing process. They may ask you to make changes, the thing is *you* make those changes, they don’t just insert whole chunks of text. These guys sound like total hacks who don’t have a clue.

  88. Armand Rosamilia

    He is now sending out e-mails to his ‘friends’ on facebook, letting them know his version:

    “hey guys, thought you might like to know this.
    i had the misfortune of publishing a brand new writer named : mandy de geit.
    she has no idea how the industry runs. she wasnt happy that we edited her story and she has now gone ballistic and is trashing Undead Press online.you know how that goes.
    thought you’d want to know if you never see the name in a sub”

    Just an FYI, sure others got this e-mail… I blocked him.
    Armand Rosamilia

    • mandydegeit

      I’m really not too concerned about people that he considers friends really. I did nothing wrong but he’s just unbelievable. I’ll be posting tomorrow again when I’m wide-eyed and bushy-tailed. I’ll be including all the correspondence, mine as well, so people can see the full extent of what happened.

    • Tim Lieder

      He actually blocked me when I portrayed him as an unprofessional shithead on my blog. Apparently he’s going to let me know what he thinks about me (and so is his wife) at the next AnthoCon. OOooooooh. Scary.

    • Marcus

      Anyone who listens to his advice is not someone you want to publish with, so it might actually save you some heartache if you get rejected by them (assuming you don’t have a list of who he told this to).

      Two problems here. “she has no idea how the industry runs. she wasnt happy that we edited her story…”

      First, he’s the one who hasn’t a clue how the industry runs. It’s…insane. Maybe you were a little naive (as all new writers tend to be, naturally) but not about the things he thinks you were. Second, he thinks you’re unhappy THAT they edited the story. But you’re unhappy with HOW they edited the story. And if he’s not bright enough to understand the distinction, that speaks very poorly of both his publishing acumen and his general intelligence. Worrisome, indeed.

  89. dgatwood

    I am not a lawyer, so this should not be construed as legal advice, but if I were in your position, I would contact a lawyer and:

    1. Sue for defamation; he modified your story in a way that clearly goes well beyond acceptable editing practices, and turned it into a story that contains egregious errors that in effect defame your name as a writer. Those errors were truly cringeworthy, should have been caught by any competent editor, and, more to the point, should never have been *introduced* by *any* editor, competent or otherwise.

    2. Sue for false attribution and unfair competition under the Lanham Act; he falsely attributed significant amounts of content to you that was not, in fact, your writing, and in doing so, created a work that unfairly competes against your actual writing by his fraudulent use of your name.

    3. Sue for copyright violation; the “editor”, by going well beyond the terms of the contract, created an unauthorized derivative work, which is likely copyright infringement.

    And there are probably other laws that he violated when he did this as well; those are just the first three that come to mind. The only way to make sure that people like this do not continue to prey upon unsuspecting writers is to go after them and hold them liable for damages to the maximum extent allowable by law.

      • Michael

        She can put a lean on anything he publishes so he gets minimal income until damages are paid. Much like the IRS does when you owe them taxes. With a lean they can actually pull directly from payments amazon makes to him with the proper injunction. Same with Barnes etc.

      • Tim Lieder

        And that will cost her how much? And get how much money back? I had credit card companies try to do that to me. Never worked. And their lawyers are a lot more stubborn.

      • Richard Thomas

        even if the only punishment was to have him banned from publishing ANYTHING ever again.

      • A

        Who cares about the money. If she can get the contract rescinded he’ll have to pull all the published copies of the story or compensate her from the profits of the book, or face copyright infringement charges. Really, getting this pulled is probably the best bet.

        Ontario has quite strong consumer protection laws.

      • brettjtalley

        It is almost certainly the case that they would not require him to pull the published copies, even if she won the lawsuit. Contracts are funny things, and they usually don’t result in a remedy that is out of proportion with the “crime” as it were. At best, she’d get a monetary reward, if she won. I’m not sure she would. What the guy did was reprehensible, but it may have been within his rights under the contract. Protect yourself. No one else will.

    • mandydegeit

      I’m not after money. I want people contracts to be voided. At least the authors who have had their work butchered like mine was. Thanks for taking the time to post. I’ll be keeping everyone in the loop. For now, 50% of SMMS sales go to the “fund”. :D Thanks again!!!

  90. Amanda

    I’m a writer originally from Timmins as well, so hello! Just happened across this story from a retweet. I think this is an excellent cautionary tale. I looked at Undead Press and they don’t seem to be (and clearly from the way they treated you and your work) professionals. Anthony Giangregorio seems childish in the way he conducts himself as a business person. I hope your future endeavors in the publishing world turn out better. ALWAYS READ THE CONTRACT, or even better (if you can afford it) get an attorney to read it over, and clarify even the most mundane points (ie, what do they consider ‘editing’). Wow. Unbelievable. I hope this guy goes out of business. Thank you for sharing!

    • mandydegeit

      Hey nice to meet a fellow writer from Timmins :D I’ve learned my lesson now. Hopefully I can make a difference for someone else now. Thanks for the support!

  91. J.M. Dow

    Although this is a completely horrifying and incredibly terribly breach of trust by a publisher toward his author, I actually couldn’t help but laugh out loud at Tony’s grammar and mechanics. I mean…with the exception of Caps Lock, he didn’t use a single capital letter. Then, there’s the fact that his repetitive, sniveling comment came across with the intellectual depth of a YouTube troll comment. What a douche.

    I’m sorry this happened to you. I look forward to reading your story properly–YOUR story, YOUR way, with a publisher that respects you and your story.

    • mandydegeit

      Hey there, thanks for taking the time to comment. :) I just added that to my list of things to do. I’ll be making sure Tony’s on all these websites so hopefully others won’t get caught up in his shoddy business practices. Thanks again for posting.

  92. Karen Dales

    OMG! Just the way the “publisher” writes his emails, with spelling and grammar mistakes abound, would raise HUGE red flags as to the validity of this company. I’m sorry you had to go through this. No REAL publisher worth their salt would do such a thing.

  93. editingengineer

    Wow. That’s just appalling.

    As a professional editor, I can tell you there is NO WAY an editor should be changing any element of the story without clearing it with the author. That includes even minor changes – like swapping two words, or adding a dash. The only changes that should be made without your permission are spelling and punctuation corrections.

    Get a lawyer. There’s no way this is according to your contract.

    • mandydegeit

      I was naive and I assumed “edit” meant, well edit. I know now and will be much more cautious in the future. Thanks for your support. I am looking into the lawyer option as 50% of the sales from SMMS is going into a lawyer fund to help others who were caught in Tony’s web of suck.

  94. Matojo

    Wow, what a douche. Edit does not mean re-write, this guy is… wow.

    Not only does this guy not bother to attempt to communicate in a clear, professional manner, it really seems that good business sense is just generally beyond him. I am sorry that you are having to deal with this sort of thing — it is the worst tale of a publishing nightmare that I have heard myself, and I sincerely hope that this story works as a complete warning for anybody that may consider publishing with him in the future. I’m still boggling at this guy’s typing style and the way he “communicated” with you. I have never, ever seen someone that claimed to be a legitimate businessperson actually dare to abuse a client in such a manner. I hope he always manages to step on lego in lego-less rooms for the rest of his life.

    I have but one complaint about what you’ve said here: For the love of kittens, please do not compare what his editors did to your story to sexual assault. It is not at all the same thing, and making such a comparison is highly offensive — using “rape” so casually is one of the contributing factors toward society’s inability to really take it, or survivors like myself, seriously. I know this was not your intent and all I can do is simply hope that you, as a writer, take this to heart and are willing to use your vocabulary to find other ways to describe what happened to you.

    • Corinne Duyvis

      Ditto on the ‘rape’ comments. As much sympathy as I have for the situation, those comparisons make me cringe. I hope you understand, Mandy.

      What I find fascinating is how a supposed ‘editor’ can be so deluded that he’s the professional one, when ALL OF PUBLISHING is telling him otherwise. Does he genuinely think this is what editing entails? Or is he knowingly spewing lies? I’m not sure which thought is scarier.

      Best of luck to you, Mandy–I hope you’ll find another magazine/anthology to place your story in. Looks like you have lots of editors eager to take a look already! :)

    • Karen Syed

      I understand the reasoning for thinking that Mandy should not have used the word rape with regard to this, but she was not incorrect. Aside from the traditional(that word is not meant to lessen the severity of the meaning) understanding of the definition, rape is also defined as “an outrageous violation” and it is absolutely appropriate.

      I know that no one meant any harm, but it seems kinda off to chastise her for her word usage (when it is not incorrect) because of society, given her current situation, perhaps if it needed to be done, it should have been done privately.

  95. wildhorse33

    I am ashamed they call themselves a publisher! I work with authors to publish their work and being a writer/artist – YOU DON’T DO THAT!!! Hope your next experience is better; keep on writing!

  96. charlesdayauthor

    Holy Shit, this is so unacceptable. Not sure if we know each other, but I’m a writer who’s seen some things as well, and I’ve learned from my mistakes with a few small presses. I own Evil Jester Press and Hidden Thoughts Press, and this kind of shit he pulled, is so unprofessional, immoral and downright bull!

    I’m in shock right now. So sorry! You’ll see, over time the small presses who don’t do it right will be out of business. Word travels real quick among us tight writer folk. We all know each other!!

    Keep your chin up, do your research, and you’ll find the right publishers.

    Charles Day

    • mandydegeit

      Hey Charles thanks and sorry for taking so long to get back to you. Things have turned out for the better for my story and I think Tony will think twice before doing this again, I haven’t really gone away yet. :) Thanks for the support!!!

  97. Michael Hanrahan

    Lesson for authors: NEVER agree to a contract that lets a publisher (or a bunch of amateur knuckleheads masquerading as publishers) edit your work without your involvement and final approval. No reputable publisher would want to do that anyway. Of course, when dealing with amateurs it might not make much difference what your contract says…

  98. ahlhelm

    I am a small press publisher and I will tell you right now that I have never edited a story without sending it back to the author. It’s not my story and I have no right to make changes without the author signing off on them. In fact, it’s spelled out that way in the Metahuman Press contract. Don’t let this fool turn you off to the small press. A lot of us are fine folks just trying to sell some great books.

    • mandydegeit

      Oh no, I’m just angry with him, not all presses in general. (I’m not like every other writer). ;) Thanks for the support and taking the time to post a comment. :D

  99. Tim Lieder

    Ok. I met this idiot at AnthoCon and it was fascinating just how much difference there was between his perceived reality and his actual business model. He talked as if he was a professional expert on publishing but every single word coming out of his mouth was increasingly stupid.

    I blogged about him at http://marlowe1.livejournal.com/1979914.html and http://marlowe1.livejournal.com/1980863.html and he sent me a very pissed off email on FB before banning me from responding. He’s truly an idiot.

    BTW, one of the best rules of thumb in regards to publishing is to make sure that they PAY YOU. And by pay you, I mean with real money and not “contributor copies” like this lame asshole gives out. There are exceptions (like an editor who doesn’t have a publishing company but offering $500 per story that is never going to materialize) but for the most part a publishing company that actually pays money states that they have enough trust in their business to invest in writers. The notion that you have to “pay your dues” by getting published by these crappy markets before you are “noticed” by better companies is idiotic. No one buys these anthologies besides the people published in them (and not even that in the case of Tony G).

    That’s not to say that every story is going to be a professional quality work, but at least submit to the pro-rate markets before you go to the semi-pro and token. And NEVER submit to idiots like Tony G who promise “complimentary copies” as long as you meet the minimum word requirement.

  100. elizabethcastle

    Wow…I…Wow… I’m sorry, but I laughed and please, don’t hang up. But this is basically what has happened to me over the course of a 2-yr. period of time after I submitted an entire manuscript to a ‘publisher’ and suddenly they tell me, hey, did you know you can download your own book onto Createspace and self publish? Duh..really? and this is the door slam you give me after rewording, reworking, redoing and revamping my book that went from number one to number five editors until the owner of the publishing house says.. “Wait, this isn’t the manuscript you sent back with author approval edits, is it? This is not the droid you’re looking for apparently.
    I felt for you in such a big way, I cannot tell you how much I appreciate your humor and candor in this moment. Thank you so much for posting :) I am not alone!!

    • mandydegeit

      We seem to be quite the group that have had the same thing happen. At least we aren’t alone. You have to be able to laugh at yourself… :D Thanks for the support!

  101. Vanessa Grassi

    Wow! I’m so sorry this happened to you. Thanks for sharing such a horrible experience with us, writing it all out must’ve been hard to do. I agree with the person who said to tell Predators and Editors, other writers need to be warned about that guy. Get this out to as many people as possible.

    • mandydegeit

      I’ve self-published SMMS, but have started submitting my work again. I’m not going to let this experience jade me from other small presses, everyone’s different. :D Thanks for your support!

  102. Mr Owen David Godfrey

    Review on the book on Amazon (Only review)

    “Wow. There are so many grammar and spelling mistakes that it genuinely baffles me how anybody could take pride in editing this nonsense.
    The stories themselves seem like first drafts of what could become very good stories but some tangents need to be cut, some tightening etc. A thorough edit and rewrite could easily salvage this but, sadly, it’s too late for that.”

    As pointed out, this author/editor actually introduced errors. He really can’t be called professional at all, and the publisher is an idiot for backing him. I’d love to see the original story.

  103. Pingback: Undead Press: They’ll Add Shit to Your Story. » Lincoln Crisler
  104. Dave Hinchberger, Publisher, Overlook Connection Press

    After reading this story it’s unfortunate to discover that the publisher, in his own words, wasn’t contrite in the least about the issues surrounding Mandy DeGeit’s story in his publication. Which of course probably explains why this happened in the first place. I am not one to throw stones, but I had to share this as this author certainly needs to be heard. You’ve had a bad experience Mandy, but the good thing is that as an author you have gained a lot of attention and authors, readers, and publishers know who you are now! Eric Beebe, from Post Mortem Press, has invited you to send in a story! How great is that? Authors have taken notice, and I understand that Neil Gaiman has even spread your story in a tweet. This is definitely a moment where you your lemons are becoming lemonade. See if you can get “your” story published, now that the publisher has made it non-exclusive, and right this wrong. Take this moment and run with it because we sure as hell won’t forget about you now :-).

    • mandydegeit

      Hey there, thanks for the words. I have self-published my story on Amazon and have been submitting other work elsewhere. :) I’m was freaking out a little because of the expectations surrounding my story, but it’s out and people have enjoyed it and that makes me smile. Thanks for your support. :D

  105. Grace

    I didn’t read all your comments but if it has been stated, my apologies: Writer Beware needs to be alerted to this fraud. The guy is a dickhead and should go to jail or at least pay a fine. Best of luck to you.

  106. ahlhelm

    Most standard contracts these days require you to approve all edits BTW, even in the small press. Probably a good move if the publisher doesn’t even know how to use apostrophes.

  107. C. Shute

    I’d be worried about an “editor” who uses the non-word alot and youre without a apostrophe. Thank you for the fair warning to all of us writers

  108. Kristina R. Mosley

    I was directed here via Neil Gaiman’s retweet. I’m sorry this happened to you. I can’t imagine how angry and frustrated you must be.

    I, too, had an encounter with Mr. Giangregorio. I submitted a story to Open Casket Press’s Women of the Living Dead anthology. The editor was listed as Jody Giangregorio, but I assumed it was his wife or something. Firstly, he had a smiley emoticon in the email. That should’ve been an indication of his lack of professionalism. I included my phone number on my submission, since it’s standard manuscript format, but I didn’t expect him to call because of, you know, the internet. He called, talking a mile a minute. (He called from a Brooklyn, NY number, and I’m a slow-talking Southerner. Since the number was from NY, I don’t understand the Massachusetts stuff.) He said that he *might* accept my story, but it required a lot of tweaking. I had some prior experience with people changing my stuff without my permission, and I didn’t like his tone, so I told him to choose someone else’s story. He got pissed, said he wish he hadn’t wasted his time, and hung up. I’m just glad, now, that I dodged a bullet.

    Writing/getting pubished is hard, but there are many small presses that I’ve worked with that act professionally, even if they can’t pay professionally. Good luck.

  109. kimber

    There are too many shifty vultures out there, willing to capitalize on a new writer’s dreams of publication; I have four novels and I’ve been in twelve anthologies, so I know a little bit about the publishing process, and an editor should NEVER treat your words with such little respect! I applaud you, Mandy, for going public with this — when life gives you lemons, slice ‘em in half and squeeze ‘em in the bastard’s eyes. :)

    • mandydegeit

      Thanks for your support. I stood up for myself and realized there are so many others who were quiet about this. I’m happy it got as much coverage as it did. Thanks for taking the time to read my blog.

  110. Samantha Combs

    I had an experience as a new writer/author just like you. I was dealt badly by Aspen Mountain Press. It may sound cliche, but persevere and get the best kind of revenge….keep writing and you will be published. I was. I am the author of five books, my sixth comes out in September and I am looking for a home for my seventh, a horror collection of shorts. This Tony person was just one bad apple in a whole barrel of awesome ones. I love that my new extended family is full of author, editors, artists and, one day, an agent. Because I did not let the publisher get away with it. I blogged, extensively, and warned my fellow word artists about them. And guess what? They went away and like a phoenix rising from the ashes, I stayed. And got better. And got published. And you will too. Please drop me a note and let me know what happens. I am rooting for you, because one day, not long ago, others rooted for me. Because us writers, we are a family. Don’t forget my battle cry and personal motto: WRITE, BE PUBLISHED AND BE INFORMED!

    • mandydegeit

      Hey there. Thank you for taking the time to post. Sorry it’s taken me so long to respond. It’s been a little crazy around here. Lol! As it is, I’ve self-published SMMS on Amazon with 50% going into a fund to help other authors screwed over by TonyG.

      I am writing and submitting again. :) The support and the people I’ve met have been amazing. I can’t complain about the outcome. Thanks for everything. :D

  111. Richard Flores IV

    First of all, this is absolutely ridiculous. It reflects bad on all the independent presses out there trying to make it. I didn’t read all the comments here, so someone may have already said this. Most writing contracts have a clause on editing. But always make sure it is very specific. Most reputable publishers will have something about their ability to change grammar and punctuation. But they also say, any major changes must be agreed to in writing. I am really sorry to hear this happened to you.

    At least knowing this blog appears to be going viral in the writing world should help you feel a bit better.

  112. Ben Monroe

    Sadly, I submitted, and published a story in one of Giangregorio’s zombie anthologies a couple of years ago (Dead Worlds, Vol. 2). He didn’t mess with my story to this extent (changed a word here and there, and I did get to approve the changes), but I got a really weird vibe from the guy, and decided not to submit anything to his future publications. Glad I didn’t.

    Good luck with your writing; I look forward to seeing the original version of your story!

  113. Nigel Read

    Wow. Just, wow.

    I can’t imagine any publisher doing this to an author. What a mob of jerks! And utterly, inexcusably unprofessional. I wonder if they even realise how at odds their behaviour is with accepted behaviour in the publishing industry?

  114. Zoe Harrington

    This is terrible. I cannot believe someone who is supposed to be professional acted like that nor can I believe that he works with writers. What we write is personal and toying with it is hitting below the belt.

    Btw, am I the only one who clicked the blue underlined text? It’s hyperlinked to the addresses and tracking number on Purolator.

    Totally true…story rape indeed!

    • mandydegeit

      Thanks for taking the time and posting. *(I figured that out afterwards what the blue text thing was too.) Thanks for your support. I don’t think Undead Press will be working much with people from here on in.

  115. Brian Harris

    Sorry to read this Mandy, it’s infuriating to find out a writer’s work was tampered with in such a manner. It’s adding insult to injury when you receive responses like that too.

  116. jamesroydaley

    Oh, Mandy… remember our liquid lunch conversation? I love you, but I’m laughing my ass off. Yes, your lemons are becoming sweet lemonade. I will blog this…

    • mandydegeit

      I KNEW YOU’D SAY SOMETHING… I don’t remember much from lunch but yeah, I totally remember that part. Thanks for blogging… and yeah, when life gives you lemon’s. ;)

  117. Paul

    Damn that’s terrible. There are a lot more nicer editors out there, I hope you find one and that this guys fingers drop off.

  118. patcadigan

    Hello, Mandy–

    I saw this because Neil Gaiman highlighted it and it appeared in my Twitter-generated aggegate/online newspaper “Whatever.” I haven’t had time to read the previous comments because there are 175 of them. Someone may have already made this suggestion but: I recommend that you contact SFWA or HWA, whether you are already a member of these organisations or not, and ask for advice. SFWA in particular can be a great help to new writers — my experience with HWA is limited but I know they are good people. You may have some recourse. I have been a professional sf-fantasy-horror writer for over thirty years and I have never had an experience like this. Please contact one or both of these groups as soon as possible.

    May your future experiences in publication be a whole lot better,

    Pat Cadigan

  119. Jean

    This is awful, but please don’t trivialise the experience of sexual assault victims by calling what you went through ‘rape’. Good luck getting this resolved, though.

    • Jeff

      The points made were cutting enough. The rape analogy was not needed at all. Maybe consider an edit to remove that, as you’re getting a lot of attention for this piece. I’d hate for you to be in the position of having to defend something not salient to your issue, instead of being applauded for taking a stand.

  120. Khuure

    They seem to be on Facebook. Would it be worth it to post the link to this blog post on their wall? Might enlighten a few readers and warn them about these storyrapists. Maybe even look up all the names they mentoin there, search for their contact information and send them email. This kind of conduct just does not fly. People involved with this “publisher” need to know.

    I feel so bad for you, Mandy. What happened to you was complete shit.

  121. Pingback: Troubles with publishing and legalities « Madeleine Swann
  122. Madeleine Swann

    I reblogged it too, here: http://madeleineswann.wordpress.com/2012/05/15/troubles-with-publishing-and-legalities/
    I doubt by the end of the day anyone will send anything to him. Let’s hope so anyway. I was given some useful information about contracts, including always make sure the legal name and address of the editor is there, plus intended publishing date and a specific length of time for the contract to last. I was naive once but hopefully not anymore. Its deeply annoying but try to view it as a learning experience. Or maybe just go on a killing spree.

  123. Joshua Guess

    Sometime in the next two days I’m going to do a post on my author blog at joshuaguess.com about this. Authors need to be aware of scam artists like this.

  124. shavenwookiee

    How is that man still in business? So sorry to hear about this! One of the ups of doing self-publishing is that no fucker can change your work! Still, they should be reported to the Fair Trade people or something…

  125. David Robinson - Freelance Writer & Novelist

    I picked this story up on Facebook, and I’m so sorry to hear of your troubles, Mandy. I work with a small press here in Great Britain and without exception, EVERY edit comes back to me for approval.

    I checked Preditors and Editors and although they have nothing to say about Undead, they do have an advisory on Living Dead Press, which was mentioned earlier in the comments as belonging to this same person.

    He’s obviously, thoroughly unprofessional and appears to have only a basic grasp of written English.

    Let’s hope your next venture is a happier experience.

  126. J. F. Gonzalez

    Mandy – if anything, this is a clear case of copyright infringement on the part of Undead Press. That pathetic excuse of a contract you signed is now void. No money exchanged hands. Harsh lesson to learn, but you will come out of this a stronger person and more business-savvy writer. Other editors/publishers have asked to see your story – by all means, send it to them. Any “rights” Undead Press may have acquired have been blown out of the water by this misdeed.

    Kudos to you for sticking up for yourself and bringing this to light.

    Be well,

    J. F. Gonzalez

  127. Thomas Pluck

    Unprofessional editors. I’ve never had changes made without an editor sending the edits for approval with the contract. This is one press I’ll be avoiding.

  128. Chuck Alderman

    Talk about a horror story, huh?
    I had an “editor” wanting to change my first novel. I cut her off and asked if she even read it before the edit? I DON’T THINK SO! It could have been a nightmare, luckily it didn’t get that far. Sorry for your mess.

  129. mwheelaghan

    Just adding my thanks for sharing your experience. What a cautionary tale! Good luck with your future writing!

  130. Annika Howells

    Wow, what a douche-canoe! It’s so easy to get caught up in the thrill of being accepted for publication that you turn a blind eye to warning signs, or fail to do a background check. I found myself in a similar situation, though not as bad. Luckily the publisher went bankrupt before they could completely ruin my book!

  131. Nathan Weaver

    So noted, these guys blow chunks. What a mess, and I can only imagine how immortally irritated I’d be from something like this. Maybe some day you’ll meet face-to-face, and punch him long and hard. OK, maybe not. But it’s the thought that counts.

  132. Remittance Girl

    As I progressed through the reading of your blogpost, I realized I’d stopped breathing at some point.

    Good GOD. This is horrific. Truly horrific. And I’m very sorry it happened to you.

    I’m also thankful you were brave enough to blog about it to warn the rest of us. I guess the problem with an Undead Press is all the zombie editors.

  133. Sue

    I’m shocked at what has happened, but even more so at the ‘publisher’s’ unprofessional attitude. He writes like an illiterate teenager! It’s a warning and, if it were me, I’d take legal advice or speak to the Society of Authors or equivalent. Good luck with it.

  134. theweirdgirl

    Thanks for sharing. Hopefully this will stop other writers from getting screwed over by Mr Storyraper. He seems to be fuzzy on the meaning of the word edit. I’m so sorry this happened to you.

  135. Pingback: A Writer’s Best Defense | Jon F. Merz
  136. Barbara

    I’m so sorry you got storyraped but it is great that you’re sharing this. That is just crazy. This guy doesn’t seem to know the meaning of the word edit.

  137. Amanda Dollak

    That is a nightmare–one of THE worst nightmares for a writer really! I can’t imagine what you are going through. I hope this horrible experience opens up new and far better opportunities for you, so you can put all of this far behind you!

  138. diandralinnemann

    Wow, that’s sad. Luckily my first contacts with anthologies were of a more friendly nature. But there are all kinds of black sheep out in the literary world… I hope your story finds a better home!

  139. sheltersomerset

    In all honesty, publishers have a right to alter stories as they see fit, provided that it specifies in the contract or within their submission guidelines. Many times they improve a story, tighten it, give it a better flow. Other times, as you showed, they make it into a horrible mess. Much more famous writers–including song writers–have experienced similar anguish. Paul McCartney still groans about not having more control over his songs. When he heard “The Long and Winding Road” on the radio for the first time, he gagged hearing a full orchestra superimposed over what was supposed to be a song in a cappella. No one bothered to tell the leader of the most popular band in the world they’d intended to use an “electronic” orchestra. Yet in the “Age of the Amateur,” you can expect typos inserted when YOU hadn’t put them there. That, unfortunately, goes with the territory of the new technology today that allows anyone to be anything–whether they are professional or not. It requires tremendous research on the part of writers to find small publishers that embody professionalism and integrity. They are out there. I was lucky enough to find one. Good luck, and remember: Paul McCartney shares your pain!

  140. Remake Chronicles

    Absolutely, thoroughly unprofessional. I am going through four rounds of edits on each book in a series in production, and the editor asks me for permission to change ANY LINE. She queries me even on clear errors. This is the way it is supposed to be. Inserting rape sequences to fuel his own fantasties doesn’t just ruin your story — it’s the equivalent of farting and blaming it on someone else.

  141. Jerry & Kimberly Peterson

    So sorry for your situation…these guys are truly amateurs and one day will get what is coming to them. Truly believe that what you give out will eventually catch up and come back at you. You have every right to be upset, but do not allow the stupidity of this individual to ruin the rest of your writing career. The best revenge is always success, show them how you can be a success without having your entire book rewritten. Show them that your words are gold and that their changes are pure jealousy. Good luck and never allow any defeat to end your dream.

  142. Laura Best

    Any reputable publisher should get your approval on minor edits. If sections need rewriting, the writer is the one to do it. Sorry you had such a crummy experience. I guess it really does take all kinds.

  143. Pingback: Zombies, brains and other not so fun stuff | Bigger, fuller glass
  144. tonyschumacher

    I’m so sorry for you, this must have been a nightmare. What I will say is if the blog is anything to go by, the original story must have been brilliant, because I loved reading this, you made me smile (even though I was feeling terrible for you!)
    With regards to the “publisher”, I’m certain the advent of self publishing on the likes of Amazon will see off these shabby chancers who have had it too easy for way to long in my opinion.
    Onward and upward and good luck with your next project!

  145. Tim

    I was published by Tony in the Open Casket Press anthology Zombie Buffet. I was a newbie too and getting a publishing credit was foremost in my mind. I thought he dealt reasonably with me at the time (what did I know) although having been through the grind of submitting in earlier years, I did wonder about the paying in copies (not unsual with what I’ve seen), but only at a certain length (which my story didn’t meet)….doesn’t it cost the same to send out a book no matter what length my story is? Anyway, I bought a copy, and also noticed some “edits” that I wasn’t too thrilled seeing…but they seemed no big deal, so I shrugged it off as aw well, experience. I’ve since read a number of comments about Tony, and his defenses, some of which actually seemed reasonable. I actually thought, maybe I’d submit to him again, but I never had the story revised to my satisfaction in time to meet the closing deadline. I was still even stupid and desperate to rework a story (revising it right now) to submit to Living Dead Press latest anthology. It’s a case of I’ve been getting rejections after a couple of acceptances and I guess I fell into let’s just get somethng published trap again. After reading your experience, Mandy, and the comments about it, I’m not going there. It’s a good story, somebody out must like it. (It was rejected once in its original form.) You definitely saved this relative newbie from probably making a big mistake…I had my doubts about it and everything I’ve seen confirms them, so thank you for making me see the light…and much luck with your own writing. It’s tough, but as I’ve been told, if you’re good, you’ll get noticed, and I can just from your posting you can write. Again, good luck and thank you.

  146. Pingback: A word to the wise for those who are writers or plan on becoming one in the future. « Patrick D'Orazio's Blog
  147. Nicolai

    If it makes you feel any better, the editor Vincenzo Bilof has written/edited ten books on Amazon and every one of the books I looked at has no sales rank–which means they have not sold a single copy on Amazon. This leads me to believe the Amazon “reviews” are fraudulent. My suspicion is confirmed by the four-star review on Cavalcade that is primarily addressing and defending against the very dispute you are talking about here.

    I love how that review says Vincenzo Bilof is an “award-winning author.” I’m wondering how he can win an award on a book that has not sold a single copy–even with the fraudulent reviews. And $9.99 for Kindle genre fiction by an unknown author? …

    The good thing is that you are doing exactly what you should do. Word of mouth on the internet is a great example of the true power the seemingly powerless can wield. Keep it up. I got here via a link in the Mobileread forums, so word is definitely spreading. Vincenzo Bilof should be crying in his Rice Krispies because–like your name on his printed books–what is said on the internet never goes away. Two minutes of Googling will always yield the truth.

    Best Wishes!

  148. elfwreck

    1) Find a lawyer. Really. Paying a lawyer can be very expensive; try to get in touch one through a friend or online who’ll be willing to give a few moments of advice for free. (I put this first even though it’s the last thing you’ll probably do; start looking for a lawyer now. If you can’t find one, figure out how to hire one to help you writing a C&D letter.)

    2) Get your data together: Your contract, and copies of every email and other bit of contact between you & Undead Press. PDF them (because that makes it simple to hand them around); don’t try to filter for what looks good or what’s important. Put those in a zip file.

    3) Read some of the “contracts” tagged entries at The Passive Voice. Passive Guy is a former contract lawyer who collects publishing contracts and posts about sections of them that are harmful to authors. (He absolutely *does not* give direct legal advice to blog readers–but you can learn a lot reading the posts and comments.

    4) If you don’t found a lawyer soon, get someone who *reads* good legalese to look over your contract and find the loopholes and warning signs. If there’s no NDA, you might be able to get advice by posting the whole thing here, but you’re better off finding someone that you know understands legalese, rather than relying on the crowd to know what really is and is not a legal issue.

    5) Set a goal, like “I want my story pulled from this anthology; otherwise, I want my name changed to something else.” Check your contract for ways this might be accomplished… do they have perpetual publication rights? Is there *anything* implying you need to approve their actions? Are you required to keep any information confidential?

    6) Canada allows authors more rights over the presentation etc. of their works than the US. (Which, given the level of professionalism I see from Undead Press’ editor, I expect he doesn’t know.) Research Moral rights in Canada–you may have grounds to sue (or at least demand removal of your name), on the grounds that you don’t want your name associated with his mangled version of your story. If your contract doesn’t have a waiver of moral rights, you’re in good shape.

    7) If you believe you have a decent LEGAL case for getting your work removed or your name changed (which is different from a good ethical case; you allowed for “editing” and he “edited” your story; there’s no legal limit on what counts as editing)–file a DMCA takedown notice at Amazon and other places the book is being sold.

    8) Try to contact other authors in the anthology and see if they’re just as unhappy. Group actions are often more effective than individual ones.

  149. Katherine Gilraine

    Reblogged this on Improvisations on Reality and commented:
    This is a must-read for anyone who submits to small presses, anthologies, magazines, etc.
    Writers, I can’t tell you this enough: DO YOUR RESEARCH. Do your research, talk to writers who have been published by that press/magazine/etc. Because this stuff DOES HAPPEN.

    It’s also a part of why I am VERY hesitant to submit to small presses/anthologies. I cannot guarantee that this won’t happen to me. My work is precious to me.
    K.G.

  150. Katherine Gilraine

    Reblogged it. I’m a novelist, but I know a lot of people who write short stories and submit to small presses all the time. For them, it’s required reading.

    This sucks on many levels. I’m sorry.

  151. Ant UK

    People linking to this blog post from their own website may have the biggest impact. It will push this glowing anecdote up Google’s search ranking, so it warns other writers who do a basic background check. Just be sure to mention the alternate names he uses for his “company” as listed in earlier comments. What goes around comes around.

  152. Cynthia Bermudez

    Wow, that is horrible. Is there any way you can fight him on this? Maybe talk to an intellectual property lawyer and find out. I won’t buy from that idiot. But I will pay you to read your story.

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  154. Stant Litore

    God, Mandy, I am so sorry this happened to you. I am sharing your story widely in my social network to warn other writers. A publishing contract should be like a marriage (whether troubled or blissful), but this one was a rape. I am morally and professionally disgusted. As one horror writer to another, you are in my thoughts, and I hope the contract has enough wiggle room to sue the bastard.

    Stant Litore

  155. Pingback: the left room» Blog Archive » your story wasn’t raped
  156. Will Ross

    I talked to Tony G on the phone once about my Zombie series, and I nearly gave it to him. Thank Christ I didn’t, holy shit! I applaud you for having this much poise, because if he’d done that to my stuff I’d have used a lot more swearing. Hope you can step on this fuckknob’s head and launch yourself right off him, because that seems to be his MO so it would be sweet for you to turn the tables. >:D

  157. scrivnomancer

    Reblogged this on Quips & Quiddities and commented:
    I invite you to consider this cautionary tale, Quidditites. Be careful what small presses you choose. Do not accept such behavior. A legitimate publisher/editor will not treat you this was. Such behavior only deserves a swift and polite genital punch.

  158. Sara Hubbard

    I’m so sad for your experience but so happy you shared your story so the rest of us can avoid this publisher. I would pursue this jerk legally if I were you, even if he’s trying to intimidate you into thinking you don’t have a case.

  159. Shannon Lee

    I am so sorry this happened to you. No author deserves this, no one! I actually found an artical on my facebook now warning authors and writers about ‘Undead Press’. Word spreads fast when you screw over an author! Here is the site http://kellidunlap.com/?p=3345 Again, I am sorry this happened to you. But remember, we authors get our revenge in print!

  160. Angela S. Stone

    Okay WAIT, you’re in ottawa…. Me too. Sorry just so odd to see other writers in ottawa!!

    This is awful. You need to take this to a copywrite and contract laywer, and now. They’ll need to have a counterpart in the USA that can file in Mass. Some of the bigger lawfirms do. Make them pull the book and give it back to you.

    Editing should be a process between you and your editor, just subbing a story and having it pubbed is a big red flag. Professional editing houses do edit rounds and never, never change a story with out author approval.

    If you want some local help let me know.

    Xx
    Angela

    Ottawa, on

  161. Larissa Horvath

    Ooooooh…….. I’m sharing this everywhere. (Although I do agree with making sure to read and question everything VERY thoroughly before you sign, but sometimes bad things just happen. Super lame!)

  162. ebooknightmare

    Sorry to hear this has happened to you. I’ve had editors send a story back and tell me that changes needed to be done but never anything like this. They’ve always sent me an edited copy for me to approve before anything proceeded. Again, I’m sorry this has happened but I applaud you for standing your ground, raising some hell and posting this.

    I wish you the best with your future writing projects.

  163. Luca

    Hi Mandy

    I am deeply sorry you had to go through this. I’m sure the experience will only improve you as a writer though. I also think it is fantastic that you shared this with everyone, so that others coming to this post, will be aware of this situation.

    Having said that, I believe your last paragraph seriously damages your argument. To compare having a story changed without permission, to the horrific act of rape is abhorrent. It seems to have become more prevalent to use such a trigger as *rape* in recent time, to describe acts which have no correlation to that act (Frape etc.).

    I’m sure you weren’t seriously comparing your situation to something as serious and potentially life changing/destroying as rape or sexual assault. It may be prudent to consider amending the last paragraph of the post. You have a serious point and warning to make. But it wasn’t rape.

      • elfwreck

        Thank you so much for this. It’s always good to see someone willing to respect a polite note that they may have stepped on toes they didn’t intend to.

        I do hope you get some help with this and that you’ll find a better market for your stories.

  164. Lys

    I’m sorry, Mandy. As a recent first-timer as well, I know how it feels to have that anticipation of seeing your writing in print, and it is horrible that such a wonderful moment was ruined for you by such an unprofessional wannabe.

    I don’t know if you use the Preditors & Editors site, but you may want to check it out when researching publishers for possible future submissions. It is an EXCELLENT site! I would also report your story to them, so that they can open a listing for this so-called publishing house.

    http://pred-ed.com/

  165. Cassandra M

    Wow.. This is horrible. Sorry it happened to you. I live in Massachusetts and know some lawyers if you feel like going after him. Any idea where in MA he is located!?

  166. Pingback: The High Cost of Desperation | J W Manus
  167. Richard Thomas

    total bullshit. he did a similar thing to an anthology i was a part of, when he was Living Dead Press. what a jerk. AVOID at all costs, people.

  168. Dee

    Oh, you poor thing! There is no way this is a legit house with legit editors. This is simply NOT how it’s done. Line edits should be sent back to you to approve/change, your AAs (author alterations) are incorporated, and you should have a final look at the line-edited/copyedited file. I have never in my life, even when a project has gone terribly wrong, seen communication this acrimonious. These people should be ashamed of themselves.

    Bottom line: I am so terribly sorry you had to go through this. Trust me when I tell you it’s not you, it’s them!

  169. domynoe

    I had something similar happen with an online zine, only I made sure he agreed to let me approve the edits. He sent me the online “proof” and emailed to let him know what worked for me and what didn’t, and he removed the story completely. The only good that came out of it is that he let me keep the payment (which wasn’t all that much). I have the market on my “do not submit” list now.

    So sorry this happened to you. Some people just don’t seem to get that editing doesn’t mean make it something else and that an author should have the right to approve or deny changes, especially larger changes.

  170. Zls Publishing

    I am beyond disgusted! Seriously. As a publisher, I am BEYOND disgusted at these deplorable actions. The nerve of them to say your writing has a long way to go before it meets industry standards. WHAT! Who in the hell does he think he is? Ooh that’s right, the publisher. Some of these folks should NOT be in business. EVER! it is obvious, this is one o them. WOW! The disgraceful behavior of some never stops. I’m sorry this happened to you, this is so unfortunate on so many levels. Don’t stop writing though just because of one unprofessional individual or company. WOW. SMH. UGH! These down-right dirty business folks.

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  172. DOMINO

    Wow…very enlightening. I read it with my mouth stuck on open while shaking my head. I know there are dishonest publishers out there, hence me staying self-published for awhile. I’m doing quite well on my own, but I do plan on submitting to publishers one day. Everything that I have read here has really opened my eyes and I plan on using all of the advice that was given when I seek out a good/reputable publisher. Tony G, if I even hear someones name that sounds like it you better believe the conversation would come to an abrupt halt. lol. I can tell he’s a low life…hey! Maybe we can ALL write a book about ‘HIM’ and sit back and see if he tries to “edit” that one…lol.

  173. welikehumans

    Besides reporting them to Preditors and Editors, you could also report them to Piers Anthony at hipiers.com. Although he mostly focuses on web publishing, he does go after bad publishers with a vengeance.

  174. Jody Nice

    I had a book published by Publish America, and I’m very happy with the way they handled it. They just sent a list of suggestions for corrections, and I found it very helpful. Once the corrections were made, they sent me a final copy to review before it went to press. You might give them a try.

  175. comrade

    People are suggesting you seek legal advice, but I don’t know. This is a lot of (deserved) PR damage. I’m betting he wished he took you a bit more seriously now. This guy has proven to be difficult, unintelligent, and completely unprofessional. He’s probably wallowing in regret right now. I’m not sure you’d win in court judging by that editing clause. It’s all about what you can prove. Has he tried contacting you since this was posted? If I was him, I’d at least pay for ALL the copies you bought. The very, very least. You kinda lost the battle, but you’ve definitely won the war. Either way, Undead Press is… dead.

  176. Mellie

    Not much I can say that hasn’t already been said. I’m glad you’ve spoken out about this (though I’ve never known you to go quietly anyway). It’s ok though, you have brought the wrath of the Internet down upon this guy and he will pay for his mistakes be it now or later, Karma will get him *muahahahahahaha*

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  178. Widdershins

    Major suckitude here Mandy … so glad to hear your story has gone viral. I’ve linked your post from my blog too … there are always consequences!

  179. Mandi M. Lynch

    I run a small press. I’m one of those “people in a garage” that other people like to talk about. But I don’t touch ANYTHING beyond the basics – spellcheck (and even that I do carefully – international submitters spell certain words differently and I prefer to leave it in their preferred spelling if its right for them), a comma here or there, but I never rewrite anything without asking them first. I will never change a name, detail, etc, without running it by them. I’ve worked too damn long and too damn hard to get where I am in my own writing (I’ve had several dozen stories picked up by anthologies across America) – I won’t do anything to a writer that I wouldn’t want done to me. Changing titles is silly. Why would you even consider that? My book title is going to sell anthologies, not individual story titles, and for the authors inside selling copies, they’re selling it on their name, not on their story title. This guy is clearly a nut job.

  180. Lavinia

    Wow. A horror story with a publisher is exactly why I self-published, though I made sure to have my books professionally edited and so forth…I am so sorry you had this experience. To the credit of good publishers, they are not all bad. I have talked to some publishers who were a total pleasure to work with.

    I think a mistake we as writers often make (and I made this mistake with my first publisher) is research. How often do we think to look at background information on publishers we are supposed to trust? I learned the hard way. It wasn’t only until they took 6-8 months to merely edit my story (whereas my contract said they would have the book released in that time after signing), delayed my release date twice and barely communicated. Upon looking up reviews of the publisher, I found nothing but negative reviews from readers and writer. Some readers were saying they would never purchase a book from this company. I talked to a writer who had been waiting two years to get a 25,000 word novella released. I also found out they did not print the books themselves- they use Createspace and don’t even sell books through their website. Which means they are not a publisher, they are more like distributor. Just disorganized, unprofessional and didn’t know how to communicate. I withdrew from the contract before they printed the book. I then self-published within three weeks, with professional editing, cover art and the works. I doubt I’ll ever use a publisher again, but as I said, they are not all bad.

    Don’t give up on publishers, but for any you are interested in, do research into their reputation before you ever submit a word to them. Talk to other writers who have used the company prior and get their opinions of their experience. Talk to the publisher themselves too and gauge whether they seem professional or not. Look at the books they have published. We’re in a tough industry these days, but if we look out for ourselves as well as other writers, like you have done here, then we’ll work it all out. We’re all in this together. :) Good luck!

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  183. Alexandria

    Mandy, what a nightmare. If you paid with a Visa (even a Visa debit card) you can do a chargeback on those books -items not as described or ordered- through the bank. The books are clearly defective since they were supposed to contain YOUR story but do not. Also he sounds like one of those outfits who changes authors’ work because he makes his money from authors’ buying books not from readers. Clearly a charlatan. Visa will take the $ back, you write a letter explaining how product is sham not as advertised, how you tried to work with him and he insulted you. He’s not a real editor or publisher since none would ever do that. Visa will investigate. If they don’t get satisfaction from his explanation or discover any others who’ve complained, they’ll take money back from him and you can burn books so no one sees travesty he committed on work. I’m author & publisher and guarantee you that’s not the way publishers (real ones) ever edit or treat their authors. He’s a printer preying on innocent writers. Get your money back. Burn his name all over the Internet for the sham he is. Sorry this happened. Don’t believe a word he wrote to you. Best, Alexandria Constantinova Szeman

  184. Alex Penland

    I feel like I should post an excerpt from the guy’s facebook page itself:

    Anthony Giangregorio Author:
    So I woke up this morning and realized I’d slept with my mouth open. While getting a glass of water and smacking my dry ass lips, I thought back to that bit of chilling info about how when we sleep, we eat so many spiders each year as they drop down into our open mouths as we slumber. And BAM!, i got an idea for a horror story for the Cavalcade of Terror anthology going on with Undead Press. Inspiration comes where it comes I guess.

    John Foster: As long as the inspiration didn’t actually come with a side order of spider legs you had to pick from your teeth.

    Anthony Giangregorio Author: i sure hope not!

    Anthony Giangregorio Author: To follow up this thread. I did write the story and it’s in the Cavalcade of Horror Anthology by Undead Press. It came in at 11k and I think it’s some of my best work in the short story field.

    So, uh… Note that nowhere in here does he mention that he’s the editor of this anthology. Meaning that he essentially just shoved one of his own stories in there and self-published it, trying to sound legit. Are you freakin’ kidding me?

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  186. Pleading theFifth

    Publishers who want you to GIVE them their work for free are not “professional publishers,” just as people who give their writing away for free are not “professional writers.”

  187. Jordan Lombard

    You need to return all those books, ASAP. And you SHOULD get a REFUND!!! If he royally screwed up that badly, don’t keep those books. Just DON’T. Anyway, you shouldn’t have to sell your own books to friends and family. Judging from the press’s website, it’s just one guy behind a curtain and he’s clearly unprofessional. He should never have written emails like that to you. Plus, his website screams unprofessional to me. Just a word of caution for the next time you try to publish: check, double check, and triple check the publisher before you submit ANYTHING. He’s not a reputable company the way he conducts business.

    It’s truly awful what happened to you, and I’m glad you’re speaking out so others will know what happened. I hope he doesn’t get other newbie authors hooked just to steal their money and their hard work. Another thought: you should try to contact the other authors in that anthology and see if anything similar happened to them. Just a thought.

  188. debbierankine

    Mandy, sorry to read about your writerly misadventure with the dreaded Undead Press. As a general rule-of-thumb, any publisher of an anthology not willing to — at the very least — comp contributors a single copy of the publication in which his/her work appears is, in my opinion, a scammer, wanting nothing more than to sell books to YOU so you can sell them to your family/friends/coworkers.

    Go onto http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/ to see if there is negative feedback about a publisher before sending in your FREE work for consideration. Publishing scammers will ALWAYS accept writers’ stories regardless of the quality of the work.

    When I was the Writers’ Community of Durham Region’s (www.wcdr.org) newletter editor, I went undercover to expose Publish America as several of our members were published with them… and they shouldn’t have been. Their work wasn’t ready for publication and reputable publishing houses would have told them as much.

    Here’s the outcome of that investigation. Hope it helps you on future pitches. All my best, your fellow writer, Deb Rankine

    http://wcdr.s3.amazonaws.com/wordweaver/wwnovdec2006.pdf

  189. Jordan Lombard

    You need to RETURN those books, ASAP. And get a REFUND. If your story was that screwed up, there’s no way you should pay for it. Judging from the press’s website, it sounds like it’s one man behind a curtain. Plus, he’s very unprofessional in emails to you and his website screams unprofessional. You shouldn’t have to take crap from him when he was the one who screwed you over. Get a lawyer. Seriously. And save all of his emails to use. You might even consider contacting the other authors in that anthology (if they’re not all just pennames for himself) and see what experiences they had working with him.

    And of course, in the future, when you publish again, check, double check, and triple check the publisher to make sure they’re reputable. He’s clearly not. He ruined your hard work and can’t spell. What’s worse than a publisher/editor who can’t spell? Granted, editing can mean reworking a story too, but in a legal sense, he needs to contact you before he makes ANY changes to your work. If you’re not happy then you can yank your story.

    That’s a terrible thing to have happened. I just hope it doesn’t happen again.

  190. marfisk

    I haven’t read all the comments, but if he’s operating as a press, report him to the local better business bureau for violation of the contract. It might have no effect on your situation, but it might help others.

  191. thoughtsfromthenosebleeds

    As a fellow writer, I want you to know that a) I absolutely despise Undead Press for what they did you, b) I will do no business with them, and c) I am telling all of my friends not to do any business with them. I want to read your story, because I love good stories, but I don’t want to give Undead Press any money; is there a way I can PayPal you and get a copy? I would rather support you than support a murderer of stories.

  192. Joan Y. Edwards

    Dear Widdershins,
    I am very sorry that this happened. I am praying for you and that your “real” story be picked up by a “really good” publisher!
    Joan Y. Edwards

  193. Olivia Starke

    Holy crap, I’d be livid. Throw in an animal cruelty kick and I’m at war >:/ I’m sorry this happened to you. Edit does not equal revise. There IS a difference, and if the changes are that drastic it’s a revise. There are good epubs out there, but do your homework and ask other authors of their experiences.

  194. Editor

    First of all, I never had any personal contact with the author, and I have recently tried to reach out to her. I like to do everything personally, rather than blog or tweet…but I understand why she won’t speak to me.

    I want everyone to know that I was not paid for editing the anthology. Believe it. Sling your insults.

    I find the mistake in the title of her story appalling. It was a formatting mistake that I had no part of. I would be just as upset. I knew that I would get the blame for it. When I saw the mistake…

    I refuse to insult the author, or suggest that her story wasn’t “good enough”. I will not defend my actions. I am not seeking sympathy, because in this case, I made a grievous error. As a naive, new author, I did what I thought was best, and I was terribly, horribly, wrong. I regret what happened.

    I have never been an employee of any press…I wrote stories (and a novel) because I enjoy doing it. This was a hobby for me. It has become a nightmare, and I take responsibility for that.

    I will not explain here, in a public forum, why I did what I did, because there truly doesn’t seem to be a sane rationale behind it. If the editor didn’t get paid…what was the point? I certainly never wanted to be slandered, nor did I want to do anything to deserve it.

    I never wanted this to happen. I didn’t “edit” the author’s story and laugh at her plight. I should have spoken to the author herself, but I did not have any contact with her. I refuse to slander anyone who was involved. I edited her story. I want to be held accountable for what I did. I am not hiding. I am not speaking on anybody else’s behalf but my own.

    There are some very good authors in the anthology in question. To name a few: David James Keaton, Matt Kurtz, Rocky Alexander, Shane Koch…and some others. This book is not just about Ms. De Geit. There are authors who want their stories to be read, like I used to.

    Post this apology where relevant. I want no more part of this. I suppose I’ve finally “made it” when one of my favorite authors, Neil Gaiman, crushes the work that I’ve done. I’ve apologized. I’m not proud of my involvement. Perhaps Ms. De Geit’s story will become very famous because of what happened. It’s just too bad that the other authors in the anthology are getting overlooked.

    So, a nobody author simply wants to sever ties with the ENTIRE situation. Completely. Period. In every way, shape, and form. The only good thing that came of this? Somebody might become famous… Good luck to you, Ms. De Geit!

    Sling away!

    • Ween Wee (@weenwee)

      Slander indicates she lied about you to injure your good name. She didn’t. She simply posted your replies, word for word. You might want to be careful with such language – saying that someone has slandered you when they clearly haven’t is legally actionable.

      If you don’t want your good name dragged through the mud, stop wallowing in it to begin with.

      • Helena Handbasket

        I’d like to point out that this was written by the editor, not the owner whose emails were posted. Additionally, this would be libel, not slander. Slander only applies to speech, libel to print. I don’t for a moment think this editor was wallowing in anything – merely trying to clear the air about his/her involvement.

    • Ween Wee (@weenwee)

      Question: Who, exactly, added the mystery paragraph that was inserted in her story without her consent? The editor, or the publisher?

      And Helena, sorry I can’t reply to you for some reason – while this person says they are the editor (which would indicate they are Vincenzo Bilof, although they never said their name), they mentioned in the comment that Neil Gaiman crushed their work on Twitter. NG only spoke about Tony G, not Vincenzo Bilof. His tweet, quote: “Neil Gaiman‏@neilhimself: @jupiter_star The publisher is an amateur and an idiot, & can barely write. I hope her experiences help warn young writers away from him.” Which makes me think this is Tony, pretending to be someone else, as a way to bolster some online support for himself.

      (And I do love how the ‘editor’ says he doesn’t want to insult the author, and then proceeds to call her a nobody. Classy.)

      • Helena Handbasket

        Yes, I’ll grant you those points, but this message didn’t have the snotty tone of the emails. I felt like it was written by someone who had been burned in a different way by this so-called publisher.

      • dangerousape

        I’m pretty certain “a nobody author” refers to the editor themselves; they say further up they’re also a writer. (In fairness, YMMV, etc.)

    • mikebrendan

      Inserting an apostrophe where it’s grammatically incorrect is not a formatting mistake. Adding content and changing context in multiple parts of the manuscript is not editing. Both are measures of gross incompetence, as were the reponses given to MDG.
      Given that it’s not the first time this sort of shenanigans has come from Mr. Giangregorio, I’m disinclined to believe this was a mistake. Or an apology.

    • mikebrendan

      Inserting an apostrophe where it’s grammatically incorrect is not a formatting mistake. Adding content and changing context in multiple parts of the manuscript is not editing. Both are measures of gross incompetence, as were the reponses given to MDG.
      Given that it’s not the first time this sort of thins hemangioma has been brought about by Mr. Giangregorio, I’m disinclined to believe this to be a mistake. Or an apology.

    • Ramsey Campbell

      Forgive me, I’m not sure I understand. To quote:

      “I never wanted this to happen. I didn’t “edit” the author’s story and laugh at her plight. I should have spoken to the author herself, but I did not have any contact with her. I refuse to slander anyone who was involved. I edited her story.”

      In the space of four sentences you appear to say both that you did and did not edit the story. To quote the lady whose story it is:

      “They turned a non-gendered character into a boy, they named the best friend, they created a memory for the main character about animal abuse. They added a suggestion of rape at the end…”

      Did you make those changes?

  195. carsonbuckingham

    You have recourse here. Contact Preditors & Editors and have that publishing house listed as “Not Recommended.” Be prepared to turn over all your correspondence with that jerk to them, so they can see that he’s an unprofessional eejit. Writers Beware is another good outfit to report them to. And from now on, tell anyone who wants the right to “edit” your work that you want it written into the contract that you get to see the final version before the book goes to press. If they won’t do that for you, place your work elsewhere.

  196. JC Hemphill

    Let me say one thing about the editor of the anthology (since I noticed some anger toward him)–Vincenzo Bilof. He might have made the changes, but I’ll bet it was not his decision to keep the author out of the loop. From what I understand, Anthony G. makes those decisions and was the only one to communicate (or, in this case, not communicate) with the authors. The editor most likely did his job–editing, suggesting changes at the behest of Anthony G.–and nothing more. Anthony G. failed to pass those suggestions on to the author.

    Let’s try to remember that not everyone (much like the authors in his anthology) associated with the owner of Undead Press is, by association and employment, as guilty as he.

    Otherwise, the owner of this press seems to be a combination of uneducated and hardheaded. Spread the word.

    • elfwreck

      An editor who adds apostrophes to verbs doesn’t deserve the name. If he changed the title to “She Make’s Me Smile,” he’s incompetent. And if he never said, “hey, this needs some real work to fix; shouldn’t we send that to the author to do?” he has no idea how editing works in any kind of publishing industry. Someone wrote the new sections without checking with the author, and Tony’s email implied it was the editor.

      The publisher seems to be treating these stories as term-papers-for-hire, where you start with someone else’s work and nobody will ever notice or care how much you change it to fit your own preferences.

      • Editor

        I did explain this situation here on the blog…

        The title was a formatting mistake. I was disgusted with it. I had nothing to do with it, I promise you. I am not pointing a finger at anybody, but I would be upset, too. I did not format the book. I apologized to Ms. De Geit here on this blog…I understand why she is upset. I would have felt the same way. I take the blame for what I did, but I won’t have anything to do with the issue of her story’s name.

    • mandydegeit

      There are three sides here I suppose, my wrath was directed at whoever didn’t tell me about the changes, which I would say was Tony G. Also, thanks for reading and for all your support!

  197. Anne Barringer

    I feel your pain and your anger. I think it is totally wrong and that it’s one of the most unprofessional things I’ve ever seen. Especially his responses – which were beyond childish.

    I have had it where a publisher decided to rush the anthology out in time for an “event” and the result was shocking (although not as horrifical as your story) In fact, to this day, I can’t pass by the book without cringing inside. I had sentences repeated, no italics (so most internal thought was lost), typos, indents missing (one a major one) etc. And since it was the first real acceptance it was a complete and utter let down.

    Tell you what I’d like to do, screw buying the book, if you have a paypal, I’ll pay you for the real story and happily read it without the baggage. After all, if they did it to you, how many other people did they do it to?

    Hit me up via my email or FB and let me know.

    I’m sorry it happened to you. May your next experience be all that it is suppose to be and more.

    Anne

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  199. A. W. Gifford

    This Tony guy is just an ass. Wile we at Bete Noire Magazine do edit, we don’t over edit. We also give the author a chance to review the story before it goes to print. This is just common practice. Tony G has no idea what he’s talking about. If we feel a story needs more work, we send our suggestions to the writer and ask for a rewite. We had a story that we asked for a rewite four times becasue we like the concept, but had issue with the execution. We did finally accept the story on the fourth rewrite and it never crossed our mind to just rewrite it ourselves.

    And an editor should now how to use spell check.

  200. jdjones

    Two options. Sue the guy. There are some attorneys in MA that will assist writers and artists for free. You are the copyright holder. One of your rights as copyright holder is the right to control contractual terms and dissemination of the copyrighted material. You gave him a one year exclusive and authorized editing – not rewriting, certainly not adding new scenes. Second option – submit this to the federal prosecutors for consideration. Since he has a habit of doing this, I’d say he knowingly violated your copyright. And knowingly violating someone’s copyrights can constitute criminal activity. So write a nice letter to the federal prosecutor, attach a copy of the contract, the correspondence and ask if they’d like to consider prosecuting. Point them to any websites that might contain other potential victims. You could cc the individual on the letter just to let him sweat. Attorney’s fees in contracts do not apply to criminal prosecutions instituted by third parties. And most federal offices are about to get summer law clerks – this could be a good case for them to practice on. :-)

  201. Karen Syed

    As a small press publisher, I can assure you all that not all small presses operate this way. For my company the author has the final say in what is printed. We go through an extensive editorial process, changes are suggested, then discussed between author and editor. Changes are either made by the author or rejected. If rejected, there are more discussions until a point is agreed on, whether in the author’s favor or not. And when I say this, I mean things like word choice or sentence structure. Any editor should make a point not to mess with an author’s voice. Once a manuscript is finished it then goes to the proof stage. The author goes through it again, documents and required revisions, and the editor makes them. It gets sent back to the author, the author again reads the MS, notes any required revisions, and back to the editor. I have had a couple books go to a 6th proof stage before the author signs off on it and sends a letter stating that they approve THAT file for publication. The author has the final say in our company. In almost all cases once the book goes into publication the author comes to me and says, there are more mistakes we have to fix them. Well, no we don’t HAVE to fix them because I have a letter where YOU said you approved it and it was as god as it could be. BUT, we will make those changes and upload new files, because no one wants a sucky book out there with their company logo on it.

    Bottom line is, YOU, as the author should ALWAYS have final approval on your work, and if it doesn’t say that in your contract, then it is just asking for trouble. Not everyone knows this, so this experience will go a long way in the education of many, so sorry it had to be at Mandy’s expense. I would not wish this on anyone!!!

    • Richard Thomas

      Good point, Karen. Whenever I am about to sign with a press, publication or agent that I don’t know that well, I always ask some of the authors that have been there before how the relationship, product and experience was.

  202. M.S. Fowle

    I’m so sorry this happened to you! You’re right – I would rather they had rejected the story all together than butcher it the way they did. What if someone had gone behind Da Vinci and changed the expression on Mona Lisa’s face?
    Is it possible to take legal action against them? I would think that if they did that much “editing” then they would need your approval before publishing it that way.

    • IntrovertedAnalyst

      I laughed most heartily when he said that Shakespeare and Hemingway were the first to use their plots. Shakespeare- who turned taking elements of legends and history for his own purposes into a fine art.

  203. brettjtalley

    I’d just point out that while everyone suggesting Mandy take legal action points to Canadian law, it seems that the contract specifies that the laws of Massachusetts will govern the contract and that she would have to file suit in Boston. I think she has done all she can by posting this story.

  204. tonyschumacher

    I suppose the choice boils down to whether or not you want to take the chance of upsetting them by asking what they mean by “edit” when you get the contract. I’m guessing reputable publishers will let you know with a quick email to explain. The ones like these clowns will throw their hands in the air, snap their pencil, stomp around their office (which is actually their bedroom) shouting “JESUS CHRIST!” for ten minutes (while their Mum down stairs turns up the tv) before firing off a poorly written email decrying you and writers in general.
    I’d suggest, once you’ve read the emails, you decide which publisher you want to publish with.
    Tony

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  206. violafury

    Wow!
    Been following this story around, Mandy. So sorry for you and it seems this is not a rare occurrence. I hope that this conniving freak ends up in jail and fined into oblivion. I’m pulling for you, Mandy!

  207. Mike

    Stuff like this makes me, an unpublished writer, very wary of even attempting to get my material out there. I’ve heard the horror stories before…publishing companies completely re-writing story elements and whatnot…but to see it firsthand like this simply turns my stomach. I found out about this courtesy of Brian Keene, who is quite vocal about this whole situation. Best of luck to you Mandy.

  208. P.N. Elrod

    I could suggest–if you ordered the books via credit card–that you file a charge back with them through the card company, since the books you purchased are not the ones you want. Return them to the guy and get your money back if you can. It’s legal and your right as a consumer.

    Speaking as an editor, I’d sure as heck NEVER do unauthorized rewrites. A good editor points out problems, makes suggestions, and has the writer fix things.

    • Fred Nath

      Well I read the rant. Must say I agree with every word.
      I’ve been very lucky to find a small start-up press and understood they were learning a bit as I was. Matt Stephens of Fingerpress made it plain to me he was just starting out but wanted to publish my book (The Cyclist). The book was edited in Canada then emailed back to me with corrections. I worked through them and they came back and asked for a longer ending and an epilogue. I wrote those and they were incorporated. Then I had a chance to look at the galleys. Then the book was published. There were a few typos so they have been tackled in the ebook and if a print run comes later will be changed.
      BTW Matt says I can have as many author copies as I want and I haven’t paid for any. We work well together and the second book (Farewell, Bergerac) will be out in the next month or two. He always explains why there are delays, changes etc and I personally am very happy with this small press. Even if a big press approached me I wouldn’t change. I like being part of a new rising star instead of a jaded stodgy machine.
      Bottom line, not all indie presses are bad, you just dropped unlucky with this one. You sure they aren’t some kind of vanity press?
      Best of luck with it though.

  209. Jason McKinney

    Reblogged this on and commented:
    Were it not for my dear friend, Janet Sked, I wouldn’t know about this. My reaction was WTF and the more I delve into this mess, the angrier I become for Ms. DeGeit.

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  212. Leslie

    Dear Mandy: I went through the same thing was another press and another “editor” last summer. I guess they’re working with the same play book. At least I was able to convince the “editor” to pull my story. It really, really hurt. And he was pretty nasty to me. Keep writing: I will if you will. :^)

  213. Greg Smith

    I’m terribly sorry to hear what you went through with what amounts to a bunch of charlatans and bastards, to boot. As I sit here working on my second-hopefully-to-be-published story I feel nervous about what writers have to contend with nowadays to have their material legitimately published. The hardship some writers go through to produce their story is one thing, but to then have to contend with traumatic situations like this … CRAP!! Thankfully there are ton of great writers “out there” who are only too willing to help us beginners along the right path. We’re a great family … us writers. Let’s continue to look out for one another … please?

  214. Eric R Lowther

    Having an editor change and add (not edit) so much to a short story is a killer. I’m not one for much advice, but I make it a rule not to sign a contract on a short until I see the galley (or I ask an add-in to the contract that states if I don’t approve the galley copy it’s null). No one ever believes the author when they say it’s the editor’s doing, but I know from personal experience it happens. Good luck in your future wordsmithing!

  215. Peter Eng

    If I had the money, I’d create a little brass plaque to send to Tony G. with the “worthy of being printed professionally” line on it, and the title “The Judith Griggs Award for Writer-Publisher Relations.”

  216. J.D.Hughes

    Mandy, your post reinforced my opinion of publishers and their familiars. I had to laugh because I have just sacked an editor who wanted to edit a dfferent novel to the one she was given. She was genuinely annoyed that I preferred the story I had written to the one she wanted to write. Without malice, I invited her to write her own, but she declined for some reason.

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  218. patcadigan

    Hi, Mandy–

    I left this as a comment on your entry “When Publication Goes Wrong” but I’m not sure it’s going to show up for reasons having to with my incompetence with software. So I’m going to leave it here and if it shows up there after all, you can delete one of the two. I saw this because Neil Gaiman highlighted it and it appeared in my Twitter-generated online newspaper/aggregate “Whatever.” I haven’t had time to read all the comments on your post because there were 175 of them the last time I looked, so someone may already have made this suggestion: contact either SFWA or HWA as soon as possible and ask for advice. You may have some recourse, including the return of the story to you for re-sale elsewhere. It doesn’t matter if you’re not a member of either of these organisations already–SFWA is really good about helping new writers. My experience with HWA is limited but they’re good people, too.

    I’ve been a professional sf-fantasy-horror writer for over thirty years and nothing like this has ever happened to me. Get in touch with SFWA or HWA as soon as you can.

    Hope your next experience with publication is much, much better,

    Pat Cadigan

    (moved from About page to appropriate post ~Mandy)

  219. tragon11

    Unfortunately, stories like this are not all that uncommon in the world of small press publishing. Check out this sordid little tale that I blogged on SFReader.com.
    http://forums.sfreader.com/entry.php/302-CAPTAIN-BLIGH-SCUTTLES-MORDECAI-SLATE-NOVEL
    And to update the story, the same publisher has removed my story from the ebook version of the Showdown at Midnight anthology, I guess so he won’t have to pay me any royalties. Obviously a breach of contract, but evidently contracts mean nothing to him.
    If you want to read about more pleasant things, like the Flash Gordon serial, The Avengers movie, and other things, check out my own blog.
    johnmwhalen.wordpress.com
    Comment by John M. Whalen – May 18, 2012 10:38 am

  220. tragon11

    Thanks, Mandy. I’m sure it will work out for the best and my book will get published. But I’m glad you spoke out. These kinds of publishers live on the Internet. But they should remember, it’s a double-edged sword. What happened to my book was a kind of murder, in the sense that he killed it. What happened to your story was more like a rape. But don’t let it discourage you. Keep banging those keys.

  221. Chris K.

    Mandy, I was first made aware of this through Brian Keene’s website and the outrage and outpouring of support has been amazing. At least (unfortunately…or not) you’re not alone in this douchenozzle’s fuckery…and while he may attempt to manifest himself in another “name” and hack publisher, I doubt seriously he’d be around long before outed. Bestselling author Jonathan Maberry was one of his recent victims and methinks that is the WRONG guy to piss off. And Neil Gaiman’s support, among many others. Best of luck to you and it makes me feel great that as a much larger writing community that we have each other’s backs…

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  223. ptslug

    The “editor’s” actions are unconscionable. I wrote a 1 star review at Amazon, quoting the email letter you got. This was posted on my blog the next day.:
    E-mail : notgonnasay@gmail.com
    URL :
    Whois : http://whois.arin.net/rest/ip/74.141.251.55
    Comment:
    Hi. we saw your review over at Cavalcade of Terror on Amazon. Thanks for shitting all over the writers who had nothing to do with the disreputable publisher’s shady edits. I wonder how you’d enjoy a bunch of one-star reviews for your upcoming Woman In Black, perhaps these reviews would attack someone besides you, someone that deserved it, like a big publisher who overlooked your work, or a problem with the size of the font? But I’m sure it wouldn’t bother you that potential readers might accidentally associate that one-star with you, the author. A bunch of one-star reviews next to authors names is a small price to pay so you can point out what we already know and pat yourself on the back like you did anything but make a fucking fool out of yourself. Appreciate it. Thanks for getting involved. We’ll see you in July when your book is released?

    One would think that a writer who was wronged wouldn’t be afraid to include an email address.

    • Rocky Alexander

      Well, I won’t speak for anyone else, but I personally agree with “notgonnasay” in regard to having my name associated with a bunch of single stars as a result of something that has nothing to do with my writing. While the quality of my story was diminished by the editing, my name is still in that book. That average readers will bother to find out why there happens to be so many one star reviews of “Cavalcade,” and won’t automatically chalk it up to bad writing is, I think, an optimistic assumption. It’s not inconceivable that someone–maybe someone of a particular importance–will see the name of one of the contributing authors in the future, and remember that name as being associated with a shitload of bad reviews.
      I was of the understanding that the book was pulled from distribution, but apparently it’s been reissued with the exclusion of Mandy’s story. But while my name is still affiliated with the book, along with the names of fourteen other authors, I respectfully ask that people refrain from giving poor reviews just to spite Tony.
      Thank you.

  224. kellymhudson

    Mandy,
    I read your blog last week while I was gone out of town and this whole thing blew up. I really haven’t had a chance to respond until now. I have been published in a number of Tony’s anthologies and he put out two novels by me, as well. I have not had any real troubles dealing with him. Other than the money thing, he’s been very fair to me. Until this last anthology, the one you had a story in. I got Cavalcade in the mail and opened it and was shocked that my story had been fucked with. I, too, had little bits added here and there as well as a full paragraph towards the end. The writing did not match my style at all and stuck out. Quite frankly, it embarrassed me. I got pissed, like anyone would, and let it fester a couple of days. I decided to let it go and move on. I wasn’t going to have anything to do with Tony anymore. I still am not. When I read your blog, I shook my head. I feel really bad for you and, really, for all of us in that book. We did nothing to deserve this. We write our stories and hope they’re good enough to grow an audience. When you’re starting out, you just want to get your stuff out there. To have this happen is very discouraging. Hang in there. If you need anything, you can look me up on Facebook as Kelly M. Hudson.
    Oh, and thanks for writing this blog. It has helped me tremendously.
    Kelly M. Hudson

    • mandydegeit

      Hey there Kelly. I’ve tracked you down on FB. I’m so sorry he messed around with your story. Sometimes I wish I was the only one this happened to, but the impact has been far greater with more people coming out of the woodwork. I don’t understand how he can keep doing this over and over. I still stand behind my previous plan to invest 50% of SMMS sales into a lawyer fund. I’ve been told we have our rights back (not full but the right to republish our stories) but not by Tony, himself. Thanks for posting and let’s chat some more.

  225. Richard Thomas

    ^yes, what ramsey said. they should have been returned to you upon publication, that’s pretty standard. the only other thing i’ve seen is sometimes they’d say you can’t republish it for a time period (maybe 3-6 months) but the rights should definitely be yours upon publication. good point, RC.

    • mandimlynch

      Not always. Every publisher is different. Some ask for rights for a certain amount of time. But there’s a contract, so it should go by whatever the contract says…

  226. JaytheBigLug

    What happened to you was absolute, unprofessional BS and I truly sorry you had to go through it. As a side-observation, though, I can’t help but be appalled at how horribly written his correspondence was. As an editor, and as a (supposed) professional, he’s demonstrating he can’t handle the grammar required to convey a thought via post-it note…

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  228. Lia

    Horrible, horrible behavior on Tony’s part. The first two lines of his reply already had me boiling with rage. I hope “She Makes Me Smile” finds success and I wish you all the best! i just spread the word about this on facebook and my blog.

  229. Storm

    This is a direct violation of the contract. You should speak with an attorney. Between the duress and emotional trauma, as well as the massacre of your story, you may have grounds to sue this illiterate jackass. You may also want to look in to Amazon’s Create Space publishing. I am very happy with them and there is none of the insanity you dealt with with this moron.

  230. Angela Verdenius

    I am so sorry. An editor, in my experience, checks for spelling and grammar mistakes, and communciates with the author about any changes that might need doing. It’s a partnership, not a take-over. I have many books published with another press, who I’m really happy with, and I’ve also started self-publishing in other genres, which I love. Big hugs to you, girl. I feel for you

  231. Ileandra Young

    What absolute gobsh*tes. What an awful, awful story. I’m sorry to hear what’s happened to you and I’m incredible grateful that you’ve chosen to share.
    These sorts of stories are enough to scare me out of submitting anything, but writers need to know about the sharks out there.

  232. Kim Kouski

    Oh Mandy, I’m so very sorry this happened to you. It seems to me if your writing was soooo bad then why work with you? Why not just say, I’m sorry, but this doesn’t work for me and let you go? Why change the story? I can’t imagine how horrible to see someone rape your story in such a horrible way. but you have over 500 responses so hopefully that’s 500 people following your blog which will help create a platform. So hopefully something good came out of this. Hang in there!!

    • mandydegeit

      That’s what I said. I would’ve been okay with a rejection. I suppose he thought I wouldn’t say anything… He didn’t know me very well. ;) Thanks for taking the time to read and post. I’m keeping everyone posted on what’s been going on, but it’s been a little quiet. :D Which I suppose it good. Thanks again for posting!

    • mandydegeit

      Well I just heard he has another anthology coming down the pipes. It sucks cause the authors are the ones getting screwed. All I can say is try to get books through the authors, as they at least make money on them and Tony sells it to them for 40% off, so he’s not making all the profit. :D Thanks for reading and taking the time to post :D

  233. Jeff Baker

    In the first “Masters of Darkness” book, Robert Bloch told how the original editor had thought the ending of his story “The Animal Fair” was too subtle so the editor changed it!! As Bloch put it “Some moron had emasculated my child!” Sorry you had this experience, Mandy.

  234. Chris

    I too had a story published by Living Dead Press. Like you, I was so very excited. But right from the start I had trouble with Tony. First off, my full first name is Christopher, but I never go by that–I go by Chris, always. I signed my contract as “Chris”, I submitted the story under “Chris.” Before the book went to publication, Tony sent me a proof and I saw my name listed as Christopher. Now this wasn’t a huge deal, but I wrote him a very polite email saying essentially “If there is still time, could you possibly change my name to Chris? If not, no problem.” He replied with an email in ALL CAPS, accusing me of not telling him beforehand I wanted to go by Chris and not Christopher–even though I had never used my full first name in any of our dealings. And then, almost ten minutes after he sent that email, he sent another telling me it was fine and he fixed it.

    Then there was an issue with my ending. My story involved zombie animals–feral cats to be precise. He wrote to me and said “I love the story but you need to add a HUMAN zombie at the end–people HATE animal zombie stories.” I wasn’t sure where he was getting that statistic from; I had never heard anything like that. But at the time I was so excited and desperate to be published that I said “what the hell” and added a little extra bit to the end.

    Finally the day came. I got a copy of the book, and flipped to my story. The title wasn’t even centered on the page; it was clear someone had just hit “tab” a bunch of times rather than, you know, centering it. And things just got worse as I read. There were grammar and spelling mistakes that I did NOT make in my submitted copy. And then at the very end I saw he had added a whole section I did NOT write. And not only that, but it was a really BAD section totally not fitting the tone of the story.

    I was hurt more than I was angry. Why would he do this? I considered emailing him, but I had had such awkward dealings with him in the past that I just let it go, and never dealt with Living Dead Press again.

    • mandydegeit

      Hey Chris, thanks for sharing your story. Sounds like you had the same experience I did. :( Tony is a horrible publisher as well as a terrible author and I’m sorry this happened to your story. I could probably make an encyclopedia set out of the stories molested by this hack.

      On a good note, we leaned our lessons. I believe in karma, I’m sure Tony has some bad karma coming his way. Thanks again for commenting.

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  240. JoIie B.

    Next time just publish straight to Kindle after having someone proof and edit for you. LOL Then you don’t get the unprofessional jerky issue.

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  246. Dee

    Hi there! I could have sworn I’ve visited this blog before but
    after browsing through a few of the posts I realized it’s new
    to me. Anyways, I’m definitely happy I found it and I’ll
    be book-marking it and checking back often!

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