On the way home from Anthocon 2012, I was sitting in the back of the car playing on my iPhone, when I came across this beauty of a submission call.
After reading it out loud to my buddies in the car, we laughed and laughed and laughed (and laughed some more).
Now, let’s not all run out and write a story for this…
Actually, NOBODY should write a story for this.
Any guesses on who STFU Publishing belongs to?
(Yes, it’s actually called Shut The F*ck Up Publishing, the name itself should give you a little hint.)
DRUM ROLL PLEASE!
Tony G. has reared his ugly head again.
I’m hoping you’ll share this post for two reasons.
- Protect the new authors who don’t know about him yet.
- It’s freaking hilarious.
I especially love this part.
“Formatting is how you like, but preferred is single spaced with no tabs. Have name address, phone number info on first page only. If you don’t want to put phone and other info that’s fine, but don’t bother submitting then, as there are times when direct communication is necessary during the editing process.”
It should say: “There are times when direct communication is necessary, unless I’m going to change everything in your story…”
“How my story was Tonied” By Mandy DeGeit
ARGH!!! I wish this issue would just go away…
The issue being Tony and his presses: Undead Press, Living Dead Press and OpenCasket Press*.
*(On that note, why does he need three presses anyway? It makes him seem sketchy. Well he is a sketchy publisher, we all know this, but after the whole fiasco and everyone knowing what he’s up to… he’s still trucking in the publishing world.)
I was messaged by one of my fellow authors yesterday, Brent Abell. He had originally been accepted into Cavalcade of Terror, but was smart enough to pull out of the ToC when he saw the contract. Tony emailed him a few days ago, asking if the story he had originally sent in was still “up for grabs”. You can read Brent’s story here. I shook my head and said WTF? I couldn’t believe that after Brent pulled out of the anthology, Tony had the nerve to message him asking for the story. Obviously, Brent said no.
Shortly after the above mentioned happened, I received a message from Wes Southard (one of the authors who was in Cavalcade of Terror) stating the same thing. Tony emailed him asking for a story. This request was also turned down with a resounding NO! and Wes blogged about it here.
Since Tony is still up to his shoddy/vanity publishing tricks, I feel it necessary to bring up a few facts that may have saved me a lot of trouble in the beginning.
The two most important rules for writing, which have been driven into my brain by Kelli Owen, are both #1’s because they are both EQUALLY IMPORTANT and they are:
1- GET PAID!
Is your book up on Amazon for free? Is this a work for charity? Fine then, not a problem. Continue on.
If it’s not free to the general public, this means the publisher is making money off something you created for free. That’s not right. We are writers, it’s a job for us, why are we working for free? Do you get free gas from the gas station? Harlan Ellison says it best in his rant about getting paid. Watch the rant here.
1- CONTRACTS CAN BE CHANGED! (Before signing obviously)
This is something I didn’t know. The contract sent to you isn’t the be all and end all. You have the right to change things that you don’t like and send it back. If you don’t understand contracts, find someone who does.
Here’s the first page of the contract Tony sent me for She Makes Me Smile. Let’s discuss.
First of all, there’s a mistake in the title. “Calvacade of Terror” should be “Cavalcade of Terror”, I noticed this, but signed anyways. Honestly I told Wes Southard: “Worse case scenario, the spelling mistake gives us a way out of the contract, if we need one.” (Jebus, if I only knew how right I was.)
#1- License to Publish: “Publisher has the right to edit WORK before release” EDIT EDIT EDIT. Now even thought Tony doesn’t know the difference between edit and rewrite/rework/create new paragraphs, it was up to me to ensure somewhere in here said “I GET TO SEE THESE EDITS BEFORE THE STORY GOES TO PRINT” aka a galley will be sent to me so I can approve my story. *(This tiny step would’ve saved Tony a lot of trouble). Make sure you see something of the sort, allowing you to approve edits before publication.
#4- “Author is to be paid the rate of one print copy of an overstock book.” This is crap. This is Tony having too many of his own VanityBullcrapBooks floating around in his mom’s basement and she’s sick of looking at them. He’s paying us with one of his own books which he couldn’t sell, not even a copy of our own anthology. NO NO NO!
#5- “Subsidiary Rights” This means: Tony would get paid if you ever sold it for any movie rights or anything, that HE would get paid, so for a story he never paid YOU for, HE would get paid. THIS IS CRAP! *(I didn’t understand this one, and just signed it, that was my mistake. Kelli Owen explained it to me.) Please be cautious, again if you don’t understand something, ask around.
I could spend time going over the whole contract, but there’s really no point. Tony’s grammar and spelling in correspondance should’ve been enough for me to walk the hell away from whatever he was doing as a publisher, but the stars in my eyes blocked me from seeing what I should have. I let “the idea of being published” get in the way of common sense.
What I know now:
-Getting published in a vanity book like his isn’t worth the time I spent writing my stories.
-How to deal with contracts.
-Good presses will allow you to change your contract if there’s something you don’t like.
-If they want your story, the publisher will make things happen.
(I understand not everyone wants to hear me talk about this issue. I’m directing this specifically to the girl who told me off when I tried to warn her and a friend about Tony’s bad habits. While I understand you haven’t been screwed over YET, why risk it? To be published in a book that no one will see, which was just made so the publisher can showcase his stories and make money off something you worked on? If that’s why you write, then I bow out to you. You should check your contracts though, because I’m 100% sure you’ve lost a hell a lot more than you should’ve… but that’s okay, because you know better than me. 😀 Good luck with your writing. Sorry for trying to help. Also, I have a big fat I-told-you-so waiting, so don’t come crying to me when something does happens…)
Sorry, the above should’ve been: The Cavalcade of Vengeance Come’s in Canadian Sizes. *EYeTwItCh*
She Makes Me Smile (REDUX) is now available on Amazon.com for 0.99. This is the version I wanted everyone to enjoy.
To reiterate what is happening with the sales of SMMS: 50% is going into a bank account/mattress/piggybank and from those monies I’ll be paying all the authors in Cavalcade of Terror* $25 and a contributor’s copy of the now defunct Cavalcade of Terror, for their stories. *(Even TonyG. He can get his own book though…)
I also encourage you all to please take the time to find out if these authors have anything else available to read and read it. They do not deserve what’s happened to them, I only wanted my story pulled not the entire book.
Here’s the list of authors you should check out:
David James Keaton
M. L. Traxler
Kelly M. Hudson
P. A. Douglas
Wayne C. Rogers
*Cavalcade of Terror has been pulled from distribution again. It was taken down originally and SMMS was removed and replaced with a wonderfully titled story by TonyG. “Morgue of the Dead”. (Ummmm, as opposed to what… Morgue of the Living?) A day later, Wes Southard received an email from Tony stating he had no idea how Cavalcade got back up on Amazon as it was supposed to have been pulled because of an issue. He wouldn’t state what the issue was in the email, but if Wes wanted to talk on the phone, he’d tell him. Ha, Wes and I both know, I’m the Canadian issue.
Once the authors are paid, I will be contacting a contract lawyer based in Massachusetts to look over the contracts for Tony’s three presses. *(Even if just for an hour.) If something can be done, we shall forge ahead. I’m not looking for money or any form of compensation. My main concern is voiding contracts between Tony and the writers who feel their work was altered past the point of “editing”.
You can follow the progress here on my SMMS page. I even added a cool little thermometer thing. The first 900$ is to pay authors of SMMS because I broke their book. After I reach that goal, I’ll change it up to track the lawyer fees.
I want to take a moment to once again thanks everyone who had a part in this, and that includes everyone who shared, re-tweeted or told someone about what was going on. It wouldn’t have had the impact or the reach without all of your support.
I hope you enjoy the story, please let me know what you think, post a comment or tell a friend about it.
I’m not going to lie, I have been freaking out a little. I feel like expectations are so high with everyone watching me.
Well, I’ve always said I’m happy if just one person likes what I write. I think in this case, there’ll be more than that.
Thank for reading.
As I sit here, thinking of what I should start … The past few days, I’ve had… I’m not even sure how to…
ARGH! This whole situation has made it so I can’t even think of how to start a blog anymore. (If you missed “the situation”, my last blog post “When Publishing Goes Wrong… Starring Undead Press” went viral in less than 24 hours, being re-tweeted by huge names in the writing industry.) I’m not going into detail on this because I’m pretty sure everyone who reads has heard.
So here we are, exactly a week after receiving my first copy of the book with She Makes Me Smile in it.
In the last 7 days:
Over 30 000 people stopped in to visit my blog with more than 400 people taking a moment to post words of support or their own horror stories from their dealings with Tony G. This is what happens when your blog is shared and spread across the Internet like a promiscuous girl at the bar.
Vincenzo Bilof, the editor of Cavalcade of Terror, has come forward and apologized for the butchering of my story. James Roy Daley from Books of the Dead Press conducted interviews with Vincenzo and myself. Tony G. agreed to do an interview as well, but has yet to respond to Daley.
Cavalcade of Terror has been pulled from the shelves. Yesterday, I received a blank email from Tony with the subject: “cavalcade book has been pulled from distribution”. (Please note, having the book pulled was NOT what I intended. In my email, I asked Tony to remove my story and name from the publication and void my contract, not pull the entire book.) I’m not sure what happens to the contracts for the stories in Cavalcade, but I’ll be looking into this.
So what now you ask?
I’ve decided to self-publish* She Makes Me Smile as an e-book/story for 0.99 (That’s right! Less than a dollar for the story EVERYONE is talking about.) For 0.99$ you will receive my original story just as Undead Press received it, as well as “She Makes Me Smile” Redux. (This would be the version I wanted everyone to see, with proper editing, my personal writing tone and no blatant spelling or grammar errors.)
*(I’ve decided to self publish SMMS because of the controversy surrounding it. Tons of people and presses have offered to help me with SMMS, and while I thank everyone for their support, I think this is the best way to get it out there. I currently have Kelli Owen working on editing my story. (She’s used to edit most of the genre, knows what she’s doing, so it’s all good.)
~Here’s where this gets awesome.~
(Mind the caps, this deserves to be yelled!)
50% OF EVERY SALE FROM “SMMS” IS GOING INTO A FUND.
FROM THIS FUND, I AM PAYING EVERY AUTHOR ($25 and a contributor’s copy of the book) FOR THEIR STORY IN CAVALCADE OF TERROR.
THEN, WHATEVER IS LEFT WILL BE GOING TO A U.S. (MASSACHUSETTS) LAWYER TO REVIEW CONTRACTS BETWEEN TONY’S THREE PRESSES AND THE AUTHORS THAT FEEL THEIR WORK WAS BUTCHERED AS MINE WAS.
What I need from all of you is the same thing we did the last time, just share the link for She Makes Me Smile once it’s up and running. I’ll take care of the rest.
Well not really, I need a lawyer, (or will need one once fund start coming in). If you know of a lawyer who would deal with contracts and things of this nature, preferably based out of Mass, please let me know.
That^ would be the plan at the moment.
I don’t want this to happen to anyone else. I am not the only one who’s fallen under the spell of being published. There are so many people who have the same story. I understand there are people who have had good experiences with Tony and his presses, but the bad experiences greatly outweigh the good and something needs to be done.
Here’s a good analogy to why something needs to be done.
There’s this daycare I know of, where 20 kids are dropped off each week. Out of the 20 children, 5 are abused…
Should the daycare be permitted to stay open?
My words are my children.
Thanks for listening.
Do as I say, not as I do: I want to reiterate to everyone that Tony G. is not only Undead Press, but also OpenCasket Press and Living Dead Press. *(I posted links because I want people to see what to watch out for.) It was mentioned to me, by another author, perhaps my work needs editing. Maybe it did… No, of course it did, it was my first-ever published story. Many people have verified what happened to my story was not editing, it was altering. Please be cautious when reading your contract, don’t be afraid to ask questions and GET PAID!!! *(The publisher IS, why aren’t you?)
Kelli Owen will be posting a blog on Monday for new writers and one of the topics covered, which was throughly beat into me this weekend is GET PAID!
I was hoping that the next blog would be a happier one, I had plans for that… Then this happened.
I was working on the comments on my blog when all of a sudden Alyn Day messaged me on FB. Tony, our mutual “publisher” at Undead Press had messaged her stating he was coming to see her… AT HER HOUSE!
Here’s the screenshot. Please share this as this is a THREAT and should not be tolerated. I was told not to email him again unless my lawyer was involved… There’s no lawyer coming to her house I suppose. PLEASE SHARE!
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.
…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.
… … …
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.
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
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.)
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.
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.
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.