A word to the wise for those who are writers or plan on becoming one in the future.
For the most part, my posts on this blog have been related to my work and the work of others: reviews, updates, and promotion of my work and the work of my fellow writers. There have been a few commentaries on my experiences in writing and I will admit there probably needs to be more. While I am far from an expert on how to get published or just in the craft of writing, I have learned a few things along the way and continue to learn new things every day.
One thing in particular that I have learned is that there are so many people out there who genuinely care for one another in the writing community. They may make their living writing, editing, publishing, doing formatting…or they may be doing it more as a sideline-hobby/passion/dream of making it big someday (most of us are like that, in fact), or they are fans of the different genres: horror, science fiction, fantasy, bizarro, etc who have dreams of getting more involved down the road-maybe making movies, writing, creating their own publishing company, or something else. They pour their blood, sweat, and tears into what they do, and care about it enough to make sure they do the best job possible-not just for themselves, but for everyone else who is relying on them. Social media has allowed pretty much everyone to share their thoughts, connect, and join in the conversation with a very wide ranging community that is all over the globe. I’ve learned a lot from a lot of different people. Not just about writing, but about the business side of things-what it takes to get a book out there, how to promote your work, how do you hook up with filmmakers, etc. I’ve been lucky because I’ve associated myself with people who not only care about what they do, but they behave in a very professional manner.
But you hear stories now and again about someone who steals stories from other authors and claims them to be their own, or publishers who refuse to pay the artists for the work they put out there. It is unfortunate, but the people who share their experiences and send out warnings pave the way for the rest of us to be able to avoid the same pitfalls, and because of that, we all are grateful to these brave souls. Sometimes the lessons are more simple, such as avoiding getting provoked by a review of your work that you disagree with. Tales of woe for authors abound on this front.
This brings me to the main topic of this post. Yesterday, I saw two separate warnings posted on Facebook from two separate authors, both of which are fairly new to being published. Quite a few people have since shared their information with everyone on Twitter and Facebook that they know, and I am joining their ranks. As some of you know, I tend to keep my opinions to myself beyond of the topic of the writing I do or someone else’s work…and when I do comment on anything anyone else does, I do my best to be constructive and professional about it. I have avoided more flammable topics, but for right now, I feel it’s important that I share these two tales with anyone who reads my blog. Take away from them what you will. It is my hope that what has happened to these two writers doesn’t have to happen to anyone else because of what they’ve shared.
The first post is from horror author Alyn Day.
The second is from author Mandy De Geit.
I think it is fair to share these blog posts with the world, as I think it would also be fair for me to share any rebuttals that the publisher has to offer to either or both of these authors, if I hear of one in the future. Because there is always two sides to the story, and even with the information shared above, I would be curious to see what response there may be to these accusations. It is a shame when things like this happen. But as so many others have said and I have as well, the fact that this information was shared makes all of us the wiser and more prepared as writers going forward with our efforts.
So always be alert and concerned about what is going on around you as a writer. Find out as much as you can about a editor, a publisher, and everyone else involved in working with you before you hand your pride and joy over to them. Just as you expect a mechanic to be trained to work on cars and a doctor to have a medical degree before you let them tell you to bend over and cough, you should know the history of who you are looking to work with in advance of agreeing to anything. But if you do end up making a mistake (and we all have, on many different occasions), don’t hesitate to share with others, so they can learn and avoid those same mistakes.
Hey, I happened upon this post, and it certainly is very shocking. I had a similar (but nowhere near as bad) thing happen with a magazine that I was commissioned to write an article for. After I submitted the article, they decided they wanted a longer artlcle than the one they had asked me for, and rather than coming back to me to write more (and I guess having to pay me more!), they just made up a load of stuff, including some supposed quotes from the person I had interviewed, and it ended up putting a completely different slant on the article than I had intended! It is frustrating when something bears your name, and it’s certainly not acceptable.
May 15, 2012 at 10:58 am
I’ve been very lucky with the relationships I’ve had thus far with publishers. No experiences like that, but you hear about them and there are probably a lot more that never go public. It’s a shame, but with each instance shared more writers become more wary of what may happen with their work, even with a reputable publishing entity. It’s shocking to hear that someone feels it’s okay to add junk to an article you craft just to up the word count and still claim the entire article has been written by you. But I guess the shock wears off and it becomes less surprising the more you hear these things.
May 15, 2012 at 11:17 am
Another thing that can happen is more basic, in that they don’t treat your work in a professional manner.
(My review is the last one regarding formatting issues.)
I purchased and LOVED your “Dark Trilogy” on kindle, but sadly there’s nowhere for me to leave a review on Amazon. I will try to find it on goodreads.com?
I especially liked the back stories on the Dark Trilogy characters, and I was glad to see they were included as a “bonus”. (I think it was wise to streamline the books, but include these at the end. The work was better paced that way.)
I bought “Zombiality” because you had a story in it, (GREAT as usual by the way).
Just thought you’d like to know that you do have fans out there, so you’ll be encouraged to write more “stuff”.
May 17, 2012 at 4:16 pm
I’m sorry that Zombiality had a bad kindle version. It really is tragic when an ebook isn’t formatted correctly and isn’t fixed. But I am flattered by your words. I received a paper copy of Zombiality from the publisher, and haven’t checked out the ebook. I have some extra copies of it, and if you would like, I would be happy to send you a signed copy of Zombiality. You can drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with an address to send it to and I’ll be happy to do so.
As for the Dark Trilogy and my individual novels that make it up, the reason you can’t write a review at this time is because I have gotten the rights back to my trilogy from Library of the Living Dead Press. I am in the process of signing an agreement with another publisher to reproduce the three books. Our plan is to include the Dark stories in the individual books-much like before, they will be included after the main story-I agree with you on the pace-those stories are something I am proud of, but I know they would have bogged down the action. So Comes The Dark, for example, will include the Dark Stories on Megan, George, and Jason, while Into The Dark will include the ones on Ben, Michael, and the teenage boys. Beyond The Dark will include a new story that I am writing on Lydia, along with a revised version of Michael, Alone, and Sadie’s Dark Story.
My plan is to write two additional novels in this particular universe…but I plan on making them so that anyone who hasn’t read the trilogy can pick them up and follow along, though my hope would be that because they tell the tale of the survivors of the trilogy, they will want to read them as well. So stay tuned and thank you so much for your support. Again, I’m sorry about Zombiality, but let me know if you would like the paper version and I’ll be happy to send you a copy.
May 17, 2012 at 5:03 pm
I am stunned by your generosity Patrick. I look forward to purchasing your future works.
I’m “psyched” to read your new stories in a revised version of Beyond The Dark. Do you have a time frame for that so I can keep an eye out for it?
I especially enjoy the way you don’t shy away from a REALISTIC treatment of a zombie apocalypse. Without giving too much away to people who haven’t read your work, not everything is a pat, “happy ending”.
There will be two additional novels? FANTASTIC!
If there is a link to your complete bibliography somewhere, it would be most helpful. I like to support authors that I enjoy by buying their works and spreading the word.
May 17, 2012 at 6:07 pm
There isn’t a timeframe on the redo on Beyond the Dark right now. Still working through contracts and all that, but I will make sure I let everyone know once I have more info.
As to my biography, you can go to the top of the my blog and click on “bibliography”, or you can go to my Amazon author’s page here: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003O5GJBC. My short stories appear in a bunch of different anthologies out there. If you go to my bio page above, and click on the pictures of the different books, it will take you over to Amazon.
Again, let me know if you are interested in the paper copy of Zombiality via email. Thanks again, and I’ll keep you posted on updates as they come about.
May 17, 2012 at 6:28 pm
Cool! I’m following your blog now automatically so I won’t miss the new “Beyond The Dark” whenever it comes out.
Just bought “Collabthology: Kindle of the Dead…” and “A Soldier’s Lament” (I’d already bought “Eye Witness: Zombie”, but I didn’t realize you had a story in it!)
May 17, 2012 at 6:41 pm
Yep, “A Soldier’s Lament” is the story I have in Eye Witness: Zombie, so unfortunately, you got a double dip there. I always like to mention that “A Soldier’s Lament” takes place in the same world as the Dark Trilogy. It could have been one of the Dark Stories, in fact, if it wasn’t about a character unrelated to all the others. I wrote the original draft in one night in sort of a crazed tangent-10,000 words that wouldn’t let me go until I got all of them out. If you haven’t read it yet, you’ll notice a couple of characters in it, toward the end, that play a prominent role in the dark trilogy, even if they aren’t mentioned by name.
May 17, 2012 at 8:34 pm
Looking forward to reading how “A Soldier’s Lament” unfolds!
(No problem with the double dip as long as you get the “cha-ching” ($), both from the anthology and directly from the short story version.)
May 17, 2012 at 8:55 pm
…that means I get to leave 2 good reviews instead of just one! Ha!
May 17, 2012 at 8:57 pm
I wanted to make sure you got the books I sent over to you. There was some other stuff in the box. I didn’t get a confirmation from the USPS, so no idea if it all got to you. Let me know if you could. Thanks!
July 18, 2012 at 12:12 pm