It’s been 10 days since my initial post about my experiences with Undead Press. Other authors such as Mandy DeGeit and Lincoln Crisler shared their experiences as well, with Mandy’s post going viral and thus drawing tons of attention to Anthony Giangregorio and the way he operates. Things got rather out of hand when good ol’ Tony G. sent me a veiled threat via Facebook. I won’t lie, it was scary. I felt incredibly naive for having given him all of my information on both the cover letter I sent with my submissions and the contract I signed for both anthologies. I have since gotten a P.O. Box and will be using that for all professional correspondance. While I know that the issues I experienced with Tony were one case, one isolated incident, I plan to be a lot more cautious going forward, not only in regards to being far more selective about who I send personal information to, but also in regards to where I send it, as well as my work.
I’d like to say that if I had done my homework and googled Giangregorio, Undead Press, or Open Casket that it might’ve prevented me from sending in my stories, but in all honesty, I doubt it. I was (and yes, I still am) a hungry young writer. A publisher, albeit a small, local one (local for me, anyway… which made that threat all the scarier) actually went out of his way to ask ME to submit something. There really wasn’t much thought required. I jumped at the chance, as I know far too many young writers are willing to do. I know that hunger well. I experience it daily. That burning, powerful desire to see your name in print can overwhelm all else, including common sense, if you let it. It’s so very easy to succumb to that bitter temptress, the one that whispers things like “Sure he screwed around with other people’s work… but that was them! I’m sure you’ll be fine!” and “It doesn’t matter what happens, it’s YOUR NAME IN PRINT!” But I’m here to tell you not to listen. Pay attention to the reputations of the markets you’re submitting to. We live in a wonderful age of free information that is readily available at all of our fingertips 24/7. There is absolutely no reason NOT to research a publisher before sending something in. Don’t fall victim to your own desire to be published. It’s like anything else, if you’re patient and persistent, and if you practice your art until you’ve honed your skills, you’ll find a home for your labors. More importantly, it’ll be the right home, hopefully with an editor who knows what editing means, one who respects you and the effort you put into those words and will work with you to clean up any rough edges or awkward phrases. It’s worth the wait, I promise. Yes, I had one negative experience, sure, but I’ve also had positive ones.
Matt Nord at Collaboration Of The Dead is just one example. They published my very first printed work, 78154, in the anthology So Long And Thanks For All The Brains. Matt was a consummate professional. He kept in touch with all of the authors during the process, provided updates and proofs, and edited the works involved without changing the authors’ words. He was a pleasure to work with and I do hope one day to work with him again.
Good publishers/editors/human beings are out there, you just have to be willing to work to get to them, and not to sell yourself short for a shot at seeing your name on a TOC. As a friend of mine once said, Make sure the publisher is worthy of your talent.
As a post script, the amazing Mandy DeGeit has published the story that started it all, She Makes Me Smile (this time without the unnecessary apostrophe) as originally written. It’s available on Amazon. She intends to use the profits to pay the authors associated with Cavalcade Of Terror as well as hiring a lawyer here in Mass to help with legal issues stemming from Undead Press’s treatment of its authors. Please make a purchase. Not only is it for a good cause, but it’s from a great new author who is sure to go places.