Well, there’s another dark cloud on the horizon for a small press – Blu Phi’er, to be exact. You can find details of the goings-on of this small press here and here. In a nutshell, not only did they cancel two anthologies and NOT inform any of the contributors, meaning that they have/had stories tied up there for months that could have been sold elsewhere, but they’re also playing fast and loose with the contracts, according to Absolute Write postings. Seems they’re making changes and not following them up in writing or even deciding to not comply with the contracts after signing them in good faith. Oh, yeah… that’s not going to look good for the public.
As well they’ve decided to not provide copies to the Horror Mall, an online horror bookstore, for a popular new book titled “Snuff”, even after taking pre-orders. Which, obviously, is going to affect sales of the book – d’oh!
And here’s another – Wild Cherry Press. Seems that they’re trying to dodge paying royalties to their authors by claiming that they’re in Spain, which I have no idea of the logic therein. Heck, the Bewares and Background board at AW is filled with these sorts of small presses with people not only asking about them but also victims posting their misadventures. It’s downright depressing, it is.
Now it’s possible that these companies are just going through a rough period or some other wonderful excuse for their mistreatment of their authors, but this is a huge warning sign to those of you considering going with small presses. CHECK THEM OUT first. With Absolute Write, with Writer Beware, with Preditors & Editors, with your Google search engine. Don’t be afraid to ask the tough questions – as noted on the AW thread it’s not surprising to most of the posters that there was trouble a-brewing due to the flashing red signs that kept popping up. And note that while there’s probably a few successful BP authors, that’s probably due more to their hard work than to their publisher.
Don’t automatically assume that any negative criticism is due to rampant envy on the part of the poster or that someone’s out to keep the small presses down – there are plenty of EXCELLENT small presses and micropresses out there providing excellent material to the reading masses. But you have to look, ask and ask some more. Some publishers will tell you not to pay attention to Absolute Write; that because Writer Beware is run by SFWA and Victoria Strauss that they’ve got a hate on for small presses and the like – don’t believe a word of it. Better yet, check out the listings and see the horrors inflicted on these authors for yourself.
Hopefully this can all be resolved in a painless way for the authors, but I doubt it. Many of these wannabees tend to slither back under their rock and leave a trail of destruction in their wake with authors trying to get the rights for their books back and plenty of hurt feelings, not to mention lost income. It’d be nice to report in a few days that all’s well and they’ve cleaned up their act. But I’m not holding my breath.