I’ve been a prolific writer for many years, and I have quite a backlog of unpublished short stories, most of which shall always remain unpublished. That’s just reality. There are some solid ideas in the pile, but overall most of them aren’t really worthy of being sent out into the world unless I go back and rewrite them. With so many new ideas always invading my head, it doesn’t seem logical.
I’ve had a couple of stories submitted and ‘bought’ by small press publishers that have never seen actual publication, and that is the price you pay at times for dealing with companies that range from professional to scatter-brain, broke and just a dreamer with an idea. I have no problem with presses tanking and shutting down, because it’s just the way the business works. What I have a problem with is a small press company that strings your story along for months and sometimes years, and then suddenly releases a book with your story in it and never bothers to tell you or give you any credit in their Amazon listing or anywhere else.
It’s recently happened to me for the second time, and it leaves a bad taste in my mouth, to be honest. The original submission went out in March 2012 and was finally accepted in September 2012, which is a long period to wait but fine. Maybe six months isn’t a big deal. Of course, a query after 2 months and 4 months went unanswered, which was annoying. But I got it.
I went back and forth over the next week or so about edits (I had a couple) and then they were going to send me further notice. This was September 2012.
And then I heard nothing. So in November 2012 I asked about it but no answer. As well as January and February 2013, all unanswered. I sent them an e-mail saying I was pulling the story since I’d never seen anything further from them, never saw a word about the press again, and the website is pretty stagnant.
Today… March 2013, I get an ‘Oops! This was published in October 2012, the e-mail must have gone to your spam folder (which it did not, since I check it every few hours to make sure nothing gets dumped there, which stuff does) and I sent out a mass e-mail. Here’s the link.’
The Amazon listing only has the editor and one contributor listed and the cover designer and none of the other authors involved and only a few of them tagged on the bottom of the page (about half?) which bothers me. Why?
As a small press publisher you’d think the goal would be not only to put out a great anthology, but to get your authors involved in promoting the heck out of it and generating sales for it. This book is languishing in the 1.8 million ranks, the cover is so generic (it’s the same cover you’ve seen a dozen times in the last few months with the zombie chick on the cover) and they only have 4 reviews. And it is for charity!
Why not let the authors get behind it? Why not send out more than one mass e-mail saying it was released and here’s the link? Why not ask for authors to post about it on their blogs, tell them to mention it in interviews or just ask for help promoting it? It feels like, after all that time, they just wanted to toss it out there and be done with it.
I had a similar situation with a vampire anthology last year. I finally wrote a vampire story but the press went under and another took over, but then they just put it out without any author input or listings anywhere, and it tanked. I’m not expecting every author to be listed in the title, but a list of their names in the book description might generate a few sales, right? Why think a reader will see the title and the editor’s name and take even a second to open the sample and read to see who’s on the ToC?
Am I being too dramatic this morning? Am I putting too much effort into this? I haven’t gone on Author Central yet and linked this anthology to my author page, and I’m not sure I want to. It’s been out for five months already without me knowing about it, and there has been zero promotion for it. There was never any payment for the story, and no royalties are forthcoming… I’m not sure why I even submitted now, to be honest. I think the concept was great and the website (at the time) was very professional and it was for a charity, so I sent it in. I like doing charity anthologies, but I’m curious how much money was actually generated without any promotion.
I’m not going to tell you the name of the book or the company. If I decide to list it in my books it will be up there, but I seriously doubt I will go through the minor effort of doing it. It seems they didn’t bother.