Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Meeting of the Minds/Chapbook Enterprises - my story, my warning

I have made posts before about my publisher. At first I was so thrilled with being published that I ignored warnings about dealing with her from other people who had previously dealt with her on a professional level. Then, things were going so well, and so quickly, with the publication of my chapbook that I had nothing to complain about, nor did I have the chance, such was the speed at which things were moving.

Shortly after the book was released, I had a few indications that things were not quite what I'd hoped, such as only receiving half the number of copies I was promised, and many of the copies I'd received being damaged in the binding process, or just poorly bound, crooked and creased. I tried, however, to forgive this, ignore this, or convince myself that it was a one time thing.

Then I began getting complaints of buyers getting copies in this same condition, or better yet, not receiving their copies at all. Shipping time was horrendous, one order was never even seen, responded to, or filled at all.

There were also issues with the publisher being "too busy" "unable" or "unwilling" to fulfill the promises made before publication. I was promised a web page - and my book cover was indeed put on a web page with a blurb and an order button... an order button that was linked to a paypal account with a faulty email address, and a button that seemed to work intermittently. Then I was promised that there would be advertising and press releases. Neither ever came to fruition.

I was promised quarterly reports and payment. The first quarter ended on July 5, 2005, the second ended October 5, 2005. I have yet to see a penny of payment. I did receive my 'report' for the first quarter, but haven't even received that much for October.

I am now 6 months post-release. My emails go unanswered for days and/or weeks, when they're answered at all. The replies I do receive are nothing more than thinly veiled excuses for why I haven't been paid, which basically amount to the fact that the money simply isn't there due to (her) personal reasons. She claims to have come up against some personal crises that forced her to move, and go without internet connection. What in the world does that have to do with the money from the sales of my books? And if she has no internet (which is her reasoning for not replying to me most of the time, since August) why can I find 2 different places that she's posted or in some way left evidence of her online presence since then? And how is it that she's corresponding with other people via email during this same period?

The moral of this rambling post is this: should you be approached by Shaela Montague Phillips, or submit to Blue Steel Publications||Meeting of the Minds Journal||Chapbook Enterprises et al and be accepted for publication. Beware.

15 comments:

  1. "Burn the witch!"

    Did I say that?

    Oh, what I meant was: very unprofessional, indeed.

    Sorry, babe, that things aren't going quite as planned. Damn her. Better things will happen in the future for you; I'm sure of it.

    Be well, my friend.

    ~ James

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  2. James~
    Things aren't going as planned, but I'm not going to allow this to happen without, at the very least, letting it be known to other writers who might benefit from my experience.

    Better things will happen, that's only limited by my own motivation to facilitate them :)

    *hug*
    ML~
    ~E

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  3. I'm here to spread the word.

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  4. You're wonderful Billy! Thanks.

    I was originally a bit worried about making this post, mentioning names and all, you know how it is anymore, with everyone suing everyone, but I felt like, in the end, I had to take the chance, if it means someone else is aware before getting involved.

    Glad you agree!

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  5. He who steals my purse steals trash, BUT IT'S STILL MY TRASH!!! I suppose you could look at it this way- you've got a few free copies of the chapbook out of it. Oh well.

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  6. Hey Erin!

    I am so sorry to hear this. It seems that we can all get screwed without trying too hard. I found a fraudulent internet charge on a bank card statement just today and last month had a co-author sabotage a publication in a Worldwide review. It would have been my first real publication in the GLBT press and now they will likely never read anything I submit again because of her handling of the situation.

    I feel for you and say "Take care of your interests first and foremost if you can!" This posting is a good start!

    Thanks for sharing and thanks to Billy for linking to this post.

    Ron

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  7. ugh! how horrible Ron. To be honest, when it comes to money, I'm rarely surprised by getting screwed or seeing it happen to others. Money does that to people, but what in the world was to be gained by sabotaging a collaborative piece?!

    Sometimes I think people are either just stupid or mean spirited.

    Hope you get the charge removed, and that the GLBT thing can be straightened out. (hahaha pun SO not intended!)

    *hug*
    ML~
    ~E

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  8. Thanks for sharing that. I myself am eager to be published. It's always gounding to see that there are people in every industry with a hand stuck out waiting to take advantage of you.

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  9. You have a lot of support behind you, if nothing else.

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  10. Thanks V. Part of me is still a little heart broken about it becoming such a fiasco, mostly though, I'm angry and want to let other people know to be careful.

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  11. Erin,

    Hope this gets better for you.

    Ginger~

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  12. Thank you Ginger! I hope so too, but I won't hold my breath. In the mean time, I hope I can stop someone else's finding themselves in the same spot I'm in right now.

    I haven't seen you around, and your blog went poof, how are you!?

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  13. Wow!!!!

    Erin: This is definately unprofessional that you would try to bash my company over the "free" services we gave you. I will pay your royalties that are owed to you, as promised, please remove...me from your sites. As you know we have had problems with our press in which we just had to change. Which explains why I was unable to get your books produced. We believe in quality, your first run could have been easily adjusted for the second. This is a self produced business, in which our funds come out my pocket. I haven't asked from a dime from you, ever! All I ever asked for was time to get re-established due to problems of my press, I thought you respected and honored it. Nothing was ever hidden from you, in fact, I called you in which you failed to respond to my phone calls. So please explain the full truth to your audience.

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  14. Actually I'd say you're the one who needs to be honest about the situation. You never said that you had problems with the press, you said you had a personal crisis that I've been kind enough not to detail here. If you'd really like me to prove my point about who is and isn't being honest here, just say so, and I'll happily post the email you sent me about the incident you claim happened in August, and how "all the money was tied up" in the resolution of said problem... but it certainly wasn't a problem with the press!

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