At least two authors of my acquaintance have spoken up this week about a publisher, Undead Press, and an editor, Anthony Giangregorio, who accepted their stories for anthologies and published them after making major changes—to include changing the name of the story (a move of debatable immorality, to be sure), and adding in a touch of RAPE (much less debatable!) in another—without any consultation with the authors. The authors didn’t even know the damage was done until after the books went to print because they didn’t receive galley proofs—not even electronic ones. I submit the blogs of authors Alyn Day and Mandy DeGeit for your consideration:
The anthology was released under the name of a different publisher, Undead Press, and my story was no longer my story. It had been butchered. I sat in my livingroom with one of the 6 copies I had purchased, flipping through the pages, eager to see my words in print… only they weren’t my words. It wasn’t even my TITLE. Parts of my story had been cut out, names and details had been changed, things I was never made aware of and had never agreed to. –Alyn Day
They turned a non-gendered character into a boy, they named the best friend, they created a memory for the main character about animal abuse. They added a suggestion of rape at the end… –Mandy DeGeit
If you’ve been around the block a bit as an author, the rest of this post is TL;DR. Please just disseminate as widely as possible so that everyone knows who sucks and why. But since the authors in question are new, and got sucked in by a predator, and because I, in my larval stage, had a near miss with similar idiocy, I want to say a few things to the new authors who may be reading my blog.
- What Happened Was Bullshit.All of it. The only changes an editor has the ethical right to make without consulting the author are grammatical and typographical corrections. Plain and simple. As an editor, I’ve been privileged to edit authors’ first published stories and the work of Bram Stoker Award winners, plus everything in between. I am not afraid to offer suggestions to any of them. But all they are is suggestions. If an author doesn’t like my suggestion, these are the ONLY options:
- The author makes the changes;
- The author says not happening;
- The editor says I’d rather have the author’s preferred version than nothing and takes the submission without suggestions being used;
- The editor says it’s my way or the highway.
Note the distinct absence of Editor Does Whatever the Fuck he Wants with the Story.
- You Should Always Get a Galley. I’ve NEVER had to ask for one. EVER. My publishers have always sent me a copy of what the finished work is going to look like before going to print. I began editing my first anthology a mere three months after my first serious publication, and published the book six months after that. Guess what? I sent the contributors a galley before it went to publication. I was a NOOB and I understood that concept. If this assclown is calling himself a publisher, he should have understood that, too. Which brings me to my last point.
- It’s Only Your Fault if you Get Fooled Again the Same Way. I knew from the get-go that authors get galleys. It’s not any new author’s fault if they didn’t know that. Some people have a different learning curve, and honestly, I was surrounded by an amazing group of mentors and fellow authors from Day One. The blame for this shit is firmly on the shoulders of Undead Press and Mr. Giangregorio. If you call yourself an editor, or hang your shingle out as a publisher, you are saying I have my shit together. I want to enter into a professional arrangement with authors and I know how to do this. An author has a right to expect this of a publisher and/or editor—though, granted, those of us who’ve been around a bit know how to smell a rat. If I had made a mistake like this during my first stint as editor, the only appropriate response would have been a sincere public apology and immediate implementation of a solution.
Having said that, I’d like to conclude by asking Mr. Giangregorio to come on out—in the comments section of this blog, even, if he’d like—and discuss what he’s going to do to make this shit right.