Richard Wright

author of strange, dark fictions

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Open Casket Press (and other lessons for new writers)

May 16, 2012 by Richard Wright in Journal, Writing

If you’re a writer, particularly if you’re new to the publishing game and trying to work out how all the bits work, you should already know about Opencasket Press, aka Living Dead Press, aka Undead Press. A writer’s worst nightmare. A one man band (Anthony Giangregorio – remember the name, and give it wide berth).

Mr Giangregorio churns out books at an incredible rate, mostly anthologies, using free technology. As you know, I’m self-publishing my novel Thy Fearful Symmetry in August this year (and blogging about it every Saturday up to there, for those interested in seeing how that can work). The tools I’m using to physically publish the book are free. I’ll be investing in it financially, but I don’t need to put my money (well, not enough to sneeze at) into the printing or distribution of the paper copies. Same thing for the ebooks. The money and time I’ll be spending will be going on various other things, that I’ll be talking about as we go along (come back on Saturday – we’ll be looking at the first hard cash investments I’m making then).

The point is, I don’t have to make that investment at all. Anybody with time on their hands and words to go in it can now publish a book. This means you have to think very carefully indeed when you’re dealing with a publisher.

Ask yourself, what is this publisher for? What do they bring to the table? If they’re just going to ‘get your work out there’, then you need to take a deep breath, step right back, and have a cynical look at what’s happening. You can ‘get your book out there’, if all that means is making a shoddy product available to purchase. Publishers, real ones, do stuff. They’re proactive, they invest money and time. They don’t just throw words into a bookmaking machine, and sell whatever comes out the other end.

Mr Giangregorio has been doing much the same as I’ll be doing with my novel, except he’s invested no time, no money, and no effort into doing so. Everything he does reflects that. The World’s Collider anthology, of which I’m extremely proud to be part of, was initially en route to being wrecked by this guy, before our editor jumped us off that sinking ship. We’re now with Nightscape Press, a terrific new outfit that has already been open to author-friendly contract negotiation, demonstrated an investment of hard cash, and put terrific energy and organisational skill into preparing for the book’s release. Thank god.

Anyway, the story of Open Casket/ Undead / Living Dead Press is getting rather diluted, by being told and retold. Allow me to point you back to Mandy DeGeit, the first time author who first spoke up about how she was treated. Read and digest. If you want more, the briefest Google will give you warning after warning.

Research, in the Internet age, is easy. Do it, if you ever have doubts about a publisher. Hell, do it anyway. It only takes a minute or two to reassure yourself.

A good summary of what any author should take away from this debacle can be found here. Read and digest.

Finally, here’s a summary of why World’s Collider went in search of a new publisher, from our editor Richard Salter. Read and digest.

Before I go, this has stirred up strong feelings in a lot of people. That’s as it should be. There’s such a grand violation of trust (and more) involved, that tempers are bound to flare. That’s right and proper. Flare them at the right person, and make it as difficult as possible for him to abuse anybody else from this point on. Unfortunately, some of Mr Giangregorio’s victims are finding themselves tarred by association. That’s not good. You don’t cure plague by beating the plague victims to death with a club. You don’t attack an abuser by raging at his victims.

Read and digest.

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2 Comments

  1. Richard Flores IVMay 18, 2012 at 3:17 am

    You make a lot of good points here. Especially the little bit about curing the plague.

    Research is key.

    I look forward to World’s Collider.

  2. Richard WrightMay 18, 2012 at 4:05 amAuthor

    Thanks Richard.

    In general with these things, I support general awareness of a problem, and sensible public pressure to resolve it. I can’t really think of a time where undirected lynch mobs burning everything they see to the ground has actually helped anything.

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