Wednesday, May 16, 2012

More... When Publishing Goes Wrong. An Interview with Mandy DeGeit


Yesterday I posted a story called When Publishing Goes Wrong. Today I thought I'd interview the woman that has the entire publishing world shaking their collective head, Mandy DeGeit. (You can also check out my interview with Vincent Bilof, the editor that finds himself in hot water.)

JAMES ROY DALEY:
Oh Mandy. I can’t help thinking that this past day or so must be absolutely crazy for you. You have transformed from a virtually unknown author to the talk of the town, all within the last 48 hours. I have to admit, a publisher treating an author poorly doesn’t shock me––I’ve been treated like shit before. I’m also not surprised that we have an author pissed off at a publisher––as a writer I’ve been pissed off, and as a publisher I’ve pissed off a few people. Knowing you like I do, it seems natural that you voiced your opinion publicly. What amazes me is the way your little rant has gone viral. As I write this your blog post has been twittered 1000+ times, shared on facebook over 2,000 times, and you've landed nearly 450 responses. How much of a shocker is this for you?

MANDY DeGEIT:
Shocker is an understatement. I spent all of yesterday, checking my phone, emptying my email inbox and shaking my head at the amount of responses my blog was getting. (In hindsight, I should’ve answered as they were coming in though, responding to everyone is taking up an entire day.) I can't believe the amount people that have read my blog and shared my story.

JAMES ROY DALEY:
Had you not sent Undead Press your story originally, you would have never become so mad that your, “breathing was labored, your hands were shaking, and you could hardly see... ” You also wouldn’t have been retweeted by Neil Gaiman (to his 1.7 million followers), and gained the attention of half the fiction writers out there. Are you glad that this has happened to you, or are you still pissed off?

MANDY DeGEIT:
A little of both I suppose. I’m still angry because it happened to my story and the first thing ever that I publish isn’t really (100%) mine. I’m really angry to find out that I’m not the first person this happened to and there are so many others who have the same stories. On the other hand, I’m happy because people know about what happened and hopefully we’ve raised awareness for others. I’m super happy because everyone in the industry knows my name now and nothing of mine has ever gone viral so the 15 minutes of fame is kind of cool. I’m also SUPER NERVOUS cause now everyone expects this story and I’m thinking “Ah crap…” Expectations freak me out just a little.

JAMES ROY DALEY:
I asked Anthony Giangregorio, the publisher at Undead Press, if he would like to be interviewed so he could set the record straight. He told me that it didn’t matter what he said, and that he was “in the right”. He also stated that he had “a valid contract” and that “these people are out for blood”. How do you respond to this?

MANDY DeGEIT:
Well I’m not a lawyer, so whether the contract is valid or not, I can’t say. My issue with the contract is the definition of the word “EDIT”. Being a new author, I don’t know all the ins and outs of publishing, so yes I felt very used and abused in a sense. I don’t understand how “these people are out for blood” if he pays us nothing for any of the stories but then profits from our work. What he’s doing seems much more leech-like than a “few” authors sharing concerns about a shoddy publishing house. I’d like to tell Tony that from what I understand, people don’t want blood… they just want their stories back.

JAMES ROY DALEY:
Anthony also informed me that he was “slashing a lot of wasted projects and retooling the company”. If you could give Anthony some advice that he would take to heart, what would it be?

MANDY DeGEIT:
Start with respect. Respect the author. Respect the work. Stop making people angry just because you have a contract in your hand. Maybe it’s the Canadian in me, but I’m nice and I think a little kindness goes a long way. The manager/small business owner in me wants to say: “Do something nice for someone and they’ll tell one person. Do something mean to someone and they’ll tell ten.” (Or ten thousand, since that’s the way the internet works sometimes…)

JAMES ROY DALEY:
The final thing he said to me, in our brief conversation, was “there’s a lot more to this, which nobody knows about.” What do you think he’s referring to?

MANDY DeGEIT:
I’m not sure, I have all the correspondence between the two of us. I skimmed through it to see what he might be referring to and I have no idea. I was probably the biggest sale he had, as I ordered 50 books from him. *(FYI: The fact I had FIFTY books here that didn’t have my story in it, may have aggravated me a little more.) I stayed in contact with Tony throughout the entire time from when my story was accepted, ‘til the day I went to fight with Purolator for my books, cause I was never sent a tracking number. I would be interested as well to know what “more to this, which nobody knows about.” Is… because I’m one of the people who don’t know.

JAMES ROY DALEY:
Unlike most people, I find myself a little bit mortified in regards to people going on the witch-hunt the way they have. Undead Press and Anthony Giangregorio have been taking a public beating in a manner that is rarely seen. Truth be told, I don’t agree with it––not without some facts, and at this point we don’t have any. You could be––and I’m not saying that you are––but you could be lying your ass off. This being said, Anthony does have a reputation that is less than favorable. If you can pull yourself out of the story for a moment, do you feel that people are justified in crucifying the man and his press, having only heard one side of the story?

MANDY DeGEIT:
Now in my defense, I didn’t know the crucifixion would happen, but now, as I see the amount of people this has happened to, I’m happy it did. There may only be one side of the story, but there are way too many people occupying this side with me. So many people shared their stories with me and I consider myself lucky that it was just my short story and not a novel or something.

JAMES ROY DALEY:
Going through the comments on your blog, I see suggestions of attacking Undead Press by putting up bad Amazon reviews. What do you think about this line of action?

MANDY DeGEIT:
I want to remind everyone that there are other authors in those books, (I am still kinda one of them.) Cavalcade of Terror has some wicked stories in it, such as “A Promise Not Kept” by my good friend, Wesley Southard. Please take a look at the other stories in the book, as Wesley and I are only two of sixteen authors. Maybe get in touch with the authors to see if they have copies to sell. They will make money that way, unfortunately, if you go through Amazon every cent will go to Undead Press.

JAMES ROY DALEY:
Is there anything else you would like to add?

MANDY DeGEIT:
I always have more to say, so yeah. I just want to remind people to do as I say and not as I did. Be sure check who you are sending your stuff to and make sure there’s something in the contract regarding viewing changes that are made to your story before you sign it. I know I’m going to be much more careful with my writing from now on.

JAMES ROY DALEY:
Thank you so very much, Mandy. You’ve been great.

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1 comment:

  1. Yes, please don't give bad reviews because of the publisher's bullshit. I made the mistake of going with Giangregorio's presses (Living Dead Press, Open Casket Press) and have stories with those books. You're hurting me too.

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