Goodness. It’s been a couple of rough months, hasn’t it? Hooray 2020. Not much has been happening, either updates or intrigues, to keep up with a weekly blag. Not much is not zero.
Blackout Odyssey’s Small Press Journey
In March of 2019 I was querying my third novel, Blackout Odyssey. I got a like on a #PitMad tweet by a small press. I did some research, they seemed reputable, and so I sent off a query with a sample attached.
I didn’t hear back from them until July 2019 when they sent an update to say that BOO was still under consideration and they hoped to let me know whether it was advancing to acquisitions.
On July 30th they asked to read the full manuscript. I asked when I should follow up; 3-6 months was their usual turn-around time. Pretty normal.
January 2020: I checked in. No progress to report; they would get back to me soon.
February 2020: Checked in again; still no progress to report.
March 23, 2020: I received an update but not the one I was expecting: the editor I had been in touch with let me know that she, and her immediate supervisor, were leaving the press. She did not say why. I was to email the new editor, let her know who I was and which was my MS and the timeline of events. So I did. I also reached out to the old editor on Twitter to say that I had enjoyed working with her and I’d like to stay in touch.
I figured I was back in a slush of sorts and decided to let it go, not worry about it. I’d hear back whenever. They had been aboveboard with me and publishing, as you will recall, moves at the speed of the ice age.
The Shit Hath Hitteth The Fan
April 2020: The small press in question started popping up in my Twitter feed. One of the contributors to an anthology said she hadn’t been paid; when she had taken her concerns to the head of the press they said they would pull her story from the already published anthology instead. That’s not how this works: she had a signed contract and with the anthology already published and out in the world she’d lost First Rights, which is the most valuable part of a story.
The press began doubling down. And then it surfaced that there were more shady practices, contradictory stories (from the press), and that my editor and her supervisor had left because they were fed up with the shenanigans and goings on. (I am being vague because, as of this moment, it is all allegation. Nothing has been proven.) Now the press was blaming them for not paying the writers; the press hired a PR firm and released press with easily disputable lies/errors in them, etc etc etc. Shit show. Complete shit show.
The press has demonstrated, in these last couple of weeks, a complete lack of professionalism and disregard for their writers. They are not a place I want to work with.
So this morning, with a heavy heart, I withdrew Blackout Odyssey from the last place it was still under consideration.
So it goes.