Over the last week or so I’ve received numerous reports from writers who signed with a particular press, and who are now having problems with that press. Some of the stories are mind-boggling.
Many writers have told me about slapdash or inexpert editing (editors who can’t tell the difference between “effect” and “affect”, for example); the editing has apparently been carried out by interns with no editing experience, training or ability; and editors are paid royalties on the books’ sales, while the cover artists seem to have been expected to work in return for nothing but “exposure”. Because we can all put food on the table in return for that, right?
And that’s not all.
The publisher has such a tightly-packed publishing schedule that it’s apparently “forgotten” to publish some of the books; one writer tells me that her book has gone through editing, copy editing, has had ARCs sent out and reviews published, and then she was told that her new editor told her it needed substantial rewriting, just days before its (already three-times-delayed) publication date; then there’s the writer who was told she could have her rights back, but she could only use the originally-submitted manuscript as the edits “belonged” to the publisher, even though they won’t be able to do anything with it once they return the rights, and they’ve not paid the editor who worked on the book.
I’ve not even mentioned yet the editor who got sacked and took revenge by removing all punctuation from the manuscripts in her care, or the lamentably small sales reported (in the low double-digits, if you were curious), or the aggressive emails sent out to authors who protest, in which they are told they’ll be blacklisted by all publishing companies if they dare to complain in public.
Writers, none of this is acceptable. If your publishers try to pull any of these tricks on you, speak to your agent or get proper legal advice. And if you feel able to do so, make it public. Blog about it, let others know, so that other writers don’t suffer in the way that you are doing.
You deserve better. You really do.