When up and coming author Mandy DeGeit sent in her story ‘She makes me smile’ into Undead Press’ Cavalcade of Terror anthology she was overjoyed to hear that it was accepted. After waiting for her books she had order to arrive she finally had the book in her hands only to find that not only did the editor change the name to ‘She Make’s me smile’, something the goes to show the PROFESSIONAL editor has no grasp on basic grammar, but there were several major changes made to Mandy’s story without her knowledge. On her blog Mandy said
“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… I feel like they ruined the suspense in the story.”
As a published author I know that editing does take place, I also know there may be the odd word changed here and there, which is what happens in the publishing world HOWEVER the thing that has annoyed me in the situation is the fact that whoever has edited this story has edited this work had no right to add a section in to the story without discussing this with the writer (even I know this!).
What is worse is what happen after. Mandy contacted Anthony Giangregorio highlighting the issues to receive one of the most unprofessional emails I have ever read:
“Wow, I truly can’t believe that email. you go girl. this one one hell of a story about dealing with unstable writers
on the contract, it clearly says publisher has the right to EDIT work. you signed it. are you saying you are a dishonest and immoral person and will now try to deny you signed the contract? well i have a copy right here
and as for the story. the editor had a hard time with it, it was very rough and he did alot to make it readable. despite what you think, your writing has a long way to go before its worthy of being printed professionally.
we did what we had to do to make the story printable. you should be thankful, not complaining. ah, the ungrateful writer, gotta love it
the contract also says any disagreements you have about the contract must be filed legally in Massachusetts and when you lose, you must pay all court costs.
so, we are done here. any more correspondences from you must be from your lawyer. i will then send any of those letters to my lawyer and they can hash it out as i dont waste my time arguing with writers over legalities. thats what lawyers are for.
you are so funny. thanks for this email, it truly made my day.”
This is truly disgusting behaviour from someone who is suppose to be a professional publisher.
We spoke to Mandy via Facebook who told us:
In regards to the whole issue with my story and Undead Press, this whole predicament has been a strange roller coaster of emotions.
When I first saw the changes in the book, I was angry, really angry. (It took me a few days to calm down enough to post the blog. Had I not waited, there would have been a lot more expletives and &*%$# symbols in my post.)
After anger came sadness, mostly occurring when Undead Press emailed me saying my story was altered because it wasn’t good enough to be published in the first place. *(I would have been more than happy to make changes for them, had Undead Press just said something)
Sadness aside, in comes amazement. This would be the moment when my blog exploded. I was floored by the outpouring of support I was receiving, but also very upset (again) at the stories that were surfacing from my blog. I wasn’t the only one he’d done this to…
Overall, this was a sobering experience for me. I know now what to watch out for when submitting and signing contracts and I will be very careful in the future. However, I’m glad it happened, the fifteen minutes of fame were very cool and I’ve made tons of new friends in the writing world. Also, more and more people are finding out what happened and raising awareness about this is important to me.”
You see it yourself dear readers and as a writer I am angered and that isn’t even where this story stops! ANOTHER author has been screwed over by Mr Giangregorio who has taken this awful behaviour to a different place altogether. This time Alyn Day, who had dealt with Giangregorio under his other publishing umbrella OPEN CASKET PRESS, had submitted another story to be placed in the anthology called ZOMBIE TALES only to find his story butchered to a point where half of the names and details and even the title was changed without her knowledge. On Alyn’s blog she tells the story:
“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 living room 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. I sat there in numb shock. Here was my name, attached to a story I no longer felt connected to. People were going to read this, it might be their first, possibly only, exposure to my work and what they were going to find were the words the editor had ascribed to me, which were very different from my own. My heart sank. I threw the book at the wall. What the hell was I going to do?”
We even managed to grab Alyn for a few words. She told us:
In light of everything that has gone down with Undead Press since Mandy DeGeit's initial blog post, I have to say that I'm glad I spoke up, even if it took seeing a friend get hurt the same way I was to motivate me. My hope is that Anthony Giangregorio won't be able to do this to anyone else, that through sharing information about his business practices that people will google before submitting. It's sad that it took what ended up being a public shaming for this to happen, but in the end the fact that people are now aware of what has been going on makes it worth while. Being published is an amazing feeling, there is nothing in the world like seeing your name in print, and taking that away from someone by putting your (subpar) words in their mouths or under their names is just deplorable. I feel truly sorry for anyone else who was taken in by Undead Press/Open Casket.
I am not in the habit to name and shame but I think this is where I draw the line. I don’t like it when authors are screwed over and at the end of the day if the story had issues or the publisher wanted changes the author should ALWAYS be contacted so the AUTHOR can make the changes. I am one of many people to write about this and I won’t be the last. I will right now offer an open invitation to Mr Anthony Giangregorio to contact us at email@example.com and give his side of the story and explain the unprofessional email to Mandy DeGeit. OR have any other Snakebite readers fallen for this publishers ways? contact us and tell us your story.