TO BEGIN: Last year, I set a few goals around returning to PAX East in the year 2012.
- Promote myself.
- Have something to promote.
- Don’t get arrested.
- See 1-3.
I succeeded on all four, except for one thing- I didn’t have a physical product to promote. I was planning on the first Blue Cave Publishing releases to hit on April 1st, as I would have suffered the fallout of people hating me and my work for a few days before catching the rocket bus to Boston and trying to promote myself there away from my would-be critical strife, yet I’d still be safely nestled in a familiar environment (aka home away from home).
However- my left hand had other plans and decided not to work like a hand should.
I won’t bore you with the hospital trips and bouts of uncertainty at the time, but I will say this: I was scared. Frightened. Completely at a loss. I missed my release date and freaked out. Somehow, I still managed to arm myself with 500 business cards about Blue Cave Publishing and a t-shirt with a question on it:
I was drumming up the hype machine, I was getting my name out there, and I was doing my best to try and do the only thing I know how to do: be me on a much grander scale.
It’s funny what I tend to do when I get fed up with things.
I’d been fed up for a while; not with the writing (it’s my only constant source of joy these days), but with various personal endeavors. I was tired personal perceived failures haunting me everyday, tired of the manufactured stress at work, tired of everything that was weighing me down.
It was time to take control.
It was time to go down the road less traveled once and for all.
It was time to create Blue Cave Publishing.
JUST WHAT THE HELL IS BLUE CAVE PUBLISHING?
Blue Cave Publishing is: my own personal creative hub for my work. That’s all it is- I’m paying for everything out of my own pocket. I’m not getting paid by anyone. I’m not asking for submissions, and after what’s been going down recently with a few writers (more on that later), I probably never will. Money and ownership among people complicates things. I’d rather all of us be happy in all of our various walks of life.
Blue Cave Publishing is: me being one hundred percent accountable for my work. This includes promotion and release dates. If I’m going to think big, then I’m going to do it big, damn it.
Blue Cave Publishing is not: me taking and destroying other writers’ works.
HERE COMES A GOOD OL’ FASHIONED RANT
Anyway… this kind of behavior from individuals casting themselves in an editorial or publishing light under false pretenses is disgusting and can’t be tolerated. Not only does it make me absolutely furious, it also frightens me.
See, I’m now connected with something called “Blue Cave Publishing”, and if you haven’t been reading this blog and don’t know what it is, then you go, “oh, that’s a small press joint”. Well, maybe you don’t say “joint”, but you regard it as a thing about publishing nevertheless.
Maybe you ask your friends if they’ve heard of the joint/place/thing, and they get back to you with a bunch of blog posts and ramblings of a possibly insane, pop cultured addled young man. There’s release dates but nothing out just yet. A Twitter account with lots of posts with an “#aots” hashtag. Nothing of true writing substance just yet, but there’s a machine that’s been fired up and ready to go to town.
Maybe you start putting two and two together… and you see what’s going on with places like Undead Press and how writers are getting screwed over and having their work destroyed by such places … and maybe, just maybe, Blue Cave Publishing gets lumped in with a bunch of bad apples.
I’ve thought about it since the crazy idea got in my head: I might just be seen as one of the bad guys.
The Undead Press fiasco hits me twice as hard because not only should the “editing practices” enacted by said small press are malicious and deceitful for any writer to have to go through, but as someone who is now, by choice, connected to this small press world, I have another battle to fight.
In my case, it’s a battle of personal legitimacy.
How do I properly represent myself partially surrounded by worthless would-be sharks and shiftless assholes that would destroy someone else’s work just because they have the “power” to do so?
The answer’s easy: the best I can.
‘Cuz I’ve been there. I know what it’s like to see something that was once yours become something else against your wishes.
HELLO TIME MACHINE
It happened before I got blinded by delusions of being “normal”. It- like everything else that shapes the odd misfit that I’ve become- still sits in my brain. I’d submitted a piece to a now-defunct nationally distributed magazine- the piece detailed Marvel Comics’ “Tsunami” line as they were trying to crack the American manga market at the time. I did my research, wrote the piece, attached some pictures for reference, and sent it away. I got the edited piece back a few days later, and it was a damn mess: misspellings, sentence fragments that were not in my original document, words deleted, added yet horrible punctuation- the “WTF” alarm went off in my head and I immediately (I might have cursed a lot and downed a couple of beers first) fired off an email asking about what happened to my piece. I got an apologetic response back, and the piece was restored & published in its original form.
I was lucky. Damn lucky.
At least I got a chance to speak up and get my work restored… but the initial confusion and shock still lingers to this day. Your sense of trust falters a little bit, and you start checking your original submission, checking your files, running through each and every scenario that could possibly pervert your work, yet you know that you didn’t do anything wrong, that you submitted your piece, your work…
…and it’s become something else.
Like I said, I was lucky.
The writers affected by Undead Press’ bullshit did not get such luck.
If you haven’t yet (what the hell are you waiting for?), scroll up, click the link, and look at the response that Mandy DeGeit received from
General Fuckshit Dumpstain the individual* that ruined her story.
Completely and utterly unprofessional right?
In fact, I’m going to be blunt: what the fuck kind of response is that?
That is not the response of an editor- that’s some poorly Babelfish translated word vomit from someone on an unwarranted powertrip and with a huge yet false sense of entitlement.
If you read it and get this joke, it’s like Paul Christoforo cloned himself for the small press world.
We have to make sure writers are treated better.
Stuff like this cannot stand.
I KNOW I’M JUST A SPOKE ON THE WHEEL IN THE GRAND SCHEME OF THINGS, BUT HOLD UP, LEMME FINISH
I’m still attempting to grow up, but I ‘m old enough to know a thing or two about a thing or two. The Undead Press situation and others like it hurt all of us. From the readers that pay to read the work to the writers that are striving to get their respective feet in the proverbial door to the hard working people behind reputable and legit small press companies to the people that say “Hey, maybe I want to do this all on my own and see what happens”… no one benefits from these kinds of actions.
“But Griff! If people keep doing crap like this, won’t they still make money somehow?”
That’s where “spreading the word” comes in.
If we’re vigilant enough, if we’re loud enough, and if we raise enough mind-numbing hell concerning instances like these, then sooner than later, we’ll stomp this kind of behavior and “business practice” right the fuck out. Sure, there’s going to be that one little cockroach that thinks they can get away with screwing people over, but eventually?
The boot will find them too.
Writers don’t just write, gang.
Whether you’re a reader, fellow writer, part of their family, or a friend that wonders why they’re so crazy, do the right thing.
Have their back.
*I’m not naming that unprofessional asshole on my blog. Personal preference.