With the internet, news can spread like wildfire in a wind storm. I first caught of wind of this “writer beware” news yesterday (via Codex), and awoke this morning to find it had set the speculative-writing community ablaze.
The story, or at least part of it, can be found here (with a few interesting updates at the bottom). Briefly, Mandy DeGeit made her first short fiction “sale” (a for-the-love sale) to Undead Press’ Cavalcade of Terror anthology, never dreaming the title would be an accurate description of her experience. The editor at Undead Press made numerous, significant alterations to her story, including adding scenes of violence and suggestions of rape, changing characters, and doing a butcher’s job of editing (e.g., changing Ms. DeGeit’s title from “She Makes Me Smile” to “She Make’s Me Smile”). When Ms. DeGeit requested an explanation from Undead Press, she received one of the rudest responses I’ve seen from a supposedly “professional” organization (see Ms. DeGeit’s page for the text). I guess this response shouldn’t surprised me, considering how Undead Press handled the changes to Ms. DeGeit’s story in the first place.
Undead Press is run by Mr. Anthony Giangregorio, who apparently has a history of this type of activity because others writers have stepped forward with similar stories, including Alyn Day, and who also appears to have received, at minimum, a menacing response from Mr. Giangregorio after going public. The issue has flared up sufficiently to catch the attention of some name speculative fiction writers, including award-winning writer Troy-Adam Castro, who took issue with Undead Press’ mistreatment of its authors and their apparent blatant copyright infringement.
While I’m sure there is more to this story than has already come out (someone once said there are three sides to every story: yours, mine, and the truth), I think it’s safe to say that writers should beware of Mr. Giangregorio and his various presses: Undead Press, Open Casket Press, and Living Dead Press. Even if the writers involved ultimately bear some of the blame, the way Undead Press handled their stories and their concerns is far from professional, and publishers like this simply shouldn’t be in business.