Part 2 of my series has received comments from critics around the globe!
- “I’m going to buy some of Sean’s books and read them.” — Kevin Strange, amazeballs author of Strange Vs. Lovecraft, among other vastly entertaining works
- “While Sean’s language may be provocative, his accounts have so far been the most in-depth and revealing over the Permuted issues.” — Jeff Burk, Bizarro fiction icon
- “There are other fish in the seat.” — Author W.J. Lundy
I assume this is what he was referring to.
There are a couple of more slights I would like to make against the soon-to-be-former publisher Permuted Press, and then I’ll share rainbows and sunshine and shit in telling you where I’m planning to go from here.
Final Gripe #1: Publicity
When I spoke to the owner of Permuted back in January, one of the things we discussed is why going with Permuted would be more advantageous to me as an author than self-publishing. I now know that this gentleman is the Permuted equivalent of the put-out-to-pasture Mister Bigweld in the movie Robots, but at the time, I didn’t realize his unfortunate irrelevance to the company. They apparently allowed him to say whatever he wanted to authors, possibly while wandering around the office doing the banana dance in his underwear, and it didn’t make any difference to the people running the business. They probably told visitors to the Press HQ that he was the janitor and that his unfortunate outbursts should be ignored.
“Jim? Jim Henson? They told us you were DEAD!“
As far as the day-to-day managers of Permuted were concerned, their Mister Bigweld could say I would be emperor of the moon. He could say I would marry his daughter and forge our business bond through blood. Hell, he could say that Permuted Press was committed to making a contract with them worthwhile due to the amount of publicity and promotion their authors’ books would receive.
Oh, wait, he did say that last one. And, as usual, it was not just wrong but bizarrely wrong, like answering the question of “What day is it?” with “That would be the ampersand.”
In the giddy days/weeks/months after signing the contract with PP, I didn’t even notice that I never saw an ad for Permuted Press books anywhere other than in their weekly email newsletter announcing the latest spate of books they were releasing that week. No follow-up, certainly no ad placement in print or in any other medium or even website that wasn’t PermutedPress.com. Now I see this. Now I get it. Right on time, just after the horse has gotten out, I realize that in Permuted’s shell game, there is no pea under any of the shells. Not only can the author not win in this game, but it’s literally impossible for the game to be won. Except by the (publishing) house, of course.
They do no publicity. They have stopped doing printed books. They do a cash grab whenever possible by fucking their authors with contracts chock-full of unethical business practices. They communicate bad news to their authors at 10 pm on the Friday night before a three-day holiday weekend. Permuted Press … I don’t even have the words anymore.
Oh, wait, yes I do.
Final gripe #2 (the final final gripe): Pay not to play?
This one doesn’t affect me personally, but it was so close that dodging the bullet singed my hair and left my ear ringing. I have been told by trustworthy sources that if one’s Permuted book had already entered the POD phase (but was not yet released, so no books had actually been produced) could cancel their contracts if and only if they paid PP between $2,000 and $4,000 to compensate them for … what, exactly? Emailing a graphics file? Paying proofreaders and graphic artists and layout people? The whole thing is fishier than Abe Vigoda.
If you are old enough to get that joke, please check yourself into the nearest mortuary.
Basically, Permuted has held these writers’ books for ransom: You can keep your book with us, knowing we won’t support it, or you can pay us money not to publish it and we’ll allow you to go to another publisher. (Remember, Permuted has made it very clear that they are under no obligation whatsoever to actually publish any of their authors’ works; they merely have contracted for the option to do so, should it please their fancy.) This is not the work of an ethical publisher or even one that is likely to remain solvent.
Fare thee well, Permuted Press. You coulda had class. You coulda been a contender. You coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what you are, let’s face it: a bum.
“I also charged too much for my e-books.”
Where do we go now, sweet child o’ mine?
I ain’t gettin’ any younger, my eye doctor this week telling me that I have been “incurring nearsightedness” because of all the close-up work I do on computers and reading books and other things that make life worth living. My right eye is nearsighted, but my left eye makes the right one look like the Bionic Man’s. But, even though I will still be sloughing into decrepitude at a rapidly accelerating pace much like that senator in the first X-Men movie, I am a member of the amazing Lovecraftian community now, full of writers and readers and artists. I belong. So I shall continue writing, because this is who I am now.
After the ink was dry on the dissolution of my contract, I started sending out my books again, a bit sadder but a lot wiser. I have sent Deadtown Abbey to Mike Davis’ brand-new Lovecraft eZine Press imprint, and also have been invited to be a guest blogger on his site (which reaches 175,000 people, by the way). I don’t know if it will be accepted, but I am optimistic about its chances.
“Dear Mr. Secretariat, thank you for giving us the opportunity to read your recent submission …”
I have sent Reviva Las Vegas! out to Severed Press, a great small horror press that the Powers That Be at Permuted never ceased to attack and insult. So, if for no other reason that Permuted hates them, I’m giving them a shot at publishing my book.
I got into the submitting mood and am now sending out my thriller novel, Ain’t That America, to a new and hot noir publisher; and my literary novel, Darwin’s Dreams, is headed to Prometheus Books. These all may pan out, or they may not. Either way, I’ll keep on truckin’. Permuted has not destroyed me. I shall keep on keeping on as long as I can.
Through this whole debacle, I have also been asked to contribute stories to a number of Lovecraftian and otherwise spooky book anthologies. Things are looking up. This has been an exhausting experience for both body and soul, but from the fertilizer of Permuted I will rise like a mighty dandelion. And then I shall shoot my spore things and take over the whole lawn. This, my old friends and new, is my destiny.
First the lawn AND THEN THE SKIES.
I’m really glad so many people have found my blog through this whole debacle, and I hope to entertain and enlighten all my new friends. I’m really glad to know you all. Please feel free to visit me at SeanHoade.com or on my Facebook page or drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org!