Cthulhu Attacks! gets a bloody thumbs-up from The Horror Fiction Review!

The unimpeachable taste of Christine Morgan strikes once again with her Horror Fiction Review take on Cthulhu Attacks! (I just want to say that the typos she mentions were definitely in the Advance Reading Copy she had, but are fixed now in the finished book.) Have a look and then buy a copy, or maybe two—the holidays are fast approaching!

CTHULHU ATTACKS! by Sean Hoade (2015 Severed Press / 220 pp / trade paperback & eBook)

Dear Hollywood: THIS is the Lovecraftian movie you need to make, the surefire big-budget blockbuster special effects extravaganza. This book, right here. It’s perfect. Gets around the various issues of directly adapting one of ol’ H.P.’s works, while acknowledging them in glorious triumphant homage. Plus, geek-cred galore.

And seriously, the scene describing Cthulhu’s emergence … best I’ve ever read. So beautifully done. Short, sweet, simple, evocative, and haunting.

A lot of giant monster or cosmic horror fiction struggles to express the sheer sheer size and scale and scope. Sean Hoade nails it, not only nails it but takes it several steps beyond. Reading this book is to shiver from an overwhelming sense of immensity, of alienness, of strange inhumanity so far outside our comprehension as to bend the mind. I think Lovecraft himself would be impressed with just how well that’s all conveyed.

Continue reading

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♫ Back near the saddle again ♫

I have regaled both of my regular readers with the sad tale of the Press that will henceforth be known as the Publisher That Sucks Dick, or PTSD for short. My fellow authors of that soon-to-be-former e-book factory will agree that this is a fitting acronym. Anyway, I have promised myself and others never to refer to that place by name again, so PTSD it is.

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“What was that? A c-c-contract? OH GOD, IT’S HAPPENING AGAIN!!!”

Moving on … or trying to

Frank Sinatra once crooned that after being shat upon by the bird of paradise, one should pick oneself up, dust oneself off, and start all over again. Never one to flout the instructions of Ol’ Blue Eyes, that’s just what I’m doing after the PTSD debacle. How? Oh, let us count the ways.

Firstly, I have worked to find new publishing homes for the books I’ve already written.

Deadtown Abbey

You may recall that the fantastical Deadtown Abbey was the book that landed me the contract—emphasis on the “con”—with PTSD and inspired them to “buy” that and my next 9 books. So I said to myself, “Self,” I said, “what should we do with Deadtown Abbey now?” And I sat on a stump in the yard (disclaimer: I did not literally do that) and went down the list of what makes that book awesome and more specialer than a kid running with his pants on backwards winning a gold medal:

1. It is Lovecraftian. It’s got your Yog-Sothoth and your Cthulhu the Great Old One, not to mention a thoughtful (seriously!) meditation on what religious faith means in a time of monsters and a serious imbalance of money and power.

Republican leaders Senator Mitch McConnell and John Boehner speak after a bipartisan meeting with President Barack Obama at the White House in Washington

Not that anything like that could ever happen in real life.

2. It is funny. It plays with expectations both readers of eldritch horrors and viewers of the BBC show Downton Abbey, with references and Easter eggs galore for horror and zombie aficionados. That said, you don’t have to “get” any of the references to enjoy the book on its own as a horror tale. But it’s still pretty amusing.

3. It has vampires, werewolves, zombies, witches, imps, and possessed people shitting themselves. It takes each concept and turns it on its head in the service of this apocalyptic story.

4. But most of all, it’s Lovecraftian.

It was this final point that told me I must send it to the new Lovecraft eZine Press imprint helmed by the indomitable Mike Davis. He had already read it and recommended it on his 175,000-follower-strong Web page, so I thought it would be perfect for his new Press. I bought the first release in print from his publishing arm, The Sea of Ash, and was impressed both by the content and by the perfection of its design and presentation.

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A box stuffed full of my former publisher’s beautiful print offerings.

I haven’t heard back from Mike yet—he’s a bit busy with his duties both on and off the computer-based Lovecraftosphere—but if Deadtown isn’t brought on board there, I will send it out to other dark presses, of which there are many in the land. Still, Lovecraft eZine Press would be my number one choice.

Reviva Las Vegas! and the Cthulhu trilogy

This marvelous addition to the pantheon of landmark zombie fiction was sent out after PTSD’s implosion to Severed Press, an excellent horror publisher that gives its readers what they really want and has been quite successful, receiving rave reviews from both those readers and its authors alike.

But sad face! Reviva was praised by the editors, but they had to pass on it because it was a more character-based zombie tale than the good ol’ visceral chomp-a-thon that many zombie fans want in their genre fiction. Think of what they wanted as the parts of Jaws with the shark eating people and boats, and what I wrote as more the scene where Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss, and Robert Shaw are sitting drinking in the boat and talking about their scars while waiting for Bruce to attack again.

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“And this one’s from when Spielberg cut me for leaving Seaquest!

However, happy face! Because Severed did like my (one-third finished) Cthulhu: Book 1 and contracted with me for the whole Cthulhu trilogy plus a sea monster book—Severed Press readers love their sea monsters and kaiju—to be written later. Severed stepped up to the plate and, um, swung for the bleachers? Wait, am I the pitcher? Oh, metaphors, you tricky devils!

Ain’t That America

Friends and neighbors, the first edition of Ain’t That America was self-pubbed by Yours Truly back in 2000, with a revised “second edition” being self-pubbed in 2013. It’s a comic thriller along the lines of Elmore Leonard and Carl Hiaasen—suspenseful, yes, but also very fun to read for the despicable characters and how they interact (read: fuck each other over). The whole PTSD experience sent me seeking out other (legitimate) publishers, and so I have sent out Ain’t as well, to the extremely exciting crime fiction publisher 280 Steps.

It’s a great book—why not send it out and make an honest author out of myself? Self-publishing is great, don’t get me wrong, but I’m aging like a time-lapse of a rotting tomato. I want to go legit before I drop dead. I haven’t heard back from the folks at 280 Steps yet, but I know some genre publisher will ultimately take it on and love it like a child who’s going to make them pots of money.

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“I’d kill you all if I could! Tee hee!”

Darwin’s Dreams

By far the most literary and worthy book I’ve ever written, Darwin’s Dreams is the only non-“genre” book in my lineup, and thus the hardest to figure out where to place it. I self-pubbed it in 2008, and it has made a sizeable impression on everyone who has read it. It’s history, philosophy, drama, all in one 45,000-word package. The only place I can think to send it, the only alma mater for this book, is Prometheus Books. If, however, they pass on it, my head will be unbowed. I’ll keep searching.

Inappropriate Behavior

A collection of short stories ranging from erotica to Buddhist meditation to hookers rubbing the eye sockets of retards in motel rooms, Inappropriate Behavior was self-pubbed in 2011 and will probably never, ever be sent to a legitimate publisher. It’s on Amazon, so peeps can buy it. But it’s so horrifyingly outré I doubt it’s legal to even submit by email in some localities.

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“WHY DID I OPEN THAT ATTACHMENT? WHY? WHY?!?

The other books

Some of the books that PTSD contracted for were “sequels” to Reviva Las Vegas! and even Deadtown Abbey. They really weren’t meant to be anything other than standalone novels, but I may just write a prequel to Reviva called Pawn of the Dead, the story of how the zombie apocalypse started … right here in Vegas, of course. And I had sold PTSD on another sorta-kinda pop culture and Lovecraft mashup called Grim Acres, the story of a staid lawyer and his eastern European bride moving to the sticks and encountering the community of Innsmouth, Massachusetts.

The other two books, How to Train Your Dagon and an unnamed (and unnecessary) second sequel to Reviva, are just going to fade into the aether. Like much of what happened with PTSD, they really never had any reason to happen.

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Pictured: A reason for them to happen.

So what, if anything, have we learned?

Remarkably little. No, I kid—we have learned that there’s got to be a morning after, if we can make it through the night. (If you get that reference, make sure the orderly at your nursing home mashes your canned beets the way you like them.) As disheartening as the whole PTSD experience was, I’m a wiser author. I’m the same writer I always was—FUCKING BRILLIANT—but as an author trying to get his babies out into the world where they can be sold for money, I’m much wiser.

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Look at those faces! They couldn’t be happier if they were in color!

 Coming soon: A death obsession is different from a death wish.

About Sean Hoade!

Ehrmagerd, check this out, guys.

My diatribe about that Willy Wonka-esque factory of abused authors, Permuted Press, has brought my blog thousands of new views and dozens of new followers, all of whom woke up this morning taller and—although I know it scarcely seems possible—even more attractive than when they went to bed.

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Results totally typical.

Because of the burden I must take on now to keep my new followers entertained and also enlightened, I have been converting my award-winning (Note: not really) website, SeanHoade.com, over to the magic that is WordPress. I have completed by “About Me!” page, which honestly will change your life and win you lots of money if ever you are on Jeopardy! and your category is “Writers Who Flailed Futilely For Attention” or “Shit Heads,” in which the correct response will have words starting with S and H.

Please have a look and have your friends over to have a look and then sign everybody up like it’s a Tupperware party from Hell. At least the content will always stay fresh! (Note: not really.)

Check out About Sean Hoade!

How I got rectally rogered by the barbed behemoth belonging to Permuted Press, Part 2

The reviews for Part 1 are in!

  • “This is possibly the best thing I’ve ever read.” — Jenn Loring, author at Red Adept Publishing
  • “Oh, like you won’t use your fortune to plot revenge! Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.”  —  Ann Hoade, wife at Chez Hoade
  • “A great piece of fiction from a great fiction writer.” — Paul Mannering, author at, um … well, Permuted Press

My blog had a good day yesterday. It had commenting, sharing, emails from Nigerian princes desperate for help. There are a lot of people out there who offered sympathy and commiseration about my experiences, which was greatly appreciated. There were also corrections offered from best-selling Permuted Press authors, which I duly incorporated where relevant into Part 1 and which I’ll talk about in an upcoming post. (Paul’s comment above kinda speaks for itself.)

And this is what it’s saying.

First, however, I must tell you some theories/conclusions reached either by my correspondents or by my own addled brain:

Permuted Press needed the resources for Permuted Pictures, its new film production company.

Your first reaction to this may be to spit-take your coffee or energy drink mixed with vodka all over your computer, tablet, or tragically curved iPhone 6 Plus: “A film production company?!?” you yelp in outrage, “I thought Permuted was saying they didn’t have enough time/money to keep producing, y’know, books.”

Before Permuted Press said no to print books and let authors out of their contracts before lawsuits could be filed, I was psyched about Permuted Pictures. They said they would be making low-budget films from some of their authors’ works. Great! I thought, What could be more better than movies from my wonderful apocalypse-obsessed publisher? Of course, “Not fucking their authors” would be the answer to that question, but I had no idea that PP was scuttling the whole ship with enough lifeboats only for management and Permuted Platinum authors.

Der Untergang der Titanic

In this metaphor, the ship is its own iceberg. MIND: BLOWN.

No, at the time I was a happy little camper, because Permuted assured everyone that the film was being financed through Kickstarter. Awesomesauce! I thought, Crowdfunding is the future! But, Dear Reader, remember your question from the first paragraph of this section. You said, and I quote:

I thought Permuted was saying they didn’t have enough time/money to keep producing, y’know, books.

Good point, hypothetical reader. While Kickstarter is the funding source for One-Stop Apocalypse Shop, doesn’t putting together and managing a Kickstarter campaign—not to mention producing and distributing a fucking movie—take up a whole lot of wo/manpower? Like, maybe 41.65 percent of a publishing company’s human resource time, as in:

41.65% of our production team’s time [is spent] …  making print on demand versions of our books, but those products account for only 7.41% of our income. This disproportionate figure revealed the need to make prompt changes to our previous policy.

Yes, that is a direct quote from Permuted’s “turn around, you’re going to feel a slight prick” email to its authors that I talked about yesterday.

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“Dr. Compensation, your three o’clock is here.”

So putting together print versions of ebooks, which I and many other self-published authors have done multiple times (and we’re not even graphic artists!), is too time-consuming—but writing, producing, directing, releasing, distributing and publicizing a movie isn’t? What the actual fuck?

I don’t doubt that Permuted apologists and authors still signed with them will say things like:

  • “The movies are made through a totally different process, much like Right Twix.”
  • “The Kickstarter is paying for all staffing for this Permuted Picture. No one at the Press has anything to do with it. Not one dime or second of person-power has been taken from our book business in order to make this completely free-to-us motion picture.”
  • “A great piece of fiction from a great fiction writer.”

The replies I would have to these authors and others, all of whom are entitled to their opinions and also to be as happy as they like with Permuted Press, would be something like this:

  • I know movies are different from books. That’s why I don’t pay $10 to go sit in a bookstore for two hours staring at a wall. Also, Right Twix killed my parents.
  • If it’s totally separate and not even the effort required to set up a Kickstarter project was expended by Permuted Press to create Permuted Pictures, if it has nothing to do with PP other than using its authors’ works as source material, then what’s the point? Is the book side going so well it doesn’t need the TLC provided for the new and shiny film arm? Why not do a Kickstarter to help get POD books designed, produced, and distributed?
  • Stop it, Paul.

“What? I’ve got something in my eye! Yes, again!

Anyway, moving on to the next theory, and oh, Lord, it is a doozy:

Permuted signed as many authors as possible, with full knowledge that it was too much too fast and that they would not be producing POD books for these dozens of recently signed writers. They did this so that they would have lots of almost-free material for Permuted Pictures to choose from.

I hope that this one is not true, because, in the words of Dawn of the Dead’s Ken Foree quoting his (apparently way spooky) grandfather, “When Hell is full, the dead will walk the Earth.” And I do not want to see anyone with Permuted Press wandering around one minute longer than absolutely necessary, and this theory being true would mean that they are Hell-bound for sure.

You may remember from my award-winning and close personal friend Part 1 that PP stipulated in its contracts—which were mainly to contract newbies like myself who wouldn’t notice it—that ALL rights were Permuted’s, including movie rights. This meant that PP could sell Deadtown Abbey to Paramount for $2 million … and I would get my usual 7 percent royalty. I’m no one to sneeze at $140,000, but I would be even less allergic to $1.7 million, which would be my take after a very fair 15 percent paid to my publisher.

However, this theory isn’t about Permuted selling rights to big studios. This is about Permuted being completely legally allowed to make movies out of the work of any of these brand-new authors through Permuted Pictures, its completely coincidentally timed new project. Since they don’t get paid for the rights by an outside studio, they don’t have any purchase price to pay the authors even that 7 percent. No, authors would get 7 percent on the net profit of money made on the movie by Permuted Pictures. Net profit.

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Pictured: Net profits.

Permuted Press is deeply fucking evil.

This theory, I can tell you right off the bat, is not true.

Despite my “Hell-bound” comment above, I actually don’t think Permuted, its owners, it management, its workers, and certainly not its authors, are doing anything other than what they think is best. They are not evil, they are not demons, they’re not trying to ruin anyone’s life or even their livelihood.

They’re just a bunch of jerks.

Inconsiderate? Yes. Short-sighted? Certainly. Opportunistic? You bet your sweet ass.

But they’re not evil. There’s still a chance that they’ll see the heartache and disillusionment they’re causing and rethink their latest business strategies, and that chance existing means that they aren’t deadites moving people-puppets around to satisfy their blood lust.

They’re not evil. But that makes this whole situation all the more disheartening. We don’t even have the comfort of truly demonizing those who have done us wrong.

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Okay, maybe a little.


Read Part 1: How I got anally violated by the thorny cock of Permuted Press

Read Part 3: My story of triumph and plan to rebuild the kicked-over blocks of my literary ambitions!

How I got anally violated by the thorny cock of Permuted Press, Part 1

Read Part 2

“Those whom the gods would destroy, first they make proud.”
— Ecclesiasticles the Tempurpedic, c. 500 BCE

“If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.”
— Extremely pessimistic Minoan folk saying

“Those who would put off writing a painful blog entry, first they stuff in a bunch of unreliably attributed epigraphs at the beginning.”
— King Haypulmafinga, Feb. 30, 1852

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Well, this sucks.

For the majority of 2014, I have been waxing philosophical (if that phrase means “doing the happy dance while bragging”) about my 10-book contract with the formerly respected publisher, Permuted Press, who had taken me on after I submitted Deadtown Abbey kind of on a whim.

The owner of Permuted himself called me during an NFL playoff game and I went in the other room to take the call. I repeat: this was during the game. That is how serious this was to me. And oh, the delights that this gentleman filled my PTSD-shaken mind with:

  • Permuted was the original publisher of one of your favorite books which was made into a movie, John Dies At The End!
    • They wanted movie rights, audiobook rights, e-book and print rights—they wanted everything! YAY!!!
  • My books in stores! Such as at Barnes & Noble! Or, like, Target!
  • They want to publish my series(es)! They demanded all my ideas so that they could contract with me for those, too—that is how much they loved Deadtown Abbey!
  • My books. In actual stores without having to work out some third-party arrangement like Al Capone trying to launder his money through publishing. My books. In stores.
  • They pay an advance. Of money.
  • If I go into a bookstore after my book is published, there would be a good chance that my books would be in them.
    • “I want you inside me, Sean’s books.” — Bookstores, allegedly
  • Essentially they would be the State Lottery giant check that would be move me out of the self-publishing ghetto and into a dee-luxe apartment in the sky.

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Which would come pre-furnished with sassy neighbors.

This utterly intoxicating conversation was followed up by communications with the director and contracts person at Permuted Press, and ultimately we worked out a $350 advance for each book on each of 10 goddamn books, three series(es) and a standalone zombie book. (For those of you who don’t know, Permuted made its bones [HA!] on zombie books and was now reaching out to embrace the incredibly hot apocalypse genre in general, which I thought was aces since I love that stuff.) A 10-book contract. I had never even heard of anyone getting that size of a contract! OMG, I MUST BE SO INCREDIBLY AND WONDERFULLY GREAT! AND SEXY!!!

There are probably several elements of that list that might give pause to a non-middle-aged-desperate author. Two of them appeared to me early on (but after the ink was dry), with the angel Gabriel ditching his trumpet to play a sad trombone.

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As opposed to a rusty trombone, which could never be sad.

  1. The advance was on publication, not on acceptance. This kind of betrays the concept of an “advance.”
    1. However, I just figured I would use the advance to buy a bunch of author-discounted print copies to sell at Cons and send to reviewers and such. No biggie—probably a better deal for me, since I’d just blow an earlier advance on shit like food and shelter and stuff.
    2. I didn’t realize at the time that they never had to release any book of mine. They had no advance invested in me, everything was electronic—even the contracts which were emailed to me, with me paying to send back to them by mail the signed papers. They literally had no financial incentive to do anything.
    3. After the entire debacle, this last realization hit me. And oh, it hurt. Anyway, moving on.
  2. These 10 books were to be delivered by August 2016. That meant me turning in a finished manuscript every four months. Far from impossible—hell, Stephen King hisself says that no one should spend more than three months on a first draft—but these weren’t supposed to be first drafts (although a peek through the PP catalog shows that many of their novels were just that). These were supposed to be polished and ready to go after an alleged copy editor ran her eyes over it.
    1. I should mention that I felt like the production schedule was more of a challenge than a dealbreaker. I did Deadtown Abbey in several months leading up to a zombie Con in Atlanta, and I got Reviva Las Vegas! done on schedule as well. This was while I was otherwise unemployed, however, and I once I got started working at a job that paid actual money, my productivity took a punch to the groin that proved … daunting … to my zip-zip-zip novel assembly line dreams.

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Pictured: Stephen King’s brain.

Before I tell you of the dick moves of Permuted Press, you should know that they were termed “fuckery” by horror luminaries like Brian Keene and garnered the following from amazeballs author and promoter Gabrielle Faust:

I’m so incredibly beside myself with outrage at this inexcusable betrayal of the trust of so many talented writers, you can’t even begin to imagine.

Allow me to put this in perspective for you: Gabrielle Faust was Permuted Press’ fucking Director of Marketing. She had no idea what the Powers in the publishing hotspot of Franklin, Tennessee had planned for their hundreds of authors. (More on that bullshit below.) They canned her, saying they needed a “butt in a seat” at their hopping headquarters, something that now boggles the mind because what PP had in mind for its authors was this, and this is a direct quote from their middle-of-the-night email to all its authors:

We will be ceasing the production of print-on-demand books.

That was presented with the same offhandedness with which you would tell someone the relative humidity. That person being one who didn’t even have any interest in the hygrometer reading in the first place. In other words, Permuted was trying to make it sound like “Hardly worth mentioning, really, but it’s just a spot of bother” when to the people it was sent to it was completely DEFCON 5 WOULD YOU LIKE TO PLAY A MOTHERFUCKING GAME, JOSHUA.

Remember the quote about gods punishing pride at the beginning of this blog entry? It is in reality unattributed, but I had enough hubris (thanks, 9th grade English!) to think, “Well, this doesn’t 100 percent affect me, because the owner told me in no uncertain terms that my books would be available in stores.”  Which POD books are most certainly not unless one has a relationship, probably involving either sex or the possession of legally incriminating murder photos or both of the store management. Permuted had a new arm called “Permuted Platinum,” which was books in warehouses available for stocking by booksellers without hoops and such.

My brain said, “Don’t freak out, man. This is a bad thing for many authors, but not for you. You had a promise. The owner didn’t call anybody else before signing them”—this I verified by asking every other PP author I knew if it had happened to them—”and so I must be safe. Whew. I must be a Platinum author. I’ll just send a little missive to the managing editor to make sure we’re cool.”

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“Whew! Thank goodness I’m not in any danger.”

We were most definitely NOT COOL. It turns out that a verbal contract, even one executed during an NFL playoff game, truly isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on. Permuted gave many excuses regarding why this was a necessary step, and also said that if you look very carefully at your contract, you’ll see that PP had the option to publish your books in print, not an obligation to do so.

Holy shucking fit. They were screwing me—I was going to be “published” only in e-book format. They apologized but they had just signed too many authors too quickly—and were publishing five books per week now—and so they were going to all e-books for everyone but a very small elite of their authors who were already in the Platinum program. If the phrase “all e-books” doesn’t send a shiver down your spine, then you have never been an indie author.

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“So this is where books go to die!”

Many wonderful books—heck, most books published these days by the Big Five in New York as well as more independent presses—are available in e-book format. Stevie King, John Grisham, the late Maya Angelou, the President of the United States—all have seen their books in e-format and sold a ton of books that way. Kindle and iPad are the wave of the present, let alone the future, and e-books are awesome. (I love to read e-books, for Chrissake, so this isn’t some weird Luddite rant.)

But you know these authors’ work because of print books. Paper, glue, cardboard, slick dust jacket. You may sell your work in many different formats, but print is what makes a writer—and a publisher, for that matter—look and feel legitimate in the literary and intellectual marketplace. That said, the traditional publishing model has long been lamented for its high costs and low, low margins of profit. It’s a well-known fact that most fiction books never earn back the advances paid to their authors.

However.

1.12-exhausted

“Oh God, here it comes.”

Permuted Press didn’t cancel its Platinum line (although some in the know say that it has failed miserably, with only about 10 percent selling to consumers and 90 percent going back to the publisher). It didn’t say “no more print books, period.” No, what they said was much more troubling and, frankly, a kick in the face to its non-Platinum authors. They announced that they would be stopping their print on demand books. You know, those that are produced only if someone orders one? You know, those that authors of any stripe can take to conventions, book fairs, farmer’s markets, bazaars, and many other places to sell? You know, those that authors can give as gifts or send out for review? You know, those for the majority of readers who don’t own an e-reading device and aren’t even interested in one? Yeah, those. Permuted said that it was investing

41.65% of our production team’s time … making print on demand versions of our books, but those products account for only 7.41% of our income. This disproportionate figure revealed the need to make prompt changes to our previous policy.

Some have questioned these figures. Permuted Press covers are very nice, especially compared to many self-published covers or those from other POD publishers. But they’re still essentially stock pictures and art with text laid over them. But think about it for a second: Instead of trying to bring those production numbers more into line with what they want or promoting the POD side of the business more, they essentially said, “You know what? Why don’t we just throw away almost 10 percent of our income as a company?

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Pictured: Permuted Press board meeting.

[Update: Permuted Platinum author Jessica Meigs corrects me: “In actuality, they’re only ‘throwing away’ 2% of the company income. You forgot to account for the bestsellers that will remain in POD production (which account for around 5% of the company’s income).”]

In fact, this makes so little sense that some commenting on the entire clusterfuck have speculated that something else is behind that unprecedentedly weird business move. PP did bring in a silent partner recently, and maybe that partner is one of those slash-and-burn types who want immediate profit.

[Update: Jessica Meigs informs me that this partner has been with PP since the beginning of the new management, and that he is quite rich and thus doesn’t need a quick buck. So my theory is shot full of holes, which leaves me wondering about PP’s actions: Why, then? WHY?)

(By the way, since the time that books were first published to be sold, everyone involved knew that publishing is not a get-rich-quick—if ever—kind of business. You do it for the love of books, authors, and reading. Money is there to be made, but it must be cultivated. This is a truth universally acknowledged by anyone who knows anything about publishing, including self-publishing.) This speculation about a greedy partner bending the company to his will is plausible, if not very likely. A person seeking profit is not going to cut off 7.41 percent of his new company’s income. S/he will make people work smarter or harder, pay them less or tie their pay to profits, but to cut off income for no apparent reason? Senseless.

Anyway, whatever the reason for Permuted’s odd move from POD, what’s done is done. They knew they were in deep doo-doo, because they sent out a message saying that they would allow any authors who wanted it to be released from their contracts. This is unheard, of but I got on that pony before you could say “What pony?” I was the first to dissolve my contract with PP, and a large contingent of their author pool has followed suit.

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A Permuted Press author waits his turn.

It was only after I had cut my ties to these not-technically-lying-but-totally-lying sons of bitches that I started reading the blogs and Facebook postings of other authors and publishing wags about how much of a bullet I and my fellow ex-Permuted authors had just dodged. Here are the highlights, all of which applied to me as well as all the others:

  • In the contract, Permuted stated that it was buying (for $350, mind you) all rights to the author’s work. E-publishing rights, natch, but also audio rights, movie/TV rights, toy and other ancillary rights, and any other rights one could think of. They would pay the authors as promised: a 7 percent royalty.
  • These rights would never revert back to the author, his or her heirs, nobody. For that 7 percent royalty, PP was buying ALL RIGHTS IN PERPETUITY.
  • This meant that any sequels, spinoffs or like whatnot would have to be either accepted and published by Permuted, the rights to do the sequel would have to be purchased from Permuted Press by the author or that new publisher, or never be published legally at all.
  • According to Permuted, “We are pausing the release of most new titles until early 2015. This will grant us the time necessary to increase margin in our production schedule … When publishing resumes in early 2015, our release schedule will be less aggressive.” This was a huge letdown for their authors because some of us weren’t going to see our books published until 2018. Deadtown Abbey was due for release in February 2015, Reviva Las Vegas in October 2015, the three volumes of my Cthulhu trilogy in 2016, and so on. That was fine with me—I know the wheels turn slowly on the professional publishing machine—but now they were going to be “less aggressive”? What, did that mean 2019? 2025? Never?
    • But here’s the real bitch about this “less aggressive” publishing schedule, which they also said was needed because they “now have a clearer idea of the production volume of our staff.” Wait, what? Didn’t you just fucking say that 41.68 percent of your production time was being cleared immediately? How long does it take to format a goddamn e-book, even including the cover and registration to sell on Amazon and such places?

It has been speculated that PP was actually trying to get rid of as many authors as it could by making these nonsensical, self-contradictory pronouncements. I don’t have any insight or information as to whether this is true, but it pisses me off so much even to think about that I’m just gonna let that one go. Stopping head explosions starts with yourself, people.

ScannersTwist_Current

Fight it … keep fightinnnnnng … you can do eeeeet …

Now, as you all know, I am not one to mope or carry a grudHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA OMG I CAN’T BREATHE LOL. No, of course at the slightest setback I will mope like a tranquilized sloth who just fell out of his tree. And I literally still have not forgiven my (now deceased) mother for throwing away my EXCLUSIVE TO THE STAR WARS FAN CLUB 8×10 glossy stills from The Empire Strikes Back when she was cleaning my room when I was 11 years old. (YOU NEVER CLEANED SHIT, MOM! WHY THEN? WHY MY ROOM?!?) So no, fuck Permuted Press and I will feel that way until the day that I die.

Scanners-head-explode

Ah, dammit. He was so close.

However, I did decide to wait until I was no longer lying on the couch, staring off into space and mumbling “Why me?” to a woman who has been painfully crippled by rheumatoid arthritis since she was 7 fucking years old to write this blog entry. So you see that my compassion was at full power and in no way compromised by my experience of the past two weeks. Ahem. I thought it might be better to just wait for a bit before spewing venom all over your precious Internets.

Part 2: Some theories on what Permuted might actually be doing, and it is awful.

AND

Part 3 (coming soon): What I have done to redeem myself and regain your faith in my awesome utterness as an author, a fighter—and yes, as a man.

 

Permuted Press: A New Age of Fuckery by Brian Keene

From the brilliant horror author and smart businessman Brian Keene:

There is a justified uproar about the business practices of Permuted Press right now.  […]  I have looked into it and it is abhorrent. It is not, however, illegal.

Read the rest at Brian Keene — Daily Blog!

I will have a great deal to say about the fuckery of my former publisher, and I will at that time share my sad tale. I needed a bit of emotional distance from it first, which is happening, but slowly.

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Very slowly.

Nick Mamatas on self-published authors and writer organizations

Mythos author Nick Mamatas brilliantly dissects the attempts by self-publishing authors to join various writer’s associations in this terrific article.

The Horror Writers Association (HWA) has decided to allow self-publishing as a criterion for its membership, and the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) is currently contemplating the same. Membership in both groups had previously been means-tested only to allow membership to writers who sold a certain number of short pieces at a certain pay rate, or a novel for an advance of a couple thousand dollars. (There are also other kinds of membership for publishing professionals, but that’s not relevant here.) Much anxiety and discussion has ensued, though of course there has been more light than heat …

Read the rest of the article.

Signs o’ the times, my brothers!