Don’t Tar All Small Presses With the Same Brush

There’s been a fair bit of chatter on the web about a recent bad experience an author had with a small press publisher.

Before I go on, you should read about the awful chain of events HERE (if you haven’t already).

My initial thoughts after reading the article were that the publisher Undead Press had, in my opinion, violated the author’s work; vandalised it and without her consent.

Fortunately, as far as I am aware, this is a rare occurrence – it certainly hasn’t happened to me, but then again I don’t submit to as many anthologies as I should. In my experience, the anthologies and magazines I have approached have always been forthright, honest and most of all professional.

Given that the article reveals all the bad things about a particular small press, I’ll  give you an example of a good one that I recently had an experience with.

This particular publisher is based out of the US and last year I submitted a short story to them for their magazine. Even though I’d never heard of them they were on the leading markets website (see links below), they’d published a few issues of their magazine and it contained a few names that I did recognise. I sent them my story and like all good, patient authors, waited to hear if I’d been accepted.

After a few months I did indeed receive a response – essentially a well worded, professional email, which said they would like to publish the story if I was willing to make a few suggested revisions to improve the story. Now let me be frank here – at no point did I feel as if I was being forced to make the changes in order to be published. Their suggestions were valid ones and I do believe the changes I made and wrote of my own volition, did improve the story.

Obviously, the story was accepted after I made the changes, but the point I am trying to make is that this is how a professional publisher is supposed to operate. They respect the author and their work at all times and give them notice if anything in the story needs revision.

As an emerging author I’ve racked up probably a 100 or so short story rejections. While they were a little disheartening, each and every publisher always made an effort to motivate me, even in a form rejection. Others went out of their way to tell me what they liked about the story and even grace me with the phrase “please submit to us again in the future”.

I feel very lucky that this has been my experience as a fledgling horror author over the past few years. I know there are many fantastic and professional small presses around the globe working their guts out to maintain their reputation and I will defend them to the hilt and drag the bad ones through the mud.

Small presses like Bad Moon Books, Dark Regions Press and Journalstone Publishing are doing amazing things with horror at the moment and deserve our support

As an aside I should say that any author looking to become published should always in the FIRST INSTANCE peruse the following markets:

RALAN – This site looks plain, but as the saying goes, don’t judge a book by its cover. It is considered THE resource for writers.

DUOTROPE – This site has a great search function, enabling to find the most suitable market for your story.

DARK MARKETS  – This site has a good range of markets and interviews.

And don’t forget to visit the Horror Writers Association and the Australian Horror Writers Association for information on markets.

About darkscrybe

I am a dark fiction author and artist from Central Queensland, Australia. I've penned four novellas: Torment, The Noctuary, Vaudeville and The Last Night of October. I also illustrated the Bram Stoker Award-winning graphic novel, Witch Hunts: A Graphic History of the Burning Times.
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2 Responses to Don’t Tar All Small Presses With the Same Brush

  1. Great article! I get a lot of info on what markets are open to submissions, but what a lot of writers need is a list of markets to stay away from.

  2. Greg Chapman says:

    The list of publishers to stay away from is a good idea. Absolute writer cooler forum is a great place to post bewares and all you need to do is register! Thanks Joe!

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