|Speaking of pathetic amateurs - the guy from Open Casket Press and how NOT to run a small press
||[Nov. 13th, 2011|05:11 pm]
So I was trying to get to the Women in Horror Writing panel and I saw someone I met and I said hello and there was this guy there who was jumping around, talking loudly and showing off his books. He was saying that Bigfoot was just exploding now. He also talked about how he was a writer so he was reluctant to edit people's stuff because they must all think that their writing is perfect. |
As it was one of those the business of small press, I listened for a time but mostly there was another guy there that I could show Michael's story to (basically Michael Boatman is as nice a guy as you would expect from seeing him on Spin City or Arliss or China Beach but his story "Bloodbath at Landsdale Towers" is just the kind of bloody fuckyou story that will clear out a room) and while I'm showing this guy the story (this guy who was not the loud jumpy dude and who wants to edit an octopus themed anthology and I told this guy what he should pay writers as far as a small press guy who is putting up all his own money - meager funds that they are - should pay - $50 advance against royalties - enough to attract decent writers but not so much that you won't be able to pay them) this guy kept talking about his philosophy of selling and all the things he was going to be publishing and at one point I said that the Kindle price should be $2.99.
And he went off on this long argument for $9.99 at least since if he worked that hard and the writers worked that hard then he should get more money per book. He noted that he would rather sell 12 books at $9.99 than 50 at 2.99 (I strongly suspected that he was never going to sell 50 books in a month total but did not have proof until later) There was something else about how publishing companies that have low prices are looking desperate. The fact that Catherynne's first Prester John book is being given away by a major publisher didn't phase him and then his major argument comes to the anecdotal "I had a writer that I fell out with so I was pissed at him and put his book down to $2.99 and it didn't sell any better than before."
After seeing another friend who confirmed my suspicions that he was an idiot (apparently he met Joe Hill, didn't know who Joe Hill was and was very dismissive of him until someone mentioned that Joe was Stephen King's son and then all of a sudden he was all over him in creepy fanboy mode - at another small convention no less) I had to look up his press.
And his Web site shows that he's not JUST an idiot. He's an example of what you DON'T do when running a small press. In fact, if you want to run a successful small press, look at what he does and then do everything the opposite.
Open Casket Press (his press) is the stupidest business model I've ever seen. So of course that zombie writer isn't selling more at a low price on Kindle because NO ONE is selling through this press. I could talk about how the Web site is a bitch to download and how the cover art is disgustingly ugly, but really let's just get to the heart of the submissions in which the submission is a complimentary copy IF the story is over 4000 words.
Let me just repeat this.
If your story is accepted into one of these brilliant anthologies AND it is over a set length, then you will get a FREE BOOK - only you will get a free Open Casket Press book so fuck your mother that's not worth shit. Oh sure they are going to price it at $15 apiece but that doesn't translate into them pay YOU the $15.
Second, they make sure to say that they have FAST TURNAROUND. Amazing! You mean you are going to accept my story and then publish it right away in an anthology that no one is going to read because you haven't done shit to publicize it? Fucking awesome.
And even better, that fast turn around means that he's not even looking at your story before dumping it into the anthology - and how do we know that? Because he wants a story single spaced with this exact margin. Well, yeah, that makes sense. Why make the publisher and editor bother with these complicated Microsoft Word functions like Ctrl-A or "Paragraph" when you can just have it all ready to go because it's naturally the bestest story ever in its current form and you believe in it so much that you are going to give it to a company that offers you a FREE (shitty) BOOK.
So let's recap - Open Casket Press is represented by a twitchy guy who thinks that editing is a conspiracy, books should come out a week after all the stories are accepted and he works damn hard on them so he should get paid at least $9 a book. But of course, the writers should get paid at least - well fuck the writers.
What makes it worse is that illustrations on the covers look pretty cool and you KNOW he paid the artist.
So submit to Open Casket Press where your story MIGHT get you a free book full of shitty stories from other writers who are dumb enough to think that a free book is adequate payment, but make sure to format it already because at Open Casket, we are too professional to edit people's writing and we are definitely not going to waste our time sending out review copies to reviewers (well they will just hate it regardless because they can't deal with your genius) or promoting the book in any shape or form.