And It Happens Again

AMP is  now no longer a publisher. Now Aspen Mountain Press is nothing more than an electronic pirate, capitalizing off the stranded and breached contracts of
authors the company is refusing to let go.

This comes from Celina Summers, the former head of the Aurora line at Aspen Mountain Press.  Check out her blog post here.  I had heard there was a new press in town called Musa Publishing and thought to myself, “Great.  Another epub to add to the hundreds that are already out there.”  Well, after reading the post about AMP, now I know why they came into being.  And in all honesty, my skepticism has been turned into hope.  Hope that they survive.

To make a long story short, the owner isn’t paying her authors or her staff, so her staff left AMP to form Musa Publishing so that the AMP authors wouldn’t be stranded.  Talk about honorable.  Whether Musa is here to stay or not, at least they tried, which is more than I can say for AMP.

But here’s the thing that really pisses me off.  I went to RT 2010 in Columbus, OH where AMP had a spotlight.  A spotlight is basically where an editor/publisher talks about their company and about the things they have lined up in the coming year and what they’re looking for.  I had heard of Aspen Mountain Press, but never submitted anything to them because I had set my sights on the ones that really stood out like Samhain and Carina Press.  At the time, I hadn’t heard anything bad about AMP (or anything good), so I assumed they were okay.  Still, I wasn’t ready to submit anything to them because I didn’t have enough information to feel confident about sending my work there.

A little of a year later, I learn the woman who sat at the front of the room representing AMP and who seemed like a good head on her shoulders was a liar.  She sat there and told everyone what they wanted to hear, while at the same time, was skimming money from the company account for her personal use.  Are you kidding me??  If she’s shoveling that crap to authors, then what’s she shoveling to readers?  Or are they just another dead president in her cash drawer?  😡

This is why whenever a new publisher comes out, it’s important to adopt a wait-and-see stance to see what fluffs up in a year or so.  Also, research research research publishers because you never know what you’ll get.  But keep in mind, you can do everything in your power and still be taken for ride.  It happens.  At that point, the best you can do is fulfill your contract and get the hell out.  And if you think a well-known publisher is safer because they’ve been around a while, think again.  Regardless of the age or reputation, a publisher can still implode.  All you can do is be on your guard.  Know what they’re doing, how they’re doing it, and stay on top of them.  Ask questions.  Anyone who doesn’t want to answer them has just sewn a huge red flag that’s about to go up the flagpole.

I’m not ready to throw praises at Musa Publishing, but at least I know they’re honorable at this point.  I’ll still adopt a wait-and-see attitude because they’re new.  They started off on the right note: giving hope to their authors and making books available to readers again.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they can pull it off and will become the next Samhain or Carina Press.

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6 thoughts on “And It Happens Again

  1. It’s ugly out there, isn’t it? I went to The New Independents panel at New York Comic Con a couple of days ago, and it seems that things are just getting worse. It seems things are getting extremely gloomy for small presses, particularly the ones that don’t do any ebook publishing.

    I was thinking about you while the panel was going. Remember how you went for the indie publishing venture when things weren’t looking all that clear. I guess things are clear as water right now; okay, so maybe the water is a bit turbulent, but we still can see through the ripples, can’t we? 😉

    • Yes, we can! Indie gives authors an option that NY and other small pubs don’t. We have a chance to get our stories out there without having to worry about a few faceless/nameless people having say over what thousands of people should be reading. Not only that, but it’s even better for midlisters who aren’t having contracts renewed and whose stories we’ve fallen in love with. That’s the beauty of going indie. 🙂 For once, the author is making their due at 70% profit instead of a lousy 8%. Without us, publishers wouldn’t exist. I don’t care how much they put up for editors, cover artists, galleys and the barely-there promo.

      And I totally agree that small pubs who don’t do ebooks will find their doors closing. It’s scary, but not entirely impossible for them to turn things around, now that there are places like Smashwords to help them.

    • Agreed. I like self-publishing, too.

      The good thing about publishers like Musa is that they’re there to serve those authors who aren’t ready for indie yet, and that’s fine. I just hope they do right by them.

    • There are. In fact, I suspect that as more authors move toward self-publishing, more will come out of the woodwork. They’ll do whatever they can to keep their bread and butter, even lie to them. Every author needs to be on their guard.

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