Friday, October 14, 2011
Aspen Mountain Press : A horror story
Since I published through a small press, I'm interested in news about such presses, especially those specializing in the genres I write. Aspen Mountain Press is (or was) a romance e-publisher and small press, and although I've never read any AMP books, they had some very distinctive covers.
AMP was established in 2007, so it seemed capable of lasting the distance. But the first signs of problems began in August 2010. This post on the former head editor's blog tells it all - and it's a nightmarish situation.
The story is a long one, but if you're interested in how a press can go very, very wrong, read this. It's unforgettable. Not to mention tragic, because the senior staff tried incredibly hard to pull the press out of the fire and ultimately even that effort was sabotaged by the owner. Apparently she was too depressed to work more than two hours a day, but well enough to cash checks and use royalty money for her personal expenses.
What puzzled me about some of the comments in the blog post, though, were the authors who had received only one or two royalty payments... but who had six or eight books (they specifically mentioned books, rather than short stories) with AMP. That's a lot of books to submit to a publisher which isn't making regular payments. I hope they manage to get their rights back - difficult at best with a publisher which isn't responding to even certified mail - and find a better home for their books.
On that note, the former senior staff of AMP set up another press called Musa Publishing. Although it may be better if writers wait and see how this press does in the long run, Musa has the same great cover artist and a good contract as well.
After the ordeal that was AMP, its writers and editors alike deserve a happy ending.
Edited to add : There's a Part 2 to the story. Authors who received their letters of rights reversion in the mail are still seeing their books offered for sale on AMP's website. The wheels have really come off the bus there.
I have no idea when or how this will end, but at least spreading the news will mean fewer people buying books that are being illegally sold, books for which the writers are not being paid.