I wrote this on September 10, 2010 and decided not to publish it at the time for fear of getting blackballed for besmirching an actual publisher. From what I’ve read over the last couple days, I didn’t need to be so cautious.
I have a bone to pick with LDP, but I’ve tried to keep a lid on it up until now. My story, “Goner” appeared in volume 6 of the Dead Worlds anthology. Up front, I’ll say my story needed editing. But it didn’t need what the editor did to it. It was the literal equivalent of a dentist sneezing while he’s drilling into a patient’s tooth.
Even before I had my deal with Severed for my novel I’ve had stuff published. I know rewording and reworking are part of the process, but there are changes and then there are changes. Rejection can be a great thing. I had a story that was rejected by Alien Skin Magazine and why they rejected it helped me rewrite the weak parts, I resubmitted it and they published it. I appreciate rejection. I can still respect an editor and maybe resubmit something another time. Hell, I got rejected for Dead Bait 2 (again, another rushed story and it probably showed to the editor).
But I had things taken out, like a mallet because, (I’m paraphrasing as the conversation took place in February or March) “Nobody knows what a mallet is.” My main character was a scavenger, hell EVERYONE in the story was. That’s why the bad guys were on mopeds. But those were changed to motorcycles. Y’know, because the bad guys always ride around in style.
And again, some things needed changing. Like my main character breaking through bricked up windows. I don’t know why boards over the windows didn’t cross my mind, but it was a good change. But there was PROSE changed, y’know the stuff that shows your own personality? And things added THAT I WOULD NEVER WRITE. I have to check my contract again, but if I could I would love to post my whole story, as I’d submitted it and invite anyone to read the two side-by-side and decide for themselves which was better. You’ll more than likely be doing the same thing as me and asking yourself over and over again, “Why was that changed?” To this day I haven’t been able to finish reading it.
But hey, I thought, maybe I’m the crazy one. So I read the story the editor wrote, a couple stories ahead of mine. I forget the title, but if you’ve seen the movie Zombieland you already know the story. It was completely derivative, down to the characters being named after states and using the whole “Kill of the Week” bit. All they did was walk into a grocery store, get attacked by zombies, shoot a bunch of them, and leave.
I have never trashed another writer, but by the way I was rudely handled over the phone and the end-product that showed up in the antho I feel like I’ve been mistreated. Right now I’m working my way through “Love Prevails” and it’s by far better written and plotted than the editor’s story.
I wrote for the antho as a way of getting good press for my novel, but I got 0 traction. You know what would have made up for that? Getting paid for the 6,000 or however many word story I wrote. I’m officially done with writing for free unless it’s something that benefits me or something I believe in.
As an aside, a month or two after this was published I attempted to have this added to my list of books (authors will understand) I had contributed to on Amazon.