Apologies in advance if I goofed, but I believe that Cider Press Review has not been described before. They are a publisher of poetry books, and run an annual poetry contest, with the winner having her or his book printed. Their last contest winner has started a blog to warn people about her experience with the company.
The main editor, Caron Andregg, also produces websites, which is where things get sticky. Apparently, the most recent winner, Stacey Lynn Brown, claims she was treated poorly, after deciding to turn down the editor's offer of a website design, and going with someone else. The editor became contentious, and began making major changes the poet disagreed with:
The press then decided to rescind the award completely, demanding the prize money back, but insisting that they now owned all the rights to the poet's book in perpetuity, so that she could never print it with another company:My collection is a book-length poem in sections, and as such, there are no titles. The Table of Contents is just an Index of First Lines. And this was fine--until the website debacle happened. Then she decided that it was her right as an editor to assign titles to my poems. What?!?
She actually told me, in one of our exchanges over this, that I needed to stick with the contents of the book and let her and the other editor do their jobs...
Then she sent me a mockup of the cover. When I read the blurbs, I just about fell out. She...had mangled them--brutally. I mean, chopped up sentences, moving them around so that the subject and predicate no longer talked about the same things. Just butchered them. Without the permission of these authors...In fact, since one of the blurb-ers had specifically said she did NOT want her work edited, this presented a real problem.
...She came back and said, "Okay, we'll reinstate the full blurbs, but in exchange, we're taking your author photo off the book."
At this point, you might be thinking that it was a spatial issue, that the blurbs were so long that there wasn't any room for an author photo. No. That wasn't the case at all. In fact, there was enough room left over for the press to put on a five-sentence advertisement for themselves and for the book award for next year, including guidelines. On the back cover of a book!
On top of that, it appears that this happened last year, with one previous winner having her contract rescinded. That winner, unfortunately, according to the poet, is under a gag order and was not permitted to warn others about what occurred, but a reporter for Poets and Writers is developing a story.In order for me to get my rights back, I had to repay them the $1000 prize money I had been given as well as give them the $200 they had spent acquiring the cover art for a book THEY were choosing not to publish.
...[My lawyer] drafted a letter of demand detailing the ways in which they had broken the contract and giving them one week to sign a waiver relinquishing all claims to my work. If they didn't sign, we were going to move ahead with litigation against them. They signed--immediately. But it cost me almost all of the money that I had won just to keep the rights to my own book--a book, might I add, that was no closer to getting published now than it was a year ago, when I submitted to this contest.
Her first blog post - http://staceylynnbrown.blogspot.com/...ous-debut.html
Her followup, including the official rebuttal by the company (whose most recent judge decided to back out) - http://staceylynnbrown.blogspot.com/...-part-two.html