Okay, this has been my saga since February 2008. I wanted to warn others even though they may never accept submissions again.
Back in November of 2007 I was heading the local Writer's Meetup in Denver. I received a lot of chaf but a few gems to pass on to my writers. I received one from Illusion Tv's Transmitter, an online Sci Fi magazine.
I sent a submission off to them and was notified in January that I was being considered. Near the end of the month I received notification of publication in their February Issue and received the contract.
The contract was good. 5 cents a word. Good clauses on all things, they wanted exclusive for 30 days and year's worth of archives. After having the contract checked out I signed it and sent it off.
This was my first fiction sale (as in for real money, not goods or services). I have plenty of Non-fiction in print...both online and off some for money some for other things. Plus I do game writing for local conventions and some video game work (for money). My day job: web designer.
February comes and I'm notified that because of the overwork of the web staff...I won't be published till March. Okay, fine. I work in that, I know is either snow or Real Problems which just means waiting.
This goes on till May. I email them the first of the month, then they tell no next month. In May I ask if I'm going to be published or not so I can start submitting it again. Lo and Behold, the story is up and I'm assured that I will be payed in 30 days as per the contract.
Yeah! All seems good. Then, in June, the Transmitter staff gets let go.
I get this news in July by checking their forums. I send off an email. No response. From July to September I start sending emails every couple days with no response. During this time I look for other ways to contact them, nothing. I collect a list of email address. In late August/September I spam them all.
I get a response saying I fell through the cracks and that they would need to research this. Then nothing. Nothing at all. I finally find a phone number which hangs up on you no matter what option you choose. I'm getting ready to contact a lawyer.
Then I finally try the forwarding trick (choose a number not on the menu and gets you to a person). However I get a voice mail box for the fax machine.
I leave a message and I get an email then from a person claiming to be a former owner.
His Story: He parted ways with the company and sold his shares back in February but worked with Transmitter until June. Then the company changed directions, fired the editorial staff and apparently declare all contracts prior to June null and void.
That doesn't fly. He agrees to take liability for my contract. He asked me to be patient and wait. I did and finally I got paid at 9 cents a word. They still have my story up. According to the contract they can have it up till May 2009. I'm not sure what I'll do yet if it's still up after that.
So I got lucky but I know there are other authors who did not.
That's my story.