I think perhaps I haven't explained myself clearly during the past few days, so hopefully I can do that now & draw a line under this affair while Guy & I rethink virtually everything, due to the excellent guidance we've received from you all. So here goes:
Recently, I took on the job of posting on a few writer's forums about Salvatore's forthcoming launch, the release of our website & the all-important Christmas book which has been produced to aid children's charities. This kind of free, minor publicity is the lifeblood of a small operation such as ours, and I imagined that we'd achieve some sales of A Writer's Christmas because of it, which pleased me because it's for such a good cause. So, when SP started to receive criticism here, I felt it was my duty to respond as best I could. Unfortunately, this was perhaps not the best idea, and here is why:
I am more or less an honorary partner in Salvatore Publishing. Guy persuaded me to take this position because: a) He's always admired my writing (Gawd help him, lol), b) He trusts me, and c) Because we were both enthused with the notion of creating an approachable, informal small publisher with whom writers would find it pleasurable to work; at the very least, we thought, we could help them and ourselves come to the attention of agents and/or bigger publishers.
I wrote the word 'unfortunately' above because, even though I've attempted to answer all questions posed at AW, I'm actually the wrong person to be doing this, as I lack even the business knowledge which my partner has; but Guy works all day, whereas I do not, so at this early stage of SP's existence, he isn't always on-hand 24/7. Nevertheless, despite my lack of qualification, I felt I had to defend my company and indirectly, my friend, because believe it not, our intentions were (and still are, of course) the best - we are not dishonest people & this perhaps explains why this thread has so vexed me personally, to the extent that I've been glued to this thread for nearly three days & am now writing this at six am. Dishonest people would not have bothered to fret over the criticism we've received - we'd have simply ignored the thread, changed our name(s) and looked elsewhere for 'suckers'; the notorious companies in the industry do this all the time, so I've read here. We've tried to handle the (deserved and undeserved) criticism with all the dignity and self-depreciation we could, even when some have been condescending (thankfully, the vast majority of you have been anything but, and we appreciate this).
Guy finances SP entirely on his own. I try to help in the best way I can, which includes posting 'adverts' for SP's books on boards such as AW, AuthorsDen and MWC. But this effort of mine is as nothing compared to the responsibilities Guy has, and I'm forever aware of this sobering fact. To give some clarification of our ill-gotten gains during our very brief time as a publisher, our first anthology made, I believe, the massive profit of...eight pounds, which was 'reinvested' in the company; our current book will benefit the charities mentioned in a previous post.
So, we're hardly 'raking it in', and all the while, Guy has the unhappy responsibility of purchasing ISBN numbers etc etc. Incidentally, over thirty authors have freely contributed short fiction to our two anthologies, and have been happy to do so because they were always aware why we didn't offer payment - they knew that we produced these books to find out the quality of printing available from certain companies (Lulu amongst them); because they were, on the whole, unpublished authors who longed to see their work in print; and because they wanted to help us make a start, as they believed & trusted in us. To sum up, there has been no deception at all, and if this is so hard to believe, I will gladly provide contact addresses so that the opinions of our authors (all of whom are listed on our website) can be gauged.
Being newcomers, we took the majority of our (admittedly flawed) business plan from a now-defunct small publisher named Skeleton Tree Press, to which we'd both submitted work in the recent past. STP's owner was always friendly & helpful to us, and gradually we both felt that perhaps we could run a similar business specifically aimed at people like us - new writers who needed a break of some kind. Perhaps Salvatore would fail, perhaps it would eventually become a proper business...we didn't know which, but we wanted to do something...
But as we've all seen, we simply don't know enough basic information about the publishing business. Your constructive criticism in this thread has not only been helpful, but sobering, and we will act on it; this includes such controversial matters as payment for short stories, advances etc. But please bear in mind that these things in particular will be addressed in a manner which suits us financially, as an admittedly small-time publisher. I say this because, as I stated, Guy finances SP - he works as a commercial manager, while I am on sick leave after the passing of my father, and so I don't have the money to contribute to the running of SP, sadly. The reason why I've questioned your comments about advances & other payments is not because SP is looking to scam authors at all - it's simply because we've been misinformed; because we adopted an unsuitable business model (because we didn't know any better); and because I'm always aware that I'm unable to help Guy financially. Now we do know better, and will adapt, because we have to if we're going to honour our original raison d'ętre.
I hope this typically long-winded (but necessary) post explains things a little better. Certainly, we've been found to be amateurish - we've fully admitted this - and we hope to improve dramatically in this respect. But the last thing we are is dishonest. Our hearts are in the right place, and while that may mean nothing to those who value the utmost professionalism (in which case, Salvatore may never be the best option for you, sadly - it's likely that we'll never possess the resources & expertise of a major publisher), it does mean, however, that some writers may eventually benefit from our fundamental trait.
I've asked you to accept that our mistakes are the result of genuine naivety, and not deceit; at the very least, we intend to prove that to be true. I think it's clear by now, considering how able many writers are at exposing both scams and scammers, that Guy & I have no dubious connections or intentions (hell, I've never even sold anything on Ebay, let alone been a master conman, lol) - we genuinely are newcomers to the tough world of publishing. But we will learn in time, and will use that knowledge to become worthy publishers for those authors who need both a helping hand and a passionate ally.
Thanks for reading,