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Thread: Edit Ink (Bill Appel, Denise Sterrs)

  1. #1
    The late, the great XThe NavigatorX mdin's Avatar
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    Edit Ink (Bill Appel, Denise Sterrs)

    Horror author Matthew Warner recently wrote a very long, but very interesting article about his time as a naive book doctor/ editor for one of the most infamous literary scams of the 90s, Edit Ink. I think it's especially relevant right now with all the recent talk about PA employees.

    *edit*

    http://www.horrorworld.org/warner306.htm here's the new location of the article, which looks like it's a perma-link
    Last edited by mdin; 07-25-2006 at 01:11 AM.

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    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    That's a very informative article.

    I'm a little surprised to see his claim that he didn't get a reply when he contacted SFWA. He sent an email to the Writer Beware address asking if he could interview me or Ann. I wrote back to say that I'd be glad to talk with him. I never got a response.

    - Victoria

  3. #3
    The late, the great XThe NavigatorX mdin's Avatar
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    Yeah, he seems to not get a response a lot. Maybe he has email issues he isn't aware of.

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    Super Browser triceretops's Avatar
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    Cool

    Very long, but very informative article about the way the book doctors can sometimes bring down their own house. What a story!

    Tri

  5. #5
    practical experience, FTW Matthew Warner's Avatar
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    Holy cow, this looks like a great message board! I can't believe I didn't know about it.

    Anyway, XThe NavigatorX, thanks for the shoutout about my article. It will remain online indefinitely, as far as I know, in the Horror World archives at this link: http://www.horrorworld.org/columnsold.htm.

    Victoria: While it's certainly possible that an email gremlin ate your reply, I haven't had any email trouble since I switched to godaddy a couple months ago. Normally, I wouldn't have even mentioned our non-communication, but given the sensitive nature of the article, I thought it was important to note that I'd at least tried to cover all of my bases. In any case, I'm sure Horror World would be willing to run an addendum at the bottom if SFWA has anything to add. (For an example of what one looks like, go here: http://www.horrorworld.org/warner1205.htm.) Here's an alternate email link if you're interested: http://www.matthewwarner.com/email.htm

    Best,
    Matt

  6. #6
    The late, the great XThe NavigatorX mdin's Avatar
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    Heh. Hey Matthew. Welcome to the board. Sorry about the email snipe.

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  7. #7
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Speaking of folks who sent books to Edit Ink in return for a kickback ... one of them was a guy named Wim Meiners of Erica Books from Maryland.

  8. #8
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Matt, Writer Beware doesn't have anything to add to your comprehensive article--in fact, we'd like to link it to our section on Edit Ink. We'd just like to see the reference to our nonresponse removed, or else an acknolwedgment that we responded to your request for an interview but that things got lost in an email shuffle. Today, I'm forwarding you my response to your emailed interview request of 1/31--please let me know if you don't receive it. My email is beware@sfwa.org. Thanks.

    - Victoria

  9. #9
    practical experience, FTW Matthew Warner's Avatar
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    Victoria, I added a postscript to the end of the relevant paragraph. Is that okay?

    FYI: On April 1, the article will be moved to an archival link. I expect its URL will be http://www.horrorworld.org/warner306.htm

  10. #10
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    That's fine, Matthew. Thanks.

    The email I tried to forward to you yesterday (from the address you used in your original request for an interview) bounced. I'll try your email link above.

    - Victoria

  11. #11
    Hagiographically Advantaged AW Moderator HapiSofi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew Warner
    Victoria, I added a postscript to the end of the relevant paragraph. Is that okay?

    FYI: On April 1, the article will be moved to an archival link. I expect its URL will be http://www.horrorworld.org/warner306.htm
    I'll pass that on. You know you got linked to recently by asst'd weblogs and live journals, right?
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  12. #12
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Re: Edit Ink

    Quote Originally Posted by XThe NavigatorX
    Horror author Matthew Warner recently wrote a very long, but very interesting article about his time as a naive book doctor/ editor for one of the most infamous literary scams of the 90s, Edit Ink.
    I was tooling around the interweb and found this fascinating thread about this fascinating article about Edit Ink. A few comments are in order regarding the whiny self-serving piece offered by Mr. Warner. Regarding my bona fides, I was an editor for Bill and Denise for more than five years in the late eighties/early nineties.

    -- I was in fact the second outside editor Editcetera hired; my brother was the first. He's now in the process of writing his fifth book and I'm a senior editor at the third largest publishing company in the world. Which I raise merely to point out that at least some of Appel's clients got what they paid for. I would certainly agree that towards the end they were taking in nearly any nincompoop the street - Mr. Warner being a case in point - but it wasn't always that way.

    -- I was offered the office manager job at the Edit Ink plant about 18 months before the stuff hit the fan. When I went out to talk to them about it I knew IMMEDIATELY when I walked in the door that something was amiss. There were piles of manuscripts everywhere, hundreds of them -- piled on the stairs, on shelves, on desks, in closets; and a herd of scruffy undereducated English majors red lining them. Something was clearly rotten in Buffalo. It is IMPOSSIBLE that someone who actually worked there didn't know what was going on. I figured it out in a couple hours. (Why didn't I think of that, I thought)

    -- The most offensive, stupid and mean-spirited part of the article are the unjustified digs that Mr. Warner takes against poor Kelley Culmer. Talk about your man scorned. The guy starts out his article talking about how fantasized about her sexually immediately upon meeting her, about how "voluptuous" she was, and then when he ends up in bed with her nekkid all drunk and can't close the deal all of a sudden it's: waa waa waa I was sexually harassed. Which is, incidentally, part of a larger pattern where absolutely nothing that happened was Mr. Warner's fault: waa, I didn't know it was a scam; waa Kelley harassed me; waa, Kelley didn't get me a good apartment; waa, Kelley sent me a fake email; waa, Bill lied to me; waa, mommy and daddy will you support me if I get an internship; waa, I got fired for no reason; waa waa waa waa waa. Well, for the record, Kelley sexually harassed the hell out of me on a number of occasions -- in parked cars, in parking lots, in a number of seedy motels, and this one time on the floor of Bill's office when . . . well, nevermind. But suffice it to say that I enjoyed the hell out of every minute of it.

    Oh, and by the way, Warner: they're real, and they're spectacular.

    Regarding the scam, I didn't know it was going on until later and left their employ pretty soon after I turned down the Buffalo gig. (Not because I was offended, just because.) But I was certainly happy for the work then and felt bad for the people I knew there after things shook out with the AG. My own feeling about writers is that there's too many bad ones writing too many bad books -- and that's from J Franzen and Robert Waller on down to the dopes who epublish their scifi potboilers about 21st century vampires who run haunted hair salons in the Andromeda Galaxy. They shouldn't be writing novels anyway - the world'd be better off if they spent a little less time writing and a little more time picking trash off the side of the road. If the Appels of the world convince a couple of them to put their pens down, well, I'm all for it.


    PS The over under on how long it'll take before this post is deleted is 14 minutes. I'll take the under.

  13. #13
    practical experience, FTW Matthew Warner's Avatar
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    PS The over under on how long it'll take before this post is deleted is 14 minutes. I'll take the under.
    No, please, I hope they leave your stupid post up forever, especially the part where you never identify yourself or the alleged "third largest publishing company in the world" whom you work for now.

  14. #14
    practical experience, FTW Tilly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tad Cynical
    My own feeling about writers is that there's too many bad ones writing too many bad books -- and that's from J Franzen and Robert Waller on down to the dopes who epublish their scifi potboilers about 21st century vampires who run haunted hair salons in the Andromeda Galaxy. They shouldn't be writing novels anyway - the world'd be better off if they spent a little less time writing and a little more time picking trash off the side of the road. If the Appels of the world convince a couple of them to put their pens down, well, I'm all for it.
    So it's okay for someone to defraud writers, as long as they don't do it to good writers?

    What?!

    When people get scammed, how it effects them isn't somehow directly related to their abilities as a writer at that time. Even if what you posted hadn't displayed a complete lack of ethics and empathy, it's still a pretty stupid concept.
    Last edited by Tilly; 07-24-2006 at 08:10 PM.

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    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Wink

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew Warner
    No, please, I hope they leave your stupid post up forever, especially the part where you never identify yourself or the alleged "third largest publishing company in the world" whom you work for now.
    Hi Mr. Warner:

    A company is not a "whom," it's a what. Hence, "company that you work for."

    (As I said earlier, any nincompoop off the street.)

    And as for the company I work for, well, it's so large that a wannabe writer such as yourself has probably never even heard of it. Here's a clue for you; I'm sure an important investigative journalist such as yourself will be able to work it out: last year our total revenues exceeded two thousand million British pounds.

    And regarding poor Kelley, in the future you should refrain from kissing and telling: at the best of times it is an unflattering trait. And especially when you're a poor kisser, which, evidently, you are. Because Kelley was quite the goer. Know what I mean? Nudge nudge.

  16. #16
    practical experience, FTW Tilly's Avatar
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    My guess would be IUniverse, Lulu, PublishAmerica (no wait, they wouldn't hire an older man, they hire young female graduates), one of the larger POD vanity presses. If (and that's a huge if) there's any truth in his claim whatsoever.

  17. #17
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    Tad Cynical, this forum has no agenda--it's a place for people to communicate. You do your cause no favors with either post. It pushes me from fairly neutral to feeling that the original article is probably accurate in both content and tone. You might like to consider which is more important, making your point or venting your emotions?
    Emily Veinglory

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    Moderator In Name Only AW Moderator Roger J Carlson's Avatar
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    Aside from the fact that Tad Cynical's two posts don't seem to have any point other than to ridicule Mr. Warner, I would like point out some internal consistencies.

    1. Since Mr. Cynical and his brother were both employees of Edit Ink, their later success (real or imagined) is NOT proof that "some of Appel's clients got what they paid for". They were employees, not clients.
    2. He makes two contraditory claims about his knowledge of the scam:
      • "It is IMPOSSIBLE that someone who actually worked there didn't know what was going on. I figured it out in a couple hours. (Why didn't I think of that, I thought)"
      • "Regarding the scam, I didn't know it was going on until later "
    3. He chides Mr. Warner for his "mean-spirited...take on Kelly Culmer", but spends quite a bit of time recalling his spectacular sex with her. Hardly the high ground.
    4. As for correcting Mr. Warner's grammar, he should look to his own first: "taking in nearly any nincompoop the street".
    --Roger J. Carlson

  19. #19
    I heart Malamutes! :-) JerseyGirl1962's Avatar
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    Tad Cynical,

    Unlike Mr. Warner, you choose not to go by your real name; he at least used his real name.

    Got something to hide?

    And before you say, "Look in the mirror," the reason I choose not to use my own name is not to hide anything; I just like the name JerseyGirl, because, well, I am one. I also try not to say mean things to others on this and any other board or blog I post to. Why? It's karma, my friend: Send out good vibes to people, and those good vibes will reverberate not only to others, but to yourself as well.

    I think the Golden Rule might also apply here: http://www.jcu.edu/philosophy/gensler/goldrule.htm

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  20. #20
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    I'm wondering, Mr. Cynical (or maybe Ms. Cynical--who knows, maybe Kelley was bi): what's your beef? You don't seem to be attempting to persuade us that Edit Ink was not a scam. So why the 'tude?

    - Victoria

  21. #21
    practical experience, FTW Matthew Warner's Avatar
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    Well, I've never claimed that I'm perfect. That goes for my grammar and everything else. The only person who's perfect is my wife.
    Last edited by Matthew Warner; 07-24-2006 at 09:40 PM.

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    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    For those who need their memories refreshed: http://www.oag.state.ny.us/press/199...feb22b_99.html

  23. #23
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tilly
    So it's okay for someone to defraud writers, as long as they don't do it to good writers?

    What?!

    When people get scammed, how it effects them isn't somehow directly related to their abilities as a writer at that time. Even if what you posted hadn't displayed a complete lack of ethics and empathy, it's still a pretty stupid concept.
    Hi Tilly.

    I'll cop to not being particularly empathetic to bad writers, on the interweb, or in real life for that matter. OTOH, I give generously to charity, especially the ones that have those commericals with those cute little babies with bloated bellies. I'm a sucker for those.

    Regarding scamming good and bad writers: JK Toole wrote the great American novel and then snuffed it when he couldn't find a publisher. Better that 100 bad writers snuffed it and Toole lived to write a second novel then visa verse. (A third actually, but the first, whom, er, which he wrote as a teen, was lousy.) I value art more than people: sue me.

    PS POD publishers don't have revenues of $20 billion. There are lots of bad writers, but not that many.

  24. #24
    Fish Whisperer aka eraser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger J Carlson
    1. As for correcting Mr. Warner's grammar, he should look to his own first: "taking in nearly any nincompoop the street".
    Roger, to be fair, Tad was probably anticipating his fantasy with Kelly and at that point was typing one-handed.
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  25. #25
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger J Carlson
    Aside from the fact that Tad Cynical's two posts don't seem to have any point other than to ridicule Mr. Warner, I would like point out some internal consistencies.
    All right Sherlock, I'll play along.

    1. Since Mr. Cynical and his brother were both employees of Edit Ink, their later success (real or imagined) is NOT proof that "some of Appel's clients got what they paid for". They were employees, not clients.
    Proof? I wasn't attempting to prove anything. I was merely pointing out that some clients -- at the very least those not serviced by Mr Warner -- got quality editing services. Because I'm a great editor.

    He makes two contraditory claims about his knowledge of the scam:
    • "It is IMPOSSIBLE that someone who actually worked there didn't know what was going on. I figured it out in a couple hours. (Why didn't I think of that, I thought)"
    • "Regarding the scam, I didn't know it was going on until later "
    No, sorry, that won't wash. They sent me manuscripts in the mail and I never knew about the scam until much later when they offered me an in house position and I went to Buffalo to talk to them about it.

    1. He chides Mr. Warner for his "mean-spirited...take on Kelly Culmer", but spends quite a bit of time recalling his spectacular sex with her. Hardly the high ground.
    Yes, I'm quite the bounder aren't I. But for the record, I never described the sex as "spectacular." Although I have no doubt that she did.


    1. As for correcting Mr. Warner's grammar, he should look to his own first: "taking in nearly any nincompoop the street".
    Skitt's Law: Any usenet post that purports to correct another's grammar will itself contain at least one grammatical error.

    In any event, good catch, although mine was a typo rather than illiteracy.

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