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astonwest
09-05-2004, 07:31 PM
www.rockwaypress.com

Anyone ever heard of these folks?
It sounds like a scam to me (especially considering the 'reading fee', not to mention the fee won't get returned if none of the submissions are 'worthy' of receiving the first prize)...

I wasn't submitting, but a friend asked about them...I mentioned to my friend it sounded like a scam, but wanted to double-check with others who might know more...

Thanks.

:hat
Big Daddy West

XThe NavigatorX
09-05-2004, 10:50 PM
I know Sherri Szeman personally and one of their authors, Meg Files, is a former teacher of mine who runs two writing workshops each year and is the author of a few books, including one from Writers Digest Books ( www.amazon.com/exec/obido...1094402545 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1582971544/qid=1094402545) )

I haven't talked to either of them in awhile, but I would stake my personal and professional reputation that Rockway Press is nothing but legit. The only thing I would disagree with is the whole contest thing, because they charge a reading fee, but that's nothing new, and if they say the fees go to the judges, I believe them.

zerohour21
09-06-2004, 11:19 AM
From what I've heard, any contest of this nature that charges people to enter is probably a scam, so it would be a safe bet to stay away from the contest.

vstrauss
09-06-2004, 09:05 PM
The reading fee is a little higher than average, but many legitimate contests charge a fee to offset expenses/fund the prizes/pay the judges. A fee is not necessarily a sign of a scam.

RockWay Press looks to me like a serious and reasonably professional micro-publisher. According to its website, it does a number of good things such as work with a distributor, pay royalties on cover price, produce actual print runs, and pay modest advances.

- Victoria

astonwest
09-06-2004, 11:18 PM
Something I didn't quite understand, though...is it seems (unless I missed something) the prize for the contest is only a publishing contract...

However, any time outside of the contest dates, a person can submit for publication (I believe a query was needed first)...so was there really any benefit to paying a reading fee for the contest, when you could do so for free (again, unless I missed something...I didn't see where a reading fee was required outside of the contest dates) anytime else?

Big Daddy West
:hat

SRHowen
09-06-2004, 11:42 PM
I had thoughts along those lines--why is it ok for a publisher to have a contest with a fee, when at other times you can sub for free, yet an agent with optinal fees (ones to move a ms to the "head of the line") is a bad thing? (this assumes of course that both have a good track record)

Shawn

vstrauss
09-07-2004, 04:31 AM
>>why is it ok for a publisher to have a contest with a fee, when at other times you can sub for free, yet an agent with optinal fees (ones to move a ms to the "head of the line") is a bad thing?<<

With the agent's fees, the problem is that they present the potential for abuse. If the agent can generate extra cash by offering the expedited service, how tempting might it become to ask for material in which the agent isn't interested, in order to encourage the fee? I'm not saying this is what's happening--just that there's a real potential for it. This exact kind of abuse is the reason the AAR prohibits reading and reading/evaluation fees.

I can see that the same potential for abuse exists with a fee-based publisher's contest--i.e., it might be tempting for the publisher to use the contest to filter submissions, and thereby exact a de facto reading fee. So on reflection, and for consistency's sake, I guess I'd have to say that a caution is in order here too.

- Victoria

SRHowen
09-07-2004, 06:41 AM
Just wanted to put that out there--it seemed to me to equate to about the same thing.

Another one I just recently saw--an agent offering a contest with an entry fee "to find the best ms for world wide representation" (isn't that part of what your agent soudl be doing for you if they take you on? This contest makes it sound as if the world wide representation is indeed some sort of prize) and this guy supposedly is a good agent with a good rep--as far as I can tell. and the prize is not only world wide representation but a $1000 signing bonus if you "win")

Shawn

vstrauss
09-07-2004, 08:40 PM
Shawn, who's this agent with the contest? Again, I see lots of conflict of interest potential here.

- Victoria

SRHowen
09-08-2004, 11:06 AM
Sent to your ez-inbox.

Shawn

vstrauss
09-08-2004, 07:51 PM
Thanks--replied to you that way as well.

- Victoria

NomadPress
09-09-2004, 01:52 AM
I would be more concerned that this publisher doesn't have a distributor: selling books into Baker & Taylor, Ingram, B&N.com, and Amazon.com mean only means that the books are available through them, not that they are actively pushing these books to readers. Distributors actually have sales teams with reps who go to chains, specialty venues, and independent bookstores to sell to buyers.

Small presses can be terrific partners for new authors, but without the mechanics of sell-in and distribution in place, no publisher can make a success of any book.

astonwest
11-17-2004, 07:36 PM
Just thought I'd bring this back up to the top...
(although I had to go searching manually...apparently searching for 'rockway' couldn't find the thread?)

www.mindsightseries.com/c.../4298.html (http://www.mindsightseries.com/cgi-bin/discus/board-auth.cgi?file=/3831/4298.html)

Looks like the owner of Rockway decided to respond to concerns...

I'm curious about something, and hope some others could answer...but is it common for publishers to take money out of author royalties for "publishing, distributing, and publicizing"?

:hat
Big Daddy West

CaoPaux
08-03-2005, 11:23 PM
I'm curious about something, and hope some others could answer...but is it common for publishers to take money out of author royalties for "publishing, distributing, and publicizing"?

Nope. All that should be factored into the retail price. Here's their contract, FWIW: http://www.rockwaypress.com/contract.htm

CaoPaux
07-03-2006, 11:19 PM
06-09-2006, 08:33 PM
PersiphoneHellecat
Esteemed New Member

Rockway Publishing - Info Needed

I read some discussion here a while back regarding Rockway Publishing. It seems that after Rockway is challenged as to whether or not it is genuine on any of the writers' boards, the publisher Sherri (now Alexandria) Szeman logs in several times and posts lengthy replies feeding the group with lots of information and the matter gets dropped. I would like to know if anyone has any updated information. I am running into a lot of information that seems to end about a year ago.

Along with a writing partner, I recently submitted a MS to Rockway for publication. It was supposedly accepted. However, the publisher Sherri/Alexandria is giving me quite a run around. She refuses to speak with me directly regarding the "many changes" she intends to make to my MS. Her contract states that she will "consult" with the author regarding changes, but ultimately the final decision on what to print is hers. How can someone be expected to sign a contract under those conditions? I have visited a lot of sites and read a lot of sample contracts, and none of them state the publisher has the right to change the MS without approval from the author. Who on earth would agree to such terms when they have no clue what the intended changes are?

This has caused a rift between me and my writing partner that is beyond repair. The book will likely be scrapped completely now because I refuse to sign this contract and he wants to. It represents hundreds of hours of my time and a lot of hard work.

I have done my homework on Rockway. I am unable to find a single one of the books listed on Rockway's site for sale at Barnes and Noble.com or Amazon.com -- or anyplace else for that matter. I see that books due out in "Fall 2005" are still pending and the website hasnt been updated except to change her name to Alexandria. As near as I can tell, nothing is published. In addition, in her posts on various sites, Sherri/Alexandria states that her books are available at Barnes and Noble, Target etc. on a 1 - 2 day order basis "if not on the shelves". A trip to my local B and N -- the newest and largest in the New York Metropolitan Area produced absolutely NONE of her books on the shelves and NONE were available to order. No one there has ever heard of Rockway and they can find no listing for them anyplace.

And yet Rockway has a commendation from Preditors and Editors on its home page. What gives? Is this publisher legit or not? Am I throwing away a really decent book and signing it into oblivion? It sure seems like it.

This is my first sale. I am frankly confused and devastated. I cannot understand why she will not communicate directly with me. I have recieved NOTHING in writing saying the MS was accepted or declined. In addition, a proposal for another book sent to her back in February - long before this MS was sent to her -- has so far gone unanswered. VERY unprofessional in my humble opinion. In addition, a letter I wrote to her requesting my original MS be returned to me has been ignored. How do I get it back from her? Will I need a lawyer? If this is an example of how she runs her business, I want nothing to do with her and I would advise anyone else to steer clear.

Has anyone had any experiences with Rockway? I can use all the help I can get here. My gut instincts are telling me something is very bogus about the whole outfit. Someone explain to me why a published author suddenly changes her name. That makes no sense to me, either.

In my opinion, when the subject of Rockway has been brought up on the writers' boards, the lady did protest too much. And that was exactly one of the warning signs of a scam publisher that I read on Preditors and Editors -- that when there is a question about the company, the publisher suddenly shows up on the boards posting again and again to protest their innocence. Help!!! It seems to me there is something very wrong with the way Rockway does business and I would like to know before anything else happens to my MS. You can reply to me here or at my e mail deni913@hotmail.com ... Thanks ... Charie
06-09-2006, 08:52 PM
Aconite
Full sun to light shade
Mod Squad Member

To avoid thread proliferation, please check the Index for existing threads on the publisher you're asking about, and if one exists, post in that thread. The existing thread for Rockway is http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=708.
__________________
06-09-2006, 09:10 PM
PersiphoneHellecat
Esteemed New Member

Sorry -- new here ... I assumed that since the thread was more than a year old, I would ask for more current information ...Should I delete and repost? Charie
06-09-2006, 10:41 PM
HapiSofi
Board fanatic
Absolute Sage


Quote:
Originally Posted by PersiphoneHellecat
I have done my homework on Rockway. I am unable to find a single one of the books listed on Rockway's site for sale at Barnes and Noble.com or Amazon.com -- or anyplace else for that matter. I see that books due out in "Fall 2005" are still pending and the website hasnt been updated except to change her name to Alexandria. As near as I can tell, nothing is published. In addition, in her posts on various sites, Sherri/Alexandria states that her books are available at Barnes and Noble, Target etc. on a 1 - 2 day order basis "if not on the shelves". A trip to my local B and N -- the newest and largest in the New York Metropolitan Area produced absolutely NONE of her books on the shelves and NONE were available to order. No one there has ever heard of Rockway and they can find no listing for them anyplace. Sounds like a thoroughly answered question to me: no bookstore placement, unreliable publication schedules, publisher misrepresentation. You know they can't be good.

Quote:
And yet Rockway has a commendation from Preditors and Editors on its home page. What gives? Is this publisher legit or not? Am I throwing away a really decent book and signing it into oblivion? It sure seems like it. Yes. If you go with Rockway, you're throwing away your book.

I wasn't aware that P&E handed out "commendations". Possibly Rockway is lying? Or maybe they gave it a clean bill of health, once upon a time, before they knew anything bad about it.

Ask Dave Kuzminski.

Quote:
This is my first sale. I am frankly confused and devastated. I cannot understand why she will not communicate directly with me. I have recieved NOTHING in writing saying the MS was accepted or declined. In addition, a proposal for another book sent to her back in February - long before this MS was sent to her -- has so far gone unanswered. VERY unprofessional in my humble opinion. In addition, a letter I wrote to her requesting my original MS be returned to me has been ignored. How do I get it back from her? Will I need a lawyer? If this is an example of how she runs her business, I want nothing to do with her and I would advise anyone else to steer clear. Tell her you're withdrawing the book. I'm not sure what y ou do beyond that.
__________________
Winner of the Best Drycleaner on the Block Award.
06-09-2006, 11:03 PM
Aconite
Full sun to light shade
Mod Squad Member


Quote:
Originally Posted by PersiphoneHellecat
Sorry -- new here ... I assumed that since the thread was more than a year old, I would ask for more current information ...Should I delete and repost? Charie No, I'll ask the forum mods to just merge the two threads. Welcome, by the way. Stop by the Newbie board and introduce yourself. And good luck with your book.
__________________
06-09-2006, 11:55 PM
Sassenach
Inexplicability Assessment


Quote:
Originally Posted by PersiphoneHellecat
Along with a writing partner, I recently submitted a MS to Rockway for publication. It was supposedly accepted.

However, ....<full-post quote snipped -- CAO>
Since you haven't signed anything, withdraw the book.

If your partner is unwilling to, it sounds like a problem for an attorney. This is certainly an example of why it's so important to do the research BEFORE submitting to a publisher.
__________________
06-10-2006, 12:41 PM
Liam Jackson
I banned my other me
Mod Squad Member

Is Rockway ay actually afiliated with P&E as the site below claims?

http://www.amymistretta.com/id26.html
__________________
06-10-2006, 12:44 PM
Popeyesays
Board fanatic


Quote:
Originally Posted by Liam Jackson
Is Rockway actually afiliated with P&E as the site below claims? http://http://www.amymistretta.com/id26.html Both the link and the link root are no good.

Regards,
Scott
__________________
06-10-2006, 12:54 PM
PersiphoneHellecat
Esteemed New Member

Thanks for the welcome. It seems Rockway has received a "Truly Useful Site Award" from P and E. Shrugs. I find it amazing how authors who are dealing with these delays and junk can manage to write such glowing reports of their Rockway experiences on their websites, but then I remember that having a website is part of her contract. I imagine they HAVE to say that stuff. Shrugs.

I located one of her books for sale at a site called Books a Million -- available on a 5 - 15 day order basis -- sounds POD to me ... I went to that particular author's Rockway ordered website and discovered by her own admission, her books are currently only available at one or two bookstores in her immediate area. Sounds like she purchased them and stocked them there. They are NOT available yet through B and N per the author's own admission. Sounds to me like Rockway is just one step above a Vanity Press -- but Vanity Presses usually manage to deliver books on schedule.

Personally, I am steering clear of Rockway completely and I would advise others to do the same. Unreliable and uncommunicative ... Charie

06-10-2006, 12:59 PM
PersiphoneHellecat
Esteemed New Member


Quote:
Originally Posted by vstrauss
RockWay Press looks to me like a serious and reasonably professional micro-publisher. According to its website, it does a number of good things such as work with a distributor, pay royalties on cover price, produce actual print runs, and pay modest advances.

- Victoria Actually, according to their website, they pay NO advances. You may have been referring to an older version of her contract. And from what I have heard, working with a distributor is no guarantee that stores will actually stock books. It just means the books are available to the distributor. However, as I have found out, it seems she doesnt actually do print runs, just POD. Charie
06-10-2006, 10:35 PM
HapiSofi
Board fanatic
Absolute Sage

There are a couple more things I'd like to say about Rockway.

First, there's the $25 reading fee for submissions to their contest. How do I sign up to become one of their judges? $25 is peanuts for reading a full manuscript, but that's not what's going down here. This isn't far removed from slush reading. Most slush doesn't take more than a quarter-hour to process. A lot of it takes less. If you get a substantial number of submissions, it works out to an hourly rate of return to which I would like to become accustomed.


Second:
At RockWay Press, we focus on our authors, on the quality of their writing (no matter what genre), and on the author's long-term goals and career.

Sadly, this concept that has disappeared among most major trade publishers, small presses, and some literary agencies.Malarkey. That's boilerplate badmouthing of the publishing industry. It's also not true. You darn well betcha good publishers are mindful of the author's long-term career.


Big companies look at profits, not at the quality of the author's writing. That sentence makes me want to say a bad word that would make the moderators unhappy. It is absolutely untrue. Big publishers look at the quality of the writing just as assiduously as small publishers. Furthermore, this person seems to think that profitability and writing quality are separate characteristics. They aren't. They're inextricably linked.


Conglomerates want published books to "pay for the investment" that the company has made in the book in as little as six weeks, six months, or, at the most, usually one year.If that's how long they expect the book's sales period to be, then yes, they expect it to make its profit during that time. That said, six weeks is an exaggeratedly short period.


If the book's cost isn't repaid by that time, the book is pulled off bookstore shelves, taken out of print, and remaindered a practice whereby the publisher makes some additional money by selling the books at cut-rate prices to remainder houses, which then re-sell them to the public at a profit. The authors themselves receive no royalties on the remaindered books not when the publisher sells them, and not when consumers buy them.A remaindered book is not out of print. Also, authors do too get paid royalties on remainders, unless they're being sold at less than manufacturing cost.

I don't like publishing operations that try to pull in authors by telling lies about the mainstream publishing industry.
__________________
Winner of the Best Drycleaner on the Block Award.

06-10-2006, 11:15 PM
PersiphoneHellecat
Esteemed New Member


Second:[indent]At RockWay Press, we focus on our authors, on the quality of their writing (no matter what genre), and on the author's long-term goals and career.I quite agree - she doesnt seem real concerned with with my long term goals and career. Otherwise she might have bothered to talk to me. Charie
06-11-2006, 09:25 AM
Liam Jackson
I banned my other me
Mod Squad Member


Quote:
Originally Posted by Popeyesays
Both the link and the link root are no good.

Regards,
ScottA bad cut-n-paste. Apologies. Try this link.

http://www.amymistretta.com/id26.html
__________________
06-11-2006, 09:39 AM
James D. Macdonald
Dawnolite Sparklecow
Absolute Sage

Rockway Press, http://www.rockwaypress.com/ , does indeed have a P&E "Site of Distinction" award: http://www.anotherealm.com/prededitors/peasdt.htm
__________________
06-11-2006, 11:22 AM
CaoPaux
Mostly Harmless

"These awards do not constitute an endorsement by Preditors & Editors or its service carrier."

The P&E awards are public opinion polls. Sometimes, a lot of people like questionable sites.
__________________
CAO
06-11-2006, 01:49 PM
PersiphoneHellecat
Esteemed New Member

I think it's based on exactly what it says -- "useful" information at the site. The site actually does contain a lot of information, but as many who have reported on this board and Midnight Forum, and others who who have written to me have stated, much of it is inaccurate and wrong. I doubt many people who read the site actually followed up with Rockway or they wouldnt have voted them as being "useful" for anything. It is unfortunate perhaps that the P and E seal, when seen emblazened across the home page of a website, actually looks like the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. To someone like me who had no prior experience with them and no sites like this one to warn me, it seemed to me like they were actually recommended by P and E. At least now I know better. Thanks for all who have helped me with this. Charie
06-12-2006, 12:16 AM
PersiphoneHellecat
Esteemed New Member

FYI -- I just found that one book from Rockway available at Amazon -- available in four to six WEEKS with a special charge of 1.99 added for special order... How POD is that? I also found out from Ingram that the book is out of stock from the publisher ... They have a # you can call to check ... I did -- they dont have any ... That is totally not what the publisher represents in her "useful" website ... Charie
06-14-2006, 12:44 AM
PersiphoneHellecat
Esteemed New Member

I sent a copy of my letter to Preditors and Editors and received the following reply. I post it with their very kind permission. Charie

"The award (or commendation) you mentioned is purely based upon the information they've presented upon their site for writers. P&E is not affiliated with any publisher.

Although we do not have any concrete proof yet, we suspect that the publisher has found itself in over its head. Should we obtain anything, that will be posted immediately should it warrant a change in P&E's opinion of that publisher.

Our advice at present is that you not deal with any publisher when you have a gut feeling that something just isn't right.
--
Cordially,
Dave Kuzminski, Editor
Preditors & Editors
http://anotherealm.com/prededitors/"Lost the last couple posts. Nothing to recommend Rockway.

RockWay Press
07-16-2006, 12:25 AM
It is, indeed, extremely disappointing and unprofessional when a writer whose book has been rejected for publication, in this instance, by RockWay Press, goes on a public terrorist campaign to darken not only the reputation and good name of a publishing house but those of its authors as well.

I will not reveal the identity of the author whose work was rejected and who has virtually filled this forum with lies and blatant untruths, but I assure you that this author was never offered a publishing contract with RockWay Press, nor was the author ever told that the book had been accepted for publication by RockWay Press (neither in writing nor orally over the telephone, the latter of which is how RockWay notifies authors' that their books have been accepted for publication).

This author's book was pornographic and, furthermore, contained explicit rape and sodomy scenes involving children.

As I informed this author in the lengthy and detailed rejection letter, RockWay does not now, nor will it ever, publish pornography or books that explicitly describe sexual assaults on and torture of women and children (nor on men, for that matter).

RockWay will never promote that kind of writing, does not condone any of the gratuitous sexual violence, S&M practices, or pedophilia which that book depicted (in explicit, graphic, gruesome, and gratuitous detail), and will never accept or publish said kind of work.

Here is a copy of the rejection letter which I personally sent to the author whose book was rejected and who has posted approximately 3/4 of the recent negative and untrue posts on this forum thread, denigrating and slandering RockWay's reputation and the reputation of its authors:

-----------------
Dear [author's full name]:

I have read your submission, [book title], which I allowed you to send to me since [editor's name], who is one of RockWay's authors, worked as an editor on the book with you. I read the book in its entirety. You seem to have done a good deal of hard work on the novel, and [editor's name] did an excellent editing job.

RockWay Press does not publish pornography, however, and the scenes in this novel which contain sex & violence are so brutal and graphic that they cannot be called "erotic scenes", and RockWay has a policy of NOT publishing books which contain gratuitous and unecessarily explicit violence; graphic and explicit sex scenes which do not enhance character development, urgency, or advance the plot; books which contain either implicit or explicit violence against children or women; or books which contain sado-masochistic themes -against anyone - in a gruesome or grotesque manner or in a way which does not contribute to the artistry of the book nor further its plot.

Even if your book were brilliantly written and certain to become a financial and critical success, RockWay would be unable to publish it on principle: RockWay does not wish to make that kind of writing available to the marketplace.

I do not send form letters to the authors whose work I reject. I tell them the truth about why their work is not appropriate for RockWay Press. Your writing itself, [author's name] is satisfactory, and some of the characters are developed sufficiently.

However, had [editor's name] not edited this book and asked permission to submit it on your behalf, I would not have read the entire manuscript: it is gratuitously pornographic and contains unnecessarily explicit and extremely violent rape and sodomy scenes.

Indeed, had I known in advance that the book contained pornographic scenes and was about characters committing pedophilia (described in unbelievably graphic detail), I would never have permitted you to submit it to RockWay Press in the first place, whether or not [editor's name] had edited the book.

I would suggest that you check the listings in the Small Press Directory in the index under "pornography" and submit to the publishers who do accept such books. I'm sure that you will be able to find a home for your book with a more appropriate publisher who knows how to market to your particular audience.

Additionally, a signed and notarized contract submitted with a manuscript does not in any way obligate RWP to publish your book; [the submission of a signed and notarized contract with a manuscript is for RockWay's protection, [author's name].

Several unprofessional writers whose books have been accepted by RockWay have intentionally not signed their contracts and have used our acceptance as an illegitimate, devious, and deceptive way to acquire agent representation [in the hopes of illegally acquiring a "better" offer from a larger publisher; this behaviour is unethical and illegal since, once a book contract has been offered and accepted, the publisher who offered the contract has the legal right to publish the book].

Therefore, to protect ourselves and the time we spend reading, editing, and critiquing a book, RockWay now requires that all submissions include a signed and notarized contract. For our legal protection, [author's name].

[The contract you sent to RockWay Press] is not legally valid or binding until it is completely executed, i.e., signed by me [RockWay's publisher] and a copy of said signed, notarized, and fully executed contract returned to the author.

Since I am not accepting [book title] for publication - with or without revisions - the contract you signed has been destroyed. RockWay has no obligation, either moral or legal, to publish the book; and you are free to submit said manuscript to other publishers.

Additionally, as indicated on our website, once a manuscript has been rejected, it is shredded, destroyed, and discarded in order to protect the intellectual property rights of any writer or author who submits to us on a query or through a contest. Therefore, as soon as I informed [editor's name] that I had rejected [book title], the hard-copy of the manuscript was shredded and disposed of in a manner that would prevent anyone else from recovering it. Therefore, the physical manuscript that was submitted for consideration cannot be returned to you: it was destroyed several weeks ago -- after I rejected it.

And may I say, [author's name], out of professional courtesy and for your own ethical edification if you wish to remain in the publishing business, that it is completely inappropriate for your [parent] to call me and leave a threatening message with [RockWay Press'] answering service.

Not only is it inappropriate and unprofessional, [author's name], threatening someone's physical well-being is a prosecutable crime.

If you need representation for your books, I would strongly suggest that you find a reputable agent who will take on your work, attempt to sell it, and remain in contact with the publishing houses, publishers, and editors to whom the manuscript is submitted.

It is quite obvious that your [parent] is not a professional agent because (1) [your parent] did not pitch the book to me, (2) [your parent] did not submit the manuscript to me, (3) [your parent and I] do not have a professional, working [publisher/agent] relationship, (4) [your parent] behaved in an inappropriate and unprofessional manner [by threatening me and my employees with physical harm], and (5) the explicit threat which [your parent] left on RockWay's voicemail system is contraindicated by the ethical behavioural guidelines established by SAR and adhered to by all legitimate agents.

Please do not submit any future manuscripts to RockWay Press, [author's name], neither through a legitimate agent nor as an entry in our annual international writing competitions. We do not publish your kind of writing, and, furthermore, we will not deal with any author who behaves unprofessionally or authorizes a third party, i.e., your [parent], in this instance, to behave inappropriately or unprofessionally on the author's behalf. (There is a clause in the contract you signed which discusses this in great detail.)

Unfortunately, [author's name], RockWay does not publish your kind of work, cannot accept it on principle, and will not be publishing it. Your signed and notarized contract, along with the hard-copy of [book's title], was shredded and disposed of immediately after I informed [editor's name] that we would not be offering you a contract for pubication on [book title]. This is done in order to protect your intellectual property and keep it from coming into someone else's possession.

Best of luck with your writing career. I'm sure if you get a legitimate agent or do sufficient research into the marketplace, you will, indeed, find a home for your novel. There are certainly plenty of publishers who would be delighted and happy to have you as an author, publishers who would know how to appropriately market your work and reach your target audience.

-------------
RockWay Press is a traditional publishing house, so it does, indeed, reject books for a variety of reasons. Rather than send the writers a form letter - as many publishers do - I explain, in specific terms and great detail, exactly why RockWay cannot accept the book.

I have been a published author for over thirty years, and I have never received such a rejection letter myself, so, when my own work has been rejected, I have never known if it is because something in the book doesn't work; if the particular editor to whom my agent submitted it simply didn't like the topic; whether the publishing house already had a book on that topic coming out soon; whether the publishing house previously published a book on that topic and, not making as many sales on that previous book as expected, did not wish to "take a chance" on another book on the same topic even though it was written by a different author; or whether the publishing house simply does not know how to market such a book.

That is why I inform the writer of the rejected manuscript exactly why it was rejected or was considered inappropriate for our house.

Of course, writers and authors have a right to feel disappointed, angry, sad, depressed, etc. when one of their books has been rejected. Those are totally normal, acceptable feelings, and all authors experience them to varying degrees in their writing and publishing careers. The publishing business is a very mercurial one, and a book that might have been a bestseller last month may be rejected by all the publishers to whom it is submitted next month.

Writers and authors who've had their work rejected have every right to vent their negative feelings with their friends, partners, children, parents, agents, writing colleagues, therapists, etc.

I believe they even have the right to vent their frustration at the process of becoming a published author, which always involves rejection if the writers are dealing with legitimate publishers; and that writers and authors have the right to vent said frustrations in a public forum such as this.

What I do not believe, however, is that anyone has the right, in either a private or a public forum, to spread lies, unsubstantiated rumors, unverified information presented as "fact", or slander about a publishing house, its employees, or its authors. Of course, I cannot prevent an author whose book has been rejected from telling lies -- in public or in private -- about RockWay Press and its authors.

However, if those writers choose to do as this writer has done -- to spread lies, untruths, innuendo, and slander about RockWay Press or its authors in a public forum, and I find out about it, I will respond in the said forum, albeit in a professional manner rather than in a way which would impugn the writer's character as this writer has chosen to do by spreading lies about RockWay Press and its authors.

RockWay Press does not reject authors: we reject manuscripts. The rejection of a manuscript is, in no way, a commentary on the author's writing unless I specifically tell the author that his/her writing needs work -- and I never do that in a public forum. Such information is for the author only.

If this author, whose work was rejected by RockWay with the courtesy of a detailed explanation of the rejection of the work, or any other writer / author cannot emotionally handle the almost constant rejection that all authors receive, then I would strongly recommend that said author(s) change their career field or publish and distribute their own work.

Publishing your own work, though it will not be carried by bookstores, is the only way to avoid rejection in this business. Rejection is an intimate and indivisible part of the writing business. Writers who cannot live with the stress, disappointment, frustration, anger, and sadness of such rejection should find a job in another field, one that does not intrinsically involve a 99.99999% rejection rate.

Spreading lies and blatant untruths about publishers who reject your work will not get it accepted somewhere else. In fact, it will harm the potential career of an author who engages in such viciously unethical behaviour, as the writer of most of the entries in this forum has done. Whether you know it or not, and despite the huge number of books that get published each year, the publishing world is a small, intimate business, and the names and reputations of authors who behave inappropriately, unprofessionally, or unethically quickly become known to most editors, publishers, and agents.

If you wish to increase the number of rejections you receive, then, please, by all means, engage in this kind of back-stabbing, mendacious behaviour. And please do be sure to do it in a public forum so that as many people as possible will be able to read it. The greater the lies and the larger your audience, the higher the number of rejections you'll receive.

However, I would suggest that, if you really want to exponentially increase the number of rejections you receive, you become an actor. It's the only business I know of where talented, highly motivated, and hard-working people are rejected even more often than writers.

Sincerely,
Alexandria Szeman
Publisher / Executive Editor
RockWay Press

Sassenach
07-16-2006, 01:22 AM
Can you--briefly--explain the "signed and notarized contract" referred to in your letter?

Harris
07-16-2006, 01:42 AM
I had to comment. Ms. Szeman has ongoing excuses and nothing viable to contribute. She has only put out 1 book in almost 2 years. She constantly has excuses contributing her inability to publish to the fact that she has money issues. It has gone so far that she sent mass emailings detailing the various jobs she's taken to keep the company afloat. Look at her comment. Could she have posted a more damning look at an author's work? I personally do not believe anyone sent her porn involving children. That is over the top and another typical attempt by her to gain sympathy. Avoid this publisher.

To add to these woes, I know several authors begging to get out of their contracts and not for any other reason than RockWay promises things they can't deliver. They won't publish promised books.

I believe she started this company with good intentions but those have strayed from whatever vision she set out.

victoriastrauss
07-16-2006, 02:13 AM
I will not reveal the identity of the author whose work was rejected and who has virtually filled this forum with lies and blatant untruths, but I assure you that this author was never offered a publishing contract with RockWay Press, nor was the author ever told that the book had been accepted for publication by RockWay Press (neither in writing nor orally over the telephone, the latter of which is how RockWay notifies authors' that their books have been accepted for publication).The author who posted here about her experience with RockWay was offered publication by you, along with her writing partner. So I'm not sure who you're talking about.

Several unprofessional writers whose books have been accepted by RockWay have intentionally not signed their contracts and have used our acceptance as an illegitimate, devious, and deceptive way to acquire agent representation [in the hopes of illegally acquiring a "better" offer from a larger publisher; this behaviour is unethical and illegal since, once a book contract has been offered and accepted, the publisher who offered the contract has the legal right to publish the book]. But if they didn't sign their contracts, the contract wasn't accepted (by them). Unless both parties sign, a contract isn't binding, and the publisher has no legal rights at all.

Besides, since RockWay doesn't pay advances, I find this a highly dubious claim. An established agent who works on commission is not likely to offer representation on the basis of a contract from a non-advance-paying publisher.

Therefore, to protect ourselves and the time we spend reading, editing, and critiquing a book, RockWay now requires that all submissions include a signed and notarized contract. For our legal protection, [author's name]. This makes no sense whatsoever. How on earth does this offer you legal protection? Also, according to your website, this (exceedingly bizarre and unprofessional) requirement is just for contest entries.

It is quite obvious that your [parent] is not a professional agent because (1) [your parent] did not pitch the book to me, (2) [your parent] did not submit the manuscript to me, (3) [your parent and I] do not have a professional, working [publisher/agent] relationship, (4) [your parent] behaved in an inappropriate and unprofessional manner [by threatening me and my employees with physical harm], and (5) the explicit threat which [your parent] left on RockWay's voicemail system is contraindicated by the ethical behavioural guidelines established by SAR and adhered to by all legitimate agents.This is beyond weird, but it's what convinced me that you didn't make this letter up. Again, though, whoever you're talking about, I don't think it's the author who posted on AW. (BTW, the SAR hasn't existed since 1991.)

What I do not believe, however, is that anyone has the right, in either a private or a public forum, to spread lies, unsubstantiated rumors, unverified information presented as "fact", or slander about a publishing house, its employees, or its authors.Leaving aside the identity of the author who posted here, what exactly has been said about your publishing company that you believe to be a lie, rumor, or libel?

Whether you know it or not, and despite the huge number of books that get published each year, the publishing world is a small, intimate business, and the names and reputations of authors who behave inappropriately, unprofessionally, or unethically quickly become known to most editors, publishers, and agents.Nonsense. Besides, this conflicts with your website's portrayal of publishing as a huge impersonal world in which faceless conglomerates pump out cookie-cutter books from disposable authors.

Since you've joined us here, perhaps you'll answer a few questions.

- Of the 26 books listed on your website with 2005 and 2006 publication dates, only one appears to have been released. Can you explain why?

- That one book (THE BINDING by Brenda Barrie) shows as available on Amazon with a 4-6 week shipping time. This suggests to me that you don't have an arrangement with a wholesaler. Can you comment?

- Ms. Barrie's book doesn't appear to have received any professional reviews (Publishers Weekly, Booklist, Library Journal, etc.) What kind of marketing do you do for the books you publish?

- According to the contract posted on your website, you offer a discount of 30% on author purchases, which are drop-shipped to the author(i.e., shipped directly from the manufacturer, which suggests that author purchases are specially printed). No royalties are paid on author purchases, and the author is allowed to re-sell. These four things--the small discount (50% is more standard), the drop-shipping, the absence of royalties on author sales, and the permission to resell--are typical of publishers that encourage or pressure their authors to buy sizeable quantities of their own books. Is this RockWay's policy?

- Victoria

Roger J Carlson
07-16-2006, 02:31 AM
Alexandria,

I am confused (befuddled, bewildered, bamboozled, etc.) and not just by the plethora of synonyms.

You said that no contract was offered and yet in your letter you say that one was. Which is it?

How in the world is it possible that: "... a signed and notarized contract submitted with a manuscript does not in any way obligate RWP to publish your book"? What exactly IS this contract you're talking about if it's not an offer to publish?

You call yourself a "traditional publisher" (warning bells!), yet you refer to another of your authors as an "editor". Real publishers hire their editors as employees. Furthermore, these editors know what the publishing guidelines are, so he would never have submitted pornography to you, since he would know you don't publish it.

I've also got to know -- since you don't publish pornography and the scenes were so graphic and disgusting, why did you "read the book in its entirety"? As soon as you reach the first graphic scene, that should have been the signal to stop and reject it.

What is illegal about using an acceptance from a publisher to find an agent? If the author does not sign the contract, the contract is not fulfilled and the agent is free to shop it around to other houses. There is nothing illegal or unethical about it. Also, you don't indicate that the author in question did this, so why is it in the letter?

You decry "unsubstantiated rumors, unverified information presented as 'fact'" and yet you don't offer a bit of substantiation yourself. You go on at great lengths about the pornographic nature of the work (you devote 8 paragraphs to this subject), which strikes me as a bit of unsubstantiated rumors itself.

So many things here are inconsistant, conflicting, contrary, discordant, discrepant, dissonant, erratic, fickle, illogical, incoherent, incompatible, incongruent, incongruous, inconstant, irreconcilable, and irregular; I'm tempted to believe this is made up of whole cloth.

Buffoon
07-16-2006, 03:23 AM
A "public terrorist campaign"? I missed the part where the author started blowing stuff up.

Soon it will be revealed that the author is, in fact, Hitler's granddaughter.

Why does writing, agenting, and publishing seem to attract such a disproportionate number of nutjobs?

Sonarbabe
07-16-2006, 04:02 AM
A "public terrorist campaign"? I missed the part where the author started blowing stuff up.

Soon it will be revealed that the author is, in fact, Hitler's granddaughter.

:ROFL:



I've also got to know -- since you don't publish pornography and the scenes were so graphic and disgusting, why did you "read the book in its entirety"? As soon as you reach the first graphic scene, that should have been the signal to stop and reject it.


You know, I was wondering that one myself. I may be new to this great big world of publishing and I may look up to Uncle Jim, Victoria, Dave and all the other protectors, but even I can figure that one out.

James D. Macdonald
07-16-2006, 04:06 AM
RockWay appears to have no practical ability to get actual books onto actual bookshelves. Cross them off your list.

persiphone_hellecat
07-16-2006, 10:04 AM
First of all, thanks to all of you who have stood up for me regarding this nutjob. As for my name, it is Charie however I have been writing under the name Persiphone Hellecat for a while. I noticed many here used nicknames so I used one too. Other sites of a similar nature contain my name. If anyone would like the rest of my name, they can contact me and I will happily provide it. I assure you it isn’t Hitler, Bonaparte, Bin Laden, Hussain and I assure you I am no terrorist. In fact as a New Yorker who knows many who died on 9/11 and had a brother there, I must say I quite take offense with that remark. Terrorism isn’t a word we in New York use lightly Sherri/Alexandria. That alone tells me what kind of a person you are.

Yes, a contract did exist. The book was accepted by Sherri/Alexandria via a phone call to my writing partner. I was advised to cut and paste the contract from her website, add myself and my writing partner to it, get it signed and notarized and send it to her.

As for the content, Sherri/Alexandria knew precisely what the book was about. She and my writing partner held several conversations during the writing of it and she was kept informed all along the way. When it was done, it was immediately printed and sent to her per her instructions. The book does not involve any violence against children – hardly possible since the youngest character is 20 and she well knows that. As for erotic content, I doubt it is any worse than her own self proclaimed world renowned novel The Kommander’s Girlfriend or whatever it’s called.

As for the subject of editing, I was told through my writing partner that after reading it, Sherri/Alexandria wanted some changes made. I was told that the changes were in the area of adding more mystery and suspense to the story. Never were the graphic scenes mentioned as being cut. My partner told her to contact me directly and deal with me personally because he was involved with other projects. When no phone call came in, I began asking questions about the contract and was advised to stop it if I could. My partner had yet to get his signatures notarized, so I called him at about 8 in the morning one day and told him I wanted it stopped. It ended up in his wastebasket. I only wanted to know what kind of changes she intended to make before I signed away my rights as an author to have any say in those changes per her absurd and highly irregular and unprofessional contract.

I have a partner who can testify to a contract existing as well as I can provide a sworn statement from the notary who notarized my signature. She would remember the contract well. She told me it was the first book contract she ever notarized. My 20 year old son was with me as well. Kindly tell me why I would have bothered to cut and paste and print out this ridiculous 30 something page contract and get it notarized, then pay to send it to Maryland if the book was rejected. She also requested a copy of the book on CD – also not sent to her.

As for my mother calling her, yes that did happen and it was with my consent and authorization. I am an architect and involved in several other businesses and my mother has the legal documents to represent me in all of them. She even signs my checks if Sherri/Alexandria would like a copy of one. Blank of course. I wouldn’t give her a dime. The message clearly stated I wanted my MS sent back and if it was not sent back, I would go to the media. If that is as she says in her letter to me “a threatening message on our machine. Not only is it inappropriate and unprofessional, it is a prosecutable crime and an “explicit threat”, it’s news to me. Last time I checked, the flag outside my house was the stars and stripes and I have freedom of speech. If there was any other message on her tape threatening her or any of her imaginary employees personally, I would love to hear a copy of it.

However I would prefer to stick to the FACTS here – FACTS Sherri/Alexandri cannot refute…

FACT – If she states she rejected my book, she is lying and I have a partner who can verify that. She did not reject me, I rejected her. By the way, her letter supposedly “rejecting” my book was written on 6/19 – approximately ONE MONTH after I contacted my writing partner and told him to destroy the contract. Now tell me- who rejected who?

FACT – Nowhere does it say on her site she doesn’t publish erotic material. In fact it specifically states on the home page, “At RockWay Press, we focus on our authors, on the quality of their writing (no matter what genre), and on the author's long-term goals and career.”

FACT – Only ONE book has been published by Rockway Press and currently it is out of print and unavailable anywhere. Sherri/Alexandria doesn’t even publish her own books.

FACT – Her site states “When books in the warehouses reach a certain level, RockWay's printer automatically reprints those titles to replenish the stock.” Not so – Ingram hasn’t had her ONE book in stock in quite a while. I checked.

FACT – NONE of the publication dates listed on her website has even come close to being met. And surprise—today she removed all those dates from her site.

FACT – Not ONE of the contest winners from 2004 has received their prize per the contest rules – publication of their novel.

FACT – Rockway Press has NO distributor. Ingram and Baker and Taylor are listed on her site as distributors. They are NOT. They are wholesalers. They do NOT have salesmen who go out and sell books to bookstores. They merely fulfill orders and right now they have no Rockway books to sell.

FACT – Rockway books are “available internationally through Amazon.com, Borders.com, Barnes&Noble.com, Wal-Mart.com, Target.com, and through RockWay Press' online Bookstore.” They are not even available that way nationally. They are not available period.

FACT – There IS no Rockway bookstore. How could there be without books?

FACT – The only reviews written on these books are written by Sherri/Alexandria herself. Check it out.

FACT – The glowing praise about Rockway and Sherri/Alexandria written on her author’s sites is written by HER in accordance to her absurd contract. It states ““Content Maintenance (j) The Publisher will keep the content on the Author's site current for one (1) year after the official publication date of the Work.”

FACT – In spite of her site having a “Very Useful Site Award” on her home page, she is NOT affiliated with them as some of the sites she created for her authors indicate. Preditors and Editors has stated that here quite clearly.

FACT – When an author sends a MS to a publisher in a professional two part MS mailer with proper postage on the return portion, it is unprofessional for a publisher to destroy the MS and keep the postage because it is inconvenient to get to a post office to return it. In spite of what she claims, it doesn’t state in her website she destroys MS’s or we wouldn’t have bothered to include the return postage.

The facts speak for themselves. If you sign a contract with Rockway you are throwing a book away. It will most likely never be printed and surely never wind up on bookshelves without a distributor. If you spent the $35 bucks to enter her writing contests, you are tossing your money away if you think you will ever see your prize. You would be better to spend the money on the latest copy of Writers Digest.

Sherri/Alexandria wrote me a nasty letter today. Half of it made no sense. It stated she demanded a public apology here at this site for my efforts to speak out against her. There will be no such apology forthcoming. In fact, there will be just the opposite. To borrow from Oscar Wilde, “when I see a spade, I call it a spade” and when I see a scam I call it a scam, too.

As of this moment, I am blocking Rockway from my e mail. I will also accept no phone calls, faxes, snail mails or any other form of communication from her. I, too, know many trying to get out of Rockway contracts. I know many who cannot even manage to get galleys. And my e mail is filled with information which I am not at liberty to state here in order to protect the sources … The fact is, when authors run across a bad egg like this, I believe it is their obligation to speak out and protect others. That is why we have forums like this.

I saw absolutely NOTHING in what Sherri/Alexandria said to change my opinion. And obviously others didn’t either. Why continue to hurt and torment these authors Sherri/Alexandria? If you cannot publish their books, and obviously you cannot – let them go elsewhere… You spend so much time at the beginning of your website putting down traditional publishing and you are 100 times worse yourself. Take the test at P and E for how to spot a bad publisher … You score about 90… How’s that for someone who knocks traditional publishing then calls herself a “traditional publisher”? Not even close .. Traditional publishers actually publish BOOKS … Whenever you are criticized, you talk circles but say nothing ... Charie

persiphone_hellecat
07-16-2006, 10:09 AM
Whether you know it or not, and despite the huge number of books that get published each year, the publishing world is a small, intimate business, and the names and reputations of authors who behave inappropriately, unprofessionally, or unethically quickly become known to most editors, publishers, and agents.



If that be the case, I would try real hard to publish some books and not earn such a bad rep, Sherri ...

victoriastrauss
07-16-2006, 07:22 PM
I have a partner who can testify to a contract existing as well as I can provide a sworn statement from the notary who notarized my signature. She would remember the contract well. She told me it was the first book contract she ever notarized.I've signed a number of book contracts in my career, and never once have I been asked to get my signature notarized.

- Victoria

persiphone_hellecat
07-16-2006, 10:35 PM
Well, that's how Rockway works ... What truly amazes me is that she states she requires a signed contract of all her contest entries to protect her for the time she spends reading and editing and critiquing... ummm isnt that what she charges $35.00 for???

By the way, do not be fooled here. When Sherri/Alexandra says "we", she means HER ... if you note previous entries by her at Mindsight, she frequently refers to herself in the third person. She IS Rockway ... As far as I can tell, the rest of her employees are imaginary ...

And I would like to ask her a question should she drop back here for another tirade - and if she follows her pattern, she will post here again and again until the issue is dropped and she is vindicated, however that was before she met ME.

A couple people who have posted here have referred to knowing people trying to get out of Rockway contracts. Without naming any names, I recieved a very disturbing letter off the board from someone who has a friend "caught in the Rockway web" ... The letter states that Sherri/Alexandria is currently writing to her author stable (for lack of a better word - since they arent published) asking them to allow her to increase the time from approved galley to published book from 12 to 18 months. Further, it seems Sherri/Alexandra is currently working three jobs in order to be able to afford a printer ... Anyone else heard this?

Ummm ... pardon me but isnt that kind of a backwards way of running a publishing house? Don't you generally have the money to print books before you sign authors to bizarre contracts? I guess that also explains her lack of any type of advances ...

Sounds like her next step is to ask her writers for money and just become a good old POD - which many suspect she is anyway ... It certainly seems so when The Binding, her one and only book, is only available at B and N.com with a 4 - 6 week wait and an additional 1.99 charge for special order...

It would also explain why her January 10th and June 15th publishing dates have come and gone without a whisper.

Any comments, Sherri? Care to explain? Or is my asking the question another act of terrorism?

It would seem to me that not having the money to print is a violation of your precious and bizarre contract and that all your writers need to run to their lawyers and have them voided ... To be honest, I have read the work of many Rockway authors. Many of them have sample chapters on their Sherri/Alexandria controlled sites. Some of them are very good and deserve better... Charie

Buffoon
07-16-2006, 11:21 PM
I think you've made your point, Charie. Anyone paying attention to this thread can see that Rockway is not legit. If there was any question at all, Sherri/Alexandria's ridiculous post cleared it up.

I wouldn't put too much more effort into getting answers from Sherri/Alexandria. I give it 60% that she won't answer, 20% that she will (and will say nothing useful, since her company seems indefensible), 10% that she'll reappear disguised as the Pets.com mascot.

persiphone_hellecat
07-17-2006, 12:40 AM
Hey I have one of those pets.com mascots -- still in the box ... interested? Charie

persiphone_hellecat
07-17-2006, 05:17 AM
I just want to add my thanks to P and E who today gave Rockway a new rating ... And thanks to all the Rockway authors who had the guts to write to P and E and tell them the truth ... Charie

victoriastrauss
07-17-2006, 06:17 PM
Scott, I tried to send you a PM but your mailbox is full.

- Victoria

persiphone_hellecat
07-23-2006, 01:07 AM
This morning, I recieved an e-mail from a Rockway author. When I tried to reply, the letter was returned. The e-mail account had been closed already. I know this person is following this thread, so I find it necessary to post my reply here.

Dear XXXXX,

I understand what you are going through. Yes, I have heard that you have gotten letters from Rockway of a threatening nature forbidding you from speaking with people who are criticizing Rockway. That is just plain luducrous. You signed a book contract, you didnt enlist in the Third Reich. I don't see how a publisher can dictate who you may and may not speak with. But no matter -- I, too have been threatened. I will do everything I can to protect your identity since that is what you wish. The e-mail you sent has already been deleted from my mailbox. Your name is known only to me and that is how it will remain.

I completely understand your feelings right now. If Rockway doesnt have the money to publish your book(s), they should void your contract and let you go to someplace that can. Of course, that would only be fair. You shouldnt have to pay the price for mismanagement of money within the company. It's not your problem.

I must, however, say this to you. While you can write letters to places like Writers Beware and Preditors and Editors, that will only potentially help future writers from ending up in a similar position. And while that is certainly a good idea and a noble cause, it doesnt help YOU right now. You seriously need to take it to a higher level. Patricia Madrid is Attorney General of the state of New Mexico. You can look up her website and find her snail mail address. If you feel you are being harassed and threatened, write to her and let her know. I already did.

Quite honestly, I do not give a rat's backside about Sherri's threats. It simply shows the level to which she is willing to stoop and the fact that she is losing it and rapidly. Protect yourself - contact the Attorney General. Urge others to do the same. If enough letters get through there, something will be done.

Thank you for writing and confirming my suspicions. C.

persiphone_hellecat
08-06-2006, 01:45 AM
Just an update from a Rockway author who doesnt wish to be named for obvious reasons. Another deadline has come and gone. Books were due out at the end of July. Now Sherri blames the printer. Funny when her last letters to her authors stated she was trying to earn enough money to PAY a printer. I guess she now blames the printer because they don't work for free. Several Rockway authors still want OUT, but she refuses to allow them to void their contracts in spite of the fact the contracts have been violated by Rockway itself. Not cool, Sherri

susan_d
08-06-2006, 05:37 AM
I

Several unprofessional writers whose books have been accepted by RockWay have intentionally not signed their contracts and have used our acceptance as an illegitimate, devious, and deceptive way to acquire agent representation [in the hopes of illegally acquiring a "better" offer from a larger publisher; this behaviour is unethical and illegal since, once a book contract has been offered and accepted, the publisher who offered the contract has the legal right to publish the book]. Alexandria Szeman
Publisher / Executive Editor
RockWay Press



Hi. I just wanted to call attention to this bit of this post to help warn people before submitting to RockWay Press. Given that they now require to submit a signed contract before submitting, you should realize that they're claiming your rights. I'm one of the "several unprofessional writers" that Alexandria references up there, and here's what happened with my dealings with RockWay Press, which is still an ongoing nightmare.

I'm a writer with 3 books published by small presses. Last year, in November, I was looking for a market for my fourth book. I submitted it for consideration to one of my previous publishers, who I think is great. In fact, I would love to be pubbed with them again. But since I didn't know if my book would make the cut, I also found the RockWay Press contest and subbed it to there. I also submitted it to some agents. In February, I signed with an agent.

Two days after signing with the agent, RockWay called and told me I'd won their publishing contest, and that the prize was publication. I told them I was very pleased to hear that. I then called my new agent and informed her. After a discussion with my agent, we decided to ask RockWay if we could have more time before I decided to sign the contract.

I then called RockWay -- and by RockWay I mean Alexandria Szeman, as she is the only one I had contact with. I'm pretty certain that "RockWay" is just Sherri/Alexandria Szeman. I told Alexandria that just before I had been notified of the RockWay contract, I had signed with an agent, and that the agent would like me to hold off on signing the contract while she shopped the book. Alexandria got very angry and told me that she owns the rights to the book. I got very flustered and got off the phone as quickly as possible and updated my agent, and assured them I had NOT signed a contract with RockWay.

A couple days later, I got an acceptance from the other small publisher who I enjoy working with. I asked them for some time to decide and they were extremely gracious and said that was fine. Then, two weeks after that, Alexandria called me and said that my book was going into production and I needed to submit the final draft to her. I was taken aback, because the last conversation I'd had with her I had been very clear that I wasn't ready to progress with RockWay, nor had I signed any contracts. Since she had been abusive and nasty with me on the previous call, I notified my agent, and she said she'd handle it. She called Alexandria and told her I wouldn't be publishing with RockWay. Alexandria lied and told her that she had a signed contract with me. Alexandria then called me up and swore at me profusely and threatened me and yelled at me and told me that she owns the rights to my book and she will sue me and my agent.

I repeat -- I did NOT sign a contract with RockWay. My agent tried to force her to produce a signed contract, and told Alexandria that if she simply shows her the signed contract, that I will submit all necessary materials. Alexandria refused to show her the contract, because there is no contract.

However, a few weeks later, my agent received a notice from Alexandria's "Lawyer" stating that she was going to sue her for interfering with a contract. My agent's lawyer did due diligence and drafted a response letter stating that Alexandria has no legal standing.

However, Alexandria's lawyer fired back again and said that Alexandria owns the rights to my book. Alexandria's position that because she offered me a contract, she owns the rights. She insists on a cut of whatever I sell it for, or she will sue if it gets sold. My agent's lawyer advised her that the best course of action is to simply not sell the book until the non-existent contract would have expired anyhow -- 1 year.

I had to turn the other small press's publishing offer down because of this. My agent will not pitch the book anywhere else.

Basically, this woman, through threats and intimidation, has stopped me from selling my work elsewhere. I repeat again - I had not signed a contract with her. I have since learned that she is now insisting on people sending in signed and notarized contracts just to submit their work. This woman is a shark and a fraud. It is my belief that she has no intention of publishing books. I think she has the intention of taking the RIGHTS to the books, so that if one of her writers gets lucky and lands a deal elsewhere, she can get a cut of that deal.

I'm very angry about this situation and I don't want anyone else to fall into this trap of hers. I know I was dumb for not researching the company thoroughly enough, but I had checked P&E and hadn't heard anything bad about them. In fact, they praised the company. Also, RockWay only had one book published, but I thought they were a new start-up venture and that wasn't unusual. Now I know better, and hopefully you can help warn others so that they don't get tangled up in a legal nightmare like this with this company. And I also can't stress enough how abusive she is on a personal level.

triceretops
08-06-2006, 05:57 AM
Wow, Susan, that is one for the record books. I've never heard of such a thing, and I do believe you when you say that you never signed a legitimate publishing contract. It would be interesting to see (online) this notorized contract that she's holding against you. From what I've read here, it sounds like some type of release that she professes protects her and the athor.

Perhaps Victoria would like to study your case in private and you could exchange emails with her. I wish our own "Jaws" could also see this suspicious document and determine if these bozos had a leg to stand on.
Something's rotten in the wood pile if your agent has actually pulled away from this book for a year.

I hope you straighten this out.

Tri

susan_d
08-06-2006, 06:53 AM
Wow, Susan, that is one for the record books. I've never heard of such a thing, and I do believe you when you say that you never signed a legitimate publishing contract. It would be interesting to see (online) this notorized contract that she's holding against you. From what I've read here, it sounds like some type of release that she professes protects her and the athor.


Tri

Hi Tri,

I want to make this clear -- there is not even a notarized contract. Back when I submitted, she didn't require people to send that in with their submissions. I assume that's now part of her method *because* I refused to sign the contract once she offered it to me. I signed nothing. Not one thing.

She claims that simply because she offered me the contract, that there is a verbal agreement and she has a legal right to publish it.

My agents did hire a lawyer, and the lawyer assured them she has no legal leg to stand on. However, simply because she would lose a lawsuit doesn't mean it wouldn't cost everyone time, money and aggravation if she decided to proceed, which she swears she'll do. I'm quite poor (duh, redundant, I'm a writer) and just can't afford to battle her legally. My agent doesn't want to take the chance of landing me a deal and then getting it mangled up by her blowharding around and making a legitimate publisher angry. That's also why I've turned down the other small press. They're a great company, and I don't want them to get caught in the middle of something like this, because since they're small, I don't think they could afford it either.

Popeyesays
08-06-2006, 08:22 AM
Hi Tri,

I want to make this clear -- there is not even a notarized contract. Back when I submitted, she didn't require people to send that in with their submissions. I assume that's now part of her method *because* I refused to sign the contract once she offered it to me. I signed nothing. Not one thing.

She claims that simply because she offered me the contract, that there is a verbal agreement and she has a legal right to publish it.

My agents did hire a lawyer, and the lawyer assured them she has no legal leg to stand on. However, simply because she would lose a lawsuit doesn't mean it wouldn't cost everyone time, money and aggravation if she decided to proceed, which she swears she'll do. I'm quite poor (duh, redundant, I'm a writer) and just can't afford to battle her legally. My agent doesn't want to take the chance of landing me a deal and then getting it mangled up by her blowharding around and making a legitimate publisher angry. That's also why I've turned down the other small press. They're a great company, and I don't want them to get caught in the middle of something like this, because since they're

My suggestion is join the National Writer's Union and turn the situation over to them. Legal assistance is part of the package and there is no doubt you could join.

The publisher will rue the day she kick the NWU and the AFL-CIO in the ***.

Regards,
Scott

Sonarbabe
08-06-2006, 09:24 AM
Oh my dear God. I can't believe what I'm reading. Alright, I believe it, but oh my. :Jaw: Isn't there anything that can be done to help? (Yeah, my newbie/ naive is showing, I know) This just seems so adherently wrong!

ixchel
08-06-2006, 07:52 PM
I'd heard rumors in my critique group that RockWay Press was having financial problems and that the publisher was 'over her head'. But what I've been reading on this board about this publisher is terrible and scary. A year ago I was thinking about entering 'their contest'. But I looked up what their so-called writers had published and it was nothing like my novel. So I passed. Thank God! I can't believe a publisher can be so unprofessional to call up an agent and writer and verbally abuse them. Isn't there something the writer can do? I think other writers need to know what's been going on to avoid having the same nightmares as the writers have reported.

triceretops
08-06-2006, 08:20 PM
It's just really scary that this agent is trying to enforce a VERBAL agreement and hijack this book. I just don't see where she's coming from, unless she is on this sue rampage, as had been suggested, to nail unwitty authors into false agreements.

Clearyly she's gotten in over her head, as far as production, and has no means to fullfill her commitments. If I were the authors, I tell her VERBALLY, that her VERBAL contract is null and void, and if she thinks it isn't, then we can go to court and hash it out VERBABLLY.


TRI

ixchel
08-06-2006, 08:24 PM
I'm curious about these other writers who want to get out of their contracts. Did RockWay Press only publish Brenda Barrie's book? What about those other authors she has on her site?

persiphone_hellecat
08-06-2006, 10:49 PM
Ixchel, To date, RockWay has published nothing else. First, she was sending letters to her authors claiming she was working three jobs to be able to afford to publish their books and asking them to allow her to extend her contract with them from 12 months post galley completion to 18 months post galley completion. Some wrote back to her and requested release from their contracts onthe ground she was in violation of it. She wrote back and told them a flat NO. Now, she is writing to them telling them it is her printer's fault for the delays. Books that won the 2004 Contest have not yet been published. Yes, she is in over her head and clearly off the wall. I very nearly became one of those trapped by her but at the last minute had my contract torn up by my partner before it was sent to her. I started writing to Preditors and Editors at that time. Dave was very understanding and told me I needed to gather more information before he could change her positive listing there. I worked exceedingly hard to get through privately to some of her authors who were being threatened and convince them to trust Dave and Victoria, our Moderator here, and tell them their stories. Some did. At first, P and E added the phrase "Despite their good information, P&E is hearing of complaints regarding this publisher in its dealings with authors" to Rockway's listing. This week, Dave took another step and added "Not Recommended". I am eternally grateful to him for that. Please tell your writing group to go regularly to P and E and read carefully before they submit work to anyone. You will also note that under Contests, Dave also clearly states Rockway is NOT recommended. I don't know if you noticed or not when you considered entering RockWay's contest, but ALL submissions require a signed and notarized contract for THEIR protection. What a load of crap! That means that even though Sherri'/Alexandria can decide no entry is "worthy" of winning", award no first prize and keep all the money, she also legally has ownership of ALL entries.

You seem like a very nice person Ixchel, and your writing group is a great idea. It's fantastic that groups like that exist to ban together to collect information and help each other. Make sure that each and every one of them has P and E and Victoria's fantastic site on their favorites and check it often. They are invaluable resources. Victoria's article on POD Print on Demand publishing is worth it's weight in enriched plutonium. Read it! Same goes for Dave's checklist for how to spot a scam publisher. More enriched plutonium.

The problem is that things change very rapidly and when I was on the verge of signing a RockWay contest, they were still rated positively. That's when you come to sites like this one and Mindsight Forum and ask the questions. Writers are very "wordy" people to quote my son. We won't hesitate to tell you our own personal experiences.

RockWay is a done deal. They are now negatively rated at P and E and simply should be crossed off anyone's potential submissions list.

Tri, it would be wonderful if all this was based on verbal contracts alone, however it isnt. RockWay has this extremely bizarre written contract which Sherri/Alexandria requires everyone to cut and paste, add their names to, sign and have notarized before she will do anything with a book. It's posted on her site. Just read it. You will die laughing. However the problem is that bizarre or not, it is a contract and once you sign a contract it is binding no matter how stupid it is. The best advice is not to sign anything without reading it and asking around first. Victoria is very willing to answer letters should you have a question about a contract. She was very patient and kind with me concerning the RockWay contract. She truly knows her stuff.

I have been threatened and harassed by RockWay ever since I began this campaign to bring this matter out into the open. She went as far as to contact my writing partner, a former law enforcement officer, and tell him to "take care of Charie and this problem permenantly". I considered that a direct threat and went directly to the New Mexico Attorney General. It is being investigated now. Please remember that the internet comes under the heading of Homeland Security now. Making threats over the internet is no laughing matter and Sherri/Alexandria will soon find that out.

Thanks to all who have supported me. If there is one less bad apple in the publishing basket because of it, I feel good. However, it must be more than that. It must be taken as a sign that every author should be extra careful and use the resources available every single time they consider entering a contest, submitting a MS, or signing a contract.

See? My son was right about authors being wordy. Ixchel - my e mail is deni913@hotmail.com. I have nothing to hide. Write to me if you wish more info. Charie

PS THANK YOU VICTORIA AND DAVE!!

HapiSofi
08-07-2006, 01:44 AM
However the problem is that bizarre or not, it is a contract and once you sign a contract it is binding no matter how stupid it is. Nope! All sorts of things can make a signed contract invalid. Feel like giving us a look at this one?

MadScientistMatt
08-07-2006, 01:56 AM
She claims that simply because she offered me the contract, that there is a verbal agreement and she has a legal right to publish it.

Even to someone like me who has no legal training whatsoever, this sounds like it would be laughed out of court. You simply can't have an enforcable contract when you didn't accept it - it doesn't even sound like you had what would qualify as a verbal contract. What she's done would be as absurd as if you mailed Alexandria a letter that says, "I, Alexandria, shall pay Susan D the sum of one million dollars for no reason," and then suing her for breech of contract when she doesn't.

This has got to be the most patently absurd line I've seen a scammer use.

Good luck with that.

susan_d
08-07-2006, 02:40 AM
Even to someone like me who has no legal training whatsoever, this sounds like it would be laughed out of court. You simply can't have an enforcable contract when you didn't accept it - it doesn't even sound like you had what would qualify as a verbal contract. What she's done would be as absurd as if you mailed Alexandria a letter that says, "I, Alexandria, shall pay Susan D the sum of one million dollars for no reason," and then suing her for breech of contract when she doesn't.

This has got to be the most patently absurd line I've seen a scammer use.

Good luck with that.

Matt, I completely agree it's absurd. My agent agrees it's absurd. My agent's lawyer agrees that it is absurd. And we all agree that it's also a hallow threat.

The point isn't that she would lose a lawsuit. The point is that with her LIES and erratic nature, it's completely reasonable to believe that if I announced another deal with another publisher, she wouldn't hesitate to call up that publisher and start telling them that SHE has a contract with me and that she's going to sue. She lied to my agent and told her that I'd signed a contract. Luckily, I had a way to prove to my agent that I hadn't. I told my agent to ask her what the name was on the contract. Alexandria bluffed wrong and said my alias, my writing name. I'd have to sign a contract with my real name, though, and Alexandria doesn't know my real name. But because she lies and goes on rampages, she could make me lose a contract with a real publisher, because no one wants to bother with going to court. Also, no one wants to deal with a lunatic, and she acts like a lunatic. As I'm sure Cherie can attest, this woman doesn't behave like a normal person at all.

It's ridiculous. I've been in contact with lawyers about it, but there's nothing they can do for me. They can defend me if she sues me. But there's no offensive action to be taken to make her go away. To do that, I'd have to instigate a lawsuit. And considering there's no money to be gained, and that I don't have any money to fund it, it's useless to do that.

However, I really like Scott's idea of joining the NWU to see if they can help in some way. I'm definitely going to look into that.

Oh. And I stated before that I suspect the mess with me is why she now requires people who submit to send in a contract with the submission. I also suspect that's why she requires them to send a file in electronic format. I sent my manuscript in hard copy only. She's tried numerous times to bully me into sending her an electronic file, and I simply won't do it, because that'd be insane of me. But I'm sure if anyone tried to balk in the future, she'll have that electronic file and who knows how far she'll go with it?

That's why people should know about this woman and stay very far away from her.

persiphone_hellecat
08-07-2006, 03:31 AM
Of course she doesnt behave in a normal manner -- she changed her name to Alexandria after being a so called "award winning and acclaimed author" under the name of Sherri - why would someone do that other than the fact they were nuts?

I have been harassed by this person. She accused my 75 year old MOTHER of threatening her life. She has accused me here of being a child pornographer. She has threatened right here on this board that people like me who rock her little boat get blacklisted in the industry. She "ordered" my retired law enforcement partner to "take care of me permenantly". At that point I took it to the Atty General of New Mexico. I am also hearing rumors there were problems with her in business in Ohio which is why she moved to NM.

Sue - have you sent a letter to the Atty General? Her name is Patricia Madrid and she is currently investigating. Sherri is nuts. Her goal when she can't get what she wants is to screw with you until you give in. You have to wait one entire year to sell your book again. Sherri sees that as a victory. Don't let her win. She sees litigation or the threat of litigation as a way of costing you money and time. I believe you are quite right that Sherri IS the entire company. I believe the "lawyer" you were contacted by is probably one of the winners of her writing contest who lives in Au. who is a lawyer and supposidly wrote her contract for her. He is probably as dumb as she is if he wrote that contract. It's easy as pie to make letterhead online and send letters .. Has this lawyer been verified with the NM Bar Assn? Again Mrs. Madrid the Atty General might be of service. Impersonating an atty is a serious offense.

I hope you have copied all this to Victoria as well as to Dave at P and E. I am also currently fighting to have a Wikipedia entry on Rockway kept from being deleted. Your input there would be a great help too. Please contact me.

You are quite right in your analysis of Sherri - she is crazy. She is a coffee shop waitress trying to earn enough money to publish books and she is tampering with people's lives and their bodies of work. That is just plain wrong. I am glad to see people are finally beginning to post here backing up what I've been saying for a while now. People who have been harassed by this lunatic, please please post here and warn others. If you are one of her authors and fear reprisal, make up a name. She will need a warrent to get information from this board. Tell people what she is like and spare others the loss of their life's work. I am one of the lucky ones. She wouldnt DARE say she has a signed contract with me because she knows damn well my partner destroyed it so she came at me the other way declaring she rejected my MS and accusing me of pornography. That was a big mistake on her part because I chose to fight back. Fighting the good fight -- Charie

HapiSofi
08-07-2006, 03:40 AM
The point isn't that she would lose a lawsuit. The point is that with her LIES and erratic nature, it's completely reasonable to believe that if I announced another deal with another publisher, she wouldn't hesitate to call up that publisher and start telling them that SHE has a contract with me and that she's going to sue. At which point the publisher would contact your agent and ascertain that you don't have a contract with this nutter, and her name would be placed on their "never take calls from this person" list.


I have been harassed by this person. She accused my 75 year old MOTHER of threatening her life. She has accused me here of being a child pornographer. She has threatened right here on this board that people like me who rock her little boat get blacklisted in the industry. I'd ignore her. I'd ignore her contracts, too. If this woman followed through on even a fraction of her threats, she'd be famous in the industry. It's not a big place. She's not famous in it.

Have either of you considered having your college roommates or childhood best friends phone her out of the blue and make wild threats, while never mentioning you? Better yet, have untraceable third parties make the same threats, then hang up.

Let her wonder. Let her be the one doing the worrying.

James D. Macdonald
08-07-2006, 03:46 AM
Making threats by interstate telephony is never a good idea.

persiphone_hellecat
08-07-2006, 03:52 AM
At which point the publisher would contact your agent and ascertain that you don't have a contract with this nutter, and her name would be placed on their "never take calls from this person" list.

Except I don't think she'd do it in the first place. If she followed through on even a fraction of her threats, she'd be famous in the industry -- it's not a big place -- and she isn't.

Have you considered having your college roommate or childhood best friend phone her out of the blue and make wild threats, while never mentioning you? Let her wonder. Let her be the one doing the worrying.

Oh but according to her she IS famous in the industry!! Havent you ever read her autobio at her site?? The thing about contacting her that way is that she reads this site religiously. She would know if it's posted here. DONT SINK TO HER LEVEL ... After she wrote here the first time, she contacted someone who is very involved in outting scams in the publishing industry and asked him what she should do - should she continue to post here and defend herself. His answer was "I'd suggest you worry about publishing books instead". She wouldnt post here again - not after what a nutjob she looked like the last time she posted -- however she does read and knows exactly what's being said. She's threatened me with lawyers too, but quite honestly she doesnt scare me. It's like all nuisance lawsuits-- they end up costing you money and rather than having the lawyers make it all, generally you settle for some reduced sum just to end it just like you would put calomine on a bad itch to end it. She's nothing more than a bad itch, and her reputation is getting worse by the day. At this point I honestly believe her threats have been pretty much neutralized along with her company. Who I truly feel sorry for are the 24 or so authors who are trapped in contracts. I only wish there was a way to help them. I sure am trying. I have read some of their work. Some is horrible and explains why they ended up at RockWay to begin with, but some is actually very very good and deserves a shot at the real world of publishing. They deserve better than RockWay. Charie

persiphone_hellecat
08-07-2006, 05:05 AM
Making threats by interstate telephony is never a good idea.

Absolutely right! Don't fight this on her level. You are writers folks, do what you do best. Write letters!! And lots of them ... You know who to send them to.

HapiSofi
08-07-2006, 06:09 AM
I couldn't sink to her level if I tried. And it's not as though I misbehave on a regular basis.

Genuine crazies are unfortunates who should be cared for, given treatment, and if dangerous avoided. Half-crazies are something else again. I've had occasion to work with them professionally (not in publishing).

The really nasty ones get the jump on normal, well-behaved people by rattling them, and by having a much broader range of potential behavior. I've always found it useful to make it clear to abusive half-crazies that I'm not going to fall into one of their standard scripts. Miraculously, it often turns out that their objectionable behavior wasn't actually out of their control.

I have no use for genteel behavior that amounts to volunteering to be victimized. Has it really never occurred to you, while she's threatening to blacken your name in the publishing industry, to tell her it's too late, and that you've already phoned all the major houses to tell them she's actually your father's crazy ex-wife, and that if she contacts them and makes wild claims, it's just because she's furious about the restraining order? I mean, what's the worst she's going to do? Call Random House and explain that she's not really your crazy ex-stepmother? That'll go over a treat.

persiphone_hellecat
08-07-2006, 06:50 AM
Ha ha ... Imagine the fun you could have making up stories about who she is. Now you're talking!! That's the great thing about the creative mind -- it comes in handy at the oddest times. The bad part about that is my mother is my father's ex wife and that would give my all my father's ex wives a bad name LOL ... Maybe I could say I was an attendant at the mental hospital she escaped from -- the one who used to take her down to the "special room" for her electro shock treatments and now she is out to get even with me. Hey, we could move this over to the games section and come up with all kinds of cool stories for that scenario -- only none would be nearly as bizarre as the real Sherri. Honestly, what I told her when she threatened me was a quote from the movie Patch Adams -- that I would file the information in my IDGARA file.

HapiSofi
08-07-2006, 08:08 AM
That's the spirit.

Once, when I was younger, I made the mistake of telling a writer why I'd turned down her submission. ("Inadequately transformed," was what I told her. How was I to know the woman had the sense to see I meant "lifted straight from identifiable sources"?) She started making constant harassing phone calls to scream at me. I stopped answering my phone. She started calling my publisher, which was seriously not good.

Then one of our revered seniormost editors, who usually worked from her home in another part of the country, came to spend a week in the office. She noticed that my phone was constantly ringing, and that I wasn't answering it. I wound up telling her the whole story.

The next time my phone rang, she snatched it up and answered in persona as her own august self. The crazy writer demanded to speak to me, and wound up telling this editor her side of the story.

The very senior editor calmly said that she had no idea how I'd come to be dealing with slush in the first place, and that I was a mere clerical employee, not editorial at all. (Quite untrue, btw.) Then she rang off. I was rapt in admiration. I got one last voicemail from this crazy writer, saying "Ha ha, I know all about what you are!", after which she vanished from my life forever.

Harris
08-15-2006, 08:44 PM
I just checked my messages and found a note about my knowledge of RockWay. I am not Helecat's partner. I do not even know her. I am friends with two other RockWay authors.

My personal experience with Sherri.
I also submitted a manuscript to her a long time ago. Sherri liked it and called me at home to request changes. Upon reviewing the manuscript I thought her changes sounded odd. (I mean she wanted really goofy stuff changed.) I emailed to tell her that I wouldn't be changing the book and decided to pull the submission. Several months passed and she again called me at home wondering where the manuscript was because she'd been filling out her publishing calendar. I again told her that I wouldn't be sending it because I didn't think her requested changes would work. She informed me that she'd never made those requests. She acted like I was terribly confused. Needless to say, the book is still mine and she quit calling.

I do not trust this woman. She puts down publishers that use the same printer she uses (POD Lightning Source). She has started putting out books, but that is the only good thing I can say about her. She tries to be somethign she's not-a traditional publisher. She uses print on demand, edits herself, does her own artwork, and as far as I can tell, has no other help. She talks about how poor she is, how other's use her, and tries anything for sympathy. When the sympathy doesn't work she threatens. It's quite sad.

persiphone_hellecat
08-16-2006, 07:29 AM
It's actually more than sad...She says a couple books are available now, but I dont know where. Surely not on Amazon, and her bookstore page is no longer in service. Your story is similar to mine, Harris, and according to her bizarre contract, she has the right to edit and change anything she wants without permission of the author, which is totally absurd. You are right, she is a one person operation. The point is that enough of her authors have complained that Preditors and Editors now has her listed as NOT RECOMMENDED. Her contests were never recommended by P & E because not only do you have to pay her money, you have to sign an authors' contract just to enter -- giving her ownership of all entries - winners or not. That is totally insane. Her advertising contract with Poets and Writers has been cancelled because of her lies. Sure, she MAY actually be publishing a couple books POD - but that's about it. She has no distributor and her authors will be lucky to sell a handfull of books, not even that if they arent listed on Amazon. Best advice, dont enter any contests at Rockway, dont send her any money and dont sign any contracts - she is poison. Thanks for saying you arent my partner, Harris, she was accusing my real partner of being you. LOL

persiphone_hellecat
08-16-2006, 07:32 AM
You know the really funny thing about Sherri? Her "inspiration" Maxwell Perkins wouldnt touch her with a fifty foot pole. Read something about Max sometime. He edited people like Hemingway and his philosophy was to find books that were good enough that they didnt need editing. Sherri is just the opposite -- she says she likes books then says she wants to edit the crap out of them. Makes no sense to me -- what did she like about them in the first place if she only turned around and requested all these bizarre changes? Beats me...

Harris
08-16-2006, 02:50 PM
For mine, one of the requests she made was for the hero to be uglier. That's not even the one that really threw me for a loop. I don't want to post much on it because I don't have time for her harrassment. :)

PW Advertising
08-16-2006, 07:11 PM
Rockway's advertising contract with Poets & Writers Magazine has not been cancelled. I will not be commenting any further on this matter as it is a private business matter between Poets & Writers Magazine and Rockway Press.

Joshua Mandelbaum
Advertising Director

persiphone_hellecat
08-17-2006, 06:42 AM
Gee that's real funny because I have an e mail from Poets and Writers stating it IS cancelled. I will be happy to post it here too. Obviously there is some really serious lying going on.

persiphone_hellecat
08-17-2006, 10:35 AM
Sent to me 8/8/06 at 3:21 PM

Dear Charie,

Please note that after further review of Rockway Press's web site we have
terminated their ad contract.

Sincerely,
Joshua Mandelbaum
|||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||| |||
Joshua Mandelbaum
Advertising Director
Poets & Writers Magazine
72 Spring Street
New York, NY 10012

I wouldnt trust Poets and Writers as far as they can throw them. Stick to AW and P&E and Writers Beware where you know you can get the truth.

victoriastrauss
08-22-2006, 05:04 AM
Sue - have you sent a letter to the Atty General? Her name is Patricia Madrid and she is currently investigating.I strongly second this suggestion for anyone who has had problems with this publisher. A single complaint usually won't spur any action, but a volume of them often will. That's how Edit Ink and Woodside Literary Agency came to the attention of the NY Attorney General's office--lots of writers wrote in to complain.

Please also contact Writer Beware and let us know about your experiences. The more complaints and documentation we have, the more authoritative our warnings can be--and we are getting questions about RockWay.

Charie, would you be able to provide complete contact information for Ms. Madrid and post it here? Thanks much.

- Victoria

harrisss
08-22-2006, 06:50 PM
why is it that any posts in defense of rockway do not get put on the message board or they get taken off? are you being a little more than one-sided here?
harrisss
new member

James D. Macdonald
08-22-2006, 09:06 PM
why is it that any posts in defense of rockway do not get put on the message board or they get taken off?

Your (deleted) posts had nothing to do with AW, or with Rockway. We aren't interested in spreading multi-board flamewars or gossip about what other on-line venues may or may not have done.

If you have something to say about Rockway, say it.

sukreb
08-22-2006, 09:40 PM
First, thanks to those who took the time to email me privately and encourage me to continue posting at AW. I was not inclined to do so; however, what I have read from one Persephone Hellecat recently is so outrageous and so vindictive that I felt a response was necessary.

This is not to deny that Persephone may have a legitimate complaint; nevertheless, there are ways of pursuing an issue that one might pursue before engaging in a public diatribe which is often quite irrelevant and sarcastic, not to mention ugly and vicious. Thus, I wonder, as I have about others, how much Persephone is motivated by a desire to help and warn people here compared to her need to get revenge.

Here is a message board that encourages newcomers, above all, to respect their fellow writers, and yet until Harrisss enters, no one comments on the vitriolic namecalling (e.g. crazy, nuts, liar) in which Ms. Hellecat engages. And if, as Harrisss writes, it is true that Absolute Write has really deleted messages in defense of or favorable to the company and/or individual in question, perhaps an explanation is in order.

Popeyesays
08-22-2006, 09:59 PM
Sukreb,

'Persephone' has been told to cool her jets already.

As to a reason for deletion, Uncle Jim gave it already:
"Your (deleted) posts had nothing to do with AW, or with Rockway. We aren't interested in spreading multi-board flamewars or gossip about what other on-line venues may or may not have done.

If you have something to say about Rockway, say it."

If Harris was talking about a particular poster, and not mentioning anything new about Rockway then his posts should be deleted.

I would point out that your post was aimed mostly at an individual as well, the only thing possibly germaine you brought up is to question the deletions.

Regards,
Scott

sukreb
08-22-2006, 10:26 PM
Scott:

Where, precisely, was Persephone told to cool her jets. Was she requested to do so publicly on this board or was it done privately?
And, if posts that do not mention anything new about a publishing company should be deleted, how about all the same old stuff, over and over, about PA?



Sukreb

James D. Macdonald
08-22-2006, 11:05 PM
And, if posts that do not mention anything new about a publishing company should be deleted....

It wasn't that "harrisss" had nothing new about Rockway. His or her (deleted) posts had nothing at all about Rockway in them.

This is getting badly off-topic. If you have something to say about Rockway, say it.

MartyKay
08-23-2006, 07:54 AM
Wow, just wasted ten minutes writing a response to Sukreb's complaint about posts being deleted even though James has already posted a reason for it.

I think that the user "PW Advertising" is a sockpuppet of Rockway. Harrisss may also be one (and I think its pretty low to use the same username as an opponent and chuck a few SSs on the end).

Harris = not in favour of Rockway
Harrisss = Presumably pro-Rockway as he/she/it complains about post in favour of Rockway being deleted.

sukreb
08-23-2006, 07:17 PM
To Marty Kay: Apparently, anyone whose opinions differ from yours are "sockpuppets." And, your argument isn't strengthened any by referring to another person as an "it."

To: James McDonald: Yes, the thread is off-topic. It became so the moment Ms. Hellecat allowed her complaints, legitimate though they may be, to sink into a vicious, personal attack. Also, I asked Scott (aka Popeyesays) to tell me precisely where Ms. Hellecat was told to "cool her jets." Since Scott hasn't seen fit to respond, I would surely appreciate a response from you if you have that information. Thank you very much.

Roger J Carlson
08-23-2006, 07:30 PM
With a history of all of 13 posts and one flounce (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?p=735625#post735625)to your credit, you believe you are in a position to demand an accounting? How...odd.

sukreb
08-23-2006, 08:04 PM
To Roger Carlson: Yes, I see you have 2,286 posts and I have only 13. With all due respect Roger, I submit that the number of posts one chooses to make here has nothing to do with his qualifications to raise issues or ask questions.

Furthermore, I haven't "demanded an accounting" of anything. I merely asked a question to which I didn't receive an answer, and, because I didn't get an answer, I asked the question again. If you choose to characterize that as "...odd," because I have posted a limited number of times, so be it.

victoriastrauss
08-23-2006, 08:14 PM
This is getting way off topic. Please, let's confine our discussion to issues concerning RockWay Press.

I would rather that I didn't have to close this thread (temporarily) to let things calm down.

- Victoria

Popeyesays
08-23-2006, 08:15 PM
To Roger Carlson: Yes, I see you have 2,286 posts and I have only 13. With all due respect Roger, I submit that the number of posts one chooses to make here has nothing to do with his qualifications to raise issues or ask questions.

Furthermore, I haven't "demanded an accounting" of anything. I merely asked a question to which I didn't receive an answer, and, because I didn't get an answer, I asked the question again. If you choose to characterize that as "...odd," because I have posted a limited number of times, so be it.

I checked back and NO, she was not asked to cool her jets, I had this mistaken with another thread.

However, NOWHERE have I seen any of Persophone's that require a cooling of the jets.

Also, I would point out that Persophone is not the only one bring up bad news about Rockway.

Regards,
Scott

sukreb
08-24-2006, 12:40 AM
To Scott (Popeyesays):

After admitting your mistake, you write "NOWHERE (emphasis yours) have you seen any of Persophene's (I think you left out a word here) that require a cooling of jets."

First, here is a quote from Jenna Glatzer I've taken from the Newbie Guide: "There is one overriding rule here. Respect your fellow writers."

Second, here is a quote from one of Ms. Hellecat's messages she posted last week on the Take It Outside Board under "I Feel Lots Better Now": "I got my weekly fix of telling a TOTAL MORON (emphasis mine) off in the form of a beautifully worded 3 page email."

Whether her 3 page email was beautifully written is of course open to debate; nevertheless, it's good that she feels better, or at least less angry.

There is no doubt that, contrary to the overriding rule of this board, Ms. Hellecat chose to be disrespectful to another writer in a most hateful way, and if you don't agree that calling someone a moron (along with "crazy" and "nutcase") requires a jet cooling, well, good luck.

And, by the way, your pointing out that others have said bad things about RockWay is irrelevant. You've missed the point, because no one has ever questioned anyone's right to say anything bad about that company. People can say whatever they wish so long as they don't sink to the level of personal attack.

Finally, to Ms. Strauss: Perhaps it would indeed be a good idea to close this thread. Clearly, it accomplishes nothing. Thank you very much.

Popeyesays
08-24-2006, 12:52 AM
Actually it accomplishes one thing; it puts this thread high on the Google list of hits for Rockway Publishing. It will keep people from seeking publication there.

Rockway appears to be a publishing dead-end. People should know that.

If she put it up there, that's fine with me. One of the reasons the board exists is to allow people to vent.

By the way, "venting" is a good way to cool the jets.

Regards,
Scott

victoriastrauss
08-24-2006, 01:57 AM
Sukreb, you have made your point. Several times. Enough already.

As for closing the thread, if I were to do so it would be a direct result of the off-topic discussion you seem determined to continue, despite requests from both me and Jim to keep things relevant to the subject of the thread.

- Victoria

sukreb
08-24-2006, 03:34 AM
Dear Ms. Strauss:

Contrary to your belief, I don't think I've made my point for a second, at least with you. Your most recent posting that leads me to that conclusion. "Enough already," you admonished.

If indeed, in your opinion, I've posted too many times regarding the issue in question, please know that I would have stopped immediately had either you or Mr. McDonald taken it upon yourselves to tell Perosophene that she had written "Enough already." Did you do that on this message board?

On the contrary, you stood by and let a woman go on a rant for days, sometimes making consecutive posts without even waiting for a response. You stood by mute, knowing full well that she was spewing venom and angry enough to go completely against the major tenet of your message board. Where was "Enough already?"

You and Mr. McDonald have continuously stressed the importance of sticking to the point of the thread; i.e. to talk about Rockway Press. And yet, you never once addressed Ms. Hellecat when she veered from discussing Rockway to attacking its owner. On the contrary, you stoked the fire by suggesting people contact governmental officials in New Mexico. I hope you at least had the decency to contact the founder of Rockway Press first.

Thanks once again to all of you who have encouraged me not to leave Absolute Write. I am absolutely certain that the vast majority of people here are folks I would care to associate with. But, the occasional unpleasantness here is sufficient enough that I' decided to take my business someplace where the hypocrisy isn't so staggering.

Finally, I've let it go Ms. Strauss. Why don't you? In any event, I will not be reading any of your subsequent messages.

Popeyesays
08-24-2006, 03:46 AM
Is this "flounce" #2, or did a "huff" pull up outside and carry him off?

Regards,
Scott

veinglory
08-24-2006, 03:49 AM
The owner in this case seems to quite literally *be* Rockaway so that seems quite relevant. Sukreb, you seem to be ... what? What do you have to say about Rockaway? Frankly why are you sticking your oar in at all? I genuinely want to know.

harrisss
08-24-2006, 04:20 AM
according to my local Barnes & Noble and Borders, RockWay Press has 4 titles in print, all listed in Books in Print, all available for purchase at any bookstore (though the bookstore, which can't stock every single book published, may have to order it for the customer.)

is that "on topic" enough for you moderators who are deleting messages that say good things about RockWay or who respond to RockWay authors defending RockWay claiming that the authors are "deluded" and should leave RockWay just because someone who calls herself Persephonne Hellcat posts almost 2000 messages calling RockWay and its founder names?

Is the publisher of Random House = to Random House? I don't think so. ergo, RockWay Press is not = to its founder. That means when persephonne hellcat calls the founder names, persephonne is engaging in the very thing you tell people not to do.

RockWay has four books out, available in bookstores or online. Just because Ms. Hellcat didn't get her book accepted doesn't give her the right to post outright lies about the company or the founder. Last time I checked that was slander and defamation of character.

and as far as I know, contributors here can pick any name they wish as their nickname. or is that off the topic? ooops.

Harrisss
also known as Harrrrisssssssssssssssss

veinglory
08-24-2006, 04:29 AM
I think Even Bill Gates' conduct relates to Microsoft and he has empoyees ( a lot of them).

Keep in mind I have no prior connection or knowledge of this company but the actions of it's 'defenders' make me more suspicious than anything heelecat said.

victoriastrauss
08-24-2006, 05:05 AM
Where was "Enough already?"Right here. Thread closed (temporarily).

- Victoria

victoriastrauss
08-28-2006, 06:29 PM
Opening again, as promised.

- Victoria

James D. Macdonald
08-28-2006, 07:57 PM
RockWay has four books out, available in bookstores or online.

Oh, wow. Be still my heart. Lots of books are "available." All of PublishAmerica's books are "available."

All that means is that they have ISBNs. "Available" is a long road from "shelved," and "shelved" is the minimum if you want "readers."

persiphone_hellecat
08-29-2006, 05:45 AM
Thank you ... exactly my point. Charie

MartyKay
08-29-2006, 09:22 AM
To Marty Kay: Apparently, anyone whose opinions differ from yours are "sockpuppets." And, your argument isn't strengthened any by referring to another person as an "it."


Sockpuppets are those who post amazingly happy posts about the service provided by the agent/publisher/editor/whatever even though many others post problems and issues they had. Sockpuppets appear from nowhere, and have ONE whole post (in that thread). Sockpuppets are often (but not always) the same person as the person being discussed, or work for them in some fashion. In other words, it is someone dishonestly trying to lift up the reputation of themselves by pretending to be someone else.

There are other types of sockpuppets, including those who make ludicrously false statements about a subject so that they can then refute it (the "strawman" type of sockpuppet) -- we don't see that as much due to it requiring a lot more thought.

And I didn't refer to a person as "it", the subject of the sentence I made was the complaint:


Wow, just wasted ten minutes writing a response to Sukreb's complaint about posts being deleted even though James has already posted a reason for it.
Yes I quoted myself. I washed my hands afterwards

If the subject had been "Sukreb" the last part would have been "a reason." Apologies if you thought I was referring directly to you, it certainly wasn't my intent.

victoriastrauss
08-29-2006, 06:47 PM
I did not re-open this thread so that we could start arguing again about the exact same things that caused me to impose a time-out.

- Victoria

James D. Macdonald
09-03-2006, 10:51 AM
well, mr. whoo-i'm-so-impressed-publish-america-has-titles-available-macdonald, pa doesn't have titles in bookstores unless the authors put them there. pa's books aren't available through ingram.

True, PA's books aren't shelved unless an individual author goes to the store manager and begs. Very much like Rockway's authors, eh? Are Rockway's books actually shelved anywhere?

Here, let me try a little experiment. Let me call Ingram's automated stock line to see if some random PA book is available. (1 615 213 6803)

And the PA book is Manuel Muldoon, published in May of this year. ISBN 1413795145.

Total on hand: 0
Total on order: 0
Total on backorder: 0
This week's unadjusted demand: 0
Last week's adjusted demand: 1
Total sales this year: 22
Total sales last year: 0

Looks pretty available.

Let me check a random RockWay book. How about Holden & Me (ISBN 0976819643)? Claimed date of publication April of this year.

Total on hand: 0
Total on order: 0
Total on backorder: 0
This week's unadjusted demand: 0
Last week's adjusted demand: 10
Total sales this year: 11
Total sales last year :0

Let's see -- ten of its eleven sales happened last week? When did you say this book came out?

Looks like you're wrong, Sherri. PA books are available through Ingram. Just like RockWay books.

Oh, I am so impressed.


ingram doesn't carry self-published authors. in case you aren't up to date on ingram's policies. all self-published authors were eliminated from ingram's wholesale and distribution lists because the BOOKSTORES REQUESTED THAT INGRAM DO SO.

I think you're trying to talk about the "One Source" program. Ingram stopped stocking POD books in their warehouses about two years ago. Those books are still listed and "available" through Ingram. For order. RockWay, along with iUniverse, AuthorHouse, Xlibris, Trafford, PublishAmerica, and all the rest of the POD world.

Atlanta Nights (which I promise you was self-published) is "available" through Ingram.

Really, Sherri, before you display your ignorance you ought to look things up. Ingram's policies aren't secret.


rockway press books are available - through ingram or baker + taylor - at any bookstore in the country. that means rockway books are not self-published.
PublishAmerica makes the exact same claims. In pretty much the exact same words.



does it charge a contest reading fee? yes. a mere $25.
You said it, I didn't.



are rockway books available in bookstores? yes.
Yes, but are they shelved? A book that you printed in your basement will be "available in bookstores" if you bought an ISBN.


do you know of any other publishing company that is willing to POST its publishing contract so that anyone can read it?
Yes.

A couple of final bits of advice for you, Sherri. First, don't post angry. And second, grow up.

Christine N.
09-03-2006, 03:10 PM
Here's sort of a Litmus test I have....

Has Rockway Press ever sent a package to a buyer of a major chain? Do you even know what that means? Ok, so if you're an author you may not know, but what it means is - did your publisher take a copy of your book, your media kit and their marketing plan for the book and put it in an envelope and send it to the person who decides what books are able to be shelved.

If they didn't, I don't want to hear about being available in stores.

Getting a small press on bookstore shelves is hard, I'll give them that. Very hard for a small press with a small budget. But if they're not even making the effort to get them shelved, if they're not putting the books in front of the people who make the decisions, they're using PA's line of carp when it comes to "available in stores".

If you don't know, you can find out, harisss. But I think you already know.

Christine N.
09-03-2006, 07:32 PM
Well, now, B&T doesn't carry POD books IIRC. I know there was some issue with that? Anyway, I know my publisher uses B&T, but not Ingram.

brainstorm77
09-03-2006, 08:32 PM
I'm glad to have came across this thread..... I had considered sending this publisher something ...... now I will not... thanks :)

Popeyesays
09-03-2006, 09:29 PM
One might regret that anyone should be bombarded with unwanted e-mail. I've had the experience and, thanks to spam filters, I don't much have that problem anymore.

What anyone on these boards may write in an e-mail has nothing to do with the boards at all.

If Rockway Press were a GOOD publisher, there would not be all these accusations against it.

By the way, Harisss, the entry fee for her contest is now $75.00 not $25.00

And she accepts no submissions that aren't contest submissions, therefore, I find little doubt that she is using the entry fees to fund her publishing.

The owner said in her philosophy statement that it didn't require a lot of money to be a publisher. I think the contest is ample evidence that one had better have deeper financial pockets.

Regards,
Scott

triceretops
09-04-2006, 07:55 AM
Yes, the point is to stay on Rockway. I get the feeling that it was the owner and perhaps a Rockway author who showed up here earlier. Let's see if we can keep on target and dicuss this thing calmly and logically. Everybody try and can their emotions, so we can format a decision.

I've arrived at the notion that this is a POD with little or no book store distribution. Now I've just heard that their contest entry fee has gone up to $75. I couldn't find that rate hike on their website, but I might have been looking in the wrong place. If it is that high, that's a deal-buster for me as far as the contest. I don't like even small contest fees with a small, unheard of publisher, because listing it as a credit is almost useless. And frankly, I can't understand a contest for publication anyway. Why not search the slush, or check out any agented material that comes in? Perchance any agent would submit to them.

The language on the site reads very gratuitous, almost over the top, with the familiar "us small writers against the big insensitive Trade gods." And that we should actually care more about the writing and being an artist than the money. Hense the no advance. Alas, I've seem many mission statements that lay those spiels down. And you know, I don't need to be hugged or protected by a publisher. I need to be given a small advance and get edited, and maybe end up at couple hundred/thousand books stores.

Tri

DamaNegra
09-04-2006, 08:05 AM
The worst part is that you have to send a contract when you enter the contests. Wether you win or not, she owns your novel and you can't pitch it anywhere else. How's that for rotten?

persiphone_hellecat
09-04-2006, 08:09 AM
Thank you. I agree completely. The other complaint with the contest - no matter how much the fee is - is that every person who enters MUST submit a signed and notarized contract and that it is at Rockway's discretion to simply decide that NO entry is worthy of a prize and keep everyone's money. 75 bucks is kind of steep for someone to sit in front of their computer, read 2 sentences of a submission, decide it isn't worthy and toss it. Then, there is the fact that those who were awarded prizes - published books - havent gotten what they won. Also read Sue D's posts. Because of that contract she had to sign, she lost the chance to publish her book elsewhere for one whole year. Those are the real issues, and why they are now Not Recommended pretty much everywhere in the industry. Thanks for returning sanity here, Tri. Much appreciated.

Christine N.
09-04-2006, 03:14 PM
Ack. I won't even pay $75 for a craft fair booth for my candles, where I'm there to make money.

Too much. And that contract thing... that woman IS nuts (and I don't mean that in a 'she's got a mental illnes way', just a 'she labors under a delusion' way)

Harris
09-04-2006, 05:06 PM
Just for the record, I do no support RockWay in any way. Please check to see if Sherri/Alexandria isn't posting under another name. This is a very unprofessional publishing company. I do not know Hellecat but have been contacted by several authors upset that they wasted a book with RockWay.

astonwest
09-04-2006, 07:28 PM
...several authors upset that they wasted a book with RockWay.Which brings us back to an age-old (paraphrased) proverb that has been spread around AW for quite some time...

The best way to know whether a company is worth the time to submit to is to go to the bookstore and see if you can find their titles on the shelves in mass quantities.

persiphone_hellecat
09-05-2006, 12:10 AM
Rockway authors have already posted here. Harris is one who had a bad experience with Rockway. Susan D shared her bad experience. I shared mine also. Sukreb seems to be terribly concerned with how I spend my days. Perhaps he should spend his better. From the list of his stellar accomplishments, it is obvious he isnt a Rockway author because Rockway has only published 4 things and those don't sound among them. It also doesn't match any Rockway author's profile. Therefore I dismiss him as an expert witness in this case and dismiss his posts as irrelevent and a useless waste of time for anyone who is interested in Rockway. I do thank him for finally spelling my name correctly. I have no intention of responding to him or even paying attention to his further rants.

Yes, this thread is now #2 on Google and #3 on Yahoo. Soon, it will pass the Rockway site itself. That's great. People will be able to see exactly what happens when they submit to Rockway... and they won't. That's why the contest fee has tripled. There just aren't enough entries anymore. Just as it was Sukreb's goal to destroy PA, it was my original goal to warn people against Rockway. With help, I'm doing a pretty damn good job at it, too.

Astonwest has come up with the best litmus test for knowing Rockway's value as a publisher. Mr. Macdonald mentioned it also several times. Are the books shelved in major bookstores? Can you walk in and buy them? Are they publicized so when I walk into a bookstore I am chomping at the bit to get my hands on the newest Rockway book? The answer is absolutely positively NO. The books are POD, and author promoted. Nothing else.

Let's take a peek at Barbara Barrie's website. She has the honor of being Rockway's very first author. Ms. Barrie states her writing career has taken her from Winnipeg Canada to St Paul Minneapolis to Baltimore. Check out her reviews for The Binding, which are very nice. They come from Winnipeg, St Paul Minneapolis and Baltimore. Oh yes and one review from California - oddly enough from someone named Sherri. How odd. Obviously Ms. Barrie made very good use of her ten free copies of the book. Beyond that - there is nothing. Nobody else in the entire world has commented on the book. Why? Because it aint on the shelves in bookstores and people don't know about it. Ms. Barrie herself even attempted to put in Wikipedia listings for herself and The Binding, but they were deleted by the Wikipedia committee as irrelevent. Google The Binding - Google Ms. Barrie. What publicity and promotion has Rockway provided this author? Absolutely NONE.

Susan D very clearly told us the story of her experiences with the book contest and having to sign a Rockway contract. It cost her a book sale and earned her the wrath of Sherri Szeman. I began by posting my personal experience with submitting a manuscript to her. Blessedly it did NOT cost me a book. Gut instinct told me to have my partner stop from sending the contract to her - the morning he got it signed and notarized himself and was prepared to send it. However, it still earned me the wrath of Sherri Szeman along with a very serious death threat which was turned over to the New Mexico Attorney General along with letters from several authors who wrote to Ms. Madrid's special "sham" division.

The facts are here for anyone who cares to read them. Her books aren't on shelves anywhere. She is POD. Her contests are a sham - they cost $75 dollars to enter, she can simply decide not to award a prize to anyone and pocket the money, she makes each contestant sign a contract giving her the rights to the MS and she doesn't publish the books of the winners. She behaves unprofessionally, harassing authors who dare to speak out against her and posting on sites with phony names. It is interesting to note that while she denies harassing me, she has never once denied harassing Susan D.

Those are the facts. Add to that a negative rating from Preditors and Editors and it is clear that Rockway Press clearly has earned their place here.

Nuff said - I agree the thread should be left for people to read and take into consideration before they submit. That is the purpose of this forum. Let's use it wisely and not resort to a discussion of each others' use of syntax and commas. That is hardly going to help the inexperienced author seeking a publisher. Other Rockway authors are unlikely to post because of a letter she sent to all of them threatening them with litigation if the spoke to me, Ms. Strauss, Mr. Macdonald or Preditors and Editors. I have seen the letter. A copy was sent to me. It wasn't pretty.

Thanks to the posters today for returning sanity to this thread. Charie aka Persi

Christine N.
09-05-2006, 12:17 AM
Other Rockway authors are unlikely to post because of a letter she sent to all of them threatening them with litigation if the spoke to me, Ms. Strauss, Mr. Mc Donald or Preditors and Editors. I have seen the letter. A copy was sent to me. It wasn't pretty.


Wow, that'll earn her the Barbara Bauer award for sure.

Does that mean, Persiphone, that Rockway doesn't print any ARC's (advance reader copies) to send to trade mags or review sites? Doesn't even make the effort? Getting a review in, say, PW or Kirkus, is really difficult, but as they say in the lottery ads, you can't win if you don't play.

If they don't send out ARC's to anyone, they have no interest in really being in this business to sell books to the public. Just like not sending marketing packages to the book buyers.

These are the things you do if you want to be in publishing.

James D. Macdonald
09-05-2006, 12:43 AM
I would love to see a copy of that letter.

persiphone_hellecat
09-05-2006, 12:50 AM
No, none that I have ever seen. The only advance reviews I have ever seen are written by Sherri herself. Since the 4 books she has published have only been in the last month, it seems she was too busy to bother with ARC's ...

Medievalist, forgive my errors, they are corrected. I am new to the Macbook Pro and typing on a laptop is still unfamiliar to me. I don't draft my posts. I type very differently when I'm on my PC keyboard --the old familiar one with most of the letters rubbed off. The 17 " Mac keyboard is smaller and has a different touch. Sorry. Thank you for bringing it to my attention. Hopefully those were my only errors. It sucks when you spend almost 3,000 dollars on a laptop with the works in it and it still makes typos. I hope you will understand.

persiphone_hellecat
09-05-2006, 12:54 AM
I would love to see a copy of that letter.

I thought Victoria told you about it a while back. I remember she posted here that she needed to send you something but your box was full. One of her authors posted it in their personal blog, too.

James D. Macdonald
09-05-2006, 02:09 AM
I thought Victoria told you about it a while back. I remember she posted here that she needed to send you something but your box was full. One of her authors posted it in their personal blog, too.

My box isn't full, and Victoria knows many ways to contact me. Nor do I recall her saying that she needed to send me something.

If anyone has a copy of this letter (and full headers would be appreciated), please send it along.

victoriastrauss
09-05-2006, 02:33 AM
I return from a lovely hiking weekend in New Hampshire, and what do I find but the same old bullsh!t going on in the RockWay thread. I wish I could say I was surprised.

I've moved all flame-ish and off-topic posts to a new thread called The RockWay Show (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=40329) in Take it Outside. Any off-topic crap (Harrisssss and Sukreb, this means you) posted here will be ported to that thread--no exceptions.

I really don't want to permanently close this thread, and deprive people with useful things to say (such as RockWay authors) of a forum in which to say them. Please don't force me to do it.

- Victoria

P.S. Charie, I haven't seen the letter threatening litigation to people who talk to me or Jim. I'd love to have it for my files.

Popeyesays
09-05-2006, 03:07 AM
Persephone, it was me that Victoria asked to send a PM about some stuff, not Uncle Jim.

Regards,
Scott

persiphone_hellecat
09-05-2006, 07:42 AM
Ohhh .. sorry... I am looking for it. I've moved over from desktop to laptop - PC to Mac and I havent moved everything over yet... I think I should fill up this 100 gig in no time. @7200 rpm - whatever that is. I know my partner has it but he is very touchy about this subject and the other person I know who has it - well I would be kind of breaking a confidence if I sent what she sent me - but I will if I can find it ... I know I can trust people here ... You just have to understand these authors are really afraid of her threats. She is citing chapter and paragraph of her contract and saying that people who speak against her are in violation ... yadda yadda... As for her threat against my life - my partner informed me of it immediately and honestly she is little more than a boil on the butt of humanity where I'm concerned.

Right now, I'm just trying to transfer all my writing stuff - which I call "Persi's Common Doxology" to this new little expensive toy so I dont get too far behind in my writing. But I do have some letters I can provide that will show what I say is true -- somewhere...

I think I may need the Geek Squad - I am starting to worry about why I let people talk me into going Mac, but the viruses were killing me. It is very scary to convert!!

Thanks for explaining that to me ... I know I remembered something here. Persi

allonym
09-06-2006, 02:10 PM
Hi everyone,

I am a RockWay author with some things to say:

I am happy with my experience with RockWay so far; I have no desire to break my contract.

I have never been threatened by Alexandria Szeman, nor has she ever told me or written me that I cannot communicate with whomever I please, whenever I please, however I please. I do not personally know other authors under contract with RockWay being threatened or told not to communicate with others.

I would recommend RockWay Press to other authors.

There is a misrepresentation in this thread concerning RockWay's printer. Ms. Hellecat said that Alexandria blamed the printer for delays. That's a distortion of what happened. In the course of keeping authors updated in a private discussion group on latest RockWay developments, Alexandria reported on the printer's having endured a tornado. The printer's community was hit hard; some employees were dealing with not having roofs on their homes. Yes, there was a slight delay, but it wasn't discussed in an "I can't publish your books because the printer didn't come through" kind of way at all. It was just one thing she mentioned that got either forwarded or summarized out of context by a group member and sent to someone outside the group, and it wound up being mentioned here by Ms. Hellecat as RockWay blaming the printer for delays. Then Ms. Hellecat attributed delays to RockWay's not paying the printer, which is a statement that seems to have come out of the air somewhere and is not based in fact.

RockWay has not published books recently because of what's been said here. Recent publications are the coming to fruition of a process that began long before this upset. And there are many more in the pipeline.

There is a list on RockWay's website of what needs to be enclosed with contest submissions. A signed contract is NOT on the list of required enclosures. The contest fee is $25. It has never been $75.

There is other inaccurate information in this thread, but I don't have the energy to go through the entire thing and pull it out and analyze it. I'm not saying it's all inaccurate. I'm just saying there are some distortions and inaccuracies, and people ought to keep that in mind and not jump to conclusions and assume what they read here is the last word.

I have not been privy to the communications between Ms. Hellecat and Ms. Szeman. Obviously, things went terribly wrong. But I wouldn't take Ms. Hellecat's word that there's a host of intimidated, unhappy authors at RockWay who are afraid to speak up. As far as I can tell, the writers who are unhappy with RockWay are at this point a very small minority. I do know for a fact that there are many in our RockWay group who are excited about the press and what its goals are. I also know that Alexandria Szeman is not the monster she has been made out to be here. I hesitated to say anything largely because I don't want to feed what I think has developed into an ugly thing.

Ms. Hellecat has been upset. She had a negative experience. She's entitled to her opinions about RockWay, certainly. But she's not an objective source of information. Nor am I. I like RockWay, and I like Alexandria Szeman. But based on negative postings of Ms.Hellecat's I've seen here, at Mindsight's forum, Topica and Wikipedia and the advocating she did with Preditors and Editors and Poets and Writers, it is my opinion that she doesn't want to warn other writers about RockWay so much as ruin RockWay Press entirely.

It would be great if there could be more of a How can this situation or company be improved? constructive attitude here than the rush to judgment and ridicule that I've observed.

I certainly hope RockWay survives this, learns from the experience, realizes its founder's vision and thrives, publishing lots of really good books we can be proud of. I hope all of you have great success in your writing too.

allonym

Mac H.
09-06-2006, 03:08 PM
Hi allonym !

Good to hear that you are happy with Rockway so far - glad to hear that you've had great sales.

I might be able to clear up a little of the confusion - you mentioned:


There is a list on RockWay's website of what needs to be enclosed with contest submissions. A signed contract is NOT on the list of required enclosures.The source of the confusion about a signed contract being required was an earlier poster - someone called 'Alexandria Szeman Publisher / Executive Editor RockWay Press'

They said:
Therefore, to protect ourselves and the time we spend reading, editing, and critiquing a book, RockWay now requires that all submissions include a signed and notarized contract.You could see that having the Publisher / Executive editor announce publically that signed contracts being required for submissions could confuse some people into thinking that signed contracts are required for submissions!

Since the prize in the competition is to be published by Rockway, clearly there isn't a clear distinction between submitting to be published and paying to submit in the competition !

Either way, it's great that the website has more up-to-date information - Alexandria's statements about a signed and notarized contract being required were made about 2 months ago.

Good luck,

Mac

erslyman
09-06-2006, 07:03 PM
Don't pay steep reading fees? Doesn't seem fair. Not a good idea to indulge them at your own cost. Too many opportunities elsewhere.

Soccer Mom
09-06-2006, 07:28 PM
Allonym = Also a pseudonym?

brainstorm77
09-06-2006, 07:35 PM
Its funny how people appear to defend this so called publisher???

victoriastrauss
09-06-2006, 07:40 PM
I would recommend RockWay Press to other authors.Allonym, can you tell us the following:

- When was your manuscript accepted for publication?
- What was your projected publication date? Was it pushed back? If so, what was the explanation?
- Has your manuscript been published?

Yes, there was a slight delay, but it wasn't discussed in an "I can't publish your books because the printer didn't come through" kind of way at all.The delays are more than "slight." As has already been discussed here, as of July of this year 26 books were listed on RockWay's website with 2005 and 2006 publication dates--but only one had been released (and that one listed a 4-6 week order time on Amazon, which suggested that Amazon didn't have it in stock). Shortly after we noted this, the publication dates were removed from RockWay's website.

There is a list on RockWay's website of what needs to be enclosed with contest submissions. A signed contract is NOT on the list of required enclosures.That's true now, but the page was changed recently. I saw the signed contract requirement myself. It was also confirmed--not just for the contests, but for all submissions--by Ms. Szeman herself, in this post (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showpost.php?p=656603&postcount=16) (all emphasis is mine):

"Additionally, a signed and notarized contract submitted with a manuscript does not in any way obligate RWP to publish your book; [the submission of a signed and notarized contract with a manuscript is for RockWay's protection, [author's name].

Several unprofessional writers whose books have been accepted by RockWay have intentionally not signed their contracts and have used our acceptance as an illegitimate, devious, and deceptive way to acquire agent representation [in the hopes of illegally acquiring a "better" offer from a larger publisher; this behaviour is unethical and illegal since, once a book contract has been offered and accepted, the publisher who offered the contract has the legal right to publish the book].

Therefore, to protect ourselves and the time we spend reading, editing, and critiquing a book, RockWay now requires that all submissions include a signed and notarized contract. For our legal protection, [author's name]."

As far as I can tell, the writers who are unhappy with RockWay are at this point a very small minority.That's possible, but as of this writing, Writer Beware has heard from three authors (two of whom have participated in this thread) who have had major issues with the publisher. Harris, who has posted here but hasn't contacted Writer Beware, makes four. The complaints of these four are very consistent. Even if all the other authors are happy (and I'll bet there are some who are at least starting to have a sinking feeling), these complaints suggest that there are serious problems with this publisher.

- Victoria

J. Weiland
09-06-2006, 07:40 PM
Its funny how people appear to defend this so called publisher???


I think they are all the same person; that weird woman who owns the company. Did I say that? Please don't spam me.

brainstorm77
09-06-2006, 08:15 PM
I think they are all the same person; that weird woman who owns the company. Did I say that? Please don't spam me.

I think it is hilarious :)

Christine N.
09-06-2006, 09:50 PM
There are some interesting threads on this company over at Mindsight. In case you want a thread without the circus.

One is old, and I think shows that the company at least started out with good intentions. I think being a publisher just proved harder than the founder thought it would be. That's the impression I got.

James D. Macdonald
09-06-2006, 10:23 PM
One is old, and I think shows that the company at least started out with good intentions. I think being a publisher just proved harder than the founder thought it would be. That's the impression I got.

Just look at this thread. Back in September '04 this is what Victoria had to say:


"RockWay Press looks to me like a serious and reasonably professional micro-publisher. According to its website, it does a number of good things such as work with a distributor, pay royalties on cover price, produce actual print runs, and pay modest advances."

Two years have passed. Things look a little different now that the seeds of time have sprouted.

Old Hack
09-06-2006, 10:59 PM
I find this whole thing incredibly sad. It does seem like Rockway was started with good intentions, but everything has gone horribly wrong since. What's sad, too, is that I read Sherrie Szeman's book, the Kommandant's Mistress, some years ago and found it profoundly disturbing, and hugely memorable. It wasn't the sort of book I usually look out for, but I was glad to have read it and it's stayed with me ever since. It was an accomplished piece of writing, and I think it's a shame that the author of such a book ended up embroiled in a fiasco like Rockway.

susan_d
09-07-2006, 03:56 AM
Also read Sue D's posts. Because of that contract she had to sign, she lost the chance to publish her book elsewhere for one whole year.

Hi. I don't mean to harp on this, but I want to make this perfectly clear, so that anyone who even considers dealing with Rockway understands what a snake they are getting in bed with. I did NOT sign a contract with them.

When I submitted my manuscript, Sherri did not require the signed contract as part of the submission package. I would have NEVER submitted with a signed contract, because that's insanity.

However, Sherri accepted my book and wanted to publish it. I declined her offer. I declined her offer without ever signing a contract. NO CONTRACT.

Sherri flipped when I declined. She then put in place the rule that people have to submit a signed contract when they submit to the contest.

I repeat, I never signed a contract. But that didn't stop Sherri from getting a lawyer and threatening me and my agent. This has already cost me money in legal fees. It has cost my agent legal fees. If I sell the book elsewhere, and I have had other offers, Sherri will smell the money and she will proceed with a lawsuit.

It's very easy to sit back and say, "She has no legal standing, don't let her intimidate you." However, just because she would LOSE the lawsuit doesn't mean she can't initiate one, costing me plenty of money to defend it. I have been assured by a couple of lawyers that she has no legal leg to stand on. But they have also assured me that if she would proceed anyhow, out of spite, that it would cost me plenty of billable hours to defend this unjust lawsuit.

THAT is Sherri/Alexandria Szeman for you. She is costing me money, and interfering with my career. To me, that certainly doesn't show any respect for "writers". To me, it sounds like someone trying to extort money from a starving, struggling artist.

SeanDSchaffer
09-07-2006, 04:13 AM
Interesting information. I don't think I've seen intimidation like this in a publisher before.

Of course, my experience is pretty much limited to a few legitimate companies and PublishAmerica, but still, the intimidation tactics remind me of a forum owner who, when I told her I would think about joining her site, blew up at me in email and began to threaten me. She was angry because I did not give her a definite 'yes' without first seeing her forums.

I wonder if the owner of this company perhaps might have some "issues"? I wonder what kind of benefit she might get from counseling?

Bartholomew
09-07-2006, 04:20 AM
Hi. I don't mean to harp on this, but I want to make this perfectly clear, so that anyone who even considers dealing with Rockway understands what a snake they are getting in bed with. I did NOT sign a contract with them.

When I submitted my manuscript, Sherri did not require the signed contract as part of the submission package. I would have NEVER submitted with a signed contract, because that's insanity.

However, Sherri accepted my book and wanted to publish it. I declined her offer. I declined her offer without ever signing a contract. NO CONTRACT.

Sherri flipped when I declined. She then put in place the rule that people have to submit a signed contract when they submit to the contest.

I repeat, I never signed a contract. But that didn't stop Sherri from getting a lawyer and threatening me and my agent. This has already cost me money in legal fees. It has cost my agent legal fees. If I sell the book elsewhere, and I have had other offers, Sherri will smell the money and she will proceed with a lawsuit.

It's very easy to sit back and say, "She has no legal standing, don't let her intimidate you." However, just because she would LOSE the lawsuit doesn't mean she can't initiate one, costing me plenty of money to defend it. I have been assured by a couple of lawyers that she has no legal leg to stand on. But they have also assured me that if she would proceed anyhow, out of spite, that it would cost me plenty of billable hours to defend this unjust lawsuit.

THAT is Sherri/Alexandria Szeman for you. She is costing me money, and interfering with my career. To me, that certainly doesn't show any respect for "writers". To me, it sounds like someone trying to extort money from a starving, struggling artist.

I'm pretty sure you could get her into some sort of legal trouble for malicious harassment. What she did can't be legal.

DamaNegra
09-07-2006, 04:39 AM
I'm pretty sure you could get her into some sort of legal trouble for malicious harassment. What she did can't be legal.
The money issue still stands, though.

Christine N.
09-07-2006, 05:35 AM
And if you win, you could get her to pay your legal fees.

Just a thought. I'm sure a judge would be more than happy to help you out with that.

IANAL, of course, perhaps Jaws could weigh in on that with his opinion.

persiphone_hellecat
09-07-2006, 06:35 AM
It is unusual to me that a proud Rockway author needs a pseudonym. It would seem to me they would use their name. There is a list of authors published at Rockway and there is nothing like this name there. It seems to me this letter came from the same source as usual. It is odd that the letters show up immediately after Sherri changes the site.

Sorry but Victoria is right. The contests did require a signed contract from every contestant. I'm sure you can cache that on Google pretty easily. It also seems to me it was Harrisssssss who said the fee was now 75 bucks. The information here isnt inaccurate - Sherri just keeps changing her website. You know we aren't stupid - you can see the date at the bottom of the page when the site was last updated.

I hate to disappoint you, but Victoria is also right when she says there have been complaints other than mine. Yes, I lobbied for a negative rating from P&E. Because Rockway DESERVES it. However, Dave doesn't just take someone's letter and change the rating. It was only after several people wrote and complained that the Not Recommended was added. If you would like, I will send you a copy of the letter from Dave saying my story wasn't enough to change it.

I see no place in the letter where allonym mentions having "great sales" with
Rockway. Since there are only 4 books published, and Mr. Macdonald already published the sales figures for Holden + Me (11 whole sales -- 10 of them probably the author's 10 freebies) would it be possible to tell us which one of the other 3 books has had these great sales? I would like to verify that with the Ingram Automated Line.

AS for the misrepresentation concerning Sherri blaming the printer, I can easily prove that you are wrong about that. A certain Rockway author has a very secret but very public blog which I discovered in my research. The whole story of Sherri's letter about the printer was on there. I can post that blog here, but I don't think the author wants Sherri's wrath.

Before that, her story was that she would publish as soon as she earned enough money working 3 jobs -- as a coffee shop waitress, a movie extra and one other ... That was the story she gave my partner -- she has of course since voided his contracts.

In addition to the ones Victoria has heard from, Harris knows of two others, and my partner got out of his contract, too. That makes at least 7.

Sherri may be the sweetest person on earth to you, but trust me and Susan - she can be anything BUT. As for the person who remarked that maybe she has "issues" - I can only say that I received some very disturbing and bizarre letters from someone anonymously (I suspect it was sukreb) discussing Sherri's personal problems. I didnt post them. When I asked the person to identify themself, they told me off and stopped writing. The letters oddly match notes sent to me here by sukreb. And they originate from Sherri's hometown in Ohio. I have an IT Security specialist sitting here next to me. Notice that on Amy Mistretta's website, she now lists a "temporary address" for Rockway in Ohio? The letters came from that area. Of this I am certain.

I also find it interesting that someone has read her book and found it "disturbing" - may I ask why exactly?

I am glad your experience has been positive. However, that does nothing to change the fact that P&E, Midnight, this site and many others now list Rockway as not recommended. It is my hope people read that and don't query her or send her MS's.

Let's just go back to Mr. Macdonald's famous Litmus test for publishers. Can you tell us a bookstore in America where we might walk in and pluck your book off a shelf? Name one, and I will personally buy it.

Persi

astonwest
09-07-2006, 06:59 AM
It is unusual to me that a proud Rockway author needs a pseudonym.Not so unusual, as many people use pseudonyms on message boards...even myself...

Of course, that almost begs the old Norwegian/Viking comparison...

MartyKay
09-07-2006, 07:43 AM
Yeah, lots of people use pseudowhatsits... *cough*

<-------------------

persiphone_hellecat
09-07-2006, 07:58 AM
And by the way - my own writing partner was told that if he continued to talk to me, he was in violation of his contracts. He told Sherri he would talk to whomever he pleased.

allonym
09-08-2006, 11:38 AM
Hi everyone,

I have some responses for Ms. Hellecat:

You said, "It is unusual to me that a proud Rockway author needs a pseudonym. It would seem to me they would use their name. There is a list of authors published at Rockway and there is nothing like this name there. It seems to me this letter came from the same source as usual. It is odd that the letters show up immediately after Sherri changes the site."

I made an honest effort to communicate my point of view in a respectful manner. Your post begins by insinuating that I am somehow suspect because I'm using a pseydonym when many people in these forums do so, and you seem to imply that I've posted before under another name. I see this as an attempt to discredit me and devalue what I have to say.

You said, "I hate to disappoint you, but Victoria is also right when she says there have been complaints other than mine."

I never said you were the only one who complained.

You said, "AS for the misrepresentation concerning Sherri blaming the printer, I can easily prove that you are wrong about that. A certain Rockway author has a very secret but very public blog which I discovered in my research. The whole story of Sherri's letter about the printer was on there. I can post that blog here, but I don't think the author wants Sherri's wrath."

This doesn't prove that I am wrong. All it conveys is that you've seen a blog written by another writer that gives a different interpretation of events than mine. I received email directly from Alexandria about this issue, so I trust and stand by my perceptions. It is still my opinion that what was posted in this thread about the printing was a misrepresentation. And your stating that you've proven me wrong is a good example of why I think people need to take the things you say with a grain of salt. It appears to me that you speak as though you are presenting the whole picture, and I do not think you are.

Susan D. You seem like a reasonable person who has a legitimate beef. I'm not going to throw myself into the middle of it though. I still have a high opinion of Alexandria and wish I could have been a sort of omnipotent observer who could see where things went off course. I could speculate and I have a hunch or two, but I'm trying to stick more with what I know or feel strongly is true.

As for providing details about what point I'm at in the publishing process with RockWay, I'm not going to provide any details here. This doesn't really seem overall to be a safe and receptive place for people who are positively disposed toward RockWay. The first response to my initial post began in a sarcastic manner saying something to the effect that the writer was happy that I was enjoying such great book sales when I had said absolutely nothing about book sales. Having to cut through snide remarks and sarcasm makes it much more difficult to absorb what people have to say.

Anyway, so long for now. I hope the future is bright for all of us.

allonym

susan_d
09-08-2006, 04:53 PM
Susan D. You seem like a reasonable person who has a legitimate beef. I'm not going to throw myself into the middle of it though. I still have a high opinion of Alexandria and wish I could have been a sort of omnipotent observer who could see where things went off course. I could speculate and I have a hunch or two, but I'm trying to stick more with what I know or feel strongly is true.



I understand, allonym. You have a good rapport with Sherri/Alexandria and are happy. And I don't blame you for not wanting to get involved. I just wish I could find someone to get involved and speak to her about this and back her off so that I could continue with my career. A mediator of sorts who wouldn't cost money for either of us.

I never signed a contract, and things went off course when I told her I was declining the publication offer. She insisted she owned the rights to my book simply because I'd entered it in the contest. I told her that wasn't true, and I wasn't signing with her. She got a lawyer and is interfering with my livelihood. She called me nasty names, kept dropping the f-bomb and screamed at me and wailed that she could make "a lot of f-ing money off my book." She accused me of using her offer as leverage to get a better offer. She said that's illegal and immoral. Frankly, it wouldn't be illegal if I'd done that. But I didn't. Two weeks before I heard from her, I signed with a good agent on the basis of this project. I had another offer two days after I'd heard from her, because I'd sent out sim subs on the project, which her website, at that time, clearly stated was allowed.

I'll be honest. I become more bitter as the days go by without resolution in this matter. It seems she's got some books coming out now, and I just wish someone could explain to her that this spiteful threat is never going to earn her money. Why can't she focus on her stable of writers and just let me go my way? As a writer herself, she should be accustomed on some level to rejection. Or perhaps because she's been published she fancies herself above rejection?

The industry standard is a signed contract, which she doesn't have. If she sues me, she will lose. I've spent money on two excellent intellectual property lawyers to review this case and give me their opinions -- separately. But yes, her threat of a suit is working and costing me money. The only reason for her to continue this threat is out of spite. If she honestly cares about writers, she would back off and allow me to publish elsewhere. I won't ever back down or give in to her, because she's a bully and it's extortion. I may not have the money to fight her aggressively, but I have plenty of determination and won't back down, either.

Especially after the way she behaved toward me and my agent. The screaming and cursing and lying she did was outrageous and completely unprofessional. And yes, she did lie. She insisted to my agent that she HAD a signed contract in her possession. All she had to do was supply a copy of that contract to my agent, and I would've had to publish with her. Not only could she not produce the contract, she couldn't even conjure up my real name. (that was pretty funny to see her get caught in that blatant lie, actually)

So it's not only because of her outlandish posturing against me that I want people to be aware of her. It's because of the threats, lies, and abuse she's hurled at me and my agent that I'll warn every single writer I come in contact with against her. No one deserves to be treated like that, or to have their livelihood cockblocked the way she's done.

Christine N.
09-08-2006, 05:09 PM
This, I think, is the most telling post in this whole thread.

"illegal and Immoral"? Nah, plenty of authors look for an agent after an offer has been made; usually it's to help the author seal the deal. BUT I myself have asked agents I submitted to to step it up after I got an offer from my current publisher. Basically I wanted to see if they thought they could sell it at a bigger house, or I should take the offer. I saw nothing illegal OR immoral in it.

Submission is in no way, shape or form binding. Neither is ANY offer until both parties agree to it.

Sounds like she really is trying to bully you. Good that you have sought both legal advice and have the backing of your agent. I can see how a newbie with little experience would fold to such treatment.

victoriastrauss
09-08-2006, 05:35 PM
The industry standard is a signed contract, which she doesn't have. If she sues me, she will lose. I've spent money on two excellent intellectual property lawyers to review this case and give me their opinions -- separately. But yes, her threat of a suit is working and costing me money.Your lawyers are advising you from a legal standpoint, as if Ms. Szeman were a credible individual. That's fine, it's what you pay them to do.

However, from the rather different standpoint of an experienced scam-hunter, I think you are taking her much too seriously. Sure, she might try to make your life miserable with nasty letters and crazy threats--but I believe that the chance she'll actually act on her threat to sue you is minimal. Apart from the issue of money (not an insignificant question for someone whose business is in as much trouble as RockWay appears to be), not to mention the fact that she hasn't a leg to stand on, people who run questionable businesses do NOT want to see the inside of a courthouse. If she files a suit, you can demand discovery, and she doesn't want to expose her business dealings to the light of day.

I'm not trying to give legal advice here--just speaking as someone with knowledge of scams and the psychology of scammers.

- Victoria

allonym
09-08-2006, 05:56 PM
I agree with Victoria, not in terms of RockWay being a scammer, but in terms of you, Susan D., getting on with getting your book published elsewhere. I think the possibility of RockWay taking legal action against you is nil.

Roger J Carlson
09-08-2006, 06:02 PM
Hmmmm. I can't find a single post in this thread where Victoria called Rockway a scammer.

Andrew Jameson
09-08-2006, 06:21 PM
Roger, the implication is clearly there in Victoria's last post. Why else would the "rather different standpoint of an experienced scam-hunter" be applicable in this instance? You can't exactly fault allonym for picking up on the implication, even if Victoria didn't explicitly say (or even mean) "Rockway is a scam."

persiphone_hellecat
09-08-2006, 06:52 PM
Isnt someone threatening to sue an author for a book that they don't hold a contract for a scam? Sure seems like it to me. Since moderating this forum is what Victoria does - quite expertly I might add - I would say that if she feels that, it's a valid opinion.

Allonym, I simply asked why you arent using your name since Rockway publishes a complete list of their authors. How do we know that you even are one? Sherri has already posted here using at least two different names. How do we know you arent her?

I notice you didnt answer Victoria's questions regarding your own publication status with Rockway. The remarks weren't snide as you say, they were just honest. Can you point out a Rockway book that has sold more than 11 copies - with the possible example of The Binding which is in its second POD printing??

If you defend and support Rockway, why not show us all the truth? Show us where we are wrong. As for your statement about being able to prove the problem was with the printer and not with the company's finances, how can you do that? There is nothing at Lightning Press's website that says a word about delays due to a tornado and I have found no other publishers - large or small - who speak of such delays. However, my own writing partner who was until about 3 weeks ago, a contracted Rockway author, personally spoke on the phone to Sherri many times and was told that the problem was a financial one and that she was working 3 jobs to be able to afford to publish books. His response to her was that he didnt think it was possible to work 3 jobs, and still have time to devote to the editing and publishing of the books she already had contracts for.

You have emails telling you it was the printers' fault. What does that prove? It has already been established here Sherri lies. Go read the letter she personally posted here about me and my partner where she accuses us of being child pornographers - right here in this forum. Read what she has told Susan. Then take any letters she sends YOU with a grain of salt. Tell me why your e mails and my partner's phone calls with Sherri tell two different stories. Have you CALLED Lightning Press and asked them about this tornado delay? Has anyone ever heard of this? Long time ago, I worked in the printing industry. I'd be happy to call them and ask if you want, but quite honestly if a printer was down like 2 years because of a tornado, they'd be out of business. Come on, let's be realistic here. A delay of even a couple days would kill a printer.

After she told my partner about her financial woes, she sent him an e mail telling him if he didnt "Take care of the problem and Charie permenantly" she would cancel his contracts. That's a threat, Allynom - a threat against a person's life. My partner is a former Federal Law Enforcement Officer of about the highest level in this country, and he was absolutely floored by such a request. It has been said I called her nuts here -- who but a person who was nuts would make such a threat when they knew they were dealing with such a person? Did she know who and what he was? Of course she did.

Allonym , quite honestly it's clear you are happy with whatever snowjob Sherri is giving you while she delays your book. That's fine. You are clearly one of the ones who cannot be helped. However others have gotten her to void their contracts and sent their manuscripts elsewhere. Perhaps you are happy with Sherri because she takes any book and you don't have to go through the query process. This forum has asked repeatedly for ANYONE declined by Sherri to come forward and say so. Not one person ever has. What does that say about her operation?

Still others who have read this have come to realize Sherri was not the person to send a manuscript to. That is the goal of such a forum -- to warn new authors about scams and bad reputations in the publishing industry. Victoria, James and Dave of P & E surely work dilligently towards that goal. I would say their reputations in the area of warning authors is beyond dispute. If you are satisfied waiting years and years for your book to come out while you are spoonfed lies and excuses, wonderful. We are happy for you. However the facts about Rockway speak for themselves.

Only Four Books Published

Unfulfilled Promises to Authors

Contest Winners Not Given Their Prizes

No Sales

No "Bookstore" on Rockway Site to Sell Books

No Distributor

No ARC's and No Reviews Except Yours or Ones The Authors Seek Themselves.

Constantly Changing Information on Website That Is Filled With Inaccuracies and Untruths

Constantly Changing Excuses for Delays in Publication

No Books On Shelves

Ridiculous Contract Demands

Multiple Complaints Including Several Who Report Being Threatened By Her

Negative P & E Rating

If you can offer substantial proof that any of those statements are incorrect, please do.

Charie (my real first name -- everyone here knows it.)

Popeyesays
09-08-2006, 07:12 PM
It seems to me that if Susan_d would sue Rockway for interference with her livlihood in small claims court-to whatever the maximum is in her state, disclosure would be required of both parties. I am not a lawyer, but perhaps she could ask her lawyer what would be the difficulties in such a process. The attorneys could advise her at a far lower cost to pursue the suit in small claims court where she would be able to represent herself.

Heck maybe it would wind up on People's Court or some such thing, neither party has a lot of money to pursue legal recourse and those TV courts act as arbitrators.

But even a small court suit would require Ms. Sizeman to respond or the judgment against her would be automatic.

My $.02, only. I had great success once suing an employer for back wages in small claims, he even brought a lawyer to defend him.

Regards,
Scott

Medievalist
09-08-2006, 07:12 PM
Isnt someone threatening to sue an author for a book that they don't hold a contract for a scam? Sure seems like it to me. Since that is what Victoria does - quite expertly I might add - I would say that if she feels that, it's a valid opinion.

Do you realize that you've just called Victoria a scammer? Please tell me that was an oversight?

Because Victoria Strauss is on the opposite end of that scale; she's about as far as one can be from being a scammer.

James D. Macdonald
09-08-2006, 07:31 PM
Lightning Source International is located in LaVergne, Tennessee. (When you call Ingram's automated stock number (1 615 213 6803) and they tell you the title is stocked in LaVergne, that's what they mean.)

The last time a tornado hit LaVergne was 11/20/1900. The most recent tornado in the LaVergne area (16.7 miles away) was on 1/24/1997. The previous area tornado (15 miles away from LaVergne) was 12/24/1988.

If RockWay is using LSI, I think we can rule out tornado damage as a cause for printing delays.

Popeyesays
09-08-2006, 07:35 PM
Actually, I think it was claimed that she was using another printer than LSI. I do not know the veracity of the claim, of course.

Technically any modest print shop with the equipment for binding and inputting digital originals could turn our tradebacks. It would of course be a slower process and perhaps more expensive, but it can be done. I have perfect binded books personally, it's not a difficult process to do by hand, just time consuming.

Regards,
Scott

SeanDSchaffer
09-08-2006, 08:06 PM
Do you realize that you've just called Victoria a scammer? Please tell me that was an oversight?

Because Victoria Strauss is on the opposite end of that scale; she's about as far as one can be from being a scammer.


It was probably a simple mistake on the poster's part. I've also been guilty of putting in the wrong word where I originally wanted to put in the right one.

Stuff like that happens, Medievalist. I don't think it's anything more than a typo.

Either that, or she forgot to put in a sentence, which is another thing I've seen and done.

Medievalist
09-08-2006, 08:09 PM
It was probably a simple mistake on the poster's part. I've also been guilty of putting in the wrong word where I originally wanted to put in the right one.

Yeah, I know it happens, but you and I know Victoria; a new member or a lurker might not.

And I couldn't get a PM to work; I'm not sure why.

persiphone_hellecat
09-08-2006, 08:36 PM
Do you realize that you've just called Victoria a scammer? Please tell me that was an oversight?

Because Victoria Strauss is on the opposite end of that scale; she's about as far as one can be from being a scammer.

Forgive me - again my typing left out a word I will correct it. It was early when I wrote that. I think Victoria knows what I meant. The person above her accused her of calling Rockway scammers, and quite honestly in my private letters with Victoria, she has never called them that. In fact, she has told me she felt Rockway started out with the best of intentions and got in over their heads. I am sorry Medievalist, that wasnt my intent and I have fixed it. I am sorry, to Victoria, too. I started communicating with her before I started posting here, and she knows how I feel about what she does. The letters she sent me and the information she gave me before I posted here was incredible.

And yes, James, it has been reported here by Harris (as opposed to Harrisssssss) that Lightning is who she is using. The tornado story never washed with me. No press would be down for very long if they had a tornado, or they would have been wiped out.

c2ckim
09-08-2006, 09:54 PM
I sent a query in to Rockway Press and I recieved a no thank you from Sherri/Alexandra. She said my book needed some work and she went as far as suggesting some changes. Then she told me when the changes were made she would have another look at it.
Unfortunitily (or maybe not) I was never able to get through to her when the book was rewritten. After reading all of this stuff about Rockway I'm kinda glad now that I didn't get through to her.
If anyone is ruining Rockway it seems to me that Sherri herself is causing all the problems. She has no legal claim to Susan's book, as Susan never signed a contract. I'm not a lawyer but even I know that. What she's doing to Susan is horrible.
Granted she has told so many untruths she's going to have a hard time explaining anything to anyone with straight face anymore and each time another author comes on this board backing her up it makes all that read these boards wonder about the validity of that author.
This board and others like it help out writers just starting their careers and like someone said, where is the actual proof the authors backing Sherri have to disprove what they call lies by the rest of us? If Sherri had been honest to begin with and told her authors about the delays and the reasons for them, most of the authors might have been willing to give her a chance, but when people are lied to over and over again, they take it as an insult and who can blame them?

Jean Marie
09-09-2006, 10:55 PM
Forgive me - again my typing left out a word I will correct it. It was early when I wrote that. I think Victoria knows what I meant. The person above her accused her of calling Rockway scammers, and quite honestly in my private letters with Victoria, she has never called them that. In fact, she has told me she felt Rockway started out with the best of intentions and got in over their heads. I am sorry Medievalist, that wasnt my intent and I have fixed it. I am sorry, to Victoria, too. I started communicating with her before I started posting here, and she knows how I feel about what she does. The letters she sent me and the information she gave me before I posted here was incredible.

*Highlights are mine* It's a good thing Medievalist caught the mistake then, wouldn't you say? Regardless of what you think Victoria may know is unimportant, lurkers don't. Nor do newbies.

Good editing prior to posting goes in direct opposition to the offensive quotes in your sig line, no matter who said them. However, it may be in order, in the future.

Susan D, I wish you well. I'm not a lawyer, but I would think that not having a signed contract w/ this godawful whatever, is in your favor. And as Victoria pointed out, she sure as hay does not want to be exposed by the lights of a courtroom. I've heard bizarre, unexplained things occur to scammers/liars under those particular conditions. I certainly hope so :D

SeanDSchaffer
09-10-2006, 01:12 AM
Good editing prior to posting goes in direct opposition to the offensive quotes in your sig line, no matter who said them. However, it may be in order, in the future.



Forgive me for being OT, here, but I have a curiosity: why are so many people offended by Persiphone Hellecat posting in her sig line, quotes from other people? It's not like she's saying that stuff herself.

Besides that, has anyone ever heard of humor before? I can't speak for Persiphone, but I myself see the quotes as attempts--however misguided some might think they are--at humor.

It's kind of like musicians poking fun at musicians who play within a different genre. It's meant as fun, not as an insult, and as a musician myself I've never seen someone within a different genre do anything but chuckle when digs into their own genre are made by another musician.

Why, then, do people get offended when someone posts such humor in a writing forum?


Now, I am not defending Persiphone. The fact is, she has made several 'mistakes' that are glaring, always correcting them after she posts them. I have trouble believing that someone using a laptop from Apple could not still write everything out and go over to "Preview Post" to look over everything she said, then make changes as needed.

But I find it a little bothersome that people here are turning the Bewares and Background Check forums into a mini-version of Take It Outside. Might I suggest that we do as Jenna wants us to do and "Respect our Fellow Writers", regardless of what their sig line says? If we are not willing to respect Persiphone over a sig line, we are making this board and everyone on it look bad.

SeanDSchaffer
09-10-2006, 03:38 AM
I swear, that site reminds me of PublishAmerica's site. Not in the color scheme or format, but in the fact that RockWay focuses not on selling books, but rather on getting writers to sign with them.

I hit several red flags the moment I looked at their site, which all can be traced back to my experience with PA.

1.) There is a lot of bashing of the mainstream publishing industry, just like PA does.
2.) There is little mention on the front page of anything pertaining to the reader; mostly information pertaining to authors.
3.) The site reads like a sales pitch to authors.

To me, having experienced these same tactics with PublishAmerica, these points send red flags shooting up into my face.

Now, I have never dealt with RockWay, so I do not know if they are legitimate or not. But I would not want to submit to them, knowing what I've seen on the front page of their website. Comparing one's company with big houses and comparing one's business practices with that of the big houses, bothers me.

It just reads so much like PublishAmerica, that the site frightens me, especially for any authors who might submit to them.

triceretops
09-10-2006, 03:49 AM
I agree, I like to see a publisher's website hurl their author's books in my face on the opening page. I love shameless book promotion, and the pride that goes along with it. Rockway is trying too hard to sympathize with me, as though they believe that I'm disenchanted with the industry. So they're the fix. That's if I buy their dope...

I'm getting to the point where I can't stand PODs anymore. The only possible way that these boutique outfits can show a profit is to sell multiple books to their authors. Sad, even realizing that I am apt to land with one of these houses in the final conflict. But I'll at least make sure that they have some form of limited distribution to book stores and a return policy.

Tri

SeanDSchaffer
09-10-2006, 04:00 AM
I agree, I like to see a publisher's website hurl their author's books in my face on the opening page. I love shameless book promotion, and the pride that goes along with it. Rockway is trying too hard to sympathize with me, as though they believe that I'm disenchanted with the industry. So they're the fix. That's if I buy their dope...



Exactly! RockWay, from what I've seen of their site, is interested in promoting themselves to authors, not promoting their authors' books to the public. That, in and of itself, should be a red flag to any prospective author thinking about submitting to them.

Also, here at AW we get lots of drive-by posts from "Happy" PublishAmerica authors, saying how wonderful PA is. Many of us know how much trouble PA has caused for writers over the years. I've seen a number of drive-by posts on this thead, as well, devoted to how wonderful RockWay is. I'll wager dollars to doughnuts that RockWay is, at this point in time, a mini-version of PublishAmerica.

However, if it hurts writers, who cares if it's mini-sized or not? It's still hurting writers. I don't like to see writers hurt, regardless of the size of the entity doing the hurting.


Just my opinion.

persiphone_hellecat
09-10-2006, 06:40 AM
If you checked the site, you would see that at least as of earlier today, Rockway doesnt even have a bookstore to sell books there. The one author who has published there before Brenda Barrie used to state in her personal website that her books were only available in two bookstores in her own neighborhood in Baltimore - most likely both stocked by her personally.

If you read P and E's checklist on how to spot a scam publisher, one of the first red flags is a publisher who claims to have a plan better than that of traditional publishers. If Rockway's system is so good, why arent the big publishers using it?

I agree Sean. I don't like to see writers hurt- which is why I posted here to begin with.

SeanDSchaffer
09-10-2006, 06:58 AM
If you checked the site, you would see that at least as of earlier today, Rockway doesnt even have a bookstore to sell books there. The one author who has published there before Brenda Barrie used to state in her personal website that her books were only available in two bookstores in her own neighborhood in Baltimore - most likely both stocked by her personally.

If you read P and E's checklist on how to spot a scam publisher, one of the first red flags is a publisher who claims to have a plan better than that of traditional publishers. If Rockway's system is so good, why arent the big publishers using it?

I agree Sean. I don't like to see writers hurt- which is why I posted here to begin with.


My Emphasis.


I did just notice that, as I went there a second time. The first time, I only looked at the main page. I did not look over at the navigation bar on the side of the main page, but rather at the text in the middle.

I did find a link to a bookstore this second visit, but then when I clicked it, I got a "Page Cannot Be Found" message from Internet Explorer.

Then again, it could just be a glitch in the system. PA has a bookstore, for instance, and a site that has a tendency to regularly go down. It could simply be a broken link, or a part of the site that is down. I frankly do not know, as I am nowhere near as computer literate as several other people here are. A couple people to ask about that might be Roger J. Carlson or XThe NavigatorX. They're both pretty darned good with computers, from what I've seen.

persiphone_hellecat
09-10-2006, 08:56 AM
Actually it's been that way for months. First, you used to get a page that said "We are currently working on our bookstore" then about a month ago, it started coming up page cannot be found. They never had need for a bookstore before because they never had books to sell. Now that they do, they have no bookstore.

The first paragraph kind of says exactly what you were saying though about their emphasis being on authors rather than book buyers. "At RockWay Press, we focus on our authors, on the quality of their writing (no matter what genre), and on the author's long-term goals and career."

I really don't understand why except for the controlling factor, because she doesnt take money from her authors - she just takes control of their work. Definitely strikes me as odd.

Montana Wildhack
08-04-2007, 11:34 AM
Just wondering - has this publisher gone out of business? Their website is gone. Thanx

CaoPaux
08-06-2007, 09:10 PM
Her main site is down as well, but http://www.sherriszeman.com/ is still live, FWIW.

CaoPaux
10-04-2007, 05:02 AM
Updated link: http://www.rockwaypress.com/index.htm

CaoPaux
06-03-2008, 07:51 PM
Gone again, including her personal sites.

jeseymour
02-18-2009, 06:55 AM
Their website is back:

http://www.rockwaypress.com/index.html

I was just doing a little research into someone who was bragging about being published by them. Found this thread, and am no longer surprised about this person being published.

Aeryion
02-20-2009, 06:13 AM
Damn! I wish I would've found this thread three weeks ago. I just sent a MS to her for submission into their "contest" all excited to get published by someone other than a POD set up. I have one book already through a fairly reputable press and have been satisfied. I thought that this might be the next logical step in getting more (better) national exposure, marketing that didn't cost me time and $. Looks like that might not be the case. I spent the last few hours reading through this depressing thread and would really like to know more about Alex and her methods. Thank you for sharing your arduous and troubling journey with us...

I , too, could not find any of her authors books anywhere. And only two author sites are available and they haven't returned my queries regarding their opinions on her business practice. I try to do my homework, but I was kind of sucked in by the promise... a momentary lapse of reason--a flash of weakness.

if you would be comfortable enough in communicating some specifics then please get back with me at your convenience. I really would love to hear more about them... save me the trouble of pursuing anything further.

yes, I am new to this forum... and I am legitimately concerned for the well being of my writing!

Thank you.

M.R.J. Le Blanc
02-20-2009, 06:24 AM
Hi and welcome to AW Aeryion

If you're not wanting your ms with Rockway anymore, I would send an email stating clearly that you're withdrawing your ms. Unless there's something in their contest rules laying claim to your work, they can't legally do anything with it until you sign a contract. So you're writing would be safe.

Aeryion
02-20-2009, 06:56 AM
You're correct, my MS is probably safe... I was just sort of stunned to read the thread about one particular author's trials. It's a shame that so many of the supposed publishers out there are either unapproachable,unbreechable, or simply unethical. I would very much like to know about RockWay and it's practices.

M.R.J. Le Blanc
02-20-2009, 07:09 AM
Well I've read through this thread (I'm a drama addict lol) and anything and everything you need to know is in this thread. They're definitely on my avoid list. If you're really wanting to know that badly, definitely read through the thread.

victoriastrauss
02-20-2009, 08:06 PM
It appears to be the same website as before, so I would not expect that RockWay has changed its practices substantially. It still appears to be distributed only online.

The list of books, only 8 of which are available from Amazon (http://tinyurl.com/aghde6), also looks the same. The most recent pub date is June 2007. I wouldn't feel too confident about a publisher that had not published a book in more than a year and a half.

- Victoria

xXFireSpiritXx
01-17-2012, 06:52 AM
Well, this is interesting. The website is completely revamped and last updated this January 2012. She is now open to submissions.... or at least it doesn't say closed anywhere and with the new layout I would assume this is a relaunch.....This is truly terrifying.

http://www.rockwaypress.com/

xXFireSpiritXx
01-17-2012, 06:58 AM
I also find her query letter guidelines to be slightly bizarre....


So, there you have it. RockWay's ingredients for a fantastic query:
brilliant, engaging, riveting, intriguing back cover copy that would make a reader buy your book BUT reduced to the one-sentence pitch that does NOT reveal the ending and makes us desperate to "open" the book and read the staggeringly interesting

first sentence that's so unique one of our editors will want to pick up the phone and tell you to send more before s/he even reads

your title, which has so much urgency we wouldn't even have to worry about thinking about a better title in order to sell your book, your title is that good.

aliceshortcake
01-17-2012, 05:04 PM
I don't know what she's smoking but I want some.

jeseymour
01-17-2012, 07:51 PM
Appears to be e-book only. I didn't know paperback books were dead. :cry:

CaoPaux
04-19-2018, 09:23 PM
URL currently redirects to a subpage of her personal site: https://www.thealexandriapapers.com/rockway-press/

Closed to subs last year. Last non-owner book '14-ish.