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Silver Publishing

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Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

madmumbler

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I'm glad it's finally come out. I've been telling the people coming to me for a while now (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showpost.php?p=7561279&postcount=76) that they needed to go public, especially after the publisher responded to my first post about this. Unless people go public, it's easy for stuff to get swept under the rug.
 

madmumbler

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Really?

So she should have accepted that she would never be paid almost a year's worth of back royalties, and just gone on letting everyone think that Silver is a peach to work for?

Pardon the language I'm thinking and not saying here, but it's a shame her publisher stole from her, and good for her for shining the light on these practices so they won't have the opportunity to do it to others.

Especially since the publisher came on this forum and blatantly lied when I posed the question a couple of months ago. It's about time it's finally made it to light to warn off other authors from making the mistake of signing with them.
 

madmumbler

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I do think that Silver are foolish to carry on accepting submissions and the fact that they seem to have loads of sub calls at the moment strikes me as rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. I can see their 'logic'. More submissions means more sales means more royalties, but it's all skewed.

I believe it's called a ponzi scheme. (Or maybe it is a pyramid scheme, as someone else said.)

And my ire isn't because I have financial ties to Silver (I do not) but because friends of mine have been screwed by them, and they were too afraid to go public. Now that it's public, hopefully other authors will be saved the heartache.
 
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michael_b

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I think that editor was very, very frustrated. Hurting, even. Like making Pablo Casals live under a guy who's trying to learn the tuba.

Realizing that the books she was working on sucked, and not being able to just put them aside and read something else, knowing that the very best she could do, if the author took all her suggestions, would be a really classy sow's ear, that hurts.

But how can she say, "The books they made me work on sucked," without hurting the authors' feelings? Darned hard.

People out in the world don't willingly read bad books. If they've had a bad experience, they try to avoid repeating it. Maybe the very next book that Silver published would be great ... but if the last one they bought was terrible they won't give the brilliant one a chance.

Uncle Jim,

I'd like to reiterate I am one of the authors Fenraven is complaining about. At no point was this person supposed to be rewriting stories in their own voice and style but this is exactly what was done. It took Fenraven being assigned to a couple of established authors--myself included--to tip the publisher off on what was happening. The newer authors were unaware that having their stories rewritten wasn't part of the process. We, the more established authors, weren't about to have our voice and characterization changed to reflect Fenraven wishes and desire to see his/her own voice replace ours. We gave the publisher notice of what was taking place and Silver took steps to fix a problem.

The biggest issue was the ego which Fenraven brought to the table, an ego clearly visible in that blog post. The issue is and never was the authors in question--many of whom I've spoken with directly. The stories were not sub-par until Fenraven decided to 'fix' them in his/her own voice while at the same time littering dozens of typographical and grammatical errors throughout the story. Therein lie the real problems with those so called edits.
 

HapiSofi

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Michael b: You got edited. You didn't like it. This is not a unique event in the history of the world. Does this interaction you had with Fenraven invalidate what she's saying about Silver? If so, I don't see how.

If you want to go on complaining about Fenraven's editing, start a thread for it.
 
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veinglory

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I don't know this editor at all.

I do know that some of my experiences with epublisher "editors" did not really deserved the name "editing". Like the one who said I couldn't use any contractions (I'll, don't etc), ever, anywhere in the manuscript.
 

Filigree

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I stopped considering a respected mid-range e-publisher after I saw some examples of their bizarre and arbitrary 'house style'. Of course, their extremely low sales figures had just as much to do with my decision.

If an editor tried to do similar drastic re-writes as has been alleged, I'd be on the phone to my agent immediately. Fortunately, I've been very happy with the Loose Id editors who worked with me.

In the case of Silver's editing, I have no baseline. The excerpts I have seen online have so far been pretty solid.
 

madmumbler

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I think the bigger issue, instead of getting bogged down by one editor's comments, is the fact that the publisher is, by their own admission, guilty of mismanagement, and is also guilty of breech of contract by not paying as specified.

I've had editors good and bad. I've seen newbie and experienced authors who couldn't write their way out of a paper bag go all diva on an editor who is just trying to help. There are innocent and guilty on BOTH sides of that fence.

Irrelevant.

Financial mismanagement and breech of contract by the publisher? Totally relevant. Don't lose site of the fact that people--editors AND writers--are being screwed.

So like what was said or not by the editor, don't let it be a red herring.

Silver Publishing has finally been outed as a less-than-reputable (financially) publisher. And THAT'S where the warning for writers and editors alike needs to be focused.
 

veinglory

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Quite true. By direct admission of the owner they defaulted in royalties due to not having the money, due to having spent it on other stuff.
 

madmumbler

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And as I've said elsewhere, it's reprehensible for them to still be accepting submissions. If they're really interested in getting their stuff straightened out, get a loan, pay off what is owed, restructure, THEN reopen to submissions.

The fact that they're soliciting more victims...eh, writers...just shows me that they have no interest in doing what's right by their writers and editors.

The reason this has me so fired up is because I have friends screwed by this house. Normally, I wouldn't get involved. But they are people who were afraid to speak out, whose integrity I do not question, and it really sucks that they had to go through this.
 

James D. Macdonald

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Quite true. By direct admission of the owner they defaulted in royalties due to not having the money, due to having spent it on other stuff.

Right on.

If you showed up at work and the boss said, "No paychecks this week because I used the money to refinish the floors," you and all your co-workers would be out the door before he finished talking.
 

HapiSofi

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This is assuming all editors are created equal, which we know is not the case. By Mercy and Michael B's accounts, editing was a problem at Silver. Fenraven is claiming s/he was told to rewrite, which conflicts with what at least one of his/her authors is saying.

Granted, we all know some authors will complain unfairly about edits. However, if bad editing is a complaint being lodged with Silver, and the editors had a different understanding of what their job was than the authors, it's at least worth noting.
I've seen Fenraven's rant about this. She didn't think rewriting the books was a good idea, she didn't want to do it, and she was very conscious of the amount of wasted effort it represented.

I've met more than my share of the sort of editorial freelancers who rewrite books unasked. They don't have opinions like Fenraven's. If you tax them with overdoing an edit, they say stuff like "I had to fix it -- it was wrong!" or "I was just trying to make it better," or they cite a bunch of "rules" of English that no one else has ever heard of before. They never say "What I did was a big waste of time, and it didn't make the books more saleable."

There is another pattern I know of which may explain the known editorial phenomena. It starts when an in-house editor commits drastic edits upon a manuscript, then hands it over to Production for a standard copyedit. Alternately, it can start with someone at the publishing house handing off the manuscript to an editorial freelancer, and asking them to commit drastic edits upon it. Either way, the the result is the same: the author takes one look at the edits and comes screaming back to the publishing house.

"Oooh gosh," says the publisher or in-house editor, who is a spineless wimp, "look what the naughty freelancer did to your book! Pity it's too late to do anything about it." Result: the publisher or in-house editor is off the hook, the author wants to kill the freelancer, and the drastic edits are let stand.

This is not as rare an occurrence as it ought to be.

So: Michael was yelling at someone at Silver Publishing about the editing done on his book. That person said "Blame Fenraven -- she exceeded our instructions by a country mile!" Meanwhile, Fenraven is making noises like an editor who's been made to do useless work on hapless books, and sounding not at all like the kind of perspective-deprived obsessive weirdo who can't understand the difference between copyediting a book and rewriting it.

This is just my opinion, but unless additional evidence turns up, I'm going to assume that Fenraven is telling the truth, and Michael B is telling the truth as he knows it, but that Michael B was lied to by someone at Silver Publishing. Unimaginable, right?

===

This discussion of editing practices is a distraction from the subject of Silver Publishing's business practices, including their admitted embezzlement of author royalties. I'm guilty of engaging in it too. I'm mindful that Silver Publishing's authors and prospective writers need to be able to find and swap information about SP without having to wade hip-deep through tales of editorial woe.
 
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michael_b

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Hapisoft: What you did not see--and which I have not openly discussed for the most part--were comments scattered throughout the edit that, I'm sure, Fenraven thought were helpful but were actually rather snide and condescending. The one--out of many--I have publicly mentioned is where Fenraven tries to explain to me I'm writing for a female audience. Really? You don't say? This is why I've said to take what Fenraven said with a grain of salt as far as Fenraven's claims. No one told her to be insulting in the comments made.

As far as the heart of the mess with Silver.... I don't even know where to begin on that front because there are so many authors with so much at stake here it boggles my mind.

If I'd known about any of this mess before I submitted, you can bet I wouldn't have a story there.
 

veinglory

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I think we should really let the editing thing go. There is no publicly available objective info on the matter and it is quite beside the point.
 

HapiSofi

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Hapisoft: What you did not see--and which I have not openly discussed for the most part--were comments scattered throughout the edit that, I'm sure, Fenraven thought were helpful but were actually rather snide and condescending. The one--out of many--I have publicly mentioned is where Fenraven tries to explain to me I'm writing for a female audience. Really? You don't say? This is why I've said to take what Fenraven said with a grain of salt as far as Fenraven's claims. No one told her to be insulting in the comments made.
Grow up. It's an edit. Queries -- film at eleven! -- tend to sound querulous. So do stressed-out overworked editors. And once you've gotten irritated at an editor (or line editor, or copy editor), none of their comments are going to sound right to you, because you imagine a tone of voice for them that's neither friendly nor perceptive.

Are you aware that your own control of tone is shaky? Forgive others as you hope to be forgiven. The real fight is with the inherent difficulties of written language, not with your editor. Focus your passion and effort where they'll do some good.

And since you're not a very good listener, let me reiterate: the set of places where it might do some good to discuss your problems with editing does not include this thread.
 

James D. Macdonald

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This is a thread about Silver and whether it's a good place for an author to submit.

My thought is, no. As long as they aren't paying contracted royalties, there's no point in submitting there. You can post stories on your own webpage if you don't want to earn royalties from them.

If it weren't utterly cruel I'd start a betting pool on how soon Silver closes up shop entirely, and whether any authors will have received their back royalties on that day.

We've seen this kind of thing before and it's never pretty.

For all current Silver authors, look at your reversion clauses. Get your rights back now if you can. It'll be deucedly hard once they vanish, stop answering their emails, and their phone is disconnected.

Rights still owned by a disappeared publisher can lead to authors who can't reprint their own works until seventy years after they're dead.
 

madmumbler

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For all current Silver authors, look at your reversion clauses. Get your rights back now if you can. It'll be deucedly hard once they vanish, stop answering their emails, and their phone is disconnected.

Rights still owned by a disappeared publisher can lead to authors who can't reprint their own works until seventy years after they're dead.

If there are kill fees involved, why do I have a feeling the publisher will latch onto that heavily instead of doing what's right? Then again, I can be a bit of a pessimist.
 

veinglory

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Silver opened the door for authors who wanted to withdraw books, no questions asked, a few months back.
 

HapiSofi

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Silver opened the door for authors who wanted to withdraw books, no questions asked, a few months back.
If you need a clear signal, that was it.

Make sure you get a reversion letter that specifies the work by name, and says they relinquish all claim to it. The wording doesn't have to be formal and/or legalistic. It just has to be clear.
 

michael_b

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Deleted this post because the authors at Silver are up in arms over me speaking out. They feel they've been stabbed in the back over me taking this public. They're convinced if we stay quiet everyone will be paid.

Time will tell, won't it?

I'm not betting on them seeing their money post or no post.
 
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