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Trestle Press

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

emaxwell

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I had contracted with small new press Trestle Press to publish SPEAKING OF MURDER. The deal came up in a hurry in early November. In fact, they contacted me on Twitter and asked me to submit my traditional mystery. I checked here and on Preditors and Editors and found no warnings.

The contact person, the oddly named Giovanni Gelati, accepted the ms without reading more than the first chapter, and frankly I don't think he had time to read even that. Okay, first warning flag. But I thought, well, it's an avenue to publication, and the book had been in search of a publishing home for over a year. He said the ms. would be edited, but when I asked who else was on staff, he said no one else wanted to be identified, that he was the public face. Second flag.

The contract he sent was a very simple paragraph, to which I added a number of clauses clarifying the arrangement and protecting myself. He then said we didn't need to physically sign the contract, that the email agreement would suffice. Third flag, and possibly my naivte at agreeing to it.

The deal was that it would come out in eformats first, followed by print publication 60 days later. The financial was 70% of net to the author, which sounded great. He told me they would turn it around in 10 days, so it would hit Kindle and other markets in early December. Great! We then tried to come to agreement about the cover, with Gelati apparently being their graphic designer. He proposed so many awful fonts and ignored my suggestions and examples so many times I finally hired someone else to do it for me, and she produced a lovely cover in hours.

As it transpired, Gelati lied to me several times over the month about delays, telling me it was in editing when it wasn't. When pushed, he finally gave me a release date of 21 December. I was excited, and started to do some marketing and hype building as best I could. The week before the 21st I still hadn't gotten edits back. He said I'd have them by Sunday night, the 18th.

When Monday dawned with no edits, I decided to cut my losses. I had no trust that they would ever publish it, or that I would ever have a date I could rely on, or that they in fact even have these mysterious editors. I told him I needed to cancel the contract, and he replied "Ok, fine. Have a good week."

They have published other authors, and Gelati seems to do pretty good publicity through his blogtalk radio interviews. I know of one other potential Trestle author who canceled her contract for the same reasons I did.

Edith Maxwell
www.edithmaxwell.com
 

aliceshortcake

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Link: http://www.trestlepresspublishing.com/

From the FAQ section:

The authors once onboard enjoy all the “normal” things a “legacy” publisher does, plus they receive personal service and TLC from our own Giovanni Gelati.

Slightly OT, but what exactly is a legacy publisher? On the few occasions I've come across the term it seems to be used in a perjorative sense.
 

jeseymour

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Mysteryriter - are you working for Trestle Press now?

I have to say I have three short stories out as ebooks with them and have had no complaints until this week, when I asked where my payments were. I haven't received a satisfactory answer on that, but I am willing to wait and see for a couple more weeks.

If I really thought it was "one step above self-pub" I would never have gone with them. And like Edith, Giovanni approached me. I was under the impression that this was a legitimate press with editors and a selection process.
 

Gravity

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Once you've heard the truth, everything else is ju
I have to say I have three short stories out as ebooks with them and have had no complaints until this week, when I asked where my payments were. I haven't received a satisfactory answer on that, but I am willing to wait and see for a couple more weeks.

No offense, but why would you (or any author), accept treament like this? The publisher/writer relationship is that of a business: you provide company A with X, and in exchange they agree to pay you a sum of Y, by a date of Z. No more, and no less.

If they owe you money, and won't give you a "satisfactory answer" in detail as to when, how, and how much, then by God, lean on them until they do answer.
 

veinglory

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They seem to have some pretty major authors (Stephen King etc). So at least if anything went wrong there would be some heavyweights to sort it out ;)
 

jeseymour

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They seem to have some pretty major authors (Stephen King etc). So at least if anything went wrong there would be some heavyweights to sort it out ;)

Veinglory, that is not the Stephen King you're thinking of. :tongue

Gravity - I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt in the expectation that perhaps my payment isn't due until January. Although a simple answer from them stating that would be nice. I've also asked to see the sales figures on my three stories and have not received that.

There are a number of well-known authors published by Trestle Press, and I'm hoping that this is only a minor glitch. I'm willing to wait a couple of weeks to get it sorted out, as they are just releasing their first full length novels and are pretty busy at the moment.
 

LillyPu

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I was just surprised to see them listed as a beware and wanted to show that they weren't. Nothing wrong with that, is there?

But isn't this forum for Recommendations, too? Once the Background Check squares, and the Bewares are addressed? Do you work for them in any capacity, other than being an author?
 

MysteryRiter

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I'm just an author for them. :) And unless I'm going crazy (which is highly likely) this thread was titled "Trestle Press Beware" when I first posted this morning. I think one of the mods changed it...
 

jeseymour

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But isn't this forum for Recommendations, too? Once the Background Check squares, and the Bewares are addressed? Do you work for them in any capacity, other than being an author?

Yes, LillyPu, it is. And I think it's good to hear all experiences with a particular press, to assist in the decision to go with that press or not.

And MysteryRiter, do you work for them? You can speak to your experiences as a writer, but unless you work for Trestle Press, you shouldn't say "direct all questions to me."

I'll reiterate, I am a Trestle Press author and have been pleased with them so far, but am waiting to find out my sales figures and payment for stories I have with them, one since July, one since September and one that just came out. That's it. I'm not complaining yet, it's my fault for not asking sooner, and to ask right around the holidays and expect an instant answer is probably unfair.
 

Terie

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And unless I'm going crazy (which is highly likely) this thread was titled "Trestle Press Beware" when I first posted this morning. I think one of the mods changed it...

Yes, it was...or else I'm going crazy, too. A mod changed the thread title to be consistent with all the thread titles in the BR&BC sub-forum. :)
 

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To sum it up, Trestle Press is a good publisher though you shouldn't expect HUGE things from them (like with any small press) but they only take a small portion of sales and Giovanni works his butt off to promote you. Oh and also, they have I think 8 of the top 15 short stories on Amazon. Or maybe it's 6. I am not sure about that. My book is too new to have gotten some serious sales yet.... *sigh* I'll get there.

I just checked, and right now, they have ONE book in the top twenty short stories on Amazon. Maybe the numbers have changed recently, but... where did you get the eight from? If you saw it yourself, okay, but if it's something the publisher told you, I'd say it's one more reason to worry about the publisher.
 

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Damn, my apologies. All the knitting ones kind of blurred together when I was counting, I guess!
 

emaxwell

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I posted about Trestle as a Beware because Giovanni Gelati lied to me several times, and I had not received promised edits on my book two days before publication. I also found it suspicious that he would not identify anyone else on the staff, saying they didn't wish to be named. Frankly, I have the feeling that he is the entire staff and has seriously overestimated his capabilities, but I have no evidence to support that. If he had identified himself as the editor at the beginning, I would have declined the offer, because his own writing was full of typographical errors and other mistakes. To me it doesn't really matter how well he can promote my book if he can't even produce my book.

Edith
 

emaxwell

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@MysteryRiter, do you have permission from JC Hines to use the graphic you have as your ID (avatar?)? That's his cartoon. An excellent one, I agree. But it should be credited when used.

I am new here, and wonder if it is common for commenters to hide their real names when discussing small press credentials.

Edith
 

jeseymour

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Frankly, I have the feeling that he is the entire staff and has seriously overestimated his capabilities, but I have no evidence to support that. If he had identified himself as the editor at the beginning, I would have declined the offer, because his own writing was full of typographical errors and other mistakes. To me it doesn't really matter how well he can promote my book if he can't even produce my book.

Edith

I do think Trestle is spreading itself a bit thin. It seems a small press should pick an area to concentrate on and stick with that. I also agree with the typos and so on, but have not found any problems with the stories they published for me. Of course, I'm a pretty good editor myself. :)

It's obvious you had a bad experience. I would like to hear from others with good or bad experiences. Thanks for coming forward with your story.
 

amergina

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JC Hines is Jim C. Hines. The original blog post with that image is here.

(In case anyone else is curious.)
 

Terie

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MysteryRiter, IIRC from some of your posts elsewhere, you are underage (that is, under 18), right? If that's the case, I'm curious to know how Trestle Press handled your contract. Did they have your parents sign for you? (And if I'm misremembering about your age, I apologise.)

EMaxwell, there aren't any rules on AW about using one's real name, nor are there rules about being able to post in the BR&BC forum if your username isn't your real name. I'm not sure why you think that's an issue.
 

Momento Mori

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emaxwell:
I am new here, and wonder if it is common for commenters to hide their real names when discussing small press credentials.

Yes.

There are plenty of people on these Forums who post under their real names and there are other people (like me) who use handles but who don't hide their identity - if you want to dig around my posts then it's easy to find out who I am. People have plenty of valid reasons for not using their real names on the internet. In my case it's because I've had an unpleasant experience of internet trolling and because I live in a country where the libel laws encourage nutters to take you to court if they don't like what you're saying and frankly, I don't have the time or energy to deal with it.

Given that you're new to the Forum, you should take a look at some of the other Forums here and get a feel for the place. It's your decision as to whether you stay, but you shouldn't feel that just because some people here use handles, their opinions somehow lack validity or good faith.

With regard to Trestle Press, it looks to me like a one-man outfit. There wasn't anything on the website that immediately leapt out at me as being a red flag but it's never good when a publisher is slow to pay out on work (although in this case, it would make sense if it really is a one-man show).

MM
 

aliceshortcake

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MysteryRiter, IIRC from some of your posts elsewhere, you are underage (that is, under 18), right? If that's the case, I'm curious to know how Trestle Press handled your contract. Did they have your parents sign for you?

I wondered the same thing - MysteryRiter is 14.
 

LindaJeanne

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Well, if this is accurate:

The contract he sent was a very simple paragraph, to which I added a number of clauses clarifying the arrangement and protecting myself. He then said we didn't need to physically sign the contract, that the email agreement would suffice.

Then it's likely that GG didn't consider MysteryRiter's age, and jeseymour's "contract" probably doesn't spell out when payments will be received.
 

Theo81

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Their logo looked really familiar to me. Google Images agrees . I *think* they've got it free from LogoSnap which, given that it's used on the covers of the books is...odd. A visual identity is an important part of a business. You can get a stock logo for a couple of hundred dollars.

I wouldn't condemn them for it, I'd just advise them that it's a false economy.

I'm interested to see how this pans out.
 

Richard White

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I read through their web site last evening.

I was . . . unimpressed. Maybe it was the amateurish layout, maybe it just didn't render properly in Firefox, but it screamed, we don't have much money and we're doing the best we can.

The web site seems much more geared for getting authors to submit to them than it's aimed at readers looking for books.

The number of novels and novellas and short stories they released all at the same time is concerning. Do they really have that many editors who can review, provide feedback, get the revisions back and release that many simultaneous books? Or do they get a quick run through the spell checker and out the door? Heck, my friend, who's a professional freelance editor took several days to edit a short story for me (albeit he worked it in around his paying jobs).

Their FAQs raised more questions with me than they answered.

Others may have a good experience with them. But, there's nothing there that makes me believe it's a good fit for my work.
 

LillyPu

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Can I ask how a publisher makes money from publishing individual short stories that are not in a collection? Or is this a newer concept with e-pubbing? I've never thought to buy individual short stories before, but maybe I should. Still, I probably wouldn't put an unknown author's short story on my Kindle or computer. I read them in magazines and journals sometimes. Sorry, this off-topic? But while I'm at it, what is meant by OP? Is there a glossary? I finally figured out PA was not Pennsylvania--bet you've heard that one before. Today, I finally figured out ETA! drove me nuts...
 

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