Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Trestle Press Should Not Be Trusted

On 16 December 2011 I signed with Trestle Press Publishing, a group I had every reason to believe was legitimate. Before I signed the contracts I searched everywhere I could to find out their track record, authors published, any bad `vibes' about the company. I found nothing which caused me the least concern. They were a new company, I discovered, not quite a year old, and they had a good number of authors already signed with them who had published multiple works.

Today, less than two months later, I have left Trestle Press - as have most of the other authors - due to a scandal involving art theft by the publisher for use in cover images. The editor-in-chief (who, I now realize, was the whole company, more or less) was telling authors that he was a graphic artist who designed his own book covers when, in reality, he was stealing images from other artists, tweaking them, and passing them off as his own work. In my own case, the night this editor sent me my cover art, I congratulated him on his work and told him how impressed I was. He accepted the compliment and, in further communications, lead me further to believe the art work was his own. Little did I know my book cover was a Google Image he had picked up and tweaked in, perhaps, ten seconds.

My fellow authors have experienced far worse than I in that their book covers were images stolen from more famous, and copyrighted, sources. These writers pulled their titles from Trestle Press when the scandal broke because they did not want to be associated with a publisher who lied, cheated, and stole from other artists. Incredibly, there are other so-called `writers' who did not leave, or left only when their own self-interest suddenly dawned upon them, who question this integrity simply because they were too chicken-shit afraid to do the right thing when the scandal broke and are now trying to justify their behavior by attacking those who left earlier. Every time they question the integrity of those who left Trestle Press they show themselves for who they truly are. An example of the `integrity' and maturity of Trestle Press may be seen in the following post from Deviant Art in which a writer suggests the press remove one of the book cover images and received a most `professional' response: BRB TAKING ADVICE LAWL by ~hellbunny on deviantART.

Please warn other writers not to deal with Trestle Press. This so-called `publisher' is nothing more than a crooked one-man band making noise for his own self-aggrandisement. I count myself fortunate that I escaped from this company with relatively few scars and I wish all the best to the others who did the same. Hemingway wrote, "Writing, at best, is a lonely life." Writers don't need anyone making the experience any more lonely and difficult and, further, when a publisher does so, we should stand together against that common enemy instead of condoning such a breach of trust simply because doing so is in our own best interest. `Integrity' is not defined as `doing what is best for me' but doing the right thing.

18 comments:

  1. I don't get it. You left today. I left today. Yet I was attacked for not leaving earlier, and when I defended my timing as a matter of integrity (because I didn't want to jump ship until I knew that my own work had been compromised), I was accused of pretty much what you're describing of the evil writers above. Is there such a difference in what we did?

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    1. You've been calling other writers out for leaving early.

      You've come out of it looking a bit of a chopper.

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    2. "(because I didn't want to jump ship until I knew that my own work had been compromised)"

      That right there. Most other writers who left were appalled other people's work had been stolen (compromised is a silly term, the images were stolen). You were happy to stay until your own covers were revealed to be stolen. That is why you're being treated differently.

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  2. And why is anybody attacking anybody when it was all of us who were wronged by TP?

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    1. You tell us, you're the one who's been giving it to people.

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  3. Stephen - did I mention your name? Did I mention your blog? Did I mention anything about you? I think it's quite telling that you feel I did. I'm not attacking you at all. If you feel I am I suggest you search your conscience. Since you bring it up, I don't care when you left or even that you left. I care that YOU began attacking other people who left before you. YOU did - no one was wishing you anything but the best until then.

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  4. "because I didn't want to jump ship until I knew that my own work had been compromised"

    How would this be considered a matter of integrity? You were aware of the massive misuse of images, but you would wait to leave Trestle only after you had proof that you were wronged? Would not the stacks of evidence for TP's lack of integrity be enough to leave without your own personal injury?

    JDC

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  5. Give 'em enough petard and they'll hoist themselves.

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  6. The timing thing is irrelevant. People were talking about the theft of images last year (2011) so unless every author pulled before 2012 they are all culpable.

    I agree however that once it became widespread and the authors made each other aware it should have ended then. If I had a book with them and was told the cover was stolen I would pull it in a second. I'd also advise everybody else to do the same, whether they had a stolen image or not.

    Saying that I still think it is a personal decision and if writers needed a bit of extra time to research without feeling they were being swept along then so be it. I don't think it is or was right for anybody to come out in defence of them (him) however. What GG did is deplorable and goes against everything all artists stand for.

    A side not to this- Last year I considered contacted Trestle to see if they would take my collection on board. I know and respect a few of the Trestle writers so felt it was a good stable to be involved with. However the reason I didn't was simple, the covers were awful. Simple as that. I felt Trestle would damage my work with such amateurish designs and fonts. I couldn't see myself promoting a book with a visual representation I'd feel embarrassed about people seeing. Especially as a cover is usually the first point of contact a reader has with an author's work.

    Hopefully a lot of lessons have be learnt and I wish all the writers the best of luck with their work.

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    1. I think it's nice the writers told each other about it. It was quicker than they reviewed each others work. Lightening!

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  7. I had contracted with Trestle in November of 2011 to publish my first mystery novel. I too, searched for any reports of bad reputation and found nothing. But when GG continually came up with awful covers, I found a photograph I liked, got permission from the owner, and hired my own graphic artist to do the design. I withdrew from my contract on Dec 19 two days before the reputed publication date because of GG's lies to me and because he had failed to return edits or the eformatted versions to me and we were out of time to produce a quality release. I am now extremely glad I did.

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  8. Joshua, here's a screen shot of how 'Without Notice' writer Jason Hughes continued to react to a polite request that he might want to replace the (stolen) cover image on his Facebook page. A real classy piece of work.

    http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7145/6840658839_7df3c0a57f_o.png

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  9. Anthony - I found out last week. Within hours my books had been pulled. Had no idea people had been posting proof last year. If I did, I'd of left at that time. So I don't think I'm culpable for anything.

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  10. I find it highly ironic that the Christian writers seem untroubled by the shocking lack of morals in their publisher. But then that's been the flavour of "religious" behaviour in the States for some time.

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  11. Not even just "Christian" writers, Kate — we're talking "inspirational" writers here... Yeah, setting a real example aren't they?

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  12. Anthony Cowin - `culpable' is defined as "deserving of blame or censure as being wrong/involving the commission of a fault or the breach of a duty imposed by law". As none of us knew the cover art was stolen, none are culpable. If you knew the art work was stolen last year and didn't do anything about it, you are culpable. It works like that.

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  13. Yes, they always do set the finest example. Unreal.

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  14. Okay folks (KALaity, SJM001, Josh), why not start talking about how bad of a player Tim Tebow is, while you're at it?

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