Trestle Press Is Falling Down … Falling Down … Falling Down

Imagine this … if you will …

Years of hard work collecting on your hard drive, years of reject letters collecting on the corner of your desk.  Writing short story after short story for so long you’ve nearly lost count.  And then, you get a direct Twitter Message … from a publisher … a small publisher, but who cares, it’s a publisher!  And he … without query and without approach … wants a read of your work.  Imagine that moment.  Some of us have been there, standing on the edge of “a read” waiting with our hopes and manuscript in hand.  Now, imagine, the head of company, the man out in front, e-mails you and saying the magic, three-letter word … yes.

This, is the Trestle Press Game … and perhaps it will go done in history as one of greatest Author Beware fallouts of all time.  Perhaps it will, as new authors emerge from their home offices with finished manuscripts, become the thing of lore … the thing other, seasoned authors warn them about.

Trestle Press touts themselves as a “legacy publisher” … which is comical, as publishers don’t tend to use words like “legacy” or “traditional” … they are simply publishers.  We, you and I and everyone else, have been the ones to establish the hierarchy … The Big Six, Vanity, Legacy, Traditional … those are our words for them … not their own.   That is, perhaps, the first of the many red flags in the Trestle Press Game.

In the past twenty-four hours, and probably for a bit longer than that, Trestle Press Publishing has been falling down.  It’s hard to pinpoint where the fallout began, but it’s layered.  This is what we know:

Trestle has been creating covers with beautiful images … images that were, for all intents and purposes, hijacked.  That’s right.  Trestle has taken to using photos … stock and not … without the permission of the artist.  In case you didn’t know … HUGE NO-NO.  And this is the justification give for such deceitful actions …

“We stand by the fact that if we have used any copyrighted artwork that we have contacted the artist or made every possible attempt to contact the artist. In many cases, we have requested usage permission and made payment when asked.
In cases where no contact was made or no copyright holder found, we apologize for the usage and have removed the identified images.
It is and always will be our intent and desire never to never infringe on anyone’s intellectual property without their consent” 

Some of these images include a still shot from the 1980’s movie “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” … another, from the upcoming movie “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance” staring Nicholas Cage … and still, another image from the video game “Hit Man”.  I’m almost proof positive that there was no way those images were used with the slightest hint of consent considering the source.

Authors, in the last twenty-four hours, have taken to their individual blogs in force, lamenting that their works were poorly edited, terribly formatted and theorizing that their submitted work not even read prior to publishing.  So much for the merit and weight of yes.

Rather than apologizing for the obvious foul, Trestle has told their authors — the ones that keep the lights on and pad their bank accounts — that there is no need “to draw this out” and that they would not share “where the images came from” since it was obvious in questioning at all, the author was clearly “showed where they were” … and that trust was a “two-way street” … to which I have stress, trust in earned not given.

Others have come forward in this mess to discuss the contract … or lack there of.  Often time no more than a single paragraph, that was total rubbish … and, yes, in case you’re wondering, Trestle Press has published the works of a fourteen year old — whether his parents were aware or not remains to be seen.

It’s a disaster with multiple authors frantically trying to rescue their stories from the grips of the publishing house while simultaneously trying to salvage their careers by expressing that they will soon announce where their stories will be published … as soon as they can figure it out themselves.

In the center of this crumbling bridge stands Giovanni Gelati.  The one man band who has always said his “workers prefer to be anonymous”.  And, now, his little bridge is falling down … down … down.  You might want to know who this mastermind is … where he comes from … and just where he gets off.  There isn’t much out there about him personally, other than his blog-radio, Gelati’s Scoop.

The message in this new fallout is simple … authors, be so careful when it comes to who you get in bed with.  It’s easy to get swept away when you finally get the sort of response you’ve been chasing.  Know who you’re dealing with, be involved and vocal.

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9 thoughts on “Trestle Press Is Falling Down … Falling Down … Falling Down

  1. Who is Giovanni Gelati? I’ve been told by those “in the know” that in fact this isn’t his real name. Furthermore, it appears the photograph on his facebook profile is … believe it or not … yet another image he has just lifted from the internet: http://www.tineye.com/search/4a236dd89d89835803c92736f1d6ca17f2850fae/?page=1&sort=score&order=asc

    Now, it’s one thing for an author to assume a pseudonym. But when a publisher chooses to conduct all his public interactions under an assumed identity … well, the deception speaks for itself.

    • Giovanni Gelati has a small footprint. When I was researching information on that posting, everything about him was watered down — his Facebook, his blog, his press. He doesn’t seem to exist outside of his ego. And, in turn, there are no viable photos of him to be found anywhere on the web. He appears to never have been in the social circle of publishers.

      Would it surprise me to find that, yes, in fact his Facebook image is stolen? No, not at all. This man … whoever he is … was running a publishing house and toting himself as a one man band with support staff hidden behind the cloak on anonymity. The truth is probably closer to the image of a pariah feeding. He wanted to “get rich quick” off the backs of his talent without so much as considering the consequences for himself and more importantly still, his writers. A whistle blower figured him out … and I suspect he’ll hear no more from Gelati ever again. As the saying going … good riddance to bad rubbish.

      That’s not to say he won’t cook up another mock name and reemerge on the scene with a new publishing house and new antics in the future … it’s a risk, and if he wanted too, he’d probably succeed since publication is what most authors are chasing.

      As far as using a fake name goes … just another thing he made up in the process, I guess.

  2. I was one of those authors who was dooped into this so called “publisher” and the only reason why I got out was that he didn’t hold up his end of the contract. I got fed up with him brushing off my concerns as to when I’d get my edits…now I know. The man doesn’t have a “team” of editors, its just him and I’m sure that is why he was so nice about dropping the contract…one less author to edit work for (if that’s what he truly did). I had not idea about the use of copyrighted images until after I had left TP. I can only say, that if you feel any kind of twinge of uncertainty – FOLLOW IT!

    • I think, for new authors, the story of Trestle Press will be touted as one of the great cons. I’m sure these antics have been tried out for size before, but the level of this is what drew my attention … he literally took every individual aspect of the business and bent it to his will … it was not isolated.

      I do try to run a slander free blog, in so much as I don’t like to name names and call people out on their shit … but this experience — your experience — with this “publisher” is the height of absurd. How he thought he could get away with it is truly, truly beyond me.

      I’m sure you’re smarter for getting out … and about the contract … I think he knew on some level that if he didn’t release you, in the light everything else, he’d be bankrupt via lawsuits. I don’t think it was a moral decision … because I don’t think he had morals.

      • Moral…oh, I don’t think he even knows what the word means. I may be a newbie at writing, but I do know when I’m being used and I flat out told him that I didn’t want my work represented by him.

        I feel dumb for not following my instincts. “If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck and looks like a duck…it’s more than likely is a duck.” And he is the biggest quack of all.

        One writer on there didn’t even have a contract and I told her to either get one or get out fast. She heeded my word (thank God).

        Newbies have to know what to watch out for. I did my research on the guy, and found nothing wrong, but I still had this gut feeling, but I thought, give it a go. Dumb.

        If I see any of my art work ( I do book cover for authors, mine though are my own work), I will sue him for everything he’s got.

      • You shouldn’t feel dumb. The truth is, until you know better … you don’t.

        This guy looked legit. That is actually what horrified me and why, when I heard, I quickly hammered out this piece. No doubt with the fleeing of his “talent” he’d stalk more down. That’s how predators work. I figured he’d do one of two things … and do them quickly. He’d either keep on keeping on like the problem was yours and theirs but not his … or … he’d go away, regroup and reinvent himself with a new name and company letterhead.

        It’s disgusting … but you have no reason to feel badly. You went into it with the best of intentions … if others, on the other side, did the same the world would be nice place.

      • Well, at least I got out before the crap hit the fan. “What goes around, comes around.” Right now he is getting some of that back, but not all of it. I believe you when you said he’ll be back as someone else and crank in a whole new line of authors who know nothing of him, or get the same ones who left him thinking that this is someone new when actually its just a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

        He has no heart, ’cause if he did, he wouldn’t be doing this. We live in an ugly world.

  3. I love the freedom the Internet offers, but at times I still long for the day when critics and reporters had to back up their accusations with hard facts and multiple sources. This post resembles a tactic hatched by some political campaign. Just say “falling down” over and over and eventually someone might believe it.

    • Hi David. I agree with you entirely and I apologize if you feel, judging by your comment, that I was one sized as well as short sighted in my analysis of the Trestle Press shake down.

      Unfortunately, though I do apologize, I do not retract my judgements and I do stand by my piece.

      And yes, I miss things too — like a world where ‘business owners’ didn’t take advantage of the talent simply because they could. Ahh … the good ol’ days.

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