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.