The truth about the way Ghostwriter Publications treats many of their writers has exploded all over horror based internet forums this week.
Ghostwriter Publications has been blacklisted at Preditors and Editors, the internet's number once resource for writers seeking reputable publishers and agents. Also mentioned and/or blacklisted at a variety of other websites and forums dedicated to SFF or Horror writers and publishers.
I will say that Neil has always been unfailingly polite in his email exchages with me.
Simon Unsworth has had almost exactly the same issues as everyone else who had a story in Creature Feature. I wonder if even Guy N Smith got paid?
From Simon's blog:
Which brings me to Neil Jackson and Ghostwriter Publications. Now some of you may remember the history to this: I was due to release a collection through Ghostwriter but had to withdraw from them because of what I perceived as a very poor attitude towards their authors and customers, and concerns about what I thought of as questionable ways of doing business. The correctness of my decision was reinforced when Neil refused to send me the 6 copies of Creature Feature he owed me according to our (signed) contract and only sent me 1. I thought the issue was dead and buried, but then at the beginning of this year, someone told me to look at the GWP website, and I found that Creature Feature was still be advertised and sold, and that my name was being used as part of the list of ’stories by’ advertising! I contacted Neil to ask what he thought he was doing, selling a book with my stories in that he has no rights to sell, having reverted all rights to me and having not yet paid me the agreed amount for the use of the three stories. This was his response:
This is just the remainder of the first ‘test’ run…but I’ll send you five extra copies. The new edition does not contain any of the stories you previously submitted.
Best of luck with the ‘new’ collection.
I don’t know about you, but if I’d bought a copy of Creature Feature, I’d be really pissed off that it was a test run, especially if that hadn’t been explained to me when I paid the £7.99 fee! Mind you, it might explain the poor quality of the proofing, typesetting, etc! But, I thought, I may finally get what’s owed me.
Of course I didn’t. A couple of weeks later, I contacted Neil to ask where my books were and this is the response I got:
Sitting on my floor…I’ll get them to you very soon.
And they arrived soon after? No, again, of course not. When I contacted Neil last night, he simply told me that no copies of Creature Feature were being sold that contained my stories, and never mentioned my copies even when directly asked about them. So, what conclusion can I draw from all this? Well, clearly, it reinforced my sense that I was right to follow my instincts and stop working with GWP and, particularly, with Neil Jackson. And Neil? Well, there’s a word for people who say they’re going to doing something and don’t do it, isn’t there? What was it again? Oh, yeah, that’s right: liar. Neil is, on current evidence, a liar. He agreed to pay me for the stories originally and didn’t, he agreed to send me copies of the book and didn’t (which, as I understand it, other authors have also experienced). Whatever money he’s making from the sales of Creature Feature he has done, at least in part, on the back of stories he has no right to sell. In some ways, I didn’t ever expect to get the extra copies – Neil’s history is a very poor one, full of worrying incidents from when he ran a film school in Canada. For me, though, his attitude is encapsulated best in this short interview he did:
I particularly like the way Neil makes up a figure for sales (5000 per unit!) and then, in the last comment, comes close to insulting his crop of writers! Er, yeah, Neil, it does matter if something comes out 6 months after it’s release was originally agreed if that delay isn’t explained and agreed! Oh, and is the shop open yet? Has anyone seen a GWP title in an actual, proper shop, or stocked by an online dealer other than GWP itself? No? You surprise me… And if you do google Neil, or his film school, you’ll find some comments from very angry people who clearly consider Neil to be a crook. Is he? Dunno, but I have my suspicions.
As before, I leave you to draw your own conclusions about this. You may think I’ve got a cheek, asking for books that I’m owed when it was me that withdrew from the contracts we had (true – although in my original request for rights reversion, I specifically said that I didn’t want a reversion on the already published stories contained in Creature Feature), but I still maintain that Neil should pay me what he owes me for the work he published. Of course, if the books turn up this week, I shall offer a full and frank apology, but you know what? I’m betting I won’t have to.
Ghostwriter and Neil Jackson still owe me books, and Dan Ghetu did send me (and other authors) abusive emails, so how should I respond? Sit quietly and say nothing? Become part of the silent majority who do nothing and let idiots get away with things? No. I have no doubt I’ll never see my owed books from Ghostwriter, or that Dan Ghetu will ever actually act like a professional in relation to me, so I reserve the right to write about it and to use this blog and the various forums to let people know what’s going on. In the case of both Ghostwriter and Ex Occidente, I haven’t said anything in any forum that I can’t prove factually, and as long as I keep to that, I think I’m within my rights to continue as I have done (incidentally, a legal point: my barrister friend has told me that the word ‘liar’ in legal terms would indicate prior intention – so to call Neil Jackson a liar, I’d have to have proof that he intended to rip me off before he actually did it. Now, I have suspicions about this based on Neil’s earlier behaviour and how he spoke to me, but I have no proof so I must sadly retract the notion that Neil is a liar. So, what do we call a man who refused to honour the details of the contract he signed? A cheat? Or should we put it down to mere incompetence? Answers on a postcard please!). I think that, as long as I make sure I don’t become insulting, and stick to reporting the facts as I understand them and as I can prove them, I’m okay. What do you reckon? Yep? Thought so! Just the facts, ma’am. Just the facts.
Ah yes, Creature Feature...filled with typos. (But apart from that nothing wrong with the stories)
Simon Unsworth was apparently told by Neil Jackson that the copies of CF that were published were in fact test copies only.
In an email to me Neil Jackson states that he made a mistake and sent the wrong copy to the printers, that he sent the non-proofed manuscript, instead of the proofed manuscript. Nothing about the copies being test copies.