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Update: Just to let everyone know, Dead Men's Tales, with my story Skarett's Treasure, was published in February 2017. You can find it HERE.
Let me take you back in time.
No, this isn't the Twilight Zone. Or maybe it is.
In March of 2013, I started writing a story titled Skarett's Treasure for a small publisher named Fringeworks. You can see the archived request for submission on Duptrope, which also stated that the authors were to get royalties, at least in theory. The following is from Duotrope:
PayscaleThere is also an entry on Horror Tree stating there would be 5% royalties after costs.
F Short fiction N + No monetary payment. Royalties.
Skarett's Treasure is a pirate story told from the point of view of one of the characters who happens to be dead. I submitted just before the May 30th (2013) deadline and it was eventually accepted.
The story was supposed to be published in an anthology called Dead Men's Tales sometime toward the end of 2013.
Then I heard it was supposed to be published in July of 2014.
Then I heard it was supposed to be published toward the end of 2014.
Then I heard, well—nothing. In fact, I heard a whole lot of nothing for a very long time.
I e-mailed, but never received a response from the editor or Fringeworks.
In the meantime, another story I had submitted to Fringeworks (and had accepted) called The Fisherman and his Wife, was published, also much later than planned, in Grimm and Grimmer III. You can buy it on Amazon, though few people know about it as neither the publisher nor the other authors seem to have done anything to promote the book.
I'd love to show you the contract I got with that deal, but I can't. I don't have one. They never even told me when the book was available. I found it on Amazon by accident.
Now, back to Dead Men's Tales...
I'm not sure what edits were done as I've never seen any for this story to review or approve. Perhaps it was absolutely perfect and none were needed. Okay, you can stop laughing now... (Note: I thought Colin Fisher, the editor for The Fisherman and His Wife, did a great job.)
I see on the Fringeworks website that they are now supposed to publish the book by late September. Here's what they have listed:
ANTICIPATED RELEASE DATE: LATE SEPTEMBER 2015
Edited by Mellissa Black, DEAD MEN’S TALES is another of those infuriatingly slow books in happening. Originally scheduled for publication in July 2014, it has been slowly progressing towards publication ever since.
The anthology will focus on the pirate stories told from the perspective of the dead.
Table of Contents
Cover – Darrel Bevan
Foreword – Kevin R McNally
Aye for an Eye by Patrick O’Neill
The Wreck of the Ebony Rose by Rie Sheridan Rose
Last Entry by Max Wright
John Gull’s Tale by Stephanie Craig
In His Own Way by Guy Burtenshaw
Shores of Leguan Island by Stewart Hotson
Spectre of the Eridanus by Kate Monroe
Skarett’s Treasure by K. R. Smith
Lips by Stephanie Ellis
The Regular by A.P. Sessler
The Engine Room by Alex Douglas-Mann
Buried With Treasure by John Vicary
The Man Remains by Julius Horne
Cover: Blackbeard, copyright Darrel Bevan, 2014.
Interesting. Despite what they say, the original publication date was long before what they have listed. 2014 was the "amended" date.
I have serious doubts that I will ever see any royalties since there has been little (nothing?) in the way of promotion of their books, and even if it sold like hotcakes (I remember Moe of the Three Stooges saying this a lot, and it seems appropriate) the chances are slim and none. I have no official contract with them.
It would be a shame for Fringeworks to simply publish Dead Men's Tales with no marketing and let it fall into obscurity, especially after all the work they (and the authors) have put into it. Artist Darrel Bevan was hired to produce the cover.
|Possible cover image by|
Dead Men's Tales
I like his work, and the image is appropriate even though the cover won't be as colorful as most books today. They've even managed to get actor Kevin R. McNally to write the foreword for this book. He is one of three actors who have starred in all four of the Pirates of the Caribbean films.
Unfortunately, I'm afraid this may be what happens if it ever gets published at all. It's been over two years since I started this adventure. I can't even remember the character's names! I sure hope it's a decent story.
Do I think the Fringeworks folks are evil? No. In the beginning, they were very responsive and appeared to be working hard at getting out quality books. I think they tried to do too much and got in over their heads. There may have been some internal personality issues, too, but I can't say for sure. And they did have problems when the original cover artist left, and possibly with the separation of Knightwatch Press. I never did get a lot of details on this.
That being said, I won't be submitting anything new to them until they show they've got their act together, and I really hope they manage to pull it off. But a blog post once every six months and a tweet every year isn't the kind of communication you need from your publisher. For the moment, there are too many better options out there.
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