Stodghill Says So

An opinionated posting on a variety of subjects by a former newspaper reporter and columnist whose daily column was named best in Indiana by UPI. The Blog title is that used in his high school sports predictions for the Muncie Evening Press.

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Location: Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, United States

At the age of 18 I was a 4th Infantry Division rifleman in the invasion of Normandy, then later was called back for the Korean War. Put in a couple of years as a Pinkerton detective. Much of my life was spent as a newspaper reporter, sports writer and daily columnist. Published three books on high school sports in Ohio and Indiana. I write mystery fiction for Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and others. Three books, Normandy 1944 - A Young Rifleman's War, The Hoosier Hot Shots, and From Devout Catholic to Communist Agitator are now available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other booksellers. So are four collections of short mysteries: Jack Eddy Stories Volumes 1 and 2, Midland Murders, and The Rough Old Stuff From Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine.

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Friday, August 25, 2006

A Publisher, a Book, a Few Random Thoughts

I don't think a man's supposed to be as busy as I've been during the month when he turns 81. Isn't that the time of life when people sit glassy-eyed in front of a TV set all day or hobble down to the nursing home lobby to sit glassy-eyed in front of a TV set all day?
So why do I have to be different? "Because you always have been," my wife tells me. She's right, of course. She's always right, and that's something else she often tells me.
"I'm just kidding, Jackie. No, seriously, I didn't mean a word of it and really would like to be served lunch today. Well, then, how about supper?"
Oh well, I wasn't hungry anyway.
So back to the subject. This month I've had a book published, received a contract for a short story, submitted two more to different publishers, finished up writing a couple of others, written an occasional blog and attended to a pair of websites. Along with that I've made too many posts on a publisher's message board, made two trips to the VA center, buried a hamster, bought another hamster, been attacked by a hamster and cussed a lot because there aren't enough hours in the day even though I'm up and at it at 5 a.m. or shortly after.
No, I'm wrong. The subject was a publisher. In this case PublishAmerica. There are people out there that bad-mouth it so let me tell you my experience with the firm. Remember, please, that I've been dealing with various sorts of publishers for more than half a century. Since 1946 to be precise. I've dealt with good ones, bad ones, fair ones, unfair ones, honest ones, lying ones, cheating ones, greedy ones, sloppy ones, lazy ones and a couple of dozen other varieties.
Considering all that it was downright annoying when PublishAmerica turned me down flat when I made them an offer I thought they couldn't refuse. And those bad-mouthers accusing them of accepting anything and everything, what a crock. Now when things don't go quite the way they want, those kind of people go off in a huff and write nasty posts on websites. Rank amateurs do that sort of thing. Being an old hand in the world of publishing, I just dusted off an old manuscript, something I had written for family members and a few friends, and fired it right back at PublishAmerica. Hey, like most people who earn a living from writing I've been rejected by the best and the worst so one more turn-down didn't bother me, just set me off in another direction.
It was on May 15 that I sent my second manuscript to PA. On July 31 the book was in print. Between times I was in contact with some of the nicest, most competent people I have ever encountered. Professionals in every respect. I don't stun easily after all these years but I was stunned by the efficiency and workmanship of Yael, the cover designer. Not only did he do a great job, he did it in three hours and he didn't have much to work with. The editor that handled my copy had the proof corrections made and back to me in twenty minutes. Then came the capper - the finished product exceeded my expectations in every respect.
So what sort of person spends their time complaining about a company like that rather than acting like a professional in the writing game? Those that know nothing about the business, expect miracles, make unreasonable demands. In other words wannabes. Amateurs who feel it necessary to broadcast their shortcomings to the world. They may be forgetting one thing: the publishing world is a small one and every time they vent their frustrations with a nasty comment they are hurting their chances of acceptance with all publishers. They do read that stuff, you know, they do remember names. Like everyone, though, they ignore anonymous submissions of any kind. If a person lacks the courage to sign his name to something he has written he is not worthy of attention.
Sure, some people that don't write too well have had books published by PA. So where's the harm in making someone happy without charging them to do it? But there are other PA writers - quite a few of them, actually - just as good as those published by any New York publishing house you can name.
So would I recommend PublishAmerica to others? You bet I would. The company isn't perfect, of course. No company or individual can claim to be so. But you won't find a publisher staffed by better people or one that will do a better job. That's as high a recommendation as I can hand out. Now I'm going to see what I can do about lunch. Oh, it's ready? Thanks, Jackie, I knew you didn't mean it.

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