Contributor Copies

I haven’t been submitting short stories to anthologies much lately. Mostly I’ve been stockpiling shorts for future collections. That doesn’t mean there hasn’t been a backlog trickling out over the last year. It’s been a while since I updated the anthologies page on this site, but the information on there is now current, with final covers and links to where you can buy copies.

One of the reasons it took so long to update the page was a lack of good cover scans. I’ll grab them out in the wilds of the web if I have to, but the ones I found of the most recent books were too low rez. That meant I had to make my own scans of the covers.

Problem: I still hadn’t received my contributor copies of certain books, months after publication.

This has happened before, so I’m used to it. It’s completely unprofessional, and again, I’m used to it. But it does burn bridges. If I’m well-paid for a story, I accept it as a petty pain in the ass to have to order my own copy. But if I do something on the cheap—or even for free—and you don’t at least send me a copy, we’re done. A copy of the damn book is the least you can do.

I’ll take a moment here to specifically point out that I’m not talking about MX Publishing. I give them my Sherlock Holmes stories for free because all the profits go to charity. And they’ve been phenomenal about sending me early HARDCOVER copies, fresh off the presses, from overseas no less. No complaints there. And if I weren’t so busy on other projects, I’d already have other adventures of Sherlock and Wiggins lined up for future volumes.

No, I’m talking about some of the small-time publishers. And I get it. You’re small, you want to save money, and postage is expensive. I don’t like the sticker-shock I get when I have to mail a book either. But one contributor copy is the bare minimum authors should be able to expect when they appear in a new book or magazine. In my comic-writing days, I’d get at least ten copies to pass around, often 25 and, in the case of my solo issues, 100+. And then there’s Money Talks #5, which I co-published with SLG back in the day just to make it through the first act of the story before the series got cancelled. I’ll die with copies of that comic filling boxes around the house. I don’t know enough people to give them all away to.

One copy. It’s all I ask. Let me gaze at the spine of your book on my author shelf and remember our time together in the publishing biz. Failing that, I’m afraid our business interaction will never be more than fleeting.