Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Permuted Press changes tactics and says deal with it or walk

UPDATED: For better or worse, I took a stand tonight, here are my thoughts on the whole Permuted Press debacle and how to try and move forward, if possible. I'm about 

UPDATED: Brian Keene weighs in

#1- A New Age of Fuckery 

#2 - Permuted Press Part 2, or, Solidarity Isn’t Just For Unions

Re: #PermutedPress

Well, Roy C. Booth and I had a book releasing on October 28th, now we don't and here's why:

Permuted Press decided they didn't want to honor a contract that was signed over a year ago. We were told repeatedly that our book was on track to be released via multiple emails, with the most recent dated Oct 3rd. Then out of the blue, on Oct 9, Permuted President, Michael L. Wilson sent out a mass email to over 100 authors and informed them that all pending and future releases (except for a select few) would be released in ebook only. Mind you Permuted has our print rights, among others. So naturally, I emailed them back and asked two very distinct questions:

1) What does this mean for MORTUARY OF MADNESS release and now the rights that you have, if you are not going to exercise POD/Paperback rights, do they revert back to us? If not, then we have a major issue. 

2) What does this mean about a backlist book, ie, IF GOD DOESN'T SHOW, does the POD/Paperback cease there as well? And if so, do those rights revert back?

the response was direct and to the point: "...All backlist titles, including If God Doesn't Show, will not be affected by the new changes in policy. Mortuary of Madness will be released as an ebook only, and not be in print...Permuted will retain all rights per the contract, whether or not the books are released in ebook or print."

Say what?!? You have no intention of exercising print rights, yet you are keeping them. More importantly, you are telling me this 20 days before release, after you previously sent me an email saying nothing of the sort.

So, I did some digging.

Edited with new info via Jake Bible: At a convention in Nashville (which all authors were invited, but only a handful could afford to attend) back in September, President Michael L. Wilson told that group of Permuted authors the plan to go ebook only and halt the release schedule and told/asked them NOT to discuss this plan in the Permuted Facebook authors group. They were told, according to Jake Bible, they could talk amongst themselves, but not about in the private group. Hence the uproar, with over 100 authors being blindsided with this news days before release. 

Read that last sentence again. Go ahead, I'll wait.

So instead of being up front with their entire roster, Permuted Press decided to act as if everything was business as usual and LIE to their authors. Yes, an outright, deliberate decision to LIE to their authors by continued emails assuring me, and others, their books were on schedule, when they had no intention of honoring that schedule.

This is just my personal situation, you can read even more about their deceptive practices and the monetary damage they're causing here on Gabrielle Faust's Blog

I'm sure in the coming days, we'll start to hear even more stories of the damage they've caused.


As for those authors that knew this was coming and chose to keep quiet, I hope karma is real nice to you. 

You and Permuted Press deserve each other.


  1. Gabrielle's blog post was factually incorrect.
    There is a good point by point counter to it here:

    The tricky thing about our book contracts is that you sell them the rights to the work. They are under no obligation to actually produce the book in paperback format. YES this sucks and would be cause for a negotiation - but they haven't lied to anyone. They're just operating as a business - with their shareholders as the only party they need to please.

    *edited link correction

    1. In order to "sell" your rights to a publisher, the publisher MUST provide MONETARY COMPENSATION. What monetary compensation did these authors receive? As a self-published author, I would expect a NICE HEFTY check for the rights to my work; no check, no sale, regardless of what's in the contract. If I was one of these authors, I'd SUE and have PP pay MY legal expenses, court costs, and fees.

    2. still waiting on your response, Mr. Mannering

  2. And yet, Paul, telling an author a book will be out on print, letting said author ramp up advertising and promotional efforts on that basis, then pulling the rug from under their feet, is a dick move.

    And taking print rights then not using them despite promises to do so is also a dick move.

    Not telling all your authors a matter of that import at the same time is another dick move.

    Singing up large numbers of authors with promises of book store appearances of their books, then switching quickly to being ebook only soon afterward is another dick move.

    I think we're seeing a pattern here.

    And I for one won't be buying any Permuted Press books unless they change their attitude to writers.

    1. Not buying permuted press books hurts the authors (who are already hurt here) more than it hurts permuted.

      I'm in the exact same boat. What Zombies Fear 6: The Incarnation was due to be published 10/21/14. I got notification on 10/14/2014 that it was pushed until "sometime in 2015". Seven days notice. I'd ramped up marketing. I had contests. I had give-aways. I had pre-orders.

      And now I look like a complete douchebag. The last thing I need is someone boycotting my books just because my publisher made bad decisions.

    2. Dick move, yes, even more of a dick move, sending out emails assuring authors their books were on schedule, when they had no intention of fufulling that schedule

    3. Victor: If Permuted is like every other book publisher out there, it's making more of a cut from the sale of books than you are as the author.

      Don't ask people to cover up Permuted's mistake by permitting them to make profits anyway. You losing money is grounds for you to sue Permuted for violating their contract with you. Because it stops being legal principle and starts being actual harm. Permuted is the douchebag here. Make sure your readers know that.

  3. Here's the issue

    1) Emails were sent to authors (including myself) assuring us the books were on schedule, as early as this Thursday, to be released on time. I received an email on Oct 3, again assuring me my book was on schedule.

    2) I received a new email (mass form) from Michael L. Wilson on Oct 9, saying my book would NOT be released in print, only ebook, and would NOT be released until an undetermined date in early 2015. If I didn't like it, I could walk.

    3) and this is the deception part - this was discussed with a select group of authors in Nashville by Mr. Wilson and they were told this was happening and were asked/told to keep quiet.

    In the mean time, emails kept going out saying everything was fine when it wasn't.

    Feel free to defend that, Mr. Mannering

    What have I done? I've dissolved my contract and walked. I'm one of the lucky ones.

    1. How can they reneg on contracts and still retain publishing rights? That's insane.

  4. I have two books with Permuted Press, That I signed with them under the old owner; One Man's Island, which is out now, and the sequel, One Man's War, still due out in January. I haven't been harmed by the recent developments, but rest assured, I probably will with my next novel I signed with them last year, that I've yet to submit. I'm not at all pleased with a lot of things, things that I'm dealing with in an adult matter, by discussing them with management in private. Things I don't care to discuss in public, because it's no one's business by my own and that of management.

    That being said, the thing that really, really frightens me, is not about someone getting "A Raw Deal" and skulking off in a huff, and saying bad things about the publisher. That's your right in a free society. What frightens me is talk of a boycott of all Permuted Press' books, because the only ones you'll really hurt in the long run is us, the authors. The works we toiled so long over, with blood, sweat and tears, for months and years we toiled, will be left to languish.

    Paul's, Victor's and my novels, along with several other authors, who through no fault of our own, will be left out in the rain to be destroyed over a few people's vendetta. So, you dissolved you contract and walked away. You're unhappy, and I respect that. But what gives you the right, because you feel you were wronged, to destroy the hopes and dreams of the others who are staying?

    So you're one of the lucky ones. Thanks a lot. Thanks a whole bunch.

    1. Why can't you SUE Permuted Press for breach of contract and recover YOUR rights to your own books???

    2. I'm calling attention to their shady dealing, plain and simple, this isn't about which authors stay/leave, this is about a publisher promising us one thing, then doing another

    3. Book publishers make more of a cut per book than authors do. Unless Permuted has some other kind of deal going, but that would be unusual.

      I WANT to know when some company is shady-dealing. Why would I knowingly give my money to liars unless my life or wellbeing somehow depended on it? I won't die without your books. Shop around for a better publisher.

  5. Nobody has called for a boycott, NOBODY

    I still have a book with Permuted

  6. Just to clarify about Nashville- we were told we could talk amongst ourselves, and that included other Permuted authors not in attendance, just not to post on the FB page because of so many issues with the cray cray on that page at times. And, the meeting was open to all authors attending the con in Nashville. That was an open invitation to all Permuted authors. It wasn't a select group as in "hand picked", it was just those that happened to make it to Nashville and could be at the meeting. I just want the facts out there. Sorry if I didn't explain myself well enough when we talked. My bad. And I'm also sorry for all the crap you are having to go through. It sucks. Ugh.


  7. I'll begin by saying that I'm not defending Permuted Press, nor am I an author with them. I'm a complete third party in this.

    First, let's set the record straight. As deplorable as we might view Permuted's action, they have NOT reneged on their contracts. If they had, authors would have good grounds for legal action. However, what they've done, in my mind, is shameful and at least borderline unethical.

    Unfortunately, other publishers have in the past retained rights that they have no intent of exercising, and will continue to do so unless authors negotiate their contracts properly. In fact, in some contracts the definition of "published" does not extend to "being distributed." As long as they produced the copies (which in the past meant "had printed them"), the book was published even though the copies never left the warehouse. This is something few authors know or understand. "Published" does not mean "available to buyers." Effectively, the book is put out of print before it is ever distributed. And yes, this has happened to authors.

    The ethical thing for Permuted to do would be to offer to revert the print rights to the authors at no (or minimal) cost because presumably they had not invested anything in the print book that the e-book did not also require (cover, editing). THAT would be the right thing to do. THAT would smooth over a lot of hard feelings. THAT is the right way to run a business and to prove that they truly do care about their authors despite having had to make a difficult business decision. Everyone wins in the situation.

    And I do not advocate boycotting Permuted Press books. As was said, that only hurts the other authors who had no role in the decision, and it wouldn't hurt the publisher enough to matter. Permuted Press has already damaged its reputation enough that they likely won't be seeing any new authors come their way. This is how small presses bring about their own demise. They have a narrow window of opportunity to remedy the situation. Otherwise, I suspect they will have done themselves in and no author will ever trust them again.

    1. What's the difference between us boycotting Permuted and Permuted going out of business because it can't sign new authors?

      Your contract is for a set number of titles. So after that, look for another publisher. And find something to help you pay the bills in the meantime. You're offended that people might boycott an unethical business. I'm offended that you think an unethical business is entitled to my money. I boycott Wal-Mart and that theoretically hurts Wal-Mart employees. The alternative is doing a lot of my shopping there and accelerating thereby the damage they are doing worldwide. I know which is going to let me sleep better at night.

  8. thanks for you thoughts. I've definitely learned from this situation and it won't happen again. By my going public, I hope that my mistake in trusting this publisher will serve as a warning and lesson to any other authors that may be considering this deceptive press.

    Let me be clear, I am not, nor have I advocated, a boycott of Permuted Press. I still have a book with them, I'm still a Permuted author.