Thursday, February 9, 2012

An Apology, some angst and--stuff

"I think people appreciate a songwriter who has different sides.  The whole angst thing is cool, but if that's all you've got, it's just boring.  Everything I write, whether it's happy or sad, has a sense of humor to it." -Katy Perry

Wow, did I touch off a firestorm with my last post.  Part of me enjoyed the heck out of it, since I was in a fighting mood after working myself up to deal for the last time with Trestle Press.  But I was bothered by the fact that it caught unintended people in its flare, so let me address some of that, and then--well, other stuff.  The bottom line is that I want to take one last stab at communicating what's in my head. 

First, though, I must admit that I bought a bottle of Arrogant Bastard Ale on the way home after that first day.  The irony in it was delish.

Second, I must also admit that, naive though it was, I put a lot of hopes and dreams into my publication with Trestle.  Watching those crumble wasn't easy, and it made me hurt and angry and all those other mental states that make us open our mouths (real or virtual) and say things we wouldn't normally say in ways we wouldn't normally say them. 

So on to the real message.  If you're a former Trestle Press author, let me apologize.  My comments really were NOT meant to indicate that any of you busted a contract unrighteously or had done the wrong thing.  I'd been attacked over on a blog that means nothing to me, and I'd made the mistake of wading in because they'd insulted my name--and, hence, my father's name--and then I was attacked over my own still (at the time) being with Trestle Press.  It made me a bit defensive, and that was what came out. 

I didn't leave at the beginning of the scandal solely because I had an agreement with TP.  It was a weak, indefensible contract, granted.  I do contracts in my day job all the time, and I saw the flaws when I signed it.  Regardless, I did sign it, and I don't take that kind of thing lightly.  And no, I'm not publishing my contract; to put a private contract up for public consumption is an act of extreme unprofessionalism.  You'll have to take my word, or not, and if you're not going to take my word as good, then by all means click on that little X at the top right-hand corner of your screen. 

People have brought up, repeatedly, that in their opinion I was a fool or worse to not believe other authors' covers were copied.  Truth was, I did believe it.  But it's not cool to breach your own contract based on observation of third parties.  There was no question in my mind that many other authors' contracts (which I assumed they had) were clearly breached, but I stayed put until I managed to contact the actual artist and get the word first-hand.  I felt it was the right thing to do at the time, and I still believe it was the appropriate way to proceed.  For me.  No judgment in that, I promise, toward other authors with other contracts in other situations.  I did.  What was appropriate.  For me.

Anyway, I apologize to my fellow Trestle Press authors.  My intent was never to offend y'all.  I think the world of y'all.  We're on the same team.  None of us lied to any of the rest of us or used illegal artwork purposely, right?

By the way, to answer another question I've been repeatedly asked since this ruckus started: my real name is, in fact, Stephen H. King.  Technically, Stephen H. King, Jr., though I dropped the suffix because I thought it might make somebody think I was the Maine author's son, and because I haven't used it publicly since my father passed away.  And no, I'm not making my birth certificate public.  That's neither a professionalism nor an integrity thing.  It's just that I don't wish to reveal private information so publicly. 

Now, to the kids who attacked me on the blog, who didn't slog through being a TP author with us: y'all can all just bite me.  I did what I did because I believed it was the right thing to do, and whether you anonymous folks believe me or not is way outside of the set of things I care about any longer.  I'm a little bit sorry that I waded in when my name was insulted, but you know what?  I did, and it's over, and I'm done with it.

You guys have pretty much failed, anyway.  Many of us former TP authors are away from Trestle now, true.  But TP hasn't "gone into hiding" as somebody suggested on that other blog.  He was still adding other authors when I left, in fact.  And he will continue doing so, using a legal, if cheap, source for artwork going forward.  And people who know nothing about you or your cause will continue buying their books.

Like I said earlier, you ("you" being defined for the word munchkins out there as the kids described two paragraphs above) acted like children in your little campaign of angst.  What you should have done was quietly gathered some artists whose work had been used without permission and, once you had over $5000 in arguable losses, gone as a group to the federal agency who investigates criminal infringement of copyright.  If you don't know who that is, then Google is your friend.  That agency would've investigated, quietly, and then if justified TP would have been shut down, fined, and possibly even had its owner imprisoned.  You would've succeeded on a grand scale, but more importantly, the writing world would've been saved your petty little sniping bullshit that followed. The guy who really did the crime would pay, and the rest of us could have gone about our lives without any dark clouds. 

As it was, you just created angst, and gave the bad guy time to duck and cover.  Great job!

In the meantime, some of the insults I've received on this and other blogs, in the Twitterverse, et al, have been everything from demeaning to downright comical.  I had somebody use the British term for a male-only body part, like I wasn't going to be able to figure that one out and then delete it from my blog-space.  Then there's a British crime novel author living in Sweden who argued with me about American contract law, which was pretty silly, and then he closed the conversation with "I'll never buy your book."  That last actually made me laugh with its extreme level of self-importance.  If I had his address, and could legally mail alcoholic beverages, I'd send him a bottle of Arrogant Bastard, too.  Reality is, if I only have a couple hundred million Americans who don't buy my book, I'll be quite happy. I don't know how many people in Sweden will eventually have not bought my book, but I'll bet it's a bunch. 

In any event--lookit, fellow former Trestle Press authors--I didn't mean to insult you.  No, seriously.  If anything I said came off as an insult, then I apologize.  Now, please put down the pitchforks and let's get along like the professionals we are supposed to be.

To my long-time followers and readers, I very much appreciate your patience through this.  I hope to push through and have my work back out and available soon with legitimate artwork on the cover and much better organization of contents, in addition to multiple formats of availability.  All that, and an acknowledgments page to boot.

To those who are still convinced I'm--well, a walking male body part, or whatever creative epithet you wish to apply--or are otherwise antagonistically inclined toward me, I'll save you the trouble of hauling your soapbox out.  Please, please, please, don't buy my book.  Ever.  Don't bookmark my author web site, either, or Follow me on Twitter.  If you must, though it pains me more than it would to drink a good Belgian trippel to say this, go ahead and unfriend me on Facebook. 

And to all, a good night.


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