I've been playing nice these past few days, but I did hint that I was ready to put somebody on blast in the near future. Well, the future is here. So the first thing I should do is set the table (so to speak). The Indie scene is a growing community. With the movement you will find all sorts of good. Unfortunately, there are also a good number of "snake oil" sales men (women too, I'm sure). People in the fringes are worse than used car dealers because there is really no solid protocol in place. Most of what goes on is the good old fashioned "word of honor" type stuff. Remember when a handshake was good enough? Sadly, those days are gone.
So, let's say I wrote a book. Okay...I have, but we are trying to make a point so play along. Now, I release this book and make my money. A few months later, I use my computer and I just substitute all the character names. Now, I release this "new" story with a different title and everything. You, being a fan (I said we are pretending...in my pretend, I get fans...so there) rush out and buy my new book. Do you feel a bit jilted?
So, let me just say that I feel very fortunate. May December Publications has some fantastic cover artists. When I saw the above picture, I knew that Shawn Conn was who I wanted doing my DEAD series covers. We have added a few other very talented individuals. all of which provide something that we hope makes you want to pick our books up and discover that there is as much talent on the inside as there is on the outside. But here is the thing...when we put a book out, that cover is its identity. Don't you agree? I mean, look at how identifiable certain images become. The band KISS has an iconic logo that is recognizable worldwide. People learn to identify a product on sight. Some day, I hope the DEAD logo is something that identifies a brand. So, are you following me?
Now...imagine the horror a writer must feel if they see THEIR cover that they PAID for on somebody else's book. Now there is nothing wrong with an artist making his or her money. Sell prints, make t-shirts or posters...that's fine. However, if you sell somebody cover art and then sell that same art top somebody else with "a few cosmetic changes" then you are a thief and a bad guy. And if you get indignant about that...I could give a rip. What you are doing is called a hustle. YOU NEED TO BE STOPPED.
I'm not qualified to comment on the content of these titles. I own one, but have not read it yet. And I may not be the most observant guy around ...I lose my wallet and keys AT MY DESK about five times a day, but are you seeing what I'm seeing? Zooming in and adding red to the eyes is NOT creating something new. I don't care if the "artist" zoomed in on the hand clutching the shoulder...still wrong. Now I don't know if some sort of arrangement was made in this case...but in this next case I know for a fact that at least one of the authors was mortified when the following discovery was made.
The "illustrator" in question, Neil Jackson, doesn't see a problem. In fact, he is pounding his shoe on the podium of social media about "whining writers" who just don't get it. He works SO HARD...and is the victim here. Hmmm...red curtains...white curtains...wow...I bet that was grueling. How many mouse clicks on Photo shop did it take? Now...care to take a peek at how he deals with his customers? Just click here. Now...here is another one of the problems I have with making deals with people you can't look in the eye before entering into a deal. That little crowbar comment...any loud-mouthed horse's ass can talk big on a keyboard. Simple...no repercussions because there isn't somebody there to stuff those big words down his throat. I may not be the meanest dog in the yard, but I am far from dainty and have a few scars on my forehead and I am fairly certain he wouldn't talk that way to me if I was standing in front of him.
A few days ago, I said that real revolution starts with one or a small group. Well, I am calling on anybody who believes that this kind of crap needs to stop and heels like this need to be run out of town on a rail. I know that ever since the Mandy DeGeit "incident" when a publisher whose initials are AG got tarred and feathered...the world has been just a bit sweeter. Pure and simple, the guy was an abusive punk who ruined other peoples work, plagiarized, and wrote unauthorized sequels. People just kept walking away with the thought of "What can I do?" By yourself...very little...but together, we can make a difference. Tell your friends...spread the word.