Howdy, Folks. As you may or may not know, I have had issues with Ghostwriter Publications for months now. Non payment of royalties, undelivered books, and even threats of physical violence by the owner of GWP have all been posted here for everyone to see. I’ve spent many posts warning people away from them, and with good reason, in my opinion.
Recently I was contacted by Stephen James Price, who is the new Head Honcho at GWP USA and wanted to try and rectify the situation and make things right with several GWP authors, past and present. I am glad to see the reins taken away from the previous chief, Neil M. Jackson, but until I actually see some positive steps, I am reserving judgment. I will, however, say that Mr. Price certainly seems to want to move forward and straighten things out, so I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.
1. Please take a moment to introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your background.
My name is Stephen James Price. Steve to my friends as I hope some of you will become, but the three-name name to the writing community because there is already a writer named Steve Price who was published before I was. I am a writer and an editor and now a publisher. I have an extensive background in graphics art and currently make a living as a professional photographer (and of course a publisher.) My education followed a Mechanical Engineering and Computer Science path, but I haven’t worked in the engineering field in over 20 years. I have sized 13 feet. Is that enough?
2. Without beating around the bush, GWP has a very bad reputation in the writing community. I am one who has been very vocal in expressing my disdain for both the company and its former management. How does something like that make you feel?
I’ve heard from both sides of the fence on this issue and all I can say is that I am very happy with our current lineup of writers (two of them are Amazon Best Sellers) and that I am in negotiations with several more “big names.” Every company has complaints from time to time. I believe the phrase “very bad reputation” is a little skewed. GWP has had some unresolved complaints and has missed some launch dates. I’m taking steps to correct these issues as they arise. The problem as I see it was the company grew too fast. We have over 400 chapbooks and 50 novels that have been approved for release. That is a daunting task and a lot of milestone release dates and ship dates were missed because of this.
NOTE from David: Fair enough, but as an author who was on the receiving end of some of Ghostwriter’s previous unsavory and unprofessional treatment, I stand by my “very bad reputation” comment. Things might have always been going fine for some writers there, but for the rest of us, GWP was almost a dream-killing disaster. I understand Stephen’s desire to move forward here, but I had to interject my own thoughts and experiences based on the previous regime. And with apologies to Stephen, no publisher should ever threaten to beat their authors over the head with a crowbar, as Neil did to me. That said, I very much doubt Stephen will ever do the same.
3. How long have you been the new head of Ghostwriter Publications? And why did you decide to take over a company with such a rocky reputation rather than simply start a new one from scratch?
I took over GWP’s digital side (GWP USA) on October 1, 2010. The company has a very good business plan, some great backers and an excellent stable of writers right now.
NOTE from David: This makes sense. GWP does have some decent names in its lineup already.
4. Is Neil Jackson still involved with the company? If so, in what capacity?
Yes. Neil is the founder of GWP. He will continue to create the spectacular covers we are al used to seeing and is whittling away at the hardcopy chapbook backlog.
5. What are some of the things that you will be doing differently than your predecessor?
The digital side of GWP is fairly new so I’ll being focusing on launching a large array of new work in as many digital formats as possible.
6. As a former GWP author and customer, I admit to being a little skeptical that anything good could come out of Ghostwriter Publications. Tell me why I am wrong.
The quick answer is that good things (that should probably be great things) are already coming out of GWP. Digital sales are increasing every month and we have 2 authors who are Amazon Best Sellers. I’ve got some incredible stories in my slush pile right now and the backlog from hell of approved works.
7. One of the things I noticed about the old regime at GWP was a marked lack of editing for the works that were published. Will the works be more thoroughly vetted now that you are running the show?
I have not seen any of this on the digital side, and I am unable to speak intelligently about things that were published in the past that I have not read. To answer your question, yes, the works that are in my current queue will be edited. I’ve already dropped a few projects that I didn’t feel were far enough along in the editing stage to be properly considered. As an editor, I don’t want to see a manuscript until it is finely polished and as close to being ready as it can be. As a writer, I don’t submit first draft for consideration so I ask the same thing for submissions. Querying a project that is “in works” is fine, but please only submit your best work.
8. What is GWP’s niche? Where does it fit into the current marketplace? You mentioned something about making it all digital, is that the future of GWP?
We are bringing some great works – both old and new – into the digital arena. We are also offering a low-cost eChap (my name for the digital chapbook) for readers to get a “taste” of an author they may not be familiar with. While I can’t speak for the future of GWP as a whole, GWP USA is concentrating mainly on digital releases. Contractual obligations with some authors will see these same books released as traditional hard copies. Personally, while I love books, I’ve become addicted to my Kindle and truly believe it is the next evolution.
9. Where do you see GWP in one year’s time? Five years?
In one year, I plan to have several more great authors releasing some fantastic work. Negotiations are underway to get some out-of-print backlists of some amazing authors released digitally. In five years? With this ever changing industry, that’s hard to say. We’ll still be here and we’ll still be releasing some great reads. In twenty years, maybe we’ll all be reading them from our watches or the stories can be beamed directly into our brains. Things are changing quickly.
10. I note that you have been in contact with Dave K. of Preditors and Editors. For those who might not know, P&E gave GWP a “Not Recommended” rating under the old management. What steps are you taking to show P&E that this should be changed?
11. I note that GWP will now be called GWP USA. Does this mean the company’s base of operations has moved to the US?
The digital operations are now based in the US. GWP USA is an imprint of GWP.
12. What will be the terms of the new GWP USA contracts? I imagine advances will be out of the question, but are you at liberty to discuss royalty percentages and payment terms?
The contracts for digital releases are being reworked on several levels. At this point in time, advances are not being considered. I’m not familiar with any digital release avenue that currently pays advances (although there may be a few out there.)
13. As GWP USA moves ahead into a new phase, what sort of material will you be looking for?
We have a lot of dark fiction (horror if you will), Sci-Fi and mysteries in the queue. I have plans on pursuing other genres, but they won’t be announced until after the first of the year. As I previously mentioned, with our current backlog of over 400 eChaps and 50 eBooks, that timeframe may have to be pushed back a little. This short answer to your question is that I am willing to look at any genre right now.
In closing, I’d like to say thank you for the opportunity to talk to your readers and if anyone has any questions, feel free to contact me at StephenJamesPrice@live.com.
You’re welcome, Stephen, and thanks for stopping by. I truly do wish you the best of luck with GWP USA.