In some of the post-mortems and in some of the posts written while the story was unfolding I think that some, perhaps, unfair charges were level against them in an attempt to gain distance quickly and to show examples of why they thought Trestle was hinky from the start. Some of them were: they were a one man operation, they approached authors, they didn't edit, they have a crappy website. I don't think that there is a need to create other charges to level against Trestle because the core ones are bad enough. These charges were potentially unfair because they may be applicable to other operations.
In sending out the State of the Union letter primarily I wanted to have a certain level of transparency with my authors but I also wanted to address head on some of the concerns that arose as a result of Trestle being exposed.
So this week, I decided to use my post time here at DSD to take a portion of the State of the Union letter public while adding some new thoughts as well.
One Man - One of the charges leveled at Trestle is that they were/are a one man operation. I think that this is unfortunate. As those of us that come from the crime short fiction scene know one man operations can fail or be successes, it just depends on the man. Snubnose is essentially a one man operation. While Jack and Sandra are co-owners I do the bulk of the work.
Until recently I worked for 6 years in the Accounts Receivable department for the book division of Diamond Comics Distributor. I worked multimillion dollar book store accounts going in one direction and with publishers going in the other direction. I was never under any false impressions of all of the things that went into running a press. It's a lot of work from editing and promoting to "office" things like monthly statements and making payments. It's hard work, but I knew it would be. I tell you this not as a way to show my bonafides but to show that I take all of this seriously.
Art - Snubnose has an art team that consists of Eric Beetner, Ben Springer, and Boden Steiner. Our covers are either original art/designs that were created by one of these guys or was used with art obtained from the web in a manner consistent with applicable rules and regulations. In other words we have credited where necessary; obtained permissions when necessary; and have had to pass on art because necessary permissions couldn't be secured in an equitable way.
Editing and Formatting - Another charge leveled against Trestle. Some manuscripts are going to require more editing then others. With short story collections if any of the stories have already been published I assume that they have been edited already so unless there is a factual mistake I don't do too much with them. I will always edit a manuscript to the best of my ability and as much as it needs. As far as formatting goes. If there ever is a concern with how Snubnose books are formatted please let me know. Related, I have a good eye for typos but still things slip through. If anyone ever sees a typo in a Snubnose book let me know. They are easily fixable with ebooks.
Soliciting authors - I regularly contact authors in an attempt to make sure that Snubnose Press is on their radar screens. I would be a fool too assume that everyone has heard of Snubnose so I work hard to touch base with people who probably haven't. If I read an ebook that was self published and I liked it I'll send the author a quick note saying so and to invite them to submit future works to Snubnose. I send authors emails when they make it publicly known that they have a manuscript and invite them to submit to Snubnose. These particular types of emails have resulted in Old Ghosts, City of Heretics, Andrew Nette's upcoming release and others. Perhaps the distinction is that I don't make promises and that I simply invite but an editor approaching an author isn't a bad thing.
Website - I'll be the first to admit that Snubnose doesn't have the best website. Since its inception Spinetingler's expenses have been paid for out of our pockets. We are trying to get to a point where book and magazine sales will fund Snubnose Press and Spinetingler so that we don't have to pay directly out of pocket any longer. One of the upgrades we can consider at that point is the website.
I'm always up front that Snubnose is a small operation. Other epublishers like Blasted Heath and Bare Knuckles have bigger operating budgets then we do. I'm not begrudging them that status and I love those guys. I think our stable of writers stands pound for pound with theirs and any others.
The bottom line is this. My door is always open. If there are ever any questions, comments or concerns don't ever hesitate to bring them to me. I said recently that you can tell a lot about a publisher by their response and I mean it.
Couple of Snubnose news items: Subs should be opening up again in a couple of months. We released our first novel, Hill Country by R Thomas Brown, last week. This week Old School by Dan O'Shea will drop. Every two weeks after that Nothing Matters by Steve Finbow, Cold Rifts by Sandra Seamans and The Duplicate by Helen Fitzgerald will all be released.
Currently listening - Alabama Shakes. Their ep can be streamed here and the full length album will be dropping soon and will be huge.
Currently reading - The Gamblers by Martin Stanley; Cutter and Bone by Newton Thornburg