Posts tagged small press shuts down
Well, it’s a sad day here at MMP HQ.
Hello, I’m Scott R. Jones. Normally I’d be writing this from the MMP-standard royal “we” (see pretty much every post for the past several years) but the time for full ownership has come. I’m shuttering the press for the foreseeable future. This is due to multiple factors that have, over the past year and a bit, contributed to the increasingly poor functioning of the press and the failure to live up to the admittedly meager ideals it was founded on. It’s painful to write this post, but necessary, and, seeing as I’ve essentially already written it (in a letter to the authors slated to appear in the two upcoming but now sadly cancelled MMP anthologies) I am going to attempt to save myself some further pain and so post portions of that letter below.
Good afternoon, everyone. Hope your weekend is going well so far. Unfortunately, I’m writing to relay a piece of bad news that a number of you have likely expected was coming, considering the delays in production on the upcoming MMP books you have pieces attached to.
It’s with considerable regret that I have to cancel both books and put the press on hiatus for the foreseeable future. This past year has been a bad one for me on a number of levels: personal, financial, and health concerns both physical and mental have combined to basically destroy my ability to do right by the press and the writers I work with. When I started MMP five years or so ago, one of my earliest intentions was to provide a level of basic courtesy and professionalism to the people I chose to work with. Given the “boutique”, one-man nature of the operation, this (for me) meant four things: writers and artists would be paid on time for their work, the books would drop in a timely manner, communication would be timely and transparent, and promotion for the titles would be the best possible given the resources available.
2019 has seen MMP fail on all four counts. Without going too much into the unpleasant details, I have run out of money, credit, time, and the increasingly important mental resources required to operate MMP in even the most bare-bones manner. As some of you have no doubt already noted, contracts as written and signed off on have not been honoured, payments have not been forthcoming, and communication on these matters has been slight and shamefully deferral in nature. Honestly, I had hoped that at least the financial aspect of this would turn around and allow me to move ahead with both Innsmouthbreathers and Monstrous Outlines, however haltingly, but that has not been the case despite a series of best efforts. Again, at MMPs inception, my intention was to not allow the press and its operation to impact my family’s already thin financial resources: with the increase of the usual costs of living, and the arrival of new and unexpected expenses, this has become impossible to do, and so the MMP project has to be sacrificed.
I’d also like to address here another aspect of the problem that I have little doubt will come up. Those of you who are attached to me via social media have likely noted that my personal writing career has seen some significant uptick in the past several months: I was approached about, and eventually sold, a collection of my short stories to another publisher, and my debut novel Stonefish which I’d been working on since mid-2018 has been purchased and is slated for release early in 2020. I recognize and regret the hypocrisy of this. Focusing on my own work had taken a back seat for so long, and the surge in attention and ability I experienced with the writing of the novel overtook me, to the detriment of MMP and, sadly, your own work as represented in MMP books. I have not been balanced in my approach to the work, and the cost has been high. I want to own this and apologize for any harm I’ve brought to you personally and your careers professionally. I should have done better, and I did not.
For all the above, I am deeply sorry. Thank you for submitting your amazing work to MMP, for your patience, and your understanding. All rights to your stories as contracted I now return to you fully in the hope that we may dissolve said contracts and separate peacefully and on good terms. I wish I could do more than just this, as it feels meager indeed, and you all deserved better. Looking forward, on the outside chance that I am at some point in the future able to reinvigorate MMP and restore it according to the framework of my original intentions for the press, I hope that you will consider becoming involved again with either the books being cancelled presently (should they be revived) or new and different ones.
I followed this with an assurance that I would keep my channels open to talk, as I want to foster open and clear communication with the writers I worked with regarding the decisions made. So far the response from writers affected has been gracious, understanding, and sympathetic, which is more than I deserve.
Martian Migraine Press has been in operation since, oh, let’s call it early 2014. Five years and change is not too bad in this wild west of a business, I’m told. I am grateful (as an editor, a publisher, a writer, and a human being, basically) for the experience. Working with established authors and brand spanking new writers of considerable talent and energy, collaborating with and learning from other editors in the field, soliciting gorgeous covers from unique artists and illustrators, and then hearing from readers both online and in person how much the MMP books were enjoyed has been wonderful and heartening. Most of the time, it seemed to me that I didn’t know what I was doing here, other than creating reading experiences I myself enjoyed, but that seems to have struck a chord within the horror and weird fiction communities, and for that I am supremely grateful.
All MMP titles in both TPB and electronic formats will continue to be made available here and from most major retailers.
Thank you, all, for your support and dedication to MMP. Comments will be left open below for questions or concerns.
Scott R. Jones