Neil Gaiman retweeted a blog post yesterday. The blogger was a writer named Mandy DeGeit. She sent a story to a small press called Undead Press. The owner/editor, Anthony Giangregorio, accepted her story but rewrote it drastically without her permission, ruining it. In her post, she related how his emails to her became more and more unprofessional.
Someone in the comments posted about a situation that happened to horror writer Alyn Day. Giangregorio accepted her short story for his Women of the Living Dead anthology, which would be published by Open Casket Press. (I have since learned that Undead Press=Open Casket Press=Living Dead Press.) Giangregorio asked Ms. Day to submit a story to another anthology, and she obliged. He ended up butchering her second story as well.
I had an experience not long after I started writing and submitting regularly. One of my short stories was accepted by a now-defunct Australian magazine called This Mutant Life. The editor cut out an entire paragraph, presumably to save space. In hindsight, the paragraph may have been excessive, but it should've been my decision to cut it out. I was angry, but nowhere near as angry as Ms. DeGeit and Ms. Day must be.
I, too, have had an encounter with Anthony Giangregorio. I submitted a story to Women of the Living Dead. I received an email back that contained a smiley emoticon. That should've been my first clue about Giangregorio's lack of professionalism. I included my phone number because it's standard manuscript format, but I didn't expect him to call because, you know, the internet's a thing. Well, he called me the next morning. He talked super fast. (He called from a Brooklyn, NY number, and I'm a slow-talking Southerner.) I finally comprehended that he called my writing "novice," and that he might publish my story if it had a lot of tweaking. I vowed after the This Mutant Life thing that I wouldn't let someone change my work drastically. Besides, I didn't like his tone. I told him that he should pick someone else's story if mine was novice. He got pissed and said that he was glad he hadn't wasted anymore of his time. I think I called him a douchebag before he hung up; I can't remember. I'm just glad I dodged a bullet.
Getting published is hard enough without someone taking advantage of you. There are many small presses that will treat you professionally even if they can't pay you professionally. I hope Ms. DeGeit and Ms. Day have better luck in the future. The internet is a small place, really, so I hope news gets out, and Anthony Giangregorio is no longer able to make money off of ruining others' work.