The View From Here Interview:
Preditors & Editors
Interview by Mike
Preditors & Editors is a resource intended as a simple compendium for the serious writer, composer, game designer, or artist to consult for information, regardless of genre. Famous for daring to list publishers and agents that are just out to scam the writer, it is a valuable resource in a world that will bite you as soon as feed you. I speak to editor & founder, Dave Kuzminski, about the history of the site and how it is currently under threat.
Tell me a bit about yourself.
Besides being a writer, I work as a programmer during the day. Very exciting, to be sure.
What's your ideal night out/in?
My ideal evening is spending time with my family and still having some time to spend writing and maintaining P&E. Sometimes, I accomplish all three.
What is your favorite book?
My favorite book is usually the one I'm writing. Otherwise, why spend the time writing? Yes, I find it entertaining to create something new.
What challenges did you face as a writer when seeking publication of your own work?
The biggest challenges were learning enough about the business so that I wouldn't spin my wheels sending my work to the wrong places.
Are you still writing today and if so what are you currently working on?
I still write. Presently, I'm working on a series of short stories I hope will become a published collection.
Can you tell us how the idea for the site came about and how you made that into a reality?
Preditors & Editors came about after I agreed to moderate a writer's forum years ago for Prodigy. There were lots of questions and many were wanting the same information, so I created a one-page website with the publishers I recommended. When writers then asked who to avoid, I realized that was critical information that no one was giving out. I chose to do so by listing those I didn't recommend and the name for the site came about because of that. Because P&E operated on strict criteria, writers realized that they could rely upon P&E's recommendations. Our integrity became very visible to everyone after we were threatened and refused to bow to outside demands to remove negative recommendations.
You say on the site that you "believe strongly in the future of the Internet as the media of choice for future publishing." Can you expand on that and what are your views of traditional publishing?
I believe that electronic publishing will become a part of the industry and has just as different media such as movies, radio, and television joined what was solely the province of newspapers, magazines, and books. It's not a replacement, but it's needed and will eventually be accepted all around. On the other hand, let's be careful with the word "traditional." It's not actually a publishing industry term. It was invented by PublishAmerica's management to distinguish themselves from other vanity publishers. Larry Clopper of PublishAmerica admitted that in an interview with The Washington Post. However, if you mean how will electronic publishing fit in with the existing publications, that's what is being determined now. This is because it presents certain advantages that will become more evident as time goes on. Clearly, it's less expensive to produce in massive quantities. With proper editing, it can be every bit as good as any printed book. At the same time, it's a great training ground for new writers, provided publishers are willing to give those writers and their work enough exposure and promotion so that readers will know they exist.
Do you have others helping you with Preditors & Editors?
Over the years, P&E has been given assistance from others, but most of the time I'm the individual responsible for everything that goes into it. Even so, I'd like to see others get involved. We would gladly offer a writer the opportunity to write a regular column with byline. If other writers have ideas, we'll listen to them. We want anything that's good for writers.
How do you maintain the site with no revenue coming in? Is it something you do in your spare time?
Yes, I maintain P&E in my spare time. We don't have revenue coming in though we have asked for donations for our legal expenses since I'm being sued in two different courts.
Can you give us an idea of how serious this is to P&E - is your existence under threat in these cases?
The threat to P&E's existence is serious. However, I'm not going to go into this any further.
How do you decide on your listings, do you have "informants" that tip you off from within the industry and if so do you have to protect your sources?
Listings are chosen by what they offer. In other words, sites promoting a book are often not accepted for listings unless the site offers much more than that. The listings come about from tips, complaints, and surfing the net. So yes, we do use informants. Likewise, we do protect their names unless they don't mind being attributed. Because of recent legal problems, P&E tends to not list their names because some of our legal adversaries have a tendency to retaliate against anyone associated with P&E.
Part 2 on Friday where Dave talks about self-publishing, threats to P&E and talks about some warning signs that writers should be looking out for.
Part 2 here.
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