I stopped by the old site the other day and realized it was shut down. Weird letters and coding filled the screen and all of my content was gone. I hopped over to the WinePress site to jump on their CoCaptain message system and notify them that there was a problem.
Yup, I'd been living under a rock.
I just read the entire blog of Athena Dean. Athena was the acquisition's editor at WinePress who approved my book for their publishing service.
When I contacted WinePress back in 2010 I had already shopped many POD publishers. This was my plan B after over a year spent trying to land a traditional publisher.
Before that, I had a "Christian agent" who took plenty of cash, but never did a thing.
When I found WinePress I was skeptical from that earlier experience and did not want to be scammed again.
Yet, I had an urgency about publication, not because of my own ambition, but because of a true heart to reach people with my story's message.
I didn't know anything going on behind the scenes with WinePress. Had I known what I know now, I would not have chosen them for my work.
I cried and screamed at my computer screen as I read Athena's complete account.
Not only have I not received royalties this year, I have not ever been notified that there was the slightest problem with WinePress.
Everything was going so well with them (I believed) that I even requested permission to advertise my business on their website, further aligning myself with a mess I knew nothing about.
One of my most horrifying realizations was that Malcolm Fraser, a WinePress employee whom I had worked with, had been convicted of child rape.
I was a victim of sexual abuse in my childhood and was raped at age 18. These are events in my life that I don't talk much about. They still hurt and I haven't sorted them out enough to help anyone with my baggage yet. I tackle these aspects of my past very abstractly through my writing, examining the reality that bad things happen, but God is biggger. I know His healing. I've felt His strength equipping me to keep moving-- but I'm not all the way there yet.
It breaks my heart that a child was hurt. I'm sick to think that one cent of my money may have funded him or his cult.
I will be researching how to terminate my relationship with WinePress and further the production of When Chicks Hatch through another, more reputable publisher.
Please pray for the children, families, employees and authors effected by the actions of these individuals and the controversy produced by them.
Forgive my ignorance.