Due to health, legal, and ideological reasons, the goals of Acacia Moon Publishing as a business entity have shifted.
The current offer to publish authors other than Ana Mardoll, founding member, must be rescinded, to be possibly reinstated at a later date on a case-by-case basis. Existing authors are welcome to leave their works on the AMP catalog rolls, or can be marked as “unavailable” in the Bowker catalog to signal that the title has officially moved to a new property. The AMP website will be markedly changed over the coming days to reflect this.
I want to offer my sincere apologies for the change of direction for AMP. This decision has been informed by drastic medical issues both for myself and my extended family, as well as some recent actions that have clarified my philosophy on publishing.
~ Ana Mardoll
Content Note: Rape, Racism, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Surgery/Disability
When I started Acacia Moon Publishing, my initial thought was to publish anything/everything submitted with no internal content checks, no screening, and no censorship. The idea was a “self-publishing” venture where authors published anything they desired, and we just supplied the ISBN and nothing else.
In the past month, I have been approached by an author wishing to publish his book with us. Everything sounded good, and the author was articulate and polite. I would have handed over an ISBN without thinking twice, except that there was a racial slur in the title of the book. That made me uncomfortable and I chose to turn down the author for inclusion in the AMP catalog, which is not something I initially expected or intended to do. Ultimately, I did not feel comfortable willingly hosting racial slurs on the AMP website, even within the title catalog.
As of this morning, I have had to lock a thread on the AMP forums because another contributor – whose work we have not published, but who I had assumed we would at some future point publish – engaged in behavior that I consider to be “rape apologia” and this left me in a triggered-and-shaky PTSD episodic state. This is my own issue as a rape survivor and no one else’s, but it’s something that I have to deal with nonetheless.
I do not wish to discuss whether or not these specific incidents are problematic, because ultimately it doesn’t matter to this email. This is background, not justification. Also as of this month, I have received a troubling email from my lawyer and another from my doctor, which I will come to in a moment.
Ultimately, I have come to the realization that I personally cannot publish anything-and-everything that comes to me – not because it’s morally wrong or anything philosophical like that, but because I simply, personally, cannot do it. It was foolish of me to not see that in the beginning, and I apologize for taking so long to come to that realization.
Further, I do not have the ability or the inclination to proofread everything that comes our way to satisfy my personal content needs, even if authors were willing to submit to a detailed screening process. My recent surgery has left me more disabled than I had expected going in, and my doctors – whom I am now visiting on a literally weekly basis – are increasingly uncertain if I will recover to the level that they had once expected. I’m not healing as expected, and I’ve been medically advised to cut back on a lot of activities, including publishing. Additionally, I’m looking at seriously cut hours at work, which means seriously cut income, which means that buying ISBNs and editing and covers and so forth is going to be increasingly difficult anyway.
Here are the facts:
- Self: I am rapidly heading towards a diagnosis of a degenerative illness, and I have increasingly less time to work on projects. In a choice between being a writer and a publisher, I know that the former is something that I can do and the latter is something I cannot.
- Business: I own and cannot-extricate-myself-from the Acacia Moon Publishing name; the business is registered in my name, by my lawyer, on my taxes, and Bowker has my credit card number for all the ISBNs purchased and used thus far. I cannot remove myself from AMP, so I cannot simply hand over the company to someone more capable.
- Legal: The legal status of AMP has suffered a serious knock, as my lawyer has informed me this month that our trademark application has been denied. My lawyer is filing an appeal, but the court has apparently determined that there are too many companies with the word “Acacia” in the name and logo already. It is unclear how this will affect the company as a whole if our appeal is denied. I do not have the energy to rebrand everything if the appeal is unsuccessful.
- Libraries: Smashwords has announced today that they are interfacing with libraries to sell indie novels to them directly, which undercuts one of the main reasons for AMP as a group franchise. (I.e., to work our way around the “X titles to ride the ride” gates put up by Overdrive.)
These are the only potential possibilities that I see as viable, given these facts:
1. The original concept of AMP (either “publish everything, no censorship” or “publish most things after community vetting”, either way) can be spun off under another name(s) and under the guidance of someone who has more energy to assume command. A new site could be founded, the forums could move there, and the anthology efforts could continue there as well. I could still gladly contribute story material to the anthologies as my life allows, but I would not be in a leadership role. People with titles currently under AMP could move to this new group, as they so chose. I would genuinely love to see this happen, however it would require someone willing to step up and manage this. Since I cannot, and since I cannot volunteer someone else for this position, I have no control over whether this happens or not.
2. The existing AMP name and business, while it lasts and assuming that our trademark appeal is not denied, will remain under my name. I will use it to publish my own books for as long as the name and business are viable, at which point I . . . suppose that I won’t. I can’t see that far for the moment, to be honest.
I will be scrubbing the Acacia Moon Publishing site over the next few days to reflect these changes. I cannot apologize strongly enough to everyone who contributed to AMP as a group and who shared this vision. I am terribly sorry that I have been forced to withdraw in this manner, and I hope that I can have your forgiveness.