Sunday, October 29, 2006

Angelica Magazine: My Subscription Saga

A buzz passed around in 2005 about a new magazine that would contain Christian fiction by name authors. Angelica Magazine. Sounded very cool. I subscribed in early December of 2005 via amazon.com, because I wanted to support this new Christian fiction venture. I'm big on supporting Christian writers, as you know.

Note: I don't like to sub to mags on amazon.com, and don't recommend it, but that was the only way back then to do it.

Months passed. More months. The time period for expecting the first issue (12-16 weeks) passed without any notification, no reason for the delay.No first issue.

Discussion began regarding Angelica Magazine in the Faith in Fiction forum, where some writers had submitted and one had, seemingly, been accepted (ie, she worked with the editor on a piece that was to be published). Everyone was having a hard time getting in touch. The link on the web page was to a non-working email address. (Think: Mailer Daemon). Someone found a new email address for Lynette Fuller, the editor, and I tried that one. A couple times.

Finally, I got a reply via email (after many attempts) in the spring of 2006. The editor stated that the first issue would come out in July. I said, fine. I would look forward to getting it.

July went on. August, too. Whoops, there went September.

At no time did Ms. Fuller send word to writers or subscribers to say: "We're delayed again. Please bear with us. You will get your first issue before Christmas." Or whatever. Just silence.

Yes, I was vexed.

October 9th, I emailed one more time with an ultimatum: Gimme my first issue or gimme a refund. I waited a week and a half: no response. I emailed again: "I want a refund, period."

It's now October 29th. I sent another email today. Refund request, again.

Now, what's the point of relating this boring saga of a subscription gone bad?

I want to make sure the information is on the net for the other poor suckers who subscribed and got bupkis. I want anyone googling "Angelica Magazine" or Lynette Fuller or Lynn Fuller to beware. I want no one else to subscribe to this magazine until they have their act together and can actually offer merchandise for money.

Putting together a magazine has got to be maddening. New ventures fail all the time. Granted. That's why I've been very patient. willing to give the benefit of the doubt.

But when emails are ignored--legitimate emails from a customer who's prepaid--that's a lack of basic professionalism. That's bad Christian business witness. When writers are told to submit and told "I'll be back to you by January", and then January whizzes past without even a brief, "Sorry, I know I was supposed to get in touch. I'm swamped. I promise to have word by X date," it's rude. It also hints at some serious disorganization. Yes, it does. That business that doesn't keep its word, and doesn't offer updates when given dates of release or contact are breached, needs to have a warning attached to it. Sort of an BBB-blog complaint.

This is that warning.

Don't subscribe to Angelica Magazine.

If you subscribed, poor dear, swamp the inbox of Angelica Magazine with weekly requests for a refund. If you don't get a reply within a couple of days, complain. Blog about it. Warn others. Post on writing forums.

If you hang with Eric Wilson or Randy Alcorn or Jerry Jenkins or Sharon Dunn, let them know that their work is excerpted at Angelica Magazine along with their very good names, but that the magazine has not dealt professionally with subscribers or submitting authors.

For example, Linda Gilmore's work is included in the excerpts, but last I heard, Linda has not been paid, and her attempts to get some updates from the editor have failed. Eric, Randy, Jerry, Sharon, et al: Demand that the publisher/editor give some public update on the status of the magazine and if/when it will be releaesed. Request she honor demands for refunds.

Even Absolute Write has a bit of "stay away and wait" advice for writers regarding this publication.

Know what's the kicker? The smallest bit of notification would have done a good job of taking the edge off and letting us all hang on and wish them well. Just a newsletter with updates. A clear post on the entry page to the website with an explanation. A subscriber email (BCCing all subbers) apologizing and giving the reason for the delay. (Major illness? Hurricane? Tornado? Family emergency? Bankruptcy? Computer meltdown? Vandalism? SOMETHING!)

I have a web page (other than this blog.) I'm a design and web page idiot, but I know that I can update in ten minutes or fewer. That tells me that it would have been very easy to update the Angelica Site with a "What's Happening: News From Angelica's Editor" type of page to keep subscribers and writers informed of reasons for delays and progress on the venture.

I and the writers waiting for word just needed to be shown the consideration of not being left in the dark.

It's the rudeness of silence that galls.

Don't let someone else lose their time or money on this venture. Speak up if you've been in the same boat as I, because we can keep someone from having to lose their hard-earned bucks.

And, if the editor of Angelica Magazine is out there: Could I, please, have my refund?

6 comments:

Bonnie Calhoun said...

Since you suscribed through Amazon.com, complain to them...The last tiem something similar to that happened to me Amazon refunded the money that the company owed me!

Anonymous said...

Mir, You rant so much better than I. :)

The truth is, I've not given much thought to Angelica. I didn't sign anything and I didn't spend any money and I wasn't terribly thrilled with the changes I made to my story (they wanted to print a revised version of Long Way Home, which was first published in Infuze over a year ago).

I agree that they've been less than professional. It would have been so easy to update the Web site from time to time, or communicate with the authors and subscribers. Now they've generated some ill will and if the magazine ever is published, it's going to be even harder to build a good reputation.

I hope you hear something soon.

Mirtika said...

They have some nerve not paying you and then posting an excerpt up on their site. Tsk-tsk. Bad form.

Hiya Bonnie and Linda, btw. Where are my manners!

Mir

Anonymous said...

I also am trying to find Lynette Fuller. We printed a prototype of the 1st edition in June 06, 100 copies. Never received one dime and calls have not been returned.

Wade Ogletree said...

I so wanted Angelica Magazine to be for real, but I backed away, wanting to see something before I would believe. You see, they were offering $0.25 a word. The only magazines that offer that rate are children's mags like "Cricket" where words are counted in the low hundreds, not in the thousands. A writer could make a living at $0.25 a word, but I knew the market did not warrant such a price. Something had to be wrong.

Turns out, it was.

If you ask me, no one will ever see their money back from that group. It was most likely a scam set up to milk the Christian community so taken with "Left Behnd" books and the like.

Anonymous said...

Mirtika I'm not sure if you will get this or not but I have something to say about this magazine. I know that this is a very old post but I knew Lynette Fuller personally. I don't want to post what I know publicly but if you could send me an email at suezu92@gmail.com if you want to know what happened. I have some information.