Monday, June 18, 2007

Follow-Up on the Angelica Magazine Rip-Off: James H. Pence's Experience & Offer


Back in January, I had posted an update on the shameful mess that was Angelica Magazine
, wherein promises were made by Lynnette Fuller--207 Grinders Pl,Vicksburg, MS 39180--some authors got paid (at amazingly high rates given periodicals today), and the subscribers got shafted by Lynette Fuller (no response to emails, no website explanation of situation, no sub monies refunded, just a wall of suspicious silence and ripped off consumers). A different entry relates my "Subscription Saga."

Only a few authors seemed to make out well. And hey, it's not like they knew any more than we who subscribed in good faith.

A recent comment was made to that January blog post, so I'm moving it here to a regular entry, since some of you out there who got ripped-off by Angelica Magazine might want to at least read ONE of the stories for which you paid and got bupkis.

Read what James H. Pence, author, had to say:

Hi Mir (and anyone else with an interest in Angelica Magazine):

I would be at least one of the authors who got paid by Angelica Magazine, and I thought it was about time that someone stepped forward and cleared the air (at least a little bit). I've been hesitant to speak about this publicly because I was holding out hope that Angelica might still become a reality and that there would be a happy ending to this "saga". However, I think the disappearance of the Web site is fairly solid evidence that it's not going to happen.

I am a relatively unknown suspense author with two novels to my credit. My first novel, "Blind Sight" was published by Tyndale in 2003, and my latest, "The Angel", was released by Kregel in 2006. A few years ago, Lynette Fuller contacted me and told me that she had read my novel "Blind Sight". She also told me that she was the editor of a start-up Christian fiction magazine and asked if I'd be willing to submit a short story. I don't write much short fiction, but she was offering 20 cents a word, and I was trying to make a living as a full time freelancer at that time. On top of that, she said that she would include a full page spread for my new novel as part of my compensation. It sounded like a great deal, particularly when one is trying to get his work in front of new readers. So I agreed to write a story for her.

As far as I know, I'm the first author that Lynette contacted about her concept for a quarterly Christian fiction magazine. I recommended another author (a friend of mine) to her, and she asked him to write a story as well. I believe that he also was paid.

In Feb. of 2006, I actually got to meet Lynette and her husband at Jerry Jenkins' "Writing for the Soul" conference. At that meeting she explained that she was an avid reader of Christian suspense fiction, and that she really felt there was a need for a good Christian fiction magazine that would feature name authors as well as up-and-coming authors. It sounded like a great idea, and with names like Jerry Jenkins and Randy Alcorn supplying stories, it also seemed like it was something that would take off.

I'll post more tomorrow, but I wanted to address Mir's frustration at paying to read someone's writing and never getting her money's worth. I have no ties to Angelica other than that I actually got paid for my story. Nevertheless, I can understand the frustration of subscribers who never received anything. Thus, as one of the few authors who was paid by Angelica, I'd like to make this offer:

If any Angelica subscriber will email me, (jhpence@yahoo.com), I will be happy to send you a .pdf file of "The Price of Empathy", the short story I wrote for Angelica.

Also, if you will send me a snail mail address, I will send you a complimentary copy of my novel "Blind Sight" (while supplies last). "Blind Sight has gone out of print, and I only have a limited number of copies left, but while I can, I'll send you one.

It's not much, but at least it will give you something for your money.

Monday, I'll give my opinion of what went wrong.


I, naturally, am interested in hearing what he thinks went wrong. I already know that regardless what went wrong on Lynnette Fuller's side, not posting an explanation to the website, not emailing back answers to subcriber (and some author) questions, and not trying to make right what went wrong (at minimum a "This is what happened" and a "I'm really sorry") is simply inexcusable.

Anyway, thanks James for offering his story to those who subbed, and even the book bonus. That's a cool thing to do.

1 comment:

James said...

Angelica Magazine -- What Went Wrong?

I promised to give my take on the Angelica Magazine question today, but before I do, I want to say that I agree 100% with what Mir said about there being no excuse for Lynette Fuller's continued silence on this matter. Whatever the cause of the problems, she had a responsibility to be straightforward with her subscribers, her writers, and her creditors. Failure to do so is a terrible testimony, and absolutely inexcusable.

Probably the biggest question in most people's minds is whether or not Angelica was a deliberate scam.

My opinion is that there was no intent to scam or defraud. I believe that Lynette was very sincere and genuine in her desire to launch a new Christian magazine that would promote Christian suspense fiction.

When I had dinner with her and her husband at the Writing for the Soul conference in Feb 06, she shared her vision and ideas with me. She expressed how she felt that most writers were underpaid and that she wanted to pay them what they were worth (hence the extremely high payment rates for stories accepted by Angelica).

I even watched her pitch the magazine idea to Frank Peretti, and again felt that there was no intent to deceive.

However, Lynette had no background in publishing, particularly in something as complex as launching a national print magazine. She was already experiencing some financial difficulty when I met with her, and was restructuring her financing and trying to bring in a new investor. I don't remember the details, but I do remember her describing some of the struggles that she was facing.

I believe that Lynette's inexperience led to Angelica's collapse, even before it was able to be launched. I think the debt and expenses began to be like the proverbial snowball rolling downhill. But instead of stopping, she kept trying to press forward with the project.

As for the silence, I think it all just got so overwhelming that she found it easier to not respond to emails, calls, etc.

Again, this is only a guess on my part, but I believe that it's reasonably on target.

Having said all that, there is still no excuse for the silence and for leaving subscribers, writers, and even printers in the lurch. And there's especially no excuse for refusing to answer calls and emails.

As Mir said, even a notice on the Web site that said "We're having financial problems, etc." would have been a step in the right direction.

I believe that most subscribers, writers, etc., would have been understanding and would have been willing to give her time if they knew that she really intended to pay them back. Instead, the whole Angelica fiasco has left a bad taste in many mouths. Mine included.

I was one of the few writers who received payment from Angelica, but even I lost some things in the process. I'll post about that tomorrow. Thanks, Mir, for providing me a forum.

Finally, my offer still stands. If any subscriber writes me and requests it, I'll provide you with a .pdf of "The Price of Empathy" and a complimentary copy of "Blind Sight". Again, I have no ties to Angelica. I'm doing this simply as a way of saying "Thanks for taking a chance on a new magazine, and some unknown authors (like me!), and I'd at least like to let you see one of the stories (and new writers) that you missed because of Angelica's demise.

As for my novel, it's been known to keep people up late at night! Read the Amazon reviews if you don't believe me. :) If you're an Angelica subscriber, there's a copy waiting for you if you email me. (While my supplies last, that is.)
My email is: jhpence@yahoo.com

You can check out my novels at one of my web sites: www.james.pence.com
(All of my sites need work, sorry!)

Incidentally, for those actually still trying to contact Lynette, I have no new contact info, and the last time I heard from her was in October of 06. At that time she said that the first press run of Angelica would be in the first week of November 2006. I emailed Lynette about a week ago, just to see if I'd get a response.

I'm still waiting.

Jim