Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Trestle Press: Why I'm Pulling My Book

It is with great sadness that I am requesting the withdrawal of "Small Doses" from the ebook market. Apparently, Trestle Press, the publisher, has been accused of plagiarizing artwork from various sources to use as covers for some of their books.  I don't know, at this point, if it includes mine. But after a lot of thought, heartache and disappointment, I have decided that I don't wish to be affiliated with Trestle.  There are several blogs which make a very good case against Trestle, showing covers in question alongside images from some movies and video games, as well as one or two artists whose work was used without permission or credit.

Covers In Question

I have sent the following email to Trestle Press:

"In light of recent events, I wish to have the following book which I have authored, and was published by Trestle Press, removed from sale, that copyright revert back to me, and that any sales proceeds which I have accrued be disbursed in a timely manner."

Small Doses by Lisa Vooght

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 116 KB
  • Publisher: Trestle Press (January 13, 2012)

Several other authors have pulled their work as well.  My own dealings with Trestle have been fine; nonetheless, I feel as though this is the right thing to do. 

And I feel miserable about it.  Although the authors are supporting each other, there are other commenters around the 'net who seem to feel that we, as authors, should have known better, should have seen "red flags", and are a bunch of naive, desperate, and shoddy writers.

I submitted work to Trestle just as I have to other newspapers, magazines, journals, and publishers.  As a novice writer, I decided that I would be better off to get my feet wet by sticking with small entities first and building a body of work before querying the big publishers.

So I didn't get my feet wet on this first foray:  I drowned.

I have to admit, I feel disappointed and depressed.  At some point, I'm sure I'll submit something again elsewhere, but not for a while.  Maybe I'll just stick to blogging.

I will always write.

My heartfelt gratitude goes to those of you who purchased Small Doses, and those who left comments or reviewed it.  I hope you enjoyed it, and thank you to all of my readers here on Flash Fiction. I appreciate the time you spend reading and commenting.

Feel free to comment on this post, but it will be a few days before I come back to it.

Now for the tiresome and embarrassing task of deleting stuff.



  1. Do not be in the least bit embarrassed. This is all a learning process in such new territory for so many. I'm certain the perfect company will arrive at the perfect time. Without a hitch.

  2. Hi Lisa,

    I'm so sorry you've had to go through this. I have to admit that I'm really behind in my blog reading, so I had no idea you had published a book. It makes me sick to think about you, or any author for that matter, having to go through this. You did nothing wrong - at all. You may have had bad luck with this company, but your writing is beyond amazing and one day you'll look back on this and think how far you've come. I'm sad I don't get the chance to read "Small Doses" right now, but I look forward to reading it at some point in the future.


  3. Happens, Li...we learn from experience.
    Remember, He should be the one embarrassed as a publisher, why use images that are copyrighted when there are literally thousands of free stock images and hobbyists-artists at Deviant Art who may give their artwork for a usage fee and their name credit on the books?
    Try Smashwords...The only problems are formatting and providing/making your own art cover. But there are a few small publishers on their list you could approach.
    Just don't give on your dream. And don't get dejected and let your talent sigh in a corner because of a false start.

  4. Oh dear :(
    So sorry you got burnt with this. Frankly, unless you are an artist or you regularly surf these artist sites, it's pretty hard to detect where the artwork comes from.
    and darnit. I should've gotten my copy earlier.

  5. What a bummer!! I am so sorry to read this Lisa but wanted to comment to let you know that 1 - you're doing the right thing and 2 - you have nothing to be embarrassed about. Trestle ought to be the one feeling all the shamed and embarrassment for having put you in this position along with the other authors and artists who were unwittingly involved.

  6. This is SO not your fault. Hugs, Lisa. If the allegations against Trestle Press are true, they should be ashamed.

  7. How are you to know they didn't properly copyright artwork they used? I'm deeply sorry this happened to you, Lisa. You will find another publisher. You're a great writer.

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. I just discovered your post via Candace Mountain's RT on Twitter. I am so, so sorry you had to go through this. With many "small presses" cropping up, and appearing both desirable and legit, even seasoned readers can get fooled. You hang in there!

  10. I'd like to say, don't feel bad, but that won't stop you from feeling bad. It's a bitter life lesson, but it also has nothing to do with the content of your work, which is wonderful. Along with millions of writers, some famous, some not, they all have had to deal with and trust other companies with their work.

    There are reputable publishing sites and I'm sure things will smooth out.

    All my best.

  11. You're TOTALLY doing the right thing. I checked out the cover link you provided and, holy moly, that's downright criminal. I can't believe they got away with it for as long as they did!

    Publish it yourself, Lisa! When you're feeling up to it, that is. I hope that's soon. ooxxoxo

  12. {{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{HUGS}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}

  13. You really wouldn't know that your publisher has used things they don't own. I've seen 'my' book cover on other books, but I naturally assume that all the artists who use that picture have paid to do so.

    I also had a bad first experience and the publisher had a terrible reputation, but I've moved on and had positive experiences since then.

    Don't give up on the wonderful road you're now travelling. You have the option of putting the book out yourself once you have the rights back. Your blogging/writing buddies will be here to help you market it.


  14. Writing and publishing are definitely difficult waters to navigate, but I don't think you drowned, Lisa. I think you saw rough waters ahead and took a wise detour. Your writing career shouldn't languish because of this company's mistake, and I hope you don't stop!

  15. I am truly sorry over your disappointment in this matter, Lisa. I do hope your agreement with Trestle does not preclude your re-releasing the eBook yourself. I know this doesn't help but this old saying came to mind as I read your post (I am infamous for old sayings - comes with being old)
    "Never test the depth of a puddle with both feet." I had to share that. I do think that the commentors who berate you are being too harsh, especially since you do not know that YOUR books artwork was produced improperly. You're probably doing the right thing, but please do look at your agreement and see of you retained the publication rights. If so, you still have options.

  16. Sorry to hear it, Lisa. It sucks to put your faith in others only to have it backfire. However, you shouldn't feel like you drowned here. This is a setback, nothing more. If anything, you're showing your integrity by distancing yourself from them and their questionable practices.

    Move on and learn from this. However, don't give up. You owe it to your fans and you owe it to yourself to take the route of the Phoenix here and rise up stronger than before.

  17. That is terrible! Their mistake, not yours. Wise choice to pull your book but I know it hurts after everything you went through to get it to that point. Don't give up because of one bad experience.

    1. You're making the right decision under the circumstance. It's a cautionary tale that helps us so thank you for sharing this. You will survive and overcome this mess.

      Wrote By Rote
      Twitter: @AprilA2Z

  18. No author in this community ever questions the publisher as to whether the verbiage is correct in the front and back of the story, or whether the images are correctly used, or anything else. Thus, it's silly to blame ourselves for not questioning the images.

    Though I, personally, have decided to try to weather the storm with the G-man, at least until any of the allegations become more than just rumor, if they ever do, but I understand the decisions you and several others have made.

    Best of luck! In any event, don't blame yourself.

    1. Two artists have already confirmed their images were stolen. How much more do you want?

    2. Three now? Or four? With various others to chip in. I lose track.

      Also, one of them was the movie poster for Ghost Rider. Apart from being a terrible film, that's not something anyone outside Marvel or the distributor is able to use.

  19. It stinks that some of the mud lands on the writers, when they are completely innocent. I believe you made a smart decision though. You'll find a better home! :)

  20. Oh Lisa, so sad. But it's not your fault. You acted in good faith. I somehow missed this controversy and had been having 'talks' with Trestle Press myself. But are the allegations against them true? Yet to be proven? Perhaps I would have waited...

    Now that the copyright has reverted to you (I hope there's no problem with this) why don't you look for another indie press once you've licked your not inconsiderable wounds? I hope you do. I guess this is going to become a familiar story but even an unpublished writer looking to publish their own ebook knows that you must make sure you have the permission to use cover images.

    Try to get that smile happening again. Dust yourself off. This is just one detour in the road for you. There's another road ahead.


  21. Go to Smashwords. Won't be on kindle but will be on everything else. Getting help with formatting is easy as sending for Mark's list of formatters and cover artists. I've been very happy over there.

  22. That's a rough one. I have two bad experiences with publishers but there are some things you can't know until it happens to you. Don't listen to those who say you should have known. Once you get your rights back, I bet you'll find another publisher.

  23. eek - sorry to hear it. I confess I have no clue about the e-publishing market - a real shame this happened to you.

  24. Li - you're an amazing writer. Don't let this knock you back. Get those rights and get back out there - this book is too good not to. And don't listen to idiots wagging fingers - it's oh so easy for people's jealousy and personal disappointment to show itself like this- making comments about other 'faceless' authors. They give no thought about how cruel and damaging it can be to those affected.

    Best of luck
    Laura x

  25. Lisa, in the interim, would you not consider self-publishing it to kindle? Just a thought.

    Sorry about the experience you had.

    marc nash

  26. That's one of the responsibilities of the publisher, to provide a cover and deal with the copyright issues to the cover images. You were right to rely on your publisher to do that.

    After all, that's why give surrendered most of the income from your book to the publisher!

    I'm very sorry to hear that this publisher neglected to do their job. Most likely, they were ignorant rather than dishonest, but such a degree of ignorance in a publisher is shocking.

    I hope it gets clarified, and all the books get new covers which are legal.

    For yourself, I can see why you want to disassociate yourself with a publisher whose methods appear to be illegal. I would make the same choice.

    Consider going indie. You have the book. Learn to format it as an e-book (or get a buddy to do it), use a free stock photo (or take a free trial subscription to a stock agency), and get a design-savvy friend to create the cover.

    Done. Now you know it's all legal, and you get all the money.

    If later you wish to invest more money, you can commission a professionally designed cover.

  27. Lisa, I'm very sorry to hear of this news. I know how devastating things like this can be. My very first query came back a home run. They wanted the book! I signed a contract and sent it in only to discover that next day that it was all a fraud. Thankfully, I got out of it immediately. That was soon followed, however, by 18 months of querying and soul-searching and doubt as no one wanted much to do with my work. Then I found my current publisher.
    Wishing you all the best as you bounce back from this. *hugs*


  28. Lisa you did the right thing! I left them too, but I didn't know about the artwork, I left before finding this out. My reasons for leaving them is because they weren't keeping their end of the bargain on the contract and I wasn't feeling trusting of their business techniques.
    I design book covers for another publishing company and let me tell you, if I see any of my artwork on his books I'll will sue big time.
    Chin up, they can fined alot of money and the author as well, so you did the right thing.