Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Warning to Starting Writers in the Horror/Zombie Genre About Anthony Giangregorio

I have been aware of Anthony Giangregorio for some time.  Years ago he wrote a book called Dead Reckoning: The Dawning of the Dead that flagrantly used the characters from George A. Romero's Dawn of the Dead film. He even admitted that he had written it as a direct sequel to the movie without permission, violating copyright. Basically, he self-published fan fiction and garnered a profit from any sales. At the time he had also claimed that his "publisher" Living Dead Press, was supportive of his decision to shelve the book. Since he owns that press and two others, Undead Press, and Open Coffin Press, this shouldn't be too surprising. Anthony didn't want to admit to his self-publishing status (shrug), but whatever. He eventually did pull the book, changed the names, and re-released it, but many people in the horror community took note of what he had done.

This same man also claimed that an editor at Permuted Press radically altered the novel that was published through that publishing house and had inserted a rape scene.  The owner, Jacob, proved that the editor had not inserted the rape scene  and Tony finally backed down. Permuted Press returned the book to Tony after quite a firestorm on the forums.

A little later on, Anthony began harassing a friend of mine when she left a review on a book he published by another author. It was actually a very positive review, but she had criticized the editing. Since she had used her real name on her review, he tracked her down via Google and threatened to get her fired from her job. He even called her work (a law firm) to threaten her. He backed off after the law firm began to put together a case against him.

Luckily, I have never been directly involved with Anthony or his press. I heard enough from other writers about their dealings to never want to risk it. Sadly, in retrospect, I realize a lot of what I heard was never made public. A lot of the writers who felt that their dealings with Anthony were to say the very least unprofessional remained mute publicly.

For that reason, I'm VERY glad that people are finally stepping up and openly reporting the things he has done. The latest revelations of his dealings are great cause for concern. How many writers have been in his anthologies only to discover their work had been mutilated? How many writers spent money buying copies of those anthologies to hand out to fans and family only to discover that their stories bore little resemblance to the original?  These writers were not paid for their contribution except with a contributor copy. But they spent plenty of money buying books from Anthony to show off their published work.  Sad!

Stant Litore, the author of The Undead Bible, wrote a great post updating everyone on the latest information.  It's something every writer should read, so with his permission, I'm reposting it here.

Thank you, Stant, for allowing me to share this.

WARNING! Beware UnDead Press and Anthony Giangregorio!

People more eloquent than I have already blogged about this, but I want to do what I can to get the word out. PLEASE share this information.

Writers (especially horror genre writers):

Beware UnDead Press and editor Anthony Giangregorio. This press -- one of Tony G's many presses (to my knowledge, he also owns Living Dead Press and Open Casket Press) -- is a scam. Author Mandy DeGeit has blogged about what happened to her, and no less a personage than Neil Gaiman himself has been tweeting the news.

Here's the short version:

·                  Tony G recently released an anthology that included Mandy's fiction. The story featured disastrous spelling and punctuation errors not present in the original manuscript, Tony changed the gender of a main character, added in flashback scenes, and added a suggestion of rape to the end of Mandy's story.
·                  When confronted politely but firmly, Tony G. unleashed a torrent of abuse via email (you can read all the transcripts at Mandy's blog).

More of the scoop:

Tony is actually infamous in the industry for disreputable behavior, alleged shadiness around copyright, and ill-treatment of authors. (And by shadiness around copyright, I don't just mean rewriting stories that have been submitted to him; Tony also reportedly self-published one or more novels set in the world of George Romero's Dawn of the Dead -- with the same characters! -- without permission from George Romero, and then proceeded to collect royalties on Romero's intellectual property.) You can learn more here. And here is a list of other writers who have reported bad practices by this individual.

His most recent -- and creepy -- shenanigan: apparently threatening to make a house callon another writer (of the opposite sex) who has also requested that her (also drastically rewritten) story be pulled from his anthology. Maybe it's a joke. A very, very creepy joke.

Young writers out there, please be careful. When approached by -- or approaching -- any publisher, vet them thoroughly. Granted, there aren't many scam artists like Tony out there in the industry, but please be careful. That said, I don't want to give an impression that Mandy DeGeit is in any way responsible for what happened to her story. When Tony slashed, burned, rewrote, and changed the entire narrative, that was a crime against her intellectual property. That's like being authorized by you to show the house you lovingly designed to other people to celebrate it, and then demolishing half the house and remodeling it in a shoddy manner completely out of step with your original design. Without telling you I'm doing so. (Note that Mandy was never sent proofs, even though she was in touch with Tony by email regularly.) And then when you point out that I've severely damaged your house, I send you abusive emails telling you that second-rate designers like yourself should be grateful for my help.

This makes me furious.

Update: This just in as of evening of 5/16/12: Tony has also ripped off the very well-known horror writer Jonathan Maberry, rewriting and mangling Maberry's short story.

Update: Writer Beware has posted, in response to this incident, a detailed column on what to look for in editing clauses in a publishing contract. I highly recommend reading their post here

Please spread the word and help other writers beware.

Stant Litore

For more information on the situation, check out the newly revived blog about Anthony Giangregorio and his Publishing houses.

If you're a writer and YOU have a story to tell about his dealings, I urge you to come forward. Now is the time. Word needs to spread. Writers need to be warned. Otherwise, he'll just make a new publishing house and start this crap all over again.


  1. Wow, two words - Unprofessional and Unethical. Thanks for sharing. I know it's tough to call out others in your profession but sometimes it's necessary in order to uphold the integrity of your profession.

  2. Just to be clear the unprofessional and unethical was directed at Anthony Giangregorio.

    1. I just don't want new writers to be discouraged by his antics. It's really disheartening to see what this man has done and gotten away with..until now.

  3. What I find especially alarming is the bullying and scare tactics this individual has been employing against writers who have spoken out against him:

    * Abusive emails to Mandy DeGeit, demeaning her and her work.
    * A message to Alyn Day announcing his intent to drop in on her house. (Which is very scary. This is something you don't threaten and you don't joke about. Ever.)

    He actually called Jonathan Maberry's house within a half hour of Maberry's Facebook post on the subject. Perhaps he perceived Maberry as too big of a name to bully, so instead he offered to buy back Maberry's story (for more cash than he actually paid Maberry for the story).

    This type of behavior goes far beyond just unethical editorial practices. The more we spread the word, the less likely it will be that Tony G will be left in any position to take advantage of other writers in the future.

    Stant Litore

    1. Both of those stories really show the character of the man. He's a bully.

  4. Brian Keene put a warning about this guy up on his site too. He sounds quite strange to say the least.

    1. I was very happy to see that Brian Keene posted about this situation, too.

      I agree with your assessment of Anthony G.


  5. I also checked out his stuff on Amazon and I think he might be ripping off The Walking Dead characters now too. One item description for a book included characters named "Laurie" and "Carl."

    1. It wouldn't surprise me one little bit. Having observed his actions of the last four years, I wouldn't be the least bit shocked if that was the case.

      His book "The Dark" sounded almost exactly like "The Mist."

  6. Luckily I spent any coin on any of his works. I hope you guys fight the good fight. love your work, and Jonathan MaBerry should hammer his backside.


Thanks for commenting!