03 November 2005

Didn't work on my novel, but here's what I wrote today

Hi there, Shannon --

Thanks for your reply. It surprised me, though: I thought YYZ would be horrified when I pointed out that my name and the title of my work don't appear on my pages in the publication. I don't know what you mean when you say my name is "front and centre" in the layout; my name doesn't appear in my layout (a courtesy afforded to each of the other three artists involved in the issue).

Further, since my earlier emails, I have found five typographical errors that weren't in the files I sent you, and have discovered that the designer confused the order of the photo/text units.

Initially, I was very pleased to have the opportunity to realize a piece I've been mulling over for 15 years. I'm now disappointed at the gross incompetence of your designer, among other things.

If I seem to feel slighted, here are some reasons:

- I emailed Gregory last week and told him that the Small Press Book Fair was happening Saturday and, if the publication was ready, I wanted to come and get some copies to give out there. He didn't respond to me.

- I received an invitation to the Friday opening only after I emailed you today; had I not emailed you, I wonder if I'd have heard about the opening.

- There is no reference to my piece on the YYZ website; I realize it's not a work in the gallery, but there is still a sense of being marginalized.

- There are five typographical errors in the piece that were not in my originals:

1. Beneath photo 2: "Aquíí" s/b "Aquí"
2. Photo 3: "Leóón" s/b "León"
3. Photo 3: space deleted after second sentence
4. Photo 3: in the third sentence, the word "I" has been omitted in "but I don't know any jokes about that."
5. Photo 9: "máás" s/b "más"

I wonder a) why my text was retyped when I supplied an electronic file, and b) why nobody compared the final layout to the PDF I provided. This is inexcusable.

- As for the layout itself, there is no "title section," unless you are referring to the small-type copy that appears below the masthead and which has no visual connection with my pages; even if the intervening advertising pages were not there, anyone opening the publication to my work wouldn't know where to find the title or the author -- you have to hunt for it.

- Further, on the topic of the layout: I provided a dummy layout; while I did not expect this to be followed in terms of type design, the grouping of the photos was crucial: I am stunned that nobody consulted me. The worst transgression occurs on the page with four photos: it is illogical to expect a reader to read top to bottom instead of left to right in such a layout. This layout put the texts out of order.

- Past YYZines I looked at had a full title page for the Artist Pages (e.g. April 2005) -- I based my dummy on this format.

- I would have liked to have had the opportunity to approve the cropping done to my photographs

- The line "Photos & Text by Stuart Ross" was integral: otherwise a reader might, for example, assume that the photos and/or the text might be found material.

- And just in case I wasn't feeling sufficiently marginalized, my "title" on the front cover of the magazine is the only one not in bold type: in fact, it's difficult to read.

I tell you all this because I wanted to vent, and because it may be instructive for you when working with other artists in the future. Perhaps, because I am a writer, I have different expectations, when dealing with publishers, about things like attribution, accuracy, and professionalism.

Now, back to the two questions I asked you earlier today:

1. When should I expect payment?
2. May I come by next week to retrieve my original photos?

Thanks for listening, and thanks in advance for your response to my questions,

Stuart

2 Comments:

At November 04, 2005 12:12 am , Anonymous rox. said...

i envision a new star trek feature, " the wrath of ross."
listen up all you pikers out there: do NOT, i repeat, DO NOT cross swords with mister stu. he'll eat your lunch for breakfast. (and...you may not notice, but the rest of the world will.)

 
At November 04, 2005 12:12 pm , Blogger sully said...

I'm so sorry that happened to you. I hope they had a good explanation. I hope they are profuse with apologies. I'm really glad you were assertive and forthright in that email. Small press poets are like "new fish" in prison - you have to let everyone know right away that if they fuck with you, they're in for a fight.

It's really disappointing because a lot of times people in the experimental art field feel marginalized from the "fine art" field. It sucks when they privilege traditionally-visual artists over artists that are more text-based or into poetry.

Sigh. It seems as if every scene has someone they are wont to slight or look their noses down at.

 

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