When I started Grimdark Magazine I was a self-published author whose attempts at short story sales and books had not gone well. Whatever the reasons, I wanted to set up a space and a publication where authors of all methodologies and levels of fame could rub shoulders on the cover of something made specifically for the grimdark crowd in a fun, professional, and rewarding manner. I think for a good while, we achieved that.
Recently, there came a point where Grimdark Magazine stopped being a place where all the authors we worked with enjoyed their experience with our fiction editorial team. For some of the authors we worked with, especially during our most recent production, their experience with us was horrible. As a leader, I missed the point where we stopped being fun to work with, and I missed a lot of signs from people I know and respect that signalled there was a growing problem.
Last weekend there was a Twitter conversation started by two authors I highly respect and have previously worked with, and am currently working with, regarding the aggressive and condescending tone of the editorial notes from Grimdark Magazine’s fiction editor, Mike. This has resulted in further similar experiences being described both publicly or privately by both male and female authors through contacting the owners of the Twitter thread, or contacting me. Some of these experiences are to do with authors we’ve published, and some are Mike’s personal clients.
Apology from Mike Myers
Mike has provided his own statement regarding his conduct, below. I don’t agree with the totality of fault lying with Mike, and have provided my own apology and commitment after.
First of all, my thanks go out to Adrian and the grimdark community for giving me the chance to apologize. And second, this is my fault, not Adrian’s. He trusted me to represent GdM, and I failed to do that. In my increasing zeal to make GdM and The King Must Fall the best they can be, I very very poorly communicated my comments to the contributing authors. I now realize I was disrespectful, condescending, insulting, hurtful, and everything else along those lines. Even before one of the authors and then Adrian told me about the problem, I began to notice, in the second drafts of the TKMF stories coming in, that the authors were not happy (to put it mildly), and I knew I had fucked up. And I offer this sincere apology to everyone I have offended. I’m sorry.
I have decided to step down from GdM. It has been a great seven years, and I have (virtually) met some wonderful people. But I owe it to Adrian and all of you to step down now, let GdM continue with someone new, while I concentrate on making myself a better, kinder person.
I thank you all, and especially Adrian for giving me this wonderful opportunity. Cheers.
To confirm Mike’s statement, he will be stepping down from Grimdark Magazine. He’s spent seven years volunteering for our publication, which I am forever grateful for his work and friendship, and sorry I couldn’t catch this before it impacted the authors and him.
Apology from Adrian Collins
I, as owner of Grimdark Magazine and facilitator of these interactions, need to own my part in the experiences of the authors who trusted me to provide a positive publishing experience. I didn’t check the commentary I was facilitating, and that is 100% on me.
While speaking to one of the authors over the last few days, she provided some insight that really reminded me of what I originally set out to do, and how far we had strayed from that goal. They said that Grimdark Magazine might be the first time an author gets published. It might be the only time an author gets published. And based on the experience I provide them through Grimdark Magazine’s editorial process, it might be the only time they ever want to get published.
In any industry, let alone one where it is such a big emotional step to submit your work to either a publisher or to the market, to have your work edited in that manner is unacceptable. For authors who write novels for a living and to keep a roof over their family’s heads and have sent me stories either for the love of creating them or because of a personal business relationship with me, that manner is unacceptable. I believe that the publication experience I have provided to some of the amazing authors who’ve trusted me, some of whom have been a part of this magazine multiple times over the years (and often come to my rescue when a publishing line up falls apart at the last moment), has been unacceptable.
To those authors we’ve been working with, I am profoundly sorry.
I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to listen to some of the impacted author’s experiences on video calls, or over chat. It’s been an opportunity to listen, understand, and learn for how Grimdark Magazine can return to what we used to do so well. I will continue to focus on speaking to the authors, and on making sure that this is a line in the sand moment for Grimdark Magazine. We need to get back to providing a positive experience to all the authors we work with.
At this point, there will be no further commentary on this matter outside of with those authors impacted.