The Footprint of Mussolini - TL

I wouldnt ask that
It might be very amusing considering how ignorant and outright dumb their stance is
But thats something that very understandably upset the author and that must have hurt for all the reasons he mentioned, so I say we should leave that in off

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He deleted the post so I removed the quote. Still keeping my comment because my point still stands
 
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This
The reaction of Sealion is pretty much what I'd expect from that public, which is a pitty because I'm really looking forward for the revised version of this
I might have been critical of this TL at some points but it is still one of the first timelines I read on the site if not the first one and I'm very fond of it, Sorairo is genuinely a brilliant writer
But oh well, I guess that's what happens when people cant discern fiction from reality
To be completely fair to them. A timeline where Benito Mussolini of all people is turned into a saviour of Jews and is considered a decent person in universe by a lot of people would be extremely hard to stomach for most people no matter the context.
 
To be completely fair to them. A timeline where Benito Mussolini of all people is turned into a saviour of Jews and is considered a decent person in universe by a lot of people would be extremely hard to stomach for most people no matter the context.
Agreed, it's not something you should jump in to read without being mentally ready to
Doesnt change that they failed to separate the work from the author, which is pretty much a literature starter, and unfairly mistreated them proving they know nothing about him at all and didnt even try to doublecheck
I could understand Sealion cancelling it fearing how people would react to the book and a possibly backlash, Twitter exists after all, specially if they suggested Sorairo another option of publisher so he wouldnt leave emptyhanded
However thats not what happened here, they were highly unprofessional and made false accusations because they didnt like it
 
Agreed, it's not something you should jump in to read without being mentally ready to
Doesnt change that they failed to separate the work from the author, which is pretty much a literature starter, and unfairly mistreated them proving they know nothing about him at all and didnt even try to doublecheck
I could understand Sealion cancelling it fearing how people would react to the book and a possibly backlash, Twitter exists after all, specially if they suggested Sorairo another option of publisher so he wouldnt leave emptyhanded
However thats not what happened here, they were highly unprofessional and made false accusations because they didnt like it
Agreed. Their response was completely out of bounds.
 
I should just say, for the record, please don't harass anyone at Sea Lion over this. It's their company and their decision - I'm sure they're all nice people.

Ultimately, I always knew this was a tough sell of a story for the topics expressed - the part that hurt was that I actually thought it was going to happen before I got rugged. Initial emails had been very pleasant, indeed there had been a general review of my book some months earlier and they confirmed they had no issues even after I described the synopsis of Mussolini being saved by a Jewish Blackshirt, before I suddenly got an uncharacteristically harsh email today. I even added a pretty thorough disclaimer at the start denouncing Fascism and dictatorship (and I believe Mussolini explicitly), but they said the text itself was 'beyond a matter of taste' and that I was 'sanitizing and praising Fascism'. Again, that is 100% their right to believe that even though I know as sure as I'm alive and breathe and love and hug my dog that they are wrong.

I guess the amusing part of the story is that I find it funny that they thought there was this bizarre demographic who is just edgy enough to like Italian Fascism but not edgy enough to to like Hitlerian Fascism. It's also funny that I'm having trouble thinking of many semi-realistic alternate timelines with first-world black majority African democracies (which would basically kill any 'Colonialism was good' argument) apart from my own.

I will self-publish this when the test period is over - it's been a while since I've done it but I just want to end this saga and not publishing will just leave a hole somewhere in me.
 
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Ultimately, I always knew this was a tough sell of a story for the topics expressed - the part that hurt was that I actually thought it was going to happen before I got rugged. Initial emails had been very pleasant, indeed there had been a general review of my book some months earlier and they confirmed they had no issues even after I described the synopsis of Mussolini being saved by a Jewish Blackshirt, before I suddenly got an uncharacteristically harsh email today. I even added a pretty thorough disclaimer at the start denouncing Fascism and dictatorship (and I believe Mussolini explicitly), but they said the text itself was 'beyond a matter of taste' and that I was 'sanitizing and praising Fascism'. Again, that is 100% their right to believe that even though I know as sure as I'm alive and breathe and love and hug my dog that they are wrong.
There's no way to know for sure, of course but I'd guess whoevers desk it landed on initially liked it and those did others the initial reviewer explained the premise to. But after things moved forward others got their hands on it, not just higher up in the food chain, but also other departments including and especially marketing once it reached the "release might happen" state. And given how often I've read negative reports about Sealion Press being staffed with Twitter-mob types over the last few years, it was only a matter of time until it reached the notice of someone who took offense over the mere concept that Stalin could be more evil, than Mussolini in any world. That's not how he or she phrased it of course and hid behind the "correct" buzzwords instead, which no one else there dared contradict.
 
I can speak for myself and those I'm friends with on this forum that we wont harass anybody from Sealion
Fact is I actually thought they were nice people when they promoted their site on the forum, which is why Im reacting the way I am rn considering that anyone who behaved this way here(falsely claiming a member is whateverist, specially one who openly said they were harmed by it before) would get a one way trip to Coventry as per the rules of etiquete
You're right that they have no obligation to publish anything as any other publisher, but I still find it shocking considering how many works in the AH community who do not endorse racist regimes but still portray problematic scenarios and time periods(Man in the High Castle, pretty much all of Turtledove's works, hell even the timelines from my friends here about Rome and North Korea fir example) would never be published under similar rulings/scrutiny
I also have to point out there are fringe groups that portray themselves as totally-not-racist fascist "sympatizers" but I have to agree with you that they dont make for any meaningful demography
Either way
I'm sorry you had to go through this and I hope you work self-publishing is a success, I'll make sure to buy myself a copy whenever I have money to buy anything
Regardless, I wish you best luck
 
There's no way to know for sure, of course but I'd guess whoevers desk it landed on initially liked it and those did others the initial reviewer explained the premise to. But after things moved forward others got their hands on it, not just higher up in the food chain, but also other departments including and especially marketing once it reached the "release might happen" state. And given how often I've read negative reports about Sealion Press being staffed with Twitter-mob types over the last few years, it was only a matter of time until it reached the notice of someone who took offense over the mere concept that Stalin could be more evil, than Mussolini in any world. That's not how he or she phrased it of course and hid behind the "correct" buzzwords instead, which no one else there dared contradict.
It doesn't exactly help well, what's going on at the moment in Ukraine, might make them a bit twitchy about fascist material.

Or what appears to be fascist.
 
Aw, that's a shame. I can see Sealion's point of view (kinda) but I still think a response like that is totally out of bounds.
 
There's no way to know for sure, of course but I'd guess whoevers desk it landed on initially liked it and those did others the initial reviewer explained the premise to. But after things moved forward others got their hands on it, not just higher up in the food chain, but also other departments including and especially marketing once it reached the "release might happen" state. And given how often I've read negative reports about Sealion Press being staffed with Twitter-mob types over the last few years, it was only a matter of time until it reached the notice of someone who took offense over the mere concept that Stalin could be more evil, than Mussolini in any world. That's not how he or she phrased it of course and hid behind the "correct" buzzwords instead, which no one else there dared contradict.

I've only read the first few pages of this TL. I don't much care for the "extracts from different sources" style of TL. That's my personal taste, and has no implications one way or the other regarding the quality of the TL. Since I have only read a portion of the TL, I cannot comment on it one way or the other.

As a publisher, and one who has had books and anthologies published through SLP, I can comment on the publishing process.

Regarding SLP as a large publishing house with various desks and staff higher up the food chain is not how small press works. SLP (and Sergeant Frosty Publications, my own publishing company) operate with tiny, tiny numbers of staff. I can't know for sure how many people are involved on the staff of SLP; my guess would be 2 or maybe 3, tops. SFP consists of 3 people total; me, a cover artist, and a proof reader. As owner and publisher, I'm the only person involved in the decision making process. I'll listen to the views of the proof reader who has, after all, read every word of the submission carefully (I pay them, so they'd better read every word carefully, or I'll be looking for a new proof reader). I would be astonished if the staff levels of SLP is significantly different from that.

The concept of various departments existing within SLP is simply away with the Fairies. Small press publishing is not big publishing companies. We're operating on a shoestring, and poor decisions can have major repercussions. If I publish a book that doesn't at least cover costs, I'm in trouble. We simply don't have the resources to take a punt on a book that may be a poor bet. At least, not without being aware of the risk involved.

And given how often I've read negative reports about Sealion Press being staffed with Twitter-mob types

I know the main people involved in running SLP. If those are the reports you've read, those reports are, quite simply, wrong. Tom is left-wing, for sure, and politically active. I'm not sure he's got a Twitter account. I've certainly not come across him there, and I frequent the writing sections there (for obvious reasons). I'm always on the lookout for authors of YA Historical Fiction. The SLP Twitter account is run by Thomas, who is, first and foremost, an academic.

The depiction you give is simply wrong, and the reports you got that from erred.

You're right that they have no obligation to publish anything as any other publisher, but I still find it shocking considering how many works in the AH community who do not endorse racist regimes but still portray problematic scenarios and time periods(Man in the High Castle, pretty much all of Turtledove's works, hell even the timelines from my friends here about Rome and North Korea fir example) would never be published under similar rulings/scrutiny

I can speak with authority from the point of view of a small press publisher what the decision making process would have been (in general terms. Obviously, I'm not privy to specifics in this case. I'm not the publisher.)

I have four decision points in the run up to publication. Firstly, does the concept grab my attention. If it does, then I'll give the author a notice to proceed, although I'd make it clear that this is an expression of interest, not a formal commission. The first stage is simply a potential publication, one that needs to be nurtured.

Secondly, I'll look at a full first draft. That's when I'll make a semi-firm decision. I'll highlight what needs to be changed (for example, I had to tell an author to cut out a couple of sex scenes. The book was aimed at an 8-12 age range. Sorry, not going to happen. Other than that, the book was a good one and, with the relevant changes, is now published, and making steady sales). It's a semi-firm decision based on the full first draft. It's not a final decision.

Thirdly, when the book has been proofed and is more or less ready, I'll have a discussion with the proof reader, who'll give me a run-down of the book in detail. That way, I have a clear idea of the full book from a different pair of eyes.

Fourthly, and finally, I'll try the first couple of chapters, maybe the first 10% of a book, out on people who fit the target readership. I don't give a damn what people outside of the target readership think of the book. I'm not trying to sell to them. I'll listen to what they say about the book, whether they want to read more, what they think of it.

Then I read the first 10% myself in some detail. I'll flick through it as a potential reader might when picking it up off of the shelf. The book needs to persuade that potential reader to hand over their hard-earned money on the book. If they put the book back on the shelf, I don't pay the mortgage. If they buy it, I do.

I'm not interested in aspects like: "Does the tone change towards the end?" or "You need to read it with this context in mind," or whatever. Either I'm (and by I, I mean the target reader) persuaded by the first 10% of the book and occasional flicks through the rest, in which case I'll go ahead and publish. Or I'm not, in which case I don't.

"If you read the book in full" cuts no ice with me. None whatsoever. The reader isn't going to slog through a book to find the hidden gems deep inside.

This is the point at which I make my judgement call. Do I think the book will cover costs or not? That's the only question I have in mind.

I can pretty much guarantee SLP went through a similar process. The precise details might be different, but function follows form, and all that is of interest is whether the publisher thinks the book will make a profit. That's why we're doing it. We're not charities.

Well, except when we're publishing something like Building a Better Future, an anthology where all the proceeds are going to the Ukraine appeal with the Red Cross, to help, in a small way, with the huge costs of reconstruction of that country. But that was a policy decision by the management of SFP (me) to do so.

I don't know the AH market as well as Tom (also known as the Management of SLP) does. He's got all the details of what has sold well and what hasn't, and he'll have a fair idea of the market. My impression is that the Extracts from Sources style is one that simply isn't that popular. There's a reason why so few books of that type have been published in the last decade. Doubtless there are some; Drake's Drum, for example, manages to do so. But, in general, that doesn't seem to be a common style at the moment.

And, with just having read the first bits of it, I can quite see why, given the situation in Ukraine, a publisher would get very twitchy indeed about something that appears to praise Benito Mussolini as a great saviour of the Jews.

It's quite likely SLP didn't handle rejecting the piece as well as it should. That's almost certainly down to a lack of time and an excess of pressure. Indeed, getting any sort of explanation as to why a piece is rejected is something of a rarity. I always try to give a reason for rejecting a piece, and I've never known an author take it well. More typically, a piece will simply be rejected without explanation.

But I can guarantee that the decision was based upon a publisher calculation that with the market in the current situation, they deemed that a book would (or would not) make a profit.
 
Thank you for your insight.

As I've already said, I completely understand why people would not want to publish the story considering it could be mistakenly seen as Pro-Fascism, and that I have no divine right to be published by anyone. This I have no problem with. My only issue was the suddenness and surprising harshness of an email which I interpreted (and admittedly still interpret) as an implicit accusation of supporting Fascism, which is obviously quite hurtful given my life story. If their intention was to tell me that they were simply uncomfortable publishing such a story, whether the current war was an issue, and that they weren't accusing me of ill will on my part, I feel they could have phrased their reply far more carefully.
 
This I have no problem with. My only issue was the suddenness and surprising harshness of an email

Harshness of a rejection? Authors need thick skins. Lets see, rejections I've had over the years include:

"They say an infinite number of monkeys with typewriters over an infinite period of time, will produce the Complete Works of Shakespeare. Your submission: Three monkeys, five minutes."

"I spent the book despising the characters, the setting, the plot, the sentence structure, you, your family, your pets. I dream that all of these have painful deaths. But the spelling was OK."

"The characters were so wooden I've built a book shelf. Your books won't be on it."

"I've enjoyed having syphilis more than reading this book."

Publishers today are less prone to such things - normally one just doesn't hear anything.

For the record, small press tends to be much kinder than the big publishers.
 
Harshness of a rejection? Authors need thick skins. Lets see, rejections I've had over the years include:

"They say an infinite number of monkeys with typewriters over an infinite period of time, will produce the Complete Works of Shakespeare. Your submission: Three monkeys, five minutes."

"I spent the book despising the characters, the setting, the plot, the sentence structure, you, your family, your pets. I dream that all of these have painful deaths. But the spelling was OK."

"The characters were so wooden I've built a book shelf. Your books won't be on it."

"I've enjoyed having syphilis more than reading this book."

Publishers today are less prone to such things - normally one just doesn't hear anything.

For the record, small press tends to be much kinder than the big publishers.

You're right, we're on the same side on this, and I appreciate that this is part of the process of publishing. I've had other rejection notices before for separate projects. I could insult my own work all day, or myself. I often do. I've spent a lot more of my life hating myself than loving myself and I'm not sure the ratio will improve significantly over the course of my life - my autism has unfortunately led to issues in finding social relief.

But personal insinuations about me that are not only absolutely false but could lead to severe consequences if they were generally directed at me in real life will naturally be taken far more seriously than criticisms of my actual work. If you want to rip into the quality of the text, please, I won't stop and might not even disagree. I just want the ball to be played, not the man.
 
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Thank you for the suggestion, but I think I've dragged on this process too much. I think self-publishing is the way to go for me.

Get a cracking good cover. That's the first thing a potential reader will see. When self-publishing, you don't have the luxury of having marketing routes in place.

An OK book with a great cover will pick up sales from casual browsers.
A great book with an OK cover won't.
 
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