• Report: #1052945

Complaint Review: Tekeme Studios: George Weis & Ashley Silouan-Weis

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  • Submitted: Wed, May 22, 2013
  • Updated: Thu, March 27, 2014

  • Reported By: Castiel — New York New York
Tekeme Studios: George Weis & Ashley Silouan-Weis
East Orange St. Lancaster, Pennsylvania USA

Tekeme Studios: George Weis & Ashley Silouan-Weis Fraud, Discrimination, Censorship Lancaster Pennsylvania

*Consumer Comment: Tekeme Studios Is Now Known As Winslet Press

*REBUTTAL Individual responds: Tekeme Studios Fraudsters

*REBUTTAL Individual responds: Do not give these hysterical fundamentalist hand-wringers your money.

*REBUTTAL Owner of company: What Really Happened

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So you're a prospective author who wants to submit your work into the burgeoning ebook market? You have your manuscript written and edited, but you need help designing a cover and converting your work to the proper formatting for uploading. Do. Not. Use. Tekeme. Studios. Tekeme brands itself as an any-size, any-budget, any-project web design firm, but it really caters to religious-themed projects. It's run by a pair of fanatical anti-porn crusaders -- husband George Weis is a recovering morbid porn addict, wife Ashley Silouan is a professional victim/scold -- who like to work with authors and bloggers who share that worldview and will disseminate their "Porn Is Evil!" message.

If you're vision doesn't fall into that limited category, then beware: 1. Tekeme provides no refunds, even if they abandon your project, so be very careful putting any money in their hands. 2. Tekeme reserves the right to change your contract with them at will and after weeks of making promises. [continued below]....

..... 3. Tekeme determines what content is acceptable for publication; if your book doesn't feature dewy-fresh virgins, Lands End-style cover models, and crosses glimmering in the sunlight, then go elsewhere. Tekeme's design policy is not content-neutral; it will discriminate against you based on the themes and content of your work, and will actively try to discourage and censor you.

I paid $400 for an ebook package including a book cover and formatted text. I only received the cover, and was told that my book would not be formatted because the designers had a "moral problem" with it. Tekeme dragged this process out for over a month and did not deliver the promised results. $400 for an ebook cover is ridiculous. I had to hire a new designer who did it for a mere $75, and then he even did the conversion process for a mere $125. This was the exact same deal I had with Tekeme for twice as much. You deserve to be treated with respect and honesty. I did not receive that from this agency. Your hard work deserves better than the condescending, sanctimonious likes of Tekeme Studios.


This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 05/22/2013 10:21 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Tekeme-Studios-George-Weis-Ashley-Silouan-Weis/Lancaster-Pennsylvania-17602/Tekeme-Studios-George-Weis-Ashley-Silouan-Weis-Fraud-Discrimination-Censorship-Lan-1052945. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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Updates & Rebuttals

#1 Consumer Comment

Tekeme Studios Is Now Known As Winslet Press

AUTHOR: Castiel - ()

This is more of a buyer beware update than a rebuttal per se, but still, young, prospective authors beware:

The graphics design company I filed this initial report on, Tekeme Studios, has "rebranded" itslef as Winslet Press -- a purported small publishing company.  Assertions from writers roped into this company strongly conclude that Winslet is essentially a self-publishing front with no real experience or clout.  The owners are, natch, none other than George Weis and Ashley Weis, and they appear to be the only staff members on board.  Indicators suggest that the site's lone "success" story -- one "Marilyn Grey" -- is nothing but a pen name for a self-published series of books penned by Ashley Weis herself, most about her marital woes.  An identical woman -- one "Candice Covahey" -- was at one time listed as Winslet's editor.

They can change their name, but the antics of the Weis team are still just as seedy and underhanded as they continue to treat the intellectual property of others with flagrant disregard. Winslet's authors, believing that they've been signed to legitimate book contracts, are finding their agreements terminated at the eleventh hour after months of anticipation.  Those who opted to terminate their contracts because of severe misgivings about Winslet's management are forced to relinquish all rights to cover art. This has been occurring as late as June of 2014.  Sound familiar?  I received this exact same demand, and I wasn't even having Tekeme/Winslet publish my work.  This is not on the level.  Not at all.

I advise -- strongly advise -- any authors who receive Twitter pitches from Winslet (this appears to me the company's primary m.o.) to avoid the press all together.  These people are preying on authors' ambitions, raising up their hopes, and shattering them at the last minute.

The red flag to look for:  all money should flow toward you as the author, not from you.

Don't just take my word for it, though:

absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=292552

http://agentqueryconnect.com/index.php?/topic/18050-small-presses/

http://briegowen.com/2014/06/26/bad-day/

http://www.alwaysabigail.com/2014/06/sometimes-you-get-bad-news.html

http://jelsamepsey.blogspot.com/2014/06/one-closed-door-opens-another.html

 

 

 

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#2 REBUTTAL Individual responds

Tekeme Studios Fraudsters

AUTHOR: Shawn Baker - ()

I am Shawn Baker, and yes, I did write the utterly heinous book that made these two neo-puritans fall to pieces.  I stand by my work and hold myself to a higher level of decorum than Tekeme Studios could ever muster.  I have zero shame on my part.

I have never been treated so shabbily by a business -- I'll go so far as to claim that no one would ever be so unprofessional in public because they'd be embarrassed by such behavior -- and the reason I filed this report is because I don't want anyone else to ever be subjected to this kind of chicanery.  These are supposed to be adults offering a service to the public?  Tekeme Studios is a disgrace.

If you work hard on something, you deserve a business that will honor your efforts.  It shouldn't matter how you look or what you write, or what your apparent personal identity is.  By their own words, Tekeme Studios reserves the rights to defraud people they don't take kindly to, and to refuse service to content they don't deem family-friendly.  The book market is certainly big enough to accommodate all types of writing.  Tekeme Studios didn't even know anything personal about me -- though George and Ashley Weis are apparently quite happy to flamboyantly flaunt their own personal foibles before the world --  and they still treated me as less-than.  You don't want to be that person, and you don't want to give this type of people your hard-earned money.  It's an awful feeling to be treated this way -- I'm honestly disgusted by their behavior -- and nobody derserves that.

All you have to do is read their rebuttal to know exactly who and what you're dealing with.  As a consumer, I held up my end of the bargain.  I paid them, supplied a manuscript and images, and was always in contact throughout the process.  I was the picture of grace.  I'm not in business, so they can't defame me in any other way than by admitting that they found my writing distasteful.  It seems that they even objected to my appearance (?!).  Voila, your money isn't good enough for us. 

Yes, these are people so naive and utterly lame that they expected a horror book to be full of well-behaved people who never swear and always keep their clothes on.  Notice how they don't and can't claim that I didn't pay them or I wasn't cooperative.  They simply decided that I wasn't worth the same level of civility as other people whose projects they deigned to actually complete as contracted.  Honestly, the Weis brood are not the sort of people that I would ever assocociate myself with, but I was willing to make things right.  I was the bigger person in this scenario -- the actual grown-up.  George and Ashley Weis let their own distorted views get in way of that.  That's a terrible, indefensible way to act.  That's their failure, not mine.  There's no working with such infantile people who expect the world to stop everytime they feel remotely threatened.  Don't waste your time and money.  Nobody wants to pay to be looked down on.  Go elsewhere where you can be treated with respect.

You don't mislead people because you feel that their talent is unseemly, or because you just don't like the look of them.  That's just patently wrong on its face.  You don't let your personal demons get in the way of doing your job.  You don't take people's money, make promises, and then not deliver on your word.  Professionalism doesn't come with an asterisk.  You shouldn't have to be a member of someone's congregation or country club to receive a standard level of fairness and respectability from a supposed business.  This is a free market, not a high school lunchroom.

For a company that loves to tout its supposed high moral ground, Tekeme Studios -- the reprehensible likes of George and Ashley Weis -- are not worth your time and money.

You and I are officially better than them.

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#3 REBUTTAL Individual responds

Do not give these hysterical fundamentalist hand-wringers your money.

AUTHOR: Castiel - ()

Look, here's the deal:  if I lay out what I want from you, and I supply payment -- payment that you willingly and happily accept -- then you need to fulfill your end of the deal.  That's just basic fairness.  Money is worth the same amount, no matter who holds it.  A web designer is there to design your product, not pocket your cash and then offer you up some lame "moral exemption" pretext for flaking on you after months of leading you on.  You're either in the market, or you're not.   They inconvenienced me terribly, then offered up a phony consolation deal that was concocted completely without my input, slanted heavily in their favor, and uncerimoniously tossed at me at the eleventh hour.  They kept the entire amount, delivering a cover  -- sure I like the design, it was my concept -- that was too small to even be sufficient to upload to Amazon.  I wouldn't have even dared to use it for fear that Tekeme would allege that I was violating their religious liberty (this is the sort of thing you hear about on the news).  So I ended up with nothing despite meeting my end of the bargain. Exactly how much am I supposed to beg these people for, and how many hidden-restrictions shenaningans am I supposed to put up with? 

That's a humiliating way to treat a customer, and I can tell you right now that Tekeme's definition of "immoral," "pornographic," or even "PG-13" is not a reasonable standard by any means.  Had I known that this pair of hothouse flowers had such deep and troubling issues regarding the world, I would've never dealt with them.  Of course, in the spirit of full disclosure, George Weis never bothered to inform me of any of the content restrictions he illustrates above.   See, that burden of full disclosure falls onto you, the customer.  After you've laid down your deposit and waited for over a month for results.  See how that works?

These are people whose chronic personal problems color their professional business practices.  Yes, George Weis has a wandering eye and compulsive hands that he has to keep off the keyboard.  Yes, Ashley Weis has a debilitating pathological resentment toward other women she deems sexual threats, a trait she shares with the tens of other damaged women who frequent her tear-stained romans à clef-- er, childthey've added to their mix (I have a very sneaking suspicion that this is where my deposit went).  They'll object to your work of fiction, but they'll force that creepy stuff on you.  Yeesh.

I don't want to know any this, and neither do you as a potential customer, but as Tekeme states, it is an issue that will determine how they treat your work.   By their own words, they only deal with writers and artists whose visions they deem appropriate and in keeping with their own narrow worldview, so if you have any doubt that you don't fall into that spectrum, then you need to avoid Tekeme and find yourself a reputatable, honest, objective designer.  Noboby should have to put up with this sort of treatment.

That's just what I ended up doing.  The designer I hired practically did a spit-take when I asked if he had hidden "morals clauses" or rated books like the MPAA (?!).  He was frankly horrified by Tekeme's shabby treatment of me, and even went so far as to post a "Buyer Beware" message on their Facebook page to alert other potential customers.  He felt that they were giving a bad name to the business he traded in.  He turned my project around like a snap, gave me just what I wanted.  No flimsy excuses about accidents or babies.  Just a fair and honest shake.  You may get that from Tekeme...just as long as your work doesn't threaten them in any way.  Who wants to take that risk?

And just for the record, the photo they've supplied of me -- supplied by me to them -- was supposed to be used for the virtual book jacket they promised to create for me.  Yeah, that didn't happen.  Still, it was kind of Tekeme to use my own image to further their own self-serving defense.  Because values!

And as for me neglecting to not contact Tekeme, well, here's  the final, exasperated email I sent after finally giving up the ghost on the project being completed as promised:

 On 3/4/13 4:05 PM, "Shawn Baker" wrote:

George,I'm wondering if maybe we shouldn't both consider pulling the plug on our deal.  It's nothing personal, but I didn't figure the process would take this long, and pretty soon it'll be near two months of waiting.  I'd hoped to have the book finished by my birthday in mid-March at the very latest, but now even that's seeming less and less likely.  I haven't gotten an email from you in two weeks, I don't really have anything concrete on my end,  I'm on the hook for the entire $400, and PayPal only gives me X-amount of time to recover my money.  I'd be lying if I said I wasn't having some misgivings.  Maybe we should just nullify:  you return my money, I won't get PayPal involved.  We can part ways with no fuss.-- Shawn

For the record, they did not return a single cent to me, nor did I receive any of these phantom graphics they go on to refer to.  Gosh, they offered to handle a different project for me -- one I didn't even have, and one they wanted to make subject to their approval -- so why wouldn't I jump at that?  

Tekeme's long-delayed response (it took them nearly two months to tell me that the "almost finished" formatting had been arbitrarily nixed on their part):

 

From: George Weis

 

Sent: 03/04/13 03:28 PM

 

To: Shawn Baker

 

Subject: Re: Checking In

 

Hi Shawn,

Forgive me as I have been in a swirl of family changes plus some misfortune here and there (car wreck, family illness).


That aside, I had hoped to email you Friday evening, but I was called away from the desk. I beg your pardon for the inconvenience this has caused you.


As Ashley and I have gone through your manuscript, we noticed a few things that we wanted to suggest to you from a professional standpoint.


One thing you ought to have is a copyright page after your title page for sure. You may want to research what is needed for that (includes Library of Congress number).

Also, you may want to seek out and purchase a barcode of your own. CreateSpace will give you one, but it will be a dead ringer for self-made book.

Beyond this, you have a very layered story which is good, but this manuscript could use a good go through with a professional editor. This is not a jab but a true friendly professional suggestion.


Lastly, as we delved into the content, there were a number of things that caused us concern to fulfill this for you. We needed to think it through, but with everything going on, our thought process was a bit clouded. In the end, we do not feel comfortable putting the piece together. I agree with the end point of your work, but the way in which you have put it together is problematic for us personally. I thought I got a good picture through the synopsis, but I see now that the darkness you explore in the book to arrive at the end escaped me. I am not suggesting you change this. But another person may be the fit for it that we are not.


However, if you still wish to use the cover, I am ok with that, since it was completed prior to my knowledge of the content, plus it turned out very nicely. Additionally, I have very nice chapter graphics I will gladly hand over to you. Beyond this, I am willing to offer you some credit towards some other project if it is of interest.

I hope you can see that #1 Life has pulled some punches with me, and that has derailed my otherwise fast moving emails and work. #2 That I am sincere in my desire to help you where I can. #3 I do wish to preserve a good and kindly relationship between us.


If all you wish is to have your money returned, that is fine as long as we have written agreement to not use the cover (since the cover was what was paid for with a free interior attached to the price). If however, you want the cover and other graphics I can hand over, we will additionally work up a discount for another need you might have, so long as it is not us putting together the content for the books, which poses moral difficulty for us. Perhaps you need that logo you were thinking of? No, that is not too contrived! Most authors I know have one that is at least used on their marketing materials.


Please advise as to what direction you would like to take. Again,  I am terribly sorry for the great inconvenience.


Many thanks for your patience and kindness,

-g-

Lyrics to a certain song come to mind:

Through their own words
They will be exposed
They've got a severe case of
The Emperor's New Clothes

 

 

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#4 REBUTTAL Owner of company

What Really Happened

AUTHOR: Tekeme - ()

This "rip off report" was written by Shawn Baker who wrote "The Cowering Corner" who has slandered Tekeme online via various avenues in an effort to combat us for denying the ebook formatting of his work. He came to us for a book cover design and got a free ebook layout as a bonus. We designed the cover which he emphatically loved and when we began the ebook we came across clearly blashpemous and profane content. Being a company that works mainly with Christian authors we found this to be quite disturbing and offered Mr. Baker a refund for the FREE ebook formatting he received and told him we would also offer him a free service in the future in place of this one, so long as the content was not crude. We now have a strict acceptance policy for books we contribute to design-wise... they must be PG-13 and below. We do not contribute to and design books with crude sexual content or the Lord's name in vain. Obviously this greatly upset Mr. Baker and he decided to make up fake names to go around slandering us without putting his actual identity to the accusations. To find out what we are really like... ask one of our best author clients "Marilyn Grey" who has sold over 10,000 books just in December 2013 and has succeeded very much because of our assistance in her publishing process. We love working with books, but the content must be appropriate. We are sorry that Mr. Baker decided to handle it this way without even contacting us to cordially accept our offers... instead his anger got the best of him. We always strive to make things better for our clients and suggest asking some of our great author clients -- who don't hide their identity -- what it's like to work on a book with Tekeme. 

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