On Saturday, October 03, 2009 at
5:32 PM, I contacted Schiel & Denver Publishing Ltd through its UK
website: www.schieldenver.co.uk in connection with the publication of my first
drama piece; The School of Diplomacy.
On Saturday, October 10, 2009 at 06:11 AM, a reply came and in it Jason Harper
Dear Taniform Martin Wanki,
Thank you very much for contacting Schiel
& Denver Book Publishers, and apologies for the short delay in replying to
you. We are very interested in your work, The School of Diplomacy,
and will endeavour to make telephone contact early next week.
The call was eventually made as promised on Wednesday, October 14, 2009,
3:07 PM. It was intended to build confidence between me the author on the one
hand and Jason Harper and the company on the other. It did build the confidence
and in the days after the call, I submitted my manuscript. After receiving it
and expressing interest in it, I had to conform to the prepay policy of the
company and $510.00 was the amount I had to pay. Then the issue of editing came
up and I sought to know what was going to be done about it. Jason Harper wrote
to me on Sunday, October 18, 2009, 08:14 AM in these words;
Thanks very much for
your email. We do appreciate the political context of your book, and have more
sympathy for your cause than you might presume.
publishing package you decide upon, Schiel & Denver will include full
editorial services for only an additional $50.
I do hope we might be
able to begin work on your book soon,
The total amount I had to pay in
summed up to $560.00. which I agreed to pay. But then I had one worry and it
was the means through which I could make the payment to the company. Jason
Harper again gave me an address in London
in these words;
Please send to UK - LONDON,
to our company secretary, Margo Reid.
Please ensure you
specify amount in Cameroonian XFA
Please send to the
Schiel & Denver
Before I could use the above
details, I went surfing on the internet and stumbled on a thread that was
written against Schiel & Denver. I asked for some explanation and got the
following reply from Jason Harper.
Date: Saturday, October 24, 2009, 8:19 AM
Thanks for your email.
are of course very concerned regarding the malicious thread which started
last year in November 2008 - about a week after we launched our
website. For your information, the background to this thread is that
it was started by a "dmack" (real name Darrell McBreirty of Maine, USA)
whose book we rejected due to the fact it was an
explicitly homosexual novel, of very poor literary quality.
you know, Schiel & Denver is a Christian organization and we do not
publish homosexual fantasy books. We are of course devastated that this
man has done this to us. We were first made aware of this thread when Mr McBreirty, following the rejection of his work, began sending female
staff at our organization aggressive and provocative emails, in
which he made taunting references to the fact he had started a thread on
the internet on Absolute Write - obviously with the specific aim
to negatively affect our reputation.
is a libellous thread Martin, and the matter is in the hands of our lawyers.
The existence of the thread is of course deeply upsetting, and we are being
We're decent people, and we don't deserve what is being said about us on this website.
It's very upsetting.
you'd like to work with Schiel & Denver, we'd be happy to assist as a book
publishing services company.
With very best wishes
Convinced, I fulfilled my
financial engagement and a confirmation letter was sent to me on Friday,
November 6, 2009, 11:11 AM. Having fulfilled my part, the company then had to
read my manuscript and edit it (correct all errors it could contain). Curiously
enough a seemingly edited copy of the manuscript was sent to me weeks later and
on going through it, I still found some errors and when I drew Jasons
attention to it, I had an embarrassing response. He told me that I had to pay
some money before the errors could be corrected. That was when I again drew his
attention to the $50.00 editing fee which I had earlier paid. Though I ended up
not paying anything extra, it became evident that this companys top most
priority was money making and it had to exploit every slightest opportunity
that presented itself. That was already a bad sign which I did not see.
I really had big dreams and hung
on what Jason Harper said about Schiel & Denver being A Christian
Organization. I was nave in thinking that honesty and the respect of the 5th
and 10th commandments were going to be this companys watch words.
Based on that, I sent in my second manuscript entitled Within the Walls of Hell for review. I was told by Jason that since
I was already a Schiel & Denver author, they were going to make some
reduction in the cost. So, instead of paying $500.00 or more, I was going to
pay just $450.00. I considered that a wonderful offer and decided to pay
through the account of a friend Cheo Otto who lives in the USA. The
company sent a form for my friend to fill out his account details which he did
and the $450.00 was deducted from it. A confirmation letter was sent from the
accounts department of the companyon 6th July 2010. This is a copy
of the letter:
Dear Taniform Martin
Wanki (Martin Smith)
We are writing to
confirm payment by Otto M. Cheo of the amount USD $450 for the design
book publishing package service on behalf of yourself, has been
Should you have any
questions or issues regarding this billing, please contact us for more
Thank you very much
for your business,
Schiel & Denver Publishing Ltd
The work was published not long
after the company got its money from my friends account. I signed the contract
form on the 1st July 2010 and forwarded to the company but it was returned
more than two weeks after the publication of the work precisely on 18th
July 2010. Which means it was published without a legal binding agreement. It
was after I wrote to the company that it was finally signed and sent to me. With
that settled, I considered that I had made a good investment and was just
patiently waiting for the fallouts strongly believing in the honesty of those
in charge of the company.
But the events of the days,
weeks and months ahead were going to tell a different story, gradually turning
my dreams into a nightmare. Our first bone of contention was at the level of
author copies. Our contract does not specify any number I am entitled to but I
know Im entitled to at least a copy. I kept receiving mails from Jason Harper
telling me that my author copies have been sent. I kept visiting the DHL office
in Bamenda to the extent that I was once mistaken for a worker there. But the
messages kept coming:
Thank you very much for your email, apologies for the short delay in
1. I can confirm that the books have been sent, so should arrive very soon.
2. Just to update you that your author agreement is with management and they
will return the copy to you very soon.
3. There is an excellent opportunity coming up with the to
showcase your first book. It only costs $350 and would be a wonderful
opportunity, for further details see here:
Let me know if you would like to move forward with this one, it's a
fantastic opportunity for international rights.
In the mail above, point 3 is
making reference to a book fair which had to take place in Beijing and $350 was
supposed to be my contribution. Jason later proposed a $100.00 reduction which
I told him I did not have the money. That rested the case but Im still
wondering if it is normal for a company to be asking financial contributions
from its authors to take part in a book fair. However, coming back to the
author copies issue, I soon got tired of being told that books have been sent
and they never getting to their destination. I asked for a tracking number
which was sent by Jason in the following mail on Tuesday, September 7, 2010,
you very much for your email - apologies for the delay in replying which has
been because I've been on leave, but Schiel & Denver continues to produce
and publish your book, the tracking number is below - which only tracks the
package from out of the UK:
notify our dept that you haven't received said packages and request advise for
I felt really excited when that
tracking number was given and immediately carried it to DHL office where I was
told their tracking numbers do not exceed 10 (ten) digits. My excitement
vanished making way for anguish. I wrote back to Jason telling him of my
disappointment and giving my address again. The reply came thus;
Thank you very much
for your email. It's okay because DHL wasn't used and you should receive titles
shortly, there's just no way of tracking outside of the UK. We used
ROYAL MAIL DELIVERY from UK
I will get back to
you as soon as I have liaised with our distribution dept.
That was the last mail he sent to me on
Monday, September 20, 2010 6:00 PM. It would appear I was fast becoming a
nuisance to him and replies to my mails were no longer prompt as was the case
before. For that reason he decided to step aside making way for Justin Dixon. I went on with my complaints
to him but the already sent refrain went on. I decided to write to Royal Mail
and Kar-Ann Donkin replied 48 hours
later. She informed me that Schiel & Denver has never sent any parcel to me
through them and the tracking number was invalid and too long to be theirs. I
wrote back to the company but Justin Dixon insisted that the tracking number
was valid in the following mail though Royal Mail had told me otherwise
1. Your books are
available to buy everywhere - sales can be checked through your author account.
2. A ghost in
Washington is an interesting book, one that Schiel & Denver
would consider publishing if you were to order a publishing package.
3. The price
of your book is standard for the genre.
4. Regarding tracking
numbers should be valid, two sets of books have been sent to you.
Till this day, Im still waiting
for the books. That not withstanding, I got a very shocking fax from USA of an
authorized withdrawal made from the account of my friend Cheo Otto by Schiel
& Denver on 05/05/2011. Truly, the $450.00 asked for to facilitate the
publication of Within the Walls of Hell was paid through the account of
my friend but the account details remained with the company long after the book
was published. My friend is not a fan of books and even if he was, he would not
purchase books to the tune of $450.00. If the company had to go back to that
account, I had to give my approval after discussing with my friend. If the
company was making a transfer of funds, we might have been tempted to think
that it made a mistake with one or two digits and it went into the wrong
account. But it was making a withdrawal from an account knowing that it had no
authorization and it never kept the money in the account in question. That kind of act has a name in English and
it is called Stealing. A copy of that unholy transaction is with me straight
from Bank of America.
I must confess that I thought I
was going to fall out with my friend. Were it not for the fact that we grew up
in the same neighborhood and he knew the kind of person I was, Im sure he
would have accused me of colluding with rogues to robe him. That insatiable
quest is a clear indication that the sole objective of this company is to make
money using any method including stealing. No doubt my author copies have never
been sent because doing that would be throwing away valuable money which the
company badly needs. Besides, they might have seen the sending cost at DHL as
wasteful. Grabbing every penny that can be found and letting none fall seems
to be their sacred code. Moreover, the above mail was the last I received from
the company and it dated back as far as Sunday, November 7, 2010 6:31 AM. From
that date, all communications between me and the company ceased.
Concerning royalties, our
On all copies sold worldwide in paperback, hardback and electronic
(eBook) format in US dollars (USD), Canadian dollars (CAD), British Pounds
Sterling (GBP), and EU euros (EUR), the Author shall be paid Fifty percent
(50%) of the net amounts received by Schiel & Denver from the recommended
If author copies cannot be sent
which are not even hard cash, then it is needless talking about royalties.
Since there is an acute desperation to bring and keep every penny in the
company, my royalties have been swallowed up in it. I have an account on www.schieldenver.com and according to
the information on it, not a single copy of my works have been sold anywhere in
the world in any format. I have friends in Europe and America and it
would be difficult to proof that they too have been unable to buy copies of my
works. Even basic information about my books is not found on schieldenver.com. Even
as of today 30th May, 2012, information on the website still shows
that no copy has been sold anywhere in the world. I have lost total confidence
in this company. This has left me with three bitter lessons to learn from;
would have taken the thread I read on the writers Beware website very
seriously. Had it been I did, I would not have been in this mess. I did it
because I believed people could change but now I know that those working in
this company are incapable of changing.
are a Christian organization. Where is the Christianity in the treatment you
have decided to met out to me? I now know that if I should go looking for a
saint, the church would definitely be the wrong place to go to. It has become a
depraved sanctuary harboring evil doers. Some people use Christianity to mask
their evil intentions.
have practically been reduced to a slave. If I can spend months and years to
come up with a piece of work and pay the initial fee for it to be published and
at the end the publisher decides to market and pocket all that comes in from
sales giving me the author nothing, then I am his slave. That is what Schiel
& Denver has reduced me to.