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The Horror Zine BEWARE

CHIPMUNKA PUBLISHING

What exactly do they do to help those with mental illness other than express "empathy?"

Jason Pegler

WHO: Chipmunka Publishing, UK

REASON: Overpricing client's books, non-standard contract, not responding when questioned what exactly it is he does to help those with mental illness, i.e. does he donate portions of their profits, does he assist in any way, shape or form? CEO Jason Pegler will not say, but it is possible that he makes profits from the sales of his client's books due to their very high cover price. What does he do with those profits? I can see no evidence that he uses these profits to help those with mental illness.

WHY THE HORROR ZINE IS INVOLVED: In December 2010, Katy Sara Culling contacted The Horror Zine with a request to review her book. When I checked and discovered that her 128 page book was selling at the whopping price of $18, I began to ask questions. This page will reveal what I learned about Chipmunka Publishing, straight from the CEO's mouth, as emailed to me by Jason Pegler.

DO NOT PAY THESE OUTRAGEOUS PRICES TO GET PUBLISHED BY CHIPMUNKA HERE

Question: Whose interests does Chipmunka care about, making money for themselves or helping the mentally ill? Judge for yourself from this posting on their website:

Your Publishing Options

Please Note: Authors wishing to make use of the Fast Track and Fast Track Masterclass services: We will not start the editing or production of your book until cleared funds are received.

Email from Katy Sara Culling, who was a Chipmunka client*:

December 26, 2010

Hi again Jeani - I am thinking of paying for a publicist to help market my books because despite claims to the contrary chipmunka do NOTHING to help with marketing and sales. NOTHING.

Wow you have opened my eyes. I will think of things to say....

Firstly, thank you for opening my eyes to what is going on - and I am fine that you do not want to review the book, understand the circumstances. This explains how when i sold thousands of copies of my memoir i only got paid £100. They never gave me any numbers - I did book signings in stores - so all those in book store sales came to nothing for me.

I knew the contract was bad but i am off work on disability (like many of Jason's authors) and as such couldn't afford a lawyer. Who knows what future rights I have signed away. I was hoping to turn the book into a screenplay....

I am sorry that it stands all of his authors in bad stead when many of them are like me, vulnerable people with mental illness.

Thanks, Katy Sara Culling

* Update 01/18/2013: Recently, Katy Sara Culling committed suicide. I have been informed that Chipmunka has produced an ebook dedicated to Katy "in her memorium" HERE. It is my belief, as witnessed by her email, that Ms. Culling would not want this. But does Jason Pegler care what his clients want, or does he just care about the money he makes off of them? Read my email exchanges with Mr. Pegler (below) and you be the judge.

Below is the converstation between Jason Pegler and myself, copied exactly as emailed.

My first email to Jason Pegler:

From: Jeani Rector <jeani_rector@yahoo.com>
To: info@chipmunkapublishing.com
Sent: Wed, 22 December, 2010 22:45:29
Subject: question for Jason Pegler

I am considering reviewing a book in my magazine for an author that is published by Chipmunka Publishing. Before I agree to review the book, I have an important question for you.

The retail price that you have set for the book is astoundingly high. I was wondering if you donate some of the proceeds from the books you publish to your mental health charity, which would explain the very high retail price.

Please let me know, and please explain to me how much is donated to charity from your book sales and how your donations help those with mental illness.

Thank you,
Jeani Rector, Editor
The Horror Zine

Mr. Pegler's response:

From: jason pegler <jasonpegler@yahoo.com>
Subject: Re: question for Jason Pegler
To: "Jeani Rector" <jeani_rector@yahoo.com>
Date: Thursday, December 23, 2010, 5:23 AM

Dear Jeani,

Chipmunka is a social enterprise. Maybe look in wikipedia so you know exactly what a social enteprise is. All the proceeds from our organisation go into helping more people. The retail price is high as we use POD business model which means printing costs are higher. You could find more information about that on your website. Surely your review would be about the book anyway. If you want to reveiw then great if not then no worries. Please be sensitive to the author as they may be more sensitive than your typical author. Merry Xmas.

My response back:

To: jason pegler <jasonpegler@yahoo.com>
Sent: Thu, 23 December, 2010 17:40:25
Subject: Re: question for Jason Pegler

Wow, I feel your email is very condescending and downright rude. I am very surprised at your behavior.

Jeani Rector, Editor
The Horror Zine

Mr. Pegler's next email seems to be a bit more, shall we say, decent, but still very hasty:

From: jason pegler <jasonpegler@yahoo.com>
Subject: apology to Jeani
To: "Jeani Rector" <jeani_rector@yahoo.com>
Date: Sunday, January 9, 2011, 1:43 PM

Sorry i did not mean to be rude. I meant our website not your website. Maybe i should expand the FAQ page on our website in the future. All the best and apologies once again. best wishes

Now I felt it was time to get down to business:

From: Jeani Rector <jeani_rector@yahoo.com>
To: jason pegler <jasonpegler@yahoo.com>
Sent: Sun, 9 January, 2011 21:57:06
Subject: Re: apology to Jeani

Well I appreciate that. However, I still have some questions for you. For example, I have carefully studied your website, and I am not finding any specifics about what it is exactly you do for the mentally ill? Do you donate proceeds, do you volunteer at established organizations, what? All I can see from your site is that you have "empathy" for them. Well, I do as well.

I am curious at how you justify charging $18 cover price for a 128 page book. You know, of course, that at that huge price tag, you are doing a grave disservice for your clients in that no one is going to pay that kind of price except perhaps your client's relatives. Self-publishers like Lulu would sell a 128 page book for about $12. What do you do for your client that justifies an $18 price tag? I am not being rude, I am asking you an honest question and I appreciate your patience. Certainly there are other ways to assist the mentally ill, like direct them to a self publisher. Furthermore, I did discuss with one of your clients, and I have reviewed a contract, and I am concerned about royalties? Do you keep adequate records of distribution of royalties?

And Mr. Pegler responds, but does not answer my questions:

Re: apology to JeaniMonday, January 10, 2011 12:33 AM
From: This sender is DomainKeys verified"jason pegler" <jasonpegler@yahoo.com>Add sender to ContactsTo: "Jeani Rector" <jeani_rector@yahoo.com>Dear Jeanie,

Thanks for your email. I take what you say seriously. I appreciate your comments and will take them on board. Infact people come to me from lulu from time to time as they have no joy with lulu. Publishing is a very difficult business to be in. If we sold books at the price you are saying then i would not be able to give a voice to so many people. Costs would be too high. I also believe there is value in the mental health genre. The books we publish are important for the history of the way the world douments mental illness. There is nobody else doing it. When i was seventeen i spent 6 months in a psychiatric ward. If there was a book in there i could have red then it would have helped me come to terms with what happened to me alot earlier. Alot of people are happy with our service and i am passionate about what i am doing as i know it saves lives. People tell me this every day.

I am aware of Writers Beware. I was very upset by it. First negative thing written about our organisation on the internet. I updated the contracts along time ago and told Victoria about that. e.g.. We do not take moral rights anymore. I did not realise it was such an issue until Victoria pointed it out. We offer 50% on all subrights. The contracts have been changed alot since the comments you point out. Examples in our contract include wholesale sales who of course provide the booktrade. I offered to speak to her on the phone but she did not oblige. I even asked her to send me a standard contract but she was unable to. Sounds like the contract you looked at is one from a few years ago.

Yes we do keep extremely accurate records of our royalties. To be honest i find that a bit rude of you to ask me something like that. Some of our books do well because people believe in what we are doing. Our website is very transparent and i am looking to make it more transparent all the time.

I think our website speaks for itself. Please read the FAQ page, publishing schedule and promotion guide. If anyone wants me to stop publishing then then i am happy to do so although the vast majority of people are happy with our service.

I sincerely wish you all the best and appreciate your comments. I will take them on board. You have asked a very important question although i feel i am best answering it on my website rather than emailing you directly about it. I do not tell you how to run your organisation and would never dream of doing such a thing. If you really do care about people with mental illness then please read A Can of Madness and you will see that i want to help people because of what i went through. This is why we have spent several years giving books to people with mental illness in psychiatric wards and to mental health charities around the world. When a sufferer reads a book about someone else who has mental illness they realise that they are no longer alone. This can be a very empowering thing.

Since Mr. Pegler did not answer my questions, I ask them again:

From: Jeani Rector <jeani_rector@yahoo.com>
Subject: Re: apology to Jeani
To: "jason pegler" <jasonpegler@yahoo.com>
Date: Monday, January 10, 2011, 4:35 AM

I will look closely at your website again. I will be seeking where it says you directly help those with mental illness, by either contributions, donations of a portion of proceeds, or direct volunteering. You sent a very nice email; however, I would like to see on your website what you actually DO besides publishing books at very high retail prices.

For example, The Horror Zine reviewed a book titled Knuckle Sandwich because they donate 10% of proceeds to an organization called Children of the Night, which tries to help child prostitutes get off the streets of Los Angeles and other major cities. Now, their website is cut and dried. All evidence is right there, right out front as to what they do as a charity. No one has to search and nothing is vague. When things are vague, it hits my suspicion radar.

So far, I have to tell you, whatever actions you are doing to help the mentally ill are vague at best. I see nothing on your website about what it is you DO for them.

You may criticize Lulu (and I have never used them personally) but they price their books within the reach of many people. At $18 for a 128 page book, no one but that person's relatives would buy the book. Do you feel that is really helping that writer with mental illness?

You say you go to institutions and give away free books. Why is that not on your website? And, how does that help the person with the 128 page book that no one will buy at the price of $18?

THIS is something that I really really want to know. Why did you discount your own book so heavily (when one considers the page count as comparison), while charging the same price for a book at half the page count?

I am not trying to be rude. I am asking some very valid questions. I don't like the feel of this and I work very hard to champion for the writers in this world. I am on THEIR side, always. Remember, a writer with a mental illness is still a writer and they should be respected as such.

I am not taking any of my concerns public at this point. I am just asking at this point. I am not trying to tell you how to run your organization. I am hoping YOU will tell ME how you run your organization. All legitimate organizations have nothing to hide, so they don't mind sharing facts.

I am giving you a chance to explain all of this before I take anything public.

I look forward to your answers.
Thanks,
Jeani Rector, Editor
The Horror Zine
http://www.thehorrorzine.com

I need to say here that Jason Pegler did not respond.

Why is he not offering proof that he does things to help those with mental illness besides over-price their books? Why doesn't he offer proof that he donates portions of his proceeds to a mental health charity? Or anything else that the mentally ill can benefit from?

Just what DOES he do with the proceeds from his clients' over-priced books?

Jason Pegler chose to keep quiet.

YOU CAN JUDGE FOR YOURSELF ABOUT CHIPMUNKA PUBLISHING.

From: Jeani Rector <jeani_rector@yahoo.com>
Subject: Hi again Jason
To: jasonpegler@yahoo.com
Date: Friday, January 14, 2011, 6:50 AM

Hi Jason. I am surprised that you have not responded to address my concerns, but perhaps since you just got back from an extended vacation, you have been busy.

I am sure you would understand if I took my concerns public? I am very concerned with the well-being of struggling writers in the world. I try to always do my best for them. They are very important to me.

Thanks,
Jeani Rector, Editor
The Horror Zine
http://www.thehorrorzine.com

STILL NO REPLY. THEREFORE, CHIPMUNKA PUBLISHING HAS MADE THE HORROR ZINE BEWARE LIST.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

See comments on the "Absolute Write" forum about Chipmunka Publishing HERE

Chipmunka wants a lot of money from you to publish you HERE

Questions:

What does Chipmunka Publishing do for those with mental health issues besides publish expensively priced books? Do any of the profits go to help those with mental health issues? See the emails to the left for unsatisfactory answers.

Why is Jason Pegler's own 248 page book titled A Can of Madness (below) selling for $18.00, the same price tag that he sticks on his clients' 128 page books?

If Chipmunka sells his clients' 128 page books for $18, shouldn't he price his own book at $36?

Why are the rules different for Jason Pegler than they are for his clients?

Here is "A Can of Madness," which is Jason Pegler's own book for which he gives SPECIAL TREATMENT (below). If you care about those with mental illness, do not buy this book:

Pegler

SEE WHAT VICTIMS ARE SAYNG:

I have screen prints of these emails on file

NEW EMAIL (12/26/2012):

Wed, Dec 26, 2012 at 4:35 AM

Dear Jeani
I hope you don't mind me sending you this e-mail but I feel I need to write about my encounter with chipmunka publishers. Unfortunately I submitted my work to them well before I read your reports on the horrorzine. I too have had a similar experience as those reported having had two books published with them.  It seems that Jason Pegler is guilty of exploiting vulnerable people. I also get spam emails every week off this company inviting me to writing seminars etc on public speaking and how to promote your book,  (all of which cost hundreds of pounds, all of which Jason Pegler will profit from). I have not received a penny in royalties which may not come as a surprise to you. The sales figures he sent me are incorrect as i know I have sold more than what it says.  At the moment I can't afford to obtain legal advice and Pegler knows this. My heart goes out to other writers who have had the same treatment from Chipmunka and are in the same situation as myself. This company is sponsored by the ARTS Council England and I feel that they should be made aware of Jason Pegle'rs dishonesty. Would it be okay if I alerted the arts council to the horrorzine website.  I also feel it would be helpful if other exploited chipmunka authors could do the same, because I'm sure you will agree with me the mentally ill do not deserve to be exploited and should get the same treatment and chances as anyone else.

I look forward to hearing from you Jeani and will be very grateful for any help or advice you can give me.

Kind regards L (name removed)

MY RESPONSE: L, I am so very sorry. Chipmunka and Jason Pegler especially prey on vulnerable people like yourself for financial gain. I am aware that they are sponsored by the ARTS Council and that breaks my heart. The ARTS Council has been grossly misinformed. Please, by all means, do tell your story to the ARTS council and do tell them about the Chipmunka Beware Page on The Horror Zine.

Can I post your email, if I remove your email address and remove your name?

Thank you for contacting me. If there is anything I can do to help you, know that I will.

Thanks,
Jeani Rector, Editor
The Horror Zine
http://www.thehorrorzine.com

Wed, Dec 26, 2012 at 6:05 AM

Dear Jeani
thanks for your fast reply at this busy time of year. It has made me feel so much better. Yes by all means post my email. I only hope it encourages others to also report Pegler and his company to the Arts Council as I feel the more that do this the more there will take note. On the good side I'm not going to give up my writing which I really enjoy. I write a lot for my family and friends. I refuse to let Pegler take this away from me.  So thanks again and all the best for the new year.

Kind Regards, L

MORE EMAILS FROM OTHER VICTIMS

Sunday, March 11, 2012 11:56 AM
From: "Sheza Jilal"

Basically I published with Chipmunka in 2010 a memoir called 'The Undesirable'. Because I was so scared of the agent route (the fear of rejection and all that) I was delighted when Chipmunka decided to publish my book. Although I was a little wary of the 'mental health' tag (I have a history of mental illness and this is mentioned in the book), I just had problem with it becoming a 'label' or a complete 'identity tag', especially when my book was in fact an existentialist memoir (I'm heavily influenced by Sartre and Camus) that actually sought to make the reader question tags, labels and identities.

All the problems you have stated in the Horrorzine slowly came to light bit by bit. Only one book (Pegler's auto-biography) gets any promotion. Chipmunka has a 'fast-track' policy for paperbacks (your book is an e-book for the first 6 months before going to paperback unless you opt for the 'fast track' method and agree to buy at least 33 copies of your own book with a few extra copies added, called an 'author discount'). This is, I consider, a form of 'vanity publishing' on the sly.

All the copies I managed to get out in stores or sell to people who knew me either made a loss or came to the same price - Bit by bit I realised that Pegler was not 'empowering' the mentally ill but, in fact, exploiting them. He was once voted New Statesman 'Young Entrepreneur of the year' and has met David Cameron. So he knows where money is to be made. But 'empowering' the 'mentally ill'? Far from it. It's made me feel a 'failed writer'.

I have managed to terminate my contract with them and maybe one day I could publish 'The Undesirable' elsewhere (Which I might re-title "Down and out in Lyon and London") but for the moment am concentrating on my second book, "The death of Eros". But the whole experience with Chipmunka has found me very cynical and disappointed (£280 profit, plus the amount I spent on the 'fast track' method means I must have made quite a bit for them - My royalties though, were £0.00). Even POD publishing cannot justify any of this. And yes, like you'd probably know by now Jason Pegler is notoriously frustrating to confront, fails to answer questions, diverts the issue and, in my case, also very dictatorial (after learning that I made a thread about my experience with Chipmunka on Absolute Write he e-mailed me to tell me to apologise, and to tell me to remove the thread and 'promise not to do it again' otherwise he'd 'withdraw' my book. My first thoughts were 'please do that').

Sheza Jilal

Another victim:

date: Tue, Apr 21, 2015 at 2:29 PM

Hello Jeani,

My name is Teresa (last name removed) and I have had occasion to read your piece on line about Chipmnunka publishing. I placed my book with them just over 18 months or so ago. The eBook came out in Febuary 2010 and the paperback in June of this year. This October was the first time I would be aware of any royalties. I was shocked to receive an email telling me that I had only sold 2 ebooks and 2 paperback during all that time. I have done many radio interviews and was of the mind that there were far more sales. People ringing in to talk to me during those show told me that they had read the book. 3 personal friends also said they had purchased it. A radio host from GH Radio, a show in which I have been interviewed on twice. Assured me both while we were talking on Skype and then by email that he was personally is aware of 10 sales within his family unit. I have questioned Chipmunka but only received a part print out confirming the sales.. which if I'm honest i could run up my self. I am unable to see the name of the printers or details. I guess I am writing to you for advise after reading your concerns. I am a disabled lady suffering from mental health and this has really knocked me back. I have spent hours and hours trying to promote my book in any way possible, and I feel completely let down.

Blessings, Teresa    

And another victim

date: Wed, Nov 16, 2011 12:46 PM

Hello,
I hope you don't mind this direct contact, but I was reading the horror zine with regards to Chipmunka publishing. Sadly it echoed my thoughts and opinion of the said publisher. I am in the process of trying to get my book released from them. I had published a book with them first printed in 2011.
Getting an answer to my email seems to be impossible. They never answer the telephone. I have asked for proof of my sales to date several times. As I am unsure, never having received a headed printed sales report from them. Only an email on a word document they anyone with a PC could run up. I asked for a report from the printers quoting my sales to date. But I'm still waiting. I have seen my book on Amazon to purchase as used, I have friends that have purchased it also, amongst others. Which seem to add up to more sales then I have been told excised. This is not the first year that I have questioned my sales. I have asked them how much notice is needed to remove my book, but once again no reply. My hope is to do just that. I guess I now have to get back to looking for a new publisher to take my book. But it will be difficult to find such a company the second time around, that will give me a second bite of the cherry. Chipmunka has left me very disillusioned. I work very hard on my website, I have also been a guest on talk radio shows. But this has been through my effort alone. As a new author I believed the promotion should two sided effort, it seems I was wrong. I just wanted to tell you that I share your opinion of Jason Peglar (Chipmunka publishing).

Regards

Name Removed

If you are considering using Chipmunka, please read these quotes:

From katysara (read actual post HERE)

I'm going to talk to the CEO of Chipmunka (when he's back on Jan 10th) and see if I can get him to be more open with me. I'm also going to look for an agent. Meanwhile I will try and concentrate on writing which is not easy with all this storming through my brain. KSx

From Alica0099 (read actual post HERE)

Okay so I wanted to share my experience with chupmunka and maybe get some advice?

They found my self-published book, The Crazy Inside: A poetic journey through manic depression, on myspace a long time ago. I signed a contract with them. They told me it would be an e-book and then 9 months later it would be published in print. Well, almost three years later I never saw a dime and it never went to paperback printing. I asked to be let out of my contract since they didn't hold up their end. They said that was fine. To this day they are still selling my book on amazon through kindle and I have NEVER seen a dime.

So if you are considering chipmunka, I would most definitely reconsider. Also, does anyone know what I can do about this?

Advice from Michael B (read actual post HERE)

It sounds to me as if they (Chipmunka) are preying on vulnerable people, then keeping as much money as they possibly can to line their own pockets. They claim they donate to mental health agencies, but where's the proof? Also, to my way of thinking, the people they should be helping are their authors who are owed the promised royalties. As a publisher and author I can state that it is not right to take the costs of credit card payments out of the author's share of royalties. What a freaking crock of crap. He (Jason Pegler) is in the business to give his authors the business, plain and simple.

Get out of those contracts if you can, and don't send them anymore books. Get some legal advice. There may be lawyers willing to help you pro bono (for free) if you are unable to pay for their help.

SEX IS NOW SELLING ON CHIPMUNKA

The "publisher" Chipmunka who is supposedly specializing in Mental Health is now specializing in UNHEALTHY SEX

"As a woman, I am offended by the objectification of women as targets to be beaten and humiliated." --Jeani Rector

Why has Chipmunka published a book titled

TEASE ME, PLEASE ME, WHIP ME, BEAT ME

Sex Book published by Chipmunka Publishing

See this sex book HERE

More about Chimpunka:

Absolute Write states:

Chipmunka offers an extremely nonstandard contract, including:

- requiring authors to waive moral rights (Chipmunka is a UK-based publisher; the USA doesn't recognize moral rights, but they're an important part of copyright law in the UK and Europe)

- paying royalties on the publisher's net profit (actual cash receipts less production costs); this reduces royalties to a pittance

- taking rights for the life of copyright without adequate provisions for rights reversion

- paying royalties only once a year

- claiming a range of subsidiary rights there's no evidence they are able to exploit or license, and providing a nonstandard income split (just 20% of subrights income to the author).

There's more, but those are the highlights.

Chipmunka is a pretty narrowly focused niche publisher, so I would imagine it might have more success marketing its books outside the bookstore system than a publisher with a general publishing program. Nevertheless, bookstores are still an important outlet, and I don't see anything at Chipmunka's website to suggest it makes an effort to get its books into stores (it's also telling that the several royalty payment examples given in the contract don't include bookstore sales).