Updated: May 9, 2022
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The process had been rather interesting and not in a very pleasant way. While Stary Pte Ltd is certainly not a scam, it is far from an ideal working partner for me. This is not to say that it isn't a good platform to publish with, it worked for others but not really for me because they did not meet my expectations.
My experience started with a pop in DM on discord by an unknown person who joined my fan discord server. Naturally, the nature of this approach was shady but after talking with them a little more, they proved to be promising but here's another red flag.
The email that they used to contact me didn't have their company name. It was a generic gmail account that changed names twice throughout my working experience. I also later found out that they were a part-time editor working online for the company from god-knows-where.
Furthermore, before Ringdom was called Ringdom, they were known as SwordyStory with a website that looked like it was a scam and hastily put together with no links or accreditation that they were legit. Still, because of the USD prize money for that competition, I decided to give it a shot and wrote 60k words to qualify for a shot at the prize and signed the exclusive contract that they made compulsory for all competition writers.
After I submitted my manuscript, I had to wait for the results to be announced. Hence, I marked my calendar. However, even on the date of the news release, there was no movement from the company. No email, no DM on my social media and not even any activity on their social media. It was only natural to panic, thinking that I got scammed. I contacted all the available editors but apparently, they don't really use social media and discord unless it is to their convenience of poaching Wattpad authors and making them feel welcomed like they are always available to reach out to.
Not to mention, the editor who I worked with had sent an email to say that she was leaving the company not long after I contracted with her. She also sent an incredibly unprofessional email to scold me and blame me for making her 'lose face' in front of her superior by not following the instructions and guide for setting up a contract application online for their payment system.
In my defence, I already signed your legal contract, why do I have to do it again? This process is dumb if it's only for the convenience for your internal operation. Also, the guide I was given was garbage. Anyone could easily misunderstand it because they put in word fillers in fields instead of a solid example that has been accepted. The standards differed so greatly so you can imagine that at this point, I was started to lose sight of my bright future with them.
Ok, let's stop for a moment and give credit where credit is due. I spent an hour writing an email to them after testing their site for publishing and told them every single detail I found fault with (trust me, the old publishing site was so full of bugs and errors that it couldn't be used). And they actually feedback this to the IT team to improve on it before launching the new writing platform that is now known as Stary Writing (a backend publishing platform for both Dreame and Ringdom). This is one thing I felt that Ringdom was actually good at when compared to working with Webnovel when you cry to IT saying your work was lost because their site crashed or if there was a word count error and they simply tell you "too bad".
Another plus point for Ringdom is the effort they put into creating your cover. Granted, the cover you see now is the final version that has been rejected once. While I am still not satisfied with the font that they used for my name, it is way better than the first version. I believe they hired some graphic artist to create custom covers which is why the covers on Ringdom look so much better and it is copyright strike free. The quality of the works on Ringdom remains questionable but at least the cover looks better than Webnovel. I'll give it to them.
However, right after this came another huge issue -the payout of the prize money they promised me after I won Best Plot.
I was owed USD1,000 (minus the fees for transfer and currency exchange by Paypal that I had to absorb which was understandable). I waited for a very long time even after the results had been announced. I was told it would be received somewhere between July to August so I waited till the end of July and even contacted the editors on social media (that they first used to contact me) but nobody replied. Not a single word.
Following this, there was huge scandal news going on saying that Dreame authors are suing them in the Philippines for non-payment and the CEO of Stary Pte Ltd was arrested in China. Again, I reached out to these editors and got radio silence from them.
Eventually, I gave up and wrote in a very formal email asking for answers for everything. Then, there was finally an answer, one day later.
You can imagine my reaction when the editor told me off for trying to contact her on social media regarding urgent matters like this. She said that they were not able to always use social media but their emails were always available so this was my fault for not using the right channel.
You know what? It was a good thing she left the company. It's not the first time I've been treated with such blatant disrespect and irresponsibility, I'm actually not sorry she left. Still, my trust in this company has been broken. After I emailed the editor, I soon received my prize money payout but that took me a very long process. The fear and pain I suffered while not knowing anything was not worth it. As an author working with them, my trust had been betrayed again and again. Naturally, there are still stories that I cannot add into this blog regarding the huge miscommunication between me and that part-timer editor before I signed the contract because it has been marked as resolved. However, it doesn't change the fact that I will not be working with Ringdom again in the foreseeable future unless they do something to change their internal structure so that authors are treated better.
Will I recommend any writer to try publishing with Ringdom? Absolutely. Their new writing backend system is a lot more reliable and user-friendly.
Will I recommend any writer to sign an exclusive or non-exclusive contract with Stary Pte Ltd? Unless they change some of their current terms, I would advise you to think twice or even thrice. Currently, there are many writing platforms with much better responses and terms, it is a buffet for web novelists now especially during the covid period. Take your time to find out more from all the available options before you commit, especially if it involves contract signing. You don't want to dedicate your soul into writing something with the wrong publishing partner and spend your whole life regretting it.
That's all from me, if you have any other questions regarding the Survival Bunker System Developer or Ringdom, feel free to ask me. All the links to my social media can be found on the footer of my website.
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