Welcome to Julia Talbot's blog!

Welcome, everyone! Here's where I blather about writing, life with my wife BA, and my two basset hounds! I love to hear from readers, so comment here or email me!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

points to ponder if you're an author who hasn't been paid

1. Where is the money?

I hear TQ isn't promising payment until the end of June... Not from the publisher, natch. But to me, this action suggests that the publisher is out of money until the next Amazon payment comes in June 30. If this is the case, where did 1st qtr money go to? Because April, May, and June payments should have been saved to pay 2nd qtr royalties. The State Attorney General has not informed Sean Michael that the hot check has been taken care of, so it didn't go there. This also means payment will be 30 days past the 60 days after the end of the quarter. For lots of folks.

2. What's with the excuses?

Has anyone else noticed how similar the excuses are to the ones used by EC? The person who does the royalties is sick. No one else knows how to do them. Thing is, according to emails, all statements are out . I did receive mine today as I was writing this post, nearly a month after the rest of the statements went out. So if they're all done, why is it so hard for someone else to write checks and send them out?

3. Worth repeating.

As of right now, the state attorney has not contacted Sean Michael that the hot check has been paid. It's been a week since the arrest and since the claim that it was paid in full. The SAG office has sent immediate updates on the situation at all times until the alleged payment...


If you would like to contact RWA and let them know you haven't been paid, please get a hold of me via the contact form here on Blogger or on my website. I have the name of the person who does these investigations and membership in RWA is not required. Sadly, since someone felt it necessary to put an author's real name in the comments here I have had to moderate what comes in, but you're welcome to reply via comment and I will see that as well.



Tuesday, June 14, 2016

I want to be positive

But it's tough. Between all the rage and hate in the news, the victims of the Pulse shooting rampage, and the situation with TQ, I'm down, y'all.

On the good side, my girl and I are both on the All Romance Ebooks Bestseller list with 3 books each. That's pretty damned good news. Also, my girl had her eye doc appt today, and it's great news. Much improved sight and less bleeding.

Now if I could just get the news I'm waiting for on the other situation, life would rock!

Hugs to everyone and XXOO


Friday, June 10, 2016

In the interest of transparency about the latest TQ situation

This will be a long one and not fun. Bear with me.

I have been accused, much like authors asserting they have not been paid at EC, of being "One of those people causing trouble" for no reason. It has also been said I have a teeny bit of malice toward my former company so anything I say is suspect. There has also been the assertion that the new owners of TQ can't tell the truth due to a pending lawsuit.

So here is complete transparency from the side of an author embroiled in this mess and yes, a former owner of the company.

The facts: In December 2015, author Sean Michael, who is in no way family to the current or former owners of TQ, should have received her 3rd qtr check. The check had been "lost" for some time. When contacted, the owner of the press claimed she immediately mailed another check. When asked for the overnight tracking number, the author was told the tracking number was in the truck which had been borrowed by a family member. The check was received in the post Dec 31, 2015 cashed and the week before the MLK holiday in January 2016, it was returned to Sean for Non Sufficient Funds. This was clearly marked on the check. Not stopped payment. NSF. The Friday before MLK holiday, the author asked for a wire transfer was told the bank cut off wire transfers at noon. When a bank representative was contacted at 12:30 central time, he indicated they cut off wire transfers at 3pm eastern which would have been 2 hours after the press owner said she could no longer send money. After weeks passed with no forthcoming payment and no tracking number for a mailed check, Sean was forced to decide to turn Ms. Boulware in for check fraud. She issued the complaint to the Columbia County Arkansas Sheriff and State Attorney's hot check office as a criminal matter. They then issued a citation which was sent to Ms. Boulware giving her notice that she pay the full amount or be arrested. When the grace period passed, a warrant was issued. On June 8 2016 at 7pm, Ms. Boulware was arrested for violation of the Arkansas Hot Check Law. She was held until she posted bail June 9 at 3pm.

This is a matter of public record. http://www.vcafe.info/US-Counties/Arkansas/Columbia-County-AR/Kristi-Boulware-talbot.137400556.html

At no time has Sean been notified that the check was paid. The state attorney's hot check dept. communicates with the author every step of the way with all of the information.

As of this writing, at least 15 Torquere authors have contacted me and let me know that have not been paid for 1st quarter royalties, due no later than May 31 2016. I have not received a statement for my 1st qtr sales and neither has Sean Michael or Kiernan Kelly despite a notice being sent out that all statements had been sent.

Regarding a pending lawsuit, if there is such a filing, I have not been apprised of it, or been asked to address it in any way. Nor can I find legal filings on record of such in a public records search. I did not pull my titles out of spite. Trust me, I could happily have lived on passive income from my backlist had I not received late payments and reports with new releases missing or miscalculated. Now I have more than 40 reprints to sell and about a third of my income gone. Tell me I did that out of malice.

So why am I out here talking about it and not Sean Michael? Sean is in the business of writing and of pleasing the fans. This company was not hers. It was mine and I am devastated that someone who was our business manager for 2-3 years took over and then began to not pay authors. Think about this. Sean Michael, who was TQ's major selling author, has not received a payment for sales later that March 2015 save for one partial payment marked for 4th qtr 2015 in a very small amount compared to the total owed. I feel, as an author and industry professional, that authors need to be warned. Where is the money? Why are authors receiving emails saying Ms. Boulware Talbot was in the hospital for an MRI and then at home passed out on pain pills when she was in jail overnight awaiting bond? The lies have to stop, and if I have to be the one to expose them, so be it. I'll take the hit.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions. Many of Torquere's former payment policies have been misrepresented in recent emails as well, and I would be happy to clear up how I advised Ms. Boulware to proceed, including how putting 50% of all monies in escrow meant authors would never go unpaid. The simple fact is that it's not acceptable to leave authors worried about the status of their titles and their money.

Sean Michael corrected me on some details and now the timeline is correct Julia

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

the curious case of filtering

I have an English degree. I've been a professional writer for 15 years. I edited for 12. I've never heard the word filtering pop up so much in the world of fiction editing as I have in the last year, and I have to admit, I'm sick to death of it.

There's an article here that describes what filtering is. Linky!

I like this article because it explains what filtering is but it also explains how sometimes "filter" words are necessary. You see, I don't subscribe to the all or nothing rules of writing theory. If you write deep POV, sometimes the only way for a reader to learn something is because the main character heard it or saw it. Sometimes the writer deliberately chooses to filter information because the POV character is unreliable, possibly lying to himself and others. Or sometimes the author just wants you to know that you as the reader and seeing what the character sees not, just some random, disconnected act.

That being said, I do think that an author needs to examine the instances of the words heard and saw and felt, just to see if they're necessary. Sometimes we find we don't need them at all.

Then again, sometimes we really fell like we do (grins)



Wednesday, May 25, 2016

caught in a trump rally protest

So. I was on my way to the main hospital last night in downtown Albuquerque. They transferred my wife, BA, by ambulance, and I had to come down in the car.

So, I thought, oh I don't want to take the Interstate when I'm so tired. I'll go the back way, which cuts across at the river and comes through by the convention center.

Had I known there was a Trump rally at the convention center I would have avoided downtown like the plague. As it is, I ignore the bad haired loony, so I had no clue. I got to Central Ave just at Lead or Coal or whatever it is and hit awful traffic, so I turned off with a bunch of other folks and tried to go a few blocks around.

Just as they diverted the protesters and folks just there to make mischief off on the street I was on.

For 25 minutes I sat in traffic as hundreds of people wearing masks and gang colors streamed past me, whacking my car and screaming obscenities. A man with a Mexican flag got up on a rooftop across the way and ran back and forth, pumping up the crowd. Maybe a hundred muscle car racers revved engines and people set off starter pistols and set shit in fire. Between the smoke, the skateboarders whizzing by, and the noise, it was impossible to move more than a few inches at a time.

I finally got a break when I was able to pull off through a bank parking lot. I thought. Then I got stuck behind a car right out of the Fast and Furious, who blocked my way and revved his engine for ten minutes.

About the time I was hoarse from screaming that my wife was in the hospital and I Just needed to get there, a middle aged Hispanic lady popped up next to my car. She tapped my window and asked me where I was going, and I rolled down to tell her I needed to go to the hospital. She jumped out in front of my car and started screaming and shoving, and damned if she didn't get me out of the mess as if she was Moses parting the red sea.

Never mess with the wrath of a Mexican mamacita, y'all. She will mess your shit up.

She was my angel, and restored my quickly dwindling faith in humanity with her kindness.

I may loathe Trump, but riots are not the way, y'all. I have been inside one now, and I promise, I would rather take on a tornado or a sandstorm. Nature is more predictable than the mob.



Tuesday, May 17, 2016

How small publishing works - a primer for readers

Hey y'all!

With the recent plea from a well known author not to buy her EC books, which I jumped on shamelessly, several people asked me to explain how small publishing works so readers know why we implore them not to buy our books from places like EC, and in my case, paperbacks from Torquere that are still up despite a rights reversion in January.

For our purposes, there are 3 types of publishing going on right now in romance. Major label/big 6 is one (though people argue big 5 pr big 4 these days). That's when you get in with say, Harlequinn or Avon and your book is paperback bound with the ebook as an added value. These ebooks can go for 10-12 bucks and are not the biggest concern for the publisher. Many of those big publishers are looking at e-first lines, but they haven't quite jumped on the bandwagon 100% yet. We're not talking about them right now.

Then there's self publishing. An author writes a story, buys or makes a cover, hopefully pays for an edit, converts book files to e-books and uploads them to Smashwords or Amazon or Kobo or Nook or All Romance Ebooks. Or all of them. Then the distributor, which is one of the previously mentioned places, pays the author all the money they made on the book, less their percentage. For anything 2.99 and over, Amazon only takes 30%. Not bad, right? Ah, but for that .99 price that everyone including me loves, Amazon takes 70%. The author gets .29 per copy, give or take. Seeing as how covers, edits, and formatting can easily add up to about 200-500 bucks, a small publisher, who provides all that for another cut of the percentage, looks really attractive.

So, then we come to small publishers. Yes, EC was a "small" publisher even at several million a year. Some small pubs put out 5 books a year. Some 50. Some 5000. What they have in common is their business model. Unlike the Big 6, most of these publishers have retail websites. They provide cover art, editing, proofreading and file creation at their own expense, unlike a vanity press who charges the author up front for that. They upload the books to the distributors, which stamps their presence on it behind the author. Like a Dreamspinner book? Then you might like Julia's, too! Then they do advertising. Often with blogs, reviewers, or websites such as All Romance, unlike Big 6, who focus on print and radio, even TV a la James Patterson's ads. Word of mouth and repeat customers are important to these publishers, as are their sales on their own websites, so they don't have to pay those commissions we talked about self published authors paying to Amazon, etc. Usually it's the same amount for publishers.

So, what does all this matter? Well, I was asked to explain because some authors and readers have seen people say, "Yes, but I never buy your books from EC. I just buy them from Amazon." This is not an unusual assumption, that the publisher's site is the only place the publisher makes money on a book. But it's not.

In fact, the author, in general, makes more money on a book sold on a publisher's website than they do on Amazon or Smashwords. Since the publisher makes more, they offer the author a better percentage. The money Amazon takes means the publisher makes less, so the author makes less. Often 10-20% less. And what about those .99 books? Oh, man, on Amazon, the author gets about .12. Ouch.

And that's assuming the publisher pays the author. See, this is where people get confused. If you buy a book on any website that lists the publisher as Ellora's Cave, EC gets the money. No matter what site. There's always a publisher listing somewhere in the "information" section of the book listing. On Amazon it's after the blurb and the customers who bought this areas. Don't be fooled when it says Sold by Amazon Digital Services. Look for this: Publisher: Ellora's Cave Publishing Inc (February 5, 2014)

I know it's hard to tell who's doing what with as many publishers and self publishing nicknames (like my own Turtlehat Creatives) out there. But it's easy enough to see an EC book on Amazon. They might not band all their books at the top with their name anymore, but most have the ankh symbol on the top left, and some have EC under that. Then there's that publisher listing that, legally, they can't really hide.

I know some people, sadly, had new books out with this publisher and are still promoting them, so buy those EC titles at your peril. My wife, BA Tortuga, are asking people don't buy our remaining EC books ANYWHERE. EC gets the money, and we're not getting paid. I hope that helps out everyone who asked me to post about this.


Sunday, May 15, 2016

ramblings about chronic illness/injury

tired today

Having hormonal issues that are actually causing gall bladder attacks.

To say I am peeved is the least of it. I eat well, even if my body doesn't look like it. I injured my foot a few years back and there went 3 days a week Zumba and 4 day a week yoga. There went losing half my body weight (I have gained back 25 pounds). I limit red meat. I eat good fats. I try to avoid my nemesis, sugar.

Lately, though, stress and 45 year old hormones have taken their toll. I am hurting, and I hate it.

I know a lot of y'all struggle with chronic illness. Injury. Mental health issues. I just want to say I hear you. I see you. I love y'all. I also want to say thank you to my fellow authors, my readers and bloggers. You lift me up, and I adore you.