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Thursday, March 24, 2016

Publishers. It's not okay to not pay...

I'm not sure what's worse.

A publisher who continues to sell your books and blithely refrains from sending statements and checks while telling you they can't revert your books due to the volume of sales, or a publisher that takes down your titles when you ask, then sends you a statement for your 2nd to last quarter of sales telling you that you sold over 1000 copies of the book you released that quarter and then not paying you for them.

I know which one makes me angrier right now, since with the statement I know how much money I'm getting fucked out of, and you know, a family member being the one to bend me over and fuck me with a chainsaw.

Sigh. Either way I am not chilled, and I want to say, as someone who never once failed to pay out royalties owed, it's not brain surgery. It's also not cool to sit back and say, "Well, I got paid, so I don't care if publisher X is 20K behind in payments to other people." I said that about EC when it all first started and I say it now. I have one title left to get back from them, and I'll keep plugging at it.

Torquere LLC is still pretending all is well. Author beware. It's not. It's not okay not to pay and to owe as much as they do to at least three authors. When our money is all used up who do you think will go down in flames next? I can guarantee, as the one who used to write those checks, I know what order y'all will start to get screwed in.

I'm sorry if I can't be positive, but I also can't just let this go. I depend on my publishers to pay me so I can live. Samhain, Changeling, All Romance Ebooks, Resplendence and Dreamspinner, thank you for being honest and doing good business.




Anera said...

That sucks so much. If I ever win the lottery I'm setting up a legal foundation for independent authors.

bill Culpie said...

Thanks for the inclusion of Changeling as one of those whom pay authors on time. We appreciate what authors and editors and our cover artists have to go through to make a living. There is no justification for any publisher to not pay royalties once they have been paid by the distributor sites. After all a paid author is a happier author. Happy makes for better writers because their stress can be brought on by the book process, not the worry of getting paid "On Time" or at all. We definitely wish for all our authors to be Happy and productive, not short-changed and screwed out of what they worked so hard to earn. Our charity fund "Save the Quiet Kitty" is set up to help those in the 'business' when at all possible.

Anonymous said...

I did publish a book with them and wasn't too pleased. I did like the cover and the editing was fine I did get paid (hopefully), but it took months, they didn't offer paypal, and the check that arrived I haven't cashed yet (so it may not be good - I'll get back to you on that). It just showed up in an envelope and if I hadn't recognized the name on the check and the amount I wouldn't have even known what it was. I think Torquere is having major sales problems. To try and counter this they paid a promotion company (pride promotions) to promote all their releases... God knows where they got the money for this... and honestly, it's not a good deal no matter how little they're paying. All this promotion company did for my book was run a rafflecopter on a few blogs (I could have done that!) and spam tweet with brand new "egg" accounts (with few followers). All my book made in (my share of) the royalties was [a less than hundred dollar amount] since late last year... definitely not enough to get their money back on editing, cover costs, and whatever they're paying that promotion company. What really rang the alarm bells for me was that they trashed Sean Michael in their private authors Yahoo group, saying he was making "libelous" claims against the company. This is something they should have addressed with him, in private - not on an authors group to try and shore up support. If this check doesn't clear I'm asking for my rights back...

I know this is a tough time for books and I feel like we're in a crash. The market is REALLY crowded, sales are down, and a lot of books aren't covering costs. I sadly think this situation has arisen out of incompetence instead of malice - but the motive doesn't matter when authors aren't being paid. I feel like the entire genre is flailing - Dreamspinner & Riptide are shoving all the plotty books off into imprints so they can concentrate on contemporary (the stuff that sells), many publishers have closed entirely, Kindle Unlimited is swamped with bad porn and the worst payouts in the industry, there's continual tension in the medium between straight fans and queer authors, there's enough free reads to last new readers years without needing to buy books, piracy and plagiarism is rife.... This definitely isn't the genre I walked into back in 2012.

The sad part is I think a lot of authors are going to end up walking away. Writing is such a time consuming thing to pour yourself into when you're getting little to nothing in return. But the flip side is, if the genre slows a little, maybe sales will increase again... as long as fans don't leave. I'm focusing on my niche titles - I think M/M is too busy for now but there's tons of room and unexplored territory in lesbian romance, in poly romance, in asexual and bi and trans/genderqueer romance and that's where I'll mostly be until the dust settles.