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!

Monday, September 26, 2016

How publishing works redux, or pay your damned authors

So many things to talk on today. Let me gather my thoughts.


Okay, first I want to talk about the EC-like complaining the owners of Torquere are doing. On Twitter, one says: Cont)but I am pretty fed up.I am done playing nice and trying to pacify people.Things are what they are and ARE being resolved.That is all.

The other says: When people are putting all they have in to try & fix things attacking them doesn't inspire a desire to work harder. Just a thought to keep.

Once again, blaming the authors for their failing. You can't misappropriate thousands of dollars of authors' money, not pay the for books you have a contract to pay them on, and then expect them to believe you when you say things are being resolved.

This is not OUR fault as Torquere authors. We wrote books, promoted them, and helped sell them. Kristi and Joanna then took that money, and spent it. There's no, "Oops, I tripped and lost 20K". There's no overhead that should ever spend the money of a press' authors. This was someone taking the money and spending it, and then not being able to figure out what to do when it suddenly caught up with them because authors began to wise up.

In an update to the author list this weekend, the owners said the payment they were about to receive from Amazon was disconcertingly low. Really? That payment is for July 2016, and has been posted in Amazon since the 15th of August in report form. If you're really trying to make things work, make things right, you should be on top of the incoming revenue as soon as you have access to the information. You should also be putting that money aside to pay the quarter it is actually earned in, not to try to pay off debts you owe from third qtr 2015 onward. That's right. At least one author hasn't received a full payment for anything since 2nd qtr 2015. That's April May and June, 2015. On the Torquere site sales. That qtr paid for Jan-March 2015 on distributors.

Asking for payments and demanding rights reversions for breach of contract are not attacks. They are sound business decisions from authors who have been treated at best unfairly, and at worst criminally.

Pay your authors. Then you don't have to deal with all that nasty hand holding and pacifying people who earned money they will never see.


Saturday, September 24, 2016

Update to the TQ debacle

No payment, no emails to tell anyone what's going on, lots of authors saying they're getting no answer while one of the owners bitches on Twitter about having to pacify those pesky damned authors.

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Blaming authors for Publishing Failure

Or, how fast can Torquere Press LLC turn into EC?

Pretty fast.

In a statement issued to authors today, owners of Torquere Press LLC Kristi Boulware and Joanna Talbot admit to having financial problems and basically tell the whole of their authors they're not getting paid unless a loan can be procured. Not only that, they blame the authors who pulled their books between January and April 2016 for this failure, saying those authors leaving TQ caused them to not have enough money to pay overhead.

Pardon me? This is not how publishing works.

The simple equation of ebook publishing is this:

An author writes a book. The publisher edits it and puts a cover on it. The publisher lists it on their site and on distributor sites. Sales happen. The publisher promises to pay a % of sales to the author. This is a contractual obligation, not a gift or charitable act. The author has earned this money based on their hard work writing and promoting the book and on their talent. Payment must happen no matter how many or few sales are made. The publisher is supposed to put whatever percentage the author has earned into an escrow account until it's time to pay and only use the publisher's percentage to pay overhead and salaries.

End of story.

Now, unfortunately, due to the delayed nature of distributor payments, many times publishers don't realize they're in trouble until they have a bad quarter and end up not having enough of their money to pay bills or salaries or for that vacation they took, and they "borrow" from next quarter's author money. This is called robbing Peter to pay Paul. If the publisher is lucky, they have a good quarter next time, or their spouse has a day job, or whatever. They can pay the money back and get back on track. That's sadly not the case here.

Here's a timeline for everyone who thinks this is all brand new.

3rd qtr payments for 2015 were due no later than November 30, 2015. At least 3 authors, including TQ's bestselling author of all time, were not paid. Despite repeated email requests for information, two of these authors got no reply until they caught up with the owners on FB. One was paid via Paypal on the last day of December 2015. One finally received a check on Dec 31. 2 weeks later in January 2016, that check bounced for NSF. That was what was marked on the check. Not stop payment. NSF. Despite repeated requests for payment, the author with the bounced check was forced to turn in the owner for check fraud in late February for nearly 10K. Due to this issue, that author pulled her titles. Since mine and my wife's payment was late per the contract, we also pulled our titles because as former publishers and authors who went through the EC collapse, we could see what was happening. That was at the end of January.

The next round of payment owed were for 4th qtr 2015, payable no later than the end of February. I received my payment March 29. 1st qtr 2016 payments were due no later than May 31. I have not received it, despite a statement balance of $1558.41.

Most authors who were paid for that qtr report being paid June 30. 30 days late.

Other authors who were not paid, or who were again paid late, finally pulled their books.

2nd qtr 2016 was due no later than Sept 3rd, even by the newer contract term of 65 days past the end of the quarter. It has not been paid to anyone to my knowledge and now the letter has been issued that overhead takes priority over author payments and that up until "a few months ago" owners were still drawing salaries, which should have been the first thing to go once a check was bounced.

So I ask this. Where is the money? By statements alone, some 30K is owed to a handful of authors who have been repeatedly stiffed. That is 1/3 of what Torquere received in actual sales for THOSE authors alone. So where did all that money go? Why was author money being spent in the first place, no matter how bad the business was being mismanaged?

My advice to all Torquere authors is this: she offered your rights back. Write today and get them. NOW. Run. Write RWA and report non-payment. Write Writer Beware and report non-payment. Go public. This is theft, and it's unacceptable to ever blame authors, distributors, or advertising contracts for author money being spent on anything other than royalties.



Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Trying to get back in the groove after the Bad Things

I've never been one for writer's block. I can usually plug away, even through life's crises. Some days I might only get 100 words, some days 5K. But usually I get words.

This last month or so, though, every word is a struggle. It's not a lack of ideas or inspiration. I'm just so TIRED.

We've had medical struggles. Both of us. I usually talk more about the wife, but I have a chronic injury condition of the feet where bones break randomly, and have been in a boot for 10 weeks. Again. I hurt all the time.

Then you add in the stress of not being able to pay bills because publishers are not paying. EC has not paid me since December 2015. I only have one book left with them and hope to get it back in November, but come on! The books were still selling well when they stopped paying. They owe me, no doubt, at least a few hundred bucks. Then there's TQ who, at this writing have not paid me for the wife for 1st or 2nd qtr 2016. This is all they would ever have to pay us as we pulled our books. If they would just PAY us. At this point they owe me and BA a combined $3000.00 and the news is not good. Even the authors who defended them when they went 30 days past the payment deadline for 1st quarter are now wondering why 2nd qtr payments are almost week past due. Where's the money? I mean, she had to stop using my money and BA's and Sean Michael's to pay everyone else because we pulled our books... so now who gets the shaft?

Worrying this to death and just trying to muddle through the day has made it tough to write. I think I need cheerleaders. LOL. Anyone who wants to volunteer?

On the good side, Grizzly List 3 will be in at the publisher this week! I hope for a January release.

XXOO. I do love y'all. Thanks for hanging with me.