This story broke late last week. Unfortunately, there have been low level rumors about Aspen Mountain Press for a few months but no concrete details. One of the principals broke her silence and admitted that AMP is a mess.
What we discovered when we took over was a nightmare:
Hundreds of emails in all the AMP accounts, gone unanswered and unopened from authors and staff. The customer service email account alone had over 500 unanswered emails over the previous eight months. That took two people working eight hours to resolve—and in the process, we discovered a frighteningly large number of AMP books that had serious formatting problems for a long time.
Authors who were contracted and never heard back from the company, leaving their books unpublished and their rights tied up. I found books from two years previously that were still stranded by AMP, the authors begging to just get a response from somebody…anybody.
The owner was using the business’s bank account for personal expenses.
Kerry worked backwards through the bank accounts and spreadsheets, arriving at the amount of back royalties an author was owed, the owner would go behind our backs and tell the author that WE were wrong and the author had already been paid most of that amount.
In the meantime, we were seeing these personal expenses—for food, souvenirs, car payments, doctors visits—coming out of the AMP account. We decided to confront the owner about this in our weekly Skype conference—a system I preferred to use because we could keep transcripts. When we pleaded with the owner to separate her personal expenses from the company’s, to set up a monthly draw account that would be a percentage of profits—so that we wouldn’t have the appearance of impropriety—she refused. She also implied that we had used her Paypal account without her knowledge to pay a long overdue bill for advertising—when we’d mentioned multiple times during that conversation that we were doing so AT THE TIME. REAL time.
When authors began having communication problems, the excuse given was personal problems. Boy, haven’t we heard that from Triskelion and Red Rose Publishing and a host of other publishers that soon went out of business.
Teddy Pig has a round up of a number of blog posts by AMP writers who are going public.