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Surprise Surprise, two more epublishers on the rocks

Shadowrose Press has apparently cut off communications and are not responding to authors requesting a return of rights.

Dark Eden Press is closing because of an illness of the owner. It is a tragedy for the owner, but also shows the instability of some epublishing businesses. If your career depends upon the owner’s health, then there should be concerns about your professional writing career.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Candy
    Mar 24, 2008 @ 11:27:05

    I think it’s sad and not something to gloat about. Sometimes real life and circumstances not misdeeds or wrongdoings can impact a business. That happens with small businesses, like e-publishers.

    Especially in Dark Eden’s case, having seen the email (no I’m not published with them) and the reasons why, I have the utmost respect for her and wish her well. I pray that she does well in fighting the battle she has ahead of her with her illness.

    And as I have friends published with Shadowrose, I hope things works out and they get word soon.

  2. Barbara Sheridan
    Mar 24, 2008 @ 11:46:19

    I don’t think anyone is gloating.

    However, it does point out a problem that people seem to not plan for the “worst case scenario” when opening a small business.

  3. Candy
    Mar 24, 2008 @ 11:53:12

    True. And I’m not trying to imply that Dear Author or Jane are gloating. They’ve done a lot for e-publishing and raising awareness, focus and opening a dialogue about the industry.

    But people will try to use this as another argument against e-publishing and e-publishers. That is my fear. The “see it’s not {insert argument here}”

    And at least in the case of DEP, I think it’s good that it happened now, that something was said instead of speculation, rumors and gossip running rampant. And it is true people don’t plan for “worst case scenarios” but when health is involved and you were on the road of recovery and/or in remission, it’s a precarious slope.

  4. Jane
    Mar 24, 2008 @ 11:57:38

    Candy – As tragic as the situation is for the owner of DEP, it is an example of why epublishing is so precarious for authors.

  5. Barbara Sheridan
    Mar 24, 2008 @ 12:10:06

    That is my fear.

    Candy, I agree. It’s another way for naysayers to justify their “E-books aren’t real books” stance.

    That’s a tragedy too because e-publishing is the place for the books that are for niche audiences. If EC hadn’t proven erotic romance was profitable would the big print pubs have gone there in the big way they have?

    E-publishers have a chance to be an influence again with m/m stories and closings and the outright bad behavior that’s been shown by NCP and others make it that much harder for the other publishers.

  6. K. Z. Snow
    Mar 24, 2008 @ 12:34:22

    Never heard of Shadowrose. Dark Eden, though, seemed like a stand-up operation, and I feel terrible about what’s happened.

    One issue nobody’s addressed is how these closings might affect e-published authors in general. I can’t help but wonder if the relatively few well-established companies are going to be glutted with submissions from displaced writers looking for new homes. This could conceivably ball things up in terms of acceptance timetables, release schedules, editors’ workloads, appropriate cover art, etc.

    I’ve already seen evidence of backlogs building up in the relatively short time I’ve been e-published. Submissions are taking longer and longer to get reviewed, publishing dates are further and further away from acceptance dates and, as big publishers get ever bigger, the “book mill” mentality could easily become a real danger.

    Any thoughts on this?

  7. Patricia Briggs
    Mar 24, 2008 @ 12:38:28

    I always tell people who are interested in writing for a living to keep their day job. That way they have (hopefully) insurance and a stable income. For the first fourteen years of my writing career we tried to manage things so we didn’t count on my writing for necessities. If writing is just providing you with mad money and extras, then when things happen –like 9-11, or the unexpected closing of a publishing house (which happens to NY houses/imprints too) your survival isn’t at risk. And it also saves on ulcer medication.

  8. Debra Durham
    Mar 24, 2008 @ 12:41:11

    Let me just clear this up now. Our sales are good, we grow bigger every month, and had we stayed open would have continued to do so.

    As I am the one that runs this company, there is no one that could do what I do without extensive training that I obviously do not have time for. The company could be held together by staff taking up the slack, but it wouldnt run as smoothly and the authors would suffer for it.

    I did what was best first for my authors, and second…best for me and my family.

    Unless you have an extensive staff that has grown over time, I do not believe there are many publishers that could stay open under these circumstances.

    But I do appreciate ya’ll voicing your opinion. Thanks so much.

    Debra Durham

  9. Bernita
    Mar 24, 2008 @ 13:03:41

    One could say that the straightforward and up-front closure of DEP cancells the more dubious silence of the other.

  10. Renee Rocco
    Mar 24, 2008 @ 13:08:02

    Debra’s decision to close DEP was one I know has very difficult for her to make. Her greatest concern is not for her health, but for her authors and staff. The mark of a good business person is doing what is best for the company and employees regardless of personal wants. Given the state of her health and the lack of time she has to train someone to take her place as primary taskmaster, she’s done the best for her authors and for that I commend her. Other companies have left their authors to rot.

    DEP’s closing should not be made into another argument about the negative aspects of ePublishing. Instead, how Debra is handling the closing of her company should be used as an example of how a company, be it large or small, can close with grace and dignity.

    I wish Debra all of my love and support.

  11. E.A. Boni
    Mar 24, 2008 @ 14:01:53

    Debra – I wish you a softer time with chemo and all the recovery and repair that’s to be derived from the treatment. And many happy and healthy years ahead for you.

    I’m chiming in because I wanted to ask something. Why not SELL the e-pub company to an interested party? WHY not put it up for sale, long before it came to this point in time? WHY close something that has been running so profitably, comes with an established collection of house-authors and could continue with new owners in an almost seamless manner? Yes, I know it takes time to find a qualified buyer – and you’d not be doing anyone a favor by selling to…well, anyone who offers to purchase, but e-businesses are bought and sold every day. Maybe even some of the established e-presses with respectable mileage in them, might be interested in acquiring another established e-press – and might even work-out means to retain some of the existing owner’s…let’s say, interest in the business? Yes, some legal work would be required, and there would be corresponding legal costs, but not to a degree where selling a well-established and (from what you said) profitable business, isn’t a feasible prospect.

    As a professional engineer, business manager and consultant with more than two decades of experience, I have to say that I’ve yet to see a closure and dissolution of any business that went off…well, without existing customers being treated fairly and without hidden losses – mostly to customers. Often such issues are beyond the business owner’s control – sometimes they’re not. I’m writing this wearing my professional (day-job) hat and not as an-e-published author. I’ve been involved on a business case of one bankruptcy where the business owner (a manufacturer of after-market automotive parts)waited for a year after declaring bankruptcy and then ‘quietly’ started to sell-off all the hidden inventory stashed in an off-site storage from his garage. So in my business circles, there’s always a strong drive and advice given to sell a business rather than close it down or, conversely, have the creditors close it down in bankruptcy.

    If you have already investigated this possiblity and determined it unfeasible, then I wish you once again success in your treatment and accept my condolences on behalf of another established business closing down.

  12. Karen Scott
    Mar 24, 2008 @ 14:29:20

    Who are Shadowrose Press again?

  13. Lynne Connolly
    Mar 24, 2008 @ 15:04:02

    This is going to continue to happen, for whatever reason, for some time.
    It’s the typical development of a new market. The market starts with lots of companies, very few of which survive to the end. As sales increase and the market develops, fewer, larger companies enter and in the end there is typically a brand leader, a second and several more companies occupying niches.
    Yes it’s sad, but if you look at any basic economic model, this is what happens.
    Nevertheless, my sympathies to all the authors who have been orphaned by the closures. Been there, three times, really don’t want to go there again.

  14. Grrrly
    Mar 24, 2008 @ 15:08:06

    After all the epublisher closings that have happened in the last several months, with unpaid authors, unresponsive owners, bankruptcies, bad business, and public displays of asshattery, I think you are doing Debra Durham and Dark Eden Press a disservice by lumping them in with Shadowrose Press (whoever they are) under the headline “ebpublishers on the rocks”, and saying, “see what bad things can happen with epublishers?”. I’ve never read anything from DEP and don’t know Debra from Eve, so there’s no personal interest here. I just find it refreshing that an epublisher has the good sense to say “when” and know their limits, rather than dragging the business and authors down with them. DEP is closing its doors with more grace, dignity, and concern for its authors and customers than I’ve seen from an epublisher in a long while, and I think they should be commended for that, not chastised or held up as an example of bad.

    Debra, I wish you the best in this difficult time, and a speedy and complete recovery from your cancer.

  15. Debra Durham
    Mar 24, 2008 @ 15:29:47


    Thank you so much. I really appreciate that comment. I thought it was a disservice too, but I am not going to complain about it. It is the reason I told my authors to ‘please do post the whole post wherever you feel it necessary’. Although I see Jane didnt find it necessary to post the original post, just to put that we were closing due to illness and a ‘see this is what happens’.

    I cant seem to get this second comment to post so I am adding it here.

    E.A. Boni,

    You are assuming that I had ‘long before it came to this point in time?’. I found out on Friday, after a routine appt several weeks ago. I am one of those that still has to have routine check ups because my last bout of cancer was less than two years ago. So there was no–a doctor appt here, then referal to another doctor, then see a specialist etc. I see a specialist already.

    There has literally been no time to do this. My question is why would someone even buy a company like mine? I am small fish in comparison to the others, I have been open 9 months, and yes sales are good, but they are not what they would have been in say two or three years. We are not even on the radar of most other epublishers.

    Nor am I filing bankruptcy, there is no reason to. We are not ‘on the rocks’ nor have we ever been. I am closing. The authors will have a full return of their rights and will be able to move onto other houses in a very short amount of time.

    I did over the weekend investigate other options, they just were not feasible.


  16. Jane
    Mar 24, 2008 @ 16:06:30

    Ms. Durham, I am sympathetic with your position, but the post was to inform the readership of upcoming e pub closures and show that no matter how good the business person, a business that is dependent on one person’s health, success, or well being is a risky venture.

    I am sorry that your illness is forcing you to leave a business that you nurtured and made profitable. Your public displays are obviously above those that have appeared on behalf of other epublishers.

    Unfortunately, though, the fact that your epress is closing does, and should, signal the overall instability in the epress industry.

  17. Shayne
    Mar 24, 2008 @ 16:09:40


    Only thing I’m getting is Shadowrose Publishing. And their website isn’t working. I’m guessing this is Shadowrose Press.

  18. Debra Durham
    Mar 24, 2008 @ 17:06:37


    I understand your position, and think it is a worthwhile one. If blogs like yours and others do not inform the public of what is going on then who will?

    I do not believe though that DEP should have been lumped in the same catagory as Shadowrose publishing when you yourself said ‘Shadowrose has apparently cut off communications and are not responding to authors requesting a return of rights.’

    I am not trying to hide anything, nor have I cut off communications, nor have I disappeared into the night like some. I am clsoing for one specific reason, my illness.

    I could have stayed open. I could have used my staff to keep our doors open, and it might have been fine and things go smoothly. Then again, it might not have and who would have suffered for it? Not me, as I wouldn’t even be here. My authors and DEP’s customers would have. It was not a chance I was willing to take. Better to let my author’s find new homes than fall by the wayside.

    You did a disservice to your readers. If you were going to post about it at all, then you should have posted the whole post as I wrote it. I gave permission to post it outside the author loop for this express purpose, so that at least readers would know the reasons for us closing and could decide for themselves. Instead we got lumped with another crappy publisher that is going down it seems in a bad way, and with the title ‘Surprise Surprise, two more epublishers on the rocks’ which makes one assume that we are somehow shady or not doing something right in our business dealings up to now, and in our closing. I dont know how much more right I could have done it.

    Sorry, but as much as I usually agree with the things you post about, and find them informative and helpful, on this you were wrong to put DEP and in affect its author’s, in the same catagory as Shadowrose.


  19. Tonni
    Mar 24, 2008 @ 17:26:17

    Debra, sorry to hear about your illness. And I agree with about what your said. You shouldn’t let them get to you about this. You need your strenght for yourself and your family. Your satff and authors understand about what’s going, just leave it at that. They haven’t complain about anything. You done what any good boss would have done for their employees.


  20. veinglory
    Mar 24, 2008 @ 17:29:57

    Shadowrose is I wasn’t terribly impressed when I first came across them ( ) but I understand (via Romance Divas) there is also a serious health issue involved — except in this case the necessary decision and communication is lacking. A press closing is sad, a press just vanishing is damned annoying and leaves a lot of loose ends.

  21. DS
    Mar 24, 2008 @ 17:52:44

    While I appreciate the need to act quickly to resolve the business I rather wonder, Ms. Durham, if you aren’t selling yourself short. You have assets (contracts with the authors) and you have goodwill (which has a monetary value in business), so you do have something that I could see being attractive to a buyer. But perhaps you do not want to bother with that right now. Or maybe you want to put your trade mark in abeyance until your health improves and you can start up again.

    Honestly, though, I see a lot of women run businesses who do not know how to value themselves. I’m part owner in two small businesses. You can bet that I and my partner have key person insurance, a buy-sell agreement, and a contingency plan for if/when we just decide that now is the time to get out. We had those in place within a year of start up when we looked at one another and realized that we were doing well. If we had been as self confident as we should have been we would have had all of that in place on the day we opened our door.

  22. Robin
    Mar 24, 2008 @ 18:06:49

    I have no doubt that every epress owner who ends up closing shop has ended up in that position with great regret. Further, I doubt most, if not all, of them like what they read about the closing of their business. Certainly, the situation at Dark Eden is tragic, and I don’t want to shortchange the extremity of Debra Durham’s personal situation.

    I don’t, however, think Jane has done a “disservice” to the readers of Dear Author, though, because from the perspective of the reader the bottom line is that a publishing house closes, whether it be from financial irresponsibility or the illness of its owner. I don’t really know how sentimental readers are about these things, but I suspect that our perspective is a bit different from that of authors, who, as we see in comments, have varying responses. I doubt that any author with Dark Eden would feel comfortable publicly lamenting the fate of their contract because it might be interpreted as insensitive. And yet, from a pure business perspective, I can imagine that there are authors who do feel frustrated, regardless of how well and how responsibly Durham handled the decisions for her company. Whatever level of responsibility she demonstrated does not eclipse the fact that when publishers run or close on the basis of one person’s personal situation, they are indeed very fragile business entities. That Dark Eden’s situation may or may not differ from that of Shadow Rose, for example, also does not change the reality that it’s two more epresses apparently out of business (which, IMO, is the only way Dark Eden has been “lumped in” with Shadow Rose, because Jane indicated the particular reasons for DE’s closing).

    On the one hand, I can imagine that it’s quite comforting for authors to be dealing so personally with an owner whose participation in the business is literally vital to its endurance. But on the other hand, it does make the line between professional and personal quite shaky. In some cases this hyper-personal relationship can be a boon, but we’ve also seen the ways in which it can become a real problem, as well. But boon or burden, it’s definitely a very different business model than we’re used to seeing in, say, the NY houses, and one that has very distinct vulnerabilities as a business model.

  23. Karen Scott
    Mar 24, 2008 @ 18:23:38

    Sorry, but as much as I usually agree with the things you post about, and find them informative and helpful, on this you were wrong to put DEP and in affect its author’s, in the same catagory as Shadowrose.

    Well, not really Debra, because when all’s said and done, the house is closing, which means that authors for the time being will no longer have a home for their work.

    The circumstances may be more tragic than the those of the ones who have closed down previously, but the bottom line is, DEP is closing, contracts will be cancelled.

    Jane was pointing out the instability of a company that totally depends on the good health of its owner. Shaky foundations indeed.

    Somebody asked earlier if you could not have sold the business, this would have surely been more viable an option than closing altogether?

  24. K. Z. Snow
    Mar 24, 2008 @ 18:32:49

    EEK! Just read Emily’s initial assessment of Shadowrose. The closing, and the fact I never heard of them, make perfect sense now. (Oh, I so wish boneheads like that would just stay the hell out of this business!)

  25. Keishon
    Mar 24, 2008 @ 18:44:30

    I find this informative as a reader, knowing that one person can make or break a business no matter the circumstances behind it. The epub business is a fragile thing indeed.

  26. Ann Somerville
    Mar 24, 2008 @ 18:59:08

    I’m surprised at people suggesting that Ms Durham should try and sell the business. If she’s made the decision that she can’t manage the business while going through her treatment, then the process of finding a buyer could hardly been less stressful.

    It’s a sad decision, and she’s completely aware of that, but in the end, her health and her responsibilities to her family, outweigh those of her business, and she’s acted as fairly as anyone could wish. Single person businesses shut down all the time, for all kinds of reasons, and that’s just a fact of life. Putting more pressure on someone going through such an intensely awful experience is unkind.

    Ms Durham, please accept my best wishes for your treatment and recovery. I know you need all your strength to get through this, and I, for one, completely understand your decision and respect it.

  27. Karen Scott
    Mar 24, 2008 @ 19:09:28

    Putting more pressure on someone going through such an intensely awful experience is unkind.

    Where was the pressure coming from? If I was one of her authors, I’d have sure asked the question.

    You don’t know that the authors who were contracted with DEP didn’t need their earnings there just to buy food. Would it have been unkind of them to think of their own livelihood first?

  28. Claudia
    Mar 24, 2008 @ 19:16:42

    There’s nothing inherently judgemental about stating that sole proprietorship type epubs are generally more risky for writers than larger print pubs.

  29. kerry
    Mar 24, 2008 @ 19:32:39

    Well, the whole “surprise surprise” title is a bit snotty. I mean, it’s implying (sarcastically) that it’s no surprise that these 2 companies are folding, but apparently at least one of them is profitable and it IS indeed a “surprise.” Or at least I imagine that most small businesses owners don’t plan on such a tragedy forcing them to sell their company.

    I don’t know – I just think the post was worded badly. If it’s a cautionary note to authors not to invest all of their efforts in one publishing company (e.g., the “If your career depends upon the owner's health, then there should be concerns about your professional writing career.” line) then it could have been better worded as to not appear snarky. There’s nothing strange or weird about small businesses closing – many do every day – and the anomaly here seems to be that this one epublisher is closing *with* informing its authors, paying them, and treating them humanely. That I find to be the more interesting point here…your mileage may vary of course.

  30. Ann Somerville
    Mar 24, 2008 @ 19:35:51

    If I was one of her authors, I'd have sure asked the question.

    But you’re not. I’m sure Ms Durham has had the necessary conversations with those directly affected by her decision. A bunch of strangers lighting into her through the intarwebs over a difficult situation, when she must be worried out of her mind about her prospects, really isn’t necessary or charitable. She’s been honorable and honest, and provided she wraps her business in the same way, the rest of it is none of your – or my – damn business. Literally. It’s a matter for her and her business colleagues.

  31. Karen Scott
    Mar 24, 2008 @ 19:57:08

    A bunch of strangers lighting into her through the intarwebs over a difficult situation, when she must be worried out of her mind about her prospects, really isn’t necessary or charitable.

    Nobody’s having a go at her Ann, so stop being so melodramatic.

    You don’t know the reality of the situation any more than I do, but she put it out there, and so must have expected a few questions knowing how the web works. The fact is, because her reason for closing the company is due to ill health, not many questions will be asked for fear of appearing insensitive.

    This isn’t about me being heartless either, because believe me, I know all about the big bad ‘C’ word.

  32. SamEdittle
    Mar 24, 2008 @ 19:58:10

    There is the truth, and then there is bad taste. One can point out the truth without the snide remarks and without inaccurate allusions. Shame on some of you for this.
    Furthermore, there are many more Epublishers IN business than out. Just like any other industry,ventures fail. To imply that the entire industry is fragile is inaccurate. To lump in Ms Durham’s press with FAILED companies is disingenuous.

    This is the time to publish facts. Not spin.

  33. Ann Somerville
    Mar 24, 2008 @ 20:07:56

    Karen, until someone comes forward and says that the closure of the business isn’t being handled as described or they’ve been unfairly treated, I choose to believe the situation is exactly as Ms Durham says it is.

    I think asking a sick woman over and over why the business isn’t being sold, even when she’s explained why, is ‘having a go’. If you know about the realities of cancer treatment, then I’m surprised you can’t see this. Exposing bad apples, corrupt practices and shoddy ethics is absolutely the right thing to do. But there’s nothing to expose here but a private tragedy, and unless you’ve got evidence to the contrary, I really disagree with your stance, and the way the information was presented in this post.

    I should add I have no personal knowledge of Ms Durham at all, never communicated with her, am not one of her authors or colleagues. I’m going on what she’s said and you’ve said in public.

  34. Jane
    Mar 24, 2008 @ 20:17:52

    I had to re-read my post because I couldn’t remember how I was a) being snarky or b) attacking the publisher. Having cancer is a tragedy but I don’t see how that diminishes the fact that it is a relatively new epress that is closing its doors, leaving authors without a home for their work or a distribution source. It shows, as I stated in the post, the instability in epublishing. That is not an attack on anyone, in my opinion. It just is a fact.

    I doubt that Berkley or Avon or Bantam would close its doors if its CEO got cancer. I even wonder if EC or Samhain would. Small businesses do open and close all the time, it’s true. There is a relatively high fail rate for small businesses in almost any market.

    But Ms. Durham’s situation should be a cautionary tale for e authors that in this business, even a honest, hard working epublisher can go belly up due to an unforeseen malady to its owner. One person is all that the success relies upon. That’s pretty risky. The closing of Dark Eden Press actually amplifies the riskiness in epublishing, in my opinion, because the business, as Ms. Durham stated, was profitable and growing but still is closing down.

    Authors should be aware that good, honest people can end up with the same results as dishonest and unscrupulous ones.

  35. Robin
    Mar 24, 2008 @ 20:27:28

    Authors should be aware that good, honest people can end up with the same results as dishonest and unscrupulous ones.

    Thus the metaphor of “on the rocks,” which simply means *in peril* — not ‘let’s celebrate another closure’ or ‘those dirty epubs’ or ‘they’re all stinkin’ liars’ or ‘how dare they.’ In peril. And sadly, it’s not a surprise anymore, because the business structure of so very many of these epresses seems so very fragile to begin with, even those run by perfectly well-intentioned, responsible folks.

  36. Jerry
    Mar 24, 2008 @ 20:32:28

    Man, I can’t believe just how selfish people on here are. I understand as an author it is incredibly frustrating that you cannot get in touch with your publishing company. But you don’t know if that owner isn’t lying in a hospital bed dying and guess what? Unfortunately for you, you are not the last thing on their mind every day as they fight for their life. It’s inconvenient yes. But if it were you, what would you do? In your dying gasp tell whoever was there the password to your website? I’m sorry but that’s just selfishness at its worst. Life and death is far more important than any other issue. Period!

    I’m sorry to hear about the illness of DEP’s owner and wish her the best of luck with her treatments. Too many people I know have suffered through the devastation of cancer and if we took half the energy we’ve just spent complaining about the trivial matter of epublishing and spent that on something worthwhile like cancer treatment maybe we’d actually get something important done.

  37. Debra Durham
    Mar 24, 2008 @ 20:39:07

    Just to set the record straight, and as I said on Karen’s blog…No one has asked to purchase my authors contracts. I have had one offer of directing customers to another publisher and having the books sold there with me earning a % off those sales. I have had an offer of a merge, and a few inquiries. That is it.

    If I had more time, then yes I would have looked for someone to buy the company outright, or purchase the contracts. But the reality is I do not. It is as simple as that.

    Jane, your right that it is a risky business and that yes, even a profitable house can close. My opinion was that DEP, and its authors, should not be lumped with what is being considered a ‘bad’ publisher.

    Ann, thank you so much for the support. I dont consider any of the comments as having a go at me. As far as most are concerned we are just another publisher that is closing. Nor do I consider any comments insensitive. I am old hat at the cancer thing, believe me, and certain questions and comments are going to be asked and said in this type of situation, it is to be expected.


  38. Keishon
    Mar 24, 2008 @ 20:59:08

    Jane, your right that it is a risky business and that yes, even a profitable house can close. My opinion was that DEP, and its authors, should not be lumped with what is being considered a ‘bad' publisher

    Ah – this is a case of not seeing the forest for the trees.

    If it means anything, I didn’t perceive that at all from Jane’s post. Her post, to me was more of a cautionary tale to authors like she said, not so much the way you are describing it or making it out to be. The different perspectives from one post is quite interesting.

    As for people being selfish in this thread – diagree with that assessment, too. No one is being cruel or insincere here. People are asking practical questions that any author would ask if associated with an epub that is closing its doors.

  39. GrowlyCub
    Mar 24, 2008 @ 22:17:47

    Well, looks like I’m on the other side of the fence on this one. I found the post’s tone off (the title most definitely was snarky). I do think this could have been presented in a less biased way. I’m not an author, just a reader and consumer and I have to admit I was a bit appalled by some of the posts in this thread.

    I’m grateful to find out when unethical behavior is behind e-pubs closing/weird stuff going on so I can withhold my dollars from those places. In light of the NCP discussion and the stories about other unscrupulous e-pubs shafting authors etc. I really felt the post about DEP was lumping them in with the bad apples out there.

    I wish Ms. Durham all the best in her difficult health situation.

  40. K. Z. Snow
    Mar 24, 2008 @ 22:56:26

    …the instability in epublishing. That is not an attack on anyone, in my opinion. It just is a fact.

    Not an attack, Jane, but something of a sweeping and rather harsh generalization. Maybe “the potential instability of sole-proprietor epubs” would’ve come closer to nailing the truth. I tend to doubt that all of epublishing is in a rickety, rocking bucket.

  41. Patricia Briggs
    Mar 24, 2008 @ 23:30:21

    Hmm. I didn’t see the post as snarky either. Dark Eden is being handlied with rare consideration for its authors. Ms Durham is returning full rights to her authors (after having added the value of professional ediitng) — and many publishers will look favorably on a book someone else bought (for the same reason it is easier to find a job while you are still working someplace else). Jane wasn’t saying anything bad about Ms Durham. Frankly, as an author, I’d rather have my rights returned to me than have the books shuffled (without my consent) to another owner/editor who might not do as good a job. So returning the rights, to me, would be preferable to having her find a buyer for her business (though selling would certainly be financially better for Ms Durham).

    However, that does not take away from the fact that publishing in the ebook market is less stable than the NY houses. Just as publishing in a small press is less stable than large press. And that adds to the feeling that ebooks are not “real” publishing.

  42. Patricia Briggs
    Mar 25, 2008 @ 01:43:53

    Professional editing is necessary for me — as you can see. It is editing, not ediiting.

  43. sallahdog
    Mar 25, 2008 @ 09:02:47

    Maybe this brings up a question that one should ask of other successful epublishers, like Samhain, Loose Id or even Elorras Cave. What kind of plans are in place if a key staffer (like Angela James) were to be incapacitated?

    If they don’t have a plan in place, this brings up a valid concern for them to address, for the continued health of their company.

  44. Angela James
    Mar 25, 2008 @ 10:03:25

    Oh hey, someone told me we were hypothetically killing me off over here. Fun.

    Samhain is still young, and as early as six months ago, if Crissy or I were murdered in our sleep, the company would have faltered, though I don’t think my loss would have shut the company down, just forced some restructuring. Until recently, Crissy was the only one who really knew the ins and outs of the royalties. But that’s since changed and I believe that if something were to happen to her, the office staff and myself could drag the company along in a reasonable manner and then eventually get back to kicking epublishing ass :P

    Now, were we both to die a fiery death when flying to Australia in August, I think the company’s growth would slow, while those remaining picked up the pieces, but the company wouldn’t have to close,no.

    The fact is, we’ve worked really hard to build a staff of capable, competent, intelligent people on all sides of the business and they could continue on without us.

    Of course, I would be deeply, deeply missed and if you’re Crissy and are reading this, I am truly irreplaceable. No one can do what I do. Ever.

    But back to being serious, I think, speaking of Samhain, as each year passes, the stability of the company and its ability to survive the loss of one of us will continue to increase. But I hope we never have to find out the truth of that, and I’m sorry that Dark Eden, Debra, and the authors did.

  45. Debra Durham
    Mar 25, 2008 @ 10:14:14


    Thank you. Your post goes to show that yes, even as little as six months ago, a company like yours, as big as it is, would have had serious problems had something awful happened. Our company is not even a year old.

    Also, I agree with Patricia. It does not sit well with me in the mass selling of my authors contracts. What if I sold them to a house that eventually treated them badly? Or were sold to a company that some of my authors didnt like and were stuck with because company Z bought their contract. I would rather release them and let the author research a place that is a good fit for THEM, not a good fit for me or my pocketbook. I recommended a few publishing houses that I thought were good, and they will make their own choices in deciding where they want to be.


  46. Shayne
    Mar 25, 2008 @ 11:18:40

    I’d been wondering myself if EC, Loose Id, and Samhain would have survived losing their owner(s) in the first year of operation. I figured the answer would probably be they wouldn’t have. I paid little attention to the idea that DEP was an indicative sign of the shape of epublishing.

    Most businesses are started by one or possibly two people, and most would fail if said owners died or suffered serious health problems. That would be normal in any business. Not everybody starts out as a solid corporation, and some of those corporations aren’t that damn solid. *shrugs*

  47. sallahdog
    Mar 25, 2008 @ 12:06:25

    sorry angela… I said incapacitated, not decapitated because I truly don’t wish death or dismemberment to anyone, lol…

    I tend to think of everything as a learning experience. I have a homebased business with my husband and right at this moment if something happened to me, he would be up a creek without a paddle… I intend to fix that, and soon… I have the management in place to handle things, but he needs to be aware of where the accounts are, and how to file the fricking taxes (which he avoids)…

  48. Lucinda
    Mar 25, 2008 @ 14:38:01

    In response to Jerry’s comment-‘”Man, I can't believe just how selfish people on here are…”

    It isn’t a matter of not having enough sympathy for someone who is seriously ill. It’s not a matter of any lack of understanding on the part of anyone involved. It’s a matter of good business.
    The bottom line is that anyone who starts up a business where they are selling a product to the public, taking on the responsibility of hiring employees and contracting work (from authors) should have a plan in place for handling emergencies.
    If you have a day job, imagine what would happen if your boss suddenly became seriously ill and no one in the company could get their paychecks because the boss was the only one who had the combination to the safe where the checks are kept. I’m sure you would have a lot of sympathy for your boss, and you would certainly care whether or not he/she lived or died, but the fact remains that you need your paycheck. Car payments have to be made, mortgages have to be paid and groceries have to be bought regardless of the state of your boss’ health. In a good, well-run business, there are at least one, if not two, other people who could handle something like this.
    Getting back to the publishing house issue, it’s also not just a matter of a bunch of selfish authors who want their rights and royalties. Books have been purchased (paid for) by readers, and the books were never delivered. These readers have no idea that the owner is ill or in the hospital-‘especially when their email queries go unanswered. They just want a book in return for the $11.95 that was charged to their credit card or deducted from their checking account. Is that being selfish? I don’t think so, because from their POV, they’re not dealing with a person who might have fallen ill. They think they’re dealing with a business and good businesses don’t leave people hanging this way.

  49. MCHalliday
    Mar 25, 2008 @ 15:42:18

    Dark Eden is being handled with rare consideration for its authors. Ms Durham is returning full rights to her authors (after having added the value of professional editng) -‘ and many publishers will look favorably on a book someone else bought (for the same reason it is easier to find a job while you are still working someplace else)… Frankly, as an author, I'd rather have my rights returned to me than have the books shuffled (without my consent) to another owner/editor who might not do as good a job. So returning the rights, to me, would be preferable to having her find a buyer for her business (though selling would certainly be financially better for Ms Durham).

    Couldn’t have said it better, Patricia. I am also grateful to Angela for her supportive post and am proud to be an author with Samhain.

    Although I have 3 novel length releases at Dark Eden Press and contracts for future work, my only concern is Deb’s prognosis. And if I were in her shoes, more likely than not, I’d be falling apart in a pool of self-pity. Not Deb; she is answering emails, seeking cover rights where she can and searching for potential publishers. She has also received submission offers from publishers and made them available to DE authors. Due to her incredible consideration, I know there will not be a single buyer left in the lurch.

    Farewell, Dark Eden Press.
    Get well, Debra.

  50. Michael Barnette
    Mar 26, 2008 @ 09:42:55

    Just a quick note to the people who proposed Debra try and sell the company, contracts and all, to a third party. I for one would not want my contracts sold off to another company that I didn’t select myself.

    I chose to be with DEP because my writing partner, Auburnimp had good dealings with them and I chatted extensively with Debra and most of her staff before I sent anything to them. I have no complaints about DEP, and only the highest regard for the entire DEP staff. They’ve been terrific from start to finish and I am pleased to say I was with DEP. And if Debra can ever come back to epublishing I’ll be the first in line with new book proposals cheering her on.

    Yes epublishing can be risky for the authors, but so can pro publishing. I’ve heard many stories of bad edits, non-payment and other terrible incidents with pro published authors. No, they don’t go out of business if someone dies, but they do get bought out by bigger companies fairly often and that too can be a nightmare.

    Try talking to Piers Anthony about his book, “But What of Earth” sometime, or find a copy of the book that details what happened to him when that book was first published. It’s a real eye opener, and it’s far worse than most of the things that can happen to an author dealing with epublishers.

    Dark Eden Press might be gone, but I can tell you I won’t ever forget them. They were a class act run by one of the most professional and fun bunch of people I’ve had the pleasure of working with.

    Get well Debra. We need you back, if for no other reason than to show people how this business should be done: with class.

  51. Lotto 6/42 Results :
    Oct 25, 2010 @ 11:01:54

    believe me, ulcer is quite painful and its symptoms are not very good'”,

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