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Triskelion Update: Gail Northman Responds

Dear Jane:

Bit of background information here. I’ve been with Triskelion Publishing since it opened its doors. I’ve grown with the company, and during that time I’ve received promotion several times. As of June 1st I will be Triskelion Publishing’s Publisher. The present publisher is stepping down in pursuit of her own writing career which has taken off and I wish her much success.

As you are no doubt aware, we’ve had several disgruntled authors, which have chosen to not only go to the RWA but also various online forums. In some respects I understand the reason behind the RWA after all that is what they are there for however, what I don’t like seeing is dirty laundry aired in public (British saying). However, the very nature of the beast means that we are damned if we do and damned if we don't.

First off it is in my opinion that way too many authors don’t read their contracts or neither understand them, nor do they obtain advice from a literary attorney so – then they complain and get angry when contracts are quoted (This I might add I can fully understand why large companies use Agented solicitations only) makes life much easier. However, not everyone is like that. And some will ask sensible questions and they’ll get answers. No one is forced to sign a contract.

Next what has happened – emails get forwarded and passed on rather like Chinese whispers before you know it the story is completely changed and bears little resemblance to the original.

In answer to late royalty payments we have a policy royalties are not paid until $25.00 is accumulated or 3 months has passed. We also implemented an accountancy system that caused delays – should we have mentioned it – most likely but in the event of this new system… it delayed some of the payments.

With regard to print yes we have delayed our print books this year and in some instances they have been removed from the schedule. Why, because Triskelion is owed money and we printed books that didn’t sell well at all and therefore chances are should not have been printed in the first place but that’s what happens when you try and give authors their dream. But we haven’t stopped print we have delayed it.

With regards to RWA –" that is their choice am I happy with their decision?
No I am not, because they haven't really given us the chance to defend ourselves, against the complaints. Airfares have been paid for will no longer be used –" fortunately hotels do not take payment in advance.

Have we made mistakes you bet. What company hasn't? However, things are changing and for the better.

And now it appears that a private email I sent to our authors/editors loop has been posted on a blog including issues surrounding my private life. I chose to share, because in the past it has for many been a great help – the support network is tremendous. Now I feel like I'm in the clutches of the local paparazzi– and for the record I do not share my personal issues normally I didn't do it as a way to make people feel sorry for me– it was the reason why I haven't answered 200 odd emails in my usual prompt manner. In the last week. And frankly I feel nauseated that someone thought my personal problems were hot topic enough and sleazy enough to post on public forums–

Thank you for inviting me to respond. It is appreciated.

Gail Northman
Editor In Chief
Publisher as of June 1st
Triskelion Publishing

***

Same rule as before. No personal bashing allowed. You can comment whether what Triskelion did or RWA did was right, wrong or sideways but any personal attacks will be deleted.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She 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

130 Comments

  1. Robin
    May 16, 2007 @ 20:30:59

    What’s a Chinese whisper?

  2. Jane
    May 16, 2007 @ 20:32:38

    LOL. Is that like an Indian giver?

  3. bam
    May 16, 2007 @ 20:37:45

    damn. I’m gonna have to wear my Outraged Asian hat.

  4. Robin
    May 16, 2007 @ 20:40:34

    I don’t know, but it does sound a little racially loaded, doesn’t it?

    I’ve tried to banish certain words and phrases from my vocabulary — gypped, for example, or heebie jeebies — because of the ugly connotations, but sometimes it’s difficult because they’re so commonly used and the cultural implication isn’t screamingly obvious for some of them.

  5. Jane
    May 16, 2007 @ 20:42:44

    It didn’t even register the first time around.

  6. Robin
    May 16, 2007 @ 20:44:55

    Ah, good old Wikipedia.

  7. bam
    May 16, 2007 @ 20:45:24

    I do believe it’s Brit slang. I’ve never heard of it before today. It just sounded… odd…

    but heeeeey… do these count as ‘personal bashing’?

  8. Robin
    May 16, 2007 @ 20:46:37

    Okay, next question. Is Northman from Great Britain? She shares the last name of my favorite Viking from Charlaine Harris’s Southern Vampire series, but I don’t think that’s dispositive in this case.

  9. Robin
    May 16, 2007 @ 20:49:45

    Well, I don’t have much more to say about the Triskelion mess, and I’m in the middle of writing a paper on hate speech, and I’m a little punchy right now, so I latched onto that phrase because I hadn’t seen it before. The examples on Wiki are pretty funny, though.

  10. Jane
    May 16, 2007 @ 20:50:08

    Aren’t you the name detective (what is the name for that?) because yes, Northman is from GB and by the time delay, I am guessing she’s in bed. (5 hours time difference I think)

  11. Robin
    May 16, 2007 @ 20:50:52

    Aren't you the name detective (what is the name for that?)

    Dork?

  12. anon2
    May 16, 2007 @ 20:51:59

    “In answer to late royalty payments we have a policy royalties are not paid until $25.00 is accumulated or 3 months has passed.”

    Payment is not policy, it is a contractual agreement. Authors who had contracts stating monthly payment with no minimum were suddenly subject to this “policy”. This is breach of contract. RWA protects its members from breach of contract.

    Ms Northman chose not to address the recent spate of bounced royalty checks.

    Subsidy Publisher
    Authors who thought they were on the fast track to print were suddenly made aware of unspecified “pre-sale minimums.” Again, this is a contractual item. Only when the hue and cry arose in the authors loop were the minimums specified. Requiring pre-sale minimums is subsidy publishing and is specifically forbidden of RWA recognized publishers.

    Airing Dirty Laundry
    There are mounds and mounds of dirty laundry. Yes, some authors became a bit too emotional in this discussion. Emotions often run high when one is promised a life long dream would come true and that hope is dashed.

    Unfortunately, airing the laundry is the only way to prove the assertions. Assertions without proof can be easily dismissed. The cold, hard facts can not be ignored. Anyone considering Triskelion Publishing as a partner in their dreams now has the facts to make an informed decision.

  13. Candy
    May 16, 2007 @ 21:02:55

    Dude, my first thought was that Chinese whisper was some sort of quaint slang term for stage whisper, because have you heard the volume most of us Chinese people speak at? We’re loud, yo, especially the Cantonese, the Hokkien and the Hakka.

    Anon2: Veddy, veddy interesting. Hmmmmm.

  14. Angelle
    May 16, 2007 @ 21:03:37

    Authors who thought they were on the fast track to print were suddenly made aware of unspecified “pre-sale minimums.â€? Again, this is a contractual item. Only when the hue and cry arose in the authors loop were the minimums specified. Requiring pre-sale minimums is subsidy publishing and is specifically forbidden of RWA recognized publishers.

    Anon2,

    What does Trisk mean by pre-sale minimums? Is that like pre-ordered copies or guaranteed sales or something else?

  15. Amy
    May 16, 2007 @ 21:10:32

    I’m trying to remember and could be wrong, Angelle, but I think that means that a certain amount of ebooks must sell before they’ll put a book in print. Don’t quote me because I’m not sure.

  16. bam
    May 16, 2007 @ 21:15:59

    Chinese Whisper = I’m never gonna dance again, guilty feet have got no rythm… though it’s easy to pretend, i know you’re not a fool.

    damn it.

  17. S.C.
    May 16, 2007 @ 21:25:32

    Speaking of small-press messes, has anyone else heard that Samhain, who said books would be in print about 3 months after e-release, has changed it to up to a year?

    Man, please tell me it ain’t true. What the heck’s going on these days? I don’t get my hopes up anymore.

  18. Gail Northman
    May 16, 2007 @ 21:36:35

    Chinese Whispers (sorry forgot that not everyone knows what that is) it is a game where a person – comes up with a brief story or scenario then passes it on to the next person and so on – the last person then repeats what they’ve been told. By that time the story bears little resemblence to the what was said at the beginning. It can be rather fun to play at parties. And it is not or wasn’t racial. I sure hope not but then again who knows these days. It wasn’t meant to be.

    With regard to bounced checks that was a staff error – money was drawn on the wrong account before it was noticed it was too late the checks had gone out until the Bank notified Triskelion what had happened.

    As it happens I’m in the US will be for another week I’m flying out of Arizona tomorrow early to head back to Texas then home. And so you know I’ve been here nearly a month.

  19. Gail Northman
    May 16, 2007 @ 21:41:14

    [quote comment="28563"]Speaking of small-press messes, has anyone else heard that Samhain, who said books would be in print about 3 months after e-release, has changed it to up to a year?

    Man, please tell me it ain’t true. What the heck’s going on these days? I don’t get my hopes up anymore.[/quote]

    I can perhaps help there. Recently in a news report from Publishers weekly it mentioned the big trouble that Borders was in – so much so that Borders is selling off all their UK stores there are a substantial amount of them – furthermore they were changing a good few of there stores here. They are just one of the people that owe Triskelion a considerable amount of money – indeed they haven’t paid for books since they wanted us to send to them direct that was last August 2006 – I would assume that other small press publishers could well be in a similar situation. We didn’t find this out until to late.

  20. bam
    May 16, 2007 @ 21:42:03

    And it is not or wasn't racial. I sure hope not but then again who knows these days. It wasn't meant to be.

    From Wikipedia:

    The name “Chinese whispers” reflects the former stereotype in Europe of the Chinese language as being incomprehensible. It is little-used in the United States and may be considered offensive

    *takes off Outraged Asian hat and calls it a night*

  21. anon2
    May 16, 2007 @ 21:44:00

    Triskelion told authors that thought they were going to print that a certain number of pre-orders of the print book were required before it would be printed. This number was at first secret, was disclosed after much emotional discussion, then the Yahoo loop was shut down.

    “a certain amount of ebooks must sell before they'll put a book in print.” This is not what I am referring to. This sound business practice is legitimate.

  22. Charlene Teglia
    May 16, 2007 @ 21:45:58

    SC, Angie’s out of town or I’m sure she’d pop up to answer this one. The time has changed to 9 months from ebook release to print in order to have time to get the titles into sale catalogs, etc. I’d go look up the official email with the details but it’s been a long day and my eyes are blurry.

  23. Gail Northman
    May 16, 2007 @ 21:51:43

    [quote comment="28566"]

    And it is not or wasn't racial. I sure hope not but then again who knows these days. It wasn't meant to be.

    From Wikipedia:

    The name “Chinese whispers” reflects the former stereotype in Europe of the Chinese language as being incomprehensible. It is little-used in the United States and may be considered offensive

    *takes off Outraged Asian hat and calls it a night*[/quote]

    Well I’m British and it was a game when I was a child it – it is also a game we still play on occassions – I repeat I never meant it as an indult if I have done so – I am sorry.

  24. Michelle
    May 16, 2007 @ 22:09:16

    Sorry, but I have to ask what is wrong with “heebie jeebies”?

  25. Jane
    May 16, 2007 @ 22:11:32

    Good question because I use that in my daily conversation. Well, not daily as I don’t daily have use for it. But it is still in my vocab.

  26. Robin
    May 16, 2007 @ 22:18:36

    Sorry, but I have to ask what is wrong with “heebie jeebiesâ€??

    Heebie = derogatory slang for Hebrew/Jews

    Well I'm British and it was a game when I was a child it – it is also a game we still play on occassions – I repeat I never meant it as an indult if I have done so – I am sorry.

    The reason I asked if you were from GB was because of this snippet from Wiki: However, it remains the common name in the United Kingdom and many British-influenced countries, where it is not generally considered politically incorrect. In the US we call it the “telephone game.”

  27. S.C.
    May 16, 2007 @ 22:21:32

    Thank you Charlene! And thank God. I hope that’s true…

  28. Kat
    May 16, 2007 @ 22:24:31

    Hubby went to an all-boys school and clearly remembers a class in which they played Chinese whispers. It started out as: “The weather vane points to the north.” And ended up with: “So-and-so’s nose points to the east.”

  29. S. One
    May 16, 2007 @ 22:25:42

    Chinese Whispers is a game that is played throughout the Commonwealth designed to teach children the dangers of spreading gossip. What started out as ‘The cat in the hat’ could end up as, after being whispered down a line of thirty or so kids, ‘The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog’. How it got named Chinese Whispers I do not know, but it is no way a derogatory term.

  30. Robin
    May 16, 2007 @ 22:31:32

    Once I read that Chinese Whispers came from GB, I figured it was connected to the British colonization of Hong Kong. I understand it’s not considered offensive there, but I doubt the name originated in an entirely value neutral or culturally respectful way. I’m not insulted by the term, but I was curious and I got quite an education in looking it up.

  31. Sela
    May 16, 2007 @ 22:38:07

    I’m still not sure how the heebie in heebie-jeebies is derogatory. I just don’t see the connection between anti-Semitism and getting the creeps. And boy, has this conversation taken an unusual rabbit trail.

  32. Doreen Orsini
    May 16, 2007 @ 22:46:04

    I have to say that I am typing with one finger on the backspace key. Why? It seems that there are those here who jump at the chance to bash or search for one word to ridicule. They forget what this is all about.

    As for pre-orders and subsidy. RWA instilled that because there are vanity publishers who force the authors to contact family members and ask them to order their books directly from the publisher. This is not the case with Triskelion. When a print book goes up on Amazon for pre-order, all publishers use it as a guage. When certain books show that there is little or no sales, any good business will have second thoughts about going ahead with the book. Let’s be honest here, folks. An authors book goes up for pre-order and the author starts spreading the word. Why? And why put it up so early if it doesn’t matter? It will determine print runs. A publisher calls bookstores months before a book goes out on the trucks. Why? To determine if it will sell and how many to print. I’m sorry, but they all do it.

    Did Triskelion keep mum about it? No. They told us. Some authors hadn’t promoted about their books being up for pre-order but did after discovering this. They were always teaching the authors how to promte and better their sales. Why is it that helping became wrong? And, I’d like to add that the post about pre-orders came after Triskelion had some issues with a couple of authors about it, and Triskelion did what it usually does when a couple of authors show concern. They post about it in case any other authors were concerned.

    As far as the royaty policy, I signed on with Triskelion before they hit their one year anniversary and it was in my contract. As far as the contract, before I signed I had points of concern changed. Any author should never sign a contract they weren’t completely comfortable with.

    There is one thing about Triskelion that tells me more than anything else. When an author let them know that she/he wanted out, they usually got all their right back. How many publishers do that? Sure, they are not perfect and have made mistakes. They are a new company. Some companies that have been in business much longer have made bigger mistakes.

    I have no problems with authors going to RWA. That is why we join. I have no problems with RWA making decisions. That is why we join. I do have a problem when authors seem to get a kick out of putting down a company and trying to get everyone to join them in the lynching. I have a problem with people attacking one of the few editors in this industry who consistently went out of her way to help authors. When I sent out the word that I wanted to give Gail Northman a gift of thanks at the RT Awards Luncheon, the response was overwhelmly in favor. Not one author just emailed that she would pay. Every email said she more than deserved it.

    As for the personal? Gail was there for us when we had problems that interrupted our writing and held us immobile. Why wouldn’t she expect that in return?

    Authors: If you are unhappy with your publisher, discuss it with them. If still not happy, discuss it with your agent or lawyer. Still not happy? Contact RWA. Like I said, I have no gripes about that.

    I just don’t like the lynch mob mentality and the one trying to get it going. Dear Author handled this professionally and ethically, IMO. Yet, there are those who seem to be enjoying this a bit too much. Why? My book was also taken off the print schedule after I spent money on promoting it. Would I be any happier if they’d gone ahead and the company closed? So, what did everyone expect them to do? They tried. They didn’t get paid. My current release sold very well, but if they didn’t get paid how can I expect them to come up with money to pay the printer for the next book? Shit happens in business. Nothing underhanded. It’s just sad that some are trying to ensure that those books taken off the print schedule will never have a chance to return.

    And now, I will try not to come back and see the hurtful replies to this. Nor will I check my grammar or spelling. You want to? Go ahead. Have a ball. LOL
    Doreen

  33. Robin
    May 16, 2007 @ 22:50:55

    I'm still not sure how the heebie in heebie-jeebies is derogatory. I just don't see the connection between anti-Semitism and getting the creeps.

    The phrase didn’t originate with that meaning (as far as is known), but over the years it’s merged with a certain less than flattering use of “hebe” and “hebes”(as in gives me the . . . ) and so I tend to avoid it. I don’t think it’s anti-Semitic per se, in any case. But then I don’t think every culturally or racially offensive image or phrase rises to the level of racism or religious intolerance. And there are so many words and phrases in circulation that have some cultural stereotypes attached to them, that I doubt we could ever completely excise them from daily use.

  34. April
    May 17, 2007 @ 01:22:27

    [quote comment="28562"]Chinese Whisper = I’m never gonna dance again, guilty feet have got no rythm… though it’s easy to pretend, i know you’re not a fool.

    damn it.[/quote]

    Bam, if that were a REAL Chinese Whisper, that would actually be:

    I’ve never gonad ants again. Gil, defeat have got no rhythm … though, it’s — see, see! Do pretend. I know you, Nada Fool!

    Hee! :) I played Chinese Whispers back in school, only we called it the Telephone Game where I was. Excuse me while I kiss this guy. ;)

  35. Jayne
    May 17, 2007 @ 04:27:04

    So…is Bam’s new name “Nada Fool?”

  36. Shannon
    May 17, 2007 @ 06:13:07

    Speaking of small-press messes, has anyone else heard that Samhain, who said books would be in print about 3 months after e-release, has changed it to up to a year?

    Man, please tell me it ain't true. What the heck's going on these days? I don't get my hopes up anymore.

    Totally different situation with an entirely different motivation, which was announced to the authors in an email which concisely and professionally explained how this change benefited both the company and the authors. The change in the print schedule was about growth, not remaining solvent.

  37. Essie
    May 17, 2007 @ 06:46:15

    Has no one noticed the horrendous grammatical errors in this letter? And this person is the PUBLISHER? Who’s editing the books?

  38. TeddyPig
    May 17, 2007 @ 07:08:58

    [quote comment="28566"]

    And it is not or wasn't racial. I sure hope not but then again who knows these days. It wasn't meant to be.

    From Wikipedia:

    The name “Chinese whispers” reflects the former stereotype in Europe of the Chinese language as being incomprehensible. It is little-used in the United States and may be considered offensive

    *takes off Outraged Asian hat and calls it a night*[/quote]

    BAM wins with the most excellent use of Wikipedia.

  39. Marianne McA
    May 17, 2007 @ 07:38:47

    How do we stand on French Skipping?

  40. Alison Kent
    May 17, 2007 @ 07:42:58

    Essie – I have to say I was thinking the same thing as I was reading and backing up to read again.

  41. Angelle
    May 17, 2007 @ 07:45:59

    Alison & Essie,

    Ditto.

  42. bam
    May 17, 2007 @ 08:10:52

    How do we stand on French Skipping?

    I do believe it’s still okay to make fun of the French.

    So…is Bam's new name “Nada Fool?â€?

    dude… very comic book-y. Thanks, April.

  43. Teresa
    May 17, 2007 @ 08:36:01

    Essie et al,

    Ok, I thought it was just me being a little picky. Sheesh.

    As for the Chinese Whispers vs Broken Telephone (Telephone Game), I’m from Canada – about as Commonwealth as it gets and I’ve NEVER heard of it referred to as CW. NEVER.

  44. Jane
    May 17, 2007 @ 08:41:40

    What is French Skipping?

  45. Emily
    May 17, 2007 @ 08:42:42

    p.s. I don’t think the Samhain situation is at all similar. They changed the e- to print window, and gave everyone some very well-thought-out reasons well in advance. I don’t have a nano-second’s concern where about Samhain.

  46. Dee
    May 17, 2007 @ 08:58:26

    Thanks for the laughs, ladies. I’m glad someone mentioned that it’s the Telephone game here. It’s kinda obvious that Gail didn’t mean anything negative there. As for Heebie-Jeebies and not understanding why people might consider Jews giving them the creeps, it’s not at all far fetched that it started out as a racial slur. Other slurs about Jews were that they had tails and horns, remember? So, since kids were regularly told their Jewish friends were demons, it isn’t all that big a jump to “they’re creepy”. Voila, racial slur.

    What IS French Skipping? LOL!

    Dee

  47. TeddyPig
    May 17, 2007 @ 08:59:52

    As a George fan (ANd Loving the idea of him being on his knees in a public restroom) I thought it was “Careless Whispers”

    I am such a Fag and so Queer… Can I say that? Yes, Yes I can.

  48. Anonymous Grammar Nerd
    May 17, 2007 @ 09:00:02

    I’m HORRIFIED by the poor syntax, grammar, and otherwise awkward errors in this letter. It doesn’t give me much comfort regarding the direction Triskelion is taking, when the publisher herself doesn’t have even a basic grasp of grammar. :(

  49. Chrystal
    May 17, 2007 @ 09:01:46

    When I first signed on at Trisk, I couldn’t read Gail’s letters either. When I met her in May 2006 in Daytona Beach, Florida, I realized that she speaks the same way she writes: all over the place and full of dry wit.

    The delivery of the message is less important than the message itself.

  50. Imogen Howson
    May 17, 2007 @ 09:10:29

    From England here. Chinese Whispers is what the game is called everywhere (in England) that I’ve lived. I’ve never heard of the telephone game. Being a politically correct kind of person, I have tried not to use the phrase, seeing as I don’t know its origins and as it’s possibly some kind of racist epithet. But huge amounts of English people would use it, and wouldn’t mean anything racist.

    French skipping, on the other hand, is a game played with a long loop of elastic round the ankles. You sort of loop the elastic up and then jump to snap out of it, and you can make patterns. I could never do it. And I don’t know why it’s called French skipping, but I don’t *think* it’s derogatory.

  51. Anonymous Grammar Nerd
    May 17, 2007 @ 09:12:51

    Chrystal–I can understand your sentiment, but I disagree with the idea that the delivery isn’t as important as the message, especially in this case. In a field where words are your profession (and thus, are VITAL), I find myself less than willing to let go of this type of error–especially from a publisher.

    In a more informal setting (where Ms. Northman is wearing her own hat, not that of “publishing professional”), it’s not only understandable, but perfectly acceptable. I don’t sweat the grammar stuff too hard when I’m writing to friends, so I wouldn’t expect anyone else to, either. After all, we’re not evaluating or judging each other in those circumstances. :D

    However, given that she’s presenting herself in this letter as a professional, I’m not so quick to let it go. I find it disturbing and, as a writer, it contributes to my unlikeless to submit to Triskelion in the future.

    As a reader, I wonder if this is the quality we can expect to get in books purchased in the future. I don’t think I’m wrong in worrying about that.

    As a side note, Ms. Northman, I’m grateful for your time in explaining your company’s position. Even though I had a difficult time understanding parts of your letter, I can see your desire to work through Triskelion’s issues and appreciate it.

  52. Kat
    May 17, 2007 @ 09:46:48

    French skipping, on the other hand, is a game played with a long loop of elastic round the ankles. You sort of loop the elastic up and then jump to snap out of it, and you can make patterns.

    Funnily enough, I think in the Philippines this is a variation of a game called “Chinese Garter” (garter = elastic, not underwear).

  53. Jane
    May 17, 2007 @ 09:49:40

    Those Chinese – they have a game for everything.

  54. bam
    May 17, 2007 @ 10:03:25

    Funnily enough, I think in the Philippines this is a variation of a game called “Chinese Garter� (garter = elastic, not underwear).

    I remember when I was a kid visiting the Philippines and my cousins were like, “Let’s play ‘Chinese Garter’!” and I was like, “What in the hell did you just say to me?”

    Dude, it requires serious foot work. The tagalog word for it is “tinikling“. Only with tinikling, it’s not elastic that’s used, but bamboo poles being clapped rapidly together.

    But huge amounts of English people would use it, and wouldn't mean anything racist.

    And I don’t want to keep harping on this, but to me, it’s racist. I don’t care that a whole frickin’ country thinks it’s okay to say out loud. It’s a term based on a racial stereotype that Chinese folk speak in gibberish. PERIOD.

  55. Dee
    May 17, 2007 @ 10:15:22

    She’s right folks. Now, Gail didn’t know & after this discussion I’m sure she’ll cringe and correct anyone who uses it in her presence, but Bam’s point–If I might be so presumptive–is that once we know something is racist, we can’t keep using it or excusing it just because no one means it that way anymore. If that were true, it’d be okay to make a whole lot of phrases no one accepts.

    I’d never heard of Chinese Garter, but I’ve heard of Tinikling from my husband, who is Filipino, lol. From what he said, it bruises the shit out of your legs, lol! They can make The Rack out of bamboo, folks, lol. It’s not a plant, it’s a growing piece of concrete! (That said, I ought to water mine…)

    Dee

  56. Robin
    May 17, 2007 @ 10:49:17

    once we know something is racist, we can't keep using it or excusing it just because no one means it that way anymore.

    I think a good rule of thumb is that any phrase or title or label that refers directly to a particular racial, cultural, religious, or ethnic group should warrant a moment of reflection before using it. IMO we’re all guilty of careless utterances, and sometimes a certain meaning isn’t clear right off the bat, but better oversensitized than not sensitive at all, maybe?

    What is French Skipping?

    And is it related to French kissing?

    Didn’t we already put the French in their place when we started serving Freedom Fries in Iraq? Or maybe that was about putting Iraq in it’s place? I don’t know; I’m confused. Better check the latest U.S. guide to imperialistic phrases and slogans (aka the White House).

  57. Robin
    May 17, 2007 @ 10:49:55

    How come my comments won’t go through?

  58. Robin
    May 17, 2007 @ 10:50:20

    Ah, except that one, of course!

  59. Kristie(J)
    May 17, 2007 @ 10:58:21

    Wow!! I remember playing those games when I was a kid but I don’t know if we ever really did have a name for it. Which made it rather difficult to explain what the heck we did. We took a whole pile of elastics, looped them altogether and – yep – two people had them on the end of each ankle and we did fancy stuff with them. I loved doing that and if nothing else, I take a fond memory *wipes tear from eye* from this discussion.

  60. Anon 76
    May 17, 2007 @ 11:06:23

    In that case, I suppose I never want to hear the term “Yankee” again. While it’s origin is listed to a specific geographical location in the United States, it is now used in a deragatory sense in many countries. And it is uniquely linked to the US.

    When Gail said “chinese whispers” I interpreted it to be our version of telephone. No ill will popped into my brain. However, if that term is a no no, I will never use it. I ask the same thing for “Yank” or Yankee”.

    Oh, add hillbilly, backwater, backwoods, trailer trash etc. to the list.

    Just saying.

  61. Dee
    May 17, 2007 @ 11:11:00

    You mean Chinese Jumprope?

    We had that when I was growing up, but since it was a) hard and b) required a different kind of rope, I assumed that was like Chinese Checkers, which involved marbles, multiple players and way more intelligence than I’ve to date been able to display. I still can’t play, but I was pretty good at Chinese Jumprope. My neighborhood back then was Mexicans and Asians of all types and it was firmly established that they were smarter than us, so any kind of racial connotation there was that we were too dumb to play well, lol.

    I’m not sure how the bungiecord like rope got turned into bamboo–except maybe that’s just what they had in PI or they REALLLY wanted to make it hard—but I’m thinking it might be a different game?

    Dee

  62. Devon
    May 17, 2007 @ 11:11:03

    I think we played that Tinikling game in gym class. Was it two poles or four poles? 4 poles, no? I have these vague memories. Those sadistic gym teachers. People would trip and fall over and stuff. I was actually pretty good at it, and would take it over Dodgeball any day.

    Any way, this is slightly off topic, but I had never been to the Triskelion website prior to this discussion. Just a suggestion from a reader, you might really want to re-think your website. To have the link to the bookstore in such a place and such a small font seems very odd. The promotion of the books should be front and center, IMO. I dunno, I just felt as though I had to search too much to find the books.

    Also, please closely read your blurbs for the books. A few were nonsensical. Not trying to be a bitch, just saying, because some (from what I could parse) sounded quite good. I’ll be looking around more at another time.

    Good luck to everyone! I hope it resolves well for all involved.

  63. KayWebbHarrison
    May 17, 2007 @ 11:13:26

    Here in SE VA, we call “Chinese Garter” “Chinese Jump-rope”. There is a way to link regular sized rubber bands together to form a large circle. One player pulls one side over her feet, up to the ankles and spreads her legs apart to create enough tension; another player does the same on the other side. Standing facing one of the “holders” and outside the band, the jumper has to perform a prescribed set of moves as she jumps in and out of the center and pulls one side of the band over the other.
    There is a very large Filipino population here because of the Navy; I wonder if they introduced the game to the area.
    Kay

  64. Dee
    May 17, 2007 @ 11:14:42

    Oh, add hillbilly, backwater, backwoods, trailer trash etc. to the list.

    Um, just for clarification…is there anywhere in the world where those AREN’T slurs?

    Also, Yanks and Yankee started patriotically and became an international way to refer to us. It’s generally used negatively, but then again, so is “American”, so I’m not sure you can really claim it’s the same as referring to an entire culture as speaking nonsensically.

    Just saying.

  65. Kalen Hughes
    May 17, 2007 @ 11:24:50

    The phrase didn't originate with that meaning (as far as is known), but over the years it's merged with a certain less than flattering use of “hebe� and “hebes�(as in gives me the . . . ) and so I tend to avoid it.

    Heebie Jeebies has nothing to do with the derogatory slag of “heeb” for Jews. It’s from a 1920s Barney Google cartoon by Billy De Beck. Same guy who gave us “horsefeathers”.

    “Heeb” has also been reclaimed by many Jews, it’s even the name of a magazine about Jewish contemparry culture!

  66. Anon 76
    May 17, 2007 @ 11:37:45

    Yanks and Yankees started as a slur early on. When Yankee Doodle Dandy was penned, it was meant to degrade. Somehow, the Yanks turned it into a rallying cry.

    But maybe that is the point I was trying to make. Until it was pointed out, I never thought the term Chinese whispers as demeaning. The same as others around the world don’t always think of the terms Yank or Yankee as having a bad origin, then a good one, then a bad one again. It’s a name tagged to us and some use it without thinking it means something bad.

  67. jmc
    May 17, 2007 @ 11:39:18

    Also, Yanks and Yankee started patriotically and became an international way to refer to us.

    It may be an international way to refer to Americans, but its use does not appear to have begun patriotically; several online dictionaries show the etymology to be less that flattering.

    http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=Yankee
    http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?search=yankee
    http://www.randomhouse.com/wotd/index.pperl?date=19991201

  68. Gwen
    May 17, 2007 @ 11:49:05

    truly, I do believe, there is not enough cheese in all of France to adequately accomany the whine flowing through this thread

  69. Dee
    May 17, 2007 @ 11:52:34

    I see your point, but I still don’t think it’s a correct analogy. Yankee got turned around right around the time it originated and became a point of pride for us, the Americans. I’m not thinking too many Asians are using “Chinese Whispers” as anything to celebrate.

    Like Robin said, anything titled with a race should take a moment’s reflection. Things that are considered a region’s variation of something worldwide, probably not bad to talk about; chinese checkers & mexican jumping bean. Things that are attributed to a race because it mocks them…well, that shouldn’t be too hard to figure out is offensive.

    Dee

  70. Dee
    May 17, 2007 @ 11:54:14

    Gwen–I don’t know, lol, there’s an awful lot of cheese in France…

  71. Anon 76
    May 17, 2007 @ 12:05:31

    Exactly, Gwen

    Rather than talking about the true issues, it’s all about the use of a phrase. I imagine she’s very sorry about using it. Though I myself didn’t know it was such a hot-button. Call me ignorant.

    And, on a side note, I’ve known Gail for a number of years. We aren’t buddy buddy, but I do know that in emails and posts, she has her own way of speaking. (I’m talking punctuation and sentence structure and stuff.). This does not carry over into her professional work as an editor or publisher.

    While I do believe people in her position should look over their letters again and again, well, I’ve seen many great letters ripped apart lately on the net. No matter what you say, or how professional it is, you will still get ripped.

    It’s a feeding frenzy on all fronts, and I don’t expect it to let up until months after RWA.

  72. Steph
    May 17, 2007 @ 12:05:49

    “The delivery of the message is less important than the message itself.”

    Maybe – although I agree in publishing it counts more. My bigger problem, however, was not the poor grammar – it was the message itself.

    Immature, emotional, sarcastic and unprofessional. It makes her “sick to death” that people are discussing her personal life. The personal information she made public to over 200 people on an internet loop?

    Please.

  73. Kat
    May 17, 2007 @ 12:08:43

    I’m not sure tinikling and singkil (the dance with 4 poles) are in any way related to the elastic game, but I guess the principles are the same–jump like you’ve never jumped before! *lol* (Although technically, singkil involves no jumping at all–just speed and co-ordination.)

    I’m a bit torn on the Chinese whispers issue–I’m not sure we’re are as sensitive to these kinds of things (and anyway, then we’d have to start thinking about wiping out expressions starting with “Pommie” and, well, that might just herald the collapse of the Aussie culture as we know it *tongue in cheek*)–but it did remind me of a recent post by Rosina Lippi regarding the use of language in historical romance.

    Just thought I’d link back to romance somehow, since we seem to have deviated so badly off topic. :-D

  74. Dee
    May 17, 2007 @ 12:27:42

    Ah hell, the point. Sorry, forgot about it.

    I didn’t actually notice anything galling about the letter itself, grammar or otherwise. Then again, I don’t think anyone but a lawyer writes in the mind numbing aspect of perfect English Grammar. Rather, I’d prefer a letter I understand and am interested in reading. Gail established her response to the many Trisk accusations flying around and that was pretty much that. She even came back to clarify some questions up way above.

    I will say one thing, though, about a copy of her letter to the loop being bandied around, and this is speaking as an author who is on an author loop: She was speaking to the authors and I’m betting she knows most of them quite well, at least on a correspondance level. Generally, and in the case of Samhain anyway, it’s expected that what’s said on the loop, stays on the loop. Important publishing business and personal comments, both. The loop exists to inform the authors of a publishers intentions and to hear those authors’s discussion on the topic. For anyone on the loop to remove a letter from it’s context there or even just share it like it’s the Weekly World News is bad form and in poor judgement and Gail has a right to be upset about that. Any of you would be if your private correspondance was treated the same and since these type loops have a limited audience, that’s exactly what it was: Private.

    Best of luck while you sail rough seas, Gail,
    Dee

  75. Robin
    May 17, 2007 @ 12:39:06

    For anyone on the loop to remove a letter from it's context there or even just share it like it's the Weekly World News is bad form and in poor judgement and Gail has a right to be upset about that.

    This whole thing is just a terrible mess, IMO. And unfortunately, it hasn’t vindicated either Triskelion or the RWA, but it has probably done some damage to Gail Northman personally and professionally, as well as the publisher itself and some of its authors. And who knows what possessed the original sender of the private email, but public airing of Northman’s personal problems doesn’t, IMO, help ANY authors, including, and perhaps especially, the ones supposedly imperiled by Triskelion’s alleged questionable practices. Because clearly it’s not just Northman who’s having trouble walking that line of professional responsibility.

  76. Anon 76
    May 17, 2007 @ 12:40:44

    Ahhhhhhh, Dee,

    I agree with you 100%. Those loops are by invitation only, and for the authors, editors, and others of the house.

    Whether she shared private personal info there is not really the point. If the anonymous tipper leaked the post elsewhere, he/she should have removed the personal stuff Gail revealed.

    Yes, we all must be careful in what we post on the net, but I want to know why the person who passed on the info is allowed anonymity? Why is this person allowed to sit back and snicker as others judge only from what they were given to judge from. I post anon, but I do not go out and rip and shred. I do my very best to state an opinion without inciting riots or debasing others.

    Troubles at Trisk, sure. Troubles needing explanations, sure. But these loops, no matter what anyone says, are supposed to be private. If you want to discuss a problem on a public board, then do so. State your claims. However, do not take those private posts and put them up as your basis for your case. They then become so out of context that outsiders can’t judge fairly.

    I can’t say I’m 100% behind anyone in this matter at this point. I know it’s like the news media, I only get to see certain things. Therefore I can only speak on what I know when dealing with certain people.

  77. Jane
    May 17, 2007 @ 12:48:18

    I have to say I think it is the nature of the blog / email to create informal responses. I know I send off emails that are riddled with spelling errors because I am too lazy to retype. And I would be the last one to call anyone out over grammatical issues as I can barely place a comma correctly.

    If I am sending a professional email or response, I do try to proofread and make sure it’s as Strunk and White as possible, but I don’t always get there.

  78. anon2
    May 17, 2007 @ 13:15:07

    I stick by the facts on all issues presented.

    The revelation of the secret pre-orders requirement is well documented in digests of the Triskelion print authors loop. These digests are the basis of at least one of the complaints to RWA.

    Requiring authors to pre-sell before a contracted book is printed, whether it is through Amazon or direct to GrandMa Sue is subsidy publishing, strictly forbidden by RWA rules.

  79. Kat
    May 17, 2007 @ 13:18:52

    This is not to say whether passing along messages from private loops is or is not ethical, but isn’t it a little naive to expect people, and especially disgruntled people, not to pass on this kind of information? Lots of mainstream news stories break due to leaked information from sources who are kept anonymous. At least on romance blogs people are given the right of reply, usually with the reply posted in its entirety. I’m not sure what else we can base our conclusions on, other than the original e-mails and replies, posted verbatim (although I agree, personal details should be removed–then again, they shouldn’t have been there in the first place).

    I think it’s also worthwhile to be extra vigiliant of what you send out/say to people, particularly if it speaks to internal problems within a company, when it’s obvious that leaks are occurring

  80. Anon 76
    May 17, 2007 @ 13:20:03

    And,

    Then I would agree 100% with you, anon2.

    There are valid complaints, no denying. And that is what these talks should be about. Instead everything goes off in tangents.

  81. Anon 76
    May 17, 2007 @ 13:34:05

    Yes, Kat,

    Perhaps it is naive to expect people in the private author loops not to copy and paste your stuff. Especially the disgruntled ones.

    I guess I’m just jaded. I’ve watched certain people (authors) get disgruntled and take down publishing houses. The e-ones. Some had valid complaints, others just worked and worked behind the scenes to take the place out. They hop from house to house.

    I AM IN NO WAY SAYING THESE TRISK AUTHORS DON’T HAVE VALID COMPLAINTS. Don’t get me wrong in that. But I have seen way more than once a few authors take out a house. And in those instances, it was just a whole girl fight thing. We women can be mean little mothers.

    Plus, Anon2, you have stuff to back it up. So you must report and stick to your guns.

  82. Dee
    May 17, 2007 @ 13:58:53

    Isn't it a little naive to expect people, and especially disgruntled people, not to pass on this kind of information?

    It might be naive, but that doesn’t mean it’s not wrong for them to do so. Except, as stated earlier, the leak gets to continue in anonymity. Nothing changes that intrinsic wrongness, no matter how ill advised Gail’s info was. All one can hope is that the leaker has a sense of guilt for making a professional matter into a personal smearing.

    Anon76, I agree with you, too, we can be mean. I’d say ECs current discussion woes might be a prime example of what you’re talking about. Not to say that I don’t have opinions on ECs quality or that the authors there might not have legitimate claims, but right now, it’s a firestorm of public opinion which is probably exacerbating a tense situation. We’ll have to see how EC fares and what the results are for their remaining authors when all is said and done. I suppose the same goes for Triskellion.

  83. Anon 76
    May 17, 2007 @ 14:11:35

    Exactly, Dee

  84. Kat
    May 17, 2007 @ 14:20:04

    All one can hope is that the leaker has a sense of guilt for making a professional matter into a personal smearing.

    I’m not sure I understand how a business-related e-mail, posted verbatim, could be considered personal smearing.

    Put it this way. If it were any other company and an employee or business partner leaked a confidential e-mail (or discloses verbal communication) which contains information that speaks to that company’s ability to operate/pay its employees/service its customers to the press, no one would even bat an eye. Seriously. It happens all the time. That’s how news breaks everyday. We don’t generally consider it unethical or wrong because it’s in the public interest to know such information. In this case, one can argue it’s in the interest of authors who might be thinking of publishing with this company.

    The expectation of confidentiality is pretty tenuous, and I think most companies would invoke it mainly to protect intellectual capital.

    What made this issue personal was really the tone of the e-mail, and that’s not something that can be blamed on the person who sent it to SBTB.

  85. Kat
    May 17, 2007 @ 14:24:02

    But I have seen way more than once a few authors take out a house. And in those instances, it was just a whole girl fight thing.

    But don’t you think this entire issue would have been much less controversial if the original e-mail posted had sounded more professional?

  86. Kat
    May 17, 2007 @ 14:32:31

    And as an example, the response from Triskelion above is much more professional, which makes it more difficult for people to misinterpret words and nitpick the ethics of publicising this or that. (As can be seen by the wildly off-topic discussion on childhood games with racially loaded names. But I’d argue this has nothing to do with the post…more an amusing diversion.) I think it still errs towards the side of slightly TMI, but it’s certainly a vast improvement on the one posted at SBTB.

  87. Holly
    May 17, 2007 @ 14:33:12

    Hmm, just so I’m clear…is it ok to say Heebie-Jeebies or not? I had no idea it started with Jews, but now that I’ve been informed am I SOL? Because, like Jane, I use the expression often.

    As for the Trisk issue…well, if one author was complaining because she received shoddy treatment, I would imagine we’d all just shrug it off. But if RWA has gone as far as they have, I’m assuming that isn’t the case.

    I appreciate Gail Norman taking a moment to clarify from her position, but I don’t really think she cleared anything up. So, Trisk had a few issues and is now working to solve them. If that isn’t a non-answer, I don’t know what is.

    As an employee who depends on a paycheck..well, I’d be furious if my paycheck bounced or wasn’t delivered on time.

    I think, in light of the complaints I’m hearing, I’d just do business elsewhere.

    As for the claim that Borders hasn’t been paying it’s publishers…has anyone tried to validate the claim? I can’t see them not releasing payments and keeping it quiet. Shouldn’t there be an article on page one of the Times?

  88. Karen Scott
    May 17, 2007 @ 14:50:16

    so much so that Borders is selling off all their UK stores there are a substantial amount of them – furthermore they were changing a good few of there stores here.

    Really? How did I miss this piece of news? More importantly, will they keep the romance section?

    In England, Borders are one of the few stores that actually have a romance section.

    Re Chinese Whispers, it’s a common phrase in England, and the only people who would object to it, are the yogurt knitting, tree-hugging vegans, who have crippled our country with political correctness.

    The same people who ordered that banks take piggy banks out of their branches because of the possibility of offending Asians (Indian/Pakistanis) who don’t eat pork. Totally f*cked up.

  89. Jane
    May 17, 2007 @ 14:51:00

    I have a hard time believing that Borders would not be meeting their financial commitments. Like you, Holly, I believe if that were true it would be all over the business section.

    There appears to be some disconnect between the publisher and a group of authors. Let’s hope that this is a wake up call for all involved.

  90. Holly
    May 17, 2007 @ 15:01:36

    The same people who ordered that banks take piggy banks out of their branches because of the possibility of offending Asians (Indian/Pakistanis) who don't eat pork. Totally f*cked up.

    Piggy, seriously? Wow, we’ve come a long way, haven’t we?

    *snort*

  91. Holly
    May 17, 2007 @ 15:12:04

    I found this article about Borders from the EveningTimes.

    The sell-off threat follows last month’s announcement that Borders’ overseas arm – 70% of which is concentrated in the UK – lost £254,000 in the year to February, against a profit of £6million the previous year.

    Interesting. But that’s the only article I found.

  92. Kat
    May 17, 2007 @ 15:13:36

    For some reason, my comment keeps getting deleted…fifth time lucky!

    I’d heard about Borders selling off some its foreign subsidiaries. Here’s the GalleyCat post with a link to a Guardian article. And here’s another Guardian article. There seem to be quite a few interested buyers, though. I’m not sure if Borders UK is unprofitable. The second article seems to indicate that its Borders US that’s struggling.

  93. Kat
    May 17, 2007 @ 15:14:46

    I’d heard about Borders selling off some its foreign subsidiaries. Here’s the GalleyCat post with a link to a Guardian article. And here’s another Guardian article. There seem to be quite a few interested buyers, though. I’m not sure if Borders UK is unprofitable. The second article seems to indicate that its Borders US that’s struggling.

  94. Robin
    May 17, 2007 @ 15:20:24

    And as an example, the response from Triskelion above is much more professional,

    I have to disagree with you here, Kat. Reading that second “clarifying” message just made me feel that Northman needs some serious time off. The beginning, especially reflects a hostility toward the authors who informed RWA of their complaints which really colored the post on SBTB, IMO. The use of the phrase “disgruntled authors” and the suggestion that their communications with RWA were inappropriate somehow — almost a betrayal of Northman and Triskelion — both struck me as troubling coming from the person who will soon be in charge of said authors. The numerous grammatical and spelling errors have been mentioned, although I tend to see those as reflective of emotional extremity and the perceived casualness of certain online venues (I am terribly sloppy in my posts, too). But in any case, they are there and add to what really strikes me as both an uncomfortable and discomfited communication from someone who will be in charge of a publishing company, however small as compared to a NY house. While I often have the sense that the NY folks could give a crap about authors, the Trisk situation seems like a total inverse of that situation.

    Should Northman have expected her email to remain confidential? Well, given the fact that said email suggests that certain authors aren’t being loyal to Trisk or don’t want to be part of the company, does it seem logical to believe that “disgruntled authors” will keep that email private? Again, an uncomfortable disconnect that suggests to me that Northman’s professional judgment is on holiday. Do I feel sorry for Northman? Yes, because it’s clear that she’s just over the edge. But I don’t blame the SB’s, for example, for posting her email (sans the personal info) because someone sent it to them, and it’s obviously an issue of relevance to authors and prospective authors, as well as to the whole industry in general. So in that sense, IMO started the whole ball rolling, and while it would have been very nice, IMO, for the people in that original loop to keep certain aspects of Northman’s rant to themselves, information regarding this situation was already leaking about the Internet, because of the news that RWA had dis-invited them to nationals. And boy has it been an education for me, as a reader, to understand how some of these e-press situations work and to see how authors in various positions come off. For example, I have nothing against Lynne Connolly’s ardent defense of Trisk and Northman, because she’s been polite and reasonable and rational. Some voices, though, including some authors, have been pretty extreme in their comments, which IMO also says something interesting about the culture of Trisk and sheds some light on why there might be some problems over there.

  95. Imogen Howson
    May 17, 2007 @ 15:39:09

    And I don't want to keep harping on this, but to me, it's racist. I don't care that a whole frickin' country thinks it's okay to say out loud. It's a term based on a racial stereotype that Chinese folk speak in gibberish. PERIOD.

    I accept that, Bam. And I’m not saying that it’s okay to use a racist term just because ‘everyone else does’. I agree with you that if something is racist it’s racist, and it’s no good saying ‘but I don’t mean it that way’.

    In my post I just wanted to point out that the loaded meaning of this particular phrase hasn’t yet reached a lot of British people. So someone could easily use it out of pure unawareness, having no idea they were saying anything that might sound offensive.

    Of course, that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be challenged. And honestly, if I say something racist then I’d rather know about it than not.

    The thing is that I’ve come across one or two terms that, in the US, seem to be widely acknowledged as very offensive. But, until I had them explained to me by an American, I had absolutely no idea they were offensive at all. And I’m usually fairly aware of loaded terminology, so I was taken aback by my extreme ignorance in these particular areas! And, of course, worried that I might inadvertently say something that made me sound as if I were being deliberately racist.

    Mind you, it’s not like there are no racists in Britain. So for all I know this term has continued to be used because of an unspoken acceptance of racist language.

    I know. Off topic.

  96. Karen Scott
    May 17, 2007 @ 16:12:45

    The fact is, most Britons probably don’t even understand where the phrase originated from, and when it’s said in England, it’s never used as a racial slur.

    Americans use the term ‘white trash’ all the time, and everybody seems accepting of it, and that’s far worse than Chinese whispers in my opinion.

  97. Anon 76
    May 17, 2007 @ 16:26:44

    Amen, Karen,

    And that was my point originally. Every culture and continent has their “buzz words”. And every culture and continent have phrases they use all the time. Sometimes used to be mean, sometimes not.

    To focus on that rather than the issue at hand makes us all a bit petty. But that is the nature of the internet, no? We can rally on points way off the original topic, if others lead us that way and we chose to follow. I am wholly guilty of that myself.

    This is not a racial issue guys. It’s a publishing issue, and we should really stick to that.

  98. Marianne McA
    May 17, 2007 @ 17:24:18

    Be interesting to know where the phrase did originate from – Wikipedia says it’s from a stereotype, but doesn’t give chapter and verse.
    The shorter OED gives ‘Russian Scandal’ as an alternate name for the game, which somehow makes me wonder if the name is based on a stereotype, or whether any foreign language could have ended up associated with the game.

  99. Shiloh Walker
    May 17, 2007 @ 18:32:17

    okay, I am NOT going thru and reading 90 something emails about this.

    But since I’ve had experience with Triskelion, I wanted to offer my tw cents. I saw a letter from RWA somewhere that some 60% of Triskelion authors are RWA members which in RWA’s mind, that means these authors found Triskelion thru RWA.

    That…is bull. I don’t shop publishers based on RWA standards and never have, and I seriously doubt I’m the only one. Whatever the deal with Triskelion and RWA is, I don’t know. I’m not with them anymore and I’m too busy to keep up with every little thing that happens in the publishing world. I’ll talk to fellow authors about a publisher to get a feel for them before I go and shop RWA’s website.

    My dealings with Triskelion weren’t bad. Sales weren’t great, but they were new when I first started with them. Going with them was a gamble of sorts since I didn’t know what to expect from anybody other than EC. I went thru a couple of editors and ended up with Gail, who always treated me fairly.

    A time did come when my rights were returned. I won’t go into details, because I do understand that confidential means confidential. There wasn’t anything shady or unethical happening. Miscommunication, perhaps on both sides, along with a few other things. I wasn’t happy with a certain situation and Triskelion decided to return the rights on the books back to me.

    Have they been the best publisher I’ve ever been with? No…but they always dealt with me fairly.

    And just my two cents… when an author takes a post off of an author only list and forwards it to very public blogs…. guys, I’m sorry, not only is that unethical… it’s rude. Particularly when the post contains personal info. Come on, guys… this isn’t middle school. If somebody felt that information absolutely had to be passed on… you’re a writer…paraphrase it, or at least take the personal bits out.

    But confidential is confidential and an author list is just that… it’s for authors to discuss things, not to pass around in the bathroom like gossip. If you’re a published writer, you need to remember just what you are… a published writer. That is your profession. Act professionally. To react unprofessionally because others around you did it…like I said, this isn’t middle school. The she started it bit lost its appeal sometime before the 9th grade.

  100. Holly
    May 17, 2007 @ 18:53:33

    Shiloh,

    I totally agree with you last bit there. When I first read and responded to this post, I hadn’t heard the entire story, and how a certain blog had a certain letter up and blah, blah.

    Not only do I think it was wrong of the initial email to be forwarded, I also think it was wrong of the blog to post it. Personal is personal. Period.

  101. Jane
    May 17, 2007 @ 20:29:28

    RE: The Samhain Thing. Here is a post I received from Angie W who is away on vacation.

    When Samhain originally started, we set 3 months as the turnaround time between ebook and print. However, we quickly realized that we were doing our books a disservice with this quick turnaround time, because it didn't give us an opportunity to 1) get our book “catalog� to Borders months ahead of time so they (namely Sue Grimshaw) could place orders in advance of publication in order to assess the stock/numbers needed, as they are used to doing with the larger publishers, 2) it cut down on the time authors had to look at print galleys and our print coordinator had to format the print book and 3) If any errors in the printing, cover art or formatting process occurred, we had to do a last minute change of release date which resulted in disappointed authors who'd advertised this date and disappointed readers who'd anticipated it. While this didn't happen frequently, it did happen and it's something we knew we wanted to avoid.

    At this point, we discussed moving to a six month lead time, to give everyone involved time to do their part of the process. However, it came to pass that we signed a deal with IPS/Ingrams for distribution of our books. This contract gives us the benefit of utilizing the IPS sales and marketing team. To effectively do that, however, we had to move to a 10 month lead time to allow the IPS sales force time to get the information from us and then into their 3x/year catalog (they, of course, need their own advance time for printing, so everything that's done adds time between ebook to print) which is sent to all booksellers. Independent booksellers are especially enthusiastic about this because many have customers who will mark directly in the catalog which books they'd like the bookseller to get in for them. Now, Samhain titles will be seen in this catalog by book buyers for all booksellers, independent and major chains. In addition, IPS sales team will work with Samhain to market our books to include other major chains, in addition to Borders. Our books are now coded in such a way so Barnes and Noble will be able to order them-‘something all small publishers have struggled with in the past, for reasons that are too complicated to explain in this response. In addition to all of this, we will also now have distribution in Canada and by extension, Chapters bookstores.

    As I think I've hopefully explained, but would like to state clearly due to the concern expressed in the comment left at Dear Author as well as expressed elsewhere, at no time was our move because of financial problems or done because we were unable to fill our commitments, but because we wanted to grow our company with an eye towards producing the best quality book, with a solid marketing plan, which could eventually be available in a large variety of bookstores. In short, we learned along the way, as most businesses do, and we think the changes we've made, while perhaps disappointing to readers and authors who liked the short turnaround to print, will result in greater financial compensation for the authors, as well as a cleaner, more quality product for the readers.

    Angela James, Executive Editor
    Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
    “It’s all about the story.”
    http://www.samhainpublishing.com

  102. Michelle
    May 17, 2007 @ 21:18:11

    Yeah, ok an email going out to 300 people is way too personal, and confidential, yada yada-snort.

  103. A.A.
    May 17, 2007 @ 21:23:33

    Since we’ve veered totally and completely off subject. Is coon’s age racially motivated? Or is it referring to a raccoon? I’ve always wondered that.

    Oh and one more question. How the hell do you people (writers in general, untwist those panties) do it? How do you have time to write and keep the internet sizzling with all this buhaha (is that racially motivated? I will never say heebee jeebees again. Not that I say it to often to begin with.)

    I barely have time to check my email let alone blog and I see some of you (not pointing any fingers) at every internet scandal there is. Seriously. I just want to know if you have some sort of magical (no offense intended to any witches, warlocks, fairies, pixies, etc that might be reading this) formula that allows you more time than the rest of us.

    Thank you, bitter and busy in the cp capital of the world

  104. Shiloh Walker
    May 17, 2007 @ 21:27:09

    If it was an author/industry blog, then yes, whoever sent it did have a reasonable expectation of privacy.

    Insurance companies use listservs with thousands of members…and what they send via interoffice email, they have every right to expect confidentiality. It does go with the business.

    Author lists are needed. They are good for brainstorming and venting…authors need to vent as much as anybody else, whether it’s a review they weren’t happy with… and an author list, if you have to vent, is a good forum. People who’ve been there, done that, and it’s not going to come off as an attack on the reviewer. Brainstorming, whether it’s story, craft, plot or just writer’s block, also needed. But these lists are only useful when the people who belong to it know what they say will remain as between authors and industry personnel.

    To find out that some authors think it’s okay to forward emails from an author/industry only group makes me very very glad that I don’t participate in too many author only groups.

  105. Angelle
    May 17, 2007 @ 22:47:38

    You can always count on Angie to represent her company professionally! :)

    Thanks for posting her explanation, Jane.

  106. Gail
    May 17, 2007 @ 22:51:32

    [quote comment="28694"]

    so much so that Borders is selling off all their UK stores there are a substantial amount of them – furthermore they were changing a good few of there stores here.

    Really?

    Yes it was announced in Publishers weekly I’m sad because Borders brought what I consider a friendly atmosphere to a book store than say Waterstones that always seemed so stiff and I could never find anything in their stores.

    The same people who ordered that banks take piggy banks out of their branches because of the possibility of offending Asians (Indian/Pakistanis) who don’t eat pork. Totally f*cked up.[/quote]

    Wow Karen I didn’t know this one. Gosh and so do they still do the piggies.

  107. Kat
    May 17, 2007 @ 23:22:12

    Robin – I only meant this reply was more professional than the e-mail posted at SBTB. Like I said, I still think it has TMI, but the tone of this one was slightly calmer and more factual. Or so it seemed to me. But I agree with you–I wouldn’t hold it up as the model of effective business communication.

    On the question of ethics – I maintain that the expectation of confidentiality in business is tenuous at best and is, in most cases, more of a professional courtesy than an ethical obligation. Analogies to high school don’t really work because that’s a social setting, not a professional one. The objections to the SBTB posting seem to confuse two issues: posting an e-mail off an authors-only list, and posting personal info. I believe the latter was addressed as soon as SBTB realised this was an issue (though perhaps they should have realised it before posting). As to the former, it happens in the corporate world all the time, and I don’t find it unethical or immoral as long as the information is in the public interest and parties are given a right of reply. Which it was, and which they have been.

  108. Robin
    May 17, 2007 @ 23:41:33

    he objections to the SBTB posting seem to confuse two issues: posting an e-mail off an authors-only list, and posting personal info. I believe the latter was addressed as soon as SBTB realised this was an issue (though perhaps they should have realised it before posting). As to the former, it happens in the corporate world all the time, and I don't find it unethical or immoral as long as the information is in the public interest and parties are given a right of reply. Which it was, and which they have been.

    Yes, I think this is a really good distinction. There are all sorts of circumstances in which we praise people for bringing outside attention to a corporate problem, and obviously there are some BIG problems at Trisk, whether Northman is responsible for any of them or not. The fact that you have so much discord among authors and between authors and the publisher doesn’t suggest a harmonious environment, IMO. Had Northman not included that tawdry and tragic piece of TMI in the email, I doubt people would be so outraged (of course a lot of the drama would be there, since it was clearly drama that caused the email to be written and forwarded in the first place). And of course, it’s easy to forget that Northman was the one who put that info in there in the first place, regardless of her expectations of privacy, which, when you consider the circumstances under which she was writing the original email (i.e. disloyal authors) that expectation seems either a drastic overestimation or underestimation, depending on how you look at it. I know it’s not Enron or anything, but in its own way, the trouble at Trisk is IMO emblematic of the difficulties that small presses experience and the tension between the freedom that ebooks can offer readers and authors and the need for stability and quality that can elude these ventures.

  109. Shiloh Walker
    May 18, 2007 @ 05:31:32

    On the question of ethics – I maintain that the expectation of confidentiality in business is tenuous at best and is, in most cases, more of a professional courtesy than an ethical obligation.

    Not it’s not a professional courtesy. It’s actually a contractual obligation. Contracts include a confidentiality clause~I’m pretty certain Triskelion’s did as well, although it;s been several years since I signed one. Those clauses state you will not forward or share information outside the company. Is it aimed at forwarding emails? No. Does it include emails? Yes, it does.

    As I said, if they felt there was something that had to be shared with the public, any writer worth their salt should have been able to share the general idea without forwarding an entire email that was aimed at authors.

    Whether they felt they had the right to share it or not is irrelevant. If they signed a contract with Triskelion for even a 90 page novella that sold only four copies, they had a confidentiality agreement. Forwarding that email violated it.

  110. Kat
    May 18, 2007 @ 06:42:48

    It's actually a contractual obligation. Contracts include a confidentiality clause

    Nevertheless, I maintain that any expectation of confidentiality is tenuous at best. If the confidentiality breach is egregious enough, a company will sue. The contract is for protection. I don’t necessarily see it as a document of ethics. For example, in many companies, disclosing your salary would technically breach confidentiality, but I don’t expect that people will never tell family, friends or even other professionals what they’re earning.

    if they felt there was something that had to be shared with the public, any writer worth their salt should have been able to share the general idea without forwarding an entire email that was aimed at authors.

    I don’t necessarily agree. If you paraphrase the e-mail, you’re inadvertently interpreting the meaning and it’s less valuable to the public because they can’t judge the intent and content for themselves. The e-mail was a primary source; paraphrasing it becomes more like hearsay and then we’d be debating whether this meant that.

    They are good for brainstorming and venting…authors need to vent as much as anybody else

    See, this is a problem: The fact that the list serves as a vehicle for brainstorming/venting as well as official business communications. Official business should be kept separate so that everyone understands where the boundaries are. Particularly if the e-mails are coming from senior staff members and addressing very serious business issues.

    This is all my opinion, of course, but I’ve used my day job as the point of reference when thinking about what I’d consider appropriate. I’m not saying all this couldn’t have been handled more gracefully, but I don’t cast the blame on the person who forwarded the e-mail in the first place.

  111. Doreen Orsini
    May 18, 2007 @ 10:55:41

    Actually, there is not a lot of discord amongst the Trisk authors. There are those who were very unhappy and left with rights in hand. I believe that says a lot for Triskelion. I personally know of authors who have decided never to write for a publisher again but were forced to leave their books with them. As for the authors, the majority get along better than most women in a large group. There are many who have opted to leave and are still on friendly terms with those who stayed. What you fail to see is that both of those filling the blogs and loops are small groups. Let’s be honest here. When someone gets attacked or put down, you will always have three groups forming: the people who are angry and join in on the attack, the people who are ultra loyal and step into help fight back, and the people who will sit back and watch because they are neither in love with the person or angry. They prefer not to join in on the melee because their standing doesn’t warrant taking a chance on getting slugged. LOL

    Now, I agree that in my heartbroken state when SB first posted the email with the TMI, I reacted and threw a wild right hook. That was the personal me…the mom in me. I’m calmer. Saner. And still willing to defend. Like I said before, there is nothing wrong with an author going to RWA with a valid complaint. There is nothing wrong with a publisher struggling to stay afloat by making decisions that will displease those very people they are trying to save from being pitched into the sea and waiting for another boat to pick them up (Kooky, but it works). There is nothing wrong with an editor saying, as Trisk has always said, “IF you want out, you can get out.” Knowing Gail and the way she talks and writes, there was no malice. She has always made it clear that she did not want to keep an author who wanted to leave.

    BUT there is something wrong with a person who purposely takes an email that can hurt a child and uses it for her own malicious reasons. And that is what this was, plain and true. This was not, “I must let other authors know and save them.” This was, “I’m going to bring Trisk down and screw whoever gets struck with shrapnel.” I have an idea who did this because I’ve received private business emails from her that were meant for another publisher’s authors…only! I will not say who, because I have no proof. But judging from the emails I did receive, I would say this was done for malicious, spireful reasons. Did Gail err in posting the TMI? Sure. We all err at one time or another, especially when we are distraught over personal issues that are going on halfway across the world because we are trying to help others. When those others, authors who would be crying foul if she’d turned her back and let the company fold, turned around and got nasty, she erred. Sorry. We are human. We all hit send then cringe and wish we could turn back the hands of time. Please, do not slam me. I’m trying to calm everyone down about this, not stir things up.

  112. Karen Scott
    May 18, 2007 @ 11:25:35

    BUT there is something wrong with a person who purposely takes an email that can hurt a child and uses it for her own malicious reasons.

    What utter effing bollocks.

    Who the fuck shares that kind of information about her kids, on an author group, when she knows full well, that there is a small but vocal group operating within Triskelion, who either thinks she’s nuts, or have complained about Trisks interal affairs to the RWA?

    It’s easy to blame the people who posted the information on a public forum, but she was the one who put that stuff out there in the first place. I don’t give a flying fuck how stressed out she was, she simply had no business posting shit like that in public, and further more, expecting it to stay private. And yes, my dear, 200 people, counts as public. Two hundred people does not an effing intimate group make.

    She was an idiot posting that crap on there, and if I was an author who was working directly with her, I would be very nervous about her ability to make sound judgments, in terms of my work. She’s already proven that she can be flaky as hell.

    Cheerleading is all well and good, but sometimes you gotta wake up and smell the coffee.

  113. Michelle
    May 18, 2007 @ 12:39:37

    Way to go Karen, perfectly said. These rabid defenders are actually digging the hole deeper, and probably alienating possible future readers. It is one thing owning up to making a mistake but trying to shift the blame, and oh the terrible meanies who are just being malicious and hateful to wonderful little ole misunderstood publisher is just about to make me vomit. You might want to put a damper on the blind unswerving loyalty and take a moment to ponder your own careers. There are looonnng memories in todays world.

  114. Dee
    May 18, 2007 @ 13:09:50

    Ahhh, but those long memories won’t be applicable to the ones leaking from the author loop, will they?

    Generally, there should be a few facts we all can agree on:

    1) Gail’s initial letter should never have been posted to the loop to begin with.

    2) Regardless of the inadvisability of Gail’s message, the person who then gave that letter to the public was wrong because it was never intended for the consumption of the FULL public.

    3) Attacking or defending either the publisher or the author who “shared” is neither here nor there because it’s obvious that Triskellion has some author issues to deal with and we the public do not have full disclosure of all facts to deem anyone completely in the right or completely in the wrong.

    The truth is, reporting the problems to RWA is a professional response to a serious problem. But reporting company emails to a blog site helps no one because there is no “greater good” being served. RWA’s judgement to disinvite Trisk from Nationals is a giant red flag that there are issues and any writer who does her research will find it, member or not. Any writer who does not look into their possible publisher is without question, unwise.

    The more lasting truth is that we cannot resolve these problems. There’s a lot of mistakes being made over there, on both sides. We, the readers, might quibble about who’s side we’re on, but in the end, it’ll pass and we most likely will not be informed of those resolutions.

  115. Nora Roberts
    May 18, 2007 @ 14:09:04

    ~BUT there is something wrong with a person who purposely takes an email that can hurt a child and uses it for her own malicious reasons.~

    It’s your assumption that the reasons were rooted in malice. It’s your opinion that forwarded the post was wrong.

    It’s mine that there can be no reasonable justification for a publisher to reveal such intimate, personal and damaging details about her child and her family on a professional email loop. Putting the information out there open the door. It can be debated–with valid points on both sides, imo–if anyone should have taken that information out of the door. But Ms. Northman opened it, and confused the matter, again imo, by mixing this in with business, and mixing business with odd and pointed statements. You’re either with us or against us, for instance.

    However much any of us may sympathize with Ms. Northman’s personal troubles, the entire post was ill-conceived, and a very poor choice for a woman about to step into the position of publisher to send to a couple hundred authors–some of whom, she stated in her email, she knew had shared loop posts previously.

  116. Ellie M.
    May 18, 2007 @ 14:31:51

    Question for everyone —

    If a crazy post was made on your confidential business loop, a loop which contained a “Don’t Forward” restriction as do the RWA loops, for example, would YOU personally forward it off loop? Would YOU send it to a popular snark blog so it could be the train wreck du jour? Does the fact that it’s discomfiting and unprofessional mean everyone is exempt from being professional — and abiding by list rules — themselves?

    Keeping in mind this crazy post adds fuel to a fire that’s already burning quite well and that there’s sufficient information bouncing around about the situation in question to inform “the public”.

    Would you be the leak? Would you admit to being the leak? Why or why not?

  117. Karen Scott
    May 18, 2007 @ 14:39:18

    If a crazy post was made on your confidential business loop, a loop which contained a “Don't Forward� restriction as do the RWA loops, for example, would YOU personally forward it off loop?

    Well actually, if I felt that the company or the crazy poster had shafted me, not only would I forward it off the loop, I’d effing make sure that the damn thing got into the biggest tabloid paper out there.

    Morality and ethics goes outta the window when somebody feels as if they’ve been screwed over. That’s generally how life is, and if you don’t believe that, then prepare to be surprised.

  118. Michelle
    May 18, 2007 @ 15:42:52

    My question is if you are dealing with people who may not be happy campers, and you know people have previously reported so called private messages why on earth would you suddenly feel that an email would suddenly be off limits.

  119. Suzanne
    May 19, 2007 @ 08:30:32

    [quote comment="28596"]Has no one noticed the horrendous grammatical errors in this letter? And this person is the PUBLISHER? Who’s editing the books?[/quote]

    I was just having the same thought! Punctuation is a GOOD thing. The lack of it, along with the multitude of grammatical errors is embarrassing for a book publisher.

    On another topic, Amber Quill Press is able to do nearly simultaneous releases of paperback versions–lagging only a couple of weeks after the ebooks go on sale. They’ll even take an author’s short stories and compile them into anthologies. If a publisher is committed to providing their authors a print opportunity, it can be done.

  120. Mrs Giggles
    May 19, 2007 @ 09:24:22

    “Committed” is probably oversimplifying matters. A small-press publisher wanting to provide print versions of their books and distribute them to bookstores has to have the financial means to do so. Using POD to create those books is one thing since the publisher only needs to make a deal with a POD printer.

    But if we are talking about full-scale book distribution and production of pre-printed paperbacks, things like warehousing and more have to be considered. Bookstores will carry these books only if the publisher can offer them a discount and these books also have to be returnable. Can the publisher afford to bear the discount and take back unsold books?

    It’s a money thing, not just “commitment”.

  121. Lynne Connolly
    May 19, 2007 @ 13:57:10

    [quote comment="28695"]I have a hard time believing that Borders would not be meeting their financial commitments. Like you, Holly, I believe if that were true it would be all over the business section.[/quote]

    Jane, fyi, it is all over the financial sectors. Here’s the report for 2006:
    http://www.lexdon.com/article/borders_group_reports_third_quarter/63329.html

    Not good. Here’s a report about them selling their UK stores and about bookstore chain Waterstones, which is also in a bad way:
    http://books.guardian.co.uk/news/articles/0,,2040923,00.html

    Bookstores are suffering. In the US, the collapse of major distributors is an indicator that the market is down, but since the distributors are also responsible for newspapers and and magazines they are also a factor.
    Book sales are down, and probably in long-term decline as the market ages.

    Borders in particular has been returning far more books than usual to publishers, putting them under pressure to maximise profitability and minimise returns. So that probably means less choice for the consumer (us – this time I’m posting as a concerned reader).

    Check the financial pages – it’s all there, if you know where to look and how to analyse the results. Last year was bad for all bookstore groups, the only winners being the bulk outlets like Wal-Mart, and this year looks to be worse. Very soon, we’ll see the “support your local bookstore” bumper stickers coming out.

  122. Jane
    May 19, 2007 @ 21:28:51

    There is a big big big difference between Borders is in financial trouble and Borders is in arrears. I think that if Borders wasn’t paying its creditors that it would be all over the news. I find that claim – that Borders hasn’t paid its accounts – lacking in credibility.

  123. Robin
    May 20, 2007 @ 12:37:17

    Hmm, just so I'm clear…is it ok to say Heebie-Jeebies or not? I had no idea it started with Jews, but now that I've been informed am I SOL? Because, like Jane, I use the expression often.

    Actually the origin of the term seems to be from a song and a Billy de Beck cartoon from the 20s and neither is related — as far as I know anyway — to Jewishness or Jews. It’s one of those developmental things, and while many people still use the term with neutrality (I used to use it a lot), it also has come to be used as a slur directed at Jews, I’m assuming because of the similarity of the word to both Hebrew (or the derogatory Hebe) and Jew (the Jeeb part). I personally don’t care if people use it or not, and I don’t interpret most uses of it as anti-Jewish in any way. But *I* don’t use it anymore, because a great deal of my professional life is spent on issues related to Jewish-Muslim strife. So for me it’s not really a great thing. For others — I don’t think it’s *inherently* a slur, so that’s an individual call to make. In fact, Steve Beeber wrote a book, called “The Heebie-Jeebies of CBGB’s: A Secret History of Jewish Punk Rock” that I really want to read.

  124. Debra
    May 21, 2007 @ 03:37:04

    As interesting as the tangents are, I can’t get past Ms. Northman’s incredibly unprofessional behavior. Many of us have faced personal tragedy; we shouldn’t expect to use our circumstances to excuse poor performance.

    To say “I didn’t get my work done because I had personal issues,” is unacceptable in most workplaces. Female executives have often had to combat the stereotype of being overly emotional; it’s disconcerting to see her play the sympathy card. To then detail precisely what those personal issues are — on a closed loop designated for business discussions — is reprehensible. No executive, male or female, who airs their personal issues to hundreds of people should expect to maintain their dignity. It was a business loop, not a therapy loop. And anyone who thinks a confidentiality clause will prevent someone from hitting the Forward button is woefully naive and lacks the judgment needed to run a company.

    And finally, her horrendous grammar and spelling are unacceptable for someone who makes her living in publishing. Show some pride in your profession and carefully review anything that you send to a business loop or blog, or have someone review it for you. Her command of the English language (or lack thereof) does not inspire confidence in her abilities or her company, and that is the real issue here: can writers trust Triskelion?

  125. Debra
    May 21, 2007 @ 03:45:28

    As interesting as the tangents are, I can’t get past Ms. Northman’s incredibly unprofessional behavior. Many of us have faced personal tragedy; we shouldn’t expect to use our circumstances to excuse poor performance.

    To say “I didn’t get my work done because I had personal issues,” is unacceptable in most workplaces. Female executives have often had to combat the stereotype of being overly emotional; it’s disconcerting to see her play the sympathy card. To then detail precisely what those personal issues are — on a closed loop designated for business discussions — is reprehensible. Any executive, male or female, who airs their personal issues to hundreds of people should not expect to maintain their privacy. It was a business loop, not a therapy loop. And anyone who thinks a confidentiality clause will prevent someone from hitting the Forward button is woefully naive and lacks the judgment needed to run a company.

    And finally, Gail’s horrendous grammar and spelling are unacceptable for someone who makes her living in publishing. She should show some pride in her profession and carefully review anything that she sends to a business loop or blog, or have someone review it for her. Her command of the English language (or lack thereof) does not inspire confidence in her abilities or her company, and that is the real issue here: can writers trust Triskelion?

  126. Debra
    May 21, 2007 @ 03:48:14

    Sorry about the double post!!

    PS — The person I feel sorry for here is her daughter.

  127. Trisk Author
    May 21, 2007 @ 14:25:47

    Has anyone mentioned the fact that the actual publisher–the one the RWA complaints were originally sent to–was not Gail Northman, but the current publisher as Gail is not even in charge of Triskelion until June 1st? Why haven’t we heard from her during all this? Why has all the blame fallen on her replacement?

    We can all agree Gail’s email was not professional (both grammatically and with the personal info she shouldn’t have included), but realize she is away from home, taking on a high pressure job on short notice, and trying to set the company back to rights–all before she even officially takes charge. She wasn’t the cause of this problem, just inherited it.

    No one has mentioned the fact that she isn’t the one who got Triskelion in the situation it’s in now, so perhaps she should be given a chance to try and fix the problems someone else caused.

    Personally, I hope things turn around, not only for the authors who are still there but for the readers who do shop in their bookstore. All this unrest does no one any good: reader, author and publisher alike.

  128. Joyce Green
    May 21, 2007 @ 14:36:50

    [quote comment="29020"]Has anyone mentioned the fact that the actual publisher–the one the RWA complaints were originally sent to–was not Gail Northman, but the current publisher as Gail is not even in charge of Triskelion until June 1st? Why haven’t we heard from her during all this? Why has all the blame fallen on her replacement?[/quote]

    I was wondering that myself. The owner of the company was, and is, Kristi Studts. Gail Northman has the new job title “Publisher,” but she’s not the owner, she’s been appointed manager. She doesn’t take control until June 1st, but even then Studts will be the owner.

  129. Jo Bourne
    May 23, 2007 @ 20:34:24

    I think the following …

    A publisher calls bookstores months before a book goes out on the trucks. Why? To determine if it will sell and how many to print. I'm sorry, but they all do it.

    is an attempt to argue that all publishers demand their writers pre-sell their own books.

    But –IMO — the above statement is horsehocky.

  130. Cindy Procter-King
    Jun 23, 2007 @ 21:45:29

    Regarding Amber Quill. I’m published with them and love them. Yes, our print books generally come out 2-4 weeks after epublication. However, AQP isn’t into the big distribution arena that publishers like Samhain are attempting. AQP print books are available from American Amazon. I’m Canadian, and my AQP books are neither available from Canadian Amazon nor Chapters/Indigo (another Canadian on-line bookstore). Nor are they available in brick-and-mortar bookstores.

    Amber Quill’s business model works well for them, but it’s not the same thing distribution-wise at all as what Angela James describes in her post.

    Cindy

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