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Triskelion Update: Two Sides of the Coin

I asked two Triskelion authors, one a former author, and one a current author, about the changes at Triskelion. Theresa Meyers, President of Blue Moon Communications, and author of The Spellbound Bride, related this tale:

My book was contracted to come out in print with Triskelion and would have been in bookstores in less than two weeks. There were multiple signings scheduled with Borders and Barnes & Noble, ads placed, I had gotten media coverage, high reviews from multiple sources and had spent a considerable amount in printing ARCs and excerpt booklets for massive mailings out to booksellers and bookclubs nationally. It was the bookstore who was to have my first signing that called me to tell me they couldn’t order my books for the signing and that I might want to contact my publisher. I did and that is when we all found out via email that the company had decided to restructure.

While I understand that Triskelion, like any business, needs to protect its bottom line and that a healthy Triskelion will ultimately be better for ebook authors all around, I am disappointed that in my case the book didn’t make it to the shelves so close to its release date.

Lynne Connolly, a current Triskelion author of the Department 57 paranormals, shared her feelings:

There will be print, they are just cutting back on print titles for now. The market is bad all around for print, whether it’s big publishers or small – just check the market figures – but smaller ones can’t absorb the losses as well, so Triskelion is cutting back on print until the market picks up. It started as an ebook only company, and I joined it as such. I’ve always seen my writing as taking two threads – ebook, which is expanding like you wouldn’t believe, and print, which is declining, but is still in the hearts of most writers. I’ve also always believed that the markets are so separate, they should be treated as such.

On the plus side, I can say from my own sales that the new website has made a real difference to Triskelion’s electronic sales. Royalties are perking up nicely, and they were pretty good to start with, but the last website just didn’t work. The new one has received a positive response, both in sales and hits. So it makes sense to go with where the profits are, not to try to compete with the big names in print publishing, who have the distributors more or less sewn up.

What I hope for is that Triskelion cleans up its act and turns its business into a profitable one that benefits both authors and readers of the romance community. I know that my blogging partner, Jayne, and I have been disappointed in the copy editing while pleasantly surprised at the diversity of the offerings. I don’t know whether there is a corollary to Harlequin although many authors were unhappy with the Luna line’s restructuring. I think that anyone can empathize with Meyers’ financial loss and career disappointments. I would have liked to have seen Triskelion meet those commitments but I think we all echo Meyer’s sentiment that Triskelion continues to provide quality ebooks to the romance reader.

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

8 Comments

  1. Angelle
    May 16, 2007 @ 19:12:55

    The market is bad all around for print, whether it's big publishers or small – just check the market figures – but smaller ones can't absorb the losses as well, so Triskelion is cutting back on print until the market picks up.

    I guess Lynn hasn’t seen some market reports saying that Penquin, Harper Collins, etc. just had a really really good fiscal quarter recently?

  2. Cynthianna Appel
    May 17, 2007 @ 14:19:02

    As a “former Trisk author” whose books were tossed back at her without her requesting them, I am not surprised by this recent controversy coming from Triskelion circles.

    The company is not run by professionals, IMO. And amateurs are liable to make poor business decisions. I’m only troubled by the fact that the ladies who ran/still run Trisk act so mean-spirited and blame others in their emails about why the company has run into business troubles. If you are a professional businessperson, you take responsiblity for your own actions. You don’t blame your authors or your children for your bad business decisions.

    Let this be a lesson to all: If you treat your employees (authors) like dirt, you will be buried alive in your own muck someday.

  3. S. One
    May 17, 2007 @ 21:28:59

    See…this is the thing that really bugs me. While I sympathize with Ms. Appel for having her ‘books tossed back at her without her requesting them’, she is not giving the complete picture of what happened. She, like other authors who have complaints against Triskelion, expect me to make a decision of whether to submit there or elsewhere without explaining why.

    Did the management of Triskelion wake up one morning and decide they were going to end Ms. Appel’s career at the publishing house on a pure whim? Was she completely innocent, always minding her p’s and q’s, dotting her i’s and crossing her t’s, doing everything that was expected of her as an author representing that company? Or is there something else that we, the prospective author, is not aware of.

    I love the show ‘House’ and the one line that rings true in RL as well as in soap operas. Everybody lies. Whether it be in your face or through omission, everybody lies. Until the naysayers are prepared to give substantial, concrete proof of injustices done against them, giving a fair, honest accounting of what happened on both sides, then everybody who hears about these grievances should take them with a grain of salt and do their own independent research.

  4. Cynthianna Appel
    May 17, 2007 @ 22:03:49

    I will say “S” that I committed the unpardonable sin: I dared to ask why my royalties were not being paid in a timely manner as stipulated in my signed contracts.

    For asking this in a business like manner, I was told I was a “squeaky wheel” on an open list and insulted in front of my fellow Triskelion authors.

    A few weeks later–they handed all my book contracts back to me. I have yet to be paid the outstanding royalties for my print title, either.

    These were considered serious enough charges that Allison Kelley told me to make an official complaint to RWA when I called to ask her what legal recourse I had to get my owed royalties.

  5. S. One
    May 17, 2007 @ 22:09:12

    Thank you. Finally, someone who is willing to provide more information instead of trying to fob me off.

  6. Kathy Weick
    May 19, 2007 @ 06:07:18

    Here’s my story: I was supposed to have my book in print last year, and the book release was delayed time and time again. If I hadn’t persisted in getting answers, I would never have known it was delayed. No one emailed me to say, Hey your book is being delayed because… Changes were made to bookcover without my being told, and unfortunately, I had already ordered hundred of dollars of promo material which is now useless!

    What bothers me about this is the amount of time and money that went into the pre-promotion for its release, not to mention scheduling book signings, events, etc. I understand there are delays and such, but to have no communication is WHAT disgruntled many of the authors, myself included.

    Then there is the pre-order business. Many of us who were scheduled for print releases were not told that there was a minimum pre-sale quota. When we found that out, we tried to get straight answers. I persisted in getting an answer and was emailed and told: We are returning your rights to all your books due to the lack of sales (some of which were due to expire anyway), and your print book is not going to be printed due to the market’s disinterest in that genre.

    Can I tell you how much promotion I have done for all my books! I spent countless hours online promoting as well as outside and my sales were entirely poor. I began to wonder if I was just a lacking author and questioned my ability to write. Thankfully with the support of the other authors who recently left as well, I realized that my writing was not the cause of my lack of sales.

    IMO Triskelion dug their own grave by treating respectable authors quite shamelessly and without any sense of respect or professionalism. If they had been upfront and organized, many authors would have been more understanding. It was the discrepancies, miscommunication, and blatant pointed remarks by the publisher that left many with a sour taste in their mouth.

    Now, I must say though that any author who took the personal messages off the board and posted them to blogs was totally unprofessional. I have received information about Triskelion since I left, and I am thankful someone let me know what was going on. Mainly because I still care about all my fellow authors whom I have come to know over the years. I think it stinks that someone would be so callous. It is one thing to share information about what is going on, but it is quite another to be vindictive.

    Am I bitter? Not really. My only concern at this point are the many authors who remain at Triskelion, and I certainly hope they are getting the questions answered honestly, and that they protect their interest.

  7. Lynne Connolly
    May 29, 2007 @ 08:38:54

    I have decided to leave Triskelion Publishing.
    I am very sad to have to make this decision, however changes in management, plus the pulling of the Department 57 series from the print schedule have forced my decision.
    I have requested the rights to the Department 57 series back, but I do intend to leave books with Triskelion that are either part of a different series there, or were never intended for the print program. I do not intend to send any more submissions to Triskelion Publishing.
    I have several new, exciting projects under way, and I hope to be able to give you news about them in the near future.
    I wish all my fellow authors at Triskelion the very best of good fortune.

  8. Darragha
    May 30, 2007 @ 23:18:36

    It is a sad time for many, and my heart goes out to those authors that are pulling their works (or had them returned), and for the publisher. In my perfect world, ebooks would rule, small presses would thrive, print would be guaranteed and there’d never be returns.

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