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Triskelion Update: Gail Northman Resigns

Over the weekend, Gail Northman resigned from Triskelion. This has led to a flood of authors demanding their rights back as Northman, regardless of the questionable email, was considered by some authors to be the backbone of Triskelion. Let’s hope that Triskelion doesn’t go the way of Venus Press. However, authors like Lynne Connolly will be finding a new home.

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


  1. Lynne Connolly
    May 29, 2007 @ 14:42:29

    I’ve asked for my rights back on the Department 57 books, as I confirmed publicly earlier today on several blogs and to Dear Author. I haven’t yet received them.
    I have said several times in various places that I was at Triskelion as long as Gail Northman was, and I’m making good on that. She was my editor and I just don’t feel right at Triskelion without her.
    So, if and when I get the Department 57 rights back, I’ll be looking for a new home for the books. These were consistent best sellers at Triskelion and I’m very proud of them, so I’d really like to see them at a larger publisher, garnering a bigger readership.
    However, this is all happening so fast, and as usual, the authors are in the middle of it all. As far as I know, Triskelion is still a flourishing publisher, still RWA approved and still very much in business. And I still have some books there that I don’t intend to pull unless the owner thinks it’s better that way. I’m only pulling the books that were intended for the now much pared-down print program.

  2. Sarah McCarty
    May 30, 2007 @ 07:01:59


    I’m sure you’ll find a new home for your books.

    All this changeover in the epub world is just a reminder for authors that epubs are nothing more than startup companies. And while they have great hopes and plans, the reality of the situation is that they are more likely than not to fail within their first five years of business with a crisis usually occurring between years 2-5. (They’re usually well funded the first two years.) Just because they’re publishers doesn’t mean they are not businesses and not prone to all the reasons businesses can fail.

    That doesn’t mean authors shouldn’t publish there-they can be great places to launch a career-but the reaility of the risk factor and likelihood of failure should be taken into consideration by authors when negotiating the contract.*shrugging* It’s just common sense.

  3. anonymous
    May 30, 2007 @ 07:03:47

    Wow! Can things get any worst for Trisk?

  4. Betty Hanawa
    May 30, 2007 @ 08:43:46

    As usual, someone claims all e-book companies are the same based on the difficulties of one. I disagree completely with “All this changeover in the epub world is just a reminder for authors that epubs are nothing more than startup companies.” You cannot call Ellora’s Cave, Samhain Publishing, Loose Id, Liquid Silver, Books-for-a-Buck, Phaze, Mundania Press, and too many more to name “start up.” These companies have been in business for years, advancing the popularity of e-books one well-written book at a time. Why are the big publishers finally developing their own e-book lines, making their back lists, and current best sellers available in e-books? One of the reasons is because e-book publishers have carved out a hefty share of the market, especially with the under 35 crowd.

    How many e-books have you read? There are excellent books coming out of the e-book publishers, not to mention the big guys. There are several very good e-readers on the market. Many, if not most, can have the font size adjust for ease of reading. I personally use my PDA which has a small screen, but it’s fine for me. After typing on a computer keyboard all day, my wrists and hands ache too much for me to hold a paperback. The PDA is lighter, has a backlight so I can read in bed and not disturb my husband. I can also carry – without a memory stick – several dozen books, which beats the heck out of carrying an extra bag just for my books when I travel. And, by the way, it’s been awhile since I was under 35.

    I was a business major in college and knew that most businesses fail within the first five years. I took that into consideration when I queried Triskelion about my first novel and went in with my eyes open that economic problems might occur. And, yes, part of the problem at Triskelion is due to too rapid expansion into the print market which is why they are now restructuring.

    Like Lynne, I developed a close relationship with several staff members, including Gail Northman, and other authors. But now, with Gail and the other staff I was close to, gone and the restructuring of the print line, again, like Lynne, I’m asking for the rights back for several books that were written for the now much reduced print line.

    Personally, I will always be personally greatful to Triskelion Publishing and Gail Northman. However, it’s time for me to move on professionally.

  5. Anonny
    May 30, 2007 @ 09:47:25

    How many e-books have you read?

    LOL! Maybe you should ask her how many she’s written!

  6. Emily
    May 30, 2007 @ 10:39:36

    Most ebook companies *are* start ups. Larger stable companies like EC and Loose Id are the exceptions. I am aware of over 60 epublishers just in erotic romance alone and wouldn’t even consider submitting to more than 10 of them. That is just a matter of being in touch with reality.

    As for researching before you cast judgement, it isn’t hard to work out from the archives of this blog that the people behind it know whereof they speak.

  7. Tawny
    May 30, 2007 @ 12:17:03

    I have to disagree with a couple of the above statements:

    1. “All this changeover in the epub world is just a reminder for authors that epubs are nothing more than startup companies.�

    IMO, this is a very deceptive statement. Not *all* epubs are startup. However, many are new. And it is in an author's best interest to do her homework and carefully research publishers before submitting.

    2. “One of the reasons is because e-book publishers have carved out a hefty share of the market, especially with the under 35 crowd.�

    I would like to see the figures this statement is based upon. Because the sales figures I've read are not nearly as impressive as I would have hoped, and most definitely don't qualify as “hefty�. According to one source, ebook sales totaled $54 million in 2006. That figure represents less than one quarter of one percent of total US book sales ($24 billion). Yes, ebook sales are growing, but it's still a very small segment of overall book sales.

  8. Karen Scott
    May 30, 2007 @ 14:00:03

    How many e-books have you read?

    Who’s that question directed at? Sarah McCarty?

    If so, are you kidding me?

  9. Karen Scott
    May 30, 2007 @ 14:01:15

    Oh by the way, strictly speaking, Samhain hasn’t been in business for ‘years’.

    Just sayin.

  10. Jane's Addiction
    May 30, 2007 @ 15:59:37

    Tawny, where did you get “That figure represents less than one quarter of one percent of total US book sales ($24 billion)” from? I’ve often wondered with RWA’s touting their $x billion a year what that was relative to total US book sales and to total US fiction sales. They say something like its 40% of books sold(?), but with much lower price points on many category romances, I’ve often wondered if romance book sales were really “all that” when it came to overall dollars. Does the source you’re referencing have any other breakdowns?



  11. Tawny
    May 30, 2007 @ 16:29:18

    Hi Jane,

    I am using the raw data supplied by AAP (Association of American Publishers) HERE. This particular press release has been quoted in several sources, so I feel pretty confident the numbers are good.

    Note: the book sales are not divided into genres.

    Overall book sales were $24.2 billion. Reported ebook sales are $54 million. I did the math myself, so if I screwed up (there are a LOT of zeros in those figures), I apologize.

    The percentage of ebook sales to overall would be 54,000,000/24,200,000,000 * 100.


    And as far as other breakdowns, there are specific figures reported for broad categories, such as adult fiction, juvenile, audio books and some others.

    PS, sorry if this posts more than once. It kept getting eaten by the internet gremlins.

  12. Jane's Addiction
    May 30, 2007 @ 19:23:38

    Thanks for the link, Tawny!

  13. NJ writer
    May 30, 2007 @ 19:26:51

    [quote comment="29558"]How many e-books have you read?

    LOL! Maybe you should ask her how many she’s written![/quote]

    Ya know what, I’m just going to keep my opinions to myself.

  14. Jane
    May 30, 2007 @ 19:28:55

    I am sure McCarty can defend herself, but I’ve observed her to be nothing but a professional and a supporter of ebooks. I didn’t find her statements to be “galling” or “hypocritcal” but factual and good advice for newbie authors.

  15. rae
    May 31, 2007 @ 06:43:13

    How many e-books have you read?

    Hey Betty,
    Why don’t you take a wonder over to Elloras Cave and check out the authors under M. You might see something very enlightening.
    a very amused reader

  16. Nora Roberts
    May 31, 2007 @ 06:50:19

    Back in the early days of yesteryear, or the first half of the 1980, every publisher jumped on the category romance bandwagon. Silhouette’s success in Americanizing the Harlequin framework, and taking a hefty chunk of the market had everyone starting up a category line. Many were here then gone in a fingersnap, some held a bit longer. Only Bantam’s Loveswept garnered any real success in the form. There was Rapture, Second Chance, Circle of Love, Leather and Lace and many more lost to me in distant memory. Some authors got their start in one of those short-lived lines, and some got the shaft when the line folded.

    These lines were, absolutely, start-up companies, trying for a piece of the popular category romance pie.

    It seems to me many of the ebook companies fall into that same area. Ellora’s Cave, like Silhouette, plowed a road. Others followed–and while some could go the distance, many will, inevitably, stall on the side of that road.

  17. anon
    May 31, 2007 @ 11:36:22

    I agree with Nora Roberts. Of all the epubs out there, only a few will survive. EC is an exception since they did, indeed, pave the road of Erotica. I think they’re going to be around a very long time. The others are a dime a dozen.

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  19. Karen Syed @ Echelon Press
    Jun 04, 2007 @ 05:45:09

    All companies are startups in the beginning. The level of professionalism–from the author and the publisher–determines if they can remain productive or not. Echelon has done very well, we are approaching seven years and continue to grow in sales and productivity. We are still trying to find a footing in the erotica department, but outside of a few authors, we have had little support. One of the reasons is Ellora’s Cave. Every author who writes erotica would like to be published by them, unfortunately they, like all other publishers, have limited publication slots available. One of the things I have noticed in this segment of the industry is that when an author (almost always the new authors) come into the business, they do so expecting to maintain control of their work, artwork, everything. This is not the case in most instances. It simply isn’t how it is done. When an author signs on with a publishing house, they should expect to work in a professional atmosphere and to see a certain amount of changes. Even in the eBook segment. Published is published and it is all about professionalism. The point I veared away from is that with so many new authors not understanding or accepting how the industry operates, this increases the number of “start ups” that can’t make it work. As an author and publisher, I know how valuable the support of your authors is and I have to respect those authors who know when it is time to get out. Don’t just go with a house to get published, take pride in your work and be willing to stand up for what you believe is right. And please, don’t generalize the industry. The book industry is ever-growing and changing and is is unfair and detrimental to say that all eBook companies are startups, or that all companies that produce their titles in eBook are eBook companies, and that POD is evil. It simply isn’t true. Authors and publishers should be judged on their individual merit–just like people.

  20. Rhonda Penders
    Jun 06, 2007 @ 06:56:27

    These posts were brought to my attention by several of my authors and I struggled with whether to comment or not. As one of these so called “start-ups”, I do take offense to everyone feeling that because one company failed or one company didn’t make it, all of us are the same. While every publisher opens their doors for the same reason; to get good books published and into the hands of readers, not every company operates the same way. I would never sit here and attempt to talk about the problems at Trisk, its simply not my place. I feel horrible for the owners of the company and for the authors caught up in it all. Its actually quite sad and nothing to be sneered at.

    As for being small, I am quite happy that The Wild Rose Press is still small. We are taking our time to grow and expand. We dig our roots deep and let them take hold before we move onto the next venture.

    We have been very busy in all our lines, but as Karen from Echelon said, Ellora’s Cave does seem to get the majority of the erotic romance submissions. That’s ok. As she pointed out, Ellora’s Cave can’t publish all of them and the rest of us are here to take your manuscript when it can’t fit in there. I have no problem being second to a company who has made as many strides as EC. I recently met some of their top people and I was very impressed. There’s a start-up that no one can say did anything wrong.

    There is room out there for all types of writers and all kinds of publishers. You, as a writer, should find the company that will fit your needs. Each writer has to make that determination on their own. All I would say is this, do not put down small publishers, or electronic only publshers if you have never been with one. I get very annoyed when people turn up their noses at the smaller companies and then once we get RWA recognition, they turn right around and think we’re suddenly ok. RWA recognition is, of course, the brass ring, but if and when we get there, it won’t change a thing in how we operate. It certainly will not suddenly make The Wild Rose Press a different type of publishing house.

    I hope that the authors who have been with Triskelion and are looking for a new home will certainly look to some of the other houses, The Wild Rose Press included. I promise you that we will do our best by you.

    Thank you.

    Rhonda Penders

  21. Judith Rochelle
    Jun 06, 2007 @ 13:15:09

    Like many other Trisk authors I am in flux. Gail bought my first book there and has been a mainstay of my career there. I am truly sorry to see her leave, but I still have several of my Desiree Holt novellas there ebcause I believe one way or another the company will forge ahead. That being said, I am happily building my career with two other epubs – Ellora’s Cave and The Wild Rose Press – wherfe I have been treated with respect and dignity, have terrific editors and am already experience grest success with my releases with both companies. The people behind both of these companies have their heads screwed on straight. They were both at our recent chapter conference and were outstanding. So anyone looking for a new epub home, don’t pass up wither of these two.

  22. Brenna Lyons
    Jun 10, 2007 @ 06:55:01

    As a former Triskelion author, I can state that I am sad to see Gail go, though I am no longer with the company. As you stated, I viewed Gail as the person to go to at Triskelion. When there were no answers forthcoming, she was the route to them. As far as I know, she was always straight with everyone, and that is something to be prized. I wish Gail luck, wherever she may land.

    Brenna Lyons

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