Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view


Friday Midday Links:  Dorchester reportedly selling books it doesn’t own

Friday Midday Links: Dorchester reportedly selling books it doesn’t own

Briane Keene wrote a blog post yesterday highlighting some disturbing news about Dorchester.   Brian Keene requested that his rights be reverted to him in exchange for a write off of the debt (royalties) that Dorchester owed him.

I negotiated a deal with Dorchester that allowed for: 1. The immediate reversion of all of my print rights, and 2. The reversion of all of my digital rights as of 11:59pm 12/31/10.

This means that only Brian, not Dorchester, would have the right to distribute and sell those books going forward.   However, Dorchester appears not to have been abiding by this agreement, but instead putting Keene’s books up for sale on digital retailing sites.

Except that it wasn't, because since then, Dorchester has repeatedly violated that agreement. Since January of this year, unauthorized digital editions of my work have been sold via Kindle, Nook, iBooks, and Sony. These digital editions were not made available for sale until well after the rights had reverted back to me. Dorchester's response, in each case, has been to blame someone else and assure me that "they are looking into it" and that I would be "financially compensated" and that "it wouldn't happen again". Except that I haven't been financially compensated and it keeps happening again. In the most recent case (iBooks), Dorchester blamed their vendor, Libre Digital, but provided no documentation verifying this. An employee at Apple cast doubt on this explanation. In the case of Kindle, they blamed Again, an employee at Amazon cast doubt on this. The ebooks were sold under the Dorchester brand. They were sold even though Dorchester does not have the rights to them. And it is Dorchester, rather than their vendors or booksellers, who are ultimately responsible. I have been patient. I have been understanding. The first time, I allowed that it could indeed be a mistake. Four times later? It is no longer a "mistake". It is theft, or at the very least, staggering incompetence. And as of this writing, I have not seen financial restitution for these unauthorized sales, nor have I received a valid explanation of how they occurred, nor have I heard what steps the company will take to prevent it from happening again.

Brian doesn’t have the means to sue Dorchester for this action and frankly even if he did, I doubt Dorchester would even pay the judgment.   Dorchester’s response to Brian has been evasive and then silent.   Dorchester’s response to fans has been to disable comments on their facebook page.   Brian is calling for a boycott of Dorchester books.


Jessica Verday has a follow up to the debacle with Running Press and the editor of Wicked Pretty Things, Trisha Telep.   Even though Running Press invited Verday to resubmit her m/m short for inclusion in the anthology, Verday has declined because she doesn’t feel comfortable supporting any royalties going to Trisha Telep for this project.   Telep, if you recall, stated this in response to Verday’s going public about Telep’s request to make the m/m story into a m/f story.


The good news is that Connie Brockway is finally going to be publishing Giles Strand’s romance story.   The bad news, for some readers, is that this will be digital only.   Brockway announced the news via the All About Romance blog that she was taking the self publishing route.   Brockway left the historical field to write a couple of contemporaries and then returned with at least one historical from Signet.   The current contractual terms offered made it easy for Brockway to decide to self publish.   Hopefully a return to her romance origins will revitalize the career of a favorite of many romance readers.


Paul Biba from Teleread posted his notes from #pubtip (a mini conference) which was really just a conversation between Michael Healy (currently the registrar for the registry created by the now rejected google book settlement) and Carolyn Reidy, the CEO of Simon & Schuster.   I thought Reidy’s comments were interesting because she believes that the focus on publishers should be proving themselves to authors, not really developing relationships with consumers.

Biggest challenge is for publishers to prove they have a value to authors, not to become a B to C business. Have always been a B to C business – they always did this but now they are more directly involved.

Other notes include that S&S doesn’t sell to libraries because there they “haven't found a business model that they are happy with” and sales for books are half digital in the early selling periods.

Dear Author

Wednesday Midday Links: The Iron Duke Bookchat

Are you guys up for a bookchat? We are hosting one for The Iron Duke that will be held Saturday night, December 18, beginning at 8 pm CST. We readers will chat for an hour and then the author, Meljean Brook, will appear at 9 pm CST to answer questions. If you haven’t read this book yet and would like a digital copy from Kobo or Kindle (because these two allow me to gift a specific title), I will give two digital copies away today to two random commenters in the post. The giveaway will end at 9 pm CST and I will email the books immediately.

You can sign up for a chat reminder using the widget on the sidebar —–>

Updated: Meljean Brook emailed me and offered 2 more Kindle/Kobo copies to random commenters.

Contest is now closed.


Updated: Two events readers might want to take notice of is the Harlequin Open House and the last day of the Unusual Historicals anniversary celebration.

Harlequin Open House:   Are you ready for the Annual Holiday Open House? More than 140 of your favorite authors will be meeting with you, LIVE, December 15th to celebrate the holidays!  We’ll  have  our discussion forums open all day long running through every time zone so that our overseas authors and members can meet on their own time zones! Then, in the evening, from 7-10pm  Eastern Daylight Time, we’ll have three full hours of live chat! And, don’t forget, there’ll be oodles of door prizes and wild fun!

Unusual Historicals:      The finale is drawing is going through this week, so people still have a chance to enter for the last prize package.


A few more details have been provided about the first India Mills & Boon romance.   A handsome stranger and a city India girl meet in a yoga studio.   This article suggests the work is only 2,000 words long which would be about 6-7 pages so hopefully that was just her contest entry and not the entire work. No word as to whether this will be available to non India readers.


Best Buy’s value is declining, in part, because it is losing market share to online retailers.     I only mention this because it’s interesting to see what is going on in corollary retail markets.


Eoin Purcell takes a cynic’s view of Amazon’s offering limited Nieslen Bookscan data to authors.   This move is bound to create headaches for publishers and foster the concept in author’s minds that they could do better dealing direct with Amazon. I tend to side with Eoin on this matter.   After all, Amazon is only giving away valuable data for free because it expects to profit from it down the road.


Edward Docx (what a great last name) brings the haterade to Stieg Larsson and Dan Brown.   Docx skills don’t lie in creating convincing arguments:

Readers, publishers and writers alike can agree that John Grisham, Robert Harris, Tom Clancy or Danielle Steel build up their massive readerships by knowing precisely what they are doing; they are master practitioners of their highly skilled craft. Conversely, Brown and Larsson – in their different ways – are mesmerisingly bad.

Laura Miller from Salon replies that we like Brown and Larsson because of the cliches in their stories, not in spite of them.   Anymore, I am not sure what separates literary fiction from the rest of fiction other than a label.   Not all literary fiction ends sadly and not all   literary fiction is morose.   Not all literary fiction is qualitatively good and not all of it is boring.   Literary fiction, just like any other area of fiction, suffers from its bad press.   There are bad books out there in every genre.   Question is should we measure discrete areas of fiction by the best or the worst?   And who judges?


I’ve heard that the next upgrade for Nookcolor will actually turn the device into a real tablet by giving people access to the Android app market which means you’ll be able to read Kindle books on your nook device.   I wonder if opening up the nook will force Kindle to open up and accept ePub?     If this next upgrade happens, I do think the Nookcolor is a great alternative to the iPad.

UPDATE: According to Mike Cane, this is not happening.   Nookcolor will be getting an upgrade but it won’t be opening up its system to become a true tablet.


Curtis Brown is going to open a literary writing course that costs 1,600 pounds.   That’s nearly $2,000.   Each student will have the opportunity to be critiqued and reviewed by a Curtis Brown literary agent.   While not exactly the same, Donald Maass’ wife, Lisa Rector, offers editorial services to authors.   Maass is a respected literary agent. In at least one confirmed account, a client of Ms. Rector’s spent up to $10,000 with Ms. Rector but achieved no publishing success as of yet despite alleged promises that Maass himself would be interested in reviewing the manuscript once edited.   The first hand account of this has all been deleted but references can be found at sites like the Kindle Boards.

Because agents are fiduciaries of authors, even prospective authors, this type of intermingling of services seems very odd to me. It would not be permissible within the legal practice but then again, neither would publishing books as some agents are doing.

I’m curious what people think of this in light of the huge outcry that went forth when Harlequin decided to offer Dell Arte Press, originally under the name Harlequin Horizons.   A publisher has a very different (non fiduciary) relationship with prospective authors than agents do; yet, no one seems to be bothered by agents offering a service for a fee that clearly conflicts with this stated premise I’ve heard again and again: “all money flows to the author.”

Is it that in this changing publishing market, all bets are off and a new paradigm is emerging?   Is it that authors have more trust in agents than publishers?   Is it something else?


I missed this in November, but Dorchester has a new CEO who is promising that the boat will be turned around.   This new CEO has inspired some confidence in SFWA who has placed Dorchester on probation.

If Dorchester successfully completes its one-year probation, fiction contracted during that term will be viewed as acceptable for qualification for SFWA membership. If it does not SFWA will remove it from the list of approved markets.