New Concepts Publishing Under Heat by Authors
Karen Scott started reporting on this last week and at least one author has gone public. The complaints against New Concepts surprised me since it has been around since 1996 and the reported problems have been associated with newer epublishers. New Concepts publishes in both print and ebook formats.
The complaints include the following:
- Royalties paid late without corresponding tax documentation like a 1099
- Failure to give books edits.
- Favoritism toward certain authors.
- Site was down and NCP was non responsive.
- Customers complaining about lack of service.
- Authors not being informed of release dates.
- Hostile to complaints.
- Failing to live up to publicity promises such as sending out review copies.
- Refusal to get books taken off of websites once the rights were returned to the author.
- Evidences poor understanding of its own contract.
This is just an FYI for aspiring authors out there.
I had two books with NCP in the late ’90s (before they went all steamy & spicy) and though I liked the editing and covers, the response/contact was terrible. It was very hard to get any response to emails, but I did get them on the phone a few times. And though we did get paid late at times, we always did get paid.
Threats of blacklisting generally work very well for keeping people quiet, especially when the publisher is older and well-respected.
I can’t say I’m surprised because my writing partner published with them once. She asked some questions and was immediately threatened, bullied, and “blacklisted.”
She sent the names of her other epublishers and her agent in an effort to help speed the blacklisting process along. Sent the names of her seven upcoming titles to assist their blacklist machine. Alerted them that she had another recently-published pseudonym, and that they should blacklist her, too. When feeling at her most helpful, she wrote to ask if Madris DePasture /Kaitlyn O’Connor would be attending RT this year. Perhaps they could discuss their disagreement, especially the threats and hostile words, face to face.
Unfortunately, she’s not heard back. Heh.
But their internal blacklist DOES work. NCP offered me a contract, but rescinded it nearly a month later…after I tried to negotiate a point. Didn’t sting much–my friend had already warned me about their batshit insanity clause.
I remain unpublished, but I’m also relieved.
The problem a lot of authors are having w/ NCP is they are refusing to release titles back to authors, even when the contracts/rights have expired. They also refuse to let authors out of contracts for any reason. Furtehermore, they demand to retain ALL rights (even print) even when they have no intention of pubbing anything but an ebook. The owner Madris will also agree to negotiate terms one minute, then a half-hour later swear she made no such agreement. Then she will tell you that you have only 2 days to approve their edits, even though their standard contract allows you 90 days to approve edits. If you dare assert your rights under their contract are being violated, Madris and the staff become verbally abusive and mean and make threats against you.
I have yet to be paid a dime in royalties even though my one and only title w/ NCP is a bestseller. Stay far, far away from this publisher. If we're lucky, they'll be out of business by the end of the year, and then all authors should be able to get their rights back.
It’s odd. A lot of my favorite ebook authors over the years have been with NCP – as in so many of them that I’d have to dig around to actually do a head count as to how many and who they are – and I only just recently started noticing hiccups. Like there were books I’d be expecting that never appeared, either just by an author or in a certain series. Lo and behold, they’d be from NCP, but I’d only figure that out after backtracking through eBookwise and/or the author’s website trying to find the books.
I’m pretty sure that in past years I’ve bought directly from them with no problems. Of course, that was most likely before the advent of eBookwise itself. Wonder how much difference that makes.
The first statement made by the author on Karen Scott’s blog was that the owners use NCP as a vanity press. If anyone were to start looking closely at some other e-pub/small presses, you’d find this is also true for them, and not only with the owners, but the majority of the editing staff as well. I suspect many small press editors out there take on the job because it’s a guarantee their books will be published. Most of these small press/e-pub contracts screw you over with what they don’t say. For the uninitiated and unwary, it can be a killer and you end up giving your book away. Most authors are not going to speak out. They like getting their books published, even if they end up with squat in the money dept. Sad to say, for many out there, it is a vanity thing.
I didn’t realize it was such common knowledge (if it is) that many of the best-selling (or, at least, heavily promoted) NCP authors are pennames for the owners. A high percentage of the books that go to print are by a limited pool of authors. Some of those authors are all over the web and write for a number of publishers, working their promo mojo as hard as they work on their fiction. And then some of them…not so much. Many of NCP’s best-selling authors have absolutely no web presence other than the NCP site or, if they do have sites, they are ancient and poorly designed.
Just curious — does anyone know of other “best-selling” small press authors who don’t have an independent web presence? Considering recent conversations about how much promo (stuff beyond writing and editing) an author is “expected” to do that have occurred here and elsewhere, this is of particular interest to many, I would think.
This degree of petty viciousness is absolutely reprehensible as well as incomprehensible. I honestly just don’t get it. Yet, it keeps cropping up. Do some e-publishers become too egomaniacal to fathom concepts like reason, fairness, and plain-dealing? Is that it? But WHY? Don’t they realize they’re biting the very hands that feed them?
I’ll tell ya, I’ve experienced the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to e-pubs. Don’t have any serious horror stories to report yet, thank goodness, but I’ve heard plenty and I’ve personally tasted at least the seeds of others. This stuff always seems to begin in a small and scattered way…and then become increasingly obvious and widespread, like bacteria in a Petri dish.
I so feel for fellow authors who have to deal with vindictive and/or incompetent publishers. Damn, it makes me crazy. But it also makes me appreciate the truly caring, author-friendly e-pubs out there. Long may they reign!
I didn’t know this. Who are they? What names do they write under?
Damn, it’s pathetic that people have to post anonymously for fear of reprisal. This kind of shit just grinds my gears!
Anonymous 2, I can think of one other small e-press where the primary editor published with the company under a pseudonym–and at the beginning, those books were the ones primarily promoted. I didn’t discover they were the same person until she posted under her real identity and her pen name on a forum I moderate and I realized that the IP addresses were exactly the same (and confirmed this was true, going back a couple months worth of posts). The only way that happens is if two people are sharing the same internet connection and considering that this person had said her “alter identity” lived in a different state… Yeah, I very much doubt that.
I don’t mind as much if the owners/editors have books coming out from other presses and it’s not just “theirs.” But I’ve seen far too many cases where most of a start-up e-press is by the staff, and that’s just not okay in my book.
K.Z., I post anonymously because I’m still under contract to one of the small press/e-pubs I referred to. I’ve been both author and editor, and have seen what goes on behind the scenes. A very eye-opening and completely disheartening experience. I’ve also had contact with other authors and editors at other pubs where the same scenario is true. I wouldn’t publish with one of these places again if you held a gun to my head. I’m very disappointed in the relaxed stance RWA has recently taken toward these pubs. The one I’m connected to is now under RWA’s umbrella as “eligible.” What a joke. These people aren’t in the business to further an author’s career. They’re running author mills. They give the author (often green newbies who haven’t a clue what they’re doing) what she wants–a print book, knowing the author will buy enough copies to make it worth their while even if the book doesn’t do well in sales to the general public.
Exactly, Nonny. I could name one pub owner who, last time I looked, had 15 books published under a pseudo with her own company.
Hon, you had no need to defend your actions. I was in no way impugning the integrity of authors who feel driven to post anonymously. Rather, my point was that it’s a shameful state of affairs when authors do feel so driven. I and others fully understand the impossibility of being forthright given how appallingly vindictive some publishers can be.
I can’t thank you enough for your responses. We all need to be issued a regular heads-up on publishers’ treatment of writers. It’s just a damned crying shame that people have worry about jeopardizing their livelihoods for speaking the truth!
problem is, NCP’s not the only one… there’s a lot of micropresses out there who don’t do any editing or anything other than toss the book out there and ask the author to do all the promotion – knowing full well that unless the author buys their own copies that it ain’t gonna fly. Which is all well and fine if you release the book on TIME and don’t bump others ahead of you to make everyone happy. Plays hell with the promotion of said book as well as makes you look like an idiot when it’s not out on time and others are shoving past you to be released.
right now I’m with a publisher who’s guilty of six out of ten counts on the above list. Supposedly they have a “good rep” in the industry but…
hopefully the authors will get their books back, but… be careful who you place them with then.
’nuff said. again.
K.Z., I knew the intent of your comment, just wanted to clarify anyway. Thanks!
Kaitlyn O’Connor – Madris DePasture
Jaide Fox – Andrea DePasture
Kimberly Zant – ???
Raven Willow-Wood – ???
I’m unsure if James Lightsey or any of the liaison aliases (and there are at least two others) publish with the company.
I’d say they are having some major financial problems. Apparently, they used to be a decent company, but something changed.
Anybody running a book on how long they’ll remain open for before filing for bankruptcy?
Much of this sad state of affairs could have been avoided had the NCP management ever answered their authors’ concerns. Poor customer service should be addressed immediately, yet I used to have a number of readers emailing me, the author, for help. And then when my channels failed to work because my editors and/or customer service wouldn’t answer me… The writing was on the wall. Hell, I even left messages on NCP’s phone line and never received a response.
No edits. No release dates. Late royalties. No 1099. Bad customer service. No communication with their authors. Is it any wonder so many of us just can’t take it anymore? And God-forbid you mention your concerns on the author loop, that is supposed to help people. Other authors jump all over you, too invested in their own bottom line to rectify problems for new authors and for their fellow NCPers. But you know, Karma is a wonderful thing. ‘Nuff said.
I am hoping they will be belly-up by the end of the year, so then I can get my rights back. The recession will do them in, if nothing else. Given how poorly they are running themselves now, I’m surprised they’ve lasted this long.
Sad, since once upon a time they were very reputable. Honestly, based on my experience w/ her, I think the owner is mentally unstable. That may be why they are in a downward spiral. Or perhaps she’s mentally unstable because the company is imploding. Who knows? But surely they can’t keep going on like this for long.
Raven Willow-Wood is Megan, I don’t know her last name, one of the owners. I’m not sure who Kimberly Zant is, but she appears to be one of the owners– I suspect O’Connor/Madris due to similarities in the website design and wording.
The interesting issue to which Jody alluded above is that there seem to be NUMEROUS aliases at work here. If you go through the company’s author list, you will find author after author with no website at all, or an old, out-of-date Geocities site which is dated 2004. These authors have done no interviews that I can find, and no apparent promo aside from big RT ads. None of them write for other houses, and despite their apparent success, none have made the jump to New York. Many of them have numerous paperbacks with the company. It’s reasonable to conclude that these authors (about fifteen, by my count) are all pseudonyms for the owners.
What’s really fascinating about this is that these authors were VERY strongly represented on the NCP internal bestseller list, back when NCP kept such a thing:
Author after author came out of nowhere, with little interaction on the NCP reader list, and became an in-house bestseller and an NCP star. Look through the Sizzling Sellers list and note how many of these people have similar bios, no websites or old Geocities websites, and no interviews to be found on Google. This would never have raised questions in my mind, but for the fact that the owners of NCP seem to be so determined to keep their author identities secret. For example, in the October 2007 issue of RT, there is a large feature on Kaitlyn O’Connor, which never mentions that she’s an owner of the company. In fact, the article ducks the question: “O’Connor, who got her start writing for Harlequin under a pseudonym–she declines to mention the name…”
If O’Connor is in fact Madris, it makes no sense for her to refuse to disclose this, since DePasture’s original Harlequin book is on sale on the NCP site (and the site indicates it was originally published in 1994 by Harlequin):
It could be entirely coincidental that the owners’ books have been so heavily represented on the internal bestseller list. It could be simply that the owners have a good grasp of what NCP readers want. But considering the shroud of secrecy they’ve kept over their pen names, one is compelled to wonder what exactly is going on here.
Anon wrote: “The problem a lot of authors are having w/ NCP is they are refusing to release titles back to authors, even when the contracts/rights have expired. They also refuse to let authors out of contracts for any reason.”
I should comment on this also. When I made the career change to write only sweet and inspirationals, NCP was very kind about taking my first novel with them off the shelf. They had no problem releasing their rights to sell my spicy time travel novel, which I no longer wanted up for sale. I was very pleased.
I am one of NCP’s authors. I do not have any connections to the company other than I have some of my books published with them. NCP has always had communication issues. At times it’s worse than others. It’s a matter of who you talk to and what they’re trying to find out. I’ve lived with the issues and learned to adapt. All of my books with them have gone to print, and they placed my books in color spreads in RT magazine. My assumption has been that a)I’ve sold well b)I market my work and c)maybe my professional demeanor has paid off – but to tell the truth, I’ve no idea.
I’ve always been paid quarterly (they’ve always run late, but I’ve been paid), I did receive a 1099 albeit not on the standard form (that’s the company’s problem if the IRS comes calling, not mine per the IRS).
I have no idea what the financial status of the company is, but it would really surprise me to see NCP flounder. For that reason, I’ve not pulled my rights. Maybe I’ll rethink that position down the road. I don’t know.
As for blacklisting. I’ve not seen anyone threatened with blacklisting on the author loop. However, being one of the more vocal writers on the author loop, I have pointed out to some individuals that it wasn’t the smartest of moves to bash the publisher on the publisher’s own loop. I do recall using the word “blacklisted” in my original post. But it wasn’t used in the context it’s been framed in the comments here or elsewhere in the blogosphere.
Below are more of my words offered up to the blogosphere by the individual(s) who has issues with NCP (here) words that were offered up for use without my permission by these individuals.
â€œI’m simply saying that networking is everything in this business, and people talk. If an author is seen as being a prima donna, a complainer, a troublemaker (whether it’s true or not) it can cause an author problems down the road.”
I firmly believe this statement. I used the word blacklist in my original post in terms of networking and how people talk. This is a small community, most people know everyone or at least someone else who knows someone. To think people don’t talk is absurd. Does it mean an author will be blacklisted? Maybe, maybe not. It depends on who hears what and how hard the truth or fiction sticks.
Do we roll over and play dead for a publisher? Of course not. It's about maintaining a professional behavior in the face of what the writer believes the publisher is doing wrong. We don't have to put up with publishers treating us badly, but we should, as writing professionals, maintain a professional demeanor. Writing is a business and in any business setting you act like a professional.
That said, the thing I find most puzzling is that whoever pulled my words straight from the private author loop did so without having the guts to ask my permission. The individual(s) stole my words for their own use. I find this type of behavior to be unethical, unsavory and unprofessional. All the very things they’re accusing NCP of being.
I’m sorry there are writers who are unhappy with NCP. I’ve had a pleasant experience with the company. And I repeat — I’ve nothing to do with the house. I’m not an owner and I’m not a moderator. Other NCP authors have been accused of similar things as well, some of which are unfounded. Personally, I like helping out new authors get their footing in terms of answering marketing questions or providing an opposing POV for balance. Whoever shared my words without permission, is practicing the same type of tactics they’re bashing NCP for, and it boggles the mind.
I haver heard a lot of publishers threaten blacklisting and other similar nonsense. They were all petty and pretty weak presences in publishing. I’ve never heard a person I consider professional use any language or make any implication ANYWHERE near such a thing.
If anyone knows of an author who was harmed by speaking out against bad business practices, please chime in.
Authors I have seen hurt by bad publicity were hurt by their own shrill, unstable, and nasty behavior. And I can only bring a couple to mind.
The blacklist is a myth. Publishers want to make money. Write something they can sell and you can be the biggest a$$hat alive; they’ll buy it.
Monica, it would seem that you are one of the few people who have something positive to say about NCP, but from the complaints that I’ve received, you may be in the minority.
Well, it seems to me that wagging your fingers at other authors who dared to air their frustrations on the NCP loop, would help ingratiate you with the owners, no?
What you are saying is that, regardless of how much the publisher is shafting the author, they should just put up, shut up, and play nice?
Your definition of unprofessional conduct is an author who airs their grievances on the publisher’s loop, but you’ve said yourself, NCP aren’t great at getting back to their authors, so what else can they do, when they’ve tried e-mailing the owners direct, with no joy?
What would you do if you were in Ellen Ashe’s shoes? I daresay your professional demeanour would soon go down the toilet if it was your books being pulled, and you weren’t getting paid.
The fact is, it’s easy to be smug and superior when the things that are reportedly happening to other authors aren’t happening to you. The real test of your “professionalism” would be if it was your work that was being held hostage, your royalty payments that were being withheld. I’d bet my house that you wouldn’t be taking your current lofty stance on this issue, if you were affected.
We both agree that authors should maintain a professional facade, but what you effectively did was to tell your fellow writers to shut the f’ck up, or risk alienation in the industry, even though their complaints were valid. Tut effing tut.
The following is a message sent to the New Concepts Author loop by James Lightsey, New Concepts Publishing’s Author Liaison, on January 30, 2008. The message appears unedited and in its entirety as sent to NCP authors.
**Please note Mr. Lightsey’s apparent helpfulness, regard for the authors, and his attention to spelling. Note the ‘Release’ section, where he freely admits that he “very seldom” contacts authors about the imminent release of their books. Scroll down and view the last paragraphs where he tackles the subject of blacklisting.**
To: [email protected]
Date: Wed, 30 Jan 2008
Subject: [authorpromotion] Greetings from the Author Liaison
As most of you know, I’m sometimes slow(OK always slow) to answer e-
mails. So I try to answer as many questions on the author loop as
possible. As author liaison for NCP, my loyaty lies foremost to NCP,
however I am honor bound to help NCP authors in any and every way
that I can. So here is my best advice on many of the concerns on the
Always send the 100% complete, self-edited, RTF format version of
your manuscript. Include any and all dedications, forewords, prologs,
epilogs, glossaries, or whatever, because they might not be added
later. Also to speed up the editing process at this point, go through
your book and remove all references to trademarked items. Replace the
trademark name with the actual name of the item ie. Q-Tips are cotton
swabs, McDonalds=burger joint, whatever, we can’t use trademarked
names without permission.
When you receive a contract from NCP, as is true of all contracts,
read it until you understand everything. Do not sign the contract
unless you agree to stand by your decision. If your legal name, book
title, or address is different than what is typed on the contract,
strike through it with a pen, write in the correct info, and initial
it. The contract is as is and not negotiable. Any questions about the
contract may be sent to me.
You should receive with your contract an art questionare. If not, ask
for one. If you have a strong idea of what you would like for your
cover, detail it very clearly. Include your psuedonym and your full
legal name, your e-mail address, mailing address, word count, genra,
and sexual rating. Final cover art approval is made by Ms. DePasture.
Our schedule is tentivetly full for a year in advance. There are
scheduling changes made for various reasons. For the sake of variety
for the customer we don’t release for example four shortstories or
four paranormals in the same week. I can usually give an author a
month or least a rough timeline on when a book is to be published. I
do not give an exact date. Final scheduling is ultimatley decided by
circumstance and Ms. DePasture.
Our cover artist rarely read the books that they do the covers for.
They use the art questionare as a guideline and use popular layout
formats to create the covers that we are known for. When covers are
finished, they are sent to me and I forward them to the respective
A note about the evil “track changes” feature. If you have used
track changes at any time during the writing of your book, even if
you turned it off, editorial remarks and edit may reappear during the
conversion process. Don’t use it. If there are minor edits, a book
will be sent to the author once for changes. Major edits may take a
few more times. Often short stories, novellas, books written by very
experienced author are edited completely in-house as they require
nothing more than line editing.
Always self-edit your manuscript to the very best of your
abilities before you submit it. This does several things; it
increases your editing skills, cuts edit time, and increases the
likelyhood that your manuscript will be accepted. The amount of time
between edits and pub. is largly based on this.
I very seldom alert an author that their book has been released. We
try to follow the upcoming titles pages and also when an author
returns her/his edits they should be aware that the release will be
very soon. Normally before release I receive a PDF file of your
finished book as it will go up. I try to send these as soon as they
come, but I may not. If your book is very close(a week) to release
and I have not sent you file please send me a reminder. You are
permitted as per the contract to make up to 50 copies for review
purposes and as promotional giveaways. You may duplicate and use your
cover in any legal way to promote your book.
There are four royalty periods at NCP. JAN-FEB-MAR royalty statements
and checks will be sent by the end of April. APR-MAY-JUN royalty
statements and checks will be sent by the end of July. Royalties can
not begin to be tabulated until the last day of the last month of the
quarter and so forth. Complete and accurate accounting takes about a
month to complete. If your are to be paid by paypal or some way other
than check, you should tell me as soon as possible.
As stated in the contract, the author must inform NCP sometime before
90 days of the expiration of the contract or it renews for another
year. The longer that you give us notice that you do not intend to
renew the contract, the faster we will be able to take it down. Once
a book goes up it spreads to our distributors and e-book stores and
it is a long slow process to bring it completely down.
While I’ve often claimed to have a big S on my chest, I have great
difficuty keeping up with nearly 200 authors on four continents. If
there is an error on the web page, please write to the webmaster. I
have other duties at NCP that draw from my time as author liaison.
I’m very sorry if I have neglicted anyone. Please keep in mind
that e-mail communications are flawed, they are just as likely (or
more so) to be lost, rejected, or misrouted as snail mail.
In addition to this information that I’ve just presented, most of
which is available either under the files folder of this group or
under submission guidelines on the home page, I would like to offer a
couple of suggestions from my personal perspective. These are my
opinions and not NCP’s.
NCP is a niche company. There are thousands of romance novels
published each year. For the mainstream romance reader, the
formulated novels offered by the large publishing houses are adequate
to their needs. NCP customers want and expect something different.
Futuristic, Paranomal, Urban Fantasy, Fantasy, these are genres that
NCP readers most want. These genre are in high demand by a select
group of readers that want more variety than mainstream can provide.
Readers want long books, if they like the story they don’t want it to
end. If you have a complex story idea, don’t waste it on a short
story. Short stories also make very little money for the effort
involved in their publication.
NCP does not insist on Happily Ever After endings to our
publications, however I’ve seen more than one author have to abandon
a pseudonym because they had killed the hero and/or heroine.
Our readers like an equal measure of great sex,a solid central plot,
and dynamic internal conflict with a resolvable end. Writers that
build their stories around these tenants sell better. Spicy to carnal
sex with multiple partners w/ intense love triangle..octangle w/
nearly unresolvable internal conflict with HEA are the top sellers.
Before you dust off an old manuscript and send it to any publisher,
re-read it, re-edit it. Your writing style will typically change and
improve over time and what you once thought was a masterpiece might
not be up to your current standards.
Regardless of which publishing company you submit your manuscript to,
editing is vitally important to presenting yourself as a professional
writer. Well polished manuscripts are much more likely to be
When thinking of a title for your book, keep in mind the appearance
of the cover. If the title is too long, it will obscure the cover. A
title shouldn’t contain negative words like nerd. One to three power
words can be used in combination to create a powerful and striking
title. Often made up names catch a readers eye like Ms. Becraft-
Woodall’s PMSing and Weremones. Both imaginative titles. Also, always
have a back-up title in case the one that you have chosen has already
been used recently.
Artist vs. Commercial Artist:
During one of my art classes in college, my art teacher told me that
I had a better chance of becoming a commercial artist than anyone
else in the class. That surprised me because one he didn’t like me
and two I was no where near the artist as my classmates. It was then
that I saw the difference between a pure artist and a commercial
artist. A pure artist creates for her/his self without care whether
the piece will be liked, accepted, or bought. A commercial artist
creates art for a patron, both for the sake of art and money. I
assume that all of our authors are commercial artist. This requires
I know that all authors speak of a blacklist of problem authors. As
far as I know, one does not officialy exist and I’ve been in the
industry since ’91. I will just say that there are a finite number of
bridges to burn in the publishing market. There are always first time
jitters for new authors. Always be very carefull of what you say and
do publicaly, once your name is in lights so to speak, you are under
the public eye and industrial eye.
I hope this answers a few questions about NCP and the publishing
industry in general. I would like for all of our authors do well. If
you were accepted by NCP then you obviously have talent as an author.
I wish you all equally well in business.
I would also like to thank Ms. Mandy Roth and Ms. Charlee Compo
for being so supportive of our new authors. I know your plates are
full and I appreciate your time.
New concepts Publishing
Monica: Since you’ve referenced my blog, I should mention that I posted your quote under the impression it was made by the moderator of the NCP promotion loop and, as such, was fair game in a blog about NCP’s unfair practices.
There have been rumors for years about NCP’s retaliation toward writers who complain. The one I’ve heard most often has been that the complaining author’s books are pulled down from the site, but the rights not returned, leaving the author in publishing limbo. The book is no longer offered for sale, but s/he can’t get it back to offer it elsewhere.
In an effort to fact check, before publishing that post, I sent the blog to two different NCP authors whom I trust and asked them to verify the information contained. I specifically pointed to that quote and asked if it was written by the moderator. Both confirmed and said everything in the post was accurate. And both have since contacted me to apologize for confusing two published authors whose names began similarly who’d posted comments on the loop–one the moderator and the other you.
When the real moderator of the loop contacted me to say she had been misquoted, I immediately published a retraction here.
When the official author liaison can’t spell, that’s okay. When he doesn’t use spell check, that’s just not. This is not a petty thing.
When a company can’t be bothered to notify their authors when their books are being published, it says something about the priorities of the company. That’s not petty either.
I have a question. What is the point in publishing books under many different names? How does one expect to build a readership that way? Wouldn’t the point be building a readership?
one would think that letting an author know WHEN their book is being released would be a priority… for all that promotion, doncha know…
it gives one pause to think of a “publisher” who doesn’t bother making any sort of announcement when new books are coming out – even to the author. And then probably rants about the author being responsible for the promotion and sales… which are handicapped by the fact that the release is now a “secret”…
As someone who writes those ‘formulated novels offered by the large publishing houses’ I have to take exception to this. Why is it okay for small presses to denigrate traditional publishers and their authors’ work?! Imagine if an employee of a ‘large publishing house’ made such a sweeping, insulting remark about small presses! The outrage would reverberate around the ‘net for weeks.
Lots of e-publishers began primarily to showcase the work of their owners. Tina Engler has been very straightforward in describing that as the motivation behind her beginning Ellora’s Cave, where she writes as Jaid Black. However, that goal changed over time for her as readers and writers flocked to her website.
I know one e-publisher who, when she began several years ago, used multiple names for her own work in order to give the impression that she had many authors under contract.
I suspect another reason for multiple pseudonyms may be to blur the fact that the owners’ own books are getting priority placement on the calendar and on the website. This, of course, is one of the disaffected authors’ largest complaints about NCP and its owners.
Kristina. Bet your ass. I’ll be getting off here soon and going back to writing my formulated novel.
Maya, so the basic reasoning would be, not to build a career or a readership–a writer’s goal–but to try to boost the publishing house itself, or the owner’s vanity and wallet.
If so, that right there should serve as a warning–HUGE red flag–for authors considering a publisher.
Nora: Exactly. And your warning to authors about publishers should be expanded to include those self-publishing operations.
In traditional publishing, the focus is on the reader because the reader is the ultimate customer paying for the service. Therefore, the publisher focuses on the quality of the material being offered for sale.
In self-publishing operations, the ultimate customer is the writer who pays for the service. Therefore, the self-publishing operation doesn’t care about the quality of the writing since the “customer” obviously believes it is worth publishing. There is no mechanism to vet for the quality of the writing. Hence the terrible reputation enjoyed by the self-publishing industry.
Lots of newbie writers are being lured into self-publishing because of their impatience, appeals to their vanity and a lack of sophistication about the publishing industry.
I mentioned your site because
a)it was the only place I found where my words were actually posted (my assumption, right or wrong, was that if you received the info from someone others did as well) and
b) because IMHO whoever gave you the information violated a cardinal rule in my book. They didn’t have their facts straight, and they took a private comment, albeit an honest one that I have no problem stating in public, and they put it out there without my permission to use it for their own purposes. In providing my quote to you, they violated copyright and writers should know better.
I sincerely apologize if you thought my referencing your post was a slam against you. That was not my intention. I just didn’t want to comment here without providing reference to it. I don’t like to comment without providing a direct source of reference. My issue is with the unprofessional and unethical behavior of the individual who provided the info to you as far as my words are concerned. I should have clarified that in my comment, and I apologize for that oversight.
And I do appreciate you pointing out the correction on your blog.
>>>Lots of e-publishers began primarily to showcase the work of their owners. Tina Engler has been very straightforward in describing that as the motivation behind her beginning Ellora's Cave, where she writes as Jaid Black.
Key detail: straightforward. Sorry to harp but I’m still puzzled by this whole best-selling authors who don’t have a web presence thing. Assuming the writing skills are there, what’s a not-best-selling author gotta do to drop all this blogging and chatting and promo and networking and cyber handshaking and stuff and yet magically become best-selling? Because if the answer is “start your own publisher”, I’m not interested.
“What is the point in publishing books under many different names? How does one expect to build a readership that way? Wouldn't the point be building a readership?”
The ironic thing here is that once upon a time, NCP used to send out emails telling the authors how important it was to build their names and promote, promote, promote. And yet now it seems that the owners themselves have numerous pseudonyms that they aren’t bothering to promote, except via those big RT ads. As I said, Google the names and you’ll find no websites, or out-of-date Geocities sites, and no interviews. Most ebook authors I know do interviews with online sites, and virtually ALL of them have websites.
I want to repeat: There is nothing wrong, in my view, with an owner of a pub writing books. But when the owners take such enormous pains to conceal the fact that they’re also writers, and their books are selling so well and being given preferential treatment, then the whole matter becomes much murkier, and the motives of the owners are thrown into question.
“I suspect another reason for multiple pseudonyms may be to blur the fact that the owners' own books are getting priority placement on the calendar and on the website. This, of course, is one of the disaffected authors' largest complaints about NCP and its owners.”
If you look through the site, you will see that the owners’ books are disproportionately released in paperback (and admittedly this mattered more when NCP’s books were in Borders). Again, it’s possible that this is because the owners have an amazing grasp on what NCP’s readers want that other authors don’t, so their books simply sell better, and thus deserve paperback status. But there’s really no way for any independent observer to determine that, and it’s hard not to be suspicious, especially when it turns out the owners have been concealing their pseudonyms so carefully.
Another matter is advertising. In the past, authors were encouraged to participate in NCP group ads in RT, each author paying for her own part of the ad. (I have heard some NCP authors state that they were included in ads that the publisher paid for, so to be fair, this is not always the case.) The implication was that all the authors were paying their own way. This is normal in e-publishing. However, going back and looking at those ads, I now realize that many of the participating authors were actually NCP owners. Were they paying for the ads, or did the company underwrite them? I would suspect the latter, but once again, there’s no way of telling.
Many people don’t realize that RT’s cover placement is actually a paid advertisement. NCP has had at least two cover articles, one in February 2006 and one in October 2007. BOTH featured Kaitlyn O’Connor’s books prominently on the cover. And as I mentioned above, in the article that featured O’Connor, she explicitly dodged the question of her real name.
“Maya, so the basic reasoning would be, not to build a career or a readership-a writer's goal-but to try to boost the publishing house itself, or the owner's vanity and wallet.”
Bingo. And that’s the big problem here, IMHO, more so than nonpayment of royalties. NCP seems to be set up to enrich its owners, to a great extent, and the owners have assiduously concealed this. Had they been up front that they were also some of NCP’s biggest sellers, I wouldn’t be nearly as concerned. It’s the relentless secrecy that worries me.
“Imagine if an employee of a ‘large publishing house' made such a sweeping, insulting remark about small presses! The outrage would reverberate around the ‘net for weeks.”
While this was an obnoxious thing to say, this was a post on NCP’s internal author loop, and really should not have been reproduced off that loop without the poster’s consent. However, that’s to be expected when you don’t pay your authors, I imagine.
Monica: Thanks for your post. I appreciate it.
No apology necessary. I was really unhappy that you got dragged into this–especially since I did try to fact-check all the stuff that was sent to me.
There have been complaints about NCP for years. All you have to do is look at Piers Anthony’s website to see complaints going back to 2004. I started receiving requests to talk about NCP during the last six months. Since mid-January, those requests became more urgent.
A lot of the emails I received from multiple sources were very subjective, and I refused to post them. However, when I began to get reports about not receiving a 1099 or not receiving an expected royalty check, I decided it was time to go public.
I apologize most sincerely for linking you to this mess.
Not a problem we’re cool (love fest – *grin*). My only comment about NCP is that I’m sorry others are having problems. I never have, but then I’ve been focused on NY and I’ve not subbed to them for over a year and a half. My vocal position on the author loop has always been in an effort to help the new authors as much as possible as others helped me.
This is all pretty familiar territory, isn’t it? I wonder, as a small press writer with experiences ranging from dreadful to wonderful at various companies, what’s it like for those published with big NY houses? And I don’t mean for someone like Ms. Roberts, who could pick up her marbles and play somewhere else if she wanted.
Do these same horror stories play out there? The drama, bad business practices, unpaid royalties, not informing authors of their release dates (!)? What is everyone’s take on that?
~And I don't mean for someone like Ms. Roberts, who could pick up her marbles and play somewhere else if she wanted~
I couldn’t always. And even if I chose to, or needed to now, believe me, it wouldn’t be with a skip and a whistle.
There are certainly horror stories in print publishing, too. But I don’t hear about them with this kind of consistency, and this, well, level of awful.
I’ve worked for three houses in my career. I’ve never dealt with this kind of drama, never had to ask for royalties due me, never had to ask about a release date.
Here’s a bit of info that NCP’s DROPPED authors might be interested in:
(And it cost me lawyer fees to find this out so it’s not BS)
NCP contract doesn’t state they are REQUIRED to sell an author’s book. (go figure) They can, and have, dropped several authors, refused to return rights, holding books hostage until contracts expire. HOWEVER, and here’s the GOOD NEWS~ in the contract regarding to book rights they have omitted the word EXCLUSIVE. My attorney assures me I am free to sell my books where ever I want. To those authors with NCP who don’t like being treated like dung- this information is for you!!!! Sell your books yourself! (Just make sure your copies don’t include cover art)
It cost me a small fortune to discover this but it was worth every penny. And my lawyer has informed NCP I shall be doing this. See more here:
Well, I’m with HQ Mills & Boon, and not so big as to be able to take my marbles and go home. But in my experience so far, none of this nonsense happens at the big houses. While contracts and advance checks may move slowly, by God, they move.
And I can predict, within a couple of days, when my next royalty check will arrive. It does not matter that I am a small fish, or that the money comes all the way from Switzerland. It will be here in early June, regular as a paycheck.
Some of my release dates may be up in the air, but once they are set, I know months in advance what is coming.
Communications can at times be slow, and all answers are not “Yes”, but I am never blown off by my editors. There is no drama involved. To get ‘black listed’ if there is such a thing, I would have to be spectacularly unstable. No one will work with me if I ignore dealines and write crap. But no one is going to get mad at me for asking them a question.
So basically, it’s a totally different experience. I may wake up tomorrow and find I have no career (people get dropped. It happens, sometimes). But decisions are based on sales numbers, and not on who’s friends with who, or who said something nasty on the writer list. And I don’t have to worry about the company going belly up with no warning, or my editor having ‘personal problems’ that make it impossible for her to pay me.
In short, it’s run like a business.
What about Genesis Press?
Double post, sorry…
You know, my one (extremely brief) experience with a small time ePublisher was unpleasant, to say the least. And when I say small time, I mean the company was only just getting started.
My work has been available for free on the internet for quite some time now and that’s how they found me. I was wary from the beginning, since when I responded to them, they didn’t even recall who I was. But there were other signs, too…Like the fact that their story, in regards to whether they did ePublishing or print, changed several times. And that it stated in their so-called contract that I was supposed to put a ton of effort into advertising my work, while saying absolutely nothing about their half of the obligation.
Basically it looked like I put in all the time and effort and all they did was take a sizable chunk of royalties. No thank you. I stopped responding and blocked them from my e-mail address. The last thing I wanted was to be involved in the potential fallout.
But that was a nothing company. Seeing this is disheartening. ePublishing and self-publishing already have such a stigma attached to them, because of so many scams and vanity publishers. It’s all unfortunate, because of there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s this: Just because you’re a good writer doesn’t mean you’ll be picked up by a big, successful publishing house. And just because you’ve been picked up by a big, successful publishing house doesn’t mean you’re a good writer.
I’m making no comment on NCP, but I wanted to respond to this. Of course you want a publisher that’s run like a business. Because publishing is and should always be viewed as, a business. I say this so often, I get frustrated saying it, but I wish everyone involved in the ebook industry would view it as such. I think this would go some way to lessening some of the problems we see, whether it’s issues with publishers or authors taking business decisions personally. Epublishing is no different than print publishing. It’s not a hobby, it’s not something you can just take up on a whim and decide to do one day (like sewing or crocheting) it’s a job. It’s MY job and it offends me when someone treats it as less than that. It puts my business in jeopardy when anyone involved in that business treats it as a lark.
I’m giving a number of workshops in the next six months at the various conferences I’m attending, and I’m doing most of them centering on small press/epublishing, so my general content will be the same. As I’ve been crafting the workshop, my summary for closure in my notes goes something like this:
When researching epublishers and small press, look for a business. You’ll hear people say things about their publisher, when telling you how much they love them, like “we’re a family”. That’s not what most people look for in a business. In fact, it’s been said that business and family don’t mix. When you look for a publisher, you’re not looking to adopt a new family. You want someone you can count on to meet the terms of the contract, pay you on time, market your books and treat it like what it is…a business. Those are the questions you need to be asking of other authors. Not if they’re like family, but if they’re treated with respect–because really, does all family treat you with respect? No, but your publisher should, even if you don’t like the answer they’re giving you, it should be delivered in a professional way–if the contract terms are being met, and if they’re doing business in a business-like manner.
Ellen: One of the NCP writers brought me that information last week. However, as I told her (and as I’m sure as your lawyer told you), your only option is to sell the books directly yourself because it’s very unlikely another publisher is going to be willing to give you a contract if you can’t offer exclusive rights.
I’m fortunate. I’ve had lots of years of experience reading contracts for my real-life job, and I have a wonderful agent. Even so, when I signed that agent contract, I took it to an attorney for an opinion.
And, in my latest contract with a publisher, I balked on an item that my agent then went back and re-negotiated.
Contracts are like a recipe. They include all the ingredients together with the correct amount of each to be used. Even if something seems self-evident (they have to publish your book), make sure it’s in the contract. Without specific mention, you have very little recourse.
No kidding. I found out the hard way. I want others to learn from my mistakes.
Starting this week I am selling my dropped books myself.
And as always, Angela, you sum things up with grace.
Family? Holy crap, think about the last time you disagreed strongly with a FAMILY MEMBER. You want to inject that kind of idiocy into your CAREER?
Publishing is a business. We’re artists, and maybe some of us are not wired to think in terms of the bottom line, but for the love of all that is holy, please consider how foolish it is to ask somebody to sell your product because they seem friendly and nice.
They are selling your product. They are not making you a jumper for your first day at school. They are not planning your birthday surprise. You don’t want them loving you and holding your hand. You want them too busy making you money for that nonsense.
Like others I’m sad to see what’s happening to this epub. I used to buy a fair number of books from them and never had any problems but…it’s probably been over a year since I did so.
A lot of posts make a good point to be wary of a publisher that treats its authors the way NCP has been treating theirs. But like someone else said, NCP wasn’t always like this. I signed on a few years ago. I used to be able to contact my editor, via that oddly unstable thing the liaison called email, rather easily. I received my cover art and release dates a few months prior to release. NCP, for the most part, stayed close to their promised release dates. Royalties were great and paid on time. I’m not sure what happened to change all this, but they have gone steadily downhill this past year and a half. Ellen Ashe had the “temerity” to speak out against NCP’s unfairness, and her books were pulled from the site. Now she has to pay a lawyer for her rights. So NOT right.
What saddens me most is that not all the NCP authors are banding together. Some NCP authors continue to bandy the word “blacklisting,” and worse, a few of the bigger names, people who have contracted with multiple houses and know better, keep spouting about NCP’s virtues instead of guiding newer authors to be wary. Hell, in my opinion, if they don’t want to rock the boat, fine, just stay silent. But to encourage new authors to shut up, tow the line and not complain because heck, that’s just the way it IS at NCP (for fear of alienating the publisher)is wrong. Sorry, just can’t stand bootlickers too concerned about their own skin. I’ve gone directly to the newer authors both on and off the lists and tried to help, and I tell others the truth when asked.
And none of this is personal. It’s a business, or at least, it should be.
More from Mr. Lightsey to the NCP loop on March 13, 2008:
Dear Ms LaCroix and other authors that have concerns on this matter.
Years ago, we let some authors out of their contracts early and
what happened. A loud mouthed flag-waver led a slew of inexperienced
authors with her to Triskilon and a couple of other now defunct e-
pubs. I have to admit it gave me a warm fuzzy feeling all over.
NCP is not exploding internally. Even though 2007 was a bad year for
retail sales nationwide, we still grew by 7%.
After that fiasco years ago, we shortened the contract time to 3
years. It had previously been up to six. Personally I feel it could
be shortened to two years. The contract length has to be this long to
allow for scheduling, editing, and at least a year’s worth of sales.
Madris is currently reviewing our booklist to let some books and
some authors go, both for the sake of streamling our accounting and
to shed ourselves of a few bad apples.
I’m happy to say that most of our authors behave in a courteous
and professional manner which makes our jobs much easier. Especially
It appears from Ms Brown’s post that there are a myriad of sites
to complain and low-rate your publisher. These would be the best
places to aire your grievances. I don’t go to those sites. This loop
is for author promotion and company news.
Ms Roth told me that she will no longer be the mod for this group,
so that thankless task will now fall to me. If you have any problems
posting let me know and I’ll try to help. I would like to acknowlege
Ms Roth’s great contributions to the group. Without favor or
compensation she took on the task of moderator. This loop should be
tended daily and I don’t know if I’ll be able to do that, but I’ll
Our contract was modeled after the largest publishing house in New
York designed by a team of laywers who probed and proded at it from
every direction for weakness. It is as close to perfect as we could
make it. While it protects our authors, its primary purpose is to
Our contract, like any other contract anywhere in the world is
legal and binding. We do not force authors to sign a contract no more
than we can force readers to buy a book. I can imagine it must be
very exciting to have a work of art, that you’ve created from your
mind, to be accepted as a professional work worthy of publication.
But always read a contract-every word. Not just ours but any
contract. And it’s not enough to read it, you should understand it,
think it over and in the end agree to abide by it before signing.
Our policies are not designed out of greed or spite, but stability
and common sense. We do not borrow money for any reason, we don’t pay
advances, and we don’t idlely give up a contract.
I hope that I haven’t sounded too mean, but I have a head and chest
cold. My head feels like a pumpkin and my chest like a box of broken
glass. Perhaps I can explain my frustration with a little literary
I’m a waterboy at the half-way point of a marathon. There’s a slick
spot of the trail in front of me that I can’t do anything about. The
experienced runners simply jump over the slick spot or go around. The
runners that are new to this course are unaware of the slick spot.
Almost every new runner that comes up slips and busts their ass,
inspite of any warning that I can give and to make matters worse,
most of them slip on the same spot over and over.
OK, I think that the cold medicine is kicking in. In short it is a
waste of an imaginative mind and literary talent to spend all day
making up rumors and blogecating on your publisher.
Love how I am specifically addressed. I’m not the one with the lawyer sending them letters, asking for my rights back, etc. I merely asked what happened to get to this point. And the above didn’t answer anything to those authors with issues.
This sort of message is unprofessional to the extreme. Taking glee in other publishers’ going out of business in such a public fashion is not only repugnant but it reflects extremely poorly on the publisher on whose behalf you’re speaking.
I don’t want to hear about illnesses or dogs eating homework or personal problems with your spouse or whatever. And frankly, if this little missive isn’t a red flag the size of Canada, I don’t know what else to say. He’s very correct on the big important point – no one makes an author sign the contract.
I need an interpreter. What do the words “idely” and “blogecating” mean?
Our contract, like any other contract anywhere in the world is legal and binding.
Hm, never heard of blogecating before? What does it mean? Can we make up our own meanings?
I feel really bad for all the authors stuck in this mess. And as Marianne and other have said, what happened? How did things get so bad?
Oh, boy, Lauren, I’ll say.
To the poster who asked previously about drama, etc in big NY houses? I’m not on any author/publisher loops, but I can say, without hesitation, I’ve never personally heard, or heard about a representative of a NY house sending out a message like this.
~A loud mouthed flag-waver~
~to shed ourselves of a few bad apples.~
I can’t imagine a publisher representative using those terms–putting them in writing on a loop.
If one wants to look at how a representative of e-publishing–or any sort of publishing–should conduct herself, you only have to look at Angela James.
As to the contract being modeled after that of the biggest house in NY, if it doesn’t state exclusivity, if it doesn’t specifically give the amount of time allowed for the publisher between acceptance of ms and publication, they left a couple (at least) very important parts off the model.
NCP CONTRACT. I’d like to chime in on this one because the lawyer I hired specializes in contracts. He read it, shook his head and said: “PATHETIC. I sincerely doubt a lawyer even wrote this.” Then he went on to explain to me that NCP did not even include the word EXCLUSIVE in regards to the the book rights. 99% of publishers do. Most of us know at this point that James is… hmm, let’s see, misinforming the authors. That’s putting it mildly. You get my drift. But oh my- doesn’t he make NCP sound important??? Lukily most of us aren’t blind to this BS any more.
Oh dear lord- a comment on my blog from an artist that NCP shafted…
“There's very few times that i have ever elected to say something about what i regard to be a bad situation. Not that i am passive-aggressive, but more of a Pollyanna who would rather find the sunshine in the clouds. But after yesterday..aint no sunshine.
I am an artist who has done covers for numerous companies including new concepts. I am in fact the one who found and sent the models to her for the RTC. These boys are my discoveries in my hometown.
A few months ago i became quite disturbed to find that the art I had done for them had been re-rendered by other artists and the work looked like it had been done by an amatuer 7th grade art study student with pasted bright yellow hair etc. i could go on, but thats the artist in me who spends 8 hours or more on a piece seeing it destroyed by a one minute paintover. To make this matter worse, when the piece was published it would say art by me and then this other persons name. I told them if they wanted anything changed i would be more than happy to do it professionally. The response i got after that was to see the rest of my art go on display without my name and under another artists. I did contain my rage although i made note of this in another letter and got no response.
Okay yesterday: one of my model discoveries, my exclusives, called me yesterday to let me know that New Concepts contacted him the day before wanting to fly him and my other models to the convention again this year. I was never contacted about this at all.And they asked him how much it would cost them to have another photographer shoot pictures of them and sell them to them.
Do the words backstabbing, underhanded, sneaky, conniving and unethical cross your mind? They did mine.
I am not a vindictive person. But it does my heart good to hear that people who have been treated as shabbily as myself are jumping ship. I did nothing but try to help this woman everytime she asked for it and took endless hours out of my day to arrange for my models to get to her shows at the RTC. And this was the thanx i got.”
Is there no end to this company’s unethical behaviour??????????
<<<<~A loud mouthed flag-waver~ ~to shed ourselves of a few bad apples.~ I can't imagine a publisher representative using those terms-putting them in writing on a loop.>>>>
I’ve seen worse. Sad.
I’m with you, Lauren. The whiny tone and blame-the-victim approach of Mr. Lightsey’s posts were a large part of why I blogged on this issue to begin with.
Add to that, the making-it-up-as-he-goes nonsense about “Our contract was modeled after the largest publishing house in New York designed by a team of laywers” makes me wonder where truth enters into the equation. My New York publisher is one of the big five, and I can promise you my contract covers issues like exclusivity, the need to communicate AND when I can demand reversion of rights. Maybe they needed lawyers instead of laywers.
As to the question of whether this stuff goes on in the big houses, I’m only on my second contract, but the experience has been wonderful. I feel that the partnership between my agent, my publisher and me has been very positive and supportive.
But I also have lots of friends who are e-pubbed and who are very happy with their publishers.
I’ve written numerous times on my blog that I think electronic publishing and digitization is the wave of the future. The traditional New York houses no longer have the lock they once had on the means of production. The fact that the largest operations are busy building digital warehouses is an indication that they understand this.
Writers will and should write for print houses, e-publishers and the joint ventures that include both mediums (which are popping up with increasing frequency). We need to do our homework so that we make good choices in deciding with whom we will partner.
Just one writer’s opinion.
I’d planned on staying out of this mess. I don’t know much of anything about NCP so hey, I don’t really have much to say…
If this guy is any sort of representative for the company, then yeah, the place is in trouble.
Professionals don’t gleefully rub their hands when perceived competition goes belly-up. Whether there were loud-mouthed flagwavers or not, other people got hurt by these companies crashing. If I hadn’t gotten the rights back on my books with Triskelion a few months before the troubles started, I would have been one of those caught in a bad place. There are still a number of authors who are still in a holding pattern over the mess with Triskelion. Gleefully laughing or getting warm fuzzies? Not professional.
And even if there weren’t innocent authors caught in a mess, calm, rational professionals don’t brag about getting the warm fuzzies over the misfortunes of a competitor. It’s an unprofessional attitude to have and if that’s the attitude they display to their authors, then I’d definitely question the professionalism behind the company itself.
Lord have f*cking mercy.
I can’t believe that this man was chosen to represent NCP. Somebody seriously needs to keep him and his slick spot away from the keyboard.
Gail Northman, Triskelion, Teresa Jacobs, Mardi Gras Publishing, and now James Lightsey, New Concepts Publishing. Guess what they all have in common?
That’s right, they all chose to go off their meds at the most inopportune times.
Certain big sf publishers have behaved badly in the past. Ace went through a patch that I think the SFWA had to deal with and Lancer before they went under in the early 70’s. But it was financial stress that led to the bad behavior in almost every case.
Karen: I almost lost a keyboard spitting out the iced tea I was drinking when I read your post.
As a newbie in the publishing world, my first novel was E-published Sept., 2007….I have to say I’m proud of the publishing company I’ve signed on with, Eternal Press,…the authors are kept informed, updated of changes at all times and the royalty checks are on time and this from a fledgling company that has had its share of start-up problems…the authors are encouraged in all things and yes, I’m not that experienced, but I’ve read enough to know there is no place I’d rather be right now, than signed on with EP…Tabitha
Yes, and I’m thrilled with Total-e-Bound! Forbidden is a nice group as well. There ARE wonderful e-publishers out there.
I feel compelled to second Tabitha’s endorsement of Eternal Press. Even through a change of management, I’ve been happy with the respectful manner in which the authors have been treated. Our new leader, Ally, appears to have very innovative ideas and goals for growth. Although nothing is certain in the publishing world, if anyone can succeed, it will be her. I’ve been contracted by small press several times, and until recently, I hadn’t had a bad experience. I won’t point fingers but suffice to say I wasted an entire year before being verbally assaulted, having my cover pulled, and being publicly embarrassed by a co-publisher. There are some very unprofessional people in the industry, but it’s not unlike others I’ve been involved with in my lifetime. :)
I also have to mention Enspiren Press. After the aforementioned fiasco, Enspiren picked up my contract and will be releasing my book this summer. I feel very fortunate to be involved with them as well. The publisher constantly shares a wealth of knowledge with her authors, offers them training courses and constantly provides new promotional ideas. The senior editor for both my EP homes are awesome to work with.
I guess my two cents has been spent.
This situation with NCP is unfortunate in that it paints e-publishers in a bad light. For the record, Samhain and Loose Id, my other publishers, have never treated me with anything but professional respect. The edits are thorough, the royalties and tax forms on time, and you have a release date in plenty of time to do promotion. It was because of these houses that I finally realized how many problems NCP has, and that their standards are not industry-wide. Because if I can sign with Samhain and know more than 6 months out my EXACT date of release (barring catastrophic circumstances), why can’t NCP do the same? Because it seems to me they’re cutting their own throats by not letting their authors promote their own books (due to no release date.)
Above I wrote the following:
“The interesting issue to which Jody alluded above is that there seem to be NUMEROUS aliases at work here… What's really fascinating about this is that these authors were VERY strongly represented on the NCP internal bestseller list, back when NCP kept such a thing.”
I provided a link to the old NCP Sizzling Sellers list, which has been there since 2004. Last night, NCP took that page down.
Intriguing, isn’t it? When someone points out the prevalence of Kaitlyn O’Connor, Jaide Fox, and the other probable owner pseudonyms on NCP’s own bestseller list, they rush to remove that page from the site THE VERY SAME DAY. And yet they don’t seem to be in that kind of hurry when it comes to responding to their authors.
Bravo comment #73
Who are these authors anyway: Desiree Acuna, Kimberly Zant, Megan Ziese, Raven Willow-Wood, Angelique Anjou, Madelaine Montague, Jaide Fox, Kaityln O’Connor, and Celeste Anwar??? Just curious…..
More from James Lightsey to New Concept Authors:
The is a powerful word, in our contract where it says “the
rights” the means exclusive. While it is possible to sell your print
rights to one publisher and e-book rights to another publisher.
No publisher will ever knowingly buy the rights to a book that
have been sold elsewhere. That would be like going to pick up the new
car you just bought and finding out that three other people bought
the same car. When you buy a car, you don’t buy the exclusive rights,
it is understood that by buying it that you are buying the exclusive
You have only ‘one’ print rights and only ‘one’ e-book rights. To
sell a thing that you only have one of many times would be immoral,
unethical, and beyond a doubt illegal.
I am at a loss to explain why there has been this breakdown in
civility. It seems all that we get anymore, particularly from some of
the new authors are demands and threats. The only thing that I can
figure is that we somehow picked up some of the problem authors from
some of the defunct e-pubs.
As for contract release, as I stated before, Ms DePasture is
reviewing the booklist for books that can come down(WHICH MEANS
CONTRACT RELEASE) No demands, threats, tantrums, or team of lawyers
will get a book released before its expiration date unless Ms
Depature approves it.
James: The law governing a car, which is personal property, is very different from the law governing intellectual rights. That’s the reason why the word “exclusive” is included in a publishing contract.
In Texas, where I live, we learned these lessons the hard way when it came to mineral rights and real property (the land) rights.
If NCP’s owners and their lawyers neglected to include the appropriate language in your contract, making up answers or making empty threats is not going to change the legal facts.
I understand a lot of the posts on the NCP authors’ loop have been taken down. Doing that will not help as long as you continue to run around like a loose cannon.
I had decided not to publish your response this morning (it made me feel like a bully picking on the smallest, dumbest kid in the schoolyard), but your post here changed my mind. You remind me of how important it is for writers to be educated so that they cannot be intimidated by someone feeding them a line.
As far as civility goes, you forfeited the right to demand that by some of the truly awful things you’ve said both on the NCP loop and on the Internet.
Words matter. Writers understand this.
Very true. The differences are like comparing apples to beach blankets. Not even similar and can’t be camoflauged as such.
The authors caught in this power play (I’d heard of the loop being wiped clean too :( ) have my heartfelt hugs and hopes that this ends, and quickly for them.
Who is the lawyer that is advising NCP? Because the car comparison is one that I heard from Brenna Lyons re: Triskelion’s bankruptcy debacle. And frankly, I think the car analogy wouldn’t hold water in the courtroom.
~You have only ‘one' print rights and only ‘one' e-book rights. To
sell a thing that you only have one of many times would be immoral,
unethical, and beyond a doubt illegal.~
Really, just no. If this were true there’d be no Exclusivity clause in contracts.
The hole, she’s getting deeper.
Oh, and btw, THE, the little article, gains its power by HOW it’s used.
THE rights do not magically morph into THE exclusive rights. Exclusive is the powerful word in that phrase, with the article gaining its punch from the adjective.
Wouldn’t position of “author liaison” require at least negligible respect for, understanding of, and friendliness toward authors? Otherwise why not have your position called “many-pseudonymed-author-publisher-owner lackey”?
Looked over both NCP contracts. Word “exclusive” doesn’t figure anywhere. But definitely wondering ’bout the following clause: “Author further agrees that all rights will automatically extend in one year increments hereafter until and unless he/she notifies Publisher of his/her desire to terminate the agreement 90 days prior to the end of any given period under contract.” I understand it as meaning that in 2009, 90-days-prior to contract’s 3rd anniversary, I need to give a notice not to extend contract. Am I readin’right? A bummer. What if no one there in 2009 to receive my notice? No one there now. Sigh.
At the risk of sounding, ‘dumb’ of what avantage is it to the NCP author NOT to have the word ‘exclusive’ in the contract? Much obliged for reply.
__it gives one pause to think of a â€œpublisherâ€ who doesn't bother making any sort of announcement when new books are coming out__
NCP does announce the books. If you are on their email list, you will receive notice. Just such an announcement came out March 13 to those signed up for the list. Unfortunately, we authors aren’t given advance notice of when our books are going to be released.
Robin: Rumor has it that there is a smidgen of nepotism involved.
___I understand a lot of the posts on the NCP authors' loop have been taken down.___
I didn’t remember any posts being taken down. My curiosity got the better of me so I went back all the way from the one this morning, #23405 that gives this blog’s URL to #22865 on Jan. 28. and I found only *one* that was missing: #23242. Right around the first of Feb. seems to be when the current unhappiness began to be voiced.
Granted my eyes could have missed a lot of the posts that were taken down but I really don’t think I’m that blind. And surely my version of Yahoo doesn’t list ghost posts that have been taken down but still show themselves only to me. Has anyone else found missing posts on the NCP authors’ loop?
Anonymous-with-apologies this is somewhat related to your questions: Anyone wanting to request that their rights be returned (or that the contract is not automatically extended) should do so both via email AND mail. Send your notice via Certified Mail Return Receipt Requested, Express Mail with return receipt request, or a courier service like Federal Express with signature request. Don’t rely only on your email. Why? Well, if by any chance things get ugly, you do need good and valid proof that you did a goodwill effort of getting in touch with them. Emails do get lost in cyberspace after all. I would say this should apply to any formal correspondence with a publisher with which things have turned sour.
I am still hoping things will improve, for everyone’s sake.
Thanks, Mireya. That’s what I thought. I too hope things will improve, for entirely self-serving reason. I mean, all of us – NCP authors – have self-serving reasons for hoping things will work out. They’re driven by our books that are there.The thing that worries me most is the e-mail messages getting out of NCP. They don’t make much sense to me and I have …hopefully methinks, average-perceiving intelligence. They sound as if composed by several individuals, in several different mind-sets, and in many different emotional moods. Their rambling nature could be a clever disguise to not answer any issue that’s been raised – or it could be just that – rambling perceptions. I’m not one of the authors who wants out of the contracts. But I also do not want them to run beyond the contractually-stipulated 3 year-term. I’ve 4 other publishers with very different behavior. Normal, I’d say…meaning they’re nice to do business with. I do my part to the best of my talent and ability and they do theirs and that’s all either of us can expect from each other. But I must say that my sales have been greatest at NCP by far. So what does that mean…? I’ve no idea.
I also have to say that all 4 of my other publishers are authors – but there is one key difference between NCP-owner-authors and these e-publishers. None of the 4 I have writes in my genres and 2 do not write fiction at all, only non-fiction and self-help. So I don’t see a conflict-of-interest and have to say honestly, I’ve never felt it. With 2 of my publishers print-book debut for any e-novel is treated very differently – normally, I have to say again. Regardless of the novel’s sales, I’m the one who ‘asks’ the publisher when I want the novel to go print – which I do since I usually need 50 copies for promotion. The difference lies, I guess, in the means of producing print books. These 2 publishers do it POD which entails very little finance outlay on their part other than having my covers re-done into print format. I get my 50 copies at 50%+$1.00 cost from my publishers.
I’m on Ellen Ashe’s yahoo loop so I know her issues with NCP. She has many of her novels at stake. That’s what’s so painful about it. I only have a couple. There lies a difference. I sympathize with her, wish her well and those other authors who want ‘out’ of NCP. But I don’t want – yes, it’s self-serving again – definitely don’t want the speculations about NCP folding and crashing to grow to where the demise of another long-time e-publisher turns into a self-fulfilling prophecy. It’s what I fear the most.
I have been following this drama on several sites and whether due to frustration or anger by some posters which in my opinion is totally justified, the threads have gone in many directions. As such, I think it is important that the complaints against NCP that have cropped up be re-listed to refocus on the issues which have not been addressed by management.
I was considering submitting to New Concepts Publishing and decided to do a bit of research before doing so. I've been keeping a list of complaints as they've come up here and on other sites, and added a couple from NCP authors I've contacted which I haven't seen listed. Needless to say, I will not be submitting to NCP.
â€¢ Royalties paid late without corresponding tax documentation like a 1099
â€¢ Failure to give books edits.
â€¢ Failure to give authors release dates or to notify them when their books are released.
â€¢ Favoritism toward certain authors.
â€¢ Site was down and NCP was non responsive to authors or readers.
â€¢ Customers complaining about lack of service and poor quality of books received.
â€¢ Hostile to complaints.
â€¢ Failing to live up to publicity promises such as sending out review copies.
â€¢ Refusal to get books taken off of NCP website and sites of distributors once the contract expires and rights were returned to the author.
â€¢ Evidences poor understanding of its own contract.
â€¢ Management writing under numerous pseudonyms kept secret from other NCP authors.
â€¢ Books believed to have been written by management taking up majority of coming soon to ebook Coming Soon and print book Coming Soon list.
â€¢ Authors told books must sell well as ebooks in order to make it to print, yet some books hitting the print list before they are even released as an ebook.
â€¢ Authors with legitimate complaints having their books removed from NCP site and refusal to return rights to said author. Management claiming there is nothing in the contract which states they are required to sell contracted books from their website.
â€¢ Authors told management has no say on which books go to Fictionwise while other publishers have no problem getting ALL their releases posted. (Many authors claim they make more money from Fictionwise than from the publisher site which effects the income of authors whose books do not receive equal treatment.)
â€¢ Little or no communication from management and editors to authors.
â€¢ Authors instructed to send all communication to management and editors through Author Liaison and receiving unsatisfactory or zero response. (You've seen an example of what authors receive from author liaison).
â€¢ Authors with legitimate concerns attempting to receive answer through the NCP author site being intimidated to silence by favored authors.
â€¢ NCP contract â€œAS ISâ€ not open to negotiation.
â€¢ Management's ability to drop an authors book as they see fit, yet unhappy authors requesting to pull their books refused.
I genuinely feel for all the authors caught in this mess. From what I've seen New Concepts Publishing was not always like this, which is why they were at the top of my list of possible publishers to which I considered submitting. Thank God I did my research.
I totally understand the authors who appear to be on the favored list not wanting to rock the boat when they seem to be sitting pretty. I also understand the new authors who were unaware of what was going on behind the scenes and who have not YET run into problems with management fearing how this mess might affect their books and their sales.
Nevertheless, I believe every author who is either currently with NCP, and especially authors thinking of contracting with them, have a right to know how some authors are treated by management. They have a right to know that all authors at NCP are not treated equally.
I want to respond to this because this could very well be true and is, in fact, the same answer authors at Samhain receive.
Many epublishers upload their ebooks to places like Lightening Source, which would be considered a general repository for all online vendors to acquire books. Vendors like Fictionwise. Fictionwise can then “order”, like a brick and mortar store, any ebook they’d like to sell in their store. They control their own inventory, just as Borders, Barnes and Noble and Amazon. No publisher, from an epublisher to a NY publisher can decide for Fictionwise what they carry.
However. Some publishers choose to enter into a contract with Fictionwise to carry all their books. I cannot speak for NCP, but Samhain will not enter into this contract because Fictionwise wants to take an exorbitant and outrageous percentage of the cover price and have not shown any interest in negotiating this. Just as authors aren’t always interested in signing a contract which is non-negotiable, neither are some publishers willing to do so and should not be expected to, just as you wouldn’t expect your fellow authors to. So it’s perfectly possible that NCP has no control over what books Fictionwise carries, just as they would have no control over what books Borders chooses to carry.
That makes perfect sense as you explained it. I don’t think most authors are aware of how it works in some situations. Wouldn’t you think NCP management would have explained that to their authors in those terms, to avoid confusion and concern as to why certain authors’ books seemed to always be posted and not theirs? IF that is the case with NCP, their authors are intellegent, they would have understood. All it would have taken was simple communication between management and their authors.
That was easy enough. One issue out of many clarified. Maybe.
I hope you’ll understand that I prefer not to comment on what NCP has or hasn’t done and my answer was not either in support of or to speak negatively of NCP. But rather, I only thought to put that information out there because Samhain’s authors have received the same answer when the question has been asked, and I wouldn’t want authors chatting behind the scenes to take that and run with it as something negative about us, without having all the information.
Of course I understand that you were not posting “for or against” NCP. I’m sure everyone else does as well. You merely provided information that I suspect many epbulished authors didn’t know regarding how ebooks are distributed. Why with some publishers, some or their books make it to Fictionwise and some don’t. And you did so in a nonbiased, professional manner.
It all comes back to communication doesn’t it?
~And you did so in a nonbiased, professional manner.~
‘Cause she’s got skills, and the smarts to use them.
Nora, it only proves she’s got at least half a brain cell.:)
Some of the people who work at these e-presses can’t exactly boast the same. Damn shame that.
Those of us who’ve been around awhile explain this every time a newbie asks how come and why etc. her book isn’t up at FW. (The latest was back in January, #22772). Newbies have been told by us oldtimers that not all books will go up at FW and that it is FW that makes that decision, not NCP. It has also been explained that while FW is another avenue for sales, an author makes more money when a book is ordered from the NCP site rather than FW because of that huge ‘take’ the brothers get for each sale.
No matter the publisher, not every book subbed to FW will be chosen for sale. A publisher can offer it but that doesn’t mean it will be picked up. It depends on the author in some cases and his/her track record of sales with other publishers, popularity on the web, etc. It also depends on the genre. It depends on the backlog of subs from other publishers.
Just as a matter of interest, James Lightsey has just “retired” from the position of NCP author liaison.
“Iceberg, straight ahead!”
Retired, eh? Whoever believes this might want to take a look at a bridge I’m trying to unload. And, no, I don’t believe he was fired. He’ll remain where he’s always been with Madris’ blessing. He’ll just use another name.
Don’t fall for the bait and switch.
“Gina Hankins is now acting liaison.”
Another nefarious New Concepts Management name?
Although macabre in its entertainment quality, the fact Mr. Lightsey is no longer the author liaison does little to ease my mind. (Anony3 – I am in no need of your bridge- lol).
Mr. Lightsey was only the company representative in the crow's nest shouting – ‘Iceberg Ahead, Captains DePasture'. Then saying, ‘Thank you for the shotgun, I think I'll go shoot myself now'.
It will take time to see what happens next. What I know is that as much as I wanted a good relationship with NCP as my publisher of choice, after this fiasco (and atop the others I have suffered through in absolute silence) they can do their worst to me because I no longer care.
I'm tired folks, sick and tired, of the arrogance of this publisher, the hypocrisy of a very few of their authors (read that as less than three), and the undiluted way they all get together to abuse the authors under contract with NCP or divert everyone's attention from the real issues.
Issues remain. It's the solution that's hard to uncover.
It’s official- New Concepts Publishing has stated- ELLEN ASHE IS A SCREAMING LIAR.
HEAR YE HEAR YE- READ ALL ABOUT IT~
I’ve honestly never seen or heard of Fictionwise turning down a book from a contracted publisher. They don’t read them like “submissions”- they put the book in their system, the formats get made, and then the books go up for SALE.
IF your publisher is telling you that Fictionwise has decided not to distribute your book… I’m 99.9% certain they are lying. They are probably just too lazy to put the book into Fictionwise for you.
The fact is that FW can “shop” for titles through sites like Mobipocket and LI – but publishers can choose to upload directly to Fictionwise. The two things are separate and to tell authors that FW has “refused” to sell their book is dishonest. The difference between the two situations must be made perfectly clear and with all things at NCP– this appears to be another situation where the “truth” was mutated to benefit the publisher’s goal to work as little as possible.
It’s common sense. If you are doing so well that you have that much traffic coming through your publisher website then why not hire more staff to answer emails? If you can’t handle the workload that comes with being a publisher then you are getting exactly the kind of negative attention you deserve.
And honestly, after reading all of this going on, I have NEVER seen so many ignorant excuses for not doing your job.
Here are a few pointers:
1. If the little red demons of the internet are eating all of your emails before you can receive them, find a more trustworthy mail server.
2. If you have problems using track changes it is not a problem with Microsoft but your own ignorance.
3. Naming how well an author does at your publisher is not only unprofessional but it is also inappropriate and tacky.
4. You can’t say (or I guess you can to continue to prove your own ignorance)you don’t give authors special treatment and then turn around in the same paragraph and call them stars in comparison to other authors.
5. Yes, you’ve been around for 12 years…the problem is you are a dinosaur refusing to evolve. The reason other publishers are doing better than you now is because they are willing to move with the times and because they have editors that…well…edit.
Hope it helps.
P.S. It’s also not a good idea to issue a note to all your authors and start it off AND end it with a threat. Not a good way to make authors really want to forgive, believe, and trust you.
This whole situation is frustrating. But what’s really killing me are the insane, insecure NCP authors groveling on the author loop. I wish you could see what I’m reading. We’ve all seen Madris’s email (thanks Karen :) detailing how little she thinks of her authors and NCP’s readers…hello? NO EDITS????
I want to stand up and yell at these people to act like you’ve got a pair (balls or breasts, take your pick) and believe in yourself. If you accept such poor treatment from the publishers, what does that say about you?
A lot of newer authors and a few that haven’t been around in a while are posting about how great NCP is and how much they appreciate all Madris has done for them. (I’d sure love to know what she’s done. Heck, maybe the new authors are getting preferential treatment.) It’s obvious what’s happening. Authors are an insecure bunch, and everyone’s so afraid the publishers will retaliate that they’re all over themselves with the happy-happy horse shit. Just the other day an author mentioned she had a new release on the site and had no idea it was coming out. Then she asked for a correct link to her author page. *sigh* The same old crap, perpetuating itself again and again. I wish I could stop reading these posts and blogs, but I just can’t stop reading this stuff. It’s like a bad train wreck, and I can’t look away.
I think I need professional help. *snicker*
Apparently, Ms Depasture(s) has never been great at communicating with her authors, as evidenced by some of the stuff she’s written in official NCP letters to authors in the past.
KillerKarma: Hey, don’t go after the writers. If your children were held captive, you’d be nice to the kidnapper, too.
If you already have a contract with NCP, your novel is a hostage to this mess.
I know and like a lot of the NCP authors. I was so hopeful at the outset that NCP management would see its way clear to addressing the issues. Instead they’ve circled the wagons to dodge the incoming fire–after throwing a few hostages outside of the circle into the path of that fire. It’s a real shame–for both them and their authors.
I have nothing but good will toward the writers involved.
To Maya and everyone else out there who might/will read into my previous post sentiments I didn’t mean (and no,Maya, this is no way a negative comment toward you, but a clarification):
I wish only the best for NCP’s writers. Hell, I write for NCP too. My point is that many of the writers need to stand up for themselves. And I’m not saying they need to bad-mouth their publisher. I haven’t said one “bad” word about my publishers. I have stated the truth. Period. But it wouldn’t hurt if NCP’s authors, as a whole, supported NCP to be BETTER and FAIR to their authors.
It just seems to me that if you think so little of yourself that you don’t deserve to be treated with respect, then that’s what you’ll get. No one can step all over you if you don’t let them. But that’s what these authors are doing by embracing NCP’s poor treatment. And it’s these same authors who ask, ever so nicely on the loop, where their edits are, who to contact for release dates, where they can get their free copies of their books, what the author liaison’s email addy is because their messages keep bouncing, etc. Stuff their editors/publisher should have already given them, so I know these amenable authors are really receiving no better treatment than the rest of us (not the stars, mind you, haha.)
Much of this discourse seems so negative, and sadly, it is. But if you don’t stand up for what’s right, you get the crap that’s left over. And it would be presumptuous of me to point out in history how many times people have done what’s right, not what’s easy, to rectify poor situations. This is e-publishing, and not a human rights discussion, but the argument is the same.
With regard to FW, the last book I had published with NCP never made it there. When I inquired why the liaison told me it was considered too old to submit, at the time it had been out a couple months. Of course, this was AFTER trouble began between me and NCP. Probably just a coincidence:)
By the way, smart move not to submit to NCP, Chris. I thought they were the cream of the crop when I submitted my first book and was so happy when they offered me a contract. I didn’t figure them out until they had 3 of my books. One returns to me at the end of this year, I hope.
I’m extremely happy with Whiskey Creek Press! There are some great epubs out there:)
I was eager to sell my work, way back in 2004, anxious and dumb. I settled. before you could spit, I was being published with no edits and no real say on the cover. I got in deep doodoo when I made a suggesstion for improvment on the first cover. The real trouble started over the third book cover which I thought looked disgustingly like child porn. The word of my being a malcontent followed me to Loose-id, and I didn’t fare any better there. None the less, my recent unhappiness with NCP is the stupid letter I got from Jim, explaining they were having to look into the activities of a certain book dealer. That was morris code for YOU DONT GET A CHECK THIS QUARTER!!! The books I have there have all reached their limit in contract time. All but the final one and its the best of the four. I have learned a valuable lesson here. Don’t settle.
In regards to New Concepts not-so-subtle threat to sue me for defamation please refer to my blog..
I blog when I booze, fair warning to all.
I was looking to publish years ago through an e-book company. I had a ton of books written, and my husband was bitching at me to do something with them for all the damn hours I spend typing away like a crazed word-junkie.
That said, I surveyed many of the e-houses (that's what I call em') I carefully scrutinized and dug for complaints. First thing I noticed is they are not a Better Business Bureau accredited business. (tiny flag its an e-thing)
New Concepts sounded great, but as a small business owner and a debate group moderator, I was very leery. Though some great authors I had become friendly with published there, I noticed right away that their sizzling sellers section was extremely out of date. (thus removed recently after what 4 years?) So out of date that I had to wonder WTF was going on where they didn't even update their best sellers list? Any idiot knows this is how you tell newbies what is coming, and newbies are your bread and butter if you plan to last. It became clear everyone who bought or published was directed to a group where authors gave things away, and the publisher announced what was coming. Great idea and fun, but to do this and not update your very own website? This told me right away that someone was lazy. I can only expect correspondence as well as other time-oriented aspects of this company would be handled in the same I got out of bed at 2PM because I closed the bar last night, manner. This phrase will be referred to again–it is a metaphor only. I do not actually know if these people party like rock stars. Therefore, I want to make it clear that I myself being a childless adult writer, often do. I am however, not running a publishing house.
It is also clear to me the â€œauthor liaisonâ€ is just an aspiring author himself, as he certainly does give it a go, however poorly, in his posts. More than likely the poor sap just likes to write and took the position out of the kindness of his heart, and because NCP isn't getting out of bed until 2PM, and with hangover, they could care less as long as someone is doing it free. It was made clear this person only took the position because the last person either quit, or jumped the proverbial praising perch to voice some of her own opinions about the plethora of slackers that run the joint.
There are a lot of good authors out there that never get published. Maybe, it is not such a horrible thing that they have the opportunity to show-and-grow on these lesser run e-houses. Though in a perfect world all houses would conduct themselves with glory and the idea that things must be done correctly and beneficial for all, if they are to last.
The person makes it clear, look we aren't hiring a super editor to edit your work. You should learn to do it anyhow and by doing it yourself; you save us cash and thus increase your chances for publication. You know by this–very clearly, they do not edit most works, if any, because he wants you to submit your work, as you want to see it and expect no changes. Well hello? LOLOLOLOL!!! Even the best authors need editing. By the time I am done editing I have read a work so many times that a repetitive paragraph could be staring me in the face, I would probably, and have, missed it.
As far as favoritism, well yeah of course. It is all about making money, any agent or publishing house should not have to tell you; if you don't sell well you aren't going to be getting advertising dollars wasted on you and therefore, self promoting is always a great idea. Free blogs, and Myspace and Yahoo groups and so many other forms make it too easy for an author to work their magic. It only makes sense because any authors I find myself enamored with, I want to know as much as possible about them. Anyone who doesn’t take advantage of this well known fact is either lazy, or doesn’t get it. You should have your own website, blog, self promotion thing where you talk to your fans (aka bread and butter).
Another thing I have learned having run some smaller companies in my short 33 years is this; you have to decide if you are going to close or expand a small business right from the start. There is no in-between, you decide either you don't want to hire more people and make more money, or you do and are constantly striving for the goal of expansion and growth. You see this with a LOT of small business owners. They start off with some success after quite a brawl and think they have learned everything there is to learn, and know everything there is to know about their business. This appears to be the case with NCP that either they changed the original plan from just publishing their own works, with no real plan to be a successful e-house, and only fell into it because the market was so great at the time, or something has gone terribly wrong there, either physically or mentally, and the business is no longer the main concern. Ie, closing the bar and getting up to go to work at 2PM. One can only deduce that being a successful publishing house for the long run, is not their current goal. The only proof one needs for this, is the unpaid position of just anyone to be an â€œauthor liaisonâ€.
I have to say I think the previous AL (?) James, (insert home James joke here) said it best; there are two kinds of artists. Ones that write for themselves and for pleasure and ones that write for pay as well as pleasure (commercial). Most agents and houses will tell you they have to be able to market your product and you must be professional about it and roll with the punches. I think NCP is great if you just write for pleasure, and do not actually care how you works sell, nor generating devoted readers for life. Clearly, they are lax at being professionals and a commercial artist would hopefully think twice before publishing with them. I believe many commercial artists who are established with NCP, now publish through huge print houses, and only leave their older works and short stories to generate publicity which is ultimately still making royalties, sitting at NCP. Who wouldn't?
Put simply, if you have no idea what you are doing, but only know you must write, NCP isn't a bad place to start, but there should be no doubt, there is better out there. Everything from day one is a learning experience. If you lose out, or are screwed over, my father always had this saying, â€œcall it tuition for the education you just received.â€ The man has a point, though I would be hard pressed to admit that to him. (grrr dad!)
There is much room for improvement throughout the e-house industry, though from my own personal experience, I would not ever have thought my gritty, self indulgent, sociopathic, demented yet lovable characters, could ever have found a home let alone a following. E-houses are the entire reason I went for it. I knew I didn't have to fit into certain rules and e-houses were nothing if not risk takers.
I think we can all thank God for that.
Moreover, not for nothing, but I have seen some serious typos on the best and most published author's work. It just happens and many things can contribute. A recent release from a major reputable house comes directly to mind, and was just spell-check-fodder. I had to reread many things because they just kept popping out at me and completely destroyed the story. Though in hindsight I suppose reading in the bathroom as little time as I spend in there, more than likely, did not give it it's due. Or perhaps it did….HA!
I believe this to be true, if nothing else in this industry; it is like managing a fish tank, a career, or the best thing to use for cleaning out bloodstains from white fabric; everyone will tell you something different and it is up to you to learn what is best for YOU. If NCP has worked great for you and you feel like you are being well taken care of, by all means, if it aint broke… But if there is something rotten in Denmark, make sure you follow your contract and like any contract you must use actual paper with signature to get out of it, and within the time frame allotted by the contract. I have a feeling some of these authors, submit, get through, are just happy to have a contract, and then are relaxed about getting a notice to quit letter in with 90 days notice. Also, hearing this is a classic feature in their contracts I cannot help but to be reminded of the time I signed up for 4 free magazines, only to be charges 400 bucks a few weeks later when I did not write them in an actual letter and tell them I wasn't interested. Sure, efficient for them, but if you aren't on your game you are going to get taken advantage of, and I gotta say, if you signed that without knowing, ya learned something didn't ya?
I think what has happened here is the Internet finally caught up with bad business practices. They signed an author or two and were body-slammed back into reality when she got bloggy on their ass. Good for her and any publisher worth their salt knows this is part of the business. Not everyone gets along, but I thought we all learned that from Oscar The Grouch.
I dare say all of this could have been avoided if you find an agent that believes in you and you hire them to handle the particulars for you. With a little research into your genre you can find an agent who more than pays for their 10% the first contract. Any publisher is glad to work with agents because these things do not happen nearly as often, and your agent, not you takes the fall or any bad blood-‘which is their job. Your editing is done, and done well, so regardless of the lax methods of the house, you don’t put out a crappy product. Who can say 100% that a poorly edited work only reflects on the publisher, and doesn’t hurt the writers career. If I buy one of your books, and it sucks, or is a pain to read, I probably won’t buy from you again for a while, if you last that long, until you have time to get your act together.
NCP, if they had any idea how monumentally bad this negative publicity is for them, would hire an agent of their own to clean up this mess. The fact they have not speaks volumes.
I hope everyone who has read this blog and who has learned as much as I have from it, accepts this to be true; NCP can turn this around if they do it genuinely and sincerely. A public apology would be a great start, along with the immediate release of any and all works that have been requested heretofore.
NCP if you are reading this, and I believe more-than-likely you are, do not waste time arguing, you blew it, hire a professional and fix it. If you have sucked from the start, and only now the Internet is catching up with you in blogs like this and http://www.hipiers.com/publishing.html , if you want to stay in business, hire someone to handle all this for you, or maybe it is time to buy a yacht with the money you get from selling to someone who will care. A change in ownership or management can often times rejuvenate a great idea, into a great company. If you love your company, it doesn't matter who is at fault, its long since time to do something about it.
Either way, a public apology can go a long way to show that you are eager to do the right thing in the future, even if possibly you somehow dropped the ball. Just ask my husband, he is an apologetic genius, I tell ya.
Very Truly Yours,
Aka Paxton Hood
Madris,Megan and Andrea are all Depastures. Check it out on the net, or on People Finders. Possibly the law suit re: taxes which Madris and her ex lost has caused the money flow to ebb.
Sorry but I find this site to contain a bunch of negative crap…definitely not to my liking. Not particularly helpful just a lot of whining and bitching as far as I can see.
What on earth are you doing here then?
I’m guessing that either you’re a fan of TG, or you’re a new author at NCP.
I have just spent the last four hours or so reading all the comments about NCP…wow. Just… wow. I’m not published yet, but as I get closer to finishing a manuscript, I’ve been doing research on different e-houses (is that the correct term?) as well as your traditional houses. I stumbled upon NCP and will now stay far, far away from them thanks to all that I’ve read here and on other blogs. It is absolutely deplorable what NCP is doing to their authors and their readers. Why in the WORLD you would mistreat the people that would make your business successful is beyond me. As a small business owner, I can’t fathom doing that to my clients – I build author websites, so mistreating them would just be ridiculous as I intend to be an author myself. Doesn’t make sense. Even if the owners of NCP are writers themselves, why would you mistreat a fellow author?
On that note about websites, and this is just my personal view… I’ve been to other e-houses who’s websites make me, as a reader, want to come back because they care about the quality of it. It may sound silly, but it tells me that hey, they care about their authors and what they do, too… so, if NCP weren’t in dire straits (as they seem to be now…), they should consider hiring a professional to redo their site as well as one to handle their legal problems!
Last about cover art… anyone who needs a cover artist for a book they are trying to self-publish because of this fiasco, let me know. I’m all for helping my fellow author friends. :)
I totally have to agree with you. I haven’t made it to the big leagues yet…but I’m working hard to meet my goal. Eventually I’ll be there along with the rest of you! LOL!
I think “formula books” have taken a hard rap and one that is not deserved. Let’s face it…there is a formula to writing. Point a to b to c. That’s the nature of the biz. Plus it doesn’t do well to bad-mouth the industry. This world is sooo small, word gets out and then it’s all that much harder to succeed.
And for what it’s worth…I’ve enjoyed your formula stories. LOL!!!
This comment is in regard to New Concepts Publishing.
They published one of my novels as an e-book in June 2006. This book reached #25 on Fiction Wise. I have yet to see any royalties from sales on Fiction Wise. I have received a total of â€œ3â€³ royalty statements from them since my book was released. My repeated attempts to contact them through snail mail and e-mail have been met with silence. I called their office and was met with a voice mail message. I did not choose to leave a message. What would be the point?
I live in Colorado but since they are located near Valdosta, Ga I contacted the Georgia Attorney General's office and was told to contact the Georgia Office of Consumer Affairs. They told me they handle non consumer transactions on the retail level and that I should contact an attorney in Georgia to go after them. Unless I can go together with other authors who have had similar treatment from NCP the cost would mean thousands of dollars I don't have to spend. I fear my book is lost. Granted it isn't the greatest book every written but it's my story and I deserve payment for the sales. I have no way of knowing which sites they have sent it to for download other than Fiction Wise. I don't know at this point exactly how many copies have been sold on the NCP site or on Fiction Wise. I do know they have huge two page ads in RT every month that are quite costly. The money is coming from somewhere and I fear it's from author royalties. I'm going to make one more at tempt to contact them through a certified letter and see what happens.
I also e-mailed Fiction Wise in hopes of determining how many copies have sold from their site. I e-mailed RWA and Romantic Times Book Reviews as well.
Anyone reading this e-mail who is considering sending their work to NCP I strongly caution you to reconsider.
Bumping this thread up to let everyone know more authors have been added to their “Public Notice” of released authors, including me.
Fictionwise gets 50% of the sale price of the book, plus the first $15. of the royalties paid to the publisher. A book has to earn over $30 for the publisher to be paid. Remember, too, that Fictionwise puts the titles on sale with a 15% discount for the first week, and then offers customers various other discounts during the year. Fictionwise pays quarterly, 45-60 days at the end of a traditional calendar quarter.
Fictionwise gets 50% of the sale price of the book, plus the first $15. of the royalties paid to the publisher.
This amount will actually differ from publisher to publisher and what contract terms (if any) the publisher has with them.
Remember, too, that Fictionwise puts the titles on sale with a 15% discount for the first week, and then offers customers various other discounts during the year.
Additionally, discounts should come from Fictionwise’s share, not the publisher’s, again depending on the contract.
I finally received the rights back to two of my books, 4 months late and several emails later. However, they removed the books from their site as soon as the contracts were over. Just one more to go!
They were a good company once and it’s really too bad they’ve come to this. They had a good thing going and ruined it for everyone.
I am a fan who is concerned with what has been happening with all the authors and within NCP. I think you might want to check out Ebay and the handle Jamesthefireking2008 because he is selling brand new copies of NCP books. I, myself, have purchased several books from him.
I did not know that all of this behind the scenes turmoil was occuring.
I stumbled upon this site just today and started reading. I’m glad I did. I feel absolutely terrible about purchasing these books now.
I’m not sure what needs to be done? I received an e-mail about my books from a J. Lightsey, I’m assuming the individual behind the e-mail and the James Lightsey aka author liason are the same. But I try never to assume. If he is connected, is he selling these books and passing on the royalties to the authors? I don’t know? I don’t even know if I should be commenting now, but my heart is telling me I must!
Hey, hate to be a pain in the butt…..but it won’t let me share it on Reddit.
Raven Willow-Wood: Megan Depasture daughter of the owner!