The Curious Case of Ellora’s Cave
Long before there was the Kindle, long before self publishing, long before the emergence of Fifty Shades, a digital first publisher by the name of Ellora’s Cave began to deliver sexy reads that would transform the face of romance publishing. Ellora’s Cave was established in 2000 as an outlet for Tina Engler to publish books with heavy sexy content that were romantic in nature. Because there was no “ebook” in the late 1990s, Engler would create PDFs and email them to reader who sent her money via paypal. In 2000, EC was established and soon thereafter, it would become a powerhouse selling hundreds of thousands of ebooks a year in a world where ebooks did not exist for the most part.
Engler’s path was not dissimilar to that of JK Rowling. She went from welfare to millionaire in a short time.
Ellora’s Cave fed an unheretofore unexplored appetite of women for explicit scenes, bold women, and frank language. Prior to 2000, references to the penis would often be couched in terms such as “manroot” “stalk” and “pleasure rod”. The clitoris or vagina would be known in equally obscure terms. Now it’s not uncommon to see the use of “cock”, “cunt”, or “pussy” within many mainstream romances whether they be historical, contemporary or paranormal. Today the line between erotic romance and non erotic romance appears blurred, not just for readers but authors and publishers as well.
But in 2000, erotic romance was a new and somewhat scary thing for mainstream publishers. In fact, the recent acquisition or launch of digital publishing arms for mainstream publishers followed a similar trajectory to the old acquisition and launch of erotic romance lines. While it might seem ludicrous today, in the early to mid 2000s, agents had to identify which publishers would accept erotic romances and which would not. And it was a big deal when traditional publishers started accepting erotic romances regularly.
Erotic romance author pioneers like Susan Johnson, Robin Schone, and Bertrice Small would likely seem tame to many of today’s readers but in the mid 1990s, they were writing ground breaking books. Schone, for example, wrote the first female masturbation scene in Awaken My Love published in 1995. Erotic romances were long considered the bastard child of the genre with major mainstream NYT bestselling authors decrying their existence. (I won’t link to those posts because I’m sure we’ve all said things ten years ago we regret).
As Ellora’s Cave began to flourish, arguments began to spring up about its legitimacy. There was row after online row about whether digital publishing was a legitimate career path. The Romance Writer’s of America (RWA) denounced it and refused to acknowledge digitally published authors in its Published Author Network or for its awards. In fact, it wasn’t until 2012 when a digital first book won the organization’s RITA award. (Fiona Lowe’s Boomerang Bride from Carina Press).
The truth was, though, Ellora’s Cave was thriving in the mid 2000s and through its digital publishing portal, many women were empowered not just through the stories themselves, but through the act of making money. Some may scoff at the source of the money, but all green spends the same. There were several authors making six figures a year and there were even more making a living wage–for the first time in their lives.
As the world began to catch on to digital books and the Kindle was launched creating a second wave ebook revolution, Ellora’s Cave seemed poised to launch itself into publishing super stardom. It had thousands of backlist titles and it had launched many of the bestselling authors today–Bella Andre, Lora Leigh, Christine Warren, Beth Kery, Lauren Dane, Jaci Burton, to name a few.
Yet something strange happened. Growth stagnated. In 2010, it was revealed that EC’s revenues were $5 million but a reported $6.7 million in 2006. How on earth was a digital publisher’s income declining in the biggest boom period of digital books? (This was before self publishing took off).
Word of Ms. Engler’s increasingly erratic behavior surfaced on odd places on the internet and then came the lawsuits. In 2008, former employee Christina Brashears filed suit for unpaid monies against EC. EC countersued. Brashears, Publisher and Chief Operating Officer, left and formed Samhain. Bad blood existed which culminated with EC agreeing to a settlement of undisclosed amount. The damages were alleged to be in the high six figures to low seven figures. EC’s behavior during this lawsuit was so egregious, the judge commented on it in his ruling ordering damages to be paid to Brashears. In 2009, EC filed suit against Borders accusing them of illegal business practices. The suit went nowhere.
In the Brashears lawsuit, EC was accused of inappropriately diverting funds to Tina Engler through overpayment of rent. In 2009, the prevailing market rent for the space EC was occupying in Akron Ohio was around $40K but EC was paying Engler close to $100K per month. EC was providing loans to various officers at no interest and there was no indication those loans were ever repaid.
At the same time, court records showed repeated tax violations by Engler and Jasmine Jade Enterprises. Since 2009, Engler has had a tax lien filed against her by Ohio Department of Taxation in every year except 2010.
- Nov 2009: $26,972.74
- Dec 2009: $83,586.11
- Jan 2011: $29,271.98
- Aug 2011: $44,391.84
- Jul 2012: $62,769.64
- July 2013: $35,853.21 (currently unpaid)
- June 2014: $105,819.92 (currently unpaid)
In March of 2014, Engler was hit with another tax bill, this time from the City of Akron in the amount $29,679.52. Court documents reveal she is paying $2,473.70 per month. In the meantime, Engler boasts of her Rodeo Drive shopping trips and her new property purchase in West Hollywood on her Facebook page. She claims that she is having the head of her security detail investigate “everyone” and turn over information to “Interpol.”
What likely saved EC prior to this year was the acquisition of 75 books from author Laurann Dohner. You may not have heard of her recently, but Dohner is a huge seller for EC. She began hitting the combined lists in 2012 and continued to hit them thereafter.With her tremendous backlist and the high prices, there’s no question that Dohner was keeping EC afloat along with Lolita Lopez, Mari Carr, surprise hit Jo Wylde, and a handful of others.
In 2014, this appears to not be the case. In an email to the EC authors and confirmed by the CEO Patty Marks, the sales for EC books have plummeted.
Many authors and other workers associated with the production of EC books are afraid to speak out. They email me and DM me from made up accounts and beg for secrecy. They speak of a vindictive company who will be unafraid to retaliate and many of them who are owed several thousands of dollars fear that the money may never be paid to them should any outward showing of non allegiance be discovered.
But the problems within Ellora’s Cave are deep and broad and should be brought into the light of day, not only for those existing authors and creators but for future ones. In internal emails, the CEO admits that “the drastic drop in sales has resulted in large net short term variable production losses and slow and often negative return on investment for EC on almost every new book we publish, with the exception of a handful of the highest sellers.”
- There is a set of authors who have not received royalty payments in over six months. EC has blamed this repeatedly on a new accounting system installed in December of 2013.
- CEO Marks admits that “already submitted finished books” will be paid but that “payment may be delayed.”
- For editors, any partial work would not be paid, only finished work and that by finishing the work, they must accept the terms of the late payment.
- Partial work that is completed should be sent in to be finished by an in house editor and no partial work will be paid for.
- Failure to turn in either partial work or finished work will result in a 25% deduction of overall payment for that project.
- The author portal has been shut down where a select few authors could check their royalties.
- Authors request for return of their rights have been rejected and some are told that their books will be published with or without their approval.
- The total sum of unpaid royalties, editor fees, cover artist fees is in the several thousands, perhaps approaching six figures.
- EC has held warehouse sales advertised via online forums and through eBay.
Authors are now asking readers to not buy EC books. See Avril Ashton and Cat Grant.
Despite authors, editors, and cover artists going unpaid, Engler is in the process of launching at least one, if not three, different businesses. She has a new epublishing serial available that she is writing, she has a production company which she advertises as producing an untitled horror film and is attempting to shop a reality TV show around her publishing company and the Ellora’s Cavemen, and she has a self publishing services company called Beton Black Press.
A report from Ohio business record places Ellora’s Cave revenues at $15 million last year. So why is it that tax liens go unpaid as well as the salaries or royalties of creative individuals? It is unknown but it sounds like the money is being mismanaged at best and improperly diverted at worst.
What’s the result? Many people believe that EC will close its doors before the summer is over but at least by the end of the year. If it enters bankruptcy, author’s intellectual property rights are part of the estate and can be sold off to the highest bidder. It could wind down and revert the rights back but it’s doubtful that will happen.
For authors, a lawsuit could be brought but oftentimes those are expensive. If EC has not paid royalties, then its materially breached the contract. Problematically for authors, courts often look for the breach to be “cured” or in other words, if EC can pay the owed royalties, the contract is not voided (legal term). A claim for diversion of funds (a piercing the corporate veil argument) can usually only be brought by shareholders or directors in a company. Neither are a position that the author holds. And in every case, the author is only due her royalties. If she should sue and the author not be paid, then the contract could possibly be cancelled.
No author wants to see EC go bankrupt but they also want to be paid. As do the editors and cover artists. It rankles to see Ms. Engler post on her Facebook page of high end shopping sprees while individuals who make money for her company go without.
There’s a sad irony to the fact that a publisher that gave many women a living by writing about women exercising sexual agency now looks to be placing these women authors in a very vulnerable position, one that sets a really poor example for digital publishing in yet another new era of Romance writing.
Note: if you do plan on commenting anonymously, please use an alternate email. we use gravatars here at Dear Author which are associated with your email address.
I’ve heard/known about EC nonpayment/mismanagement of royalties from as early as late 2009 or early 2010, when I discovered a new favorite author who had backlist at EC. She was vocal about the fact that there was something wonky about EC’s accounting system, as they claimed her books weren’t selling, even when she herself had bought copies as giveaways for contests. So I’ve never read most of her EC backlist due to 1) the ridiculously high price of the books and 2) the fact that she wouldn’t get any of that money from them.
EC *launched* many careers, but many of those biggest bestsellers moved on to other digital publishers and New York—and they *stayed* with those digital publishers, even when becoming traditionally published NYT bestsellers. IMO that says something.
/Just my reader opinion.
As an author, this is what sent a chill up my spine:
“If it enters bankruptcy, author’s intellectual property rights are part of the estate and can be sold off to the highest bidder. It could wind down and revert the rights back but it’s doubtful that will happen.”
So sorry for everyone who’s getting the short end of this.
This is awful.
I’m not sure if being sold off as an asset would be such a bad thing for some authors. There was speculation it might happen as part of the Brashears settlement a few years back – ask yourself, who would you rather be with now, EC or Samhain? Erom is booming right now, and authors could end up with a stabler, better resourced publisher who might even pay them on time. Of course, it’s pretty much luck of the draw, since odds are whoever gets the assets won’t be a publisher and will auction them off. I’m sure a lot of people out there would love a piece of EC’s backlist, some more reputable than others.
From where I’m sitting and looking, seeing my books sold to another company would be among the very limited best case scenarios. I’ve requested a price quote to buy back my contracts, but haven’t yet received the quote, nor do I expect it will be anything reasonable or affordable.
We’ve seen how many epublishers go down in flames over the past 8 years? And most of the issues listed here were a problem for those too. If this doesn’t push more authors to self-publish …
On the other hand, if we have EC to thank for getting us free of “manroot” “stalk” and “pleasure rod” or “weeping center of her womanhood” then they at least did us that service.
I know this is beside the point and incredibly pedantic, but I also know that your articles get used by scholars all the time, so I’d like to clarify something in the history portion of this article (which is amazing). Erotic romance was selling in the 1990s, as you pointed out (Susan Johnson, Robin Schone, Thea Devine, Bertrice Small and a few others), and was even sought out by publishers, but only in HISTORICAL romance. One of the major reason Engler’s books were being rejected by publishers (craft, etc., aside) was because they were contemporary and futuristic books. They brought erotic romance into the present day, and also established erotic romance as a legitimate basis for world building in scifi and fantasy landscapes as well.
And your point about Ellora’s Cave somehow missing the boom of digital publishing when ereaders hit big is SUPER important. Somehow, this incredibly innovative company utterly missed the boat when it came to making that technological shift. They’d been almost the only place that people could go to for that type of product for so long, that when competitors opened and started actually competing for authors and readers, and when Amazon became the third party seller powerhouse, it was like EC threw a tantrum, like, “No, *I* want to be the only one!” and packed up its toys and hoarded them, instead of trying to find a way to be part of this new way of selling books.
Anyway, amazing article. And so so sad for the authors, editors, cover artists, etc., to see this happen.
Such a sad situation. I remember the EC heyday with fondness. They weren’t just an erotica pioneer, they also published a lot of paranormal and futuristic back when those genres were hard to find. If I recall correctly (someone please correct me if I’m wrong) Mary Janice Davidson got her start there.
I hope the authors get their rights back quickly.
I’ll be writing more at length about this issue on my blog and newsletter. I don’t want to fill the comments with long screeds.
Long story short, I don’t intend to be an active writer for Ellora’s Cave any more. The main problem is mismanagement, and it started around 2010 to be a serious problem. Plus the insistence of the owners to own everything and run the company their way. Now prices are far too high and there is far too much competition. The cover art isn’t anywhere near the quality it used to be because they have fired all but one cover artist. If you pay a premium, it’s supposed to get you a better product.
Most authors are not in arrears of payment as per contract, we’ve been paid up to the end of April, 2014. However, those payments are hasty, and some statements seem to be inconsistent with what went before (eg certain vendors not making an appearance).
The management, or what is left of it, is being cut out of all financial records. EC always kept their financial records, including royalty and salary payments, on a separate, non-networked computer. They have always paid by check, never direct debit, something the ‘new system’ was supposed to take care of.
So the people to blame are the owners. Everything devolves squarely on them.
I have to say that I have thoroughly enjoyed being an EC author. It made me lots of money and I made lots of friends, too, people I respect. But last year, when royalties declined so steeply I had to take action, I took steps to place work elsewhere. Quietly, because when shit hits fan, the authors are usually standing closest. We’re not going to see any money owed to us. If bankruptcy happens, and the owners will do anything to stop that, then the author is at the bottom of the creditor list.
I have asked for my rights back. By the contract, they have until next February to return them. I’ve written a snailmail recorded letter, and by email. Got a form response by email. 19 books. I have removed them all from my website and blog, and I won’t be promoting them. That makes me very unhappy, because I poured my heart and soul into those books.
What has annoys me the most is that I have two full manuscripts in. EC is claiming the right to edit them without my permission and issue them. If they do, they have removed the first publication rights from me. However, I will not be claiming these books, except to make a statement that they were edited without my permission or cooperation and I am disclaiming them in that form.
At the end of October two things happen – Laurann Dohner’s next book is out, and the quarterly payments come due. The owners need the money, that has become clear. If the authors aren’t paid, then EC is in breach.
@Sarah Frantz: If we’re being pedantic for scholarly purposes, then we should also recognize Black Lace. I know that they were categorized as erotica, and they didn’t always have HEA/HFNs, but they were publishing contemporaries with non-depressing endings and they began several years before EC. GrowlyCub reminded me on Twitter that they published at least one of Emma Holly’s contemporary menage books.
Not to take anything away from EC. But unless they were paying no attention to what was happening in the UK (which is entirely possible), they presumably saw that Black Lace was doing well with erotic fiction for and by women.
ETA: The Twitter hive mind reminds me that Red Sage published its first Secrets anthology in 1995.
This has been a very slow and sad train wreck to watch. I’ve queried EC but never published with them (I went with another e-pub for my debut), but I feel I owe EC for the push to write exotic romance in the first place. I took one of their editorial tests in early 2011; while I failed miserably as an editor, I realized I could have fun writing my own erotic romance. And here was a whole side-industry that might take the stories the Big Five science-fiction imprints wouldn’t, back then!
Over the years since, I’ve read a lot of brilliant EC authors. They don’t deserve this poor treatment. I hope they land on their feet, and soon.
@Sunita: Oh yes! I actually looked for an edit button myself when I remembered, but then didn’t want to overload the comment thread with another pedantic comment. ;-) But yes, Black Lace and Red Sage. But Black Lace was in the UK and back in the 1990s, geographic restrictions meant a lot more than they do now. And Red Sage was anthos, which is a very slightly different market. But yeah, it was out there. :)
Another technical point (to a comment): Mary Janice Davidson was actually first published by Hard Shell Word Factory. If I recall correctly, her young adult novel “Adventures of the Teen Furies” was published in 1998 or 1999, under her married name. I reviewed it way back when…
I find this all very sad. Trouble is, I predict that next year you’ll be doing this post about another ebook company which has become equally shambolic and royalties for authors haven’t just dropped, they’ve plummeted while similarly, the person at the top, seems to be leading the life of riley on Twitter.
@Guess who is next: Oh, if you’re going to comment anonymously, you should at least say which publisher it is! *feels left out*
@Sunita: To add to your point, not only did Black Lace publish a number of Emma Holly books with HFN/HEA endings, but Berkeley republished at least one of those (Personal Assets) under the Erotic Romance label, which I frankly always thought was a better tag for Holly’s books, both contemp and historical.
@Guess who is next: I agree, drive-by comments like this don’t help readers or authors. If you have information about a publisher in difficulties, it would be helpful if you shared it.
The early paragraphs in this article certainly lack a knowledge of what was going on with ebooks in the late Nineties. A number of ebook publishers including Hard Shell Word Factory and Awestruck had been in business for years before the rise of Ellora’s Cave. There were ebook readers like the RocketBook and an early Sony reader among others. The Rocket ebook store and Fictionwise were selling ebooks.
Ellora’s Cave was certainly the most successful of the early erotica publishers, but it certainly didn’t appear out of nowhere in a nonexistent ebook market.
Also Kensington’s BRAVA line. And frankly, the idea that EC somehow moved us from purple prose to realistic terminology makes me stabby. EC didn’t exist when most of my friends and I started writing, and none of us were writing old skool purple love scenes. So we clearly weren’t influenced by EC books. The ground had already shifted by the 90s, EC was just further evidence of that shift.
@Isobel Carr: I agree with you that Brava had a huge influence on erotic content (especially when Kate Duffy was editing), but the imprint did not start until 2003-2004. The Kensington Brava page has a copyright starting 2003, and the Romance wiki has 2004, which may reflect the first publication date: http://www.romancewiki.com/Brava
But Ellora’s Cave had the breakout success. I was certainly writing for other companies before EC, but at one point my royalties with EC amounted to half my income, and considering the other half was six or so publishers, that was good going. Sometimes it’s not who was first, it’s who pushed the boat out furthest. But in new markets, that’s the way things happen. Pioneers spend all the money and get few rewards, then come bigger companies who get on a bit better, then the really big companies who take over the market and push everyone else to the fringes.
The end of the summer is September 22. Hm. I hope EC’s authors get their rights back free and clear if that’s what they want/need. My sympathies are with them!
Since early 2012 I’ve had problems with EC. I went to their convention for the first time in 2011, and had a blast. I pitched my book to an editor, and was accepted. The editor looked it over, and I was told to give her 60 days (2 months…) to look it over. This was mid October. In that time I started work on the sequel to it. I worked and worked and worked, and come Christmas, I still hadn’t heard anything back. NOTHING. So I spoke to an author I met and was taken under her wing at the time, and she is still a good friend to me. She advised to me email the editor. This was early Jan. I didn’t receive a response until Feb. Asking for just a little more time, “It’s next up on my list.” … Okay, it’s now been three months and she hasn’t even READ it yet. Finally I hear back in April. six months after the fact to tell me that the story just wasn’t right for them. “But feel free to revise and re-sub”
Great! So I fix trouble areas and resub. It takes 5 months to hear back to tell me it’s still not right. It was written perfectly, everything the editor asked for I gave. and nothing. I attend 2012’s convention with a heavy heart. A friend of mine was supposed to go with me, and I paid for her. She wasn’t able to attend, so I asked if I can just put it to next year’s convention instead. I”m told of course, we’ll have it paid for for you and you’ll be set for next year.
I write another story. A “quickie” to sub, and hear back in TWO DAYS “we regret to inform you your story just isn’t a right fit for us.”
I edit, fix the blurb, and resend a couple months later. 24 hours pass until I get a second rejection. No explaination as to WHY it’s not right, just that it isn’t.
I edit again, fix the blurb for a third time, this is now into February of 2013. I’m strapped for cash, and know that I cannot attend their convention. I contact EC about a refund of my money for the convention. Don’t hear anything for a MONTH. Then I’m told “Oh well we had a shift in staff, we apologize, but per our rules, we cannot give you your refund.”
I think, what rules? What are you talking about? it was toward a NEW registration for this year. I go and look at their terms. They’ve been revised. Wanna take a wild guess when? A day before I got the email back. I make a complain to the BBB about it, claiming I was NEVER told I couldn’t get a refund, I was NEVER told that it wouldn’t be considered a new registration. All those emails to a generic account have been conveniently “lost” I’m now out 300 dollars.
Figuring I’ve already paid for it I attend the convention that year. Things don’t look good at all. They charged $325 for this convention for cheap food, cheap “New” decorations, and shitty “goodie bags” even the wine they give out with it is lacking. The models look ragged and exhausted, and my heart went out to each one of them.
I figure okay I sub again, this time perfected my book in Nov of 2013. 24 hours, another rejection. A month later I see another author coming out with a book series with the SAME premise as mine! They STOLE my idea and gave it to another author!
I have found a home at another publisher, and I see that they then sign Farrah Abraham.
Then I see they’re selling their convention decorations and posters and banners on Ebay. one banner they’re asking $120 as a starting bid. That’s NOT worth it, and I’m well aware of it.
They put all this press into Farrah abraham, and I ask for a refund again I’m told, “We’ll have to find your registration and money.” Take a MONTH to get back to me about it. I tell them, yes I want a refund. nothing’s done. I check back with them monthly only to have it pushed past their Aug 15 date. By that point they will not allow any refunds, and claim that it’s the first they’ve heard from me about a refund, all previous messages have been deleted. I sent them the original, date stamped and all and they don’t believe me.
EC are nothing but money hungry assholes. And despite some of my best friends being published with them, I hope they burn and smoulder.
Yeah, I raised an eyebrow when I saw they signed Farrah for a “sex-tape” trilogy. I had to wonder how they thought she’d fit into the romance market.
I agree with @Sarah Frantz regarding @Guess who is next. If your claim is legitimate, I hope you will consider sharing. There are few things worse, in my opinion, than helpful gossips who coyly withhold the pertinent details. Don’t leave writers, editors, artists, etc. hanging.
I read @guess who is next’s comment as “we all know it’s going to happen again, it’s just a question of who”, not that there is a specific publisher showing early signs of tanking.
@Becky, it sounds pretty specific to me.
That’s a specific company.
If Guess who is next has that kind of detail, it would be a jerk move to withhold it, and let authors, editors, and other artists blithely submit their work to them, knowing those people are going to lose their work and not get paid.
A sad cautionary tale. I agree with the others and hope @guess who shines some light.
I’m assuming Guess Who is Tina Engler and trying to cast aspersions on more successful and better-run epubs. Nice try, honey. Leave your former coworkers alone. They actually know how to run a business.
From EC’s website. Guessing she has fallen down on the job as no one’s been paid in quite awhile!
COURTNEY THOMAS | LEADER
CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER
Courtney’s the money lady, and she has been with the company since its early days, way back at the dawn of the 21st century. She makes sure the bills, royalties, staff and freelancers are paid, and generally guards the entrance to the vaults of gold buried deep within the Cave. She’s a workaholic who somehow manages to retain a sense of humor even when we overdraw the company credit cards.
Self publishing looks better and better with each passing day.
Hard Shell Word Factory opened it’s virtual doors in 1996, Awe-Struck Ebooks a year or so later. Both are now, I believe, imprints of Mundania Press, which isn’t much younger. Zumaya was started in 1999 and published its first title the following year; eXtasy Books was launched in 2003.
Ebook publishing was alive and thriving long before the Kindle. So, as an aside, let me stress that there are many successful ebook publishing houses available for those who would prefer not to self-publish.
Our informal digital publishers organization has heard rumors of this for some time now, and when it was brought up for discussion, the EC representative on the board was silent. This struck us as ominous. I wish I could say this is shocking, but having been involved in this industry pretty much from its inception I have all too often seen this kind of mismanagement occur. It’s always those who have depended on the company for their income—authors, editors, cover artists—who end up with the short end of the virtual stick.
Siren, Total Bound, Samhain, all excellent publishers. :)
Here’s a new wrinkle- as a reader, I heard about this on a website and was linked to this blog. I decided to go to EC and redownload any purchases I had made. I was over there not 10 minutes ago and the site shows me having an open account, but no content purchased! Now, I ask you- who goes to any website and opens an account (including credit card information) without actually buying anything? Of course I had content! I wouldn’t have had an account otherwise. But, the site has cleared my account of previous purchases. So, apparently the customers are going to get screwed as well.
@Justareader — if you could make it through my looonnnng post, you’ll see that isn’t anything new, unfortunately.
For those asking about who Guess Who’s Next is talking about, here’s a link to a discussion on Entangled Publishing. http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=207134&page=69 (look from post 1724). I know the discussion hasn’t touched upon royalties in any great detail other than to say they’re not a fraction as good as EP like to state, but that is purely out of fear of the authors’ being identified if specifics are given. I will say here that I personally know of half-a-dozen authors who have continually had errors in their statements – and always in EPs favour (I won’t go into detail because, as I’ve already said, those authors are afraid it will identify them). Those half-a-dozen know numerous others in the same situation. Like the authors with Ellora’s Cave, the Entangled authors who have wanted to speak out publicly have been afraid to.
What strikes me about this, besides the immorality of gypping authors, is that it’s so unnecessary. It happens in every industry–the mismanaged company that goes under because of greed, but could thrive as a cash cow for ages if run properly. Always baffling. I have one book left there I don’t care about, but I’m sorry for those who are caught up in this. Went through it with Triskelion. Really immoral stuff.
@Jumping In: We at Ellora’s Cave aren’t afraid. We just knew that once the issue went public, the chances of our receiving monies due went down. But it’s out there now, so we have to deal with it.
I actually believe a lot of people at Ellora’s Cave are afraid, and it’s not appropriate to speak for all. I’m not a member of the author yahoogroup anymore because I can’t stomach some of the things said by authors to authors, but I was on the group – and have been around the EC block – long enough to believe some authors are afraid speaking out will result in backlash not only from the company but also from peers. And while my eyebrows rose right off my forehead when I saw that ludicrous INTERPOL screenshot from JB’s Facebook timeline, I don’t for a second doubt that scared some people.
@Just a Reader – If I had an account at EC, I’d close it ASAP. Whatever game Jaid, Patty and their crew are running is going to put them against the wall before long and it’s a short walk from misappropriation of funds, wage theft and stiffing authors and artists to ripping off credit card info. These kinds of things often start with “we’ll fix it when the next money comes in” and ends up with “we planned to pay them back, Your Honor”.
I get the feeling Jaid’s gold-plated life is going to lead her to a trailer park or a prison cell.
@Lynne Connolly: My apologies – a lot of authors at Entangled are scared to speak out because they’re fearful of the repercussions, plus I’d got it in my head that there were Ellora’s Cave authors who wanted to speak anonymously because of the comment that Jane put about using a different email address if posters wanted that anonymity. I’m truly sorry you and all the other Ellora’s Cave authors are having to go through this. It’s diabolical that publishers can treat their authors, their staff and their readers with such callous disregard.
They get overlooked sometimes, but I feel compelled to point out that I’ve never been paid late by Amber Quill Press, and I’ve been with them since 2006. They’re not the biggest player, but they chug along and churn out books and royalty checks.
there will be people who want to comment anonymously. I have a lot to lose, so maybe I should, but I don’t do anonymous.
I don’t hate Jaid and Patty, on the contrary, I’m grateful for a successful 8 year business relationship. But my sales at EC now are too low for me to think about continuing there, and I’ve made arrangements elsewhere for new books.
I’ve learned two things:
1. Never, ever put all your eggs in the same basket. Spread your work around, because nothing lasts forever. Try different kinds of publishing – self-publishing, e-publishing, publishing with larger publishers, and keep it as varied as you can.
2. Keep going. A clusterf**k like this can really stall or even stop a career. If you want to keep writing, keep the books coming. Look to the future. Put a time limit on the hours you spend with the disaster. Keep the books coming so your readers know you’re still there.
Thanks for this article. I must admit I haven’t been following this much but have heard things from time to time. Eye On Romance will have to face the issue of removing Ellora’s Cave as a publisher from our listings as well as the books/authors, since we don’t want to promote a publishing house that isn’t paying their authors.
That is great advice, Lynne. Put a limit on the time and energy you invest in the disaster. I put too much energy into messes big and small, and it can crush your interest in writing. Very demoralizing stuff.
As a point of ebook history, I had a novella, SAVAGE GAMESWOMAN, with Hard Shell Publishing during the year, 1997. This was before the Wolfe’s purchased the company because one of the original owners became ill. She sent me a personal letter to let me know about the change. I would have stayed with them except for the fact that they demanded final editing privileges. As a writer that worried me. I prefer to work in partnership with an editor.
Anyway, as an author with Siren Publishing, I can say so far, so good. They’ve never missed a payment *knock on wood*.
That said, I had one book with the ill-fated, corrupt ASPEN MOUNTAIN PRESS … and it was my lowest selling book, according to their records. Now, of course, I have to wonder.
And has been mentioned, self-publishing seems to be a good direction, which I have done recently. Although, given the current ‘situation’ with Amazon… well, there are major challenges to the Indie author now developing.
I don’t make enough money to matter to them and I’d love to pretend shock but I can’t. I knew what I was getting into. After all, the stories of weird behavior from the owner were around before I was published with them. Sadly, I had one Sci Fi that had been rejected by Kensington (because erotic sci fi didn’t sell well) and I really wanted to see that book in print. Which I did get to see this summer. I’ve loved both my editors there and was sad to see them both go. With the amount of strange behavior from Tina Engler including a very public exposure of her husband’s criminal activity and jail time, informing the internet she is dying and now, her revelation that we’re all going to be reported to interpol, I’ve decided to cut my losses. I haven’t made a general announcement, leaving readers to make their own choices. But I am sure that I won’t see royalties or anything else out of this mess.
I did get out from under my contract with the rejection of my last book which I am now free to sub elsewhere or self publish. What a shame. I’m not just an author at EC, but an avid reader who has bought many many books from them. After 8 years in publishing, I can no longer stress out over this stuff. At this point, bankruptcy would probably be better than the short staffed, uncertain future with EC.
I don’t really have a horse in this particular race. I neither purchase from nor publish with EC. I’m just wondering about the mentality of a person who would make an idiotic public post like the one this Jaid Black maid. What a freaking moronic, BS thing to say to people. She’s like that idiot at the singles bar who’s a covert government agent that can’t talk about his job or he’ll have to kill you. I’m sorry, but this chick has personality issues that all that fantastic money she’s rolling in can’t fix.
Seconding Darlene Marshall regarding Amber Quill Press. While I solely self publish now, I still have books with them. A very professional outfit that has never missed paying me quarterly royalties, have always been quick with replies to inquiries and are polite and informative in their responses. They’ve also been very easy to work with on other miscellaneous matters as well.
I look at what EC is currently doing to their authors and have heard plenty of other horror stories regarding other publisher shenanigans and am tempted to paint all of them with the same tainted brush. Then I remember AQP. I make very little money from them (thus I self publish), but they have always been upstanding and professional – a credit to their industry.
I’d rather be indie, which is the route I took. I’ve heard Samhain is having some issues too. Not financial, but other issues. Editorial or something? I don’t recall specifics. However, I always found Cristina a lot more professional if you’re comparing the two owners. Samhain seems to have stabler business as well.
The best e-pub I ever worked with as far as professionalism is Loose-Id. If I weren’t going the indie path, I’d be publishing with them. Changeling Press is good too, if you write w/i their niche of shorter series with paranormal aspects.
I only acquired a tab (thus e-readers) some 3-4 years ago and at the time I bought EC books direct (Amazon was a teensy bit more expensive, and I didn’t know about the wonderful Kobo coupons then). Their customer service/support had been excellent and personal. I thought perhaps because they were a small publisher? I think I even managed to have them sent me ePub version of the earlier purchases by e-mail! These days, I rarely visit, let alone purchase from, their site. :(
I was appalled to hear how they treated their authors and editors.
Go for it. I make about five times the amount I did with EC annually going the indie route.,
I don’t know, Lyne. I was personally a little afraid. I’ve seen some of the crazy unleashed on certain authors over the years, so it was daunting. It still is, but they account for such a small portion of my income these days that I’m not as concerned about speaking out. I feel bad in a way, because there are some good people and a couple of exceptional editors at the company, but the company has been mismanaged. When I haven’t been paid for three out of the last nine months (never in a row to avoid breaching the quarterly payment terms), I lose a lot of that loyalty/fear that kept me quiet. Even worse is when I’m ignored or put off when I request the rights back on books that expired months or even years ago. I don’t want to escalate to legal representation, but I think it might come to that. It’s sad, because EC gave me my start, and Martha Punches, Ann Richardson, and Shannon Hull helped me become a better writer. I’m just glad I had another option and stopped publishing with them years ago.
To be utterly pedantic about it, the first ebook was created in 1971, when Michael Hart typed the US Constitution into a computer, and started Project Gutenberg.
Well being an individual who used to work for EC many years I can Most certainly confirm that there are some odd goings on happening within the EC accounting dept. So much so that…. Among the Officers of the company Embezzlement accusations were brought up against one another along with Money mishandling, impulse buying, hiding assets, perpetual lying to employees, editors, freelancer contractors, models and authors. While. There are other numerous issues the main topic has inevitably been focused on the accounting dept i.e. income and finances, theft, fraud, non-payments,etc etc … the list goes on and on. Essentially the only way they have survived in the industry this long is due to the fact that they are masters at conducting their business in a way commonly known as “ROBBING FROM PETER TO PAY PAUL”. I suppose one could expect this sort of behavior from a company who named their uneducated-simple-minded cleaning lady… CFO of the entire business! This is not a joke, a lie or an exaggeration!!! (She actually obtained her GED while in this position… (in my opinion She prolly should have stuck to running vacuums and not FINANCES)
Anywho… These are nothing more than Glorified, Greedy, Self important, manipulative bully Pigs who literally consume everything and everyone they encounter.
Its a shame that its finally come down to this, alot of Good People, dear friends and colleagues are going to get burned in the end.
As always I like to be remain an Optimist tho… Who knows.. . Maybe the hundreds-of-thousands-of-dollars Patty Marks spent in 2013 on FUCKING COSTUME JEWELRY will payoff and actually sell at RCon 2014 or in their Liquidation, oops I mean Ebay store…
I broke up with EC fairly publicly last summer. I requested my rights back, informed my editor–since laid off–that she wouldn’t be getting another manuscript from us because the contract had become such a rights grab (life of copyright? REALLY? Why do you still need my book 50 years after I’m dead?) and the house style had become onerous to the point of unbearable. And because my last book was saddled with a terrible blurb and warning that destroyed EVERY reviewer’s interest.
My checks have been steadier than most people’s but also steadily shrinking. April’s was $4, for 2 short stories and 5 novels (they reverted 2 of the shorts back to me in Feb, and I got 3 of the novels and 1 more short back in August) Not even a write-up on USA Today’s website salvaged sales of my next-to-last novel.
I’ve been saying for some years they aren’t keeping up with the times. The waiting 2.5 years to release a paperback? That’s bad practice. People want their choice of formats, all formats, on release day. The distribution practices changed for the worse around 2007. In 2005, every bookstore’s romance trade section was dominated by EC paperbacks. You might find one, probably Lora Leigh, if you go into a bookstore today.
I’m done. I’m out. And I’m shutting up. I did not speak ill of Torquere when I left them, and have sent authors there over the years. I will, however, warn authors away from EC.
@Angelia Sparrow: @Angelia Sparrow:
Angelia, were you successful in regaining your rights? If so, how long did it take, and who did you deal with? Thanks.
I’ve been terrified to say anything publicly. It isn’t just dealing with the repercussions at EC; it’s also the fear that you’ll make yourself undesirable to other publishers. Who wants to be seen as a troublemaker?
Ms. Black claims on her Facebook page that this is all lies. There is no proof. I wish someone would call her out and ask which parts are a lie. When was the last time her editors and artists were paid? Is she claiming they have been? Is she saying it’s untrue that authors have been told their books will be copyedited and released without their input? Even though a lot of us have gotten those emails? Does she really want us to start posting these things publicly as proof?
Or may she just doesn’t have a clue as to what’s going on at her company. Maybe she really does think everything is fine and this is all made up by “haters”. She said herself that she lives in her own little bubble. Maybe Patty isn’t telling her what’s going on. I’d prefer to think that rather than think she’s blatantly lying on her FB page.
No @me too I’m not Tina Engler. As @jumping in pointed you in the correct direction I’ll let you know I’m an Entangled author and fully expect this same post to be repeated next year for them. But as our fearless leader has already made comments to authors about tracking IP addresses I’ll let you know I’m posting from a public library. That’s how bad things have got and that’s why I couldn’t reply last night.
Isn’t Entangled associated somehow with St. Martins/MacMillan?
I am so, so sorry to hear that some people actually are afraid. I said it because I’m in touch with a lot of EC authors, and the tone on the author list is anger, rather than fear. I hadn’t heard that anyone was scared in this instance. Please don’t let them bully you.
Email me privately if you want to talk, and I swear I won’t let anything go any further. Just a bit of author solidarity, that’s all, and I know it helps to talk.
My experience mirrors some of the others. At the top of game, they were great to work with and the (old) website easy to use.
Maybe I should start an Authors Against Publisher Bullying group? (wow, that really would make me popular!)
And these days, at KT points out, we do have the self-publish option. So far, despite doing everything right, it hasn’t taken off for me, but I’m only publishing backlist, so maybe it’s new work that takes the cake. However, I’ve found new outlets for my work that I’m very happy with.
Authors are always out of the publisher loop. They are always the last to hear about anything, probably on purpose, sometimes even after the readers.
Guess who is next,
I appreciate your decision to speak out. I’m sorry you and other authors feel threatened. I hope this issue is resolved in a positive manner.
So do I, but I’m not optimistic about positive resolution.
I’ve known for…well quite a while ’cause of some author friends about the whole EC fiasco and have only been more depressed over the whole mess each time it comes out and is worse. I remember being 17 and being a total ninja in ordering the books from EC (since I didn’t have a credit card nor paypal account it took some…omissions of truth for me to convince my parents to let me use them to order books). I think I stopped reading them sometime around 22 or so – except for the occasional title from a favorite or a backlist title, I had found easier pastures to get my kick. And I became friends with several of those authors who cautioned me when I thought of submitting.
The dealio with Entangled…:sigh: I love a lot of their stuff so very much. But its another one where I have a number of author (and a couple former editor for them) friends there who cautioned me away when I was thinking about submitting. And its why I’m so hesitant to buy their stuff lately too. From a loyal fan/reader standpoint it can be so frustrating on the one hand I WANT to support the authors I love, but on the other I don’t want to support the bad practices.
An Open Letter to Ms. Engler and Ms. Marks,
By the way of introduction, you may call me ‘Adam’, though you know me under another name. We have been acquainted in various means throughout many years, via the publishing company. I have met many of you. I have worked beside you, many a time, at a convention, often times unpaid labor. My spouse, and many, many friends, have generated much income for the company through their hard work & hard labor. We have dined together, you have deigned to take me into your confidence a time or twenty.
I thought you were the voice of the disenfranchised. How far you’ve come from those humble beginnings, Ms. Engler. I am ever so pleased to see that my family’s income is keeping your lifestyle intact. I’ve been a property owner in Southern California many aeons. I know what a ‘compound’ in Venice, blocks away from the beach costs. And yours sleeps six or more? Would we be off base to expect it quite might be in this range, dear lady? http://losangeles.craigslist.org/wst/apa/4669050015.html Or, might we be ensconced in a compound the likes of this? http://losangeles.craigslist.org/wst/apa/4651238340.html
Welfare mother done good, my ass. Those humble beginnings may have suited you well on the Montell Williams show. But, you have not only ditched the ‘common man’, you ditched everyone who got you your sun & fun California lifestyle. Instead of expressing worry, or concern, or common decency that hundreds have not been paid on time, instead you have yet another temper tantrum cum health crisis. And your M O has always been to attack. Does it service your company, or do your employees, any good to hear that they are ‘bat shit stone-cold fuck nuts’, from your Facebook page 9/14/14. Well well, Tina, you are, as always, the epitome of class and a bastion for which womanhood should aspire.
Wasn’t it you who told me at Romanticon ™, who cares if one of the models inappropriately touched a teenaged fan, that is what the fans are here for? Wasn’t it you bragging about how endowed some of the Cavemen were because you had personal experience? Wasn’t it you who said it didn’t matter how a book was crafted, or how many typos were in it, as long as it was nasty? As the father of teenaged daughters, this is something I am very unlikely to forget, and a life lesson I want my girls far, far away from. Were this the first such incident, it would have been perturbing. But, this was just the latest in the chain of strippers behaving inappropriately with women, sometimes for money. See Romantic Times, circa 2008 and the semi-public sex one of your Cavemen engaged in for money.
After these incidents, I requested my spouse extract herself from your lair, your inner circle of yes woman, and ‘anything you want, goddess’ men. I am ever so thankful she did at that time. Whilst she did keep working for you, she was utterly uninterested to become enmeshed in your personal drama, your catfights with fans and readers. I encouraged her to take her talents elsewhere,. But, she had love in her heart, and care for the ‘little people’ in your company. More fool, my brilliant but soft-hearted wife.
The disdain for which you treat your authors, Ms. Engler, is a masterwork in nastiness and narcissism. Instead of addressing their concerns on any sort of direct mailing list forum, you instead call them liars and demand they provide proof. I challenge you to do the same. Show the records that every freelancer you laid off without notice has been paid, checks have been issued, and checks have been cashed. You cannot do it, as most of those freelancers have not been paid since late spring or early summer. The contracts don’t stipulate that these individuals are paid at the whims of the company. Their graphic arts & editorial talents were stolen, until such time as each & every individual is paid in full.
Furthermore, speak to Ms. Ashton and Ms. Grant. If you’re on the level, & they agree to the release of information, show that their checks were dated on the same week they were mailed, not several months later, and show that they were cashed and their royalty accounts are up to date. One incident can be blamed on the postal service. But, dozens and dozens of these ‘lost checks’ seem to crop up since 2012. Perhaps there is willful incompetence at every level of the company. But, this starts to sound like creative accounting from a high school dropout who is cowed by the Engler/Marks domineering ways.
I’m given to understand that Romanticon ™ will be going on as if nothing is amiss. Wouldn’t it be wiser to shift some of those monies toward paying the people that produce the products you’re promoting? Or, is that you are promoting, in your direct words to me, ‘Beefcake and tight asses. It’s a weekend party where the fat middle-aged women get to live out their fantasy with hot men who wouldn’t look at their saggy bodies twice.’
Ms. Engler do you really think your cadre of male strippers flutters round you like butterflies because you’re such a sterling conversationalist? They go where the money goes.
Is there are reason why you, Ms. Engler, have not yet directly addressed your authors? You certainly are outspoken on your social media accounts! And Ms. Marks, is this where you want the company to end? You have had some brilliant ideas, when not countermanded by your A D D daughter, who has no business being in a business of this size. How many times have you had to muzzle her? I, personally, can think of several powder-kegs she’s set off. While Ms. Engler writes fantastic books, she has proven herself to be a loose cannon. And, when the business rests on her reputation, the yes men and women can’t be paid enough to outstrip the chorus singing something is wrong in the state of EC. I have an elephant’s memory, and I do rather clearly remember Ms. Engler’s time as Ms. Keen and her defense of her murderer husband. Illustrative example of her bad choices.
I can attest, with a certainty, that a company owing as much in tax debt, and individually as Ms. Engler, and EC do have no business throwing a flesh & fantasy party. Some may call it irresponsible, some may call it disrespectful. Others bordering on criminal.
Owing the debts you owe, and the creative accounting, and the lack of payment is not good. Willful ignorance and attacks are moderating frustration and worry to anger. I expect this situation will end up in court somewhere and someone will be wearing orange as the new black. It remains to be seen how many of you will go down with this ship. But, I have definite confidence the investigations and lawsuits will provide Dear Author with much to write about in the days, weeks, and months to come.
You have frightened, cowed, and harassed too many people, Ms. Engler, Ms. Marks. Those of us who can stand up for our loved ones terrorized, bullied, & oppressed by you will be their voices. We’re among those who will not take this any more.
@guesswhoisnext hadn’t heard that about Entangled. Thought you meant Siren after that publisher filed claims against them cooking books and the suits with their author they extorted. It’s getting to the point you can’t trust any of the publishers or can find an author that hasn’t been screwed over at least once.
I really can’t add anything to what has been posted in the comments. However, until retirement, I had a long career in IT security. Black’s post is pure BS. So, if you (anyone who has attempted to contact her previously or may want to contact her in the future) wish to contact her through an anon account, the best she can do is trace your IP address back to your internet provider. Without a warrant (which will not be issued without probable cause) she cannot get any more information. A trace route may get her a little more information, but you can feel pretty secure that her threats are totally bogus. (Gotta say this: I love that remark about sending the info to Interpol. If she’s doing this, I would bet the farm they are having at good laugh at her expense. Yes, pun intended.)
Why post this information? Because you should not feel cowed, intimidated, bullied or constrained in the least about speaking your mind and telling your story. As long as you can prove everything you say, there is no way she can suppress your First Amendment rights. Confidentiality clause in that contract? Yeah, I’d like to see her try to enforce that if you’re telling the truth. After all, you have the right to sue. Well, court records are PUBLIC INFORMATION.
Stand up. Tell your story. Do so knowing you have a lot of support out there. And thanks to all of those speaking out about those who are trying to screw authors.
Karma is a b*tch, Jaid Black. Remember that.
I’ve spent way too long reading this entire thread!
For what it’s worth, I still get my check from EC every month, and the amount has been pretty consistent for the last four years (on five books published with EC six years ago). From listening to others’ experiences, I wonder if the problems are primarily affecting authors who have published with them more recently. I haven’t seen any drop in sales numbers with my EC titles this year. They’re low but steady. I keep hoping for the sales to drop more so I can get my rights back, but one of my books gets recommended online periodically and then people start buying the books again. I’ve been in the odd situation of praying no one buys these books for five years now. My sympathy goes out to all of the authors who are dealing with this.
I’d echo Lynne Connolly’s advice from above about not putting all your eggs in one publishing basket (any basket). Not just because all your eggs might go splat if the basket falls apart, but also because you can take advantage of the different benefits that each publishing option offers you.
I had the same problem JustaReader. I’ve been buying books at EC since 2003 and purchased hundreds of books until 2010. I went a couple of weeks ago and noticed my library was empty. Just another reason I use amazon or allromanceebooks. I used to follow the owner of elloras cave, I really loved her sci fi series. Then she never finished it! She kept putting out there that it was coming, then there were personal issues, then nothing. I gave up after a couple of years. Then the books they offered weren’t as good. Lora Leigh, and many others stopped writing on there. I have over a thousand books from amazon.com plus many others from random publishers, if I like you as an author, I’ll follow you wherever. I feel bad that one crazy can ruin so many authors chances. Good luck to you all.
As an Ellora’s Cave author I understand the fear and concern. I thank all of you who provided information but because I still haven’t learned when to keep my mouth shut just wanted to point out that calling someone an “uneducated-simple-minded cleaning lady” is so very not cool. Regardless of the CFO’s supposed lack of education dismissing her as nothing more than an “uneducated-simple-minded cleaning lady” is rather disgusting. Uneducated and simple-minded are not synonymous. There are quite a few people who lack a formal education but are far from simple-minded. Cesar Chavez being one of them. And what’s wrong with people a cleaning lady? It is a legitimate job and a damn hard one.
Okay, back on subject. I don’t wish any negativity for EC, Ms. Engler or any other EC personnel involved. My one and only concern are my books. Like many of us, I don’t know how this will end but I can only hope it will end with a positive outcome for all involved. I’ve never been in this situation before (And pray God never will be again) but the information Dear Author and the other authors have provided has been greatly appreciated. It makes me feel a little better (like a tiny teeny bit because seriously what kind a jerk is happy she isn’t the only one getting screwed?) that none of us are alone in this situation.
@Just A Reader: I also tried re-downloading my previous purchases from EC and I had zero purchases shown on there. I do have all my previous purchases on flashdrives. It is very sad this idc happening because I started buying E books from EC long before I had a Kindle. I loved EC. I feel so sorry for all the authorswho area going through this trouble regarding their works.
While I agree with Miss Peterson that name-calling is unnecessary and insulting, I DO find it interesting that EC’s CFO may not have graduated from high school. If true…wow.
Glad Turned EC Down, I know of and have followed one prolific author’s fight with Siren regarding the rights to her books. Are there more Siren lawsuits? What’s this about another publisher suing Siren about cooked books? Or did I misread this?
Many of the publishers I thought of as good bets appear to be having a hard time behind the scenes. As someone who hasn’t felt quite ready to dip her toe in the self-pub pool, I’m stunned and saddened.
@Emma, Ms. Engler has often used Ms. Thomas’ education as an excuse, and I, personally witnessed her referring to Ms. Thomas, not as simple minded, but a much worse term. Her education and intelligence was besmirched. Ms. Engler used this as an excuse why people were not being paid in a timely manner & why royalties were not correctly calculated. She finally, after tremendous pressure, helped facilitate Ms. Thomas’ GED studies & education in accounting, but Ms. Thomas had been in charge of the financials for some time without possessing a high school diploma or any relevant experience.
Whilst I found Ms. Thomas to be a delightful young woman, I questioned, many times, what qualifications Ms. Thomas had to be responsible for such complex accounting methods, as she was, at that time, Ms. Engler’s former housekeeper, who had not yet attained her GED, & was solely & directly responsible for the monetary handling of millions.
I am a publisher (not associated with EC!). This gives all of us hard working ePublishers a bad name which is a shame. There are still a few good presses out there (like us!) that are not crooked or shady. I have used an alias to remain anonymous. But there are honest publishers still out there! Just do you due diligence when looking for one. Talk to your fellow authors; research the crap out of the publisher before you sign anything.
Joe Smith, is there a way to let us know the name of your pub?
I’d been thinking of submitting to Entangled. I thought they were the only professional small press remaining, the only one run by adults with competence and integrity. I’m very disappointed to learn otherwise.
Is part of the problem that so many of these small presses are started up by writers who are doing it mainly to promote their own work? And then when they get bored with running a press or just can’t handle the workload, to hell with the writers who’ve signed on?
I’ve turned up huge negatives with just about every small press out there, including the ones who started out so promisingly with assurances of timely communication and excellent editing.
I’ve seen writers defend even shaky presses, and pub researching may not uncover anything. But I guess due diligence is the only slim protection we have.
Someone just posted at AW that the Ellora’s Cave Managing Editor has announced her resignation.
I received notice that both Whitney Mihalik, the managing editor, and Susan Edwards, the chief operating officer, have resigned.
As a reader, I’m deeply disturbed to discover that Ms Black is married to a murderer ( he killed his girlfriend and attempted to kill her 14 yo daughter): she even gave an interview justifying his act ( saying that we all do mistakes etc.). I learned that from Karen Knows Best blog.
I’m extremely disgusted by this situation and deeply regret ever reading EC’s books because money went into her pocket, and apparently she even stole from the authors.
I only have one book at EC, and it got caught in that “accounting system” delay last fall. Interestingly enough, since I raised hell about it, my checks have been timely. Of course, with only one book they are minuscule, but they are timely. Having been through this with Genesis in the past I recognized the signs immediately. They are definitely robbing peter….
Anon, of the three publishers I’ve had thus far, Loose Id is the only one that was a straight shooter. They kept their word on everything they told me. Checks were always on time. Editing was thorough, but not crazy. And did I mention checks were always on time? I can’t recommend them highly enough.
I’m an EC author in the Blush line which gets ZERO sales. My books have tanked. Reading this turns my stomach and makes me sad that I’ll never get my rights back.
@anon: Just hover your mouse over Joe’s name on his post.
Joe, you are not doing “anonymous” right. (Then again, I’m a cynic who thinks it was on purpose)
I’ve been through a small press implosion and my sympathies go to everyone at EC facing this. I was lucky to get my rights back, though never saw the year’s worth of back royalties I was owed. It was worth it to get out from underneath the sinking ship. You’re not alone. One of the things that helped us get through our press going down was our small author group. I still communicate with many of them today and it made all the difference in getting through the situation and moving on. Hugs to everyone struggling with this right now.
@Michelle Miles: Check your contract. If it’s boilerplate, then you CAN get the books back fro low sales. Requirements state it must be 18 months after publication and under 100 copies sold in the previous 12 months. I’ve put in requests for all mine that qualify.
This is pretty terrifying, especially for new writers. I really feel for the writers who are caught in the middle of such a mess.
I couldn’t agree more. Siren Publishing has been rock solid for me. I’ve been with them since 2012 and I’ve never had a missed payment, never questioned the royalties received and have had nothing but professionalism from them. The same goes for Evernight Publishing who has been incredible to write for and work for. @Heartbrokenauthor:
Wait. I have a technical question for the legal eagle. You said that if a publisher goes bankrupt, the author’s rights can be sold? I thought something else happened via the terms of the contract – I thought they most often reverted to the author. is that not the case?
@Eva Lefoy: No, they are part of the assets of the corporation. https://dearauthor.com/features/letters-of-opinion/authors-rights-when-a-publisher-files-bankruptcy/
@jane that’s truly frightening! I had no idea the law worked that way.
The books under contract, even those not published are property to be sold to settle debts in the bankruptcy court.
@Eva Lefoy: This is why it’s important to request reversion rights before bankruptcy paperwork is filed. I’ve requested, but the publisher contractually has 6 months to ‘consider’ my request. If the company goes belly-up before that, and they fail to revert rights before filing court paperwork, I could lose my books.
I highly recommend any EC author out there with books released prior to March, 2013, and having under 100 copies sold (this includes free downloads) in the previous 12 months send in a reversion request.
I am finding that what I thought the contract said and what it actually means is something different. Mine clearly states that if publisher goes bankrupt or liquidates business etc, author may terminate agreement by written notice within 60 days after receipt of that notice and all rights return to author. But apparently – that’s not quite the case. As a low priority creditor and also a company asset, you might find your rights tied up for a long time. I would love the legal eagle to tell me that’s not true. I have 19 pieces with EC – most full length novels. The lack of communication has me very upset.
@EC Author: Who do you recommend to contact about rights reversion? I have one book with them which has reached the end of its contract term, and one with a few years to go but which is (according to said contract) out of print, at least according to the accounting I’ve received.
Mind you, will any of that make any difference?
@Kate: It’s a contract issue, so rights reversions would be handled via the contracts email address. ([email protected]) This is the same address from which you received your contract and ought to be in your address book, or in a saved contract email.
I am not an EC author. But I know many of them, I call them friends.
I have 3 words for EC authors: CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT.
IANAL: The bankruptcy clause is standard in a lot of contracts, but the general reaction I’ve heard regarding it from lawyers is that it’d never stand up. It’s like those disclaimers you get on fanfiction – a nice idea, but no defence against actually being sued. I’ve also seen speculation about what would happen if it was challenged in court, but doubt anyone here wants to be that guinea pig.
With regards to concerns with Samhain, as far as I know it boiled down to a less author friendly contract. A red flag, but not one that signals imminent meltdown. Most publishers will through up flags like that from time to time, even the big five.
As an EC author I am just saddened by this. I’m just a little fish in that big pond, but I enjoyed my relationship with EC for quite awhile. Up until last year, the monthly checks were a nice little addition to the Pierce budget. The last two however, wouldn’t even buy a full meal at a fast food restaurant … and that would be the royalty on 7 books! All I want at this point is to get the rights back to the rest of my books. I’d hate for them to go down with a sinking ship.
@EC Author: thanks. It’s been a while, but I can probably find it with a few pointers (I’ve got the paper copies of course). I guess it’s worth a try!
@Kate: I emailed contracts then sent a registered letter with reversion dates (as per our contract). I got an email response the day they signed for the letter.
Okay, so our books can be sold to another entity to pay the publisher’s debts…but I’m not clear on the impact of this after the fact. Is the new “owner” of our contracts legally bound to abide by the terms, ie pay us ongoing royalties?
My lawyer sent a reversion demand per the less-than-100 copies-sold rule in the contract AND the apparent imminent liquidation of the company. EC still refused to revert. Considering other options.
I’m not sure this is correct, because there is a bankruptcy clause in my contracts from 2010 and 2011, both of which were fairly boilerplate (so probably everyone got the same ones). Ellora’s Cave has returned rights to 2 or my 4 titles with them, and are ignoring my requests for the other two. So clause aside, I think it’s time I consult a lawyer. Sad that the fees will negate (probably exceed) any and all royalties I ever earned from them.
Going Indie now, and never going back.
@Pamela: Yeah the b-ruptcy clause isn’t enforceable. You can read the Triskelion link upthread.
@J Rose Allister: Yes, basically that’s what happens. Instead of EC, you would have a different “publisher” in your contract.
Jane, do you know what the situation would be for books that are contracted but not due until after the bankruptcy is filed? Would they still be contracted to the new owner? Would the author be in breach if they never submitted?
@Ros: I would assume, but don’t know for sure, that whatever rights and responsibilities are due under the contract exist under the contract when in b-ruptcy. It’s just during B-ruptcy, the Trustee manages those assets.
I’m an EC author. When I requested rights back, I received an email within 24 hours stating that after reviewing my numbers, the rights would revert to me in 6 months from the date of my request. However I know several who have done this and never received the final reversion of rights notice. When you say you’ve been ignored concerning reversion of rights, do you mean no one has contacted you or your grace period is up and you haven’t received final notice?
@Jane: That makes sense.
@Honor James: I know, Siren’s amazing. You know me, doll ;)
What options remain? I’m planning to hire Elaine English to get the rights reverted, but I am reluctant to spend hundreds or thousands if they’ll just ignore her too.
With Triskelion there was talk of making a case that an author’s contract was not an asset without the cooperation of the author, ie without the author’s goodwill, the contract wouldn’t generate income. That would have taken it out of consideration in bankruptcy cases, as the courts only seize assets. But it would take a brave person to take that path. A benevolent one, too.
My best advice is to wait, and while you’re waiting get on with a new book for a new publisher. Don’t spend all your time on this, or your career will stall. Deal with it the best you can, send in your reversion requests (signed for mail and email) and get on with something new.
Lynne, that is the best advice ever.
The hardest thing is not to be distracted by all the drama. I’m going to move on, do what I can and not worry about this stuff. There’s nothing I can do and watching the implosion doesn’t change a thing.
I’m grateful that authors I knew at the beginning of my career told me not to put my eggs in one basket. I’m an EC author, but I have books with Loose-Id and other publishers. But if I was only with EC, the first thing I’d do is start writing a book for a different pub.
I had one book published with them three years back that was never a good seller so the fact I haven’t received royalties since April isn’t financially crushing. I’ve requested the rights revert under a clause in the contract saying if sales fall below a certain figure, I can ask for it back, so we’ll see how that pans out. I’m itching to revise that book. My editor (who has now been fired along with many others) was lovely but it felt as if there was a template I had to match, write by numbers.
What made me decide they weren’t for me was being told to insert ‘cock’ into the ms twenty more times to make it hotter. And being told not to use semicolons.
@Lynne Connolly: I’m sort of taking that route. I’m a debut author. My book came out last month. If EC does indeed fold I may never see a penny from that book (my first royalty check isn’t due until December.) At this point, I’m moving forward and looking at my EC release as exposure. And if I do end up getting any royalties? Well, that’s just a nice little surprise. Best of luck to all the authors who are much more entangled with EC.
@K.T.: I got most of my rights back, for stuff that was 5 years old or more. It took over a year. I went through the contract department, and have no idea who say my letters. I wrote on August 1. They said “6 months.” I wrote on March 1, seven months, and reminded them. They reverted three short stories and I asked about novels. In mid August, three of my five novels reverted back.
@Kenzi: Small press is small, but I already have a (minuscule) reputation as a gadfly. I’ve left Torquere, Phaze, Dark Roast and Ellora’s Cave in the last 6 years. I’ve let another house know I won’t be writing for their anthologies anymore because I do not like the new editor. I do not find her competent, knowledgeable or professional.
Never be afraid to speak up. If you get a rep as a whistle-blower, there are a bajillion other small presses, some of whom will be proud to have you.
@Savanna Kougar: @Savanna Kougar: could you be more specific as to the current situation with Amazon?
I’m not sure what other options exist at this point. I already consulted a separate attorney and paid him out-of-pocket to describe options, and he said that if they refused to revert under the 100-copy rule before the 18-month mark (as it was in my case) there was little you could do but wait. He also said that many publishers simply cave when you send them a tersely-worded demand on an attorney’s letterhead, but EC basically told me and my representation to suck it when we did it. I’ve never had trouble getting rights back on non-selling books from any other publisher, either.
I honestly don’t understand their reasoning—-it makes no financial sense for them to hold onto rights to books that aren’t selling because they’re so overpriced. My other books are self-published, priced according to market conditions, and they sell better than my EC titles ever did.
Some anons have suggested EC may have resorted to creative bookkeeping. Your books’ (and I include every EC author) may not be selling as little as the royalty statements suggest.
I did go over to the other post linked above (re: Triskelion) but there weren’t any comments from Triskelion authors about the ending outcome. Did Triskelion ever officially file for bankruptcy, or just close it’s doors? If any former Triskelion authors could let us know how that situation ended up for them, it might help the Ellora’s Cave authors know what to expect. And didn’t the same thing just happen with another publisher called Red Rose or something like that?
@Pamela: I did address this…but maybe it wasn’t here. Yes, it went to bankruptcy court. I lived in Phx where the proceedings were held and I followed it closely. That was when we learned for a fact the clause in a contract about bankruptcy is totally useless.
A group of authors hired a lawyer. I did not. One person in the group who hired the lawyer was a close friend and I was in an anthology with her that made it to #2 on Amazon, shortly before the fall. In the end, when the contracts were sold in an OPEN auction, Loose ID bought them with the exception of those that were still tied up because there was a lawyer involved. Loose ID returned the rights to the authors…no strings attached. A month or so later the lawyered-up authors got their rights back.
Ironically enough, now here I am in OH. Sigh. If this goes to court, it will not be a expeditious as Triskelion, by virtue of the size of assets in comparison. My question would be: Are there assets in the name of the corporation in other states? i.e., CA.
Siren bought them, although Loose Id offered, too. But it would have been foolish for them to bid against each other, since both publishers were planning to immediately revert the rights. I still have the reversion letter, just in case!
Thanks are due to both publishers, for offering to do this. The contracts didn’t fetch a lot of money.
@Popcorn Eater I have no evidence that I’ve gotten “creative” statements. I’ve followed Amazons sales/sales ranks on my own (they are pathetic); ditto for B&N. Sales direct from the EC site are nonexistent because almost nobody buys books that way anymore. The statements I’ve received reflect both. If in fact they file for bankruptcy, that data would come out in court anyway, but I think it’s far-fetched.
Here’s what I think—-Jaid Black has been using the EC operating funds to support herself for years, not paying taxes, etc. She could get away with that so long as sales were robust, but when everything tanked, it was not feasible because the money dried up. Their staff has all quit, likely because they weren’t being paid. Long story short, the company was mismanaged and it did not respond to changing market conditions. I don’t buy into conspiracy theories without evidence.
I think you are exactly right Anon.– I had a publisher (small Christian press) do the same thing to me and her other authors a few years ago. And she admitted to using our money to live on–but luckily the amounts we lost were very small compared to income earned at EC. Still equally frustrating.
Yes, I’m anonymous, because one clause in my contract threatens me if I speak out, and I don’t trust EC. At all.
There is another clause that intrigues me though, and it’s the one that says Ellora’s Cave will file for an official copyright with the US office. This was not done. Not under my real name, not under my pen name, and as far as I can tell, they haven’t filed for anyone. Not a single Ellora’s Cave author.
I hope this is considered a breech? Any EC authors have their contracts looked over by a pro that could answer that?
My troubles with this publisher began almost immediately. I won’t relate the entire story here. BUT I’d love to have my rights back so I can pretend I never had anything to do with the company.
@anon: @Lynne Connolly: So the publisher who bought the rights did it out of generosity? They didn’t get anything out of it?
@Kaetrin: I’m don’t know whether they got any money, but it’s pretty clear that they got quite a bit of goodwill from the authors directly involved, as well as a not insignificant amount of good publicity among all writers (published or looking to submit) who were aware of the shenanigans during the implosion.
So regardless of how altruistic their motives, I believe there were some net benefits to giving the authors their rights back.
Yes, Kaetrin, they did. That was one of the best things to come out of the whole fiasco. They got nothing from it, except our gratitude.
@azteclady: Is there anything wrong with that?
@azteclady: @Lynne Connolly: That’s good to know. It’s nice when corporations do nice things for altruistic reasons. I don’t think it happens all that often.
@Lynne Connolly: There is absolutely nothing wrong with doing something decent–and more than decent–for others and being rewarded for it.
I was never privy to what prompted their decision to purchase those rights and then revert them to the authors–for all I know, it was done out of pure goodness in their hearts, without any consideration to the consequences.
Whether that is the case or not, they did do something very, very decent for a large number of people, and that in itself is good karma.
But I would be disingenuous to say that the publisher did not benefit from that in any way, because they did.
There’s something at the back of my tiny brain re: Loose ID from when they started years ago.I think the company was started by Treva Harte & Doreen DeSalvo,both writers I think, & I’m 90% certain that they were both being published in the early days of E romance(when it seemed to me – as a reader- ,that companies were popping up,only to disappear without a trace,within a couple of years).. If so, that certainly would explain why they had the courtesy & kindness to return the publishing rights to the Triskelion writers
No personal experience with EC, either as a writer or reader. I got one look at that company RV and decided it was just not my style. I’m only posting to remind newer authors to READ THE CONTRACT – no matter how exciting it is to get that contract, don’t just sign it without reading. There should be a clause saying that in the event of bankruptcy, RIGHTS REVERT TO THE AUTHOR. If a company is sold, then the new company should be held to the original contract terms. It never hurts to ask for negotiation in terms.
I personally wouldn’t sign anything over 5 years with an indie company. If your book doesn’t sell well enough, the big guys are still often willing to just give you your rights back (had this experience with Tangled Web.) When a small company goes down (the Silver debacle last year), rights can be tied up for years.
Self-publishing is something I’ve thought of but… if you are plagiarized, you’re on our own. And that is expensive.
I’ve recently moved on to Dreamspinner on the basis of recommendations from other writers, and so far their high praise seems to be merited.
I hope the writers in this EC mess get their rights back promptly!
Just read some of the bankruptcy ‘reversion’ problems. Checked my DSP contract and it does say that rights “immediately” revert upon filing. I don’t know if that would make a difference but sometimes one word does matter.
@Lee Rowan: Yeah. Those clauses aren’t enforceable. No matter the wording.
Forget the bankruptcy clause on any US contract. It might as well be a fairy story.
Book contracts are signed under STATE law. The company incorporates in Ohio, you sign under Ohio state law.
Bankruptcy is a FEDERAL procedure. The officials can, and will, freeze all assets. That includes author contracts, which are at present considered to be an asset. You cannot claim back your rights. And the bankruptcy officials, can, at their discretion, claim back any contracts for a period of time they decide on.
This happened and is happening to many authors at DARK QUEST BOOKS too. They publish fantasy, sci-fi, and horror. The are NOT recommended by the Preditors and Editors people. Basically, they sign you, give you false hope, and then don’t pay you. Ignore your emails and letter. They sell your books at conventions and give you ZERO sales records. Criminal.
Relevant to the discussion: http://kittunstall.blogspot.com/
They offered to let me buy back the rights on the 3 books I still have with them for the princely sum of $2000.
I elected not to throw good money after bad.
It looks like everyone is jumping ship and jumping it quickly from the autoresponse email being sent to authors once they send Ellora’s Cave’s contract department an email. Pray Jesu that all the authors who have requested a reversion of their rights get them back well before the 6 months and before the ship since totally.
“EC Contracts department is unavailable for several days. We will get back to you as expeditiously as possible next week. Thank you for your patience.
Thank you for contacting Ellora’s Cave Contracts & Rights Management department. If you have sent information or a file or contract, then no further response is needed from us, this autoresponse is the acknowledgement of receipt.
We receive many emails daily, so we apologize for any delay in response. If you have sent an inquiry regarding rights reversion, it has been received and is in the queue. We have six months to process rights reversions.
Authors: Please always include both legal name and pen name when communicating with Ellora’s Cave.
Contracts & Rights Management
Ellora’s Cave Publishing Inc.”
Popcorn Eeater, and Glad Turned EC Down: AFAIK, Siren Publishing doesn’t have financial problems. I publish with them, among other publishers, and the only law suit I know of referred to author Joyee Flynn vs. Siren-Bookstrand. Ms. Flynn was a Siren-exclusive author who breached her contracts several times by self-publishing for bigger profits. She lost the case because the contract breaches were easily proven. I know of no other law suit pertaining to Siren.
As far as worthy publishers go, I’d wholeheartedly recommend, not only Siren, but Dreamspinner Press. No financial problems, a wonderful and encouraging leader (Elizabeth North), excellent customer and author service, great editors (love mine to bits!), and award-winning cover artists. They publish only M/M, but if that’s what you write, you couldn’t find a better publisher. And they’ve been around for years, seven I think.
Well, just saw this…. I hope this backfires on EC and they end up well-scrutinized, very well legally scrutinized. Plus, maybe this will be the impetus for authors with actual proof to come forward an say, Yeah, they are doing this stuff.
@MAS: Doesn’t this case mean that EC has to open its account books to prove some of the points?
Let’s hope so, Lynne. This may very well be the thing that brings them down.
@Isobel Carr: Now that you mention it, I wrote my first non-purple manuscript in the early 90s while I was doing undergrad at OSU. This is not to say it was a good manuscript, as I knew nothing about technique at the time. But I did write it and it’s in a box in the bottom of my file cabinet never to see the light of day. The really moronic part of this, for me, is that I held off submitting to EC for at least three years because I didn’t think I was good enough. Totally missed the boat on that one. Never made more than $900 in one check and my last one was under 50. So, I’m taking some time away from the writing to work on some health issues and cross a few things off my bucket list. I have no faith I’ll get paid. My last royalty payment was for April sales. Don’t expect to see another one, despite their protests to the contrary. So, I’m one of the rats deserting the sinking ship and happy to do it.
@Lynne Connolly: I would think it would have to. They have to prove Dear Author isn’t telling the truth and we all know our holidays were ruined last year because of their “software problem”. Whatever. I posted to Cat Grant that I’m moving back to Ohio in the very near future and I swear by all that is holy, I will be sitting in the front row at that little jury trial, taking notes.
@Cate: I wrote for Loose Id for years and I love them. They’ve never hesitated to revert rights at the end of the contract period, have always been fair, never paid late once in the 7 years I had books with them. The only reason I moved on from them is because the sex seemed to be getting kinkier and more aimed at fetish and M/M, neither of which appealed to me as a writer. My last book with them was a colossal flop. The readership changed and I chose not to change with it. But, if you’re into that harder core stuff, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Loose Id. (Ask if you can get Rory as your editor, she’s AWESOME SAUCE with a cherry on top.
@Anonymous: How do you check sales for B&N? Do they have anything similar to Novel Rank?
@Amy: Yikers. They just agreed to revert rights on one of my books, stating that as of January 1, 2015 rights would revert to me. Is that enough? Darn thing probably didn’t 25 copies in 18 months.
@Just A Reader: @Amy: Ah, man, that bites. Sorry hun.
Thank you for writing this blog, Dear Author.
Ohio has a retraction law that can limit liability. http://www.dmlp.org/legal-guide/retraction-law-ohio
It might go against your nature to do it when you know what is said here is true, but how much do you want to risk feeding the beast.
People, since EC wants to scrub this post and silence bloggers, maybe repost this and other relevant posts? Streisand Effect!
Anon, I would take no issue with Jane retracting to save herself expense. Would totally support any decision she makes.
But I hope she doesn’t.
I hope the authors who have been complaining of issues with EC–openly and anonymously– will totally come in with $$ when the legal defense fund is live (if it does).
In fact, I hope big name authors who are flush with cash contribute a lot, because for ALL EC authors, it might be a very very very good thing to have books opened and third party audited. If this lawsuit gets an investigative eye into their complaints, this would be a service to all EC authors. ALL.
So I just heard about the ridiculous, frivolous, insert-expletive-here lawsuit filed by EC against Jane and this blog. I thought I’d add my name to the comment list, since EC wants to know who all read and responded to this post. I thought to make it easy for them by not posting anonymously; you’re welcome. I’all also add my opinion that I hope EC’s records get opened to the light of day, and more prying journalistic eyes, during the discovery phase. I’m sure EC’s unfortunate author list would be happy to have a look, too.
I would also like to encourage any gleeful authors/bloggers to refrain from childish behavior and “ha-ha” moments that Dear Author has been sued. Would you take a suggestion kindly meant? If so, here it is: grow up. As an author who got a bit slapped by Jane previously, let me go on record saying this lawsuit is bigger than who you like or don’t like. This is a fight every author/blogger/reader/human should be lining up behind Jane and Dear Author gladly. Really, to do otherwise suggests you’re okay with a publisher not paying out royalties, compensating its employees, or honoring contracts, and you’re okay with a journalist being told they can’t report that information. No one cares if you’re mad that Dear Author panned your book, especially not EC.
As @outraged suggested above – let’s all go out and stir up a little Streisand effect!
I saw this linked on facebook, and heard about the frivolous lawsuit. I wish I could help pay for the legal defense costs, but I am a college student who is trying to budget my FA tight so i can have enough to help start repaying it off after i get my degree. One of the main frustrations I have had in general with the presses like this is that this seems to be the norm, not the exception. it is disheartening that authors end up losing their intellectual property rights like that.
Emma Petersen wrote: just wanted to point out that calling someone an “uneducated-simple-minded cleaning lady” is so very not cool.
Thank you. Let’s remember that Einstein discovered relativity while working as an office clerk. Henri Rousseau was a customs official while he painted amazing post-impressionist art. Michael Faraday was born into utter poverty in 18th century London, and no one ever imagined that he’d invent the one thing that has made our lives so comfortable: the first electric motor (thank you, Neil deGrasse Tyson and Cosmos for that cool little fact).
I’d just like to offer a note of support and thanks. As someone finalizing drafts for my first round of submissions, I think this is a really interesting series of events. I hope the authors, editors & artists who work/ed with EC are paid fairly, and soon. From what I understand of the lawsuit, it is insane, and I think it is shameful that it was directed at a blogger, especially a book blogger.
Thank you to all of the commenters who have provided such interesting and useful thoughts here.
Hopefully, cooler minds will prevail, and people affected will always feel free to communicate without retribution. What a shame that in publishing, of all industries; people feel gagged.
Very disappointing to read about Jaid Black/Tina Enlges and EC’s behaviour. I’ve heard about some epublishers shady dealings from other bloggers and forums before but this has to take the cake. Will definitely boycott in protest.
(sighing) I wish readers would understand that by boycotting EC you’re hurting the authors most of all. I’m not concerned for myself as I have other income streams, but I hope people understand that by boycotting EC you’re preventing people from paying their mortgages, feeding their children and putting clothes on their backs.
Our royalty percentage from EC is very good, among the best in the business. The remainder of the $ you pay for a book does go to the corporation, but that corporation includes people who work in the mail room, edit books, create art and chase down pirates–among others. You’re not hurting the higher-ups at EC as much as parents who are trying their best to make it in a tough world.
I understand that many have strong beliefs about the matter but I do wish you could make those beliefs known in a way that is not so destructive to so many people’s financial lives.
Thank you for your kind attention.
@Suz deMello: Do you really think readers’ money is going to authors and employees? I take it, then, you don’t believe the people who say they haven’t been paid.
@MaryK: it’s a bit more complicated than that and I can’t respond without revealing contract details and other info that’s confidential. But I am an EC author, am on the yahoogroup loops and in touch with other authors about this. I think it’s okay for me to say that the vast majority of us have been paid on time according to contract. I personally have been paid on time according to contract.
@Suz deMello It IS complicated – and in many cases extremely straightforward. As a reader, I honestly feel that any further monies spent at EC would be bad money after good regardless of author since I don’t expect the company to be around for much longer after this (and I’m a reader that has only purchased direct from ECs website). THAT fear is a good reason to stay away from future purchases even before you look at the questionable accounting practices.
You talk about supporting EC authors and employees. From what I’ve read, there are few employees left to be concerned about, certainly few that edit and create art after the massive layoffs in those departments. The authors are the ones that everyone agrees are at most risk. You and I differ on how we can best help them. I believe, and I plan on supporting them by going to their websites, finding NON-EC titles to purchase and helping to support them that way as I feel that putting another penny into EC’s coffers serves none of the people most affected by this situation.
Luckily for me, the authors that I read from EC, I already own their books – for me, this next period is going to be about finding new to me authors who hopefully have non-EC works that are purchaseable (and I know that isn’t possible for everyone, and that breaks my heart, because every author I’ve met from EC has been a wonderful, kind, amazing lady that deserves success) I regret that anyone will be dealing with this without having other options.
@Suz deMello: Actually, I find the matter of payment pretty much irrelevant. I went off on a tangent in my previous reply to you. I thought the complaints against EC were sad and unfortunate, but really nothing to do with me. Until they made it about me. About readers talking. Now, EC could be the best employer ever, and I’d still boycott them because they’re trying to use the justice system to silence public discussion. If they were so great, they’d have answers to the complaints that’ve been raised about their business practices. If they were so great, they’d provide answers instead of trying to intimidate and muzzle people who question them.
@Suz deMello: It’s not my job to put food on your table. That argument has never flown with me in any context. It is even less attractive in this situation.
I get to decide what to do with my money and my money won’t be supporting Ellora’s Cave. Period. The end.
In my own post on the subject, I invited readers to consider buying titles by EC authors published with other publishers or direct from the authors where possible – but even that is going close to my line in the sand, because it’s not my place to tell people how to spend their money or where their own lines in the sand ought to be.
Frankly, I find your comment pretty tone deaf. You do know Ellora’s Cave is suing Dear Author don’t you? So what you’re actually asking people to do, asking people HERE to do, is to give money not only to you but to the entity which is SUING DEAR AUTHOR. Money which could well be used to fund their vexatious litigation. Does that not strike you as, at the very least, inappropriate?
Anistasia wrote: “I plan on supporting them by going to their websites, finding NON-EC titles to purchase and helping to support them that way…”
Works for me. Thanks. I have a couple you might want to check out (not erotic romance, though) and I’d appreciate the attention. There will be more as I plan to go indie–I have to say, I’m with three publishers now and all have flaws. Have you heard about authors suing Harlequin over ebook royalties? Yep, I’m in that one also.
MaryK wrote: “I find the matter of payment pretty much irrelevant.”
It’s pretty important to us.
Kaetrin, of course you use your money as you please. I was merely pointing out that by boycotting EC, you’re hurting people who are not responsible for the litigation.
We (the authors) never asked for any of this. We never wanted any of this. Please believe me when I tell you that we tend to be rather introverted folks who just want to hang out in our writer cave, dream about love and write down those dreams.
And that’s what I’m going to do right now.
Suz deMello, I just do not know what to say. Even though it is an easy choice for me to boycott Ellora Cave because I only bought very few books from them over the years, I still feel sorry for their authors. But I would have done the same thing if *any* publisher would have sued Dear Author and for such frivolous bullshit reasons to boot. I do not know any other ways to make sure that the owner will get less money and hearing that so many authors, editors and other publishing folks are not getting paid or underpaid I have no confidence whatsoever that any of the money will go to them anyway.
I get that the authors did not ask for this and they are stuck between the rock and the hard place, but that does not mean that I can in good faith support them if that means putting *one penny* in the pocket of the owner. I cant.
Sirius, I completely respect your position.
Mary K, I agree. I don’t have a horse in this race as I don’t usually write or read het erotic romance (and I find gratuitous insertion of ‘cock’ annoying, not arousing–double ententre intended) but just as I stopped working freelance for Silver when I found out about authors not being paid, I wouldn’t buy my sister an EC gift card (she does read the genre) because of that contemptible lawsuit. Not that I would anyway, as my sister stopped buying from EC when she learned of the publisher’s attempts to justify her husband’s murdering his former partner . . . we tend to not give money to people who are doing things we can’t support. And it sounds as though even EC writers who have been getting paid may see that change if the situation continues to follow the meltdown pattern. I doubt that a few readers boycott is likely to have much effect because most readers probably are not hanging out here or on other writer blogs.
BUT – Writers deserve to know if the publisher they submit to is not paying writers or following the terms of the contract regarding reversion of rights, even if they’re not treating ALL their writers badly. How do they choose which ones get paid and which ignored? That EC is suing to suppress the truth is a red flag that anyone should recognize.
Let me start by saying that I am both a book blogger AND an author. And a lot of the issues with this particularly publisher are the reasons that I have absolutely no intention of querying publishers at all and will go directly to the self-published route. I want full control of my work. I do not want someone taking a piece of the pie I earned, and then not giving me my fair share
As a book blogger, I am appalled. There is such a thing as free speech in this country, and yet they are going out of their way to try to silence that. If it were me and I were financially in a position to do so, I would almost contemplate a countersuit on the grounds of a civil rights violation because, by trying to silence free speech, that is precisely what they are doing. If everything stated in this post is the truth, then it does not count as slander or libel, and EC does not have a leg to stand on. From what I am reading, I believe this post to contain truthful information.
I have little fear of my money going into the belly of the beast, as this is not a genre I seek out and read regularly. I am not a big erotica fan. Nor do I write in that genre. But to me it speaks volumes about the nature of small presses. They aren’t the first to behave in this manner, and they also will not be the last. But for them to try to so egregiously silence an outspoken opponent, that just pisses me off.
I would recommend that you look at http://www.popehat.com/2013/09/26/so-youve-been-threatened-with-a-defamation-suit/ regarding the EC lawsuit.
Popehat is a very good resource for online freedom of speech.
Since EC publishes paper editions, can BookScan be used to tabulate/approximate sales for a certain period?
Also, searching Books In Print, I see that Simon & Schuster/Pocket Books had an EC series c. 2009. Were there any reports of why that series was ended?
@Ekatarina Sayanova: The First Amendment doesn’t have anything to do with people and businesses. Its only related to limiting the government’s ability to quell speech.
Invariably in situations like this, someone waves the Free Speech flag and it always bugs me. Unless its a government agency or employee trying to limit the things you say or write, the First Amendment isn’t a factor.
@Ross, I have to disagree to a point. Bloggers are protected by the same things that protect journalists. As long as the facts we present are not fabricated and can be backed up, we are protected. As long as we are clear that an opinion is an opinion and not passing off opinion as irrefutable fact, we are protected.
If the government doesn’t have the right to limit free speech, why would any random citizen have that right, unless the person speaking has signed a non-disclosure agreement or been otherwise constrained by privacy or confidentiality issues? People have the right to state opinions, and to dispute the validity of such opinions.
The statements in the original post appear to be statements of fact, substantiated by court records and other evidence. Also… I read the ‘about’ information: “Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts.” The skirts are irrelevant, but as an attorney I’m sure that she’s taken care to avoid posting anything that cannot be backed up in court.
Right. The First Amendment doesn’t apply to businesses and private people. If, however, the court tries to compel Jane to give up her anonymous sources that IS a First Amendment matter. And Jane’s “badass” (a per Popehat) attorney is just the man for the job.
@Suz deMello, I realized that, by helping bring light to the situation, I was inadvertently hurting authors. For that reason, I started the EC Author Exodus Support Thread.
Even if you’re not interested in that, there is a resource link on that page for promotion of non-EC books by EC authors.
Unfortunately, the chilling effects of the lawsuit against DA outing a blogger’s real name mean a lot of review blogs will no longer blog EC titles. Which is understandable, really.
How can they afford to engage in a frivolous lawsuit when they were just forced to let go of their entire freelance staff? It’s a bit vexing to see they did have enough resources to start up with lawsuit shenanigans but not enough, apparently, to keep on the freelancers, some of which they *had just hired a few days before cutting them free*.
Is it any wonder authors are concerned about speaking out when EC is obviously willing to sue someone who reported facts rather than take advantage of a platform to respond? This smells like a frantic attempt to hush the rumbling masses since they could, I don’t know, offer up some transparency or use that legal fee money to make an audit available to their authors…
@Deirdre: Thank you. We’re also talking about an antho :)
@anonymous: Especially since most of them still haven’t been paid and none of them that I know of have been paid all they’re owed.
@Suz deMello- Hi Suz! I would be more sympathetic to your plead, but when I saw Jane’s screen cap- proof- of Jade’s fb post where she was bragging about her new house, I saw that you were the first to show how happy you are for her since your comment was first.
If you compare Jade’s new house with the fact that artists, editors and some authors didn’t get their royalties-like Avril Ashton who wrote she is going to be evicted because she spoke.
So, if you want to put a face of innocent authors who are going to be hurt because we don’t want to support EC, you should also acknowledge that this situation already has victims because of EC and DA post or reader’s decision to boycott EC is a direct consequence of that.
Thank you so much for bringing this to my attention! You are an inspiration!
@Ross: Yes, but EC is using the government to quell speech. EC filed a complaint and is attempting to use governmental authority to stop Jane from publishing information. This also appears to be a blatant attempt to scare other (lesser known) bloggers and authors from speaking using the threat of governmental authority. There are definitely First Amendment issues here.
This is not merely a dispute among private parties. If so, no First Amendment violation. EC has filed a complaint in court and sought the government’s intervention to stop Jane from speaking.
Unfortunately my two word response to this would breach the comment policy.
@Sara: That was back in March. I hadn’t an inkling that anything was amiss. I had always received my checks timely–there was maybe one that was a couple weeks later than I expected. I had noticed my royalties dropping but attributed that to Amazon’s predatory policies toward non-Amazon authors, especially erotica–there was a lot of chat among authors that their books, especially those with sexy covers, were impossible for readers to find. Now, of course, I know more :(
I gotta say I should have figured it out. Moving from Venice to West Hollywood isn’t a move up–quite the opposite.
@kaetrin and @azteclady: I’m not interested in relating to anyone with your attitude.
I’m out of here.
If anyone other than the above want to contact me directly, I’m at
Even though I have a few Quickies with EC I can’t really say I’m an EC author because I haven’t written for them in years. I just got wind of this situation yesterday so can’t really voice an opinion for either side. I can only say what I know and that is that I’ve never had any problems with EC. The only reason I have books with other epubs is because I’m a firm believer that you don’t put all your eggs into one basket. Also, recently due to the success of self-publishing, I have been working at getting back the rights of all my books, not just with EC. I like control and self-publishing gives me total.
My experience has taught me that most epubs have some problems, and there are three sides to every story. Their side, your side, and the truth is somewhere in the middle.
@Barely Anonymous: Do any of the former freelancers you know have any promises from EC about payment? Or are they being ignored?
The ones I know are starting to get a trickle, but all the checks are all back dated and there’s no date on the metered mail to show when it was mailed.
I started writing erotica/horrotica/romantica on Literotica in early 2000. A couple years later, when I started thinking of publishing, EC was one of the places I looked at on my short list. Even then (2002/3?) authors from EC were warning me off of the company, and many of those authors have since completely disavowed all of their works from EC and in many cases, gone to new publishers under new pen names. The standard reason was that the owner was – to put it as charitably as possible – a little eccentric.
I’m sorry to see so many people hurt by this, and I hope that it will resolve speedily and happily for the authors and other contributors.
Having gone through this with Red Rose, my heart goes out to the Elora’s Cave authors. I started a group for Red Rose authors to get their rights back, and we’re willing to help EC authors. Here’s our URL: https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/RRPImplosion
Jane Litte/Dear Author…you had me at hello. I don’t have a dog directly in the fight with EC, but I have too many friends bruised and battered by the abuses and you’d have to be blind not to notice the rise and fall of that empire and the strange way no one really wanted to talk about it as if it were the digital version of Fight Club. Readers are telling me if you have a GoFund site up to raise money to deal with this nonsense, they are ready to chip in. You aren’t alone and I hope you know that you’ve won supporters and friends with your honest posts, insightful opinions and approach to this weird business of publishing and books.
It was an ugly truth and all you did was lay it out for your followers. I am so sorry that she’s decided that nastiness and litigation is any kind of approach to this world.
Out of sheer curiosity, why is this house thing a big deal? I’ve seen no mention of her purchasing the house, just a few mentions RE the move from Venice to W. Hollywood — could she not be renting? Does anyone have actual proof that she outright purchased this house with cash? It’s unlikely she could have gotten a mortgage with the outstanding tax debt, so it would have had to have been a cash purchase. Does anyone know for sure if she owns/owned her Venice home? Or what the rent, if it was rented was? Or if the rent on the W. Hollywood house was greater than or lesser than the Venice rent/mortgage?
It seems as if this supposed house purchase is a major bone of contention, and some kind of “proof” that she’s mismanaging company funds, but I myself have seen no proof that she purchased a home in Venice.
It’s that kind of speculation and implication that can get people into trouble.
Anon MK, my guess is that bragging about a purchase (or lease, given the cost of real estate in that neighborhood) when a publisher is many thousands of dollars in default to the authors for royalties owed suggests that the money is going to the publisher’s private lifestyle rather than to the persons who earned the money. Much the same happened when Silver threw that monstrously expensive shindig in the Ozarks when people were literally begging for their royalty payments so they could pay their bills. That’s no exaggeration. When you’re telling people you just don’t have the money you owe them and at the same time bragging about your flashy LA lifestyle… it’s at the very best a want of tact, don’t you think?
Oh, totally — her comments and demeanor are not what I would consider professional. It seems to me as if she does a lot of bragging, as you say, but there’s very little actual evidence that any of her claims are true, so it’s probably unwise to treat them as such, especially if one is going to use those claims to back up insinuations of impropriety.
I don’t think she bought a house in W. Hollywood, and she actually alludes to her lease on the Venice house being up in May, so she didn’t own that one.
Anon MK, don’t know, don’t care. The issue is that writers are not being paid but there’s money for other things, including a lawsuit to try to shut up the people who are pointing out that writers are not being paid. If I sound repetitious, forgive me, but I’m a writer. Royalties MATTER.
If she wins and collects, she’ll have the cash to pay you. Since that’s all that matters…
It’s terrible that you’re not getting paid. I’m so sorry.
@anonMK – Why do you think she’ll pay anyone if she wins? She has money to live in one of the most expensive cities in the world, to go on extravagant shopping trips and god knows what else and is still not paying her people. I doubt she’d shell out a dime of any judgement she got to any of the people she owes money to.
I’m not an EC author, dear. And you’re starting to sound a lot like a troll. I want to see the lawsuit thrown out as groundless. I don’t quite understand where you’re coming from. The issue is not, and never was, where the woman lives. It’s that at least one of EC’s authors is facing eviction because she hasn’t been paid. You can go on quibbling over the reality of the house or houses. That is not the point.
The real issue, actually, is that someone – not you – is being sued for material damages because of what they wrote about someone else. Ratcheting up the paranoia over EC’s motives only makes it look like DA and its supporters are indeed trying to smear EC and steer people away from publishing with them. The court only cares about what was said and what basis there was for saying it. If the claim was made that Jaid Black purchased an expensive home and then an implication is made that she did so by diverting monies owed to writers to her personal accounts, that’s a potentially actionable statement.
But, no, it’s all about you and your self-righteous outrage, not the actual suit.
@AnonMK: There is no paranoia here, there’s experience.
If you truly have no idea why TE/JB statements about her lavish lifestyle matter, do a quick search and find out more about how she reacts to people questioning her.
Authors and other contractors, and staff, are being told there’s no money–see the email by EC–yet the founder claims to have money to burn. Gee, nothing smells fishy there.
But since you are interested in the defamation lawsuit: nothing Jane posted was created out of whole cloth. She quoted statements given by both TE/JB through her Facebook account, and the email the company send to the authors, editors, etc.
IANAL, TINLA, but I sincerely doubt that speculation and inference, which are basically opinion, are actionable in a defamation lawsuit. The facts Jane quoted, would likely be easy to prove–if any third party auditor ever got access to EC’s books.
Given past history, that’s not going to happen any time soon.
Finally, I agree with Lee Rowan. Are you trying to scare people into silence?
I’m not trying to scare anyone into silence. Say what you like. As will I. Ain’t free speech grand…?
@AnonMK- Ah, you put a foot in your mouth here: you said yourself that court only cares about what was said and basis of it. Jane wrote:
“In the meantime, Engler boasts of her Rodeo Drive shopping trips and her new property purchase in West Hollywood on her Facebook page. ” – Jane never said she bought the house. She wrote that she boasted about it on her FB page.
And why would Jane or anyone else care about her boasting posts- Because, people are not paid. If it’s true that she bought a house- it’s bad because she has money to spend, and they are not getting their royalties. If she is lying- then her lies are maybe signal that something is going on with EC.
@AnonMK: “It seems to me as if she does a lot of bragging, as you say, but there’s very little actual evidence that any of her claims are true, so it’s probably unwise to treat them as such, especially if one is going to use those claims to back up insinuations of impropriety.”
You’re saying her statements are untrustworthy. Is it possible to defame a person by relying on her untrue claims? Is her proof of defamation that her statements were false? If she wasn’t claiming to be living extravagantly, there likely wouldn’t be questions about her propriety. It’d just be a case of another tanking small publisher.
I accidentally stumbled across this article while looking for something to read. While I am not an author and have neither the time nor the patience to be one, I am an avid reader; at least 2 or 3 novels or novellas a week depending on my work schedule. Anywho, my favorite genre is paranormal romance and it is so difficult to find, that when I discovered Ellora’s Cave about 3 years ago, it was like uncovering a gold mine. It led to finding other ebook publishers of the same caliber. Now, I could take or leave the erotic as long as there is a good plot and some romance. When I first started reading EC books, they were great; smoothly flowing plots, no grammar or formatting issues, and they did not read like they were written by some third grader. Lately I’ve noticed the books coming out from EC have been very slack with either the editing or the writing and if this is due to whatever it is that is going on at this company, then that is a terrible shame. As a consumer, I was willing to pay those exorbitant prices on those books (prices more expensive than going to my local B&N) because the writing was good and I could find there what I couldn’t elsewhere. Not to say that the newer published books from EC are bad, because they aren’t atrocious, but they are definitely not worth the price charged and the quality has drastically decreased. I don’t notice an ebook’s publisher until the final page; but lately I’ve been finding that I enjoy Samhain books more. Just my two cents worth.
Did she boast of a property _purchase_? As far as I can tell, she said her lease was up and she was moving to a house in W.Hollywood. I’m saying that making assumptions and hinting at financial shenanigans in the middle of what was basically a take-down piece is never wise, especially as it doesn’t seem as if EC/JB was approached for comment before publication. Which is a whole ‘ other can of worms involving the difference between blogging and journalism, but that’s another topic for another day, although not unrelated to this one.
MK, you’re clearly doing your very best to derail the discussion into irrelevancies, but I doubt anyone is impressed, or fooled. Not going to respond further as I never engage in a battle of wits with … well, I’m sure you’ve heard the expression.
No. That’s not how royalties work. Royalties are paid to authors out of money that has ALREADY BEEN PAID to the publisher. So there’s never any reason not to pay authors unless the money that was theirs has been misspent elsewhere.
If EC sales are down because of what’s been said about EC online, then sure, authors will be due less royalties in the future. But that has absolutely no relevance to payment for royalties already owing. EC has received that money. If they haven’t paid it out to authors, they have no one to blame for that but themselves.
No, actually, I’m not derailing the conversation into irrelevancies. I’m focusing on the actual lawsuit and what elements of DA’s piece may indeed be an issue.
You’re the one making it all about you and the supposed suppression of your speech. Which is interesting, because all you’ve done is basically tell _me_ to shut up. But you’re not responding anymore of your own volition, so that’s a moot point now.
@Ros — that was a facetious response to a snarky reply to me. Therefore I did not bother reading whatever it is you’re going on about. I don’t care about royalites or how they work, nor are royalties and how they work pertinent to the case.
Documented evidence that royalties are being withheld, however, would be pertinent. You got that…?
@AnonMK: My response was not snarky, it was factual. The outcome of this case has nothing to do with EC’s ability to pay authors’ royalties.
@Ros: You know, if EC were waiting to win a defamation suit in order to pay past due royalties to their authors, as AnonMK suggests…well, *that* would certainly warrant a second look at their books, wouldn’t it?
The comment wasn’t in response to anything you said.
And anyone who took that comment seriously is dumber than a sack of hammers.
“Ellora’s has received numerous contacts from Authors wishing to rescind contracts based on this Publication.”
I wonder if rescinding a contract is the new term for rights reversion.
Anonymous commenters who claim to be owed money, you realize this lawsuit is saying you are not owed money? It’s saying Jane’s report of your claims is false. So, either she lied about it or you lied about it. And now Jane needs proof that the claims are true. Don’t wait and hope for an audit of the books to vindicate you. The judge is asking for evidence now. Presenting your testimony to the judge may be your only chance to prove your claims are true.
I think “rescind contracts” means they want the entire contract voided. According to the definition here, it puts everything back at the state before the contract was signed — so that would mean the authors had their rights as though they had never contracted them to EC. What that would do in terms of the books EC already had in stock is probably something a judge would decide
This is just one of many online definitions…
Mary K – again, I am not one of the EC authors, but how would an author go about entering evidence? Would a deposition made and notarized, giving evidence of nonpayment, be sufficient? Would the deposition have to be made to Jane’s own attorney? (I assume the whole point of filing in Ohio is to make it difficult for anyone outside the state to get involved.) Or is it all at the “sit still and wait” stage? It seems mighty shaky for someone to claim that she is being libeled when the threats the plaintiff is making against others are right there in the documentation… and when the documentation being used as evidence of ‘libel’ mostly consists of statements that can be verified.
Most of the authors I know who have asked for rights reversion did it before the DA article appeared.
Lee Rowan, I believe in the update article where Jane asked for evidence she said that notarized affidavits would be completely fine – no deposition is necessary, just the statement from the author or whoever else did not get paid.
I just wanted to add that I know she asked for a live testimony as well – because at trial witnesses are needed, but she also did say that affidavits would be fine as well at this stage.
@Lee Rowan: Here Jane gives specifics of how to help her by giving testimony, over the phone, in person or via affidavit. I believe that for the last, all you need is a notary public and your written statement.
@Lee Rowan: “how would an author go about entering evidence?”
Contact Jane and let her know the author is willing to provide testimony or documentation. Jane’s attorney will arrange the details. Or contact Courtney Milan ( [email protected] ) who has offered to help authors who aren’t sure if they should speak up.
In Jane’s latest post, she said the judge has set another hearing where evidence will be presented. At that hearing, Jane needs to have evidence so it’s definitely not a sit and wait stage.
“the threats the plaintiff is making against others are right there in the documentation … and when the documentation being used as evidence of ‘libel’ mostly consists of statements that can be verified.”
I’m not sure what you mean by “documentation.” The fight is over Jane’s blog post and whether or not what she reported was true. The blog post itself is not documentation; it’s a report. The judge is looking for information apart from Jane’s blog post. S/he is looking for first hand testimony or written records showing that what Jane said was true.
The judge isn’t interested in “statements that can be verified.” The judge wants the statements to be verified and the proof of verification presented in court. So, if you are a person who made an anonymous statement to Jane, now she needs you to come forward and verify that you made the statement or provide your written records to show the statement is true.
Since I screwed up the link earlier, these are Jane’s exact words in the update she posted on Tuesday:
So that’s what she needs and how you do it. No rumors, no interpretations, straight from the horse’s mouth, as it where.
But if you are afraid of violating the confidentiality clause in your contract, you to Courtney Milan’s blog, at courtneymilan.com/rambligs/ and read her post–and incredibly generous offer–there.
@Noelle: Whoops, I’ve recommended your books online and now that this has come to light I feel horrible that I was inadvertently part of the problem. I’m not a writer but from a consumers standpoint I will no longer recommend nor buy books from EC in order to support the authors/editors/artists who are being treated unfairly.
I hope that you beat this lawsuit! Good luck with the fight and “never let the bastards get you down!”