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February 3rd, 2008

11:53 AM

Ooh, juicy

From this month's update on Piers Anthony's gossip and stuff page about epublishers, about Ellora's Cave, specifically. To put in context, he reported around December that Ellora's Cave was yanking off historical romances from its catalog. Lots of refutation follows, and this is what he has to say about his initial report:

February 2008 update: A refutation from the publisher; they are still publishing historicals. They have yanked some when unsatisfied with their standards. Okay, here is my problem: I have evidence this is not the whole truth, but can't run it because of the threat of retaliation against the authors. At such time as this changes, I will have more to say; I do not like seeing authors get pushed around. I have another report of phenomenal sales. In sum: this is a top publisher, but it plays hardball against those it wrongs.

I wonder what evidence can that be, hmm.
17 comment(s).

Posted by Barbara Sheridan:

they are still publishing historicals. They have yanked some when unsatisfied with their standards.

Okay it's 2 a.m. here so the brain isn't quite as quick as usual--but wtf does he mean by "unsatisfied with their standards"?

Does this means sales standards? Quality of the writing in the particular books?
February 3rd, 2008 @ 3:15 PM

Posted by Mrs G:

I assume it's sales because it doesn't make sense to yank off books due to "quality standards" once you've edited and put it on sale, right? I know New Concepts Publishing yanked more than a few historical romances from its catalog a few years back because they don't sell, so maybe this is a similar situation. Only Piers will know though, heh.
February 3rd, 2008 @ 3:19 PM

Posted by December Quinn/Stacia Kane:

If EC's refustation is the one I saw, and posted on my blog, they did NOT say they were yanking books when unsatisfied with their standards. They said they were not ACCEPTING inaccurate books.

This was Raelene's statement:
"I assure you this is completely untrue. We continue to accept and publish historicals of all time periods and settings, from sweet traditional Regencies to extremely erotic historical romances. We do, however, reject a vast quantity of historical submissions because the authors clearly failed to do their research and the stories are glaringly lacking in historical accuracy."

(It was originally posted on my blog here.)

I'd really love to know what "evidence" Piers has, especially when he felt justified in posting a blatant untruth like the business about no longer accepting historicals. Did he have "proof" for that too? I really do think Piers provides a valuable resource, but I do wish he would be a bit more discerning.
February 3rd, 2008 @ 6:38 PM

Posted by December Quinn/Stacia Kane:

BTW, I don't intend for my comment to mean I think EC is perfect or there's no way they could ever be meeeean or anything of that nature. I'm not even saying this is impossible or that it's just someone with some "vendetta" or something. Just that I was disappointed that Piers ran an inaccurate report about their submissions policy, and that makes me wonder where all this is coming from.

Also, any publishing contract can be cancelled for lack of sales; I've never seen one that doesn't have a clause like that in there. So if it's true that books are being pulled for this reason, it's not like that isn't standard procedure at most publishers.
February 3rd, 2008 @ 8:53 PM

Posted by Mrs G:

I don't know. It looks to me like Piers is saying that he has "evidence" that EC isn't telling the whole truth about their historical romance policy. That's not the same as suggesting that EC outright lied.

Either way, I don't think this is a big deal unless he is insinuating that there is some kind of breach of contract. Publishers have been known to drop authors that don't sell, after all, and if this is all there is to the matter, then it's much ado about nothing.

I think both parties - for and against EC - may want to wait and see what Piers has to say further before jumping to conclusions.
February 3rd, 2008 @ 10:46 PM

Posted by December Quinn/Stacia Kane:

Oh, I agree. That's what I mean. If he has evidence writers were dropped because their historicals weren't selling, that's not the same as having evidence that they've "wronged" people.

I'm just a bit skeptical about anything relating to the whole historicals thing, because of what he printed in his last update about submissions.

I will certainly be watching and hoping he presents the evidence, because I'd like to see it.

It just seems like so many people are ready to jump the gun these days. It's great people are being more cautious but I see writers every day insisting they would never go with Publisher X because of one contract clause or Publisher Y because of one bad cover, while at the same time talking up tiny upstart publishers with no record of sales because their contracts don't have that clause, you know?

It's great to hear employees and editors at Pub Z are so, so, nice, but I'd rather they be a little less nice, but sell my book and pay me on time. It's when they're neither nice nor professional nor selling books that the worries should come in.

Am I making sense?
February 3rd, 2008 @ 11:02 PM

Posted by Mrs G:

Oh, absolutely.
February 3rd, 2008 @ 11:15 PM

Posted by Teddypig:

Oh, this gets better and better.
February 4th, 2008 @ 12:09 AM

Posted by Teddypig:

According to their contract the author is given a choice: pay a set-up fee for a print edition and receive royalties on those sales, or decline. If the author declines, but the publisher feels there are print prospects, it can do the print option at its own expense. In that case the author does not receive those royalties.

Wow, did you read that about Whiskey Creek Press? So either you pay them the money or you see no royalties from print. That sounds like an all out rip off to me.

Top Publisher my ass.
February 4th, 2008 @ 12:15 AM

Posted by Mrs G:

Teddypig, I don't even want to touch on WCP. The whole thing looks to me like the publisher going ahead to profit from the author's work without paying the author a single cent from the print sales. But still WCP have its supporters, perhaps the issue is not as clear cut as this. I don't know. But I do know that I don't want to say anything about that one because THAT one could get ugly fast.

What can I say? The authors know what they are doing with their publishers... I hope.
February 4th, 2008 @ 12:17 AM

Posted by Angela James:

Samhain also got a fairly nasty and vague update that I've been in some shock about today.

I don't know what it references, and it seems to imply there have been previous complaints about similar "discourteous rejection and ridicule at RWA".

I'd love it if someone could help me by understanding this one because I don't think either Crissy or I ridiculed anyone (except the Dallas taxi drivers) at RWA.

As for discourteous rejections? As of this weekend Samhain will be going to a form rejection letter. It's just not proving to be of benefit to us to do any type of personalized rejection, especially as it's resulted in something like this or authors who blog about editors and the personalized letters. Sad it's come to this but we must do what's best for the company at this point.

Today, I'm discouraged. I posted this before on this blog, I don't expect everyone to love us, everyone's experience is going to be unique to them and it's impossible to please everyone. But it's very hard to explain or have a rebuttal for something so vague, that gives no details. And really, even if we did have details for a rebuttal--could we? We wouldn't be doing so anonymously and I don't think it would reflect well on us to share the details of private interactions with authors. And I wouldn't expect any other publisher--including EC--to do any different.

Being the publisher is a hard position to be in at times like this, because people will gossip and enjoy it and take glee in it, all without having details, but if the publisher did speak out and perhaps speak poorly of an author to "save" their own reputation or to clarify something that happened, would anyone think better of them? Or worse? Lose/lose situation, I think.

But, you know, all that said, I think Piers provides a valuable service to the authors and I think people should discuss the updates and reports. Authors shouldn't be afraid to speak out about bad experiences, because publishing is a business and
February 4th, 2008 @ 12:29 AM

Posted by Angela James:

oops. Last part of my comment got cut off, clearly I'm not supposed to be posting a novel in the comments ;):

But, you know, all that said, I think Piers provides a valuable service to the authors and I think people should discuss the updates and reports. Authors shouldn't be afraid to speak out about bad experiences, because publishing is a business and all businesses are subject to public criticism and complaints.

I'm still discouraged. If we had more details, perhaps we could make changes and see where we went wrong (if we did) and fix it. Since we don't, we'll have to fix what we can (the rejection process) and move on.

Thanks for letting me using your comments to vent my frustration, Mrs. G.
February 4th, 2008 @ 12:31 AM

Posted by Selena Kitt:

Ok that's just crazy-silly, the comment on Piers' gossip-page about Samhain. Can you say... huh!? How in the world can you refute something like that?? It's totally vague...

EC... well I hear that's where the big bucks are, in terms of sales (although I don't know if they'll be on top for long, here...) but I, too, have heard "things" from their authors about being treated poorly. I'd be interested to see his "evidence" but until I do. Eh. Whatever. I take it all with a grain of salt (including the weirdly vague Samhain thing) unless you give me some hard proof.

Until then, it's really not even blog-worthy... is it?

I can say that I've never been treated poorly with any of the outfits I've been published with, including poor now-defunct Stardust, and even Mardi Gras, who gave me my rights back immediately when they closed down. The best (and this isn't sucking up, I swear! :) ) has been Samhain, in terms of professionalism and author respect.

Oh, as for Whiskey Creek, I agree about their contract language, it's scary... I won't publish anything long with them for that reason. Just shorts that are unlikely to go to print...
February 4th, 2008 @ 1:56 AM

Posted by Teddypig:

Another negative report, that the publisher will not or can not deal with her writers on a professional level, causing much stress.

What the hell? Piers, Give me details!

Some people absolutely deserve to get told the fuck off.
February 4th, 2008 @ 2:50 AM

Posted by Teddypig:

I think if I was going to throw a general negative opinion about Piers is that he uses the term "Top Publisher" rather loosely.

Especially when the outfit does not have contract audit clauses or is obviously pulling a fast one on their writers. The funny thing is you can tell the situation in his comments.

I mean, who god damn cares if the publisher is nice to your face? There are loads of scam artists who are very nice people till they rip you off and then watch out for the knife at your throat.
February 4th, 2008 @ 2:58 AM

Posted by Mrs G:

Angela, no problems. I think Samhain should just be thick-skinned here and just let these minor criticisms wash over. You can't please everybody so somebody is bound to complain about something. Like EC, just let performance do the talking.
February 4th, 2008 @ 9:49 AM

Posted by Kimber Chin:

I got rejected by Samhain a year or two back and they were darn nice about it. It really ticked me off. At least if that had been some "discourteous rejection and ridicule", I could have blamed them instead of my less than wonderful writing. Jeepers.
February 5th, 2008 @ 4:42 AM