Note: This is a follow up to my earlier post about Dreamspinner Press. You can read that post here.
Two days ago, right on cue 30 days after the end of the quarter, I received my latest statement from Dreamspinner Press. Not that I really should have expected one. My single book with them reverted to me in June of last year, and as I noted in my previous blog, at the very least the last sales should have trickled in by the 3rd quarter and that should have been my final statement. It wasn’t.
In the 3rd and 4th quarters of 2017 and the 1st quarter of 2018, I received a statement for exactly one sale from their website. This seems odd, because while there is a delay in payments from most vendors, on-site publisher direct sales report pretty much immediately unless there is something strange in the accounting department. Last quarter I wrote trying to find answers. I received none. No reply.
I have searched all vendors and Dreamspinner’s site directly for my book’s title and my pen name both with and without initials. The only version of the book that’s for sale is the reissue which came out very soon after rights reverted. So I should be safe, right? After all, no print edition was ever published, so these aren’t even lagging print sales.
No, because apparently Dreamspinner is still profiting off my work. This time, I received a statement indicating sometime between January and April of 2018, a copy of my book sold at Barnes & Noble. Now, this is the first, or one of the first sales from B&N that I’e seen in years. (It’s possible the book sold there when it first released in 2012, but for the last few years the only sales I’ve seen on my statement are Amazon and on-site, which makes sense.)
I wrote Dreamspinner and they replied. “Sales sometimes take months to trickle in and we’ll continue to pay you for those sales.” As someone who ran a publishing company for ten years this rings hollow. Combine that with the check last quarter that I blogged about, which was held for a month before mailing…something isn’t right here.
Of all the vendors I worked with as a publisher, yes, Barnes & Noble was the flakiest. But even then, any payment issues they had or sales miscalculations, were cleared up within a month or two. Never six or more. I will admit I haven’t published direct with B&N for over a year, and with their own business issues, I have no idea what they’re like now. (I hope to be direct and get out of D2D by the end of the year, so I guess I’ll find out.)
But that doesn’t explain the on-site sales after the book’s release date; that also doesn’t explain the stories similar to mine I’m hearing from others.
At this point, I’m sounding the alarm. The money is small. It always has been with that story at that publisher. And yet, it’s the fact that they are still pocketing money for a story they released rights to over a year ago, and they are refusing to tell me or provide proof that these are “trickle in” sales. There are just too many things that are off about this entire situation, so I guess all I have to say is here we go again with publisher shenanigans…