It’s December 31, the day that many authors will receive their books back from Ellora’s Cave after forfeiting some untold amount of royalties. For those of us who received our books back earlier and didn’t give up royalties, as I sip my coffee this morning, I find the moment bittersweet. You see, it was just a week ago where I finally got my last Ellora’s Cave book down from Kobo after a month’s long process and my last check came nearly a year ago and only paid through June 2015.
For authors such as myself, who got our books back and didn’t give up royalties, I feel like we’ve been forgotten. Sure, I’m guessing I’m owed between $60-100, and I do plan on filing with the Ohio State Attorney General and I’ve got some Google alerts setup because if they do file bankruptcy, I want to be listed as a creditor. But mostly, this is a hard and bitter end to a saga that began in 2007, and I’m just tired of it.
So theoretically as the saga winds down, I’m offering some final thoughts. That is, as of today EC’s website is still up and they said nothing in those “give up your royalties and we’ll give you your books back” emails that they would be closing. There is a report that they’re now being sued for the infamous bus.
I’ve given up on receiving my money. Look, Ellora’s Cave has a long history of slow/no pays, and this saga has been dragging out for years. They will continue to behave this way until they are brought to justice or the site is fully shut down–neither of which I see happening anytime soon. As a longtime author, my advice is this.
- Be diligent. Keep a google alert for “Pen Name” + Ellora’s Cave. Yes, use the quotes, especially if like me your pen name is pretty common. You’ll catch books that go back up for sale, something which has been reported.
- Listen when people say that a publisher is shit. Seriously! Fucking listen! I have been preaching the slow/no pays I’ve received as far back as 2007 (I think. They years blur, but it was hellalongago.). You can see the pingbacks to my old website on some posts by Karen Knows Best, Dear Author, and other well-read blogs. I’m not lying. Authors whom I told, “look, here’s my experience. I understand you’re chasing money, but LISTEN” are now caught up in this same crap. One of which I saw post that she hadn’t heard anything or been out of the loop and now risked not getting her books back! Seriously people. Those of us who speak up about publishers stick our necks out. Some pretty big names said some pretty nasty things to me back then. It didn’t shut me up. And now, sadly, I’m vindicated by their behavior.
- Never leave the business loop and if the publisher kicks you off as EC did, stay in the loop whether through boards, hashtags, or networking with other authors. I nearly lost my Venus Press books because I left the biz loop and came back literally with 24-hours to spare to request a reversion letter.
- Google is your friend. Google a publisher. If you see a lot of bad reviews and reports, run away. Run away like you’re playing D&D, rolled a 1 and vampires are on your tail. RUN BABY RUN!
It’s been reported that the Ohio State Attorney General isn’t doing anything with complaints. For most of us involved in EC (or frankly ARE’s closure), most of the amounts are too small to seek legal representation on our own. So we have to shrug our shoulders, consider it the “cost of doing business” and move on. The only hope I have is that the more light is shone on the skeevy behavior of those who seek to take money from authors, the more people will be less inclined to try and repeat it. Because as one poster on twitter put it: this kind of behavior is not a “how to” manual.
I wish you luck and fortune in your choices of publishers in the new year. And the cover I’m sharing here is the reissue of my best selling romance ever. The one that brought in the kind of money EC was known for back in the day. I’m glad my polar bears saw success there, and truly hope they continue the journey here. So yes, there is life after this kind of bad publisher behavior. There is hope. And your books will go on.