From Dark Castle Lords--veinglory

Friday, February 22, 2008

Hi,

Here is an email from the folks at DCL. Issues raised (in bold) are mine. It seemed simpler to just post the replied verbatim with Stuart's permission. As of now I am leaving DCL in 'smoke' status.



Hi Emily,

Thank you for your email and a chance to reply to your questions below and will try to answer each point in turn.

1) Sales are often very low

We as a business have only been in operation for just on 18 months. We started out with approximately 4 eBooks and about the same number of authors and yes I will admit that sales where slow and not on a regular basis.

Since then and with several website redesigns, we have attracted over 15 new authors and our sales are up 400%. At the request of several of our authors, we approached Fictionwise and ARe as other outlets to sell the authors books.

As with all new business, it does take time to become established and for the search engines to pick up your website and rank it well enough that you are on the first page of their search results for a particular keyword/s. So yes, at the beginning our sales where low but that was expected and as I have mentioned above we have now seen a increase in sales from our website of 400% and this does not include sales a Fictionwise and ARe. I am continually striving to improve the look of our site with the view of making it more inviting and user friendly.

2) Sales figures are not being provided promptly.

With sales figures generated from the website, I send out quarterly emails to all our authors advising of the number of books sold via the site as well as royalties earnt. As you may or may not be aware, Fictionwise do not provide their sales figures until 6 weeks after the quarter has ended so there is approximately a two month delay on that side of things. They also advise not to use their weekly updates.

Due to the long and winded process of forming an LLC, we where not able to open a bank account as we did not have our Tax ID which would not be given until we had received our papers back. With that in mind, my business partner and I thought it might be better to hold of on releasing sales figures from Fictionwise until the bank account was open. Once opened we where then looking at releasing figures and making payments at the same time. As with all plans they do not always go accord to what we hoped.

This issue has now been resolved and all sales figures along with royalties’ earnt are currently being passed to each author concerned. I guess hindsight is a great so long as you can learn from it.

3) Covers with human figures must be paid for by the author

This was an idea/suggestion brought about by our models and is currently under review with input being sort from both authors and models

4) DCL and romance models may not be entirely separate businesses

I can say that they are separate in their own rights. Our Romance Models site was started up at the suggestion of one of models, Bill Freda who thought it was a good idea to have an outlet for our models to display their work. We have several models that are just starting out and we hope this will give them a platform from which they can launch their careers. All our models have input on the design of the site as well as which photos they sell and the price they wish to charge for them. Yes! We hope that some of our authors will purchase photos from them in view of using them to create their book cover.

In closing I would just like to reiterate that I am always in constant contact via emails with all our authors advising them on updates and possible policy changes. Right from the start I have always sort their advice and input in to how to operate and run this business. In hindsight, our earlier policies may have not been the best and these have now been addressed.

DCL is constantly changing and with the help of our authors and models and we are all looking forward to the next 12 months in which we will no doubt have more ups and downs. Such is the life of a constantly evolving business.

I would like to thank you for this opportunity to answer your queries.

Regards

Stuart Bazga
DCL Publications

113 comments:

Not a DCL fan,  6:02 PM  

I find it really amusing that the company took the "cover model suggestion" on charging for their pictures. NO CRAP that they are going to want paid from it... but I'm sorry not one of those skanky idiots is worth the 250-300$ a PICTURE that I heard they are asking! If the company is built around the CM's as their "lords" then the COMPANY should be paying the CM's the EXORBITANT amount of money they are trying to get out of these authors. I don't think any of the authors at DCL are making enough one one book a quarter to even partially justify spending that much money!

Anyone who is PAYING for the privilege to have those guys on a cover is insane... especially when the company is built around them.

Anonymous,  6:24 PM  

Exactly. My thoughts to the tee. I met way too many of those dudes at RT. One of them was so stoned out of his skull, he didn't react when a lady plowed right into him. The others were WAY too handsy with the women--not an admirable trait--and a couple are just too young and greasy. Let's not mention the one OLD guy who seriously needs a hot oil treatment for his seriously discolored long hair.

I wouldnt' want to pay for a cover with a 'lord' on it. They looks like Lords all right...Dark Trailer Park Lords. AS the first poster said, it's not exactly ethical to have a 'themed' website/business, then expect your 'employees' to pay for using the theme, which is the only reason they are working for you to begin with. Most ebook authors can't afford to pay $10 for a cover, much less $200+.

Someone from the DCL loop shared an email about a challenge to the person who posted about cover art?

Dude, those covers look like, well, bad ebook covers. I guess some people's standards are very different, but I always thought a publisher would want to excell in every area. GO look at the covers at Samhain Publishing or Liquid SIlver or Tease. Most of them are print-worthy, as in, if you saw it in Wal-mart, you wouldn't roll your eyes and laugh at the man-titties or 80's throwback hair.

Yes, the romance model site IS a way to get the models a leg-up. BUt charging your authors for use of the very theme the publisher is built around? Um, bad choice. And from waht I hear, it's mandatory, not 'something being discussed'. If you want to help the models out with the site, that's one thing. Open it up so anybody in the romance industry can buy the pictures. Charging ONLY your authors won't make you or them any money.

Stuart, proofread, dude. If you're going to post a defense, you should REALLY spell your words correctly. Watch those 'of's and 'off's.

Anonymous,  6:29 PM  

or the "where"s and "were"s.

Not a DCL fan,  6:31 PM  

As you said, the DCL covers aren't the best quality. A lot of the time it just looks like the guy was placed in the picture not made part of the picture, and nothing was done to make it all flow. I understand they are very proud of their covers and their models, but really I just see this as a way for middle aged women to get all grab assy with a bunch of "hot" guys that normally wouldn't look at them twice. Im not sure thats true, but as a reader i have stayed away from DCL books because of the CM's and the emphasis on them. It does nothing for me but turn me off.

Emily Veinglory 6:32 PM  

Just a note to say please do speak your minds, but politely. Thanks.

Anonymous,  7:31 PM  

Have you taken a look at the crap being put on covers by other epress publishers?

Has anybody even looked at certain other publishing companies who use one shot from a model over and over and pay the model maybe?

I am a customer of DCL and I have never had a problem purchasing novels or getting my downloads.

Anonymous,  7:44 PM  

Just because there are worse covers out there doesn't mean DCL's are good.

And purchasing the novels and getting the downloads doesn't make them good, either.

Anonymous,  7:56 PM  

Can I ask why it is necessary to be quite so nasty? "Skanky idiots"? Really? These are models that have been on covers you've bought for years, why now are they so horrible?

You say some of the models are too young, yet criticize another as being too old. You criticize the hair that is seen on the majority of historical romance novels. You criticize Stuart's spelling when you make errors in your posts and overuse the word "dude". I'm very sorry but I have seen many sad excuses for covers on Samhain and Liquid Silver.

I think Emily was just trying to put forth some concers. I will say I have suspicions of the author(s) raising complaints. However, this is turning into some juvenile cat-scratch party and I have a few suspicions about some of these posters as well. Since none of the posters with particularly ugly things to say felt it necessary to own up to their identities, neither do I.

Emily Veinglory 8:06 PM  

I suspect this has been building up a while, so the first place the issue vents will tend to steam up a bit.

But I also hope this can develop into a discussion of the substantive issues about authors might consider, or not consider, a serious problem with an epress.

happily anonymous,  8:11 PM  

I have no ties to DCL. And I don't have any plans to create any. To me, it's just another e-pub with some cheesy covers.

I don't post my identity because that's one of my rights. I don't know what a 'concer' is, by the way. I think every publisher has their share of bad covers. Luckily, most seem to be progressive and are working to change the 'ebook' impression a lot of the covers give. Looking at the DCL covers, I have to agree with the first poster that the models look like they are just placed on top of the rest of the picture. With the great tools in Photoshop and Corel Painter, it shouldn't be any problem to blend them a little more. Layer property adjustments can do wonders.

Sure, the same 'hair' has been on cover models for decades. That's the problem. Why not switch it up a bit?

When anyone does talk about DCL, it is generally in a slightly mocking tone because of the cover model gimmick.

Kayleigh Jamison 8:18 PM  

I just find it somewhat odd that a publishing company would also serve as what seems to be basically an agency for these cover models. The potential conflicts of interest are risky, IMO.

I understand cover models wanting to be paid for their visage, that's a no-brainer. But the author should not be footing the bill. I hate to use the dreaded "S" or "V" words, but when an author has to pay out of pocket for even part of the process of producing their book, the publisher can start to tow that line.

Being required to pay for my own cover art would be a red flag for me, as would paying for editing, printing, etc.

Another thing that is becoming more and more apparent - and I am not necessarily saying this is true of DCL, I have no personal knowledge - but it seems that the majority of small epubs opening these days are attempting to run on a shoestring budget. A great many open with insufficient startup capital, and with insufficient knowledge of the industry, or how to run a business in general.

Change and evolution can be good things, and learning as you go invariably happens in one way or another, but the success rate of e-publishers lately is not very high.

Sometimes one disgruntled author is merely that. Nine times out of ten, however, where there's smoke, there's fire.

Anonymous,  12:53 AM  

I'm sorry but reading DCL's response to the query left me wondering even more on what they do for their authors.

They’re still working on "forming LLC" and acquiring a bank account? The first thing I would have done was those two things if I wanted to open a business. They've been open for 18 months and yet they are still in the process of acquiring the two most important things. How did they plan on paying the authors if they haven't thought of it for the past 18 months? Did they suddenly woke up one day and decide they will publish books and ask aspiring authors for their stories? What did they have when they opened their business? So many red flags here I can't even imagine any author (desperate maybe) to sign with them. It doesn’t take long to open bank account and form an LLC.

Giving reports of the sales to the authors doesn't mean they are getting paid. Authors should really ask themselves what this company is doing for them. It might be better to self publish your work and not have a middle man who is obviously not doing anything for you but promote their models.

The company doesn't print or format their stories. It’s better to go directly to Fictionwise. Why would the authors pay so much for a cover that doesn't go on print? Does this company advertise their work or do they have to pay for that as well? BookSurge charges a small fee and your book will be promoted in many places including Amazon and it's partners.

It also sounds like they are not paying their models since one of them had to suggest on how to get paid. I'm quite familiar with covers and as far as I know, it’s the publisher's who pays for that expense. They take it out of the percentage. I mean, what are they there for? Does this company even pay for their editors and artist?

If the company is making 400% in sales, where is that money? It’s certainly not going to their authors. It states in the epublisher list the company is in Australia. This will concern me. It won't be liable if someone sues it. Your authors are in the U.S.? It all sounds shady to me. I advise the authors to do their homework. One of them doesn't even know what the company does and the other sounds like she had the wrong contract. They also sound like they feel as if they owe the models for being nice. Good for you if you want to fork that much money into something that your publisher should be paying for. You have to be aware of company's who are taking advantage of people desperate to be published. This company sounds like one of them.

I'm posting anonymously due to what I've heard about the publisher's harassment practices. I'm just stating the obvious here and there's no need to identify myself. You should ask for your publisher's proof of credentials instead.

Anonymous,  5:43 AM  

No company bank account?????? To any business person (and authors SHOULD be business people) this would be the mutha of all "red flags" and make you run far, far, far away. Who cares about their demanding cover models? Those should be the least of your worries. The chapter on "bank accounts" is covered is Business 101, folks, and a company who doesn't have an actual bank account when it starts is being run by people who shouldn't be in business in the first place. No one should be all shocked and bothered when royalties never arrive...it was inevitable.

Anonymous,  7:45 AM  

...not to mention the authors are paying for all their mistakes. It doesn't even look like they have capital to pay those authors while they wait for Fictionwise to pay them. Who starts a business without a bank account, licensed and capital? Yes, you cover those in BUSINESS 101 class. It only took me a few weeks to get the license since my project required us to apply for it. I'm assuming the owner of this business doesn't have a college degree. Even a high school student would have opened a bank account if he/she opened a business. Funny, a child would have opened one to if they have a lemonade stand because their parents would have told them where to put their money.

Its not an acceptable excuse to say you're business is growing so fast that you failed to open a bank account and you can’t pay your authors until you get the money from Fictionwise! Their authors must really be that naive to fall for all their excuses. I’ve also read somewhere when the publisher is asked questions they get defensive and rude. Why would any of those authors put up with that when it’s them who bring in the money into that company? The company should be kissing your, excuse the language, ass since you stuck with them for 18 mo. without getting paid and they haven’t done anything for you. The person before my post is right...the models is the last of your worries. You need some business sense so this type of companies doesn’t take advantage of you. Does your contract say when you will get paid? If it says quarterly, then you can sue the publisher since they already broke the contract. Wait! You can't...its in Australia and it’s not registered! I would question your publisher if I were you. It’s not good business practice being rude in answering you. It’s bullying you into thinking you owe them when they really owe you instead. You shouldn’t have to pay for their mistakes, which in this case is A LOT and quite ridiculous. Adding 15 new authors should not hinder them from paying you. If anything, they should be able to pay you since they should be making more money. They shouldn’t sign that many authors if they can’t handle it. The only thing they were thinking was how much more money they could get from 15 new authors. If one of you could share some light as to what this publisher does for you since I’m really baffled by this. I would appreciate it. I just hate it when companies get away in this take advantage of people.

Anonymous,  9:56 AM  

I will admit to being a bit dumbfounded at some of the response from DCL. You didn't have a bank account or form an LLC from the begining.

Honestly it sounds like someone got a wild hair one day and set up a website then started taking money from people. I will not speculate on that first author signed.

I know of at least one other epub about the same "age." Considerable planning went into opening the company for business. Including forming an LLC and getting a bank account before the first book ever hit anyones computer. The principals put in a lot of hard work to ensure that they are a success.
And no, I am not one of them.

Anonymous,  11:24 AM  

Honey, I wonder if they know, signing under a company name that doesn't exist, using it in business dealings as a legal act, is fraud??? Whatever contracts they have under that name, however it's spelled out, IF they use the DCL moniker as they do on their site (the LLC), they are unenforceable contracts. Piffle.

That trumps everything else they just stated.

Anonymous,  11:27 AM  

400% of nothing means nothing.

Kayleigh Jamison 1:10 PM  

Honey, I wonder if they know, signing under a company name that doesn't exist, using it in business dealings as a legal act, is fraud???

You can be DBA, or as a partnership. You can even be doing it without formal registration anywhere. It's not really fraud, because there's no corporate veil to pierce, and all owners are personally, jointly, and severally liable for all acts of the "company."

Quite a few small businesses do not LLC or inc upon start up because of the costs, and because for tax/revenue purposes it isn't necessary, yet. They also may want to test the market before making the decision about what type of entity to form (S-Corp? C-Corp? LLC?) That's actually not uncommon. The important thing is that when it comes time to incorporate, you do it.

Now, the no bank account thing...that just blows my mind. How are authors being paid? ARE authors being paid?

Anonymous,  5:21 PM  

I've heard, no, they are not. Which alarms me because I have a book with them!

Fae 9:38 PM  

"Due to the long and winded process of forming an LLC, we where not able to open a bank account as we did not have our Tax ID which would not be given until we had received our papers back. With that in mind, my business partner and I thought it might be better to hold of on releasing sales figures from Fictionwise until the bank account was open. Once opened we where then looking at releasing figures and making payments at the same time. As with all plans they do not always go accord to what we hoped."

Putting aside all the typos in that paragraph, what jumps out is they seem to be saying that for 18 months they have not released sales figures because they couldn't open a bank account. Um...what? So, not having released sales figures and not having a bank account...seems to me to be saying nope, they haven't paid anyone anything since they opened.

The hell? Is there any author willing to poke in and say, anonymously or not, whether DCL has paid them anything?

That's just craziness.

Anonymous,  9:51 PM  

I am a writer with them and we are told our numbers quarterly and we get paid quarterly if our books have made money. There are some authors who have asked that payment be held until their commissions reach a certain amount. That is the authors' choice, though.

Anonymous,  11:03 PM  

I think that if an author wants to get paid by a "real" check they have to wait.

Anonymous,  7:47 AM  

I just saw their covers and I can't believe the authors would pay that much for those covers or anyone for that matter! The models look pissed, stunned or about to cry. That's probably how they got the company name. I never read any of their books so I don't know if their books are time travel but even the costumes of the models are not in the same time period. Sad to say, this is why ebooks have a bad rep of having low quality books because of covers like those.

That cover of a guy wearing a leather jacket and smiling. Did they just take someone's photo from a party and put it on top of a background. They must go around places, take a picture of a guy and use those for their covers without paying anything? I can't imagine them charging that much for that quality of photos. Those authors could just take a picture of a guy and use Photoshop to create their own covers. Why pay that much money for something you could do yourself? I could understand you paying that much money if the quality is great but come on, are they kidding me? One of the poster said the publisher is challenging someone to come up with a better cover. I bet my kid could do better. Sponge Bob is her specialty!

They’re venturing on doing covers and maintaining a "model" site when they can't even get their own publishing business legit. They also have a movie and jewelry company. WHAT? You have all these other companies and you can't come up with ONE bank account? Who is making all the decisions for this company? They have pages web pages for each of their models yet they don't have one for their authors. What exactly is their business? I'm confused! It doesn't sound like their authors have a clue and if they ask questions the publisher gets rude with them.

Anonymous,  10:11 AM  

Basically the clients here are the authors forking over hundred of dollars for model photos rather than readers buying books. That is how they are staying afloat.

Anonymous,  11:42 AM  

I heard the only requirement they have for an author is to have a castle in their stories. They won't accept you if you don't. That makes a lot of sense. I could write a story of 4 aliens who landed on White Castle and they will accept my story? I could easily call myself a published author then? How cool is that?

Meagan Hatfield 12:53 PM  

I am also a new author with DCL and wanted to say that I am very pleased with the company so far. Having been published and/or contracted with seven other houses, I can tell you they are more professional, helpful, accessible and approachable than others.

If I have a problem, question or request, I am confident I can get a hold of someone and get a quick reply or solution with no fear of being verbally abused or ignored. Sadly that is NOT the case with some other publishers. I have purchased books from them and have never had a problem receiving the link or downloading the books. This is NOT the case with some other publishers. If the house has growing pains, they are so minimal I have yet to notice or be affected them. This is NOT the case with some other publishers. They let me have total say in every aspect of my cover and will work with me until I am satisfied with it. This is SO NOT the case with some other publishers. They promote my release and actively look for more ways in which to do so. Again, this is NOT the case with some other publishers.

As far as the models go…I love my cover. I get tons of compliments on it and yes, I believe Andrei’s picture on my cover is helping me sell books.

I didn’t pay anything for it.

Anonymous,  1:19 PM  

Granted that these people have broken two sacred trusts (always pay your authors and never charge them for covers), has anyone determined whether they have addressed these issues at DCL? Has the company responded to these concerns? If they did not have the knowledge to obtain their LLC and EIN prior to publishing, perhaps they did not realize what a serious error it was to do the other two things. Do they seem amenable to change? This would seem to be an important part of clarifying whether their publishing is a "rip-off" or just the result of inexperience. The end result, of course, can be the same--insolvency--but it would be nice to give them a chance to defend themselves.

Anonymous,  1:25 PM  

You cannot write a story about 4 aliens landing on a White Castle. They do have standards as to what constitutes a decent story (as I am willing to bet at least one of the negative posters here already knows.)

They do primarily ask for stories that have a castle or manor house in them - usually historical, though not always. It's a niche, what's wrong with that? That is there thing, but they don't use that as an excuse to print garbage.

Emily Veinglory 1:30 PM  

By the time they wrote the response above authors had already raised objections and I think the "concerns" in bold that I sent to them are obviously also suggesting this. That and... they are in the business of publishing. They should know or find out before taking actions as a publisher. I know it is a learning curve but hope to see a 180 on the non-payment and charging for cover art very soon.

Anonymous,  1:42 PM  

But they do pay their authors. I received my quarterly about 2 weeks ago and my Fictionwise share yesterday.

Emily Veinglory 2:17 PM  

This is all rather hard to follow as Staurt, above, says fictionwise payments are/were not being made.

Anonymous,  2:20 PM  

I am just wondering why anyone cares what DCL does or does not do and why someone was concerned because it sure sounded like someone was envious or something to take on DCL. Which by the way has most of their authors in other houses and still REMAIN with DCL and why is that? There must be a good one because they keep writing stories for them and they are selling pretty well too.

Now with artistic book covers and book videos authors are getting even more recognition for DCL and of course the models are a big part of it. And to be precise who cares who pays for what since the deal is with the author and the publisher but if an author wants an exclusive with a model they may go to that person and request a shoot or shots for something specific and of course pay that model for their work. Makes sense to me.

As you can see many of the authors that are at DCL have commented here and not always remained anonymous because they want to be known for their connection with DCL. And by the way you have Mr. Romance's and Plagygirl's Man of the Year and more titles for many of the DCL Lords or cover models. Come on people tell me who else can have those people on the covers and want to be associated with this company. The models know a good thing too so they stick with DCL. So come to RT and see how it goes this year especially with many new authors and more models and female ones at that now too so DCL does not just have Lords anymore but Lords and Ladies on their covers and are proud of it.

And as a newer E-publisher tell me how many have already died and gone to bankruptcy but DCL never has and as for an LLC that is as some state something done later after you decide which way to go and DCL always pays and informs their authors of how much in sales they have made every quarter.

Stop being so petty and mean look to your own writing and publishers and beware more of the others do not go belly up as DCL is not likely to since they started off small but are definitely going places and getting recognized and being awarded for their books, covers and videos.

Hope you can all now forget this and get on with your own lives and stop placing blame where many of you have no idea on the real issues. Thank you all you DCL supporters and yes all the authors on here that commented like it so that should tell you something.

Emily Veinglory 2:30 PM  

We are discussing this epublisher because this is a blog for discussing epublishers, and because the pratices of this epublisher are questionable.

dont-be-a-dork 2:37 PM  

I was paid for my anthology from DCL.

dont-be-a-dork 2:44 PM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous,  2:54 PM  

Emily, all I know is I received an email from Stuart letting me know my royalties total from Fictionwise sales. Later that day, I received a paypal notice that the monies were available on my account.

Emily Veinglory 3:00 PM  

Perhaps the problems in that area have been resolved. That would be good news. I must say my hope is that discussion would contribute to publishers developing their approach to the benefit of authors. That is one reason to keep the conversation as unemotional and focus on the facts we each have access to. I appreciate your input.

dont-be-a-dork 3:02 PM  

Why would you delete my comment? It wasn't bad, it wasn't really bashing anyone.

Emily Veinglory 3:04 PM  

Please see the policy in the top post. Personal insults in that post were directed to authors who brought their concerns to groups like this one--and to those like myself who actively discuss presses with dubious practises.

Anonymous,  3:07 PM  

I hope now you can let it go from Smoke to Fire back to not questionable since many of the DCL authors on here have stated they get their quarterly statements and have been getting paid and recently too which makes sense if the last quarter was not too long ago. And besides as Stuart did mention they were working on getting it all done in a timely fashion so maybe the time has come to let it all die and know that DCL does pay and the newness of setting up some of the new things implemented are now resolved and all the authors get their money and statements. So can we let it die now on a positive note please.

Besides the authors have spoken and they are the only ones that know for fact what is real and imagined so we know for fact now they are paid and have been recently so all is well with DCL right now and I hope far into the future. Someone concerned with bashing where it never should have really gone and to this extent. Thanks.

Emily Veinglory 3:14 PM  

I never placed DCL in the not recommended category and do not currently plan to. I do plan to keep the discussion free of insults but this is a new, not a retrospective, policy. I generally avoid limiting discussion. I also currently do not check posts before they go live so it may take up to 24-hours for me to respond to new material.

If paying for covers with models did become a policy, or non-payment issue resurfaced I would place then as not recommended. Fees and non-payment are two main reasons for employing this category.

Kayleigh Jamison 4:17 PM  

I am just wondering why anyone cares what DCL does or does not do and why someone was concerned because it sure sounded like someone was envious or something to take on DCL. Which by the way has most of their authors in other houses and still REMAIN with DCL and why is that? There must be a good one because they keep writing stories for them and they are selling pretty well too.

Well, authors and those in the e-publishing/small press industry do and should care. First, if they are not treating their authors properly in whatever manner, prospective authors deserve to be warned of that. Second, it reflects poorly upon the industry as a whole.


Now with artistic book covers and book videos authors are getting even more recognition for DCL and of course the models are a big part of it. And to be precise who cares who pays for what since the deal is with the author and the publisher but if an author wants an exclusive with a model they may go to that person and request a shoot or shots for something specific and of course pay that model for their work. Makes sense to me.

Doesn't to me. As I stated before, it's like requiring authors to pay for their in-house editing, or making them pay for the publisher's website overhead. When an author is required to pay for any part of the production of their own book, the publisher starts to tow the subsidy/vanity line. Now, some authors have no problem with that. I have no problem with the concept itself, but a duck should be called a duck.

And again I'll mention the concerns of conflict of interest. Are they a model agency or a publisher? IMO, it's unwise to be both.

As for the covers and videos getting recognition, from my opinionated spot, plugged into this industry, it's not been all, or even mostly, positive recognition. It doesn't matter if you've got Brad Pitt on the cover, if the cover's poorly done.

As you can see many of the authors that are at DCL have commented here and not always remained anonymous because they want to be known for their connection with DCL. And by the way you have Mr. Romance's and Plagygirl's Man of the Year and more titles for many of the DCL Lords or cover models.

If I were getting $300 per cover from the author, I'd stick around too.

And as a newer E-publisher tell me how many have already died and gone to bankruptcy but DCL never has...

Yet. If they have no bank account, haven't formed a legitimate business entity after 18 months, and aren't paying their authors, they may be on the way.

I have had several people email me privately about DCL, after seeing my non-anonymous comments here. None have been positive. I've also been told that the contract refers to DCL, LLC. Stuart himself stated the company is not an LLC. Furthermore, the cursory research I have done on Australian business law doesn't seem to state that LLC's are even a viable business form in Australia. (You've got partnerships, DBAs, sole proprietorships, corporations, and proprietary companies).

Four separate people have told me they've not been paid by DCL.

I am weighing in from an objective standpoint. I'm not a DCL author. I call it like I see it.

Hope you can all now forget this and get on with your own lives and stop placing blame where many of you have no idea on the real issues.

Isn't that the point of this discussion? To discover the real issues? To provide people with the ability to make well-informed choices about where they submit their work?

I'm not anti-DCL. I hope they rectify the concerns some authors have voiced, and they do well. I never want to see a publisher fail. But I don't think it's malicious or petty to invite an honest, open discussion about things such as this.

Kayleigh Jamison 4:34 PM  

Oh, and to add before anyone else reams me for it, no, I don't know Australian law. Analyzing it from an American law background is like trying to force a square peg into a round hole.

Anyone better versed in it than I is more than welcome to correct me.

I did spend about an hour last night browsing the Australian Government's business formation website doing some cursory research, and earlier today I shot an email off to one of my professors (who is, ironically enough, Australian) and asked for a quick and dirty rundown. Not with any malicious intent, but my academic curiosity is piqued. (And just yesterday I was asking myself what the heck I took this International Business Law course for...!)

KJ

Fae 5:13 PM  

I don't know about anyone else, but it is a personal red flag of epic proportions when a company or its cheering section start suggesting that asking questions about a company = jealousy. This isn't third grade, I do not want your piece of chocolate cake and no one here is questioning DCL's practices because we're jealous.

But suggesting it certainly does flare up my personal flags. Neon ones, even. We're asking because writers deserve to know that there are questions about this company, so those writers can make an informed decision when it comes time to submit their work. That's all, period. Emily and I believe everyone who frequents this blog want the same thing. The more you know...

Fae 5:16 PM  

Um, that should read: Emily, and I believe everyone who frequents this blog, want the same thing.

Because the way it was sounded off. Commas will be the death of me!

squicked out graphic artist,  5:34 PM  

I feel the same way, Fae. I am SOO not jealous of the grainy, blurry, badly Photo-shopped covers that grace the DCL covers. My own covers are award-winning and do not feature stoned, stunned, sad, mad, or goofy (ie, in DCL talk, "moody") cover models. Nor do I want them too. My publisher is a model in brand-new epublishers. For over a year, all business legalities were addressed and taken care of. Contracts were professionally written, and bank accounts started. It is an LLC. We are legal, one hundred percent.

I am not jealous of DCl in any way, nor am I scared to post my real name. I refrain from doing so out of respect for my friends and publishers. I have known friends who write for DCL, and I don't want them targeted by the bragging self-righteousness that has overtaken the DCL pro loop (so I've heard from members of said loop). Apparently a lot of people are living in a world of denial about the fact that DCL is heralded as something of a joke (as are cover models) to those who are truly serious about being published. At least, those who have heard of DCL and are not affiliated with it in some way.

I completely agree that the publisher seems to be an agency for the models. There are no author sites, and reports say that Stuart is "slowly" creating author pages in between his dealings with the models and their sections. To me, it would seem like the authors would be a top priority, as has been echoed in many other posts here.

I have to agree, also, with the person who posted about the mullet man on the cover of a book. Ew. Seriously. That's not attractive to the general public. The only people who DO find it attractive are the authors (and probably only because they are too polite to speak up) and model-obsessed middle-aged women. Anybody under the age of 30 find that cover compelling? The whole cover screams horrible blind date. I can practically hear that guy spouting off corny offensive pick up lines and making lots of innuendos about his groin. Oh, and maybe Barry White singing in the background, or possibly some bad porn music. Boom-chicka-wow-wow.

One more time, for the record. I'm NOT jealous. I'm mad. Covers like that, and many others put out by DCL give ebooks a bad rep. It casts a bad light on the stories inside the covers. The covers are disappointing. DCL would gain much more notable attention if the covers were done with a bit more skill and a lot less emphasis on pimping the model du jour.

sallahdog 6:08 PM  

an llc number with tax ID doesn't take that long to get. You can apply online. The longest time it takes is around 6 weeks,but I got my tax Id number in less than 4... The IRS is no one to mess around with. Frankly I don't know how you take IN money if you don't have your LLC and tax ID in place. I can't even go to a parts supplier or trade show without those in hand, I can not IMAGINE that fictionwise would be that lax, because THEY don't want to draw the attention of the IRS either... smells like bs to me... at least that part of it... I don't have an opinion on the rest of it, one way or another.

Emily Veinglory 7:21 PM  

It is my understanding that DCL operates in Australia and Ihio, so not necessarily under Australian law.

Anonymous,  7:57 PM  

They are opening the tax ID in Ohio.

Honestly, we are new but that doesn't mean the quality of our books suffers. We do have some really good covers, some great writers, and a management team trying to work things out and who are accessible. If not everyone likes us, well, not everyone likes EC, Loose-Id, Samhain, Torquere.... We'll keep putting out works, even with nay-sayers.

Emily Veinglory 8:12 PM  

Oops, yes, I meant Ohio. Spot the non-American ;)

Kayleigh Jamison 8:29 PM  

It is my understanding that DCL operates in Australia and Ohio, so not necessarily under Australian law.

Ooooh. Well now, that's a horse of a different color.

what's fair for one....,  9:58 PM  

Emily,
I thought you might want to know that any and every private email sent to Pam at DCl is being released--and mocked--by the DCL Pro group. I wasn't sure if you gave her permission to do this, but it didn't seem very fair, since you ARE trying to be fair here.

Anonymous,  10:00 PM  

Sorry, should read, released TO the DCL Pro group, not 'by'.

Emily Veinglory 10:29 PM  

Thanks. I requested that those messages be deleted from that loop and was told they would be. You could say I was not terribly impressed.

I still haven't received a clear reply on whether author will need to pay for a human figure cover, or why Pamela was so convinced I was deleting comments from DCL supporters.

I remain interested in answers to both of those questions.

Anonymous,  10:38 PM  

Not everyone is mocking, thank you. I don't like it when either side of an arguement gets nasty but that could be why things I say get ignored...

However, the emails primary addressees were both Emily and the DCL pro list. It isn't as though Pam was trying to keep it a secret from Emily that the emails were being posted.

Emily Veinglory 10:51 PM  

Actually, no. Pamela cced some of her email to the list. I deliberately sent all of my to her addy only.

Emily Veinglory 10:57 PM  

I've got to sleep now and work most of tomorrow. So everyone play nice while I'm away.

Anonymous,  11:01 PM  

Well that Pamela women is the reason people here doesn't want to say their names. I heard she's the one that's been harassing people if things doesn't go her way. It just shows from your request how immature they are. Saying people are just jealous for stating the obvious and hopefully helping new authors is just how the people at DCL thinks. Well, if they are not open to reason and help (opening their eyes) then that's their problem. Deal with it. We want to help new authors to not fall for the same garbage a lot of authors go through. Furthermore, your publisher probably wouldn't have paid you now if the payment issue didn't show up in this blog! So get down on your high horse and try to see what the people are saying here. You could learn a lot of information that YOUR PUBLISHER never knew and probably just starting to do for you now. SHHHHSSHHH!! You probably run those authors out of DCL because they raised a flag that they weren't paid. If you are so satisfied with not getting paid then that's your pain. The rest of the authors who think logically do and so will future authors.

Anonymous,  11:02 PM  

*sigh* if we must... LOL. Thanks for letting us vent, rant, and rave, Emily!

Anonymous,  6:04 AM  

"Furthermore, your publisher probably wouldn't have paid you now if the payment issue didn't show up in this blog! So get down on your high horse and try to see what the people are saying here."

I have been getting paid quarterly. This has never been an issue for me, as I have tried stating repeatedly. So how about you stop beating a dead horse. You will have to forgive me for trying to stand up for my pub. I don't care if you like my loyalty or not.

Anonymous,  7:07 AM  

In defense of this blog and Emily, we need to have more discussions with both sides giving pros and cons.
I'm beginning to feel that becoming epublished is like playing the lottery. You never know what you're going to get until you scratch off your card.
There are some in the business who are willing to invest the time, hard work and money that it takes to be a good publisher. Others get into without a clue as to what they're doing and the then the authors get hung out to dry.
We need blogs like this one and others where writers can speak up—albeit anonymously—about problems they've encountered. Then other writers can weigh the pros and cons and know what they might be getting into before they submit the first manuscript.

Anonymous,  8:53 AM  

Didn't Stuart (part owner of DCL) admitted to not paying authors yet? So how is it that one is saying she is getting paid every quarter and the other authors say they haven't? The authors sounds like they all have a different contracts which is probably not unusual. Though, why are some authors getting paid and the other not? If the authors ask and raise a question they get get called as trouble makers? It's very clear there are a lot of issues in that company that authors need to know how each authors are being treated differently. I guess if you don't ask questions and complain you get paid. This is the reason why this blog should go on. To let other authors know what they have to deal with out there and be smart with their decisions.

Anonymous,  12:01 PM  

I am just curious-not an publisher or author. Just a reader. It seems to me that the owner of this blog is being blasted and/ or vilified for trying to find out information for aspiring writers. If the DCL people don't like her analysis of her research they should maybe look into her reasons for her decisions. My whole point is don't hate the messenger.
Seems to me there might be some valid concerns.

sallahdog 12:05 PM  

As a reader, not a writer. I can not imagine putting up with someone playing fast and loose with money that I made. Someone who gave me these kinds of bs stories would very quickly be on my "do not do business with"...

In the future, when this ship goes down(as they seem to regularly as the unprofessional ones inevitably fail). I wouldn't expect a lot of sympathy about rights being tied up, or final checks getting "lost in the mail".... Girls (or guys) WISE UP!!! For Chrissake, if you want to be treated like the professionals you are, don't do business with someone who can't even be bothered to get ONLINE and get an LLC and tax ID number (its really easy, I did it and I am no genius)..

That stuff is just basic, and if someone can't get the basics right, what hope do you have against creative accounting, losing checks, and everything else you have to protect yourself against? Seriously... catch the clue..

Anonymous,  1:19 PM  

OK enough already people, sheesh! Share the information you have but do you have to be so mean? Even P&E doesn't carry things this far. They state the facts and that's that. They don't keep beating a dead horse. Lets all just play nice, write some stories, sell our books and make some money, okay?

Anonymous,  1:20 PM  

LETS BE PROFESSIONALS HERE PEOPLE

Anonymous,  1:53 PM  

Why not go with people like Ocean Mist Press who went out of business and is back in for some reason but all the authors are NOT GETTING PAID a cent for their books ... that is more of a real issue here. Not lambasting a company still working everything out as I am sure many other e-publushers have tried and failed at least DCL is still thriving and growing so you know their authors are getting paid besides which do we know if any of the authors supposedly not being paid sold any books maybe their books are not that good hence no real payback yet. I say go for those publishers that have really screwed the authors and are not giving back their rights to their books so they can find other houses to publish with. THOSE ARE WHO YOU NEED TO ADDRESS right now since it seems a few new ones just went belly up recently and left many authors yelling crying foul ball with no revenue at all and no rights either. PLEASE address that instead of whipping this dead horse as someone said. Deal with real issues not supposed ones that we now have confirmation of many of their authors being paid and on time.

Anonymous,  2:01 PM  

"Why not go with people like Ocean Mist Press who went out of business and is back in for some reason but all the authors are NOT GETTING PAID a cent for their books ... that is more of a real issue here."

I believe there is a post about Ocean Mist Press on this blog and those who wish to discuss their practices can certainly go there, not being paid for your hard work by any publisher is horrendous. However, these posters are discussing this particular publisher and their practices which seem, at least from the outside looking in, to be quite shady.

After reading the original post and all of the responses I would have serious reservations about handing over my grocery list let alone the MS I worked so hard on to these people if I were a serious writer.

And since someone mentioned P&E ALL authors should check them out especially their warnings which seem to fit this particular publisher to a tee.

Emily Veinglory 2:04 PM  

Bottom line: his thread, like all other threads on the blog, will remain open indefinitely. Discussion will continue, by defintion, as long as people keep posting.

Anonymous,  2:28 PM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Emily Veinglory 2:37 PM  

I am very sorry but I am going to have to go back and delete a few posts according to the one rule I am trying to enforce here, insults applied to specific people. I hope you understand and can repost with this in mind. I know this is a new thing and you might not be aware of it yet but please limit comment to what people *do* not the kind of person you/someone else might think they are.

ball-sackattack 2:39 PM  

Why don't you people stop with the dcl business and discuss PUBLISHAMERICA? Now there's a real issue for authors who fall into that trap.

Emily Veinglory 2:45 PM  

1) Because this is a blog specifically about erotica and romance epublishers, defined as those whose primary business is in one of those genres and that format.

2) Because it's a free internet and people can discuss what they want. I suspect shouting repeatedly at them to stop might not actually help take an issue off the boil?

Anonymous,  4:08 PM  

If people want to remain blind, thats fine. They can stay that way but a lot of people who read this blog should be informed. There are a lot of good information here that could show them and other potential authors what a publisher should be doing for their authors. The DCL authors are admitting they pay for their book cover and happy do so. That is not the point we are making here. We are saying your publisher should be paying for those covers. What do you need DCL for? Because they got you in contact with the models for your cover? Does that even makes sense? Why should you have to contact the model when your publisher should be taking care of that cover for you? Now you feel like you owe them? Good for you that you are getting paid but let the ones that are not getting paid have their say. Why would they complain about not getting paid if they see their "sales report" and it clearly shows people did buy their books and they are not getting paid? I am glad those authors who voiced out their discontent can go somewhere to let people know about shady companies they are dealing with. Take a step back and think what you say. This is a public blog and anyone who wishes to say how they feel should be able to say it. You are not happy because not all of it is a shining positive review of your pub? Well, welcome to reality! Learn from it but not curse at it. You might learn new things here.

Why do you keep redirecting the blog to go to another publisher? Emily keeps stating here that this is specific to DCL practices and hopefully will help a potential author make wise decisions. It sounds like the only thing DCL has done for you is take your story and published it through a third party vendor which is Fictionwise. They have time to talk and chat with you since it sounds like they don't do much except take your work (I don't even know if they really edit your work) and say they published it. Have you read P&B's list? I doubt you would have signed with your publisher if you read it.

Anonymous,  4:29 PM  

My apologies, Emily, for getting snarky. I got a bit rankled by Anon 11:53.

Not lambasting a company still working everything out as I am sure many other e-publushers have tried and failed at least DCL is still thriving and growing so you know their authors are getting paid besides which do we know if any of the authors supposedly not being paid sold any books maybe their books are not that good hence no real payback yet. ...Deal with real issues not supposed ones that we now have confirmation of many of their authors being paid and on time.

To still be "figuring things out" 18 months in, at least to the extent of not having Tax IDs, etc. is unacceptable. It's laziness or incompetence or both.

I haven't seen many people claiming to be paid correctly and on time. One person, a few anon comments (that could have all been the same person) and that was it. Kayleigh said she's gotten emails from authors who haven't been paid. She's got no personal stake in this so I believe her.

I've also heard that the DCL authors who are dissatisfied are afraid of speaking up because of retaliation from DCL's owner. That doesn't sound like a reputable publisher on the up and up to me.

mamaw 8:03 PM  

I am just a reader and I have no part of anyone's fight here . I read it that this a blog started to help authors and prevent them from being taken advantage of by e publishers that are not what they should be. I read many different genre in e book and print from all kinds of publishers. My experience with DCL has been favorable. If I have any problems they are corrected within a few min. I have had much more trouble with other e companies. The authors that I have read from DCL have all been good.
some of them have print contracts also. I have a personal friend that is one of the models so nastily made fun of here . That is not a professional thing to do. His image sent a book into the best selling print book list a year ago. If he is such a joke why did he help that author to the best selling list when her other books didn't go there? Every author wants to be published and read with whatever company they can sign with.They deserve to be paid for their work. Models are people with feelings too. That is their work. They should be paid for it. I have seen all kinds of covers from everywhere. You get what you pay for. Most publishers don't allow the author any say on what goes on their books. If that is what you want fine. If you want a say in what represents your work then expect to have to pay the models fee. Whitch sure isn't $300.
try less than half that. The fee isn't set by DCL and the models aren't signed exclusively to them. Also just remember what age group is buying your books before you throw stones at middle aged women. That was a very non professional blow too. Keep this on the real reason that this blog was formed.

Rowan Larke,  8:13 PM  

Wow and holy hell.

So I dropped out of bloglandia for a while...and I'm reading this and I'm stunned. Just. Stunned.

The email from the owner should have been sent to an editor. The sort/sought thing is seriously killing me. Especially when you were given permission to share verbatim. (and the fact your emails were being shared WITHOUT that permission? Oh I think I'm pissed on your behalf on that one.)

From what I've read here it sounds like DCL has the interests of their Cover Models in mind over those of their authors. (I'm not about to go drop a story in a castle to go undercover for you. Sorry!)

Isn't Samhain 18 months old, too? Just...for comparative purposes, not to be snide. Much.

Anonymous,  4:40 AM  

Hi, I came cross your blog by chance and have been following it with interest for a day or two. It got my attention due to the number of replies and some of the comments that have been bandied about and would like to add my own opinion /views.

But, firstly let me say that I am not a publisher or writer so my views should, I hope, be seen as impartial and not seen as taking once side or the other.

Before I decided to post to this blog, I did some research. I visited several well known publishers and a selection of others (not so well known by the look of where their page showed up on Google). I also visited the website in question (DCL).


One of your first comments took my eye straight away;

None of those skanky idiots is worth the 250-300$ a PICTURE, especially when the company is built around them.

Does ‘Not a DCL fan’ actually know the cost of buying a photograph from a Stock site these days? I myself wasn’t sure, so I took a look around and found that for a photo of a male in various poses can range anywhere from a few dollars to several hundred dollars. Taking that into account, their prices seem relatively cheap. My view only

Do you have any proof that the company is built around the models shown on their site? Just because they have part of their website set aside for each model does not prove anything.

Dude, those covers look like, well, bad ebook covers. I guess some people's standards are very different. – ANON

Anon, as with all things artistic (Books, music, art work, paintings and so on) they are subjective and open to interpretation. What one person sees as a master piece the other as a few lines of paint?

I had a look at their covers and those on other sites and found them to be no better or worse. In some instances DCL’s covers seemed quite artistic and portrayed the theme of the book quite well ( my view). And yes, one or two of their covers could have had a bit more thought go into them but if the author was happy with it…

They’re still working on "forming LLC" and acquiring a bank account? The first thing I would have done was those two things if I wanted to open a business. They've been open for 18 months and yet they are still in the process of acquiring the two most important things. How did they plan on paying the authors if they haven't thought of it for the past 18 months? Did they suddenly woke up one day and decide they will publish books and ask aspiring authors for their stories? What did they have when they opened their business? So many red flags here I can't even imagine any author (desperate maybe) to sign with them. It doesn’t take long to open bank account and form an LLC.

This point stood out as a red flag to me as well. I saw the owner’s response to this question and it looks like he has tried to answer the concern raised but his response may have been a little unclear and open for further clarification.

Upon reading further down I found a reply by the web host that the business is based in Australia and the USA. Does anyone here know the legalities of starting up and registering a business in Australia? How long does it take? What would be the benefits of registering in Australia compared to the USA and vice a versa?

As one of your posters noted, “You can be DBA, or as a partnership. You can even be doing it without formal registration anywhere. It's not really fraud, because there's no corporate veil to pierce, and all owners are personally, jointly, and severally liable for all acts of the "company."

Quite a few small businesses do not LLC or inc upon start up because of the costs, and because for tax/revenue purposes it isn't necessary, yet. They also may want to test the market before making the decision about what type of entity to form (S-Corp? C-Corp? LLC?) That's actually not uncommon. The important thing is that when it comes time to incorporate, you do it.”


Has any one gone back to Stuart on this? Have they applied for their LLC paperwork and TAX ID as suggested in his response? What stage is it at?

The company doesn't print or format their stories. It’s better to go directly to Fictionwise

How many small epublishers actual print their books? I thought that was the idea behind being an epublisher, not having to print books?

Some of your comments mention that if DCL are selling books why sell on Fictionwise? I checked Fictionwise and found that a lot of other publishing houses do the exact same thing and not only at Fictionwise. So why slate them for doing something that seems the norm with publishing houses.

They’re venturing on doing covers and maintaining a "model" site when they can't even get their own publishing business legit. They also have a movie and jewelry company. WHAT? You have all these other companies and you can't come up with ONE bank account? Who is making all the decisions for this company? They have pages web pages for each of their models yet they don't have one for their authors. What exactly is their business? I'm confused!

Does anyone here know if the businesses mentioned in this post (Movie and Jewellery) where started at the same time or brought over by the founders of DCL? What is wrong with combining all these under one umbrella? A lot of business have several satellite companies and separate bank accounts.

This post also mentions again about getting the publishing business legit. I make the same point as before. Has anyone actually gone back to DCL to ascertain at what stage they are at and if they have applied for the required paperwork to legitimise the business? If not, how can you all keep commenting on this point if you do not have the necessary information to hand?

They have pages web pages for each of their models yet they don't have one for their authors.

I am not sure what you mean here? I visited their website and found pages dedicated to both authors and models alike. Why is this a issue? Weren’t the original queries about payments, royalty figures and low book sales?

Basically the clients here are the authors forking over hundred of dollars for model photos rather than readers buying books. That is how they are staying afloat.

The above post is treading on very dangerous ground. Do you have any proof that the authors are forking over what you say? I believe several of DCL’s author’s have replied advising that they are not. Stuart, in his response has mentioned that this was an idea brought up by the models and is currently being discussed with the authors and models alike.

So until someone actually goes back to them and finds out if this revenue generating avenue is going to proceed, how can you pass judgement on this particular point?

This is all rather hard to follow as Stuart, above, says Fictionwise payments are/were not being made. (Comment by your web host)/ How are authors being paid? ARE authors being paid? (Separate Post)
Good point! But by the look of the replies from DCL authors, who have posted on this blog, they have always been paid but they had some trouble with Fictionwise which seems to have been rectified. Another author posted that they are paid via payapl with others waiting until they reach a set amount.

I think that answers the point raised.

There are no author sites, and reports say that Stuart is "slowly" creating author pages in between his dealings with the models and their sections.

What author sites are you talking about? Are you referring to individual author websites, if so, isn’t that the responsibility of the individual author? If you mean there are no pages dedicated to the authors of the books being sold at DCL, then I am afraid that your information is very outdated. As I mentioned in an earlier, they do have author pages.

Do you know his work load? What are his priorities? Again what context was this report in? Was it personal correspondence to you or some one else? If it was to someone else did you get permission from the intended recipient or from Stuart to post this? If not, then you have just broken the golden rule of confidentiality.

I personally can not see what this has to do with the original topic.

Well that Pamela women is the reason people here doesn't want to say their names. I heard she's the one that's been harassing people if things doesn't go her way. It just shows from your request how immature they are. Saying people are just jealous for stating the obvious and hopefully helping new authors is just how the people at DCL thinks. Well, if they are not open to reason and help (opening their eyes) then that's their problem. Deal with it. We want to help new authors to not fall for the same garbage a lot of authors go through. Furthermore, your publisher probably wouldn't have paid you now if the payment issue didn't show up in this blog!

As you have mentioned, you have heard; Hearsay, very, very dangerous ground. Do you have any proof to back up your remarks that she is harassing people? I have heard of companies taken to court for liable for saying less than this. Newspapers are full of their stories.

Your other point is a valid one which I believe has been answered several times. They have been paid.

You mention if they are not open to reason and help (opening their eyes) then that's their problem.

Who says that they are not open to help? Stuart has mentioned in his post that he has always maintained an open door policy and has always sought advice from all parties about how to improve the business and address issues raised by authors and models alike.

Doesn’t replying to this blog show that he is open to reason and is prepared to take on suggestions?

What would you have done if he did not reply? He has stated that they had some problems which have now been addressed.

It sounds like the only thing DCL has done for you is take your story and published it through a third party vendor which is Fictionwise.

A lot of publishing houses use Fictionwise as another avenue for their authors as my research before posting shows. DCL’s authors have replied to your posts advising that their books ARE selling and DCL do promote their books. Fictionwise is an example.

What else do you want a publisher to do if not sell and promote your books?

To still be "figuring things out" 18 months in, at least to the extent of not having Tax IDs, etc. is unacceptable. It's laziness or incompetence or both.


As your web host and one of the previous poster pointed out, DCL is based in Australia and the USA. A lot of small companies test the water before deciding which is the best way forward to correctly serve their employees.

Could this not be the case here as I have previous mentioned?

Why is it unacceptable, laziness or incompetence? Do you know the reasons behind the decisions taken on this course of action? Have you gone back and asked Stuart about this?


As I stated from the start, I hope to have brought an impartial view to some of the replies and answers submitted by various posters both from this blog and DCL.

There seems to be a constant theme running through this thread. You have a lot of people going over the same ground, which by reading the replies have been answered.

You say that this blog is about letting potential authors know about the pitfalls of epublsihing and the good and bad points associated with each publisher you have listed.

All I can see here is that you have raised some concerns brought to you by one or two authors which you have had a reply to. If you are unsure of Stuart’s answers or want further clarification, why carry on that particular thread without seeking that clarification or an update?

On several occasions several of your posters have asked “Have we heard back from DCL about this point or that!” Yet in the following breath have gone over the same ground again and the thread has continued along the same line with the same posts being made.

Some of you have rebuked Stuart for his typos and spelling. May I suggest that before you throw the first stone; have a look at your own grammar? This is not pointed at anyone in particular but some of the spelling and grammar used by both parties is to be desired.

In closing I would like to put a question or two your way and to the author/s who initially raised these concerns.

One of the first concerns raised was about lack of sales or very low sales. To the authors that brought this to the attention of the host of this blog. When you signed with DCL, where you advised of what type of story/novel/book they had a preference for? I only ask this as it looks like DCL cater for a certain niche, which by the themes running through their books is the case; then sales may be low until word got out that a new epublisher is now catering for that particular area. Maybe their niche has been targeted to a certain type of reader, age and sex.

Did you actively seek ways of promoting this niche along with DCL knowing that this particular area may be limited? Did you discuss with Stuart your concerns over slow sales at the start?


To the members of this blog, has anyone contacted Stuart since his reply was printed asking if there has been any progress on the issues raised?

If DCL are catering for a certain niche, has anyone gone back suggesting that their area of expertise/niche could become very limiting to authors and publisher alike? Maybe suggesting opening up to a broader range of books could be the answer.

Communication is a two way tool. It is fine saying that this blog is for this purpose or that, but unless you proactively seek to help the publishers whom you have highlighted, this blog may become know for just slating.

I am not saying that you are but some of your posts starting to venture into a very grey area.

What will get you more notice and gratitude from those publishers mentioned in your blog?

Being constructive with your comments along with suggestions on how to resolve the issues at hand and not continually going over the same ground without seeking clarification from those concerned to see if policies have been put in place to over come the issues brought to their attention.


You have the beginnings of a very good blog here, why not use it to its full potential and bee seen as a group of people whom not only highlight to potential authors the pros and cons of epublishing but also help those publishers who you have highlighted with ways of helping them.

Maybe all that is needed with some, is a gentle push in the right direction. I bet you they would be very grate full for the guidance.

As they say some times you can not see the trees for the woods.

I thank you for letting me have my say and hope I have given an impartial view on the points raised.

Anonymous,  9:08 AM  

I recall an experiment where several "legitimately" published authors wrote a chapter each round robin style of a book, aiming for dreadful, and proportionately chipped in for the Publish America cost and submitted and were accepted and then revealed the hoax. Perhaps that would ease the cost of going undercover at DLC?

To the reportedly impartial anonymous poster who wrote just a few words short of the Courtship of Miles Standish after having stumbled upon this site, impartially investigating the issue (one imagines for his/her own edification and our own), you are showing yourself either: a very partial imposter who thinks the readers here are idiots who cannot discern bullshit when they see it or a very partial imposter who is delusional. Either way, your statements are not credible.

Anonymous,  9:12 AM  

Interesting how all these "imparital parties" seem to know all about DCL's business practices and also all have the same 'voice' as Pamela and Stuart. We're writers, folks, do you think we don't recognize voices in writing, whether you remain anonymous or not?

And fyi, a bunch of anonymous comments claiming to be authors who've been paid do not clear anything up. So far, from the looks of the posts here, only one DCL author has named themselves and said they were paid. Where are all the others? If they're being paid and here to defend their publisher, why stay anonymous? I'm not buying it. And certainly not buying DCL's line of bull.

Anonymous,  9:34 AM  

This is to the poster who says he/she is impartial. Reading your post, I failed to see your impartial views. You only commented on the postings that were not from DCL's. You are asking posters here if we ever checked back with DCL for the answers. Weren't those questions raised here and not answered yet? We expect someone from the company to come here and answer those issues raised.

Yes, it was said that the authors got paid but only a few out of their 15 authors said they got paid just recently (after this blog started to be exact). Some are saying they got paid every quarter and some are saying they weren't getting paid. We have yet to hear from those authors who initially voiced out that they weren't paid. Maybe I missed their post? If so, could someone let me know?

The LLC issue was made clear. They waited which is fine and was clarified. Now, this is where I failed to see you as being impartial. You never made mention of the bank account. That issue is very important in understanding. Yes, it’s not bad to have multiple companies and it doesn't matter when you started those companies. Bottom line, they did not have a bank account for their publishing company when they have all these other companies. Just for business structure, don't you think that's disturbing to know? They have all these businesses under their belt with no bank account? Don't ask me to ask them about it since the question was already raised here. Wouldn't you question their financial position before you jump in the water with them? You failed to bring that very important concern so I find it hard to believe you are impartial.

Now, your comments regarding the model issue. Yes, purchasing photos varies with each photographer. The issue here is why the authors need to pay for their covers when the publisher should be paying for that expense? That's what they are there for? To run a "model site" where people could purchase photos by the same company could be a conflict of interest. This is just an assumption on my part just to show you an example on how this could be thought of as conflict of interest. If an author has a book coming out, the publisher has a choice between the free stock photos they have of what ever, a tree, versus a model. Which one would you think the publisher might chose? They can give the author a simple cover or will they promote (promote and make money is what they should do to their model site company) the model's photo so the author would buy it. True, the authors didn't pay for their previous covers but now they are starting this new "model site" and will start charging their authors for photos of the models. Don’t you think the publisher gets a cut from those photos since they are making it a separate company? I would assume, if I was the publisher and I’m in the business to make money. I would promote those model photos and get more money. The authors are saying they are fine paying for them but do they see the conflict here and that they shouldn’t be paying for their covers?

Yes, I do agree with you that people should be more constructive with their comments. But you never questioned the authors that posted here. The DCL authors and publisher are posting and telling people to drop the subject. The subject will not drop because it’s posting questions and concerns. New or aspiring authors should be informed. Did you ever ask the authors if all of them are satisfied? It appears not all are. You yourself learned a lot from investigating on this subject. Wouldn’t you want the same thing done by an author before they decide to sign on a publisher?

I’m partial to this board as well but I’m still not impressed by the publisher and their authors’ responses.

Anonymous,  9:42 AM  

Furthermore, if you are impartial then you should know that proper grammar and spelling is a must if someone is responding/representing for a company and a publisher at that. They should edit their responses so they sound more professional. The rest of the posters here are not saying they are in business or writers. They don't have to spell check their comments but a company should especially when you are answering for your company. If you don't think that's important then you sadly have no clue about business which is what these authors should think when they look for publishers.

Anonymous,  11:02 AM  

The reason no one wants to see this new person's views as impartial is because right now you are equating impartial as being against DCL, which isn't impartial at all.

And trust me, that is neither Pam nor Stuart. Much as I liove them both, neither of them write that well. Neither could take that kind of time out of their days. Stuart does have a day job with a 2 hour, each way, train ride commute, from what I understand. He does his best to fit in DCL business wherever and whenever he can. Pam is a full time mom trying to get a movie into full swing production.

I have brought several items to both Pam's and Stuart's attention when I felt I was being treated unfairly and never have I been yelled at for it.

What you read as this person knowing DCL business were things they read on here and generalities. How can you smack them down as knowing too much about DCL business when DCL business has been dissected by you throughout this blog and these comments?

As for being anon, if all of their accusers are going to be anon (including those from DCL) why should the authors feel the need to say who they are?

Anonymous,  11:10 AM  

And trust me, that is neither Pam nor Stuart. Much as I liove them both, neither of them write that well. Neither could take that kind of time out of their days. Stuart does have a day job with a 2 hour, each way, train ride commute, from what I understand. He does his best to fit in DCL business wherever and whenever he can. Pam is a full time mom trying to get a movie into full swing production.

So when do they find time to run their publishing business? Seems to me that by your own admission (you knowing them) they are treating this as a side job when this should be a full time endeavor. Perhaps this is contributing to why this particular company is experiencing the problems they are having.

Anonymous,  11:34 AM  

Did you expect me to backpeddle, or something?

They give DCL as much attention as they can, which is still considerable, but no, it is not everything they live, breathe, and worship. How are they expected to support themselves on a business not yet making them a decent income? They do all that they can.

Anonymous,  11:46 AM  

Did you expect me to backpeddle, or something?

No of course not. I was just making an observation. As an author I want to know that the company I am with is putting 100% of their effort into publishing and that this was their priority as much as it is mine. As I've read it seems these partners have their hands in many different ventures.

It's something to take into consideration when looking at a publishing house. Now that is my own personal opinion, it may not hold true to others.

Anonymous,  11:50 AM  

No wonder the company have issues. No one has time to work on it? Is that an excuse? I can tell you from what I see and not because someone told me. Pamela is posting in all the groups she created in addition to their multiple profiles on myspace. Don't say she's busy. Maybe that's her excuse to you but its quite visible she's not busy when she post in the groups that she has all the time. If I was one of the authors, I would feel like I'm put in the back burner because there are other more important things than my book. Pamela uses her movie as an excuse when she can't tell someone she has no time for them. Believe me, she told me this many times to say she's busy. I bet she used that on you quite a lot. The company have issues because they are too busy doing other things including registering and getting a bank account? No, they are busy doing movies instead? Sure, that's a great answer.

Pamela claims a lot of credits yet she can't produce one single work. Do you even notice she throws names of people who could win you to her favor? Trust me, her so called "movie" is in the same state as her publishing business. Unorganized and unaccounted.

sallahdog 12:18 PM  

The company have issues because they are too busy doing other things including registering and getting a bank account?

the llc takes about 20 minutes tops, online.... the bank account less than an hour....

I get the feeling, as a reader, that most of these anon posts are 2 or 3 very 'partial' folks..

bottom line folks, if someone can't even be bothered to do the BASICs, you need to catch a clue about whether to give them your hard earned work (and money since it seems they are charging for things that other publishers don't)...

Anonymous,  12:21 PM  

We all have families and other things in life we need to deal with. I'm sure you have a full time job as well. But you committed in writing and doing everything to get it published. That's the same commitment I expect from my publisher. You can't say I have kids and I have no time. If I said that to my boss, I'd get fired. If you don't have time to work on your business then why did you create one in the first place and even accept more authors? Even a doctor will tell you they are not taking new patient because his schedule is full. My publisher will tell me they are closed for submissions when they know they have enough to keep their hands full. Giving those excuses are unacceptable and unprofessional. Admitting your publisher can't write well is also unprofessional. They are in the publishing industry and neither one can write?

Kayleigh Jamison 12:23 PM  

The reason no one wants to see this new person's views as impartial is because right now you are equating impartial as being against DCL, which isn't impartial at all.

And trust me, that is neither Pam nor Stuart. Much as I liove them both


Then you are clearly friends with them, which to me means not impartial at all. Just as not being anti-DCL doesn't mean impartial, neither does not running to their aid.

As for being anon, if all of their accusers are going to be anon (including those from DCL) why should the authors feel the need to say who they are?

I'm not posting anon. Not everyone is, thank you. I'm told my name is mud on the DCL loop because of it, but ask me if I care. If being honest and outspoken is something worthy of branding me as a bad person, then I guess I'm proudly bad.

Anonymous,  12:41 PM  

I won't call you bad Kayleigh. I see you as someone who is logical and won't let someone take advantage of you no matter if they say who they are connected with. DCL is known for throwing names of people to make you "backpeddle". If thrashing you will make them feel good then let them. I can't imagine anyone with conscience could let someone else take advantage of people. Its good to inform people of how the publishing industry work.

Anonymous,  1:12 PM  

Kayleigh, I never said you were a bad person. I also never said I was impartial. I didn't write the long post as an impartial observer. I was merely trying to point out that people were saying this other person as not being impartial when I saw that he or she was giving other possibilities.

Emily Veinglory 1:38 PM  

"my views should, I hope, be seen as impartial"?

p.sl I shoot and buy stock. Non-exclusive male figure art is about $5.

Exclusive shots are nice but IMHO cover art should be paid for by the publisher and if the books aren;t earning enough for exclusive shots, they shouldn't buy them.

I see top epublishers with good artists make non-exclusive art look fresh. It's just a matter of working with the budget the product will support.

SJ Ronayne,  1:48 PM  

My name is SJ and I am one of the writers. I have commented, trying to say I have been paid. Quarterly, as my contract states I would be, and every quarter since my story was released.

I don't read all of the posts on the DCL list, I will admit that. Kayleigh and Emily, if you are being bad-mouthed, I am sorry, whether or not you care that you're being bad-mouthed. I don't like that type of behavior. I don't like it when either side of a discussion gets nasty. If I am or people I care for are attacked I will say something.

Pam and Stuart are busy. One person said "if I told that to my boss, I'd get fired." Well, Stuart does have a boss, too, who wouldn't want to hear him whine about his business venture making him too tired to work. I've never felt Pam has made an excuse of being too busy to handle a problem but she is a busy woman with all of her endeavors. I believe they do everything they can.

I don't believe the situation is dire, as people are making it out to be. I don't understand why I would be paid and another writer wouldn't, that makes no sense to me.

If anyone gets angry at me for posting this, well, the people at DCL ought to know me by now. If they stay mad and shun me, they won't be the people I believe they are. If no one here likes what I have written, tough cookies. I've tried.

Anonymous,  1:52 PM  

No, Emily, I mean I am not the anon that wrote the superlong comment that was posted at 2:40 AM. That person said they were impartial. I am not.

Emily Veinglory 2:08 PM  

Apologies for that misunderstanding. It would be good if anons could type in a code name or number?

My only position really is that authors should be awat ofr a publisher's policies, and if they are okay with then than that is totally their choice.

I am still not clear whether everyone was paid on time (it seems not?) or has been paid by now--or whether human figure covers will only be provided for a fee (it seems so?)

So that would seem to be the deal on offer as far as I can tell.

I must say, kudos for DCL for releasing authors unhappy for whether reason. Some presses, cough*Lady Aibell*cough, were not so accomodating.

Fae 2:41 PM  

I agree with that, Emily. At least they're not forcing authors who are unhappy to stay with their company (we're on the same page with the mental comparison to LAP). So, I guess if those authors who are there are happy (and if they weren't they can clearly ask to be released without a hassle), then whatev. I still think it's important that this conversation happened, so future authors considering submittting might Google and find out what they're getting into beforehand. But I'm certainly not going to browbeat any author who is happy with the deal DCL has given them.

It's not an ideal situation for any author, but just because I wouldn't personally accept it doesn't mean someone else shouldn't. As long as they're aware of DCL's practices beforehand. I'd laugh a publisher out of my face if they tried to tell me I ought to pay 300 bucks or whatever for my book cover. Not happening, never no way. But hey, if someone else wants to...okie dokie. *shrug*

Anonymous,  10:26 AM  

Now that LAP is gone, I can say I did manage to get out of there. It wasn't pretty, I can say that. Basiccaly I got called names and told it was unprofessional of me to ask back for rights to books that weren't selling. Name calling...WHO was being unprofessional? That got her and after her evasive emails, I did manage to pester her into letting me go with little fanfare.

Mari
who just doesn't feel like loggin in to blogger.

Anonymous,  10:27 AM  

Obviously my spaellng sucks. Disregard that, please.

Mari

Anonymous,  10:28 AM  

Oh lord...I need to go back to bed!

M

Anonymous,  10:43 AM  

Good to hear your got out of their mess Mari. Thanks for letting us know their lack of professionalism. I would love for the models...I meant, Pam's models to read what they talk about in their groups. Just what you'd expect from people who doesn't even know anything about business other than be all over the models. You'd think the authors would stand up for each other and not call you names when all you want was what was rightfully yours. One day they'd be treated the same when they demand their compensation. Just be happy you got out of there before it sinks. Don't worry, their spelling is worse...and that's not name calling either...I was stating the obvious. Now that you're out of there, people will start buying your novels again. Merry weekend to you.

John and Paul want me 10:58 AM  

You gave them the benefit of the doubt Mari and they showed their true colors. Its a learning experience that unfortunately a lot of people fell for. This will warn potential authors to watch out for publishers such as DCL and to research the publishers before signing with them. If they have an attraction to models (because we all know Pam is VERY CLOSE to them in an unbelievable way. you should see the stunned look on my face) and talk nonsense, then DCL would be a good place for them to be in. The rest of the authors who are serious about their writings should know the signs to watch out for.

Anonymous,  3:16 PM  

Actually the account above was my experience with Lady Aibell Press. It was pretty much a nightmare dealing with the owner over pulling. As if someone will care I pulled a short story from Chippewa's tacky erotic site? (And yes, I did say in so many words to them how tacky I thought the site was with the green fairy.)

As for DCL...I pulled my book from there a few months ago. When I asked to leave DCL, I wasn't given any trouble over it.



Mari

Anonymous,  4:09 PM  

DCL has found another way to make their authors foot more of the bill. They are double dipping them and making them pay the listing fee on FW. Then when it comes time to be paid, you get pennies! I mean come on now! I sold quite a few of my books on FW and the royalty check I received was a joke! It was like half of what it should have been.

And then there is the issue with the cover art...ugh! Please, someone needs to take over the art work. Every posting on their loop is all gussy about this Dark Lord or that one. They use the same models over and over. people, change is good, honestly it really is good!

And yes, they charge for the use of their cover models pictures. And I agree, they should be paid, but the authors should not have to pay. One doesn't know actually how much DCL collects and how much goes to the models. That's very hush hush. But I do know that outside cover designers, (which they should continue to use) get paid peanuts, while the inhouse cover artists are paid a great deal more. And what's this with a movie? It's a hand made B rated movie someone is putting together. Have you watched any of that mess? Poor acting.

Thankfully I am no longer with DCL. Though they treated me well, they screwed me royally when it came to the money end of it. Oh and by the way, if you were a favorite author of theirs, then they would promote your books until they were blue in the face. Not to mention, favorites made more off each book.

If you had a serious question, you could never get a straight answer from any of them. And the white lies??? My advice is if you have a burning desire to become published and don't really care if you make any money, then use DCL. But if you want to make some money, look to other publishers.

Anonymous,  4:13 PM  

I agree with the last posting! I would like to add that if you are an unsuspecting author and sign on with DCL, then you need...no, you MUST have an attorney look over their contract! If you sign on with DCL you cankiss your rights good by. DCL will own ALL RIGHTS to your hard work! Read your contract carefully, very carefully and don't worry about rewriting it. It can be done!

Bailey,  3:26 PM  

I've visited the DCL website and was not impressed enough to buy anything. The covers, I feel, are cheesy and the blurbs seem to make the writers come across like idiots with nothing on their minds but even more mindless male cheese cake- and while I am sure this isn't the case, that a publisher would give out such a feeling to a visitor just turns me off. I'll buy stories by these authors that are published elsewhere.

Thanks for letting me have my say :)

Anonymous,  11:15 PM  

While it is true that stock photos can be purchased for cheap... the models that are with DCL charge in the hundreds of dollars for non exclusive rights for covers...

Mary Everett,  2:55 PM  

It is NOT true of all the models charging hundreds of dollars. I have yet to see my friend's pictures used except on the cover it was contracted for. I am sure that he would be interested to find out that he was supposed to be making "hundreds of dollars". It hasn't happened. If you must say things, stick to the truth !

Emily Veinglory 3:04 PM  

I and others (see Piers Anthony) have specific, reliable, multiple reports of charges in the $200 area for non-exclusive use--as indeed it was listed on the models' own website (which I cannot now find--was it taken down?). So if one model is not doing that well, it seems others are.

Anonymous,  6:01 PM  

There are some authors who select specific cover models and they use them over and over. These authors are not charged $200 each time. Yes they pay a price but it's somewhere in the neighborhood of $50.00 It's true, the covers are a little cheezy. Some are pretty good while others are horrid! But i have to admit that the one they ave making the covers now, is a lot better than the last. Maybe the next one will be even better???

Emily Veinglory 6:28 PM  

If an e-press is presenting themselves as a conventional, commercial publisher... what would be better would be not charging fees. The exact price (and yes, some people did pay $200, their fee schedule may have changed over time or it may just vary for other reasons) and the exact quality (improving or not) strikes me as being beside the point.

Anonymous,  5:53 AM  

HERE IS PROOF THEY CHARGE!

Consequently, effective immediately, once your book cover is designed and presented to you, the first time, any changes requested (other than spelling corrections) will cost the author $50.

in other words, you like what ever their designer decides to give you and if you don't, your screwed! Not fair, not fair at all! YES, THEY GIVE YOU THE OPTION TO TELL THEM WHAT YOU WANT! But what if you tell them and you don't get anything like what you requested? Some of the covers lately have been terrible! I am horrified for these authors and can they say anything? No because they HAVE TO PAY TO MAKE CHANGES!
Their current cover designer needs to step back, work on her other things, like maybe her books and trailers and let real talent design the covers.

Anonymous,  1:15 PM  

If you look at their book store you will see soooo many covers of the SAME models. None of their covers are worth looking at because they look like a beginner made them. I agree with the previous post, I too am horrified for those authors. So many of their authors have left. That should tell you there is something terribly wrong.....

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