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.
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.