Saturday, July 18, 2009

Considering Smoke

The EREC "smoke" category reflects an epublisher that may be in trouble. It is usually based on one or more of the following reasons: non-payment or severely delayed payment, unreasonable contracts terms, or multiple reports of unprofessional behavior (abusive language, inadequate editing etc). Low sales volume is not a key factor but can be part of the overall picture. I haven't added any new presses to this category recently but a few are, IMHO, getting closer and I would be interested in your thoughts.

Ellora's Cave
* Delayed payment, term of copyright contract (not always negotiable), declining sales, general peculiar behavior (e.g. suing Borders).
* But still one of the best paying markets.

The Wild Rose Press
* A few specific complaints, really low sales
* But mostly not all that many complaints, many authors publicly satisfied with this press.

Mojocastle
* Ongoing delays and glitches.
* But while the problems are persistent they seem mainly overwork rather than lack of clue per se.

Ravenous Romance
* Non-standard contract with long terms and invoicing requirements and low sales.
* But contract is apparently negotiable upon request and the press is new.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

I've heard through the grape vine from several different people that TWRP is closing.

Katrina Strauss said...

I've seen from three different authors today that Mystic Moon Press is suffering serious issues and/or may be closing? You might want to check into that.

Emily Veinglory: said...

Hmmm. Well it looks like Mystic Moon is certainly having trouble.

Jennifer McKenzie said...

Mmmm I've heard there were rumors running around about The Wild Rose Press. As one of their authors, I'd say it's bogus. They're not going under. But they, like many publishers, have issues.
I have heard about the delayed payments at EC but they seem to be limited to a few authors.

Anonymous said...

To be fair, while the monthly EC payments are later than usual the past 6 months or so, they're not technically late, since the EC contract says they're only required to pay quarterly. They've always paid monthly and still do so (albeit late) but the royalties themselves are technically not late per contract terms.

It's still frustrating when we come to expect them at a certain time and then they don't arrive, though.

Anonymous said...

I'm wondering what to make of RR's switch from its trademarked daily novel releases to new novel releases only once or twice a week, and virtually no new short stories.

Anonymous said...

If EC's contract says they're only required to pay quarterly, how can anyone ever cry late payment? I don't get it.

Anonymous said...

The Ravenous contract is very negotiable, especially if you have an agent. Advances are available as part of standard terms and are always paid promptly. And some authors are selling VERY well there (in excess of 5,000 ecopies), as well as landing reprint deals with major print houses (e.g., Alyson Books).

Does every RR author sell 5,000 copies? No. But advances are always paid on time (mine are) and the staff are very responsive and professional. I don't think the "smoke" category applies here at all.

Barbara Sheridan said...

~ Anon 1:15

The Ravenous contract is very negotiable, especially if you have an agent.

The way I see it (YMMV), the odds are if one has an agent that agent isn't going to do an e-book contract unless you're doing well with major presses and earning money for them. If one doesn't have an agent it's tougher to know where he wiggle room is in negotiating.

In my case I didn't bother arguing for any changes since it was a short that I wasn't that attached to. But for a longer work, it's not a contract I'd sign without a lot of effort to negotiate. Are the sales worth that effort? I don't know about single titles but for an anthology I'd say no judging on the one statement received so far.

Advances are available as part of standard terms and are always paid promptly.

Provided you invoice in a timely fashion. Invoicing for any monies owed for fiction is something I've never seen in all my years.

I'm not knocking RR. As I've said before the management has the credentials in publishing. I just think they need to look closer in terms of what works for top e-publishers and make changes accordingly.

sexywriter said...

I have an agent who negotiated better terms for me. Harvey Klinger has negotiated deals with them for his clients, as have other top agents. RR has several NYT-bestselling authors writing for them under pseudonyms.

I can't speak for all the RR anthologies, but both anthologies I edited (one in particular) are selling quite well, especially in the secondary markets like Amazon (Kindle edition) and AllRomanceEbooks.

Two of my full-length titles with them are Certified Bestsellers at AllRomanceEbooks.com, and one of my other titles is a category bestseller for Amazon Kindle. I also have audiobook versions for two my books that have achieved audio category bestseller status at Audible.com. You have the potential to sell a lot more copies via the secondary markets than via the regular RavenousRomance.com site, though my direct sales via the publisher are also very good. I'm waiting for all the data to come in from all the various secondary markets before I submit my numbers to EREC.

I'm very pleased with RR and its staff, and its sales ramp-up in such a short period of time.

Jamaica Layne

Anonymous said...

If EC's contract says they're only required to pay quarterly, how can anyone ever cry late payment? I don't get it.

EC's contract says that royalties will be paid at least quarterly, but in practise, they're paid out every month.

The late payments are showing up anywhere from a few days to a few weeks after the monthly payments usually arrive, but before they're contractually obligated to show.

The complaints come because people get used to monthly pays, so when they come later than usual, it feels like you're getting it late, even though technically it's still before the contract says you'll get it.

...obviously Im not too bothered by this. I realise that others disagree.

Anonymous said...

The complaints come because people get used to monthly pays, so when they come later than usual, it feels like you're getting it late, even though technically it's still before the contract says you'll get it.

The problem isn't the contractual time of royalty payments. The problem is the duplicity. The fact that actual actions are at complete and total odds with their words. Which equates to lack of trust.

Payments go out by X date, don't bug us until Y date...
Truth...payments oftentimes arrive well after Y date and communications inquiring about them are ignored.

Returns of rights aren't...

Your book will be in print "soon" means something completely different to them (i.e. over a year)

I could go on, but the point is, what they say they do and what they actually do are two totally different things.

Which means smoke in my opinion. Or at least not a trustworthy outfit.

Anonymous said...

I need to laugh at the remarks about The Wild Rose Press. They are most definitely not in trouble and are growing. There are very few if any complaints against them and all issues seem to be dealt with more than effectively. They pay on time and doing quite well. Any rumors that they are falling are definitely simply someone that is hopeful they will fail.

Low sales? The company is barely 3 years old. Give it time. As an author for them, my sales are fine, even better than fine. When someone says a company has low sales I wonder what the author is doing to help with that situation. I say time will tell but this company will be around for the long haul.

Anonymous said...

"The company is barely 3 years old. Give it time."

That's funny, they opened a good 6 months before Samhain did if I recall correctly. Look where Samhain is. I think anyone can clearly see which publisher is the real deal and which is still stumbling at the starting gate.

"When someone says a company has low sales I wonder what the author is doing to help with that situation."

Well, I'm no author of theirs, for obvious reasons such as deciding I'm worth more than a cup of coffee or, for their big sellers, a whole dinner out for my family in royalties. But when I see someone put the burden on authors to raise sales, I have to ask...do you even know what a publisher's job is?

Anonymous said...

I'm published in an anthology with RR. The contract spoke of a tiny advance, that I can only assume must be "held against royalties", because I have received nothing from the company thus far. There has been no contact from RR of any kind since the book released, not even company emails. I wasn't sent a contributor's copy of the ebook for promo, and my name along with a few of the other authors included in the volume, still have not been added among the author profile pages. I suppose I won't know anything concrete until the quarter rolls around, but at this point I don't feel confident enough to submit again.