Posted in: e-book publishers behaving badly?, New Concepts Publishing
Well, I’m pretty sure when this many authors are pissed off at their publisher, it generally means that their publisher is probably shafting them. Royally.
From what I can gather, New Concepts Publishing seem to be losing the grip on their business, and I can’t help but wonder if they are having money troubles?
Anyway, here’s a selection of excerpts from the complaints that I’ve been getting from authors:
They’ve been yanking authors around for years. This dropping books and not releasing contracts is sheer spite. They have an infamous “shit-list” consisting of authors who question or argue and the numbers on it are increasing.
I hired a lawyer and the letter Madris wrote in return to it was arrogant and ignorant. She even spelled breach “breech”. Then she implied I lied to him, I was simple and my books weren’t worth NCP’s time and effort anyway. Just an example of how dreadful this woman is and what bullying tactics some authors have cowered under.
It’s about time the shit went the other way. They have many unethical business tactis that need to be addressed so authors aren’t made to feel like pieces of slime.
Lawyers are expensive and I can’t afford to press my issues much further. But I can’t see him tolerating the tone of the letter sent back to his office. My fight continues, at least for a little while.
Seeing as Ellen Ashe has been so vocal about her anger at the treatment she has received from NCP, there’s no reason for me to hide her identity, she’s taking a stand, which is nice to see.
Anyway, here’s another excerpt from another e-mail:
Royalties are always paid late, if at all without much prodding. I still don’t have a 1099. Well, they did mail me a slip of blank paper with a number on it (in late Feb), and since I did the math,that appears to be my gross earning from last year. My last book didn’t even get any edits. I had to bug the crap out of NCP to insert the ones I sent, and I’m still not sure they fixed every problem. It’s impossible to contact them for help or clarification on issues, which makes it frustrating for authors who need to air frustrations.
NCP was down for two weeks in Nov 2007 and for an entire month no one seemed able to get a hold of anyone. No explanations until after they were down. But come on, if a server went down, does it really take weeks to get it back online? And the customers are always complaining on the loops about poor customer service. It’s embarrassing.
I used to be told when my books would be released, but my last two were a surprise. One didn’t come out when it was supposed to, with no word to me whatsoever. Then later it simply appeared on the site.
Also, any author trying to get in touch with the publisher via the author loop, not the reader loop, the author loop, gets slammed for even mentioning problems. The other authors who seem to have a book out every other week, or the newbies who don’t know any better, jump on those with problems and make it virtually impossible to get help even from the people you’d think would support you. I have heard from several authors off the loops that I’m not the only one feeling frustrated.
That particular e-mail was posted on my WordPress blog, but I think it bears re-posting.
This following e-mail was from somebody who admittedly had never written for NCP, but it was interesting all the same:
Probably none of my beeswax, since I’m not published with New Concepts, but I will say this…
Early in my career, I was offered a contract by NCP. Being a newbie in the field, I took it upon myself to ask one of their authors if it was a good publisher.
Her response consisted of a very long e-mail with complaints almost identical to the one you have on your blog (especially non-payment of royalties that went back nearly a year, and refusing to respond to questions/complaints). She advised me to stay far, far away.
I promised her I’d never reveal her name in this context, but trust me–she’s a pretty well-known, reputable author.
It’s interesting to note that even way back, there was unrest at NCP.
Before last year, I rarely got review requests from the authors. They always came from ____. Like clockwork, every week I’d get multiple emails from her. It wasn’t unheard of for her to miss a week, so the following week I’d get double. But, I haven’t gotten a review request email from _____ since August 2007. Before that set it was June 2007 that I got books from her. We’ve only gotten one set of requests from the author liaison and that was in October 2007.
I only mention this because it was not the norm. Somewhere in 2007 things changed.
Also, we’ve been to the last two RT Conventions. With all the “rumblings” about NCP I’ve heard, we thought it odd that they’re not hosting the last party of the week like they have the last 2 years.
The above was from a reviewer. It seems to me that even people, external to the business have been noticing the changes for a while now.
Thanks for the blog entry on NCP. I’ve been with NCP quite a while, and when I started out I had a good working relationship with my editor, and if I emailed her I heard back from her right away. Things slowly deteriorated to where it was difficult to get a reply. I’m no longer writing for NCP, but judging from what I hear, people are having a really hard time getting any response from the company, or even getting rights back that they’re entitled to per contract.
Oddly, NCP added an author liaison a year or so ago, and yet he never responds to emails either. And the reader loop reflects ever-increasing frustration with customer service, which doesn’t seem to reply to readers in any sort of timely manner, if at all.
All the complaints definitely have a similar theme to them don’t they? What is it with some e-pubs and not answering e-mails? This was a common complaint from the authors of the e-pubs that have since gone kaput.
Not answering e-mails seems to be a ‘head in the sand’ type thing that people do when they are having financial difficulties.
It was recently mentioned on the author group that a good many of NCP’s major authors are actually the owners of the company. I’ve written for NCP for years, and never had an inkling of this, nor has it ever been disclosed in the RT articles on the company, as far as I know (and to be fair I’ll add I can’t prove it, as I can find nothing on the internet to link any of these names with the owners of the company).
People seem to have found out about it by meeting the authors at RT. While authors are certainly entitled to use pseudonyms, and keep their real identities private, these authors do seem to get preferential treatment—their books always go into paperback (which mattered back when NCP was still working with a distributor to get their books into stores) and they are always prominently featured in ads (including ones that were paid for by other authors out of pocket—and for all I know the owners of the company paid for their portion of the ad out of pocket, too, but it does make me wonder).
I don’t mind that the owners write for the company, and I don’t even really mind that they get preferential treatment. But the fact that they’ve kept it so grimly secret all this time concerns me, and makes me wonder why it’s been such a closely held secret.
At any rate, I’m not writing for NCP any more, and I’m getting my rights back as my contracts expire (at least I’m requesting them; one hopes the company will comply). While I always had a good relationship with them, there are too many peculiarities in their current business practices for me to continue with them..
Well, I for one will be interested to hear how this one pans out. Something’s definitely smoking at Casa New Concepts. Any further news, e-mail me at hairylemony @ gmail . com.
It’s also interesting to note that I haven’t had a single e-mail refuting any of these accusations either. Very telling that, methinks.