Posted in: e-book authors posting under the influence, e-book publishers behaving badly?, New Concepts Publishing
I was forwarded this e-mail by Bitch Envy. It’s a letter from NCP’s publisher, Madris DePastures addressing all the terrible accusations that have been levelled at NCP.
It starts like this:
A letter from the publisher:
I’m going to address remarks circulating the web regarding this company. This is not for republication elsewhere, so those of you who decide to do so should know that, unless permission is given, and it is NOT, copying any part of this to another site is violation of
privacy and copyright laws.
Erm…ooops? Oh well, in for a pound, in for a penny I guess:
Ellen Ashe approached me for the reversion of rights to Sorcerer’s Mark when the contract expired. I told her there was no problem with that, however, the book went to print and the company reserved the right to dispose of the print books. It would continue to be offered for sale in print form until the copies in our warehouse were sold or disposed of and that she would, naturally, receive any royalties accruing from the sales.
I also pointed out that she could buy the remainders herself at fifty percent off and we wouldn’t have to leave the book up at all. She declined the offer. I directed the person currently working on the page to remove the ebook version of Sorcerer’s Mark from sale. She complied with this by
breaking the link, which left it on the page but not for sale.
Ms. Ashe returned later to check to see if it was down and wrote a screaming letter that it was still up for sale. I explained that the link was broken and the book could not be bought and that the entire staff was currently working on tax season materials and the quarterly reports and end of the year reports and royalties, that I would have someone work on the page when we could spare the time.
At this point, reminded that the book had been sent to distributors, I reminded the webpage person to contact them and request that it be removed from all listings. The author liaison also searched the web and notified all of the bookstores that the rights had reverted and that the book should be taken down.
I don’t know about you guys but I need a break already. Feel free to grab yourself a coffee or tea, or a some of those handy pills that help you stay awake. You may need them.
Ellen wrote repeatedly during this time, demanding to know why we couldn’t give her our undivided attention and explained that she didn’t understand why it took the entire staff to handle the tasks I mentioned.
I didn’t bother to explain that the end of quarter, end of year tasks are in ADDITION to regular tasks-updates, artwork, order fulfillment, editing, etc. and that we were really busy. After doing a quick scan-not a careful in depth look-but a quick glance at her other books, I told the webpage person to go ahead and take the other listings down since they would be expiring soon and it was clear to me she didn’t want to renew any contracts.
I explained to Ms. Ashe that all rights would be reverted to her whenever we had time to contact distributors about removing the other listings and had allowed them time to get around to taking care of it. We don’t update our distributor’s webpage or the bookstores that carry the books. And, like us, they are small companies with limited staff and it often takes them a while to get around to everything.
The short version is, Ms. Ashe’s assertion that we are ‘holding’ her rights and not offering her books for sale or paying her is a LIE-she was paid by Paypal, per her request. Her books, with the exception of the print version of Sorcerer’s Mark, are no longer for sale on the NCP site, because I had them removed PREPARATORY to remanding her rights back to her.
They are still for sale through our distributors and, once the books are removed from those sites, all rights will be reverted to her. I did explain this to her, so it’s not a misunderstanding on her part. It is an outright LIE and the only explanation that comes to mind is that she is OUTRAGED that I had the books removed and told her that I would return her rights before she had the opportunity to DEMAND them back.
Anybody fancy a game of monopoly?
Having said that, I will also add that we do not hold author rights hostage. This comment is ALSO a LIE. We DO expect authors to honor the contracts they have made with us. Ellen Ashe’s rights are in process of being remanded to her because she has reached the end of her contractual obligation to this company-within months-and also because none of her books
have performed well enough in sales to warrant any efforts to coax her into continuing with us.
The other authors who had demanded their rights back, but have not in any way honored their contractual obligations were refused on the grounds that we have contracted in good faith and expect to MAKE MONEY with the book before we release it. No one held a gun to their head to sign. They were offered the contract and they took it, and we now expect them to honor their obligations.
One wonders if she feels as strongly about authors getting paid?
Oh this is interesting:
Editing-the focus of editing in this company has shifted with the times. We spent years trying to help new authors perfect their writing skills by paying editors to tweak the books. Some authors actually appreciated this. The vast majority did not or they just didn’t have enough understanding to comply with suggestions. Beyond that, the salability of the books is so unpredictable, I felt uncomfortable requesting authors to put a lot of time into making changes that might not pay off in the end.
Either way, the flightiness of authors also encouraged us to stop wasting time and money on trying to tweak the books to increase their marketability. We rarely do anything to the books beyond corrections of errors any longer. This considerably streamlines the edit-to-release time frame and allows us to adhere to the schedule more closely without having to continually reschedule books.
Hey she just called her authors illiterate fucktards. You gotta love that. Erm, was I the only person who read it that way? *g*
Communication with authors-I hired an author liaison to handle the constant requests for information because no one else on the staff has the time to stop and look these things up or to keep up with the emails from authors. I directed the author liaison to give authors several weeks notice about their releases by notifying them the month before release that the book was ‘tentatively’ scheduled for release or, if asked, he could give the author an approximate release date, meaning season or month-not the day and hour of release.
The reason this policy was changed from before when we posted the schedule is because authors didn’t seem to understand ‘tentative’. We had authors making demands to know why the book didn’t go up on schedule when they hadn’t even returned their edits.
I love her professionalism, I really do. Think she’s pissed?
On that note-NCP is primarily, almost exclusively, an internet company. This means the company is heavily reliant on the internet, service providers, and electronic equipment to do business. This means whenever servers go down, EMAIL DOES NOT GET ANSWERED. I should also add that, although being an internet company means that the website is accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks out of the year, we do not WORK every hour of every day. The author liaison is not a machine. He has days off, works only 30 to 40 hours a
week, and is occasionally out sick.
The author liaison may not be a machine, but he’s most definitely an unprofessional idiot who couldn’t do his job if it came with instructions and diagrams.
Preferential treatment–the objective of this company is to sell as many copies of every book we contract on as possible. Like any other company, however, we have some authors whose books sell better than others, and we do whatever we can to highlight these authors to potential buyers. Part of this is because we want to make money. Part of this is because the ‘stars’ bring the customers to the site and increase the sales possibilities of the unknown authors. This is called marketing–every publisher uses it.
If we have a release week which does not include one of the ‘stars’, then the rush to buy is smaller and the sales lower across the board. If we have a ‘star’ releasing a book, all of their fans charge over to the site, flooding us with orders for their ‘favorite’ author and they generally look over the other offerings while they’re at the site and buy some of those, too.
Hey, wake up there, it’ll be over soon!
There have been a LOT of comments about Kaitlyn O’Connor, so I’m going to use her as an example although we have many other authors who are also popular and have a similar effect on sales. On a typical release week, which features all new authors or mostly new authors and one or two who are just beginning to build a fan base, shopping cart sales take up five to eight hundred pages per day. When we release a new Kaitlyn O’Connor book, the invoices generated are in the neighborhood of 1200 to 1500 pages per day.
The other authors whose books are released at the same time have that many more chances at sales and it usually, not always, results in higher sales for all of the authors who had a book released. In general, once we have a release featuring one of her books, ALL of the books that are still on the front page, generate more sales because they have more people looking at them. This is the objective in ‘favoring’ certain authors, using them to help us bring more customers to the site to increase the sales possibilities of ALL the authors.
Erm, whos’ Kaitlyn O’Connor again?
As for the ‘great secrecy’ behind Kaitlyn O’Connor–I don’t allow any of the staff to announce publicly who any of the authors are who write for us under pseudonyms. Confusion does, unfortunately, occur occasionally as to what name a new author plans to publish under- particularly when they change their mind several times or don’t tell us until they see their cover–
but we correct these errors as quickly as possible.
Since I don’t go out of my way to announce the legal names of ANY of our authors, I can’t fathom why not announcing Kaitlyn O’Connor’s identity constitutes a ‘deep, dark secret’ when not announcing everyone’s else’s legal identity is expected and accidentally giving this information out has authors screaming that they’ve been exposed.
Oh, I get it, she’s one of their authors who nobody knows anything about, yes?
I realize I could explain marketing until I’m blue in the face and a good number of the authors STILL will not understand. They will STILL be complaining that some people are treated better than others. The plain fact is that if these people actually understood marketing they would be the ones receiving preferential treatment and getting all the sales.
I’d love to see all of our authors doing this, but like so many of our established authors who’ve tried to help newbies, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s a waste of my time and I don’t have a lot to
I wonder what else she has to do that’s more important than reassuring her authors that things are ok at NCP?
I do want assure those authors who appreciate the money they make with NCP and NEED the money they make with NCP that, regardless of all the vindictive hopes of the ‘slighted’ NCP is not on shaky ground. Sales are very strong.
We will be working on cleaning up the page and removing some of the backlist books over the coming year. I want to assure everyone that this is neither a punishment nor a reward–so those trying to get out of their obligations should not see this as ‘preferential’ treatment, and
those who were happy to leave the books for the sales–this isn’t intended to punish you for slights real or imagined. We just need to remove some of the deadweight and make room for newer books. A lot of these books have seen years of exposure and they are really outdated–either in content or the author is just much more experienced now and writes more professionally–or writes something else.
I’m in no rush to remove books that continue to sell well, but if the contract has expired and the author wants the book removed, notify the author liaison and we will add it to the list of books coming down.
I now have 20 minutes to get out of his hotel, I hope she’s going to wrap this up quickly.
Do NOT expect all of this to happen at once. You’ll be disappointed and probably outraged. The house keeping will be performed in an orderly manner, and I do want to emphasis, again, that remainders of print books will continue to be up for sale until the books are disposed of even if the ebook is no longer available and the author has moved on to greener pastures.
We will be absolutely delighted with any of our authors who decide to buy the remainder to sell themselves and, although we will charge shipping, the author of the book can buy her remainders at the author discount of fifty percent–even though the contract actually limits the
author to twenty five copies and we generally only offer fifty copies at the full discount.
For marketing purposes, I will be posting cumulative sales at some point on the author loop. The main objective of this is to try to demonstrate marketability–by looking at the books that have sold consistently well over a period of years, and STILL sell well, authors can study and learn the
elements that make a book highly marketable if so inclined. Another objective is to inform our authors of the potential for sales to help them make more informed decisions on what projects they should, and should not, take on.
Good god, this woman can talk, no?
This is a letter to our authors and is NOT for republication elsewhere, so those of you who decide to do so should know that, unless permission is given, and it isn’t, copying any part of this to another site is violation of privacy and copyright laws.
Erm… oops again?
Right, there you have it, in black and white. Any of you NCP authors feel better now? *g*
I realise that the quotes need neatening up, for easier reading, but I simply don’t have time right now. I shall edit properly once I get home tonight. I wont be leaving London till about 4pm tonight, so it wont be till much later.
Have a nice day now!