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More of Ellora's Cave authors speak up

It has been a crazy ten days, hasn’t it? Since Ellora’s Cave filed suit against Dear Author and Jane Litte, we have seen people saying, “now you understand why EC authors are afraid of speaking out?” Boy, yes, we do.

Which is precisely why the community rose so magnificently to the occasion, and raised the full $50,000 in less than four days–and the donations keep on coming. And, I believe, it’s that response that’s given more and more EC authors the courage to speak up about their own issues with the company. These authors are but a tiny fraction of the total contracted with EC–someone has mentioned 800 or 900 authors total.

At any rate, those who are speaking up have basically given up on those stories they have with EC–and some of their posts are truly heartbreaking, like this one by Lolita López/Roxie Rivera. Cat Grant threw the towel a while back, and all she wants is to have her rights back. Angelia Sparrow, who has been having issues with EC for a while, served the company and its owner public notice here. Zenobia Renquist details the trouble she’s having getting her rights back here. Paige Thomas has reached the point where she’ll rather walk away than continue fighting. Today, Mia Bishop and Alexandra Webb, two newbie EC authors, tell their own stories.

I really feel for most of the authors at EC–both those who just want to be done with the whole fiasco, and those who desperately hope the company can overcome the current crisis and remain viable. I have to say, though, that I just don’t see how that can happen. Publishers can have rough times where everyone on board must tighten their belts, or they can be going down the drain.

From where I type, EC is circling ever faster. What then? Well, it’s not the same for every book/author. Carolyn Jewel, who was one of the authors under contract with Dorchester when that publisher went tits up, explains what happened to her books in her blog.

Deirdre Saoirse Moen explores a way where EC could cut back enough to become profitable again–both for its authors and its owner–in her post Book Reversion, Game Theory and Consent.

But call me a cynic, I just can’t see Tina Engler/Jaid Black ever actually giving anything up. If the person behind the Nut Pub twitter sockpoppet is indeed TE/JB (which I absolutely believe is the case), then we already know that, as far as she’s concerned, once an author signs a contract, then the books belong to the publisher. Forevermore, apparently.

PubNet on JKRowlings and greed
The egg of toxic logic, indeed. Anyway, if you want to support those EC authors who want out, and who have books elsewhere, S&M Book Obsessions is keeping a list of titles submitted to her by the authors. Bonus: the affiliate money from those sales goes to the DA/JL defense fund. Win-win, people.

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Quick note to newbie authors: we get that you love your books, but please do not compare them with actual human beings (i.e., don’t tell us how your books are your children). Also, co-opting a discussion to spam your book under six or seven different twitter accounts is not going to net you sales, but quite likely will ensure readers of that discussion will avoid your books in the future. There are legitimate ways and places to promote, and when there are literally thousands of choices open to readers, giving them no cause to avoid your books is key to making a profit from your writing.

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Edit: I wasn’t going to name names, but just as I checked #notchilled, this came up–again.

I believe at least three different people have ask you to stop–continue at your own peril.

19 Comments »

  • I don’t even plan to title the books the same after I get them back. Only one keeps its title, the rest are EC dreck that got slapped on in lieu of our better titles with three or four meanings.

    I don’t want their edits. I need to CUT 5000 words from one of my books, because it is just gratuitous sex. One of the scenes doesn’t even make sense and my readers all go “What the hell?” when they hit it.

    I don’t want their formatting. I have to go through and remove the biggest load of crap ever, random italics from planet and alien race names, from one of my books.

    The only thing I want is the place my editor caught me spelling “you’re” as “you’r” and “thing” as “think”n because my bricklike hands were tired.

    In short, she can stuff it. (not as if she didn’t publish a reprint of one of mine…)

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  • I noted that a lot of people were up in arms about what was going on at EC, but few people were offering suggestions that might actually help them make a go of it after their staff cuts. In short: they’ve got options on way more books than they can edit and/or produce.

    I think Jaid is a shrewd businesswoman, and she’s run a small press for 14 years—not a lot of people in the world can say that.

    The fact of the lawsuit says to me that she felt backed into a corner she couldn’t get out of—people who feel they have nothing more to lose do unpredictable things. It’s easier to blame someone external than to look at the signs one only recognizes in hindsight.

    Also, Brit’s going through chemo (as she said in the comments of one of my posts). Others keep reposting or retweeting, and she’s been told. Because of the circumstances, I’m giving her a bit more slack than I would otherwise.

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  • I hope you take a second to read the actual post you quoted above. I feel sorry for the poor author who unknowingly tweeted it from Triberr. I owe her an apology. When Deirdre pointed it out to me, I took the offensive tag off immediately. However, as to the rest, there’s not much you got right about me as my post reveals.

    Brit

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  • Ms Blaise, the “not children” comment wasn’t aimed at you, actually. I made it because of this line in Mia Bishop’s post:

    We bleed these stories. They might just be corny “smut” books to the outside world, but they are our children, we birthed them from the deepest parts of our souls. That might sound over dramatic, but it’s true, if you are an artist then you understand.

    Sorry, but no. Books do not equal children.

    I am honestly sorry that you are sick, and I do wish you the best. I am also sorry you feel that my comments were a) specifically directed at you, and b) bullying. Neither was my intention.

    I disagree that saying, “this is not the way to promote your book, new authors” is bullying, though. Disagreeing with someone or having a less than enthusiastic response to what they are doing is not bullying, regardless of that person’s circumstances.

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  • I have a ten year record of never being a trouble maker or complainer. Although I would love to sell books, the $1,000 a month I pay for insurance doesn’t begin to pay for 3 1/2 years of terminal cancer. The money I make from selling books is a joke in comparison. I do this for a little joy…it seems very little in this case…very little indeed, in no small part to your participation. If you’d simply asked, I could have told you what happened and what I did to fix what I’d so stupidly set in motion. However, you didn’t. I didn’t matter, other to than to use for your story.

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  • @Brit Blaise: Ms Blaise, there is no way to reply to you that doesn’t make me the villain of the piece.

    I will reiterate that the advice was a general one, and that it was unfortunate that it was your book in that tweet, and bow out of the discussion.

    Edited to add: for those reading along, please do note that the thrust of the post was *not* the postscript.

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  • I wish I could afford to keep fighting the good fight, but my health and my productivity have taken a huge dive after weeks of non-stop stress over EC’s bullshit.

    It’s easy to say, “Don’t let it get to you,” but after watching Tina flip off the people who made her company a success, file an absolutely insane, unwinnable (IMHO) lawsuit against Jane & DA, and basically go on record saying, “You signed the contract, so that means we can do whatever we want, nyah, nyah”…

    I’m done. Spent. Toast.

    I’ll do my best to raise the $2K to buy back my rights (contingent, ofc., on EC still honoring the “price” they quoted me), then I’m walking away.

    I simply cannot afford to expend any more mental or emotional energy on this debacle.

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  • “Sorry, but no. Books do not equal children.”

    Love your no bullshit responses. And yeah, books are not children and writing is not childbirth.

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  • @Cat Grant: I do wish there was a way for your to get the rights to your books back without putting any money into Ellora’s Cave’s coffers, because it seems to me (hello, Tina, opinion = protected speech, here) that things are not as they should be with their books. With authors and other contractors stating that they haven’t gotten their money on time, or at all, well…

    But in the end, I hope you do get them back, however it happens.

    @Amarinda Jones: Thank you.

    I was particularly irked by the implication that “artists” would understand, while the rest of us plebes wouldn’t. To which I say, please, bitch. Followed by a note that plenty of the writers whose blogs I read/I’ve interacted with online/know, are very clear on the distinction between books and babies/children.

    But the other response was faster to type. 😉

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  • jes b
    October 14
    12:50 am

    @AztecLady: I think it’s a bit presumptuous of you to dictate to someone how they’re allowed to feel about their books…and kind of mean-spirited.

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  • @jes b: and I think it’s a bit presumptuous of you to tell me that my feelings are presumptuous and mean spirited.

    But hey, ain’t this a grand place, where you can think and feel however you wish about me and my opinions, and I can return the favor?

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  • jes b
    October 14
    7:17 am

    I never said your feelings were presumptuous, you have the right to feel that it’s silly and to say so. Actually, you have the right to say whatever you want. This is your world. I just think telling her what to say or how to feel is not very kind. I feel the same way about people who say that shit about their cats. I just don’t think it’s my place to tell them not to talk about them like that, because maybe that’s all they have. Anyway, I wasn’t trying to insult you. There are a lot worse things in this situation to be pissed off about.

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  • @jes b: Obviously I need a sarcasm font.

    But to be clear: I’m not particularly kind. I’m not pissed off either.

    Though I can be pissed off–and concerned, and happy, and so on and so forth–about a number of things at once. I also can have opinions on all of those things, at once.

    ‘Cause I’m talented that way.

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  • Maybe if authors are having problems with any publisher it is time to look elsewhere.

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  • @Stuart: Agreed.

    Please note that I’m deleting the rest of your comment–no need to spam this blog. If anyone is interested, they’ll find you.

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  • jes b
    October 14
    6:50 pm

    @AztecLady: Haha, fair enough. Gotta love a person with ambidextrous emotions.

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  • R R
    November 14
    1:30 am

    I’m breathlessly late to the party, just having found the news of EC’s lawsuits. (Busy life–obviously TOO busy–must keep head out of the sand!) Some months ago, I had a first-novel manuscript to pass the initial screening and be added to EC’s “acquisitions editor queue”. I was thrilled! (This same ms received a personal note from a Harlequin editor stating how much she liked it, but that it was too risque for their line, and to please submit something else less sexually graphic.) I hoped I’d found a home for my story.

    Alas.

    May I ask here for advice as to other (reputable) publishers where perhaps EC’s fleeing authors are now submitting? Being a newbie, I simply don’t know which publishers of erotic fiction are trustworthy–especially seeing as how I’d put my faith in EC. *sigh*

    Thank you for any advice you kindly offer.

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  • R R, I started out being fascinated by the EC thing because I was such a fan of Samhain. One thing they don’t take that EC does is stuff that doesn’t have an HEA or HFN.

    https://www.samhainpublishing.com

    Something that might show you the more “out there” range they accept: Jayne Rylon’s Dream Machine: http://jaynerylon.com/dream-machine/

    I read all over the spectrum, and probably 60-70% of what I read comes from Samhain. That is becoming less true now that I’ve read about 15-20% of their titles.

    I also have friends who are with Loose Id. They tend toward the kinkier stuff (stuff that Samhain also takes but may not specialize in).

    http://loose-id.com

    There are other reputable publishers, of course, just those two I know more about than average.

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  • @R R: R. R., I’m not an author, just a reader. I definitely suggest looking at the options Ms Deidre suggests above. Also, you may want to spend some time at the Absolute Write forums–there are threads there on pretty much every publisher of every genre and sub genre out there, which will give you some idea of which are reputable and which…maybe not so much.

    The one suggestion I do have, having seeing about a dozen publishers go down in flames in the past eight years or so, is this: make sure you sign a contract you can live with.

    If they ask you for exclusivity, and they implode in three years, you are up a shit creek without a paddle.

    If they ask you for copyright for the life of the work, and they implode, same thing.

    And so on and so forth.

    Take your time–this is your first work, it doesn’t follow is the only one you’ll write or sell.

    Best of luck to you.

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