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I’ve been absolutely amazed by the number of people who have been having difficulties with NCP for ages, but up ’til now, haven’t had the cojones to make it public.

I realise of course that it’s probably not as simple as that for most of the authors who are there, but shoot, it’s not like the owners were shafting just a couple of them. From the e-mails that I’ve received, it seems that quite a lot of the authors were gettiing butt-fucked on a daily basis by the multi-pseudonymed, multi-faceted, mysterious owners of NCP.

Since when has it been acceptable for a publisher to not respond to their authors?

Since when has it been acceptable for a publisher to threaten to blacklist any authors who try to raise pertinent issues?

Since when has it been acceptable for a publisher to not pay their authors what they are owed?

These are all things that have been happening within e-publishing houses over the past year or so. NCP have merely added to the growing tally.

I heard that the liaison support person at NCP hasn’t been sending out books for reviews, which is fairly mind-bloggling. I’ve had two of their main reviewers e-mail me about how erratic NCP’s book distribution has been in recent months:

well I honestly thought this wasn’t my fight but I ‘know’ so many of the NCP authors that are battling with NCP that I felt I really should mention that from the reviewers perspective, getting the books sent to the review sites has been a huge issue for a long time.

I’m the review coordinator at _______ and we’d go months without receiving a single book from them and then we’d receive only one or two weeks worth of books.

Since apparently there’s now a liason they are getting sent to us but not with any regularity… for instance a few weeks ago I received 5 months worth of books at one time!!!! And when I do send requests for books for review I’m not acknowledged in any way shape or form so I’ve resorted to sending requests to authors instead of the publisher…

From a reviewer and the ebook coordinator’s perspective they’ve been on a downward slide for at least the past year and a half. I personally just sent a donation to Ellen Ash to help fund all the ladies in their battle against the unfairness of NCP’s actions.

I was a little dismayed when I read these e-mails. When a company fails to fulfill such a basic business-led requirement, it tells me that there are serious problems within the organisation.

Aspiring authors, does this sound like the kind of publisher you want to write for? Seriously?

Readers, does this sound like the kind of publisher you want to trust with your credit card details? Seriously?

Now, admittedly I’ve never bought a book from New Concepts Publishing, even though they’ve been in business for a while, but their behaviour towards their authors has just made sure that I’ll never buy from them in the future. If they are around that long anyway.

I have to applaud Ellen Ashe because she’s willing to take this matter further.

I know that not every author can afford to take legal action, but there are times when you have to stand up and refuse to be treated like crap.

Ashe’s books were taken off the NCP website despite the fact she had an active contract for them. When her lawyers questioned them about this, this was NCP’s response:

“There is no breech. In the first place it doesn’t say any where on the contract that we have to post the books for sale–naturally we do because the objective is to sell the books–but there is no REQUIREMENT that we do so…”

So basically, even though they’re an e- book publisher, they don’t have to sell a contracted book on their website. Nice.

I think I can safely say that like the other e-pubs before them, NCP have done their utmost to tarnish the reputation of e-book publishers everywhere, in my opinion.

Over at Novelspot, Desiree Erotique states that she’s quitting e-book publishers because she’s tired of constantly being shafted by them. Unfortunately for her, she’s been with quite a few of the publishers who have recently gone kaput.

Des writes:

Tomorrow marks the scheduled release day of my collection from Red Rose Publishing, Adieu Bonjour. The title indicates my saying good-bye to one pen name as I prepare to focus my future work under the name of Anya Howard. With the release of this collection tomorrow also marks the last of my e-books waiting under contract for release. It also marks what I imagine the very last e-book I will ever contract with a straight e-book/POD publishing house.

…why the decision not to sign any more e-book contracts?…

Despite all the years I’ve been writing for several recognized e-book publishers, only TWO -LI and RR- have earned my professional respect. One in particular left me with a bad taste in my mouth because the owner to this day has not paid me royalties for my book her company had published. This woman went out of business claiming family problems. I’m not made of stone; I can understand family issues. But the contract expired in the fall and I was owed royalties for a very long time. I’ve yet to be paid and now she seems to have vanished from the face of the earth?

I think she’s referring to Chippewa Publishing who went down the toilet towards the latter end of 2007.

She continues:

This kind of scenario has unfortunately become the trend in the industry. An embarrassing trend, with no sign of ending any time in the near future. We hear all the time of publishers going under and leaving authors unpaid, and sometimes, even worse, holding their books hostage. It is all a very poor portrait of what, I feel, could be an industry marked by general esteem.

Currently I await overdue royalties from publisher, New Concepts Publishing. Many authors have come publicly forward this week with the admission that they, too, are waiting payment due from this company. Their complaints echo my own: overdue royalties, insufficient or non-issued tax forms, and the refusal on the part of the owners and the author liaison to communicate on author questions and complaints on these very matters.

With NCP, we authors have time and again been told to address our questions and problems to the author liaison. This person I am really exasperated with as he promised to send me a check out the week of February 19th of this year; a check which was already overdue. Since this promise I’ve yet to receive the check, and yet to receive a reply from him to my concern that it hasn’t arrived.

My annoyance with him is not as weighty as my annoyance with the owners. The one I dealt when I signed has failed to respond to my decision made this last week to just terminate the contract.

She concludes:

But the experiences with e-pubs has been overall very disappointing, and I simply have no interest, time or energy to devote in promoting an e-title just to turn around and have to beg for royalties, beg for statements, beg for replies, beg for publisher obligations to be met, beg for simple decency.

This is not why I became a writer. E-book publishing is an industry that has always held the potential for great things. Look around and we see glimpses of it every day from one or another publisher. But it is a tragic statement on the industry that all too many publishers have let the potential slip away like the proverbial thieves into the night.

So basically, Des wont be writing for e-book publishers because she doesn’t want to get shafted anymore.

How sad is that?

My advice to aspiring authors? You need to think twice before submitting to NCP. My advice to readers? Spend your money at Samhain Publishing.


  • I have one book with NCP and chose not to sign a second offered contract for several of the reasons stated by authors to Karen.

    While there were many reasons I chose to reject that second contract, the refusal to communicate was the nail on the coffin for me. It is not just polite, but professional to respond to emails, letters or concerns by people you have an ongoing professional relationship with, and that wasn’t happening.

    Finding an publisher that fits your needs seems difficult, but once you do–and there are some out there–knowing your rights is huge! I’ve learned a lot over the last two years in regards to what not to do, but I’ve chosen to continue one with select publishers that are professional in all their dealings.

    And thanks Karen for your plug for Samhain. *smile* My first book with them comes out in May and I’ve been very pleased by how they deal with their authors. I can recommend them to aspiring authors.


  • I’ve had a few publishers pull the plug on me though that POS Triskellion was the only one to pull a fast one.

    The lesson here is that a writer needs to be careful in who they sign with. If you’re in a huge rush to see your name on a cover, go to lulu.com and make your own book. Once you get that out of your system, you can look at this as a business rather than an ego stroke.

    Samhain is the best publisher I’ve ever had. They are prompt with responses to emails, I am paid on time with direct deposit (WooHOO!), their editing and cover art is top notch. Its too bad that all publishers can’t be as professional as SP is.

    Hey Desiree, if you read this, submit to Samhain. They don’t suck. 🙂


  • Thank you J.C., I will think about it.

    Hey thanks Karen. (And yes, that other publisher mentioned was Chippewa)


  • Katie
    March 12
    11:11 pm

    I have never read a book by Desiree, but I very much do understand her discontent. I have exactly five publishers (EC, LSB, LID, Samhain and Torquere) I read books from. As I tend to buy from external sites and get many of them as review copies I can’t comment on the customer service part. I am, however, a stickler for good coverart (as in, everything is better than Poser trash) and webdesign, so I often wonder how some authors can consider submitting to a publisher whose website doesn’t work properly under IE, and Mozilla might as well be a brand of French cheese instead of a common explorer. Anyone remember Venus Press? I never bought a book from them but I sometimes went there just to see what they would come up next with. Excerpts weren’t properly edited and tagged, links broken, and let’s not even mention the general layout. It might be a vain and shallow aspect, but a website is an e-publisher’s business card, and most of them wouldn’t inspire me to trust them with my credit card information or hard earned money. NCP has some decent covers, but by god, the website, especially since its “re-design”, is nightmarish.


  • Publish America and Harlequin are both print publishers. Silk’s Vault and Loose Id are both epublishers. You have to look at more than format.

    I think authors need to do research about sales figures and business practises *before* submitting. the forst test is ‘as a reader, would you buy from them?’. The second is ‘are they selling books?’ and finally ‘are their contracts and practises (e.g. distirbution, returns policy, mannerisms) professional?’.

    I got burned once. Then I went will good selling epublishers with good reputations whose books I had read and liked. No trouble since then.


  • blurg. Apologies for the typos.


  • I had a list of exactly four epublishers I would have trusted with my book, and although EC are where the big money’s at, I didn’t think they were the best fit for my stories. If the other three epubs had rejected me, what would I have done?

    I would have revised and resubmitted, or honed my craft, written another, better story and taken another crack at them.

    I’m not in this just to see my name on the cover of a book. I’m in this for a career. After doing a buttload of research, I’m one of those happy, well-treated authors at Samhain, and I know exactly how lucky I am.


  • I want to put my 2 cents in for Whiskey Creek Press. Of all the pubs I’m with, WCP was the only press who sent me my 1099 and my check On Time. I’m still waiting on my NCP check from the last quarter.


  • I was one of the authors burned by Chippewa, too. The only way I ever got royalty statements and/or payments was by harassing them, then in September I got one statement with no payment, and nothing since. Nada. Zip. Not a 1099, not an explanation as to why my titles were still available through Kindle after the publisher had officially closed. Nothing.


  • shirley
    March 13
    8:13 am

    Well, despite Ms. Erotique’s boycott, according to the USA Today the ebook market is only going to continue to grow. It’s more than doubled in the last year. And with big houses and Amazon getting into the fray, you can bet we’ll be enjoying ebooks for a long time to come. Thank god. It’s a whole lot easier to page by pressing one key than it is for these arthritic hands to hold the book and turn with my fingers, LOL!

    The saddest part about this, IMO, isn’t that the less reputable pubs are failing. It’s that me, a lay person with no interest in writing, seems to know about which e-pubs are good than the writers who are trying to find a home for their work. Christsakes, a little bit of typing, a few minutes of research, and you can find out – from Google thank you – that this isn’t the first problem NCP has had. They had a huge falling out with the small bookstores that carried their print work a year and some back. NCP was pretty much blacklisted because they weren’t paying on returns and were sending out shoddy books (typos, page set all wrong, etc, etc).

    And you can find the same stuff on all the e-pubs that have gone down in flames. The smoke starts first, and for a lot of them, it was filling the air months and months before the final crash. Now if I, a granny/old lady, can find that information out, why aren’t would be writers doing the same?


  • When I signed on with Chippewa there weren’t problems. Then within months things started going downhill.


  • Hi Shirley, I didn’t say I was boycotting anyone or anything, lol. If you read my entire post at NS you’ll see where I said I might write some shorts for e-pubs who have already gained my trust. I’ve also been very lucky this year to have signed with Kensington and I hope to write more novels for them as “Anya Howard”. I’ve been working in this industry for many years; and sorry, there was a time NCP was considered one of the “places to be”. They have demonstrated they aren’t, and I am ready to move on in my career. I would hope this isn’t a bad thing for a woman to decide for her career 🙂

    L.E., I hear you. And am sorry this happened to you, too.


  • I do understand where Desiree is coming from. I’ve been with a number of ebook companies, like Venus Press, Silk’s Vault, and OMP, all of which has had numerous problems in the way they treat their authors. Once I’ve disconnected myself permanently from these epubs, I took a step back and did a lot of researching before I submitted my works to another.

    To this day, I can say that Loose ID and Cobblestone Press have treated me with respect as an author and has never treated anyone unfairly.

    I do admit that a fear of being treated poorly by other publishers, forces me to stay with these two epublishers. It can be a tiring fight having to battle with the crooked epubishers.

    My advice to aspiring authors: Look to the epublishers that have set a “standard” for the ones starting out. Investigate them. Ask questions. Look to Loose ID, Cobblestone Press, Samhain Publishing. These 3 treat authors how they should be treated with RESPECT!


  • Ellora’s Cave, as well, is a wonderful place to write e-books. Yes. EC, where the big money’s at. I’ve written there for five years and have had a great experience. Though I am only an average seller at EC, I am always treated with respect. Management is responsive. Royalty checks arrive monthly. Most importantly, I get to write exactly what I want to write.

    I am very very happy writing for Ellora’s Cave.

    madison hayes


  • All this talk of NCP and other publishers treating authors like dirt has me wondering if possibly a group of authors should band together and file a class-action lawsuit against one publisher to send a message to the other bad apples that they aren’t to be messed with.

    I’m talking about Chippewa here, since they didn’t file for bankruptcy and didn’t pay out royalties owed. Would it be worth it for a group of authors to file suit, have the company/owner audited, and collect back royalties? Certainly it probably wouldn’t be worth it for one author to sue, since the amount of money would likely be less than the lawyer’s fees, but a group of authors could share the cost.


  • shirley
    March 13
    11:08 pm

    Ms. Erotique I wasn’t meaning the comment as a slam. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with going in a different direction for the sake of your career and yourself. Go for it, I say.

    What I was saying is that the ebook world is only going to grow and that as a medium, it’ll be profitable potentially indefinitely. I’ll admit, I was only going off Karen’s comments, which made it look like – to me – that you’re stance was to forget about e-pubs. LOL, that would be a really sad day for me 🙂

    Still, the true point of my earlier comment wasn’t about you taking charge and changing your career focus. It was that I could find out which publishers were reputable with a few keystrokes or words (thank you dragon), so why aren’t writers doing the same?

    True, some did their homework and were caught in a maelstrom they didn’t see coming. But not all of the situations are like that.


  • Indeed. The small press is the small press, some very good stable and profitable publishers included. So choosing to go from small to large press as a focus is a fine individual choice. But one more small press not doing well doesn’t exactly say anything about a given format, size of company etc. And some comments have read like ‘NCP sucks ergo e-publishing suck’–which applies only if their is no way to pick an epublisher other than at random.


  • Hi Karen,

    I’ve commented before on your blog about NCP and will reiterate now: In 2004-5 I went through all kinds of hassles trying to lawfully terminate my contracts with them and finally had to threaten legal action to get my rights back. (I was tired of their lack of communication as well as the shoddy elements of their publications.) I cannot prove but am very confident they withheld royalties from payment to me.

    I can’t say there’s any kind of blacklist, but the threatening letter I received when I terminated came as close to telling me I was blacklisted as you can come without declaring so in so many words; it was incredibly unprofessional.

    I hate to gripe about old hostilities years afterward, but you are right that it’s important for authors to come forth. I was among the authors who filed complaints to Piers Anthony, and for a long time I also posted my own page in the hopes that authors googling the company would find it. Hopefully this latest “uprising” on your blog, Novelspot and Mrs. Giggles will help warn other authors!


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