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My reaction to the fact that Dorchester is dead? *Yawn*

I haven’t bought a Dorchester pubbed book in forever. I don’t care about them, and I wont miss them.

There’s been rumours about them not paying their authors for years, and every other week, there’s been talk of the possibility of them filing for bankruptcy. I’m just annoyed that they’ve stayed open this long. Mind you, I blame the authors and their agents who kept subbing to them. They heard the rumours, and yet continued to provide Dorchester with books to sell.

Dorchester have been one of the most ethically questionable publishers out there for years – weren’t they the ones who decided to publish digital versions of books they no longer had copyright licenses for?

To be fair, the warnings were there, and I’ll say the same as I would had it been a small press or a dodgy publishing company like New Concepts Publishing, Google is your friend, if you chose to sub your work despite the rumours that authors weren’t getting paid for their work, that’s on you. Sorry.

As per usual there are exceptions, here’s an interesting comment from a KKB former Fucktard of The Week, Deborah Macgillivray: (Remember her?)

“One of the saddest casualties of this mess is the sister of Dawn Thompson. Dawn did over dozen books with Dorchester. The rights were refused returned, as were mine, and a lot authors. Before Dawn’s death, she turned the rights to her books over to her sister, Diane. Diane is disabled, living at the poverty line (which Dorchester is aware of). Last August she got a notice that one (just one) of Dawn’s books had earned $4300 and a check would follow. A check never followed. This is the same thing that happened before. Chris sent a notice that $10,003 would be forwarded to her and that never came either… I won’t mention the dozens of foreign rights sales… To date, over 4 years, not one dime of that has made it to Diane.”

Now that is sad, and hugely unfair.

As for the news via Dear Author, that they’re going up for auction, we’ll see how that pans out. I have no feelings on the matter either way.

Author, Brian Keene has a brief timeline of events here and a more comprehensive overview of events here.


  • Hi, Karen —

    I’m following the Dorchester collapse with mixed glee and disgust, and I want to thank you for posting the links to the fucktard saga, as I had only seen vague references to it and now I can read the whole thing. And if you don’t mind, I’d also like to add that at least some of the blame for Dorchester’s continued “success” has to fall on the so-called professional writers’ organizations — yes, I really mean RWA — for not taking a stand on their shady practices 20 years ago.


  • Dorchester is still holding the rights to who-knows-how-many books hostage: there are authors who (together with their agents and lawyers) have been trying to get their rights back for months without any success. From what I can tell, Dorchester’s policy in regard to the reversion of rights has been arbirary, to say the least.


  • Per a letter from Dorchester posted at agent Kristin Nelson’s blog, DP is now a “virtual” publisher. Their mailing address is 105 E. 34th Street, NY NY 10016, which is indeed (as noted on another blog by a person who shall not be named) the local UPS Store.


  • writer
    March 14
    7:09 am

    What? RWA has known for 20 years? I’m a RWA member. I did write RWA (with no response) over a year ago–gently telling them it was NOT a good idea to print a story in the RWA mag about submitting to the True magazines (Dorchester Media) since many of us were not getting paid. Yep–I’ve warned people on the True Writers loop and they are a great group of people–BUT very touchy about being told it might not have been a good idea to keep submitting–unless you enjoy writing for free with no byline.


  • “Writer” — Oh, yes, RWA was apprised of Dorchester’s shady practices at least as early as 1991. I have some of the info posted at http://www.LindaHilton.blogspot.com and I’m digging through my old files to find the rest of it. I haven’t been in RWA since 1998, so I don’t know what they have or haven’t done in the past 14 years, but yes, I personally notified RWA and PAN about Dorchester and BMI. I still have the copies of the books. RWA was/is supposed to be a WRITERS’ organization, but imho they protected shady publishers (and shady agents) rather than burst the dream bubbles of unpublished members who were desperate to see their words in print and didn’t care about the risks.


  • writer
    March 15
    3:15 am

    Thanks Linda! I’m off to your website to check out the info. I’m trying to collect all I can. While the amount Dorch owes me is semi-insignificant–this whole thing enrages me and I want to see them legally stopped.


  • I just wanted to set the record straight — I currently have evidence that RWA was aware of Dorchester’s legal-but-less-than-ethical behavior at least as early as summer 1993. I thought it was earlier than that and it may indeed have been as early as 1991, but the records I’ve been able to retrieve from my files so far only show 1993. Even so, that’s 19 years, and I don’t recall that RWA did much of anything. I’ve posted copies of the Dorch/BMI editions at http://www.LindaHilton.blogspot.com. Also for the record, as far as I know, Dorchester doesn’t owe me any money. I just want my rights back.


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