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Words to sign contracts by

As many of you know, I have been following the Ellora’s Cave v Dear Author thing closely–and quite likely will until it is resolved one way or another.

On the one hand, it is absolutely popcorn worthy entertainment. In a much smaller scale, it brings to mind Charles Carreon v The Oatmeal (beware, this is an utter time suck–don’t go too far down the rabbit hole unless you have a day or two to spare).

On the other hand, the resolution of this case will help set a precedent for book bloggers, reviewers, authors, editors, etc. We should not allow ourselves to be intimidated by threats of vexatious lawsuits by the bullies of the world.

I do pray rather fervently that the court forces EC to show its books and explain why they are sending checks through the mail in a way that violates USPS rules (undated metered mail–see this post)


On that note, isn’t romance a beautiful thing? The fundraising was made public in the morning on Friday October 3rd. Not even 12 hours later, the community had raised over $38,000.00. People, learn from TC/JB delusions and do not piss your target market off. They’ll band together and bitch-slap you. Hard.


But, back to the point of this post.

Keeping a close eye on developments on the case means that I’m reading comments on a large number of posts in an almost as large number of blogs and websites. As one would imagine, the comment threads at Dear Author itself have remained quite lively this week, with some good stuff, some entertaining stuff, and some rather puzzling stuff being posted.

One of the latter comments rang a rather loud bell in my head, and I was thisclose to bring up the reason for this carillon-like noise in my head over there–but really, Jane has plenty of stuff to keep her busy and doesn’t need me rabble rousing in her turf.

Karen, on the other hand, used to thrive on that shit, and actually hosted the conversation that had all those bells going off in my brain, so here we are.

In the thread where Jane announced the lawsuit, Cheryl Tardif commented (emphasis mine):

This is an extremely sad and stressful situation for the authors who entrusted this publisher with their works. I recall when EC came in on the scene, and though I don’t read, write or publish erotica, there’s such a demand for it that it boggles my mind that EC has experienced so many financial and management problems.

I, too, am a small independent publisher. In late 2010 I decided to open what started as my self-publishing company to other authors, which I did in 2011. I would be horrified if Imajin Books had these complaints against it, and I’m proud to say that not only do we pay our authors every quarter, we usually pay them a bit earlier than our contracts state. And all of our service providers, from editors to formatters to cover designers etc. have been paid on time and in full.

As an author who was once published by an unethical publisher who didn’t pay authors on time, I know how this feels. Authors don’t deserve to have their works tied up in contracts when they aren’t getting paid their royalties.

Though we don’t publish erotica at my company, if any EC authors have other works and are looking for a new publishing home, I invite them to check out Imajin Books. My authors are like part of my family–and I make sure they get paid on time. It’s too bad EC didn’t do the same!

Best wishes to the authors. And good luck to you, Jane. I hope you persevere and win.

Now, as you all know, I’m a cynical so-and-so. My first reaction was, “yo, bad taste to troll for authors here!” My second reaction was a double take. See that line I bolded?

Well, anyone who was around for the epic dêbacle that was the implosion of Triskelion Publishing may remember this later conversation here at Karen Knows Best. (History lesson: bloggers have been threatened before with legal action if we don’t shut up, though to my knowledge this is the first actual lawsuit.)

Even though I agree with Ann Somerville more often than not, I’m not a particular fan (I think she’s overly vitriolic, she sneers at my “tone troll” tendencies), this comment of hers was one hundred percent on target:

“We are small, new and family like”

Christ almighty, nothing will make me run faster away from a company than an assurance it’s like a family – my family is the kind of organisation I would never sign a contract with! I don’t want a mother when I sign with a publisher – I want a professional who can spell, at the very least.

All this bird had to do was say ‘I’m sorry, your information is mistaken, Kristi wotsherface is only a cover artist for us’ and leave it at that. The hysteria and the over-elaborate explanations create suspicion, not allay it.

As for the support of the authors – when will people get it through their goddamn skulls that just because you like something or somebody, it doesn’t make them incapable of fault. (And disliking them doesn’t automatically make them guilty of every crime under the sun either.)


The winner for professionalism and brevity, though, was Shiloh Walker with this (emphasis once again mine):

I don’t want my publisher to be ‘family-like’.

I want my publisher to be professional.

I have a great family, I have close friends. Whatever needs I have for family & friends are filled by my family & friends. Family is personal-as it should be.

Business SHOULD not be personal.

This doesn’t mean you can’t have friends within business. Some of my best friends are friends I’ve met through my writing career.

But I don’t want my publisher claiming that the business is like a family.

Family and business don’t mix very well together. That’s why a lot of family businesses fail or end up setting the family members at each other’s throats.

That’s my opinion on that issue-and since I’m always full of opinions, here’s just a general opinion.

I don’t know how many times I’ve said it, but folks, image counts. A lot. You want to make a public comment? Go ahead. But if you’re an author or some other industry professional, whatever you say reflects back on you.

You’ll be making a LOT of first impressions, particularly on a blog like Karen’s.

You say it with professionalism, people are going to see a professional and possibly take note of what is said.

You say it without any professionalism, people are going to see a total lack of professionalism and many of them aren’t going to bother paying your remarks that much attention.

To be honest, the whole comment thread is good reading–and many of the old posts on the shady publishers of the time make for good entertainment and gory cautionary tales.


  • Courtney Milan continues to make me giggle:


  • Not: authors are leaving EC because they hate the company, so let’s revamp EC’s contracts and business strategies to make it friendlier. Nope, let’s jump into conspiracy theories and alienate more authors.


  • @Crane Hana: Of course not.

    Apparently, “everyone hates me, even though I’m so wonderful” is a feeling that makes it past age 7. Who knew?


  • Jaid Black / Tina Engler is the very definition of batshit crazy. Her ass needs to stay offline until this crap blows over because she’s not helping EC’s case. EC in their current financial state could not afford the negative press that this is bringing them. I haven’t bought a book from them in years, but there will be people who absolutely refuse to buy from them now, just based on this latest craziness.

    I don’t care what anybody says, Laurann Dohner must be feeling some type of way about the mess that she sees her publisher embroiled in.


  • Jaid Black just hastened EC’s demise with her stupid lawsuit.

    AZ, I laughed at that comment when I saw it. Seriously, it was pathetic in it’s shameless hustle: “We’re a good publisher, spend your money on us instead.” Ha.


  • I don’t want a publisher that thinks they are my family, my mother, my fandom support group or anything but my publisher. Families, cliques, even a social culture is not my speed.

    As a publisher, I aim to be approachable, cordial and reliable with my authors. Should things happen, as they do, I work to keep my authors posted.

    Jaid Black USED to run a reasonable operation. I was just another face in the crowd and that was fine. But I’ve watched things go steadily wrong for years now. And I am speaking up.


  • […] not like this is a business relationship where what is essential is professionalism or anything. Kindness is always good–who wants to […]

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