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Calling Ellora's Cave authors (tangential to EC v DA)

If you are or have been an author for Ellora’s Cave since the ‘new’ accounting system started creating issues and delays with royalty payments, you may be interested in this offer:

I have made the offer to several authors but I will throw it out there again. If anyone wants to band together and request the audit included in the language of most contracts with EC, I, as an uninvolved bystander, will contribute a minimum of $500 to the frorensic auditor’s fee and will help organize a fundraiser to gather the additional resources needed. Until EC’s books are subjected to outside scrutiny I would personally doubt any and all royalty statements any author receives.

Several people tweeting in #notchilled and commenting elsewhere have wondered whether authors could band together and do something to get some straightforward answers about royalties and the general health of Ellora’s Cave as a business, backed with actual numbers, from someone who is not intimately involved with EC and therefore invested in only giving answer that jive with TE/JB party line. Here’s your chance.

You may be wondering who is making such a generous offer and what her involvement with Ellora’s Cave, its authors, or even the lawsuit and Dear Author, may be.

Julaine (on twitter as @julainestone) is not an author. She is a reader who, once upon a time, spend a lot of money buying books from her favorite authors directly from Ellora’s Cave. This has all changed since late September 2014, and the filing of the defamation suit by EC against Dear Author.

After hearing about EC problems for the last year and particularly the August and September reports in Dear Author I made the decision to repurchase many of my old favorites from vintage EC authors. I easily purchased more old backlist titles from EC than I had new/current titles in the last 3-4 years. I figured if the company was struggling I wanted to support both the company and my favorite authors as well as ensure that I would have access to my “comfort reads” in the event that those titles got caught up in any future legal troubles. Wouldn’t the fly in the face of EC’s argument that Dear Author’s report was damaging to their business? It may have put off authors submitting new work or author’s requesting rights revisions but I was (and presumably others) putting much needed short term funds in EC coffers. Now I am sick to think that the money I spent is possibly being diverted from its rightful share holders; the creative talent that I thought I was supporting.

What the lawsuit did was ensure that I will NEVER spend another penny on EC products, now THAT is surely detrimental to the Cave’s long term prospects.

In other, not earth-shattering or even all that surprising, news, EC’s motion to remand the case back to state court was denied:

Courtney Milan - motion to remand denied - January 7, 2015
Ms Milan is hosting the document here, and will be posting something in her blog about it soon.


  • I was going to do a longer post analyzing the remand motion’s citations, but I didn’t. I just noticed that he didn’t touch Rose v. Giamatti at all.

    I just didn’t want to read 200 pages of rulings (probably) just to figure out that it was a grand flourish. When I’m less busy, maybe.

    (Probably not.)

    In any case, I thought I’d let Courtney do the first significant post.


  • Julaine
    January 10
    5:56 am

    I have had several conversations with authors who would love to request the audit that is mentioned in the contracts but have been put off by the cost of hiring a qualified forensic accountant. The figure I have heard bandied about is that a thorough audit could cost upwards of 10K. For many authors that is just not even a possibility. For some, their royalties aren’t even enough to cover a Happy Meal at MacDonald’s for their family let alone pay for something like this. Ironically, if your career is doing well enough to afford an audit you are most likely thrilled with your publisher and an audit is the furthest thing on your mind. Inversely, if you are struggling for every book sale you don’t have the cash to pony up to see if your royalties are being properly accounted for and match each of your sales.

    It is certainly possible that the EC vs. DA lawsuit will drag on long enough to reach the discovery phase and the judge will order EC to turn over their books if they want to prove rumors of insolvency, late payments, tax liens, are just that, unfounded rumors. The problem is, that day may not come for a very long time, individual authors may never have access to the results or EC may try to evade, ignore or otherwise circumvent opening up their books as they have in past cases.

    That’s where my idea that the authors could do it collectively. Most have an audit clause in the contracts. EC might be able to wiggle out of producing their records during the upcoming court case but a refusal to honor the terms of their contracts with their authors would be more difficult. There are almost a thousand authors on EC’s rolls. If a sufficient number contribute and other interested parties chip in, no one bears the burden alone and everyone benefits.

    If EC’s records are accurate, up-to-date, and transparent, well then terrific. It will remove a cloud of doubt about EC’s future solvency and reassure the authors, staff and the larger reading community that EC can weather this storm and restore a measure of trust that has been lost by their recent actions. If the records are in disarray? That would be unfortunate but having that knowledge would be a necessary tool for any author plotting their own future.

    Just to make it perfectly clear. I am not and never have been an aspiring writer. I am not a blogger. I come from a tech background and simply have loved books since I was a little girl. For the last several years I have developed an informal hobby of studying the emerging digital market, the rise of self-publishing and the changing publishing climate. I have no financial motivation for making my offer of a contribution to an audit. I just want the authors who have written some damn fine books and provided me with hours of enjoyment to have the infomation they need to make informed decisions about their future. EC has put out many great books, launched many talented authors’ careers and employed an incredible group of people. I hate, hate the course they are currently charting.


  • @Deirdre: I too am waiting to see what Ms Milan says, but mostly I’m happy to see that EC and company will have to deal with a federal judge who doesn’t fuck around.

    From what I glean, in past cases they have jerked their lawyers and opposing parties around, but this time I doubt they’ll get away with it for long–if at all.

    It will still be a long slog, and I do feel for Jane–not just money but stress–and for all the authors, editors and cover artists caught in this clusterfuck of TE/JB’s making.

    Which brings me to…

    @Julaine: The case may–I think will–drag long enough for discovery, but as jut say, that’s no guarantee of anything, given past behaviour by EC’s principals.

    I do hope you get enough takers to your offer–and a crowdfunding page can be set up for others to chip in, because even a few dollars per person build up in the end.


  • […] can also read a bit more in the comments to this post at Karen’s […]

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