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Another one bites the dust...

…though so far it seems this publisher is behaving as well as possible under the circumstances.

Please bear in mind while reading this that this is all gleaned from sources available to everyone else–I don’t have super sekrit sources nor am I affiliated-non-affiliated with anyone at Musa Publishing. (In fact, until today I hadn’t even heard of them.)

After the Aspen Mountain Press implosion, some of the staff banded together and formed Musa, and apparently things were pretty good for the authors who contracted with them.

For a while.

From the Absolute Write forums, an extract from a comment by member BenPanced (you can read the full post here):

I’d submitted a manuscript last summer and it sat in the queue for a couple months, about two or three weeks beyond the suggested reply time. I sent an email to withdraw it from consideration for a variety of reasons and got a reply in less than 24 hours. My contracts are up in January, which was last month, and this July, but I never heard from them within the 60-day negotiation window for the January date. I sent an email requesting the rights be reverted on both. And got a reply in less than 24 hours (but I still haven’t received a reversion letter so I’m still in limbo, never mind the fact they’re “busy” and have “dozens” of others to get to).

This was at the beginning of February 2015.

Yesterday, apparently, Musa announced to its authors via email that they are closing their doors. The GOOD thing about that? Rights are being reverted to the authors at the end of the month.

I think, as an outsider who’s witnessed some truly spectacular publishing debacles over the past nine years, that the principals at Musa are showing that they have some sound ethical core–though sadly they didn’t seem to have the business side figured out.

As G Applejack said,

Kudos to the Musa staff for choosing to shut down on their own terms, rather than let the business linger and die a terrible death. We’ve all seen examples of that.

*cue innocent expression from this member of the peanut gallery observing certain TiNut’s antics*

I mean, just for comparison’s sake (from Whistler Mama here)

Although authors can complain about low sales and lack of promotions, we all got paid. I received a small royalty every month, and no reason to think we won’t receive one last payment.

Or this, from NinjaFingers (here)

However, they always paid on time, they were well organized and their online system for managing manuscripts was bluntly awesome. You can’t entirely knock them. And I say this as somebody who is, sadly, feeling more “free” than “upset” by this news (partly because I’ve been waiting for it since about November).

On the other hand, as Old Hack from Absolute Write says:

Make sure you all get properly signed, formal notices reverting your rights to you. Without those you’re going to struggle to place them elsewhere.

Some publishers will consider previously-published works. But many won’t, so you’re going to have a lot of work ahead of you if you want to find a new home for your books, I’m afraid. And with the volume of books Musa published, there’s going to be a lot of good, previously-published books doing the rounds, I fear.

Does this mean that self publishing is the only open choice left for those authors?

I don’t think so–among other reasons, because not all authors are suited for it. Plus, there is no ONE TRUE WAY to publishing anymore than there is for writing. You know, like most everything else in life. A self published author keeps all the profit, but also does ALL the work–including things you never thought of, or know how to do,  and may not be able to afford. A writer under contract with a publisher, no matter how big or small, is at the mercy of the principals having some decency (Dorchester, anyone?).

~ * ~

As for readers, Musa posted this announcement to their Facebook page:

Dear Readers,

The rising costs of doing business and reduced sales have hit us extremely hard in spite of our fantastic books and enthusiastic efforts of staff and authors alike. We deeply regret that Musa Publishing will be closing its virtual doors on February 28, 2015.

Until then, our books will be deeply discounted. Feel free to stock up while our store remains open.

Our authors will all be released from their contracts with us. It is our hope that you will seek out books by authors you love, and will support them on social media and in their future publishing endeavors.

From the hearts of all at Musa, we thank you for your loyalty.
Musa Publishing

Here’s your link, if you would like to take a gander at what they have available.

And, for the hell of it, a screenshot:


Musa Publishing reader announcement February 20 2015

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