If you don’t want to hear it, don’t read on.
There was fallout over the weekend, and I commented on one particular thread regarding authors getting their rights back. I wondered how this could be happening, given the owner had fled to South Africa.
I got a response:
Brenna Lyons Theo, As long as L has internet access, he can still do things. By cell phone and email, he is still in touch with the staff…and sometimes authors. Since indie press return of rights letters are usually done by email, it’s not difficult to get them sent out, no matter where the sender is. In this case, L gave me permission to send them out from one of his accounts, one set up specifically for him to send releases from. Since it was done with his approval, from his account, and with his authorized signature to it, they are legal releases. At the time he gave me permission to send them in his stead, as DM of Silver, I had no clue he was out of the country. I thought he was still in Michigan. But no matter where he was, he has the ability to authorize release of the books, and he did so. I guarantee you, every letter was sent out either by L or at L’s authorization. I have the email trail, proving that.
What was the point in her telling me this? Was I supposed to applaud the fact he’s sending releases to authors so they could get their rights back?
These are the same authors he allegedly stole from, whose royalty statements he allegedly finagled so they got less and he kept more. He wanted to live like a king and apparently managed to do that these last few years, not because he earned the money but because he took it from his hardworking authors. And when the going got tough and his house of cards was about to collapse, he took off with his tail between his legs instead of staying and working things out.
I keep saying allegedly because I am not a lawyer nor am I directly involved in this case, but JFC! The facts, as recounted by AJ Llewellyn on her blog a few days ago, leave no doubt in my mind this guy is a fucking crook. Today there was a follow-up post.
And still some people are remaining loyal to him? Really? If he’s staying in touch with his company, I suspect it’s only so he can scamper off with the next quarter’s royalties because I’m pretty damn sure he’s not sending them on to the authors who earned them.
Does a house have to fall on these people? What does it take for them to realize he is a CROOK?
If you are an author and your publisher doesn’t pay you, or consistently pays late or not at all, get the hell out of there. Publishers can’t survive without you. They suck your life’s blood like any parasite, and while some of them are professional and treat you well, never forget they exist because you do.
In the best of relationships, they get something (a cut of your sales) and you get something (cover art, editing, a minimum of promotion). To many writers, this is an equitable relationship, and both sides are happy.
But if you work with a publisher who doesn’t pay you or gives you sorry-ass excuses for the lateness of your royalties, something is wrong. Don’t be the Wicked Witch of the West and wait for the house to fall on you. MOVE ON, and get your rights back before you do so.
My advice to you is to be wary of any new publishers who crop up over the next year. It is very likely one of them will be the new Silver, run by the same old owner attempting a comeback. He knows the business, and he got used to stealing the earnings of his authors. Be careful. Do your research before signing with a new house.