This is just to state my case. I’m not asking anyone to do anything or to help me, just so people are aware of where I stand in this.
As some of you know I was involved in a similar case years ago. Triskelion went bankrupt and took around 70 authors with it. Ellora’s Cave authors number in the hundreds. This is much bigger, and could potentially be nastier. If management turns the situation around, then I will be the first to applaud them, but I cannot agree with some of the methods they are employing to do that.
I joined Ellora’s Cave in 2007 and for most years since earned good money and was treated well by them. I enjoyed my time there because I was never asked to be “one of the family,” they paid on time, the cover art was lovely, and the editing was rigorous, but excellent.
This year my royalties plummeted so alarmingly that I had to make some serious decisions about working with the publisher. Also, the quality of the cover art is way down, since they fired the artistic directors earlier in the year. The prices of the books are way above the prices any of my other publishers charge. (In my opinion, the nature of erotic romance has changed drastically since the publication of “50 Shades of Grey” took pseudo-BDSM mainstream, and the books once considered erotic are now better marketed as “hot” or “steamy").
Now things have changed and I’ve been forced to ask for my rights back. I have 19 published books with EC. Two unpublished manuscripts are in the editing queue and have been for over twelve months. I’ve had a response on the two unpublished ones. A form response on the others.
No, I can’t have my rights back on those two. If I don’t cooperate with the editing, Ellora’s Cave will exercise its contractual right to edit and publish the books anyway. If those books do come out, I will make a statement to say I had nothing to do with the editing and the books are released without my cooperation. After that, it’s up to the reader to decide.
By “editing,” they mean “light editing.” The editors are not even allowed to alter spelling mistakes, because that would be changing the “author’s voice.” So a worse-than-spellcheck scenario. That is not what I have come to expect from Ellora’s Cave, and not what was in the spirit or the intent of my contract. I cannot in all conscience agree with the new policy.
For security reasons, Ellora’s Cave has always kept its financial records, including royalties and author payments, on a separate, non-networked computer, which is restricted to a very few members of staff. At present, only Patty, Tina and Courtenay have access to the financials. So in order to see them we’d have to order an audit, and gain access to that computer, and the copies they have probably made (because who wouldn’t do that?)
Some people have already noticed that I have taken my Ellora’s Cave titles down from my website and blog. That is pending their decision about reversion and my queries about royalty concerns.
Sadly, I’ve taken the decision not to send them any future work until the current situation is resolved. If you do buy one of my Ellora’s Cave books, I’m unlikely to see the royalties from it. But if you love my writing, I’m only grateful you want to read my books and I truly hope you enjoy it.
Once I regain those titles, I’ll be selling them elsewhere or re-editing and self-publishing them.
I’m proud of what I did at Ellora’s Cave and the editors I worked with, Briana, Jillian and Justin, and the cover artists, Syneca and Will.
They have all gone now, and so have I.