Saturday, April 12, 2014

Silver Publishing~A Lesson in What, Exactly?


I got my rights back in Oct 2012 from Silver Publishing when they broke the contract for my two books.

Now the slippery owner has supposedly got the hell out of Dodge. See AJ Llewellyn's thorough and informative  post HERE  I want to bring up a few points of my dealings with them.

First, I want to correct a few misconceptions. When an e-pub implodes, others start wagging their fingers at authors, editors and anyone else who had signed on with said pub and admonishes them all for 'not doing their homework or due diligence on the pub in question'. Well, in Silver Publishing's case, I did and so did many others. When I signed a contract in the late summer of 2011, everything was hunky dory with a spiffy shine. They were professional, the editing process thorough.

Royalty payments arrived on time. So I sent them another manuscript. Accepted. Again, cover art, edit, everything went smoothly. My one complaint at the time? MF authors didn't seem to get the amount of promo the MM authors got, but, MM was Silver's bread and butter, so I got that. My second book came out July 2012. Well, by August, the payments stopped coming. the owner gave every excuse in the book, new software, illness, new staff to train, you name it. (these are now red flags to me in my dealings with any pub, thanks to my Silver experience)

I noticed the amounts on my statements changed every time I looked on-line at the reports. Again, he had excuses, blaming Amazon etc for late payments, computer failures, and staff mistakes. Then he stopped answering my emails. Come October and after witnessing the infighting going on, I had enough. I asked for my rights back, got them, and didn't look back. I never did get the third party sales payments for the two books. I am relieved it wasn't much money, unlike what others are owed. I put Silver behind me.

So what is the lesson? ANY publisher can implode, go tits up, circle the drain or whatever other metaphor you want to place on it. Even print (Dorchester, anyone?) Just because a publisher fails, it does not make everyone who worked for it total idiots or dumb rubes. Save the 'I told you so's' and offer sympathy instead. I for one, feel bad for the Silver authors that remained, were owed money, or just signed up with them recently. It was a personal decision for each individual who dealt with Silver. I don't condemn anyone in this mess but the owner himself.

The big lesson here is it can happen to any of us with any pub. Even if you do a thorough on-line investigation and everything seems cool, it can still blow to shit.

 I can't stand drama, especially on-line stuff. I am not one for bleeding all over my keyboard with regard to writing or my personal life. I don't go public with my dealings with publishers or other authors. In this case? I needed to say it can happen to anyone, anytime and the blame lands squarely on the owner.

So yes, do your homework. A pub is not family, I never thought so and glad I keep my dealings professional. I also from the start never put my eggs in one basket. If you want to go with publishers, spread your submissions around. But like life, stuff happens. Be prepared. Then move on. I have.

8 comments:

  1. I guess lessons learned. Like you said at least you did not get burned too bad. Sorry when anyone, authors or anyone has problems with life's lessons. Just hang in there.

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    1. Hanging in and moved on. The lesson for me in all this? Anything can fall apart at any time. lol~ thanks for commenting!

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  2. I have issues with the gag rule that seems to be in place on authors still! So all the more reason not to point the "you should have known better" fingers, especially by other authors.

    Used to be we were so thrilled to get a contract, we accepted whatever in a fairly opaque industry. Nobody griped before things became a lost cause because they feared being labeled "difficult" and trashing their rep with other publishers and agents. I subbed to Noble Romance and did my homework but nobody was talking publicly. There were no recent posts at Absolute Write. Thank goodness I emailed an author I knew and trusted when I got a bad vibe from them. Only after things started getting really bad did the public posts and dog-piling begin at AW.

    I have heard that the big boys have gag clauses in their contracts. It makes it tough to avoid train wrecks even amongst the most diligent. The indies and self-pubbing are bringing more transparency to the industry, but not necessarily more financial security or protection from fraud. You only need opportunity and motive for fraud to happen. Most people willingly accept and offer up opportunity contractually. You just can't bank on motives because they change with circumstances you might not be privvy to.

    Sorry for rambling on and on. You hit a hot button of mine. Great post!

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    1. A lot of authors at Silver had a gag order as part of their deal of getting their rights back, a slippery move by the owner to be sure. I escaped this hot mess before the hammer came down. I am also tired of the finger pointing. I don't like the 'cone of silence' that seems to lower over pubs. If you dare talk out of turn, you are labeled as you said. These small pubs all talk to each other, and I wouldn't be surprised if the discuss 'problem' authors.

      You make great points, and like Silver, everything can start out great, and blow apart in an instant. He had a great thing going, Silver had promise. but the owner let greed rule. It can happen anywhere, anytime. And it will again. Thanks Claire, for commenting! Loved it!

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  3. Thank you for writing this. Way back in October 2012 when this all went tits up as you said the should have researched better conversation was had by many, many authors who were outside looking in. Shoulda woulda coulda. Like you I researched. I asked questions. I wrote to authors I trusted who were with them. I looked at everything. I had that contract looked at. I did everything I thought I had to do to make sure this company was good. That was in summer of 2011. The first book went really smoothly. Editing. Cover. Everything was awesome. And then the paychecks never came. Or were not what they were supposed to be. By March of 2012 red flags were flying for me but I'd already given them two more books based on the experience with the first one. It's not a live and learn lesson. It was ugly and it got uglier. Fingers pointed at everyone but the one person who was to blame. The staff that I worked with were wonderful people. People who were doing their jobs to the best of their ability and didn't know what was going on. Two years now of finger pointing and tsk tsking.

    Again, thank you for writing this. And sorry this happened.

    Mercy Celeste

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    1. Mercy, your experience parallels mine. I was lucky that my sales were very blah, so walking away from what was owed didn't sting as I imagine it did for you and many others. Oh yes, I remember how you were boiled in oil for coming forward. The in-fighting in the loops and the outward vitriol on the internet by those who knew nothing of what was going on, but stuck their oar in anyway, was mind boggling.
      You are right, it is not 'a lesson learned' but an ugly hot mess that the owner himself is guilty for. No one else. I also liked the staff. They also got shafted and snowed by the owner as well. I am shocked it took this long for the pub to implode. I am sorry it happened too. Silver had such potential, and this 'silver' tongued owner threw it all away. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

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