Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016: All Romance, Ellora's Cave and More. Here's Hoping 2017 is...Better by @KarynGerrard

Col. Potter from MASH had it right, and it certainly fits for the year 2016. I won't run down the events of the year, like Trump's election (!?!) and all the celebrity deaths and other world events, instead I will narrow the focus on romance publishing and my own year.

 More small digital epubs closed, some did it the right way like Amber Quill Press, and some did it the shit way, like Tourque and Ellora's Cave. Or like Samhain Publishing who claimed to be closing, then did an about-face, messing with author's heads and their publishing plans.
Both Tourque's (MM Pub) and Ellora's Cave played the victim card, bemoaning those evil authors for their decline. Both also did not pay what was owed. Both were sleazy and underhanded in their dealings. Good Riddance. All that is left in their wake are unpaid authors. As usual.

My personal take from all this? I no longer submit to independently owned digital pubs. Lesson learned.

Can anyone be trusted in this business? To give the final F-You to 2016, independent e-book distributor (and also a publisher), All Romance, sent out a shocking email 4 days before the end of the year, saying they are going dark Jan 1.

Oh, and to you authors and publishers? F-You. If you agree to our shitty deal, we will give you 10 cents on the dollar for the 4th quarter. To you readers? F-You. Good luck cashing in those rebate vouchers and backing up your reader library.

Owned by Lori James who writes under the pen names of Samantha Sommersby and SJ Harper, apparently this business took in millions in 2009. So what happened? We may never know. **UPDATE**: Click HERE for possible explanation.
Again, an independently owned business run into the ground and others will suffer. To add insult to injury, ARe removed the delete button on the book maintenance page, so publishers (Self or Traditional) cannot remove their books from the server.

Who is next? Smashwords? Draft2Digital? A larger corporate publisher or distributor? Things supposedly aren't good at NOOK. It could happen anywhere--any time. Yes, this is a hypothetical question, I am not saying these places are in trouble.

The publishing industry is in flux, sales are down in digital, way down, Authors are being squeezed on all sides. Depressing, but not totally hopeless. I have a feeling when this all shakes out there will only be a couple of vendors left (Amazon for one, goes without saying) and probably the only digital pubs will be the ones the larger and/or corporate publishers have. Self publishing will still be an option, but in what context?

Looking to 2017 with hope and a smile is really difficult. But if writing is something you enjoy, if you are not depending on it to earn a living, why not keep going? Find your niche and gather satisfaction from what you do.

I will be continuing on as I do enjoy the writing and I don't need to earn a living at it. The one bright spot for me was getting a literary agent in Dec. I am not expecting big sales success, but am looking forward to learning more, deepening my writing. Maybe even submit something to the 'Big 5' in the future?

2016 sucked on many levels. Here's to a better 2017. Even a little better would be welcome.


  1. I couldn't agree more, Karyn: even a little better would be a lot. Best of luck to you this year with your writing and your new agent.

  2. Same to you Arlene! All the best for the new year!


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