Thursday, February 26, 2009

Let The Seller Beware

The following letter now appears on my website:

Dear Readers,

First, I want to thank everyone who has bought, begged, borrowed, (dare I say stolen?), or otherwise read Covenant -- especially anyone who has enjoyed the story so far and is looking forward to more of the saga.

I want you all to know that more's comin', though not in the same manner as originally planned.

Stay tuned for a paradigm shift on these Web pages. In addition to being an author and a communications freelancer, I am learning my way around the reality of being a caregiver. That and other circumstances may change how I channel my stories out, but I still intend to give them voice. My characters hold me accountable for that.

I am also accountable to you. You have invested your time, energy, interest, and emotions in the story, just as I have. I finished drafting the Deviations series in 2008. That means several more volumes await release, and I will do everything in my power to get them out in the open, one step in the process at a time. I thank you all for your patience, now and to come.

I am especially thankful to have met some of you at conventions and elsewhere, and to those of you who have given me feedback directly. My travels will likely be curtailed, and I may be unable to do the sweet convention-hopping I enjoyed in 2008, but I will find a way to keep in touch. Keep on keepin' on out there, and I'll do the same. -- Elissa

To learn a bit about the publications changes, I recommend reading two discussion threads at the Absolute Write Water Cooler forums over at Preditors and Editors. These threads were down for a while as P&E re-tooled, but they are now back up. I also now have .pdf files of the threads in my records.

The discussion thread on Koboca Publishing (the first publisher I signed a contract with, with Bo Savino as COO) is at

Before I signed my contract with Koboca in November 2006, I did a Web search on the name. This thread provided the only "iffy" information, but after the initial posts I saw only praise for the company. And therein lies a lesson: Keep checking back after signing a contract. Note the change that occurs between B.J. Bourg's praise in September 2006 and Kartim's post in February 2007. The plot thickens on the second page.

In the summer of 2007 I followed Bo from Koboca Publishing to Aisling Press, the indie publishing arm of Oculus Media. Oculus also includes a self-publishing arm, called Brann, which served as the subject for this thread:

Dkvet's happy post begins that discussion. His tone changes considerably by the time you get to June 2008.

As for me, I have this exhibit to offer:

Large view

Above is the only royalty statement I received from Oculus Media/Aisling Press for Covenant. Although the statement itself is undated, it is shown as an attachment in Bo Savino's Feb. 21, 2008, e-mail to me. I've drawn a box around her note, "[Y]ou have already passed these sales numbers for this upcoming quarter."

I have also drawn a box around that portion of my royalty statement in which my 74 author-purchased copies in that three-month period are shown as "N/A." That designation conflicts with Section 29: Author Purchased Copies on my contract, and the phrase I have boxed: "AUTHOR will receive royalties on copies that AUTHOR has purchased..."

Another lesson: Check your royalty statement against your contract. What with my first published book out, I was busy with events while continuing my freelance work and also attending to various issues related to my current caregiver role.

As of this date I have received no royalties whatsoever. I have, however, received a signed return receipt for my certified letter to Bo, and a copy of that letter also resides in my attorney's office.

To be fair, I had loads of fun doing events with Aisling and with Bo. That much is evident in my blog reports. I've met fellow authors and made new friends, and some of those associations continue. With respect to the information presented above, I believe that information speaks for itself. Authors and convention organizers, take note.

Readers, I haven't forgotten you. As my letter to you indicates, there is more of the Deviations saga to come. During the legally required waiting period I plan to educate myself on various ways to get the rest of that story out, and I have a particular strategy in mind. Thank you for the patience you have already shown me, thank you for believing in and supporting the story, and please stay tuned.

The Yiddish term beshert -- "meant to be" -- also applies. Life circumstances make this "hold time" a good thing for me. I am needed at home right now, and I have much retooling to do on several fronts. These events change my mindset and my outlook in positive ways.

Unpleasantness notwithstanding, it's all good.
[end of entry]


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent information for all writers. I hope all goes well with getting your rights back to all your books. It's publishers like that who give legmitate small POD publishers an undeserved reputation.c

3:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Writers need to tell their stories -- all of them. Your post helps those of us who are just finishing their books and wondering what awaits. Thank you for being so clear about what happened. Did you have an agent? That may give you some protection as well. Meanwhile, persevere!

4:29 AM  

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