Thursday, September 16, 2010

Publishers Behaving Badly....

Awhile back, I blogged about authors behaving badly, and how one should conduct themselves in a professional manner. It's recently come to my attention some publishers need to do the same. (Thank you Melanie for your email and phone call!)

-Answer your email. I realize you may receive a ton of mail per day, but if your newly-contracted author has a valid question, at least forward it to someone who can answer in a timely fashion? And remember; I've most likely 'friended' or 'liked' you on FB, so remember I KNOW you're online and my email has been unanswered for weeks.

-Be honest. If the company is making money, authors should too. Please send checks/prizes won/royalties paid on time. Authors like to know our books are selling, even if what we've sold doesn't even meet the quarterly minimum. Please allow us access to our reports?

-Don't play favorites. Yes, I'm sure every publishing house has their golden child, the author who belongs to the release-of-the-month club and earns big bucks for the company. Remember they didn't start out that way; they worked their way into the Best Sellers like us newbies will...eventually.

-And let authors talk to each other. How can we get to know each other if you don't encourage interaction? You'll get better cross-promotion if we become friendly and can toot each other's horns once in a while. Trust me; my own blogmates do for their own publishing houses.

-Learn to spell, or at least proofread your posts. If you own your own publishing company, don't let me see typos every time you post. I can understand dyslexic fingers; I have them myself at times. But every single post?

-Follow simple instructions. If you're scheduling a chat, tell your authors they have to join the group. Don't just say 'sign me up'. The moderators cannot do it for you. And you expect authors to follow your submission guidelines? There's an idea; 'Here's my MS....publish it for me?' Doesn't. Exactly. Work. That. Way. At times I feel as if you don't really understand how your business works; sort of like a child operating a lemonade stand who wants the customers to provide their own cups or product.

-And if you request an interview on this blog, I send out the questions a month in advance. Please send me back the correct interview and respond to my 'gentle reminders'? I'm easy to work with; just ask anyone who's been showcased the past eight months. Ask my blogmates; I'm a loyal person. If I like your books, I'll shout it from the rooftop. But if I don't, well, you won't hear it here. I'm polite that way.

But act unprofessional and believe me; I'll take my business elsewhere.

36 comments:

Miranda Stowe said...

You tell 'em! :)

I can't believe some publishers can get away with acting like that and NOT go out of business, like, immediately. It makes me feel leery about who I should submit my story to.

Amber Skyze said...

I really like this post. I write for 4 publishers and the way they each deal with issues you've listed here are VASTLY different.
It amazes me.

robertaandres@yahoo.com.ar said...

Good post, as a published author. I have found that not all epublishers are alike. I have self published two books and I regret doing so. I'm happy with my new epublisher and have no complaints.
It is the authors responsibility to promote, and the author's responsibility to cooperate with the publisher. First and foremost this author should have approached the publisher first and try to settle the issues with them not post her grievances on line. It's unprofessional and looks bad on the author.

Anonymous said...

I disagree with Roberta here.The Publisher is not Professional and should not be changing any agreements or contracts period to suit only them and thier company. Also many can not know they are being cheated till too late.If an agreement is made between author and Publisher then they should follow through.Also I have run into many of these people like this who throw New Author's out there and then throw them to the curb with no Royalties and then continue under other Companies and assumed E-Zines and so on so they still make money off the poor authors works.Author beware I say to all.

Anonymous said...

May we ask who this Publisher so we may beware all over?

robertaandres@yahoo.com.ar said...

Dear Anonymous, you have misunderstood me. What you state is wrong, I'm saying that if you have a grievances with your publisher then its between you and your publisher and not anyone else. Frankly I don't care who you are having issues with. I am happy with the publishing company that I am contracted with XoXo Publishing.
Roberta

Rela said...

Dear Anonymous, I agree with Roberta this is between you and your publisher and not a forum or group.
Rela

Anonymous said...

In my honest opinion, posting grievances online, without first speaking with the company you are having issues with and trying to solve it on your own, does not reflect badly on the company, it would and should reflect badly with the author in question, and those publishing companies should beware of YOU.
If anyone knows anything about etiquette, and procedures, then YOU yourself should know that what your doing would put you in breach (depending on the company policies).

Andrew K said...

Molly aren’t you an author with XoXo Publishing? I distinctively recall your name in a chat or Yahoo group NovelSisterHood or some place like it. Isn’t this a conflict of interest?

Hales said...

This is non of my concern and I have no thoughts other than things needed handled privately with the specific parties involved.

I agree it's a good topic but I don't agree with flaming of any sort. Anon no Molly isn't a mod of NS she's a guest blogger and poster nothing on NS is a conflict of interest. Parties are able to post what they will as long as it's respectful and non harassing. Sandy,Lindsay and I don't condone public spectacles.

Anonymous said...

Well someone is stirring up pots and it looks like black kettles for many authors everywhere.
I must say someone somewhere has a guilty conscience as Xo Xo Publishing was not mentioned except comming from the Author;s themselves period.If the Publisher owes Rpyalties or whatever I suggestthey need to get on the horn and pay this person real quick if not to be done with them but to have peace of mind all the way around.

Anonymous said...

"I must say someone somewhere has a guilty conscience as Xo Xo Publishing was not mentioned except comming from the Author;s themselves period."

Hmm...if you read correctly the first time, you would actually see an author with that company xoxo publishing complimenting them, and stating they were happy with them, so not sure who has a guilty conscience except maybe you "ANON"..enough said.
The people who posted here stated that Public forms of company bashing was NOT the place to bring grievances, but rather bring it up to the company themselves, and secondly, it was SOMEONE ELSE who asked what company it was, maybe they are the one bashing a certain company and has the guilty conscience. Anyone who bashes a company without knowing the company or anyone in it, is not better then an author posting issues with one in an online manner.
Seems VERY CHILDISH to me. Also sounds like someone is trying to stir the pot in their direction a little. Everyone BEWARE of such tactics by people like this, especially if you own a publishing company, people like this cause way too many headaches and serious problems. And learning what is/or is not conflict of interest may be in your best interest before accusing someone of it.
Get over yourselves and get back to the initial point.

Anonymous said...

Andrew, it is not exactly a conflict of interest, it would be considered "Breach" depending on that companies policies about third party interaction. Any author should read those rules very carefully, and should they choose to consider public humiliation when not happy with something/someone, I hope that ALL companies who publish to look at what that particular author can do, good and bad. A liability is not good for a company, or that authors sales.

robertaandres@yahoo.com.ar said...

I agree with the last Anonymous. I'm not ashamed to mention the publishing company that I'm contracted with or my real name. This is who I am and I'm happy with XoXo Publishing. You seem to be a novice author with some issues. Roberta

Molly Daniels said...

Miranda, Amber, and Roberta: Thank you:) You'd think a publishing company would be professional.

Molly Daniels said...

Anon #1: Authors should research publishers in order to choose wisely, but I suppose there are some 'bad apples' out there.

Molly Daniels said...

Anon #2: I prefer not to reveal the publisher in question; I was made aware of less-than-professional behavior and just wanted to say Authors Beware. If you want to know privately, contact me directly.

storimom2@aol.com

Molly Daniels said...

Roberta and Rela: The person who brought this to my attention HAS been in contact with the publisher privately. That is why I make no mention of the company.

Molly Daniels said...

Anon #3: I didn't say I personally was having issues; I simply made a general statement of what the person told me.

How is this a breach? I've mentioned no names, and have not been online since I posted this early this morning.

Molly Daniels said...

Andrew: Yes, my alter-ego, Kenzie Michaels is contacted with XOXO. How does my making a general statement put me in a conflict of interests?

Molly Daniels said...

Hales: I'm not aware I've done any flaming. I posted this to NO groups, social networks, or anything. I'm amazed at the comments received so far. And I'll email you privately when I'm finished responding to comments. I'm not ignoring you; I simply worked late and found this when I arrived home.

Molly Daniels said...

Anon #4: You're right; I named no names. However, please keep your comments cordial.

J. Travis Grundon said...

Hell Yeah, Molly!!!

I don't think I could have said it better myself. In this day and age most authors don't even need a traditional publisher. I have been through 4 horrid publishers and worked for another.

A contract goes 2 ways. If an author is expected to deliver the books/books, the publisher's job is to pay this author, or at least return emails explaining why this is not possible.

PUBLISHERS:Make time for your authors and pay them what you can...they are the ones making it for you!!!

((I would love to repost this on my site, as a warning to all authors.))

Anonymous said...

RIGHT ON MR.J. Travis Grundon,
If the Author has done right the Publisher should do right as well.
I do believe Molly will let you Post it wherever you want.

Molly Daniels said...

LOL...Travis, do you REALLY need my permission? It's granted:)

And yes; while this blog is not directed at any one publisher, it could be true for the now-defunct-Triskilian, Publish America, or even Triad. There are bad publishers out there; it is up to authors to do their homework and research the publisher before they sign. And sometimes they are still caught unaware; some publishers put out a steller marketing campaign and look good on paper. But eventually lies have a way of coming out sooner or later.

BTW boss, thanks for letting me have a day off to do my laundry! Just kidding...or am I? SNORT!

Molly Daniels said...

PS: He doesn't want to see me wearing my Colts' gear, hahahahah!

J. Travis Grundon said...

I never actually said that. I just said I wasn't a fan and I was not all for casual Friday. You will be ok, I think you will be off most Fridays.

Molly Daniels said...

I'll still come in and bug ya, heh heh heh:)

B.C. Brown said...

Heya Molly.

Just had a chance to catch up on your blog today, and I agree with this article immensely.

Of course, when I read it the first time, I understood that you were not referring necessarily to yourself having problems with a publisher/publishers. I saw that you were explaining issues that possibly you had experienced some such issues in the past/present BUT were moreover going through problems other authors you know had mentioned to you.

I agree with all the points you mentioned here. Publishing houses and authors have a symbiotic relationship; they each provide the other with benefits. Unfortunately, people are at the core of all relationships, whether professional or personal, and people are flawed by their own personalities. If even one unprofessional personality is involved with an organization on large, it can, seemingly, sour the entire organization.

What authors (or publishers if the author is the unprofessional individual) have to do is to determine the length of time they are willing to put up with said behavior. How long would you be willing to put up with, say, your banker not telling you how much money is in your account, your baker who can never seem to have their donuts ready before lunch time, or your dry cleaner whose dry cleaning service is always 'out for lunch'? Someone must put a foot down or draw the line in the sand, as the old say goes.

So I commend you for following up your previous article on 'Authors Behaving Badly' with one from the other end of the spectrum. I also commend you on FIRST posting on how we, as authors, have as many unprofessional qualities (if not more) than anyone else does. But, to be fair, it was inevitable that an article be posted about the other end of the scale - the publishers who behave badly.

Also, would like permission as well to re-post on my blog along with the 'Authors Behaving Badly' article?

B.C. Brown
www.bcbrownbooks.blogspot.com
www.bcbrown.webs.com

B.C. Brown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Molly Daniels said...

Yes sweetie:) Repost whenever you like and feel free to get the Authors Behaving Badly post too:)

Anonymous said...

I am not an author or writer but I do believe that most authors and publishers would get more feedback and more sales if the authors got to know one another as friends and promoted each other all over out there.A publisher should not have so much control over people just being people now days.My friend tells me that sales only boosted when she connected with other authors and worked together.

Molly Daniels said...

Exactly; I'm more apt to promote friends, especially when I fall in love with their back list and look forward to their new releases:)

Margay said...

Wow, this is a lot of food for thought - not just the post itself, but the comments, as well. Personally, I have come across similar issues myself with a publisher, so I definitely fall on the side of being cautious when seeking publication and reading posts such as this to be better informed when making a decision.

And while I do agree that authors should try to work out their issues with the publisher through private means, how can they do that when the publisher won't respond to their messages? Who is behaving professionally then? I did not take this post as being a flame against the publisher at all; I saw it as a writer beware post and I think we shouldn't flame the author of this post for writing it to protect other authors out there. In fact, Victoria Strauss writes a column called Writers Beware in which she breaks down all the bad doings of publishers out there so we can be more aware of them. Does that make her a flamer? And what about Editors and Predators? They do the same thing? Are they flamers?

Don't forget, if the publisher in question had just talked to its author(s), this post never would've been written. Don't shoot the messenger.

Thanks, Molly, for keeping all authors and aspiring authors informed.

Margay

Rick said...

Hello, Molly. How about when publishers like David Boyer a.k.a. David Byron/ Doc Byron/ Iron Dave/ Leo Wolfe actually steal other writer's and publish and sell them as their own. I just posted about this on blog http://thewriterandthewhitecat.blogspot.com as soon as I found that this guy stole my copyrighted story! And other writers are claiming he's done the same. I reported him to the National Writers Union, the HWA, Ralan.com and other places. So how's that for bad publisher behavior?

Molly Daniels said...

Heya Rick:) Sorry; I didn't see this until now. Yeah, the David Boyer thing leaves a sour taste in everyone's mouth. Did you see that Writer Beware is blogging about him now, and warning everyone? We did NOT have him for the signing.