ADVENTURES OF AN E-BOOK BOOKIE, 8
A local couple (Santa Rosa, CA) returned home from celebrating their 4th wedding anniversary to find an eviction notice pasted to the front door of the house they were renting. Turns out the landlord—who had sold the house the month before—collected an additional month’s rent because, “It was the only way I could afford to fix the house up to sell.”
Thief and liar; but I already used the word “landlord” so I’m redundant. (If I pissed off any landlords I apologize. I know the only reason anyone purchases a rental property is to magnanimously provide affordable housing for people who can’t scrape up a down payment.... but I digress.) The article about this ripoff concluded that renters should be as careful researching landlords as landlords are with renters.
Good advice that also applies to writers and publishers.
In 2009 I had a collection of short stories “What Happens When the World Doesn’t End?” published with Unlimited Publishing. The sales were poor—in truth I didn’t do anything to promote the book—and Unlimited Publishing quickly killed the project. They owed me some money (not much, but enough for a lunch out with my wife Penny) and I contacted them and they told me to contact Lulu Publishing. UP, it turns out, is more of a publisher in name than in fact. They don’t possess actual publishing capability; they subcontract through Print On Demand outlets like Lulu. (I think this, technically, makes them a book packager but what the hell.) So UP kicked me to Lulu who says they can’t pay me because: “Unfortunately because the book was not published with us on Lulu.com, we are unable to do anything with your previous royalties. All of the royalties that we pay must be associated with Lulu.com. I am sorry but I am unable to accommodate your request.” (from an email dated 8/1/11)
Sounds like d-d-double t-t-talk, but whatever. Business is business.
The funny part is I wasn’t surprised.
I sent “What Happens When the World Doesn’t End?” to UP as a test. I had heard about this new company through my writers club (www.redwoodwriters.org) and I was looking for a publisher for my murder mystery “Tantric Zoo”. I wanted TZ published but I didn’t want to throw the rights away to a fledgling/fly-by-night publisher. So I cobbled together a collection of short stories and sent them to UP. They accepted and published them. Did nothing to promote them (no surprise, I’m an unknown author) killed the book after one year and didn’t pay me my royalties. Of course I would have preferred my short story collection to sell, but it didn’t. That’s a fact, and I got screwed out of a few bucks by a smarmy little wanna-be “publisher”.
But I feel I won this confrontation because I tested UP with my short story collection and did NOT send them “Tantric Zoo”. (TZ has subsequently been published by Bubba Caxton Books and is available as a Kindle www.amazon.com/dp/B005EC6RAQ and various other e-book platforms at Smashwords. www.smashwords.com/profile/view/robloughranbooks )
Caveat Scriptor! Writer Beware!
If writers get screwed it’s the writers fault. There are oodles of unscrupulous agents and editing services and subsidy-publishers and vanity presses and self-publishing services that exist solely to prey on you because they know how hard you worked to write your book. They know time and blood; lifeforce and love went into the book’s creation and above all you want to see it in print.
Don’t let these unscrupulous knuckleheads, crumbs, and bastards take advantage of you.
Do your homework.
This is good advice, I’m certain Penny will remind me of that when she pays for our lunch out this week.
JOKE OF THE DAY
What’s brown and black and looks great on a lawyer?
Rob Loughran lives in Windsor, CA. His collection of short stories has been edited (some stories dropped ; new ones added; others rewritten) and renamed “The Bartender” . Rob self-published it on Lulu.com so that he’s in the loop to receive royalties! Buy a copy ($9.26) or download a free PDF copy at: www.lulu.com/product/paperback/the-bartender/14326325