Lissa

Warning: Classless Post Ahead

Kindle

My name is Lissa Matthews and I’m an Ellora’s Cave author.

Sounds like an Anon meeting of sorts, doesn’t it? Maybe it should be. It’s not a pleasant thing to be right now, an Ellora’s Cave author. Where once it was for some of us, for others of us, it no longer is.

slidedownonme_msrNo doubt you’ve heard about everything going on with Ellora’s Cave. How they aren’t paying on time. How they’ve laid off all the freelance artists and editors, and there’s only a handful of office staff (2 of those handle royalties for all 800+ authors). How there’s a lawsuit that’s been filed by them against Dear Author and it’s owner Jane Litte for defamation.  (Links below)

It’s a fucking mess, y’all. That’s the only way I know to put it. I’ve shared my opinions in a very abbreviated fashion, but I’ve received emails, and private messages and instant messages and text messages and direct messages from all walks of social media and well, it’s my blog so, I figure I’d address several things here.

This email is personal to me and full of my own thoughts and opinions and interpretations.

For one, the lawsuit pisses me off to the point that it’s comical. And not in a let’s laugh it up at Jane’s expense comical. It’s a horrible move on the part of Ellora’s Cave and I’m afraid it will push more authors back into the closet in regards to speaking up when they feel they have been wronged by a publisher. Not to mention the artists and editors who are involved as well. I am not a fan of the blog Dear Author. Haven’t been since before I was published and definitely not afterward when I received a big fat ‘she doesn’t know what she’s talking about’ review on one of my first books. But every person who posts on that blog or on any blog has a right to their own opinion and has a right to state it. Jane said nothing that hasn’t been written about in an Ellora’s Cave email or in Publisher’s Weekly or any number of other press outlets. That the emails were suppose to be remain private… Well, yeah, there is that. But when you find out that such drastic changes have been made or are being made and that people you work with are not being treated in a professional manner, yeah, some of that proprietary privacy goes out the window.

There are authors who have begged those who’ve spoken out publicly, whether on social media or on blogs, to please please PLEASE keep quiet, to please don’t make things worse, to please think about how it affects them and their book sales (especially those who have published exclusively with Ellora’s Cave). There are those who will support Ellora’s Cave no matter what happens in the end and that type of loyalty is either to be applauded or it’s to be given a shake of the head and a ‘Bless your heart’ sentiment.

But see, when has keeping quiet EVER done anyone any good who wanted change? I know speaking out will affect your sales and probably mine. Some of us have seen a dip and some of us have seen a huge rise. I know speaking out only pisses off the powers that be. I know it’s seen as a witch-hunt, as fear-mongering, as disloyal, as (fill in the blank with your own terms). But oh well… If it affects my sales to the point where I can get my rights back per the contract terms, fine. Give me my books back and let’s be done with it.

No one should ever be quieted or shushed back into the closet when they feel they have or their fellow man/woman/child has been wronged. People want to speak out against bullying. How is this type of thing any different? Fear of being black balled, fear of being sued because well now it’s a thing, fear of money being withheld or being called a liar and outed, fear of (again, fill in the blank with your own terms) may be legitimate for some, but it’s not going to do anyone any good in the long run and business will proceed as it is and as it has. I’m not okay with that.

But there are those who don’t like to muddy the water, who don’t like to make waves, who don’t want to look like they’ve got little to no class because they’re airing their shit all over, especially when it comes to money.

Dear Author and Jane Litte are not Ellora’s Cave’s biggest problem. Dear Author and Jane Litte haven’t driven the wedge between the authors and the publisher or the publisher and the reader or the publisher and the romance industry’s opinion of them. There is no one for Ellora’s Cave to really blame in all this but themselves.

troubleinthemaking200And honestly, y’all, I for one, am tired. I’m tired of wondering if and when there’s a check coming and I’ll address royalties in a second. I am tired of the stupid, unprofessional behavior and kool-aid drinkers going on about how awesome Ellora’s Cave is. They were once awesome to me, as well. I loved all 4 of my editors. I loved all but 2 of my covers. I was able to work with the contracts department on some clauses and I have in times past been able to email the royalties department with questions and received polite, direct answers.

That is no longer the case and hasn’t been for a little over a year.

I have one book filtered at Amazon and I don’t even have a year’s worth of sales numbers on it, but I can tell you it definitely meets the ‘sells less than 100 copies in a calendar year’… No one even knows the book exists unless I tell them. And it’s filtered because I didn’t specify No Nudity for the cover. Okay, I took blame for that, but how was I supposed to know I had to tell Ellora’s Cave what their distributors would and wouldn’t allow on covers in order for them to be found by readers and not stashed so deep into the abyss? I had never had to specify that before and believe you me, I learned that lesson. Because the next and final book that I submitted specified on the cover art form NO NUDITY!

I have two other books at Ellora’s Cave that I could possibly get the rights back to, but the ones I really want, no, they still sell the requisite 100 copy minimum and more. And this pisses me off too. Why? Because I’m not seeing the profit from them. Because I love those books and would like to introduce new, updated versions of them to readers. Because a couple of those characters are beloved even after 5 years and I am still asked about them, still emailed about them, still having my name recognized because someone knows who Vinter is, who Jaz is…

Now, I say I am not seeing the profit from them. Let me clarify, lest I be called out for being a ‘liar’. I have been paid in the last 6 months. The last check I deposited was on August 18th and it was the check dated the end of July for sales received in my name for the month of April.

simpleneed_msrI’ll let you do the math on that for a minute. I’ll wait…

There are authors who say they have not been paid for 5+ months. There are artists who’ve said publicly on social media that they were let go from Ellora’s Cave and haven’t been paid for months either while the artwork they did is still being put on books, still being released to the reading world and still being promoted. I’ve also been told this in private from artists who’ve messaged me. That is sad, y’all. Really sad.

We have been told repeatedly that per our contracts, payments are paid quarterly (the contract I have states that Ellora’s Cave will pay us, at a schedule determined by them, but no less frequently than every 3 months). But again, in business communications we have been repeatedly told that per our contracts they pay quarterly though strive to pay monthly. (The contract doesn’t exactly specify (our bad for signing shit contracts) quarterly, but there are those emails and business docs that do say quarterly), so for this purpose, we’ll go with that (though no less frequently than 3 months, which I guess means they will at least pay me something within 3 months but it doesn’t say what, for when, or how much).

The wording is important which is why I keep repeating it. ;-)

Are you confused?

In every business I’ve ever been in or heard of, quarterly means you are paid every 3 months (within 45-60 days or so) for the previous quarter, not every 3 months for 1 month out of the last 3 to 5.

Keep in mind, again, we have also been told that Ellora’s Cave pays us early, meaning they strive to pay us every month. So let’s explore that…

When checks were not received in December or in January and questions were raised about this (we’re allowed to email the royalties department after the 14th of the month to state we haven’t received a check and yes, it’s a physical check for most of us, a select few receive direct deposits). But sometime after the 14th of January we were informed that due to the ever changing publishing climate and how difficult it was for the accounting department to keep up with everything, a new software program had been installed and was running with the old software and that payments were being checked and re-checked and checked yet again for any issues and that this was being done by hand and that checks would be mailed out bit by bit (paraphrasing). Some people started receiving checks and 1099 tax statements. Some of us didn’t receive them until the first week of February.

My accountant requested that I ask for a revised 1099 because the check I received in February was dated at the end of December. (So either they printed the check, unsure if the amount was correct and held on to it so they could check and double and triple check it and oh by the way keep that money for a bit longer, OR, they back dated the check when they went to actually send it out. I don’t know the answer to that one. I do know we’ve been told that they do not send out checks in the same order every month.) I did get my newly revised 1099 but was told that the original had that December date on it because it was for royalties received in October and that I needed to understand that I’d likely end up claiming 13 checks for 2014 instead of the normal 12. My accountant and I were good with that.

Needless to say, I don’t think I’ll get 13 checks. I think I’ve received 7 so far and it’s nearing the 1st of October.

So, if we go by what we’ve been told, then our checks should be 2 months behind the way they’ve always been (until the last year when things have been kind of whack-a-do). And they’ve always said that Amazon is 3 months behind. Well, it’s the end of September and the check that will be dated the end of August will be for royalties received in May. That’s about 2 months beyond the normal 2 months behind. (Updated to add that the new Royalties FAQ for the company states that they now pay 3 months after the end of the statement month… January is paid at the end of April, February at the end of May, etc…) And that new release I had from Ellora’s Cave this year back in February, I still haven’t seen sales from Amazon on it. Not quite sure when I will, because the scheduling is so fucked up.

Not sure why it takes Ellora’s Cave so long to calculate royalties, why it takes 3 months to figure it out. If another publisher, roughly the same size at EC can figure out how to pay their authors monthly, without delays, even when putting in new accounting systems, even with employee turn around and changes in the business climate, keeping everyone up to date… Why can’t Ellora’s Cave? Why can’t they figure it out after so many years? Why can’t they treat us like we’re adults rather than condescend to us and hope we’re stupid enough to buy it?

But…

In essence, yes, I have been paid, as recently as August 18th for royalties received in April on my behalf. But I have not been paid for royalties received in May, June, or July. And as it’s about that time for September checks to be cut and distributed for royalties received in June… yeah, I’m not holding my breath.

When authors say they haven’t been paid monies received by Ellora’s Cave, I’m sure there are those who are telling the truth. None have any reason to lie about not being paid. We all look for that check, need it, want it. And I’m going to just about guarantee that there’s not several hundred dollars sitting in an account earmarked for Lissa Matthews that’s come in since May. If there is, why have I not seen any of it? (Now I know thanks to the new Royalty FAQ page that I didn’t know was updated until today. Other authors I talked to didn’t know it either.) This is something my accountant wants to know as well.

Some of us depend on royalties from publishers. Some of us are the sole providers and some of us simply provide supplemental income to our households. But regardless of how we spend our royalties, when we don’t receive them for 45 or 60 days or more, that fucks with a person’s life and livelihood (especially when you’re used to checks arriving monthly). Several of us have had bills that are late, some have received eviction notices, had utilities cut off, etc… For me, I use mine for bills, for groceries, for clothes for my son, for pets to the vet, for coffee, for conferences, to buy promo.

I haven’t been able to do any of that since the last check I received.

Ellora’s Cave has also said that their Amazon sales are down by as much as 75% over the last few months. Their prices are still high, the covers have not been up to par, and the editing is not all that anymore either. They have also encouraged us to send our readers to other vendors and said they were going to be doing their own assessment of the situation but that they hadn’t spoken to Amazon about it yet. Well, why the hell not?

Why did I go into all this? Because it’s fucking wrong. The lawsuit is wrong. The royalties being behind is wrong (which from what came out recently, it’s because again, of the same software issue they have been experiencing for 10+ months). The layoffs and non-payment to artists is wrong. We are left with nothing but speculation. Authors talk. Industry people talk. And when you respond only by automated response to questions because you’re overwhelmed, well, that’s not good business.

I can’t tell readers what to do. I can’t tell you to read or not read Ellora’s Cave books. I can’t tell you not to buy my books from them. What I can tell you is I won’t be reading them or writing any more of them. I loved Ellora’s Cave once. I loved being published by them once. Not anymore. I will be supporting those authors in other ways and buying their non-Ellora’s Cave books. I will also be supporting those artists who’ve been laid off by giving them my self-publishing business when I need graphics or book covers.

Again, this is all my opinion, stuff I’ve been told, stuff I’ve read in emails, my own interpretations, my own experiences, and paraphrased to the best of my ability. You are free to have your own opinions as well and to interpret as you see fit.

~lissa

Ellora’s Cave Sues Dear Author

Dear Author: The Curious Case of Ellora’s Cave

LA Times

http://www.cpclerk.co.summit.oh.us/PublicSite/CaseDetail.aspx?CaseNo=CV-2014-09-4421&Suffix=&Type

Selena Illyria – Day Two

Kindle

I told y’all I’d be sharing more of Selena’s books on my blog today… She writes all sorts of paranormal. Dragons, vampires, shifters. You really should check her out if you haven’t already. And you should follow her on Facebook. She’s fun and light and sweet as pie. You’ll love her.

Now, you may be asking why I’m doing this. Because she deserves it. She’s been there for me in good and bad, supportive and encouraging. Even of my coffee habit. She’s a good person, a good friend, and a wonderful author.

So, let’s highlight a couple of her books…

si_eb_stackingthedeck

 

Bounty Hunter and Dragon Dean returns home hoping to spend some time with his office manager and new mate Carrie. What he gets is confusion. He’s confronted with communication and connection issues. He feels attacked and backed into a corner with no direction to go in. To find a place to start he turns to Sundae’s Adult Easter Baskets hoping that this will give him a handhold to grip as he tries to break through the walls both of them have erected due to their pasts.

Carrie has missed her mate but can’t take the lack of communication she feels when he’s on the job. For the longest time she’s been alone. Now that she has a mate she wants to feel that connection to another person. She doesn’t know why Dean holds himself back from her, both on the road and while at home. She needs him to be present and here, to open up to her. But if she pushes too hard she could lose him forever. Can Sundae’s keep it’s sexily ever after guarantee?

 

 

 

se_thawingava

 

Hockey player Brice Douglas has never gotten over the Christmas he spent with Ava Johnson back in college. Now, years later, he’s in trouble with his team, the Witch Fields Prowlers. Desperate to keep their rabble-rousing player’s head in the game, they hire a babysitter to keep his ass out of a sling and home in his bed at night: Ava. He’s determined to make up for lost time, while convincing her he’s not the man the team made him out to be, using every dirty, sexy trick he can.

Ava just got out a relationship with a cheating fiancé. She needs time to rebuild her life and babysitting her old college crush maybe the answer to her prayers–so long as sex isn’t involved. Yet, with his sexy nightly self-pleasuring sessions and dirty talk her resistance quickly starts wearing thin. With every day that passes, she’s growing more comfortable with him and his desire for her.

Will she be putting Brice on ice, or will he end up thawing Ava?

 

 

 

Drogan

 

He commands her body…but can he win her heart?

Who knew one little disc could cause so much trouble? Certainly not Rena, until the disc in question—the one in which she lives out every sexual fantasy she’s ever had, including a few inspired by her crush, Captain Drogan Carter—falls into the wrong hands. Drogan’s. Rena is desperate to get it back—she can’t let him know all her darkest, dirtiest secrets…

When Drogan finds the disc and watches the very private contents, his first feeling is guilt. But that guilt soon turns to a raw, sexual need to have the wanton, carefree Rena in his bed. He knows she’ll never come to him willingly, but once he gets her, he’ll have plenty of time to win her over, and to prove to her that reality can be so much better than fantasy. But first he needs a plan, a way to get her right where he wants her: at his command.

 

 

You can find all these titles on Selena’s website and her Amazon store, along with All Romance eBooks… And you can click HERE to find her on Facebook. Give her a try, won’t you? You won’t regret it. I promise.

~lissa

 

 

 

 

 


powered by MailChimp!