Pub Rants

A Very Nice Literary Agent Indulges in Polite Rants About Queries, Writers, and the Publishing Industry

Should Dorchester Remain on Probation? Yes.

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What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? FREE by Graffiti6

Last week, the Vice President of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America reached out to SFWA members about Dorchester Publishing.

Dorchester’s probationary period is scheduled to end on January 31, 2012 and SFWA would like to evaluate their progress in meeting the benchmarks SFWA set for them.

By their request, members could contact them with any information that the Board should consider.

Well, let me tell you, I was happy to oblige. I wrote a letter clearly outlining my stance that that Dorchester should remain on probation or be delisted altogether based on not making any progress whatsoever on benchmark 1: That it fulfills its contractual and financial obligations to the authors it has already published, including full and accurate accounting of royalties per contract, with scheduled payment of any royalties outstanding.

Despite repeated requests for updated accountings and the thousands of dollars still owed in back royalties to NLA authors who used to be with Dorchester, we’ve received excuses, delays, and no good faith efforts to resolve their obligations.

And I have no problem making my sentiment on the situation public.


14 Responses

  1. M. Dunham said:

    I can’t imagine how hard and frustrating that must be for you and your clients. Knowing you can put in so much hard work, only to not get paid is the worst.

    I didn’t know that SFWA puts publishers on probation. I’ve learned something valuable today besides avoiding Dorchster.

  2. Marian Crane said:

    I’ve known to avoid them for a couple of years now, but it’s refreshing to see an agent be so open about the reasons why Dorchester should be delisted from SFWA.

    Gee, another reason why I’m looking at agency representation before I submit work directly to e-publishers. I can’t be on top of every controversy, but a great agency will know far more.

    Thanks for voicing your concerns, Kristin.

  3. Angela Brown said:

    The path to publishness isn’t exactly covered with rose petals and scented with potpourri. There’s work involved…a lot of it. It’s sad that good faith was put into this company and they are refusing to reciprocate good business manners and proper recompense as they should.

  4. Linda C. said:

    I interned at Dorchester before moving over to Random House children’s, so whenever I hear about all this craziness…Wow. I agree with your stance, Kristin. If tDorchester is still not fulfilling their obligations, they should remain on probation.

  5. Anonymous said:

    I’m curious how many lawsuits are pending against them, or other legal means. If I were a roofer who never got paid for a job by the homeowner, I would at a minimum file a lien against their home and possibly consider small claims court.

    Are the Dorchester authors just being quiet about what they are doing, or is everyone settling for writing angry letters?

  6. Keith said:

    M. and Trisha,

    SFWA has put at least one publisher on probation before, Night Shade Books. They quickly got their act together, and the probation was dropped. Night Shade is, in my opinion, now a top rate outfit publishing some of the best fantasy around and was number 2 on my list of publishers to read in 2012. Too bad Dorchester is not responding in a like manner.

  7. Sean Roney said:

    This sad tale is just another piece of evidence why authors in the modern age need to abandon publishers for being the tyrant dinosaurs they are.

  8. writer said:

    Just found out about Heather ( my editor for over a year)leaving, via the web. I’m one of the Dorchester Media writers (True Story and True Confessions) who is partially unpaid. I’ve repeatedly attempted to find out if anyone is taking Dorchester Publishing and/or Media to court. The few writers I’ve chatted with online don’t seem to have the desire. Writers getting shafted is one thing. But what is getting me to put the screws to Dorchester is the posts on True Story’s Facebook page from dozens of confused subscribers who have been defrauded. Yes, these folks have read my stories, even though they don’t know it, and I felt an obligation to them that Dorchester doesn’t feel–and took to answering posts on Facebook that Dorchester should be responding to. This mag has been around since 1919–loyal readers. I’m contacting the NY state attorney general. I am in process of contacting national media–since this story is mostly on writer or agent websites or trade publication websites. So even though I am a low-totem pole writer, that’s what I am up to. True Story and True Confession are still soliciting manuscripts on the True Writers loop. I consider that fraud as they suck more eager, new writers in to write stories they may or may not get paid for. I truly could write a book about the massive mess that is Dorchester behavior. Dorchester releasing press releases with writing errors and on an on… I am hoping that a national media outlet that has the investigtive chops will dig into this. Kudos Kristen for being public about this!

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