Pub Rants

Taking It Public—An Update

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STATUS: I’m working at home again tonight. Ah, the glamorous life….

What’s playing on the iPod right now? THE SOUND OF SUNSHINE by Michael Franti and Spearhead

Jana’s announcement from yesterday has produced a couple of positive results:

1. Kobo immediately removed Jana’s titles from their site and contacted Jana with the news. They also are willing to set up an agreement with her so she can directly sell her titles through their venue.

2. Dorchester informed me that they have submitted the requests to have the titles removed from the various ebook sites. Currently though, they are still available on some sites such as Amazon and BN.

3. RWA (Romance Writers of America) and SFWA (Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America both sent out emails to members regarding this issue and asked that members contact them if they are facing similar from Dorchester. Both organizations are looking into it.

4. Many valuable discussions have unfolded on blogs and twitter regarding it.

In general, this avenue is not what would have been preferred, and I do think it could have been avoided altogether but one can’t deny the results.


23 Responses

  1. Weaving a Tale or Two said:

    When all else fails, take it public. You gave them plenty of chances. The days of them wielding all the power are gone.

    lol This should be a lesson not to mess with a writer and her agent.

  2. Suzan Harden said:

    It may have been messy, but it got a response out of Dorchester finally.

    I hope you’ll let us know when Jana’s legit downloads go live on Kobo.

  3. Tamaryn Tobian said:

    Will Jana be able to recoup losses? For example, can Kobo go back and see how many books were sold past the date when she regained rights and pay her what would have gone to Dorchester?

    I would think this could be done.

    I am glad to hear that they’re willing to work out a new deal with Jana directly.

    Definitely not the preferred method of solving this problem, but a very helpful eye opener for the rest of us who have yet to be published.

    Thank you for sharing.

  4. Sian said:

    Firstly, I’m glad that your authors got their rights back. But this is ridiculous. What is even more ridiculous is that they (Dorchester)allowed this to continue for so long.

    Congratulations, and I hope this response fulfils the entirety of what can reasonably be expected from a publisher.

  5. Anonymous said:

    Someone should contact the Horror Writers Association so their members can be alerted to the Dorchester illegal ebooks issue too.

    Sadly this doesn’t surprise me. I remember the furor when Australian GENIE members first identified that Leisure books were being illegally dumped here, and the authors weren’t receiving any revenue…

    Melinda in Australia

  6. Marion Gropen said:


    When you are ready to go after them for what they owe your authors, I recommend that you call in Gail Gross of Royalty Review. You probably already know about her (she’s almost the only accountant whose specialty is royalty audits), but I thought I’d point her out, just in case.

  7. Lola Sharp said:

    You know, Amazon and B&N really torques me.

    They should have had them pulled immediately. (they def do have that ability, as we all know)

    Karma is a fickle bitch…

  8. Anonymous said:

    If the concept rings the same with publishers as it does with production companies in Hollywood…meaning they all ultimately stick together. I’m curious about whether or not the author is concerned about her future. I’m not saying what happened with Dorchester was right by any means. It was blatant. However, I hope the author is doing some serious damage control right now. The romance markets are flooding daily with new, aggressive authors and readers are switching to e-books as I write this comment. And I think an immediate course of action should be taken to continue to promote a promising career. For better or worse, the landscape is changing and this will all blow over with Dorchester once they find their niche in the e-book market. Which they will.

    I would imagine there are many authors with Dorchester riding this out and remaining silent just to see what happens.

  9. Jana DeLeon said:

    The author already has another publisher and is not the least bit concerned about her professional reputation or career. And since every Dorchester author is benefiting from my actions, which were completely justified, it was all worth it.

    Dorchester’s business practices are well known in the industry. I don’t think anyone will accuse me of being the party at fault here, and anyone who did isn’t someone I’d want to work with to begin with.

    Thanks to everyone who expressed support and concern. Things are being properly taken care of now. 🙂

  10. Marion Gropen said:

    I don’t think publishers stick together all that much. This is a very small world, despite the explosion in the number of small presses over the last couple of years. (BISG says there are about 100,000 active publishers in the US now. When I started in ’87, there were maybe 5,000. It’s INSANE.)

    And that small world means that everyone in it is very concerned about their individual and corporate reputation. And no one wants to deal with another party who has proven to be untrustworthy.

    That said, other publishers are likely to see most issues of publishers doing wrong things as accidental. We know how very hard it is to keep all the details under control and all the systems working in sync.

    In my opinion, an author who goes after Dorchester is likely to suffer no ill consequences, as long as they do it with some sort of civility and grace.

  11. KeithTax said:

    In my world they call that stealing and they put people in jail for it. Too bad authors are not extended the same courtesy. If they want the rights to sell her ebook, purchase those rights. How would Dorchester management feel if their property were stollen? Bet attorneys would be involved.

    I wonder if agents and authors will become reluctant to deal with Dorchester in the future? It just not seem like a good business move to me. Was it really that profitable to rape and rob a client?

  12. Maya said:

    Jana and Kristin, I’m glad things have gotten better by going public. It’s sad that Dorchester couldn’t do the right thing before. But you’re helping countless other authors with this information. What a terrible situation!

  13. Giles Hash said:

    I hope this situation turns out well for everyone involved. I’d hate to see lawyers get involved, especially because I know many authors can’t really afford the costs of court cases.

  14. Anonymous said:

    Who is that creepy literary agent posting altered pornographic pictures and videos of her competitor on her blog? She is a real CREEP!! I hope her clients leave her pronto. Who wants an agent who can’t even act normal on a professional blog? She sure must have some skeletons in her closet! Wonder if she grows marijuana in her office under her desk? Anyone have any idea who it is? What is her hangup with altered porn pictures? I hear she is an AAR member. They really need to take their professionalism up quite a bit at that organization. Creepy when you hear about a so-called legitimate agent doing this type of thing.

  15. Anonymous said:

    “I don’t think anyone will accuse me of being the party at fault here”

    I’m the anon you replied to. Don’t get me wrong. I agree completely with you. And I don’t think anyone will accuse you, least of all me. I truly *truly* wish you well 🙂

    But I don’t think the folks over at Dorchester are going to lose much sleep. They know exactly what they are doing, which is why I tend to prefer amicable splits, even if it kills me and I have to pretend to be happy about it.

    Again, I wish you well. It’s hard for an author to go up against a publisher when there’s so much competition out there waiting to be published.

  16. Jana DeLeon said:

    I pretended for too long. Polite only extends so far. I gave up money I’ll never see for hard, hard work. If they’d left me any other choice, I wouldn’t have taken that action, but willfully and deliberately stealing is beyond what polite covers.

    I also think you’re underestimating the impact of the action. Trust me when I saw it had far-reaching results and many authors will benefit, which is a great thing.

    I see no evidence of the publishing industry “sticking together” especially to support egregious behavior. Why would another editor or house want to be caught in support of illegal activity? Great books will always find a place. A reputation of missing deadlines and being a flaming “B” to work with might effect an author but running their business will not.

    I moved on a long time ago. It’s a shame the publisher didn’t cut the cord when they were supposed to.

  17. Anonymous said:

    Keith hit the nail on the head – theft is theft and as such I hope RWA takes a case against Dorchester on behalf of, I’m sure there are plenty, writers in the same position. You can’t accept payment for something you don’t own – fraud!

    I would not do business with a company I knew stole from people so why would I do business with Dorchester?

    The quick answer is I wouldn’t – nor should any other writer. Vote with your feet and chose an e-publisher with moral fibre.

  18. writer said:

    Again–thanks Kristin for what you are doing. And I “chatted” with Jana DeLeon a long time ago on Absolute Write about the Dorchester problems we both were having. Reading of Jana’s courage has encouraged me to pursue Dorchester through various means. I might never get the rest of my money owed–but I intend to stop them from luring other writers in. I am appalled they are coming onto the magazine writers’ loop and still asking for submissions. They have no editors on the mag or book side now. Until they pay us mag writers–I feel they can write their own damn mag stories instead of defrauding a new generation of writers. It’s not just Dorchester (though the behavior is beyond bad) its also the mentality among some writers who protect their “viable” markets when they are no longer viable. Instead of more writing workshops (which are valuable) we need writer seminars that teach writers to have some cha chas like DeLeon.