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In Which the Princess is Not Amused

I started writing an essay about this three times last night.
I deleted every attempt.

There is a very big hullaballoo going on right now surrounding Dorchester Publishing. Chances are, you’ve heard about it from someone you’re a fan of in the industry. As usual, many of the supporters are basing their arguments on rumors and faulty information. A few of them — most understandably the upset and emotional authors adversely affected by this insanity — are basing them on facts.

There’s no getting around it — this whole fiasco is…well…a fiasco.

And for me, it’s personal.

I stand on a fence with three sides. On the first, there are very close friends of mine who have been royally screwed by Dorchester and are not afraid to tell the world about it. On the second, there is a very close friend of mine who has not been treated badly by Dorchester, is still publishing with them, and is scared as hell that a boycott will kill her book sales. On the third, there is a very close friend of mine who worked for Dorchester before the reorganization, and is still there trying to pick up the broken pieces and fashion a decent publishing company out of the wreckage.

There was a time when I, myself, was threatened with losing my job when I could not squeeze blood from the Dorchester stone. I am well aware of the situation, from all sides, which only makes it harder.

Ultimately, Dorchester is a business model that does not work, and one that the publishing industry does not need to perpetuate. I don’t know the solution to this problem. I’m not sure anyone does. I am not on the publisher’s side on this issue. But I also can’t in good conscience support a boycott (Yes, I’ve burned a book before; it was personal then too) or a slur campaign. Happily, that is my right as Princess. It’s your right to do whatever you want, too. Vaya con dios.

I am glad that the problem has been brought to the industry’s attention, and I hope Dorchester gets to cleaning up this mess they’ve buried themselves in. I hope the authors that have grievances with the publisher get their freaking rights back (and a check to boot would be nice) and soon. It would be nice if Dorchester could just officially go out of business and start over again fresh…but it’s just not that easy (though it should be). I suspect this issue (and many like it) is only going to get messier before it gets better. I just hope it’s quickly resolved.

Readers: Please be aware of situations like this, especially when purchasing e-books. You want your money to go to the right place, don’t you?

I wonder how many of you have actually visited the website of your favorite authors. I hope you all take some time today and do that.

11 Responses to “In Which the Princess is Not Amused”

  1. Qweequeg Says:

    I especially like this part… “I wonder how many of you have actually visited the website of your favorite authors. I hope you all take some time today and do that.”

  2. Princess Alethea Says:

    At a recent RWA meeting, someone pointed out that the majority of readers today have never been to an author’s website. It was a depressing statistic…and yet I totally believe it.

  3. Dee Says:

    I’ve been out of the industry too long and don’t know what happened. Can you give an author link so I can learn what’s going on? And please tell me that Brooke & Tim are okay!

  4. Lincoln Crisler Says:

    I had to think for a whole five seconds or so before supporting the boycott, myself… there are three authors, one of whom I consider a mentor and all of whom I’ve had personal contact with, still publishing books with Leisure.

    I want to read their new books. I want to support THEM. But I figure I’m not doing them any favors in the long run by giving Dorchester my money, since it’s only a matter of time before they get around to hosing the rest of their horror talent the way they’ve hosed Keene, Wrath, etc.

    I just hope this mess is settled quick. My gripes as a reader are the least of all…a lot of people need to get their damn money and a whole lot of rights-burgling needs to cease.

  5. Princess Alethea Says:

    Dee: Brian Keene has the most info collected on his blog — he’s the friend I referred to as having been bitten by this mess. Understandably, he’s very upset and emotional about the whole business.

    I haven’t spoken to Tim since this all happened, but the last time I saw him, he was doing fine. Brooke left Dorchester last year and is now in sales with Diamond Comics.

  6. Brian Keene Says:

    Good stuff, Alethea. Will add this to today’s links of things people should read.

  7. Princess Alethea Says:

    Thanks, B.
    Good luck with everything.

  8. Nicole Cushing Says:

    Alethea:

    Thanks for posting this (I found it as a link off Brian’s page)

    This is by far the most mature, level-headed approach to the boycott I’ve seen so far. Because you are so connected to various different players representing different interests, you can see how the boycott effects the whole publishing ecosystem. My hesitation in supporting the boycott comes not because I’m any big fan of Leisure’s business practices, but because of a concern about unintended consequences. Your blog does a great job of illustrating that.

  9. Princess Alethea Says:

    Thank you so much, Nicole. You’re very gracious.

  10. Tamara Lowery Says:

    I’m not sure what the story behind this is, but I’m betting it’s a good thing I got a rejection letter from Liesure back whe I was shopping my book.

  11. BrandonLayng Says:

    Opinion-wise I’m in the same boat as you. I support the boycott to the point, I hope it brings attention to the matter, and makes sure that authors get deservedly paid. But I worry the damage it will cause to the sales of several friend’s new releases set to come out. Like Mr. Crisler said this boycott could hurt them. The other issue is that if Dorchester makes zero money and goes further into the hole, how can they pay anyone? They (Dorchester) seems to be doing everything they can to hold onto any potential income they can to keep the company afloat, which is why they won’t give back rights. We knew this would happen when they jumped the gun and changed their format focus, instead of restructuring their sales and production department. I use to be one of their die-hard mmpb customers. It’s how I snagged all of my fav authors’ reprints. Many of us out there still refuse to buy an e-book reader. It’s a sad state of affairs, all in all.

    That’s why I’ve suggested people #SupportTheLittleGuy and buy books from the small press. Many of the authors with the biggest grievances against Dorchester have work published in the small press. Buy them from there, so you’re showing support for your authors and showing Dorchester they lost out on some money-makers by not being respectful and paying them on time.

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