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para
09-20-2009, 03:41 AM
http://www.damnationbooks.com/

Very new press opened beginning of Sept. According to the bottom of the main page they've sold 363 books, and have 26 books for sale. That is about 13 copies per book. But they've been doing that increase pricing/variable thing so that can't have made any money.

There seems to be a lot of authors who are editing staff. You're not given very much info about their editing experience.

M.R.J. Le Blanc
09-20-2009, 03:53 AM
The variable pricing thing makes me very uncomfortable, as does the owner's rather passive view on its success. It doesn't appear to be in favor of writers at all.

neotank
09-20-2009, 08:16 PM
I believe they are going into print next month, as far as the novels are concerned.

Topaz044
09-20-2009, 09:09 PM
I noticed that authors weren't earning that much, and voiced my concerns very briefly to the publisher in this thread:

http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=153676&highlight=damnation+books

I'm glad I'm not the only one who sees a potential problem with this. If they're really going to print, then either they have a lot of money, or they are going to raise the price of books-and soon.

neotank
09-20-2009, 11:38 PM
Well, for every sale, an ebook novel goes up five cents, an tops out at $5.95; so after 119 sales it stays at top price. I think most people, if your book is good enough, should bump up there pretty quick.

M.R.J. Le Blanc
09-20-2009, 11:56 PM
But how is that fair to the authors? What if the book doesn't sell that many copies? And how do they plan to attract the kind of readership they would need? It's bad idea all around, the only ones who benefit are the readers - which isn't bad within itself, but shouldn't be at the expense of the writers. It's not competitive with other publishers who have advances and/or a set royalty amount.

Topaz044
09-21-2009, 12:13 AM
Exactly. My book is already set at 5.50 to begin with-I shouldn't have to sell about two years of work for pennies-literally! Plus, how much of that is the publisher taking away?

M.R.J. Le Blanc
09-21-2009, 02:07 AM
Exactly. My book is already set at 5.50 to begin with-I shouldn't have to sell about two years of work for pennies-literally! Plus, how much of that is the publisher taking away?

Bingo, and good question. I'd want to know that myself.

HapiSofi
09-21-2009, 02:10 AM
Very flaky. I'd avoid it.

neotank
09-21-2009, 06:51 AM
Let's be frank about this people. You WILL get extra readers buying your books thanks to the cheaper, initial, pricing. So if your cut is 40%, it's still going to be 40%. Maybe they are trying to stir interest by having a cult following jumping on thier site every 3 months to get some cheap, quality horror? I dunno, just a thought.

Topaz044
09-21-2009, 07:07 AM
Who says it's quality? If anything, the publisher is trying to prove the opposite by marking down a price from, say $4.50 to $.55. To the uninformed eye, that means the book is being discontinued because it's not selling that well.

Look, I'd love to be proven wrong and this plan is in fact beneficial to the author-honestly I would. But I would not submit any of my books to this website. I shouldn't have to work to earn what 99% per cent of authors already get as soon as they're published-a decent book price.

veinglory
09-21-2009, 07:42 AM
I can see that is *might* be a good gimmick--but more so for the publisher than the author. A small press book like this is likely to only sell an average of a few hundred copies in the first year, most of them in the first few months. So that effectively means a substantial pay cut when compare to a flat price publisher even if it garners 50-100 more sales per title.

C.M. Daniels
09-21-2009, 09:18 AM
Sounds like one to avoid.

Gillhoughly
09-21-2009, 09:26 AM
Step back and see if they're still in business a year from now.

And if their writers are actually making money.

What puts me off is that they are not paying advances at this time. Maybe that's normal for e-books, but I'd rather get paid for all my hard work.


In the meantime, submit to bigger publishers with a longer track record.

Publishing is weird--you start at the top and work your way down. Find the biggest house or agent on the block and submit to them first, then work your way down.

CaoPaux
01-16-2010, 08:46 PM
Founder Kim Richards (http://www.linkedin.com/pub/kim-richards/13/640/483), former editor at Eternal Press (http://www.eternalpress.ca/index.html), acquired EP in December. Nothing on the EP site about it, though.

Sn00py
04-30-2010, 08:18 AM
Any updated insights into this publisher?

brainstorm77
04-30-2010, 11:44 PM
Any updated insights into this publisher?

Read the Eternal Press thread for some info on the owner.

showme
04-30-2010, 11:56 PM
"Overall my experience with Damnation was quite pleasant, until we disagreed on the design of the cover. They were unwilling to negotiate, so I asked to be released from my contract. At this time, they sent me a letter charging me a $800+ “termination agreement.” This letter included an itemized list of expenses—and as a publisher myself I know how exorbitant and ridiculous these charges are.

Further, there was no mention of a termination fee in the contract I originally signed. I spoke to a woman name Victoria Strauss, who wrote a fascinating blog post on the subject of kill fees (http://accrispin.blogspot.com/2009/08/victoria-strauss-kill-fees-and-why.html). She explained that a kill fee is used to blackmail an unhappy author into getting back in line. She said this example of a kill fee was especially “sleazy” because there was no mention of it in the original contract. When I refused to pay the fee, Kim Gilchrist told me that unless I paid it they would go on and publish the book without my support.

Believe me—I tried everything to negotiate—I even offered to PAY some of the legitimate fees in order to see a new cover designed for the book—but they refused. It was either, “Pay us 800 or shut up and sit down.” I also spoke to a lawyer—he agreed with Ms. Strauss in myself: Damnation Books would never get away with a kill fee in court, but they did have the rights to publish the work. So as of now, despite my pleas, Damnation will be publishing “The Berserk” in March (you can find it on damnation’s website).

I am writing this in hopes that you will alert your readership of Damnation’s hidden fees. They are unlawful, unethical and, for a small independent publisher who should be out there championing small artists—this kind of cutthroat publishing behavior is unconscionable. There are other publishers who do this. According to Ms. Strauss’ blog, writers should beware of this type of bullying, and keep an eye out for it in their contracts (and NEVER sign a contract that includes a kill fee) but Damnation does not state it in their contract.

Feel free to publicize this email and the contracts I’ve included as you wish.

I believe I’ve said enough—I am more than willing to answer any other questions regarding this incident, or fill in any details you may need.

Thank you in advance for any consciousness-raising you do on the issue.

Sincerely,

Alex Smith

UPDATE March 10th, 2010

Damnation Books officially violated their own contract when they made substantial changes to my text without my approval, including the re-naming of chapters and inappropriate additions to the copyright page. Further, Damnation published the book on Amazon as The Berserk by Alex Smith, April Duncan, and Matt Truiano. The latter two are editor and cover designer, respectively. It is outrageous that they would attribute the creation and writing of the novel to two people who, however talented and deserving of praise in their own right, had worked on the book for a month, where I had worked on it for two years. As such, I have decided to publish a “perfect version” entitled Berserk on Amazon. Damnation are welcome to try to sue me if they so chose."
http://reimagineritual.wordpress.com/2010/02/27/open-letter-about-damnation-books/#comment-650

P.S. Just to clarify here, as there's been some confusion, I'm not Alex Smith.

showme
05-01-2010, 12:00 AM
Read the Eternal Press thread for some info on the owner.

Here's the link:

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=139420&highlight=eternal+press

brainstorm77
05-01-2010, 12:02 AM
Kill fees are also an issue with Eternal Press. I'm not surprised.

pagerette
05-01-2010, 01:49 AM
Any updated insights into this publisher?

Yes, and as you can see, it's all bad. :D Take a look at their website. A grade 6 student could do a better job. It's designed to be scary, but it's so amateurish and tacky, it's hilarious.

Kim Richard Gilchrist is a failed author turned "publisher," in September of last year. She accepts anything at all, and makes her money from illegal kill fees. And yes, kill fees are illegal, unless the author has signed a contract agreeing to them. And even if he has, they won't stand up in court.

http://www.damnationbooks.com/

Kensington
05-01-2010, 02:58 AM
"I have decided to publish a “perfect version” entitled Berserk on Amazon. Damnation are welcome to try to sue me if they so chose."

Bravo, Alex, way to go. Good luck with your book.

J.Henry
05-01-2010, 11:28 PM
Reputation good or bad makes or breaks a business. Why a business would deliberately alienate its clients and get so much bad rep for the sake of a couple of hundred dollar kill fee, defeats me. They must be darned hard up for cash. I've been let out of many contracts over the years with no problems. All I had to do was ask. I'd never even heard of a termination fee until now. I can imagine the shock being suddenly hit with something like that. Good luck Alex.

Alex's book is now available on Lulu. It looks interesting. Please buy this version that's authorized by Alex, and not the one illegally being sold by Damnation Press.

http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/the-berserk/10639403?productTrackingContext=search_results/search_shelf/center/1

luvreading
05-02-2010, 03:21 AM
Yes, and as you can see, it's all bad. :D Take a look at their website. A grade 6 student could do a better job. It's designed to be scary, but it's so amateurish and tacky, it's hilarious.

Kim Richard Gilchrist is a failed author turned "publisher," in September of last year. She accepts anything at all, and makes her money from illegal kill fees. And yes, kill fees are illegal, unless the author has signed a contract agreeing to them. And even if he has, they won't stand up in court.

http://www.damnationbooks.com/

A little birdy told me Kim knows about this thread, but is too chicken shit to come on here and explain herself. Caw, caw, caw, caw caw. (LOL) Seriously though what a rotten way for an author turned publisher to treat other authors. Shame on ya, Kim, shame, shame, shame, you money hustling shyster. You PA wannabe.

Ravenwing
05-02-2010, 06:46 AM
I don't see the problem. If they're trying to stick you for a termination fee that's not in the contract then they don't have a leg to stand on. You did the right thing taking your book elsewhere. Good luck with it.

Ravenwing
05-02-2010, 06:49 AM
Kill fees are also an issue with Eternal Press. I'm not surprised.

The kill fees have increased, since Damnation took Eternal over, to one thousand dollars. It's also now a five year contract, rather than two years. A copy of the new contract is on the EP thread. This isn't by any stretch of the imagination an "author friendly" publisher.

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/...=eternal+press

brainstorm77
05-02-2010, 02:55 PM
Reputation good or bad makes or breaks a business. Why a business would deliberately alienate its clients and get so much bad rep for the sake of a couple of hundred dollar kill fee, defeats me. They must be darned hard up for cash. I've been let out of many contracts over the years with no problems. All I had to do was ask. I'd never even heard of a termination fee until now. I can imagine the shock being suddenly hit with something like that. Good luck Alex.

Alex's book is now available on Lulu. It looks interesting. Please buy this version that's authorized by Alex, and not the one illegally being sold by Damnation Press.

http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/the-berserk/10639403?productTrackingContext=search_results/search_shelf/center/1

Because the kill fees appears to be their business.

Momento Mori
05-02-2010, 06:18 PM
showme:
Damnation Books officially violated their own contract when they made substantial changes to my text without my approval, including the re-naming of chapters and inappropriate additions to the copyright page.

You should check your contract as to what rights Damnation has to edit your work - most contracts do give the publisher some limited rights, subject to an author's final say.


showme:
Damnation published the book on Amazon as The Berserk by Alex Smith, April Duncan, and Matt Truiano. The latter two are editor and cover designer, respectively.

It could be that this is just a mistake on the Amazon page (albeit one put up by Damnation) because I've seen similar things happen to books from commercial publishers.

If they're putting that attribution on the cover though then again, check your contract to see what the position is re Berne Convention rights. You may have a right to refuse attribution of your name or claim sole ownership of the work.


showme:
I have decided to publish a “perfect version” entitled Berserk on Amazon. Damnation are welcome to try to sue me if they so chose

IMO (and while I understand your frustration), you shouldn't do that. Your own lawyer has said that Damnation has the right to publish your book so right now, you are in breach of contract and further, by advertising your own version of the book you are opening yourself up to a claim for loss of profits.

I don't know if Damnation will take you on in court - they seem like a bunch of cowardly clowns at the best of times - but they do have that right and you are doing yourself no favours.


Ravenwing:
If they're trying to stick you for a termination fee that's not in the contract then they don't have a leg to stand on.

You keep saying this and it keeps being wrong.

The lack of a termination fee in a contract does not mean that it a party cannot seek to charge one as a condition to their agreeing termination of a contract. It's not nice, it's not particularly ethical, but if the contract says that termination can only occur with both party's consent, then one party is perfectly free to specify what condition they attach to their consent and that does not invalidate the contract.

showme's own lawyer has told him/her as much.

MM

showme
05-02-2010, 10:32 PM
Momento

I'm not Alex. I just posted his open letter to Damnation from his blog. My situation is not dissimilar, though. My contract with EP expired a couple of days ago. Phew! (LOL) When I signed up EP was a small Australian based publisher with no bad rep. I always check before I sign. Then a few months later they sold the business to someone based in Canada. It was bad news all the way after that.

In January of this year it was sold again to Kim Richard of Damnation Books. I asked to be let out of my contract, and was hit with a termination fee demand. There was no clause covering termination fees in my contract. The only mention of termination was this:

"PUBLISHER Termination: At any time prior to the publication, or during the publication, or after the publication of the WORK, PUBLISHER may, at its discretion, cancel this contract and remove the WORK from publication or distribution for reasons of poor sales, excessive returns, or any other reasons."

It's interesting that poor sales is a reason for publisher termination, because if I didn't qualify I don't know who would. My sales, during the two year contract period, was two ebooks and a total royalty payout of $2.89!

Kim claims I signed another contract with them, which has a termination fee clause, and which doesn't expire until next year sometime, but has ignored all my requests, since January, to see it.

Sugertime
05-02-2010, 11:30 PM
You should check your contract as to what rights Damnation has to edit your work - most contracts do give the publisher some limited rights, subject to an author's final say.




MM

The problem here is you're assuming that this is an ethical, reputable publisher who actually cares what their contract states. It isn't and they don't. They even take it a step further, it seems, by claiming they have contracts that don't even exist. What's a writer to do? They've already been blacklisted on all the writer advocate sites.

Sugertime
05-02-2010, 11:36 PM
Because the kill fees appears to be their business.

Agreed. They don't make any attempt to sell the books to the reading public, they're accepting everything they get just like PA, and the kill fees are damned profitable. They have about 200 authors now -- mostly as you can imagine non too happy -- so if even half want out, do the math. They tried to cheat Alex out of more than 800 dollars. This shifty outfit is laughing all the way to the bank. And it's not illegal PROVIDING they have a termination fee clause in the contract. They do now, but the earlier contracts didn't have. There was an Ally Robertson addendum covering print publishing issued some time last year that had a termination fee clause, but for only fifty bucks. Kim's trying to skim (hey that rhymes:-) a heck of a lot more than that, like 800 big ones. Ugly. What the heck is Alex and her other victims supposed to do? Let her hang onto their titles illegally for years and years? Kim, although she appears to be a clumsy amateur, should still be charged with attempt to extort, and fraud. I'd love to know how many authors have actually coughed up the dough to get free of her. What a be-etch.

Kensington
05-03-2010, 12:40 AM
Unusually low sales and high termination fees are a warning flag. Sorry for everyone who got caught up in this mess. It's important that Damnation and EP authors report their sales. This can be done confidentially here:

http://erecsite.blogspot.com/2010/05/requesting-sales-figures-eternal-press.html

showme
05-03-2010, 12:52 AM
The problem here is you're assuming that this is an ethical, reputable publisher who actually cares what their contract states. It isn't and they don't. They even take it a step further, it seems, by claiming they have contracts that don't even exist. What's a writer to do? They've already been blacklisted on all the writer advocate sites.

My concern is for first time authors who find themselves mixed up in something like this. They could well think that low sales and high termination fees are the norm.

Terie
05-03-2010, 01:14 AM
The problem here is you're assuming that this is an ethical, reputable publisher who actually cares what their contract states. It isn't and they don't. They even take it a step further, it seems, by claiming they have contracts that don't even exist. What's a writer to do? They've already been blacklisted on all the writer advocate sites.

No, Momento Mori isn't assuming any such thing. MM is a lawyer-in-training and works for a law firm, and is talking about legal interpretations of contracts. Many companies do immoral and unethical things under cover of legality. *cough*PA*cough*

Kensington
05-03-2010, 01:48 AM
No, Momento Mori isn't assuming any such thing. MM is a lawyer-in-training and works for a law firm, and is talking about legal interpretations of contracts. Many companies do immoral and unethical things under cover of legality. *cough*PA*cough*

I took this to mean that with a company who doesn't care what's in the contract and even claims contracts exist when they don't, the normal rules don't apply.

brianm
05-03-2010, 02:24 AM
Momento

I'm not Alex. I just posted his open letter to Damnation from his blog.

First, you should have made it clear you were not Alex when you posted the letter.

Second, do you have permission from Alex to post the letter here?

~brianm~

J.Henry
05-03-2010, 02:33 AM
First, you should have made it clear you were not Alex when you posted the letter.

Second, do you have permission from Alex to post the letter here?

~brianm~

This is an Open Letter to Damnation Books. The author wants it publicized as much as possible.

"Feel free to publicize this email and the contracts I’ve included as you wish.

I believe I’ve said enough—I am more than willing to answer any other questions regarding this incident, or fill in any details you may need.

Thank you in advance for any consciousness-raising you do on the issue.

Sincerely,

Alex Smith"

Kensington
05-03-2010, 02:43 AM
First, you should have made it clear you were not Alex when you posted the letter.

Second, do you have permission from Alex to post the letter here?

~brianm~

There were quote marks at the beginning and end of the letter.

J.Henry
05-03-2010, 02:57 AM
I've sent a link to this thread to Alex Smith with the hope that he'll participate.

Momento Mori
05-03-2010, 05:50 PM
showme:
I'm not Alex. I just posted his open letter to Damnation from his blog.

It would have been useful to know that from the start of your post because the way you set it out makes it seem that you are Alex.


showme:
Kim claims I signed another contract with them, which has a termination fee clause, and which doesn't expire until next year sometime, but has ignored all my requests, since January, to see it.

There's been a lot of discussion about this on the Eternal Press thread. Did you sign a new contract with her when she bought out Damnation?

Check the terms of your original contract - unless there's a clause in there giving the publisher the unilateral right to amend the terms of the contract without your consent (which will be evidenced by your signature on the amended terms) those amendments may not be enforceable.

It sounds as though your original contract was for a specified period with an expiry date. Is this the case? If so, when was the expiry date and what did the contract say (if anything) about extending the term?

Most contracts will usually say that extension has to be by mutual consent in writing (PA's contract however says that if you want out then you have to serve notice 3 months in advance to notify them or else there's deemed extension). If the contract extension has to be by mutual consent and you did not agree to extend, then I would say to Kim that you consider the original term to have ended and revoke all rights for Damnation to continue to publish. If she continues, warn her that she is in breach of contract and you will look to sue her for that and infringement of copyright.

If the contract expiry is as per PA and the expiry date has expired, then you're on stickier ground. Check out how long the extension period is for - if it's another set period, then put the date in red in a calendar and make sure you serve a termination notice in time for it. The downer is that your book remains tied up, but it does at least leave you with a potential eventual out.


Sugertime:
The problem here is you're assuming that this is an ethical, reputable publisher who actually cares what their contract states. It isn't and they don't.

Where in my posts have I ever said that I believe Damnation to be either ethical or reputable? I believe I explicitly use the phrase "cowardly clowns" to describe them.

My point is that if you're an author stuck playing the contract game with these people, then each and every breach of contract that you can point to (in the absence of a termination clause enabling you to walk away without payment) is a weapon in your arsenal that should be deployed to wear them down.


Sugertime:
even take it a step further, it seems, by claiming they have contracts that don't even exist. What's a writer to do?

I address this higher up in this post.

Personally, if you feel so strongly about a book that you don't want to let it go then:

(a) look at your original contract terms and the provisions relating to amendment - if they can't amend without your consent, then the amendment is not binding and you can seek to rely on your expiry clause;

(b) look at your original contract terms and the provisions relating to expiry of the contract term. If contract rewewal requires both parties consent, and you didn't give that consent, then the original contract can be deemed to have expired.

Personally, I'd look at spending a small amount of cash (depends on how much lawyers charge where you live, but in the UK you'd be spending between 50 to 100 quid for a decent lawyer) on getting a lawyer to draft a letter to Damnation on my behalf setting all that out and asking for an immediate reversion of my rights, together with a cease and desist of further publication to see if they blink (some publishers don't take you seriously unless the letter is on legal headed paper), but you can equally do the same yourself or look into free legal services in your local area.


Terie:
MM is a lawyer-in-training and works for a law firm, and is talking about legal interpretations of contracts.

I'm actually qualified and have almost a decade's worth of UK commercial contracts experience :) but for the sake of clarity and so that no one here is labouring under a false impression - I am not giving anyone here specific legal advice.

If you're a Damnation author then you need to read through your contract and take your own legal advice as to your situation from someone qualified to advise on the law applicable to your contract (which I believe was Australian).

My comments are merely general observations intended to give you a jump point in order to decide what you do next.


Kensington:
I took this to mean that with a company who doesn't care what's in the contract and even claims contracts exist when they don't, the normal rules don't apply.

The normal rules do apply - the problem is how far are you willing to go and how much are you willing to spend forcing the company to comply with them?

Again, I'd look at the amendment provisions, the expiry provisions and then I'd be looking to see each and every area where I could argue breach.

MM

brianm
05-03-2010, 07:24 PM
It would have been useful to know that from the start of your post because the way you set it out makes it seem that you are Alex.

A link (http://reimagineritual.wordpress.com/2010/02/27/open-letter-about-damnation-books/) would be in order, as well.

~brianm~

Kensington
05-03-2010, 09:15 PM
A link (http://reimagineritual.wordpress.com/2010/02/27/open-letter-about-damnation-books/) would be in order, as well.

~brianm~

There IS a link. Always was. Right at the end of the post.

brianm
05-04-2010, 12:21 AM
There IS a link. Always was. Right at the end of the post.

As MM stated, it would have been nice to know right from the beginning of the post that the poster wasn't Alex Smith. Same holds true for a link.

~brianm~

veinglory
05-04-2010, 12:26 AM
Um, could we perhaps let that aspect drop now?

showme
05-04-2010, 01:10 AM
There's been a lot of discussion about this on the Eternal Press thread. Did you sign a new contract with her when she bought out Damnation?

No new contracts were issued. She tried to get me to sign an amendment in January, but I refused. There were also no new contracts (or amendments) issued when Ally Robertson in Canada, bought EP in early 2008. Although the original contract clearly stated that the laws of Australia applied.


It sounds as though your original contract was for a specified period with an expiry date. Is this the case? If so, when was the expiry date and what did the contract say (if anything) about extending the term?

The original EP contract was for a period of two years, beginning from the time of publication. It expired a few days ago on April 30. In January, when EP was first bought by Kim Richards and she tried to get me to sign her amendment, I said I wanted out. As my title supposedly only sold 2 copies, no one could wonder why. :-) That's when she hit me with a termination fee of $150.00. There is no termination fee clause in the contract.

Since then she has claimed she has another contract that I signed, agreeing to $150.00 in termination fees, which does not expire until next year. In one message she claimed to "have it in her hand." But, although I've been asking her to send it to me for four months now, she has not done so.

I filed a complaint with the BBB and the Attorney General's Office. In Kim's response to the BBB, she claimed to be sending them a copy of this contract by regular mail. They told me they'd scan it in and email it to me if it does arrive…

Meanwhile, I've contacted Fictionwise and every online outlet where my title is on sale, informing them that copyright reverted back to me on April 30.

Thanks for all your help MM, it's much appreciated. :-)

Kensington
05-04-2010, 01:16 AM
As MM stated, it would have been nice to know right from the beginning of the post that the poster wasn't Alex Smith. Same holds true for a link.

~brianm~

Not sure what the problem is here. The link is at the end of Alex's open letter to Damnation, and the letter is in quotes. I didn't have any difficulty with it.

Ravenwing
05-04-2010, 01:37 AM
Not sure what the problem is here. The link is at the end of Alex's open letter to Damnation, and the letter is in quotes. I didn't have any difficulty with it.

Neither did I. Yet Brian appears to have had a problem with every part of it.

1) He said it should have been clearly stated that Alex Smith had not posted it. But as it already had quote marks around it, and a link at the end...well, that's the usual way to do it, is it not?

2) He questioned whether the author of the letter had given permission to have it distributed. Yet it was clearly stated, by the author himself, that he had.

3) Finally he said a link should have been included. Well it was -- right at the end of the open letter.

I notice a postscript has been added to the message: "P.S. Just to clarify here, as there's been some confusion, I'm not Alex Smith."

(LOL) Now wait for Brian to have some problem with that too.

luvreading
05-04-2010, 02:12 AM
"Since then she has claimed she has another contract that I signed, agreeing to $150.00 in termination fees, which does not expire until next year. In one message she claimed to "have it in her hand." But, although I've been asking her to send it to me for four months now, she has not done so.

I filed a complaint with the BBB and the Attorney General's Office. In Kim's response to the BBB, she claimed to be sending them a copy of this contract by regular mail. They told me they'd scan it in and email it to me if it does arrive…"


Okay, you don't have to say another thing. The very fact that she has not produced this contract says it all.

showme
05-04-2010, 02:22 AM
This is an Open letter written by author, Alex Smith, to Damnation Publishing. I am not Alex Smith. It is an open letter and Alex has indicated (see below) that it is intended for distribution. Here is the link to Alex's blog where the letter can be found:

http://reimagineritual.wordpress.com/2010/02/27/open-letter-about-damnation-books/#comment-650


"Overall my experience with Damnation was quite pleasant, until we disagreed on the design of the cover. They were unwilling to negotiate, so I asked to be released from my contract. At this time, they sent me a letter charging me a $800+ “termination agreement.” This letter included an itemized list of expenses—and as a publisher myself I know how exorbitant and ridiculous these charges are.

Further, there was no mention of a termination fee in the contract I originally signed. I spoke to a woman name Victoria Strauss, who wrote a fascinating blog post on the subject of kill fees (http://accrispin.blogspot.com/2009/08/victoria-strauss-kill-fees-and-why.html). She explained that a kill fee is used to blackmail an unhappy author into getting back in line. She said this example of a kill fee was especially “sleazy” because there was no mention of it in the original contract. When I refused to pay the fee, Kim Gilchrist told me that unless I paid it they would go on and publish the book without my support.

Believe me—I tried everything to negotiate—I even offered to PAY some of the legitimate fees in order to see a new cover designed for the book—but they refused. It was either, “Pay us 800 or shut up and sit down.” I also spoke to a lawyer—he agreed with Ms. Strauss in myself: Damnation Books would never get away with a kill fee in court, but they did have the rights to publish the work. So as of now, despite my pleas, Damnation will be publishing “The Berserk” in March (you can find it on damnation’s website).

I am writing this in hopes that you will alert your readership of Damnation’s hidden fees. They are unlawful, unethical and, for a small independent publisher who should be out there championing small artists—this kind of cutthroat publishing behavior is unconscionable. There are other publishers who do this. According to Ms. Strauss’ blog, writers should beware of this type of bullying, and keep an eye out for it in their contracts (and NEVER sign a contract that includes a kill fee) but Damnation does not state it in their contract.

Feel free to publicize this email and the contracts I’ve included as you wish.

I believe I’ve said enough—I am more than willing to answer any other questions regarding this incident, or fill in any details you may need.

Thank you in advance for any consciousness-raising you do on the issue.

Sincerely,

Alex Smith

UPDATE March 10th, 2010

Damnation Books officially violated their own contract when they made substantial changes to my text without my approval, including the re-naming of chapters and inappropriate additions to the copyright page. Further, Damnation published the book on Amazon as The Berserk by Alex Smith, April Duncan, and Matt Truiano. The latter two are editor and cover designer, respectively. It is outrageous that they would attribute the creation and writing of the novel to two people who, however talented and deserving of praise in their own right, had worked on the book for a month, where I had worked on it for two years. As such, I have decided to publish a “perfect version” entitled Berserk on Amazon. Damnation are welcome to try to sue me if they so chose."

brianm
05-04-2010, 03:03 AM
This is an Open letter written by author, Alex Smith, to Damnation Publishing. I am not Alex Smith. It is an open letter and Alex has indicated (see below) that it is intended for distribution. Here is the link to Alex's blog where the letter can be found:

http://reimagineritual.wordpress.com/2010/02/27/open-letter-about-damnation-books/#comment-650

Thanks for this, showme.

We get a lot of drive-by posters in this particular forum pretending to be someone they are not, so it's always best to be clear from the start what you are posting.

By the by, welcome to AW.

~brianm~

BenPanced
05-04-2010, 04:23 AM
"Since then she has claimed she has another contract that I signed, agreeing to $150.00 in termination fees, which does not expire until next year. In one message she claimed to "have it in her hand." But, although I've been asking her to send it to me for four months now, she has not done so.

I filed a complaint with the BBB and the Attorney General's Office. In Kim's response to the BBB, she claimed to be sending them a copy of this contract by regular mail. They told me they'd scan it in and email it to me if it does arrive…"


Okay, you don't have to say another thing. The very fact that she has not produced this contract says it all.
I think we should wait for some sort of response from showme before we can come to that conclusion.

Momento Mori
05-04-2010, 03:14 PM
showme:
The original EP contract was for a period of two years, beginning from the time of publication. It expired a few days ago on April 30.

Does the contract allow for extension of the contract term after expiry and if so, what do the provisions say?


showme:
Since then she has claimed she has another contract that I signed, agreeing to $150.00 in termination fees, which does not expire until next year. In one message she claimed to "have it in her hand." But, although I've been asking her to send it to me for four months now, she has not done so.

If she's claiming you signed an amendment agreement, you're certain that you never signed one and she's seeking to rely on it, then she has to produce it if she wants to be able to enforce it.

Personally, if I was absolutely sure I had never signed anything (and it sounds to me like you've got communications to her saying you're not going to sign it), then I would point out to her that any signed agreement she claims to have is potentially a forgery, that I would be willing to swear an affidavit to that effect and that I would further be willing to refer any attempt by her to rely on it to local law enforcement.


showme:
I filed a complaint with the BBB and the Attorney General's Office. In Kim's response to the BBB, she claimed to be sending them a copy of this contract by regular mail. They told me they'd scan it in and email it to me if it does arrive…

Meanwhile, I've contacted Fictionwise and every online outlet where my title is on sale, informing them that copyright reverted back to me on April 30.

Might be worth checking if you've got a legal aid/citizen's advice bureau near you (don't know if they have one where you live - alternative is local university law department, which might offer free legal services as provided by students) and see about getting a C&D letter prepared that you can send to her, telling that given your contract term has expired, any attempt by her to sell or continue to publish your work will be a breach of your copyright.


showme:
Thanks for all your help MM, it's much appreciated. :-)

No worries - happy to be able to give some pointers that might be useful/worth exploring further.

MM

Clementine B
05-05-2010, 07:30 AM
If the publisher has just splashed out for artwork and edits when the author suddenly wants to jump ship, I can see the justice in kill fees. But only for a maximum of six months after the title is released. Anything longer than that is an abuse of the author's rights. And of course, the author has to have signed a contract with the exact amount of the kill fee clearly stated, along with its intended duration. To try and wring a kill fee from an author whose title was released years ago, should be illegal. It's shoddy and shabby behaviour, which is destined (and very rightly so) to backfire on the disreputable publisher who's engaging in it. Just look what's happening right here. Good on you, Alex. Bravo! Let's hope it will encourage other abused Damnation/Eternal authors to do likewise. You're not alone, guys. Fight back!

M.R.J. Le Blanc
05-05-2010, 08:14 AM
Yes, but there's two sides to every coin really. If the working relationship sours, or if the publisher isn't living up to what they agreed, a kill fee isn't justified IMO.

Ravenwing
05-05-2010, 08:23 AM
Yes, but there's two sides to every coin really. If the working relationship sours, or if the publisher isn't living up to what they agreed, a kill fee isn't justified IMO.

Agreed. If an author wants out trying to squeeze a kill fee from him is ugly, no doubt about it.

Re contracts: Unless they are signed in a lawyer's office, and properly witnessed, they'd never stand up in court.

Terie
05-05-2010, 09:16 AM
Re contracts: Unless they are signed in a lawyer's office, and properly witnessed, they'd never stand up in court.

Can you cite a legal statute to back that statement up? Seriously, you really need to stop spouting legal opinions when it's clear you don't know what you're talking about.

brainstorm77
05-05-2010, 01:07 PM
Re contracts: Unless they are signed in a lawyer's office, and properly witnessed, they'd never stand up in court.

I'm not sure you're right about this. People get taken to court all the time, just for breaking rental leases and none of them are ever signed in a lawyer's office.

On another note. I think these threads are great and I hope people stay the hell away from them.

Momento Mori
05-05-2010, 01:46 PM
Ravenwing:
Re contracts: Unless they are signed in a lawyer's office, and properly witnessed, they'd never stand up in court.

Bollocks.

Why do you insist on spouting off about legal enforceability when you plainly know nothing about what you're talking about? Do you honestly think that you're helping people? Because if so, then I'm sorry to tell you that you're actually putting people at risk if they try to rely on the crap that you insist on spewing.

Witness attestation may assist in determining whether a document has been properly signed. Some countries (and I believe some US states) require that particular signed documents be notarised. I can tell you however that I have seen plenty of US contracts in my time that have not been notarised but which are nonetheless deemed to be legally binding.

Contract law (as anyone who has ever set foot in a law lecture will tell you) is more than signatures on a contract. A contract can exist if you can prove an offer, an acceptance, adequate consideration, intention to create legal relations and certainty of terms. That's why people can sometimes find themselves bound by oral contracts.


M.R.J. Le Blanc:
If the working relationship sours, or if the publisher isn't living up to what they agreed, a kill fee isn't justified IMO.

I disagree. If you're a small company, trying to run on a commercial basis and in good faith, then if you've spent a lot of time and money trying to produce a professional product (including starting pre-word publicity, marketing, getting the distribution in place etc), then you should be entitled to charge a kill fee for that if the author decides to up and walk at the last minute.

It should be set out in the contract though so that the author knows that and it shouldn't be open to abuse. But I don't have an ethical problem with it.

MM

BenPanced
05-05-2010, 03:05 PM
Re contracts: Unless they are signed in a lawyer's office, and properly witnessed, they'd never stand up in court.
Where'd you come up with that? The only "proper" witnesses I've had with contracts I've signed are me and the other person involved in the transaction, and they've never been signed in a lawyer's office.

pagerette
05-05-2010, 08:19 PM
Not too sure about contracts. I know when we bought our houses the signing was always done in a lawyer's office. The legality of the contracts issued by a lot of those epublishers pretending to be real publishers is dubious. Everything has to be absolutely correct in a legal document. Even the misspelling of a name can render it null and void.

By the sound of Damnation, they are operating with contracts issued by an Australian publisher or a Canadian one. This should never have happened. A legitimate publisher would have cancelled all the contracts, immediately, and reissued their own. But then Damnation would never do that. The last thing they want is to give their authors an out. But what they're stuck with sound like worthless pieces of paper such as amendments to contracts that don't exist. They got so sharp in their greed for kill fees that they jolly well cut themselves. Good. Hope it hurts like hell.

veinglory
05-05-2010, 08:24 PM
I really think people need to stop making stuff up about the law and assume that when they sign a contract of any kind that it is binding--and not change that position without expert, one-on-one legal advice.

Terie
05-05-2010, 08:24 PM
The legal 'advice' in this thread really REALLY needs to stop.

CaoPaux
05-05-2010, 08:28 PM
Not too sure about contracts. I know when we bought our houses the signing was always done in a lawyer's office. The legality of the contracts issued by a lot of those epublishers pretending to be real publishers is dubious. Everything has to be absolutely correct in a legal document. Even the misspelling of a name can render it null and void.

By the sound of Damnation, they are operating with contracts issued by an Australian publisher or a Canadian one. This should never have happened. A legitimate publisher would have cancelled all the contracts, immediately, and reissued their own. But then Damnation would never do that. The last thing they want is to give their authors an out. But what they're stuck with sound like worthless pieces of paper such as amendments to contracts that don't exist. They got so sharp in their greed for kill fees that they jolly well cut themselves. Good. Hope it hurts like hell.And when we bought our house, the notary came to us.

And in some states a verbal contact is considered just as valid as paper.

In other words, non-lawyers speculating on the validity/legality of contracts is both useless and dangerous.

Stop it.

luvreading
05-05-2010, 08:39 PM
I have a question here for Momento. When a publishing company is sold across international boundaries, and it includes the contracts, are addendums necessary? It seems that when Eternal Press, originally in Australia, was sold to someone in Canada, the authors were given nothing to sign. Therefore, the laws of Australia still applied. Can a business be run in one country, while governed by the laws of another?

Medievalist
05-05-2010, 08:44 PM
Quoted for truth, and because it bears repeating:


non-lawyers speculating on the validity/legality of contracts is both useless and dangerous.

Stop it.

J.Henry
05-05-2010, 08:47 PM
Can a business be run in one country, while governed by the laws of another?

Of course not. What would happen in the case of a dispute? It would have to be heard (in the case of Dalmation) in the courts of Australia or Canada. And besides, the contract which originated in those countries is no longer valid because the business which issued them is no more. Nope, in order to be legal the authors would have to have signed new contracts. But then I can see Dalmation's dilemma. (LOL) That would have let the poor blighters out, and ended the spotted doggies' scheme to make a killing from kill fees.

Medievalist
05-05-2010, 08:50 PM
Re contracts: Unless they are signed in a lawyer's office, and properly witnessed, they'd never stand up in court.

You need to learn to use the Internet acronym IANAL (I am not a lawyer) because you're clearly not an attorney and you're making idiotic statements.

And if you are an attorney, you're violating your ethics clause by not declaring yourself and making attributive denial.

The idea of a lawyer's office conferring sanctity to a contract is ludicrous in the extreme.

Bubastes
05-05-2010, 08:55 PM
Of course not. What would happen in the case of a dispute? It would have to be heard (in the case of Dalmation) in the courts of Australia or Canada. And besides, the contract which originated in those countries is no longer valid because the business which issued them is no more. Nope, in order to be legal the authors would have to have signed new contracts. But then I can see Dalmation's dilemma. (LOL) That would have let the poor blighters out, and ended the spotted doggies' scheme to make a killing from kill fees.

Unless the contract itself calls out a different venue and different choice of law. It's perfectly legal for companies to select a neutral country as the venue for disputes. It's also possible that the original contract had a provision that allowed assignment of the contractual rights and obligations to a new company. Toss in the international laws involved in the transactions, and you have a hot mess here. In other words, we don't know the whole picture.

By the way, are people totally missing the BIG RED MESSAGE in Medievalist's post? I AM a lawyer and I wouldn't even begin to speculate on the legal ramifications of the contracts and the transaction without seeing ALL of the documents first.

Usual disclaimers (this is not meant to be legal advice or establish an attorney/client relationship, blah blah blah) apply.

Bubastes
05-05-2010, 08:57 PM
Re contracts: Unless they are signed in a lawyer's office, and properly witnessed, they'd never stand up in court.

Um, wrong.

Kensington
05-05-2010, 09:07 PM
Toss in the international laws involved in the transactions, and you have a hot mess here.



Definitely!

Momento Mori
05-05-2010, 09:44 PM
pagerette:
By the sound of Damnation, they are operating with contracts issued by an Australian publisher or a Canadian one. This should never have happened. A legitimate publisher would have cancelled all the contracts, immediately, and reissued their own.

No.

Why would anyone "cancel" a contract if you've got an assignment clause?

The fact that two companies are in different countries does not mean that the underlying contract needs to be invalidated.


luvreading:
When a publishing company is sold across international boundaries, and it includes the contracts, are addendums necessary? It seems that when Eternal Press, originally in Australia, was sold to someone in Canada, the authors were given nothing to sign. Therefore, the laws of Australia still applied. Can a business be run in one country, while governed by the laws of another?

In general yes.

Most companies wouldn't want to be in that position because it effects the tax treatment so they'd transfer to a subsidiary company set up in that relevant jurisdiction.

The other problem with having a contract with someone under a jurisdiction where you're not based is that if you end up in dispute, you have to conduct it in that other country and if you win, seek to enforce it. It takes time and costs money.


J.Henry:
Of course not. What would happen in the case of a dispute? It would have to be heard (in the case of Dalmation) in the courts of Australia or Canada.

Wrong. See my answer above.


J.Henry:
the contract which originated in those countries is no longer valid because the business which issued them is no more.

Do you know that for a fact? Have you seen winding up papers for the original business? Do you have a legal opinion from a qualified attorney stating that the contracts were not validly assigned or transferred?

Because I'm suspecting that the answer to all three questions is "no", so again - stop commenting on legal matters when you know bog all about it.

I've been practicing English law for almost 10 years so while I can make educated comments, anyone with a contract with Damnation still needs to get appropriate legal advice from an attorney qualified in the relevant jurisdictions and not rely on the (frankly) half-witted crap being posted by some people here.

MM

Kensington
05-05-2010, 09:45 PM
Since this is the same publisher as the Eternal Press thread, could both threads be amalgamated into one?

brianm
05-05-2010, 09:46 PM
By the way, are people totally missing the BIG RED MESSAGE in Medievalist's post? ... I wouldn't even begin to speculate on the legal ramifications of the contracts and the transaction without seeing ALL of the documents first.

Ditto. I have drawn up and handled tens of thousands of contracts and the "legal opinions" being expressed in this thread by some posters who obviously have no idea what they are talking about is very dangerous.

Heed the red message.

~brianm~

BenPanced
05-05-2010, 09:50 PM
But...but... I watched Law & Order: Lurid Sex Crimes Division last night! Twice!

Momento Mori
05-05-2010, 09:51 PM
brianm:
Heed the red message.

Agreed.

MM

Kensington
05-05-2010, 09:56 PM
I feel really sorry for Damnation's authors caught up in such a tangle. It's all about kill fees. What a shame.

CaoPaux
05-05-2010, 10:00 PM
Since this is the same publisher as the Eternal Press thread, could both threads be amalgamated into one?Perhaps, but they won't be.

And I'm a hair away from locking both.

luvreading
05-05-2010, 10:05 PM
Eternal Press was based in Canada with Australian contracts when it was taken over by a US company this year. They sent the following addendum to authors. My question is, if the authors refused to sign this, what would the legal position be?

Damnation Books, LLC/Eternal Press
P.O. Box 3931, Santa Rosa, CA 95402-9998
(707) 543-6227 admin@damnationbooks.com
2010 Amendment to Author Contract with Eternal Press
This amendment is hereby issued by Damnation Books LLC/Eternal Press. Contact Officer: Kim Richards Gilchrist, CEO on 01-01-2010.
The contract between __________________________ (Author) and Eternal Press, formerly located at 206-6059 Pandora St. Burnaby, BC, V5B-1M4, which was last executed by the parties on _____________ is hereby amended as follows:
The Author acknowledges that Eternal Press is now a division of an American Company, Damnation Books, LLC in the State of California, USA whose mailing address is P.O. Box 3931 Santa Rosa, CA 95404 and is physically located at 1817 Slater Street, Santa Rosa, CA 95404 in Sonoma County.
This amendment and the afore-mentioned contract are considered legal and binding in all countries. Should a legal dispute arise, the laws of the State of California, USA shall apply.
The Author understands that should they reside now, or in the future during the term of this contract, in the United States of America that a tax form W-9 must be on file with the offices of Damnation Books, LLC/Eternal Press.
The Author acknowledges the dates of quarterly payments has changed beginning on 01-01-2010 to coincide with those of Damnation Books, LLC. and are subject to further change with ninety days (90) written notice by Damnation Books, LLC/Eternal Press at any time.
No royalties of any kind shall be paid to the Author until this Amendment (and for US residents, this includes the W-9 tax form) has been completed, signed and received by Damnation Books, LLC/Eternal Press.
This document constitutes an amendment to the afore-mentioned contract. All provisions of that contract, except those which are explicitly changed above by this amendment shall remain in full force and effect.
ACCEPTANCE AND APPROVALS
By the Author:
Type Name: ____________________________
Pseudonym: __________________________
Current Address: _______________________________________
Current Telephone:_________________
Current Email:____________________
__________________________ _____________
Signature (Authorized Official) (Date)

Bubastes
05-05-2010, 10:08 PM
The addendum is not "ALL of the documents" involved in this issue, so it's impossible to say what the legal position would be based on the limited information available here.

Soccer Mom
05-05-2010, 10:10 PM
It is impossible to say what there legal position would be. Please stop asking for legal opinions. The answer would involve the original contract and Austrailian contract law.

I am a lawyer, but I am not offering any opinions in this thread. Not having the contract in front of me nor being an expert on international or Austrailian or Canadian law, it would be foolish of me to offer an opinion.

Please stop asking others to do so.

Kensington
05-05-2010, 10:20 PM
Aren't there some writer's advocate sites where legal advice can be obtained, free of charge? I seem to recall someone posting the details on the Eternal Press thread. I can understand an author being reluctant to shell out for legal fees, or hiking for miles to a university law clinic. But the Internet may have made this process a whole lot easier and author friendly. They could just email the contracts in question.

brainstorm77
05-05-2010, 10:28 PM
I agree with the mods here. Seek out legal aid. It's better to talk to an actual lawyer then to just speculate.

Sugertime
05-05-2010, 10:50 PM
I agree with the mods here. Seek out legal aid. It's better to talk to an actual lawyer then to just speculate.


No doubt about it. But then even lawyers don't always agree, and their interpretations may differ. Hence the need for court, and a Judge to decide. But even then there are appeals...

pagerette
05-05-2010, 11:00 PM
It's not worth getting lawyers involved unless there are big bucks at stake. Damnation is strictly nickel and dime stuff. Alex did the right thing. He didn't agonize over contracts, he simply published his book elsewhere. I hope it's a great success.

Stacia Kane
05-06-2010, 12:15 AM
It's not worth getting lawyers involved unless there are big bucks at stake. Damnation is strictly nickel and dime stuff. Alex did the right thing. He didn't agonize over contracts, he simply published his book elsewhere. I hope it's a great success.


Sorry, but that is absolutely NOT "the right thing," and it could conceivably lead to a lot of legal trouble for him. You cannot simply publish your book yourself when you have signed a contract assigning those publication rights elsewhere. Alex's own lawyer told him that Damnation has the right to publish his work.


IANAL, but let's please not tell others that violating a contract you signed is "the right thing" to do. It is not, and I certainly hope Alex doesn't find that out the hard way.

Kensington
05-06-2010, 12:52 AM
IANAL, but let's please not tell others that violating a contract you signed is "the right thing" to do. It is not, and I certainly hope Alex doesn't find that out the hard way.

If the contract is bonafide, I agree. But in the case of Damnation there seems to be so much confusion with a contract crossing international boundaries three times, etc. There's got to be a legal clinic or something where an author can simply email all the documents involved, without having to pay an arm and a leg for the advice.

Stacia Kane
05-06-2010, 01:08 AM
If the contract is bonafide, I agree. But in the case of Damnation there seems to be so much confusion with a contract crossing international boundaries three times, etc. There's got to be a legal clinic or something where an author can simply email all the documents involved, without having to pay an arm and a leg for the advice.


In Alex's own words (itals mine):



...They were unwilling to negotiate, so I asked to be released from my contract. At this time, they sent me a letter charging me a $800+ “termination agreement.” ... When I refused to pay the fee, Kim Gilchrist told me that unless I paid it they would go on and publish the book without my support.

Believe me—I tried everything to negotiate—I even offered to PAY some of the legitimate fees in order to see a new cover designed for the book—but they refused. It was either, “Pay us 800 or shut up and sit down.” I also spoke to a lawyer—he agreed with Ms. Strauss in myself: Damnation Books would never get away with a kill fee in court, but they did have the rights to publish the work. So as of now, despite my pleas, Damnation will be publishing “The Berserk” in March (you can find it on damnation’s website).


There is no confusion. Alex signed a contract assigning publishing rights to Damnation. He requested the termination of that contract and his request was refused. A lawyer who has presumably seen all the documentation has confirmed that his contract is still in force.

The only confusion as to what is and is not valid is largely coming from commenters here who are not in fact attorneys and are not educated in contract law. The opinion of the only attorney whose opinion truly matters in this case--Alex's own attorney--is that the contract is valid.

What Alex is doing is in violation of the contract he signed. It is not "the right thing." There is no actual evidence that the contract is not valid for any reason. We've seen people--usually PA authors--advised to do this same thing, or play the "Just change the title and they'll never know" game, many times here and our advice is always the same: Do not do this. You could be sued. Get the rights back in writing, or wait out the contract term, or move on to another project.


And for those who asked:

http://www.publishlawyer.com/


They aren't supercheap, but if several people go in on one consultation that could work.



.

Kensington
05-06-2010, 01:23 AM
In Alex's own words (itals mine):





There is no confusion. Alex signed a contract assigning publishing rights to Damnation. He requested the termination of that contract and his request was refused. A lawyer who has presumably seen all the documentation has confirmed that his contract is still in force.

The only confusion as to what is and is not valid is largely coming from commenters here who are not in fact attorneys and are not educated in contract law. The opinion of the only attorney whose opinion truly matters in this case--Alex's own attorney--is that the contract is valid.

What Alex is doing is in violation of the contract he signed. It is not "the right thing." There is no actual evidence that the contract is not valid for any reason. We've seen people--usually PA authors--advised to do this same thing, or play the "Just change the title and they'll never know" game, many times here and our advice is always the same: Do not do this. You could be sued. Get the rights back in writing, or wait out the contract term, or move on to another project.


And for those who asked:

http://www.publishlawyer.com/


They aren't supercheap, but if several people go in on one consultation that could work.



.

Thanks, Stacia. I should have explained in my message that I was referring to the authors with older contracts, which were signed with an Australian or Canadian EP. Alex signed up fairly recently. And that's interesting that his contract does not have a termination fee clause. Damnation has only been in business since September, yet their current contract is for a five year term with a one thousand dollar kill fee. Kim must have added that a couple of months ago. Hmmm...BTW, Alex will email a copy of his contract to anyone who is interested.

Clementine B
05-06-2010, 01:37 AM
And for those who asked:

http://www.publishlawyer.com/


They aren't supercheap, but if several people go in on one consultation that could work.



.

I'll say they're not "supercheap!!!" Heck, they're not even "cheap." In fact, they're damned expensive. $475 for an initial consultation. Ouch, ouch, triple ouch!

Sugertime
05-06-2010, 01:56 AM
In Alex's own words (itals mine):

There is no confusion. Alex signed a contract assigning publishing rights to Damnation. He requested the termination of that contract and his request was refused. A lawyer who has presumably seen all the documentation has confirmed that his contract is still in force.

The only confusion as to what is and is not valid is largely coming from commenters here who are not in fact attorneys and are not educated in contract law. The opinion of the only attorney whose opinion truly matters in this case--Alex's own attorney--is that the contract is valid.


.

Okay, I must be missing something here. Alex said he wanted out, and he was hit with a termination fee demand in the amount of some $800.00, when there is no termination fee clause in the contract he signed with Damnation. Yet, Alex just has to put up and shut up and wait out the contract term???????

I don't think so.

Let's try: Kim should be charged with attempted extortion. She is in the wrong here, not Alex.

DaveKuzminski
05-06-2010, 02:07 AM
No royalties of any kind shall be paid to the Author until this Amendment (and for US residents, this includes the W-9 tax form) has been completed, signed and received by Damnation Books, LLC/Eternal Press.
This document constitutes an amendment to the afore-mentioned contract. All provisions of that contract, except those which are explicitly changed above by this amendment shall remain in full force and effect.

Bolding mine.

I don't care what an amendment states, the publisher who took over a contract is bound by the original terms until all parties to it sign the amendment changing those terms. So until that happens, the original contract terms remain in force.

This in effect is a form of blackmail that a reasonable court would refuse to enforce. So, until you sign the amendment, Damnation Books and Eternal Press are required to comply with the original contract and you don't need an attorney to figure that out. Why else does anyone think they want your signature?

Stacia Kane
05-06-2010, 02:34 AM
Okay, I must be missing something here. Alex said he wanted out, and he was hit with a termination fee demand in the amount of some $800.00, when there is no termination fee clause in the contract he signed with Damnation. Yet, Alex just has to put up and shut up and wait out the contract term???????

I don't think so.

Let's try: Kim should be charged with attempted extortion. She is in the wrong here, not Alex.


*shrug* Talk to Alex's attorney. I'm not saying it's good or ethical or that the kill fee is appropriate or that Damnation is even a decent place or anything of that nature. I think this is a terrible situation and I think it's awful that he's in it.

All I'm saying is, he was told by his legal advisor that the contract is in force and so he is deliberately violating the terms of that contract, and that's never "the right thing" to do. He's already got problems with this situation and I don't want to see him or anyone else end up with more.


.

Kensington
05-06-2010, 02:39 AM
This is the contract Alex signed with Damnation Books. I have his okay to post it here. As you can see there is no termination fee clause:


"Author Agreement for Novels and Novellas Damnation Books
Page 1 of 3
Damnation Books, LLC
P.O. Box 3931
Santa Rosa, CA 95402-9998
(707) 543-6227
admin@damnationbooks.com
Author Agreement for Novels and Novellas
__________________________________________________ ___________________________________________
THIS AGREEMENT made the 15th day of December, 2009 by and between Alex Smith, hereafter called the Author and Damnation Books, LLC, hereinafter called the Publisher. This contract is considered legal and binding in all countries. Should a legal dispute arise, the laws of the State of California, USA shall apply.
WITNESSETH that the Author and the Publisher for the considerations named agree as follows:
Work
This contract is for the fiction work titled, Swimmer, written by the Author. The Author guarantees this work is free and clear of any counts of libel, plagiarism, breach of privacy, misrepresentation of facts and there is no legal action pending regarding this work. The Author further guarantees the work is not in the public domain; that they are the sole owner and copyright holder with full power to enter into this contract. _____(Author initials)
Rights
This contract grants the Publisher worldwide electronic, worldwide digital, 1st North American and 1st UK print rights for a five year period from the date of release. At the end of that five year period, the Publisher has the option to renew this contract with the Author at a payment rate of 40% net royalties on books sold. Upon termination of this contract, all rights return to the Author. Some distributors require book availability for a five year period and both parties acknowledge this must be honored even upon termination of this contract. ________(Author initials) ________ (Publisher initials)
Publisher
The Publisher will provide editorial services, the cover art, book ISBNs (International Standard Book Number) and an electronic Author copy of the finished book. ISBN’s will be obtained under the name of Damnation Books. The Publisher will set the retail price of the work, based upon length, comparable works, and format. The publisher retains the right to raise or lower the price as needed to stimulate sales.
The Publisher reserves the right to contact distributors, bookstores, vendors, organizations and ebook outlets to sell the work in association with Damnation Books.
Author
The Author will provide the completed story, their contact information, and biography. The Author is authorized to use the cover image for promotional purposes and may not alter it in any way other than dimensions (size) for the duration of this contract. Upon termination of this contract, all art rights revert back to the Artist.
Reasonable deadlines for completion will be determined by the ongoing publishing schedule. Failing to meet deadlines can result in the book publication being delayed until a later time or as grounds for termination of this contract in the case of multiple missed deadlines.
The Author has the right to burn exact text copies of electronic versions of the Work onto CD to sell copies at book fairs, signings and other author events, provided they pay Damnation Books 60% of the net sales, due quarterly. Damnation Books
Author Agreement for Novels and Novellas Damnation Books
Page 2 of 3
does not accept returns of any Author created digital copies or Author discounted print copies of the work. The Author may sell print copies of the work they have purchased at an author discount. The Author is responsible for reporting any royalties from resale to taxation authorities and the Publisher shall be held harmless for any underreported royalties caused by the Author’s failure to report royalties earned through resale.
It is the Author’s responsibility to inform the Publisher of any change in tax information or contact information including Paypal email address. Any royalties paid which are not received as a result of the Author’s failure to keep up-to-date contact information with the Publisher will be held until update has been received or this contract expires . The Publisher agrees to attempt contact through existing contact information (telephone number, email address or mailing address) before unilaterally withholding payment. If this contract expires, the Publisher will attempt another contact via telephone, email and postal mail. If ninety days pass from final contact attempt and still there is no response from the Author, the Publisher is no longer liable for those payments.
Editing and Proofreading:
The Publisher’s editors will identify problems and make suggestions to resolve the problems and improve the work. The Author is not required to use the suggestions, however the problems must be resolved before the manuscript is considered complete. The Publisher retains the right to release the Author from this contract if, in the Publisher’s judgment, failure to make such changes would make the work un-marketable or damage the Publisher’s reputation.
The Publisher will make no major changes to, additions to or eliminations from the work without the Author’s permission; with the exception of minor grammatical and typographical errors.
Copyright
The Author is responsible for registering the copyright if they so choose. The Author shall hold harmless and indemnify the Publisher from any recovery finally sustained by reason of any violations of copyright. The Publisher will place a copyright notice on all versions of the work.
Infringement
During the terms of this agreement and any renewal terms thereafter, should the copyright on the work be infringed upon, the Publisher may, at its own expense, take legal action in the Author’s name as may be required to restrain such infringement or seek damages. The Author hereby agrees to provide the Publisher with reasonable assistance in the prosecution of any such action. The Publisher is not liable for any expense incurred by the Author. If the Publisher chooses not to take legal action, the Author may do so at their own expense. In the event of money damages recovered for an infringement, legal fees, and court costs shall be deducted and any remaining monies be equally divided between the Author and the Publisher.
Contract Price
The Publisher shall pay the Author 40% net royalties on books sold, paid quarterly beginning from the date of release. All payments will be transacted through PayPal unless prior arrangements are made.
U.S. authors only: The publisher will issue a 1099 MISC statement of royalty earnings. Payment of taxes on royalties is the sole responsibility of the Author. U.S. residents must fill out a form W-9. These forms must be returned with the signed copies of this contract. No royalties will be paid out until the forms are signed and on file with Damnation Books.
Promotion
The Author and Publisher mutually agree to promote and market this work to the best of their abilities. The Author is expected to take an active role in promotion of this work and agrees to provide a link from their website to the Publisher’s website. The author is responsible for their own promotional materials.
The Publisher agrees to submit the work for review at no less than five reviewers. The Author is encouraged to submit copies for review on their own. No royalties will be paid on review copies. The Publisher will provide the Author with coupon codes for obtaining electronic review copies. Damnation Books will not provide print copies for review or for competition entries. The Author may use their own purchased author copies for reviews or contest entries if they so choose.
Author Agreement for Novels and Novellas Damnation Books
Page 3 of 3
Bankruptcy or Insolvency
Should Damnation Books, LLC be legally declared bankrupt or liquidate the business, this contract shall be automatically terminated and all rights returned to the Author.
This contract shall be binding upon and inure to the benefit of the heirs, executors, administrators, and assigns of the Author and upon and to the successors and assigns of the Publisher.
Signed this ______ day of ________, 20____ Signed this ______ day of ________, 20____
__________________________________ ____________________________________
Kim Richards Gilchrist, CEO Author
admin@damnationbooks.com Pseudonym:___________________________
Damnation Books, LLC Address: _____________________________
P.O. Box 3931 City, State, Zip Code__________________________
Santa Rosa, CA 95402-9998 Paypal address:_________________________
(707) 543-6227 Telephone number:______________________
Social Security #: _______________________
(US only; for tax purposes)"

Kensington
05-06-2010, 02:40 AM
And this is the kill fee demand. Once again, I have Alex's permission to post it here.


"Premature Contract Termination Agreement Damnation Books, LLC
Page 1 of 2
Damnation Books, LLC
P.O. Box 3931
Santa Rosa, CA 95402-9998
(707) 543-6227
admin@damnationbooks.com
CONTRACT TERMINATION AGREEMENT
The terms for premature termination of the author contract between Damnation Books, LLC, hereafter referred to as The Publisher and Alex Smith, hereafter referred to as the Author. The contract being terminated is for the novella by the Author titled, The Berserk (formerly titled Swimmer) originally signed on December 15, 2009. The original contract is for a five year period.
Fees:
The Author will be charged the following fees before any books are removed from publication and rights returned. These fees are required to compensate those persons and companies who have already provided necessary services for this work in preparation for publication:
Title:
Fee for editing services completed @ $3.00 per page: (95 pages) $285.00
Fee for production and layout @ $25.00 per hour (5 hours) $125.00
Fee for staff compensation due to loss of sales: $250.00
Fee ISBN #(X 2. 1 for ebook; 1 for print): $ 50.00
Printer set up fees: $ 75.00
Original cover art fees: $ 50.00
Total due for contract termination: $835.00
The Author acknowledges that rights to the work return to him on the 61st day from the date the fees are collected in full and the Publisher signs this Termination Agreement. The Author agrees that this work may not be published with this or any alternate title, in any form for six (6) months from the date the Publisher signs over rights of the work to The Author. The Author acknowledges that all rights in full or any portion thereof, of the cover art are returned to the artist and any use by the Author is copyright infringement. The Publisher will exercise their right to prosecute on behalf of the artist should art copyrights be violated.
The Publisher will grant that rights are returned the author on the 61st day from the date the fees are collected in full and the Publisher signs this Termination Agreement. The Publisher has sixty (60) days from the date fees are paid and the Publisher signs this Termination Agreement., to terminate the public sale of the works. *note, some retailers may take time to remove the books from their systems as they only do updates once every two to four weeks for such revisions. The publisher will do everything in its power to see that the works will no longer be made available as soon as possible. The Publisher will also also deactivate all ISBN numbers associated with these titles at the time of removal from the Publisher’s distribution.
ALL conditions and agreements within this document are considered legal and binding. Should a legal dispute arise, the laws of the State of California, USA shall apply.
Premature Contract Termination Agreement Damnation Books, LLC
Page 2 of 2
CONTRACT TERMINATION REQUEST AND SIGNATURES
I, the undersigned (AUTHOR) am hereby requesting to prematurely terminate the following eBook and Print contract
with the publisher, Damnation Books, LLC. I understand that my rights will not be returned until sixty days after all fees
have been paid in full to the publisher.____(author’s initial) I understand that the ISBN numbers and cover art are no longer available to me and that I must remove them from all promotional materials and online venues. ____(author’s initial) I understand that I cannot publish this work in any form, under any title for six months from the date my rights are returned to me. ____(author’s initial) Once payment is received the publisher will then sign over and return rights to the works. Thereafter the author may use the works as they see fit in their current edited text at their own discretion and with the right to resubmit such edited work for publication anywhere.
Total fees required for contract termination: $835.00
Author Name: Alex Smith
Book Title: The Berserk (formerly titled Swimmer)
Signature: __________________________________
Date: ___________ ______________
Send two copies of this signed form via the postal service. Payment of fees can be made through PayPal at admin@damnationbooks.com or a US dollar money order payable to Damnation Books LLC. P.O. Box 3931 Santa Rosa, CA 95402-9998
The Publisher, Damnation Books LLC, hereby grants that rights are returned to the author mentioned below for the following titles.
Author Name: Alex Smith
Book Title: The Berserk (formerly titled Swimmer)
Damnation Books LLC
Kim Richards Gilchrist
CEO, Eternal Press and Damnation Books LLC
P.O. Box 3931
Santa Rosa, CA 95402-9998
(707) 543-6227
Publisher Signature: _________________________________
*only to be signed by the publisher upon payment of fees*
Date fees received:___________________
Date: ___________ ______________"

showme
05-06-2010, 02:44 AM
Bolding mine.

I don't care what an amendment states, the publisher who took over a contract is bound by the original terms until all parties to it sign the amendment changing those terms. So until that happens, the original contract terms remain in force.

This in effect is a form of blackmail that a reasonable court would refuse to enforce. So, until you sign the amendment, Damnation Books and Eternal Press are required to comply with the original contract and you don't need an attorney to figure that out. Why else does anyone think they want your signature?

Thanks so much for this, Dave. It's exactly what I thought.

michael_b
05-06-2010, 02:53 AM
Just an FYI most lawyers, and many online legal services, will write letters for around $50 to $75. If several authors sent those regarding her demands it might serve as a wake up call that she can't blackmail her authors this way.

Stacia Kane
05-06-2010, 02:57 AM
This is the contract Alex signed with Damnation Books. I have his okay to post it here. As you can see there is no termination fee clause:





What I see, and I suppose it's possible I missed it, is that there is no termination clause at all (save the wordage about how if the author fails to meet deadlines the publisher can then terminate the contract).

Again, I am not a lawyer. The lawyer Alex consulted about this presumably is. He offered his opinion. I don't understand why I'm suddenly at the center of controversy for suggesting that Alex should follow the advice and counsel of his attorney, because I don't want to see him or anyone else get sued.

.

Ravenwing
05-06-2010, 03:26 AM
Just an FYI most lawyers, and many online legal services, will write letters for around $50 to $75. If several authors sent those regarding her demands it might serve as a wake up call that she can't blackmail her authors this way.


She's none too savvy about legal matters. She's just a greedy opportunist, who saw a chance to buy up contracts from the bankrupt Canadian publisher, and sell them back to the authors who wanted out. The fact that these contracts did not contain termination fee clauses didn't stop her demanding kill fees anyway. (amateur night) She issues amendments, then when they're not signed, says it doesn't make any difference, because she doesn't need them anyway. (Hello!) Then why ask for them to be signed in the first place? This is a mickey mouse outfit out to scam writers, but it doesn't even do that well.

brianm
05-06-2010, 03:42 AM
That contract is a binding agreement between two parties. If Alex signed that contract, he is bound by the terms and conditions until he has written termination from the publisher or a court orders the contract terminated.

The termination agreement document is meaningless unless he signs and returns it.

I strongly urge Alex to pull the other version of the book that he is offering for sale and to seek the counsel of an attorney who specializes in intellectual property law.

~brianm~

luvreading
05-06-2010, 03:54 AM
That contract is a binding agreement between two parties. If Alex signed that contract, he is bound by the terms and conditions until he has written termination from the publisher or a court orders the contract terminated.

The termination agreement document is meaningless unless he signs and returns it.

I strongly urge Alex to pull the other version of the book that he is offering for sale and to seek the counsel of an attorney who specializes in intellectual property law.

~brianm~

I can't see Damnation scaring up enough cash to push this in court. And even if they did, the court would be likely to take a dim view of the kill fee attempt, considering Alex's contract does not contain such a clause. Kim would have to explain herself, as to why she tried to wring money out of an author like that. This is one unscrupulous lady.

I can also bet that Damnation is kept so busy with aggrieved authors that Alex will get lost in the crowd. I doubt the glare of publicity onto their doings would be to their liking, at all.

brainstorm77
05-06-2010, 03:57 AM
She may, and if she wins she may get her legal costs paid for.

Kensington
05-06-2010, 04:02 AM
She may, and if she wins she may get her legal costs paid for.

But how would she explain the kill fee attempt -- 800 big ones -- with no contract clause to back it up? This was attempted extortion. I think she's much more likely to end up in the slammer than to win and get her costs paid for.

BenPanced
05-06-2010, 04:04 AM
IANAL (but I have watched a few episodes of Law & Order: Lurid Sex Crimes Division) but the way I understand it, the legality of the kill fee doesn't automatically render the contract null and void or if Alex's signed a contract with the amendment or not. He's contractually bound to a publisher for them to publish his book. Full stop. He legally cannot take that book to another publisher nor can he self-publish it.

I'm thinking people are letting the issue of the kill fee cloud their posts. Yes, suddenly getting socked with a kill fee from a potentially bogus contract is a shitty thing to happen. But there is an original contract out there that Alex has signed that says "Damnation Books can publish my novel". That is the one that can be legally enforced and a judge won't give a flying fig about kill fees or fake amendments or whatever. Again, in my view, there are two things going on here and they need to remain separate.

brainstorm77
05-06-2010, 04:06 AM
Is she takes him to court they are going to look at how he violated that contract by publishing his own version of same said book. And I can tell you, she will win that one.

brainstorm77
05-06-2010, 04:07 AM
But how would she explain the kill fee attempt -- 800 big ones -- with no contract clause to back it up? This was attempted extortion. I think she's much more likely to end up in the slammer than to win and get her costs paid for. Yeah and she ain't ending up in the 'slammer' over that anyway. No matter which way it would go. All I got to say to it is then SUE. If it's that big of an issue, then go to court and settle it.

James D. Macdonald
05-06-2010, 04:09 AM
Here's my free advice, and worth all you paid for it:


Alex should write a new, different, better book and sell it to someone else.

brianm
05-06-2010, 04:11 AM
I can't see Damnation scaring up enough cash to push this in court. And even if they did, the court would be likely to take a dim view of the kill fee attempt, considering Alex's contract does not contain such a clause.

And you don't think the court would take a dim view of him publishing and selling the other version of the book on Amazon considering he has no right to do so because he assigned the right to Damnation?


Kim would have to explain herself, as to why she tried to wring money out of an author like that. This is one unscrupulous lady.

If she is, the court will see that and rule accordingly. But until then, Alex needs to comply with the terms and agreements of the contract.

~brianm~

Kensington
05-06-2010, 04:48 AM
Here's my free advice, and worth all you paid for it:


Alex should write a new, different, better book and sell it to someone else.

He probably already has one in the works. Still, it would be hard to simply write off the Damnation novel, and that's what he'd have to do, for a minimum of 5 years. I doubt, however, that Damnation will remain in business for too long. (Better hang onto that day job, Kim :-) The bottom line is, can they sell books, other than to their authors? Take a look at the website. What do you think?

http://www.damnationbooks.com/

The only problem when they go belly up is that they'll try and sell the contracts to another scammer. And should they succeed, the poor authors will be caught in the same bind. Multiple contracts, some which cross international lines, and amendments, and then amendments to amendments, etc. etc. ad infinitum. And all to try and wrench some unearned, undeserved cash from a poor struggling author. Shame on you, Kim.

brainstorm77
05-06-2010, 04:53 AM
He probably already has one in the works. Still, it would be hard to simply write off the Damnation novel, and that's what he'd have to do, for a minimum of 5 years. I doubt, however, that Damnation will remain in business for too long. (Better hang onto that day job, Kim :-) The bottom line is, can they sell books, other than to their authors? Take a look at the website. What do you think?

http://www.damnationbooks.com/

The only problem when they go belly up is that they'll try and sell the contracts to another scammer. And should they succeed, the poor authors will be caught in the same bind. Multiple contracts, some which cross international lines, and amendments, and then amendments to amendments, etc. etc. ad infinitum. And all to try and wrench some unearned, undeserved cash from a poor struggling author. Shame on you, Kim.

Can I ask what you have vested in EP or DB? Are you one of their authors?

Kensington
05-06-2010, 05:04 AM
Can I ask what you have vested in EP or DB? Are you one of their authors?

Fortunately, no. But I do know one of the EP authors from another publishing house we're both with. The sales can be counted on the fingers of one hand. She wants out. They're demanding a kill fee. Yet there's no such clause in the contract. Much the same situation as Alex finds himself in.

I had a similar experience with a publisher demanding kill fees that makes me particularly empathetic. That one ended well, when the authors ganged together and simply barraged her until she gave in. We got our rights back with not a penny spent.

Sugertime
05-06-2010, 05:29 AM
"At this time, they sent me a letter charging me a $800+ “termination agreement.” This letter included an itemized list of expenses—and as a publisher myself I know how exorbitant and ridiculous these charges are."

The above is from Alex's open letter to Damnation Books. It endorses how thick Kim is. She doesn't know what reputable business practices means, and thinks she can do anything, even to demanding kill fees when they are not in the contract. She just takes a lunge at the largest dollar amount she can think up and goes with it. Incredible.

This reminds me of her comment to authors who refused to sign her amendment. "It doesn't matter, I don't need it anyway. I still hold all the rights to your contracts..." blah, blah, blah... This woman could find herself in some seriously deep shit. You know, when you set out to rip a lot of folks off...it ain't gonna be pretty.

veinglory
05-06-2010, 06:08 AM
You know I really am inclined to be sympathetic to authors, but the repeated crude personal insults and an unwillingness to acknowledge the reality of the law are starting to get tiresome. Kim herslef only replied once or twice and left it at that. These threads are more useful if people only add to them when they have actual new information.

JulieB
05-06-2010, 06:48 AM
You know I really am inclined to be sympathetic to authors, but the repeated crude personal insults and an unwillingness to acknowledge the reality of the law are starting to get tiresome. Kim herslef only replied once or twice and left it at that. These threads are more useful if people only add to them when they have actual new information.

Quoted for truth.

CaoPaux
05-06-2010, 07:03 AM
You know I really am inclined to be sympathetic to authors, but the repeated crude personal insults and an unwillingness to acknowledge the reality of the law are starting to get tiresome. Kim herslef only replied once or twice and left it at that. These threads are more useful if people only add to them when they have actual new information.And bronzed for posterity.

If you do not have anything concrete or constructive to add, leave it to those who do. Last warning.

Ravenwing
05-06-2010, 07:09 AM
A new update about Eternal Press/Damnation Books from the Piers Anthony site:
http://www.hipiers.com/publishing.html

"ETERNAL PRESS - www.eternalpress.biz/. New Australian publisher. They have all subgenres of Romance, Westerns, Sci-fi, Paranormal, Historical, Suspense, Horror, Mystery, Gay, Erotica, Romantic Suspense, Women's Fiction, Self Help, Cookbooks. No poetry or Young adult. 65,000 to 105,000 words, and stories 5,000-6,500 words. They are electronic, but later may do POD with a one time printer set-up fee. Royalties 35% for ebook, 10% POD. I have a favorable report on them. April 2008 update: They are remodeling and moving, but remain in business. April 2009 update: Server Not Found. August 2009 update: they were bought, and moved to Canada. Terms for author contracts remain the same. They now offer all their books in ebook and print through Amazon and ebook through Fictionwise, All Romance Ebooks, etc. January 2010 update: sales seem to be low to nonexistent. March 2010 update: an author wanted out, but they insist on being paid off. April 2010 update: their contract termination fee is about $150. They seem to be poor at selling books, assuming their statements are accurate. I have learned of royalties under $5 for a year. It makes me wonder whether they are making money from termination fees instead of by selling books. There is also a question whether sales are honestly reported. And I heard from the publisher, unpleased with aspects of this listing. Royalties are now 40% for ebook, 25% for POD. They are now an American company. They are accepting submissions for novellas and full length manuscripts from 20,000 to 140,000 words. They make a reasonable case for the kill fee; it's fair if it is in the contract the author signs. I did not see an explanation for the low sales. May 2010 update: One author has verified that more people have bought copies than are reflected in the sales reports. There is also a question whether they have a business license. They were bought by Damnation Press, and I heard from their CEO, who says an author has a campaign against them, that her words have been abusive and hurtful, and that she is the only one out of 250 authors they have to complain, and they would like their good name restored. They wrote a similar message to PREDITORS AND EDITORS. But I have to say the case remains dubious. Remember, I got condemned and blacklisted when I protested getting cheated by a publisher, early in my career, though I had the right of the case, as I freely bruit about now; there is a similar smell here."

brainstorm77
05-06-2010, 11:56 AM
You know I really am inclined to be sympathetic to authors, but the repeated crude personal insults and an unwillingness to acknowledge the reality of the law are starting to get tiresome. Kim herslef only replied once or twice and left it at that. These threads are more useful if people only add to them when they have actual new information.

I agree. State the facts and stop the personal insults. It was the personal insults that got the EP thread closed for a period of time.

Momento Mori
05-06-2010, 02:31 PM
luvreading:
if the authors refused to sign this, what would the legal position be?

As others have said, it is not possible to give you a definitive answer on the legal position (or even to offer guidance on what the legal position would be) because we do not know the terms of the original contract that was signed with Damnation.

My very general comment therefore (which is not a substitute for individual authors seeking their own further legal advice) is exactly the same as it was for the same document that was posted to the Eternal Press thread:

Check what your contract said about the ability to assign and amend the terms.

It sounds to me that Damnation still exists as a company. If that is the case, then your contract remains with Damnation.

If the assignment clause in your original contract says that the contract cannot be amended or assigned without your consent, then it cannot be amended or assigned without your consent. Any attempt by Damnation to refuse to pay royalties would be an arguable breach of contract.

The amendment agreement is not binding unless and until it is signed.


Sugertime:
Hence the need for court, and a Judge to decide. But even then there are appeals...

For the love of God.

Go and speak to a lawyer. Yes legal opinions differ, but a qualified lawyer competent in the area of law you are asking about will be able to give you an answer and be able to prepare correspondence on your behalf.

Not everything ends in a court case. Not everything goes to appeal.

Sometimes a strongly worded letter from a good lawyer can get you the remedy you want.

The important thing though is to get the advice from a lawyer competent and qualified in the relevant area of law.

It's not difficult. It's just that it might involve you spending some cash up front or doing the research to find a free legal centre willing to look at it for you. If you don't want to do either, then you'll have to put up and shut up.


pagerette:
Damnation is strictly nickel and dime stuff. Alex did the right thing. He didn't agonize over contracts, he simply published his book elsewhere. I hope it's a great success.

No Alex did not do the right thing.

A number of us have told you why it is not a good thing, but to reiterate - he is in breach of contract and therefore open to a claim for damages.

What part of that do you fail to understand?

You might not like it, but that is the position and stating otherwise just proves that you have absolutely no grasp of the potential legal problems that can exist for writers like Alex. His own lawyer told him that his original contract was legally binding.


Kensington:
But in the case of Damnation there seems to be so much confusion with a contract crossing international boundaries three times, etc.

Just because you seem to be confused by the very simple explanations given on this thread, does not mean that the legal position is confusing.

In fact to me (and subject to authors getting their own legal advice) the position seems remarkably simple - Damnation appears to still be in existence as a company, therefore that underlying contract remains valid and in place.


Kensington:
There's got to be a legal clinic or something where an author can simply email all the documents involved, without having to pay an arm and a leg for the advice.

Look in your local Yellow Pages or directory or check the local university.


Sugertime:
Let's try: Kim should be charged with attempted extortion.

Yeah. Good luck with that.

What part of "Alex's lawyer told him his contract was legally binding" are you failing to understand?


Kensington:
This is the contract Alex signed with Damnation Books. I have his okay to post it here. As you can see there is no termination fee clause:


Kensington, Alex has already taken legal advice on all this and been told his original contract is binding.

What do you hope to achieve by reposting the documents here? What do you think we will be able to say that's different to what Alex's own lawyer has told him?


Ravenwing:
She's just a greedy opportunist, who saw a chance to buy up contracts from the bankrupt Canadian publisher, and sell them back to the authors who wanted out.

Do you have evidence that the original publisher was bankrupt or is it just a guess? Because unless you have the evidence, you shouldn't be throwing out statements like that.

Every piece of documentation shared on these companies suggests that the original companies remain in existence.

If they were bankrupt, then they would be (presumably) wound up and cease to be in existence.


luvreading:
And even if they did, the court would be likely to take a dim view of the kill fee attempt, considering Alex's contract does not contain such a clause.

Bollocks.

See every single post telling you otherwise and explaining why.


luvreading:
But how would she explain the kill fee attempt -- 800 big ones -- with no contract clause to back it up? This was attempted extortion.

Bollocks.

See every single post telling you otherwise and explaining why.


veinglory:
You know I really am inclined to be sympathetic to authors, but the repeated crude personal insults and an unwillingness to acknowledge the reality of the law are starting to get tiresome.

Yes - this exactly.

I'm finding it really difficult to sympathise with people who are showing absolutely no willingness to deal with the reality of the situation and making up their own law as they go along to justify their outrage.

MM

kaitie
05-06-2010, 03:58 PM
She's just a greedy opportunist, who saw a chance to buy up contracts from the bankrupt Canadian publisher, and sell them back to the authors who wanted out. The fact that these contracts did not contain termination fee clauses didn't stop her demanding kill fees anyway. (amateur night) She issues amendments, then when they're not signed, says it doesn't make any difference, because she doesn't need them anyway. (Hello!) Then why ask for them to be signed in the first place? This is a mickey mouse outfit out to scam writers, but it doesn't even do that well.

I'm commenting because this bothers me to no end. Do you know this? You're making personal attacks on someone based on the fact that they charge a kill fee. Yes, I think it's sleazy, but that doesn't necessarily mean that she intentionally went in and bought a company with the intention of making a profit off the unhappy authors.

Might she have? Yes, it's possible. It's a horrible idea to go with this, yes, obviously. There is potential that the current clauses are essentially blackmail, and at the very least she doesn't do a good service to the writers. We know this. But to start calling names and making assumptions like this, based on the evidence I've seen (I've read the whole thread) is jumping to conclusions farther than seem appropriate.

The other press she owns has kill fees. I seem to remember another conversation a few weeks ago, perhaps in that thread, in which someone had said that not having it written in the contract did not necessarily preempt a company from having them. Is it a particularly nice thing to do? No, not really. As far as I can tell, she brought over the business model from the other company.

We can state the facts here without resorting to what is comes off to me as blanket name calling. Maybe it's just because I haven't been in the other thread lately and maybe I'm missing something, but to go so far as to state that her only reason for picking up the company was to screw authors with a contract fee? Seems to be going a bit far.

Granted, I think I've said my peace on this one before in the other threads, and it still bothers me.

And dude, guys. I know it's a bit old now, but no picking on Stacia for saying it's not right for a guy to be violating his contract. If you want to put yourself in harms way by doing something like that, fine, but don't recommend it to others. I don't care how scummy a company is, it still doesn't legally give you the right to do whatever you please.

kaitie
05-06-2010, 04:01 PM
I'm finding it really difficult to sympathise with people who are showing absolutely no willingness to deal with the reality of the situation and making up their own law as they go along to justify their outrage.

MM

You said this better than I did, so it warranted a quote.

kaitie
05-06-2010, 04:07 PM
But how would she explain the kill fee attempt -- 800 big ones -- with no contract clause to back it up? This was attempted extortion. I think she's much more likely to end up in the slammer than to win and get her costs paid for.

Dude. I SWEAR this was gone over back in March. I swear. Should I go dig up the posts? Because you commented saying the same things in that one as well, and I seem to remember the statement back then that not having a kill fee did not mean they couldn't do it as long as there wasn't a clause saying no money would be charged. Pretty certain on that. 90% certain as a matter of fact.

I'll go dig them up if I have to. I am seriously getting beyond irritated at the complete disregard for what anyone else has said in the past. Just because you think it should be a certain way doesn't make you right.

We keep having the same freaking conversation about the kill fees and every single time you ignore what everyone else around you is saying. Argh. I must go now and do something to get un-pissed.

brainstorm77
05-06-2010, 04:56 PM
I'm wondering even without a kill fee... If EP/DB wanted to get their money back for what they invested in the books, would a judge look at that and rule in their favor? Anyone?

BenPanced
05-06-2010, 05:34 PM
The only problem when they go belly up is that they'll try and sell the contracts to another scammer. And should they succeed, the poor authors will be caught in the same bind. Multiple contracts, some which cross international lines, and amendments, and then amendments to amendments, etc. etc. ad infinitum. And all to try and wrench some unearned, undeserved cash from a poor struggling author. Shame on you, Kim.
Again, sheer speculation on your part, Kensington. You have NO IDEA if Damnation or Eternal or ANYBODY is going to fail/close/go belly up/tank/whatever. And even if they did, you have NO IDEA who will buy the contracts, if at all.

You'd mentioned earlier that you were taken in by a crooked publishing contract and are trying to present Alex's case out of sympathy. That's too bad, but all your cheap shots, bad speculation, obvious lack of desire to read the thread, and sabre rattling aren't doing anything to help you or Alex. Step away from the keyboard for a couple days and take the chance to clear your head. We'll still be here, providing a mod doesn't get seriously cheesed off and locks this and any related threads. We're honestly trying to engage you in the discussion and provide the best answers we know, but if you're aren't willing to pick up on that, there's nothing else we can do.

Terie
05-06-2010, 05:44 PM
The same folks having managed to get the EP thread locked, and clearly not having learned anything since then, and obviously disregarding the mods' incredibly clear warnings, shall we start a pool for how much longer until this thread is locked?

brianm
05-06-2010, 05:51 PM
I'm wondering even without a kill fee... If EP/DB wanted to get their money back for what they invested in the books, would a judge look at that and rule in their favor? Anyone?

Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe the judge will jump on his desk and give a rousing rendition of "I Want To Me" or dance a waltz with the bailiff.

The point is none of us know how a judge would rule on a case because we do not have all of the information a judge would have before making a ruling. Just as we cannot and should not provide legal advice or opinion, because we do not have all of the information and because of so many other reasons already pointed out in this thread.

Knowing that this publisher asks for early contract termination fees is interesting and provides some insight into how this publisher operates. Knowing this publisher is apparently unable to distribute and sell books is more interesting and provides more information as to how this publisher operates. And, imo, that is what we need to get back to in this thread. What is this publisher's business model and what can they provide their writers?

That's something we can give advice and opinion on.

~brianm~

Momento Mori
05-06-2010, 06:14 PM
brianm:
Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe the judge will jump on his desk and give a rousing rendition of "I Want To Me" or dance a waltz with the bailiff.

The point is none of us know how a judge would rule on a case because we do not have all of the information a judge would have before making a ruling. Just as we cannot and should not provide legal advice or opinion, because we do not have all of the information and because of so many other reasons already pointed out in this thread.

This.

Unless anyone under contract with Damnation Books wants to take it to court, no one knows what a judge will decide.

And I think we've established that no one under contract with Damnation has/wants to spend the cash to go to court. And some under contract with Damnation don't want to listen to what their lawyers have told them.

MM

brainstorm77
05-06-2010, 06:18 PM
This.

Unless anyone under contract with Damnation Books wants to take it to court, no one knows what a judge will decide.

And I think we've established that no one under contract with Damnation has/wants to spend the cash to go to court. And some under contract with Damnation don't want to listen to what their lawyers have told them.

MM

True enough.

James D. Macdonald
05-06-2010, 06:22 PM
He probably already has one in the works. Still, it would be hard to simply write off the Damnation novel, and that's what he'd have to do, for a minimum of 5 years.

Yeah, that's what he'd have to do. Perhaps forever.

Did you know that I keep saying "The only thing worse than being unpublished is being badly published"?

Stories like this are part of why that's true.

The book's dead. Move on.

veinglory
05-06-2010, 06:39 PM
I would note that not one author from Eternal or Damnation has sent their sales figures to ERECsite. No matter how a press behaves, sales figures speak for themselves.

CaoPaux
05-06-2010, 07:26 PM
The same folks having managed to get the EP thread locked, and clearly not having learned anything since then, and obviously disregarding the mods' incredibly clear warnings, shall we start a pool for how much longer until this thread is locked?At this point, I'm more inclined to boot the offender(s) than lock the thread(s).

J.Henry
05-07-2010, 01:40 AM
I think the outrage comes not so much from the kill fee, but the fact that it wasn't in Alex's contract, nor in the contracts of other authors involved with this press. Even those in favor of kill fees, acknowledge they should be in the contract.

It's hard to remain cool, when you know someone is trying to screw you, big time. Publishers like this think authors have no power, and they can use and abuse them as they wish. And if it wasn't for sites like this, they'd be right.

I see Alex's open letter is now going the rounds. I can understand his anger and frustration, but I agree with much of the advice given here. For his own sake, he should forget about this book, it's as good as dead, and move on.

http://www.writers.net/forum/read/1/32024/32024

Don West
05-07-2010, 05:18 AM
I would note that not one author from Eternal or Damnation has sent their sales figures to ERECsite. No matter how a press behaves, sales figures speak for themselves.

Don't blame the authors for staying silent they're scared witless of reprisals, and that it somehow gets back to Kim (we call her the Dragon Lady) that they've complained. My book hasn't sold anything so far. I'm locked in for five years, unless I pay her $750.00. Although there's nothing about that in the contract, I read it over carefully. I'm disabled, and eking by on a small fixed income, there's no way I can afford to pay her. I explained this to her, offered to pay her part of it, or pay the whole thing, in a series of instalments, from my PayPal account, on the first of the month when my pension cheque comes in, but she won't negotiate. She wants it all right away. She also said that if I wnet ahead and left anyway she'd have me blacklisted as a troublemaker so I'd never find another publsiher.

veinglory
05-07-2010, 05:32 AM
ERECsite data is taken anonymously and posted only as an aggregate of at least 5 reports. Also some authors have posted there data right in this thread, but I can't use it without their permission. You can also send anonymous reports to piers anthony and Preditors & Editors, the main watchdog sites for publishers. There seems to be something going on with these publishers but until there are specific reports it will not filter through into the public domain. Once that happens being "blacklisted" by them will probably be a badge of honor. ;)

Stacia Kane
05-07-2010, 05:35 AM
She also said that if I wnet ahead and left anyway she'd have me blacklisted as a troublemaker so I'd never find another publsiher.

I can promise you, this is crap. There isn't a list like that, and if there was, editors and publishers know to whom they're speaking and how legitimate they, and therefore any complaints they may have about their authors, are.

Write something else and send it to another, better publisher. There are plenty out there. Forget about whatever it is you have with Damnation and move on. You can do it!

Don West
05-07-2010, 09:48 AM
I know there's been problems getting honest accounting at Eternal Press. Author, A.C. Katt, bought 45 of her books from Amazon, yet they never showed up on her royalty statements. She sought legal advice about this last year. Here are the details.

“290 days and 1 hours ago.
Reply
She is the publisher, Eternal Press out of Vancouver, Canada. I am the writer to whom she owes royalties, AC Katt. She claims there is a problem with the Amazon accounting and she is waiting until it straightens out.

I had at least 45 sales at Amazon.com because my husband purchased the books to give away and purchased direct to avoid the publishers prohibitive shipping costs. We are Premium Members and get our shipping free. She lists no consumer sales at Amazon.
What can I do short of taking her to court. The contract demands that I pay all costs for an audit. If she is found to be a cheat, do I still have to pay all costs?

As far as Fictionwise, Ally told me in early may that I had sold 1050 copies (downloads) of my book, The Sarran Plague. They approximately three weeks later she said it was a "mistake" and I only sold 600 copies. It smelled funny because the ratio was wrong. Also the only people who had this problem with Fictionwise were Eternal Press's best XXXXXXX XXXXXXX. This kind of computer problem should have affected the whole system or at least everyone at EP, but it seemed to affect only those who had unexpectedly large volume of sales.”

http://www.justanswer.com/questions/2bp52-how-long-can-a-canadian-publisher-hold-back-royalties-my

brainstorm77
05-07-2010, 11:28 AM
Ok but once again, unless you all are willing to see a lawyer and possibly go to court, then what else can you really do? I suggest leaving the book and moving on.

veinglory
05-07-2010, 07:06 PM
Well, I think you can probably do a little more than that. You can find out the maximum time Amazon might take to send the accounting and after that time period send a firm, clear email demanding return of rights. Demonstrable non-payment fo royalties could also be sent to the watchdog groups which would get this press a big red 'not recommended' from most of them.

You may not be able to afford a court battle, but a well organised and factual account of the problems experienced would be a service to other authors who might otherwise submit to this press--and a good many ebook customers would become aware of it too.

JL_Benet
05-07-2010, 07:08 PM
If you are a member of the Horror Writers Association, I suggest you bring this to the attention of the Grievance Committee. They were able to get me monies owed to me by a delinquent publisher (without my having to spend my own money for legal expenses).

showme
05-07-2010, 11:34 PM
I had at least 45 sales at Amazon.com because my husband purchased the books to give away and purchased direct to avoid the publishers prohibitive shipping costs. We are Premium Members and get our shipping free. She lists no consumer sales at Amazon.
What can I do short of taking her to court. The contract demands that I pay all costs for an audit. If she is found to be a cheat, do I still have to pay all costs?



This is exactly the same thing that happened to me. The print books I purchased from Amazon never showed up in the quarterly statements. And of course, I didn't receive any royalties for them.

Ravenwing
05-09-2010, 01:12 AM
"This is the cover that caused all the problems. Alex did not like it. Kim refused to modify it, and insisted it would stand as is. What do you think? Do you like it? Do you think it's got what it takes to attract readers?"

http://www.damnationbooks.com/Covers/9781615720781.jpg

http://www.writers.net/forum/read/1/32024/32024

Kensington
05-09-2010, 02:15 AM
"This is the cover that caused all the problems. Alex did not like it. Kim refused to modify it, and insisted it would stand as is. What do you think? Do you like it? Do you think it's got what it takes to attract readers?"

No, I don't like it. It's bland, insipid and colourless. Albino, springs to mind. No wonder Alex reacted the way he did.

http://www.damnationbooks.com/Covers/9781615720781.jpg

veinglory
05-09-2010, 02:27 AM
I've seen worse.

J.Henry
05-09-2010, 03:03 AM
Alex didn't like the cover, I believe, because it in no way represented his story. Man, that Damnation website, with the black background is difficult to read. Anyone else notice that?

"Blurb: In this supernatural thriller, three aimless souls collide in a tempest of lust, violence and vice in Washington, DC, where the elitist country clubs they call their home can be as cutthroat as the business of staying popular. As their triangle grows tighter, they each battle to hold on to their sanity, one fleeing to Africa, the other two signing up for a cruise to Mexico. But they cannot evade their fate. And as they face down doubles and triples of themselves stalking them wherever they run, they will learn that the demons that haunt them will accept only blood for their final sacrifice."

http://www.damnationbooks.com/people.php?author=71

Terie
05-09-2010, 09:12 AM
"This is the cover that caused all the problems. Alex did not like it. Kim refused to modify it, and insisted it would stand as is. What do you think? Do you like it? Do you think it's got what it takes to attract readers?"

:Shrug: Authors virtually NEVER get a say in their covers. Even top-name authors don't have much power when it comes to a cover. It's typically specified in the contract that the cover is determined by the publisher.

IOW, now you're complaining about something that's common practice with even the largest publishers.

Maybe what you need to do is step away from these threads and educate yourself about how publishing actually works. You appear to know as much about it as you do about law.

Clementine B
05-09-2010, 09:35 AM
:Shrug: Authors virtually NEVER get a say in their covers. Even top-name authors don't have much power when it comes to a cover. It's typically specified in the contract that the cover is determined by the publisher.



That hasn't been my experience. Perhaps I've just been unusually fortunate, but my publishers have always cooperated with me in creating the cover we're both happy with. Kim's attitude leaves a lot to be desired. Her refusal to negotiate with Alex, unacceptable. She seems to be going out of her way to start wars with her authors by acting in an unprofessional manner. And it's a no win, no win, for her every time. Once a press's reputation is shot, as Damnation's has been, and rightly so, of course, nothing can restore it. And all over a cover dispute and termination fees not specified in the contract, oh dear. (ROFL)

Momento Mori
05-09-2010, 05:36 PM
Clementine B:
Perhaps I've just been unusually fortunate, but my publishers have always cooperated with me in creating the cover we're both happy with.

Okay. Who's your publisher?

Publishers may consult with an author on cover design if you're lucky, but they are not obligated to take the author's comments into account and unless it says otherwise in the contract (which it doesn't seem to here), it's the publisher's decision that's final.

MM

kaitie
05-09-2010, 05:39 PM
I haven't been published, but I have heard agents say that's one of the good reasons to have an agent, because an agent has a better chance of convincing a publisher to change a hideous cover than the author would working alone.

priceless1
05-09-2010, 07:55 PM
Kaitie, you're absolutely right. Authors, most often, don't understand the concept of cover design and what they want simply isn't marketable or advisable. Agents, OTOH, are attuned to the industry, and I've always happily listened to their feedback. This is going on the same time we're showing the artwork to store buyers as well.

mlhernandez
05-09-2010, 09:19 PM
:Shrug: Authors virtually NEVER get a say in their covers. Even top-name authors don't have much power when it comes to a cover. It's typically specified in the contract that the cover is determined by the publisher.
.

It's different in epublishing. All of my publishers provide me with detailed cover art forms. A cover artist renders an image and sends it my way for approval or thoughts. Sure, the publisher has the final say in the artwork but they always listen to concerns. I know plenty of authors who have gone back and forth with their cover artists and publishers until they find the right look for their cover.

triceretops
05-09-2010, 09:34 PM
Kaitie, you're absolutely right. Authors, most often, don't understand the concept of cover design and what they want simply isn't marketable or advisable. Agents, OTOH, are attuned to the industry, and I've always happily listened to their feedback. This is going on the same time we're showing the artwork to store buyers as well.

Found this to be true. An author might have an approximation of what will be truly attractive, but the publisher, who does most often have final say, will enhance on it. Works for titles too. I had a terrible title on my last book. I asked the agent what she thought--she agreed it was misleading and changed it. She NAILED it, giving it a proper thriller title. Mess--over with. Authors don't perform these tasks for a living. Trust your publisher or agent for proper feedback.

Tri

Kensington
05-09-2010, 10:26 PM
It's different in epublishing. All of my publishers provide me with detailed cover art forms. A cover artist renders an image and sends it my way for approval or thoughts. Sure, the publisher has the final say in the artwork but they always listen to concerns. I know plenty of authors who have gone back and forth with their cover artists and publishers until they find the right look for their cover.

Yes, and yes. That's the way it's always worked for me. The author always has input. The artist sends you the cover and asks what you think. That's the time to ask for any changes. I feel sorry for Alex stuck with such an atrocious, and inappropriate cover.

Here's another author's thoughts on it:

"I would have been very unhappy to have a cover like this. I realize a writer can't have absolute control over packaging, but come on. A little saleability goes a long way."

http://shocklinesforum.yuku.com/topic/15047?page=3

brainstorm77
05-09-2010, 10:39 PM
I've seen worse.

This.

brianm
05-09-2010, 10:53 PM
Alex didn't like the cover, I believe, because it in no way represented his story.

Fine.

Then he has three choices:

1) Pays to get out of the contract.
2) Sues to get out of the contract.
3) Forgets about the book and moves on.

What he doesn't do:

1) Offer a different version of the book himself on Lulu.

To quote UJ for emphasis:


The only thing worse than being unpublished is being badly published

The book's dead. Move on.

~brianm~

brainstorm77
05-09-2010, 11:38 PM
Fine.

Then he has three choices:

1) Pay to get out of the contract.
2) Sue to get out of the contract.
3) Forgets about the book and moves on.

What he doesn't do:

1) Offer a different version of the book himself on Lulu.

To quote UJ for emphasis:



~brianm~

The best advice here thus far.

James D. Macdonald
05-10-2010, 12:08 AM
"Blurb: In this supernatural thriller, three aimless souls collide in a tempest of lust, violence and vice in Washington, DC, where the elitist country clubs they call their home can be as cutthroat as the business of staying popular. As their triangle grows tighter, they each battle to hold on to their sanity, one fleeing to Africa, the other two signing up for a cruise to Mexico. But they cannot evade their fate. And as they face down doubles and triples of themselves stalking them wherever they run, they will learn that the demons that haunt them will accept only blood for their final sacrifice."

I don't know about the cover (or about how important covers even are in e-publishing), but that blurb sucks the big hairy wazoo.

FOTSGreg
05-10-2010, 01:39 AM
Uncle Jim said, I don't know about the cover (or about how important covers even are in e-publishing)

Yeah, like I believe that.

If you do, come see me about this bridge I have in Arizona along the seacoast...

I firmly believe everything Uncle Jim ever says except for that. And maybe a couple other things. But other than those he is an absolute sage.

(actually, he is an Absolute Sage and newbs ought to listen to everything he has to say and then some).

showme
05-10-2010, 07:54 AM
I actually liked the cover EP did for my book. They supplied an art information form, and gave me what I wanted. But I agree, the cover Alex got was awful. Anemic, springs to mind, and really wishy washy. It looks as if the artist wanted to save on paints. :-)

Don West
05-10-2010, 11:55 PM
I actually liked the cover EP did for my book. They supplied an art information form, and gave me what I wanted. But I agree, the cover Alex got was awful. Anemic, springs to mind, and really wishy washy. It looks as if the artist wanted to save on paints. :-)

Maybe it's supposed to look like a bloodless zombie, crying tears of blood, because it's losing a game of golf. That's a golf club it has, I think. Is there anything like this in the story line?

Sugertime
05-11-2010, 01:00 AM
Maybe it's supposed to look like a bloodless zombie, crying tears of blood, because it's losing a game of golf. That's a golf club it has, I think. Is there anything like this in the story line?

I think it's supposed to be a riding crop. But the figure is dressed in the clothes of a cricketer, not an equestrian. Weird.

JL_Benet
05-11-2010, 02:50 AM
I can't count the number of people I know who have been unhappy with their covers. Many of those people are with big houses, and have agents who have their back. I think that putting up a self-published edition on Lulu while trying to negotiate out of a contract is just about the worst possible thing a writer could do for their case. Legally, even going to the editor's mother's house and giving her the privilege of a Cleveland Steamer would at least not have been a gross violation of a signed contract. Any stance the writer had for claiming that he/she shouldn't have to pay to buy back rights is incredibly weakened. Write another, better book. Chalk this one up to a learning experience, and try to resell it when the rights at the current publisher expire.

Medievalist
05-11-2010, 03:11 AM
I don't know about the cover (or about how important covers even are in e-publishing), but that blurb sucks the big hairy wazoo.

There are real questions about what a "cover" means in an ebook. There are some ebook file formats that don't support images at all, for instance.

CaoPaux
11-12-2010, 09:01 PM
Damnation Books has bought the beleaguered Realms of Fantasy magazine.

Some community reaction:

http://www.tobiasbuckell.com/2010/11/10/tread-carefuly/
http://jimhines.livejournal.com/538539.html



Note: I am reopening this thread under double-super-secret probation. I.e., don't be stupid.

Momento Mori
11-12-2010, 10:20 PM
Well, if it is the real Kim Richards from Damnation Press who commented with such professionalism on Tobias Buckell's blog with this little gem, then I'm predicting more fireworks ahead:


Kim Richards
Oh yes, we paid a LOT more than $1.00.
Did you guys actually READ the thread at AW and all the other forums spammed with this? Did you notice the date and players? Alex no longer sells his bootleg copy of The Berserk at the advice of his lawyer; Damnation Books does sell it.
The other smear campaign didn’t work either. Same author posted as multiple people and stalked our staff. Is that someone whose advice you want to follow? Both Eternal Press and Damnation Books are stonger for having to prove ourselves. Guess you missed that.
We love our websites. They’re current, they’re gorgeous. They successfully sell books. This is the only place I’ve seen hate on them to date. Most people actually like what they see. I guess there’s always a first.
If you hate us without actually knowing us, that’s your problem. “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” To each his own.

Stay classy, Kim.

MM

Jamiekswriter
11-12-2010, 10:25 PM
I loved Realms of Fantasy. The artwork, especially back in the 80's was unbelievable. I used to rip it out of the magazine and hang them on my wall. Now, I wish I still had those magazines.

Unimportant
11-12-2010, 11:41 PM
It's a relief to read that the Realms staff will be continuing in their jobs. Doug Cohen has said that he and Shawna McCarthy, and likely the columnists and copy editors, will be remaining with Realms (blog entry here (http://douglascohen.livejournal.com/262802.html)). He's also said that he and Shawna are comfortable with the new owners and their plans for the magazine.

The biggest pitfall I can see is $$$. So many magazines have folded due to low subscriber numbers (though few have managed to have as many Lazarus moments as Realms) -- they're bloody expensive to produce. I hope Damnation has a tonne of funding to pour into Realms.

eqb
11-12-2010, 11:47 PM
I'm really glad to see that Shawna and Doug are still on the staff. Have they updated the submission guidelines, or are they the same as before? (Length limitations, pay rates, etc.)

Unimportant
11-13-2010, 12:04 AM
From what Doug said on his blog, everything remains the same -- pay rate, contract, etc.

Unimportant
11-13-2010, 01:55 AM
The latest info I can find:

RoF is open for submissions (http://www.rofmag.com/2010/11/09/damnation-books-llc-buys-realms-of-fantasy-magazine/):

Effective immediately, the magazine is reopening to submissions.

Locus reports that (http://www.locusmag.com/News/2010/11/realms-of-fantasy-changes-hands-once-again/) "the April 2011 issue will be themed “dark fantasy” to coincide with World Horror Convention 2011 (http://www.whc2010.org/), where Damnation Books will be hosting a party, and a booth in the dealers’ area."

D Cohen is asking authors (http://www.rofmag.com/2010/11/11/rof-fiction-help-me-internets/) who have/had mss with Realms to let him know if they'd like to have them remain under consideration, and he'd like everyone to pass on the word:

Shawna is going to have a lot of reading ahead of her as we build the magazine’s fiction inventory back up....If you had a story that was with Shawna and would still like it to be considered, please email me (slushmaster@gmail.com) and tell me the name of your story. It will save Shawna the trouble of reading a story that has since been withdrawn. It also wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world to let me know you’re officially withdrawing your story or that you’ve already sold it elsewhere.

D Cohen expects that Realms will expand (http://www.rofmag.com/2010/11/11/so-who-wants-to-talk-about-realms-of-fantasy/)in the e-sale arena:

Our new publishers have already have found some ways to cut costs for the magazine without hurting the product. They also have a wide distribution in the digital realm thanks to their book publishing business. This could help lead to additional electronic sales for the magazine while it continues being sold on newsstands and through subscriptions.

The new owners (http://www.tor.com/blogs/2010/11/realms-of-fantasy-deja-vu)will honour all existing subscriptions:

All current subscriptions will be honored and I understand that includes Dreams of Decadence subscriptions (which were applied previously to us to Realms of Fantasy subscriptions).

The new owners also assure readers that RoF will remain Fantasy (http://www.tor.com/blogs/2010/11/realms-of-fantasy-deja-vu):

I don't know why people suddenly think because one of our companies sells dark fiction (not only horror, but dark fantasy, thrillers, erotica, science fiction and more) that Realms will suddenly be a horror magazine. It's called Realms of Fantasy so it will remain fantasy.

victoriastrauss
11-14-2010, 02:26 AM
I'm really glad to see that Shawna and Doug are still on the staff.

I would not take bets on how long that will last.

- Victoria

Unimportant
11-14-2010, 03:19 AM
IMO, if Shawna leaves Realms, it won't be Realms any more. Without an equally well known editor (e.g., Ellen Datlow) to replace her, it'll drop off the face of the earth in less than a year.

eqb
11-14-2010, 03:39 AM
IMO, if Shawna leaves Realms, it won't be Realms any more. Without an equally well known editor (e.g., Ellen Datlow) to replace her, it'll drop off the face of the earth in less than a year.

I agree it would collapse, but I think it would take less than a year for the magazine--more like six months, or three issues.

Given that Damnation has taken on a failing magazine with huge debts, does anyone know if they have the resources to keep it going?

Stlight
11-14-2010, 05:53 AM
I don't see the logic in taking on the magazine, with all respect to the magazine.

I thought about this last night and there are a few possiblities.

1- she has the funding to pull it off and keep the magazine going.

2- she plans to re-issue the old issues, either in e form or paper. This could be both cool and not cool.

Please note I don't know anything about producing magazines.

Unimportant
11-14-2010, 06:31 AM
I reckon it's not just funding. No one can fund a losing proposition long-term. RoF is a popular magazine with a good readership and a well-deserved reputation for quality, but the readership hasn't been enough to cover the costs of running a high-quality mag. So the new owners will either have to find a way to increase revenue to meet the existing costs of running RoF, or find a way to reduce the running costs. The previous owner presumably tried and failed at both options. I haven't seen any evidence that the new owner would be likely to pull it off, but as with any new press or new venture, all we can do is wait and see.

veinglory
11-14-2010, 06:41 AM
Wait and see, and locate your deck chair outside the splash zone.

Unimportant
11-14-2010, 06:45 AM
Well, yes.

Do they pay on acceptance or on publication? I couldn't find it in their guidelines. That will likely make a huge difference to a lot of authors, given the higher-than-average likelihood of a story being accepted and never getting to print.

victoriastrauss
11-14-2010, 11:54 PM
Given that Damnation has taken on a failing magazine with huge debts, does anyone know if they have the resources to keep it going?

I wouldn't take any bets on that, either.

I think the folks at Damnation--lacking as they are in professional publishing experience--may be under the impression that they can make money. Let's see how long it takes for RoF to either fold or become a non-paying market.

- Victoria

Susan Littlefield
11-29-2010, 03:08 AM
Preditors and Editors does not recommend Damnation either. AW and PE consensus, and it's enough to avoid them.

Unimportant
11-29-2010, 03:49 AM
Yeah, but RoF is very respectable, and it seems unlikely that those running the mag would stay on if they didn't have some faith in the new owners.

Adding: Doug Cohen has mentioned (http://www.rofmag.com/2010/11/22/rof-update-contracts/)that Damnation has changed the RoF contract, but the changes have been approved by Shawna McCarthy.

para
11-29-2010, 05:14 PM
Yeah, but RoF is very respectable, and it seems unlikely that those running the mag would stay on if they didn't have some faith in the new owners.

People will stay on if they're getting paid and the alternative means leaving and not getting paid then defaulting on mortgages etc. Unless the staff have something lined up or massive savings I doubt they'll be going anywhere.

Unimportant
11-29-2010, 11:18 PM
Yeah, good point, Para.

Euan H.
04-21-2011, 01:10 AM
Thought I'd chime in here regarding Damnation books and Realms of Fantasy. I sold two stories* to Realms of Fantasy back in January. The contracts arrived soon after Shawna's email, offering a pay rate that was better than I'd previously been offered (very nice sum of money actually). The contract specified payment within 90 days of contracts being received by Damnation Books.

The payment arrived today via Paypal. All perfectly as specified within the terms of the contract. I don't know about other people's experiences with them, but mine have been perfectly satisfactory. I hope this goes some way to counterbalance the things that have been said in this thread (and about which I have no opinion).

ETA: *Interior art to one of the stories is here <= in my avatar. :)

Darren Frey
04-21-2011, 02:00 AM
I just checked out Damnation. Whats with the four asterisks between each scene? Seems kinda silly to me but I am considering trying them first when I get my WIP done.

brainstorm77
04-21-2011, 05:09 AM
I just checked out Damnation. Whats with the four asterisks between each scene? Seems kinda silly to me but I am considering trying them first when I get my WIP done.

Many publishers request that.

Darren Frey
04-21-2011, 05:55 AM
is this place worth checking ouut or am I better off trying Samhain first?

Soccer Mom
04-21-2011, 06:09 AM
Samhain is a bigger press.

Darren Frey
05-13-2011, 09:15 PM
ok I read over this thread and other threads about Damnation and I ddont see what the fuss is all about. The Better Business Beuro gave them an A+ and that is a tough thing to get from them. I had the thing on my contract about termination fees. It is between 50-1000 dollars depending on the time and moneyd they put into your book. I have had nothing but good things to say about DB. I even know a few authors who publish with them and they are very ssatisfied as well. Just because 1 person had a bad experience with them doesnt mean everyone has had one.

veinglory
05-13-2011, 09:20 PM
The BBB only knows what it is told and does not typically count author complaints other than for self-publishers (authors of commercial presses are not "customers"). I would look at more than that before making a final judgment.

Gillhoughly
05-13-2011, 09:39 PM
All businesses registered with the BBB start off with an A+ and the grade either stays or goes down as complaints come in.

For a while PublishAmerica had an A+, which devolved to an F.

This house didn't earn an A+; it just means no one has filed complaints yet.

A writer's best reference in this case is to pay attention to what other writers and editors have to say.

If you were about to go into a restaurant and a dozen of your friends said it was a ptomaine factory, would you be so eager to try it or fall in with them as they walk to another eatery?

Stick with the gang. The "health department" doesn't know everything.

JulieB
05-13-2011, 10:08 PM
I had the thing on my contract about termination fees. It is between 50-1000 dollars depending on the time and moneyd they put into your book.

I would be wary of signing a contract with a termination fee. Are you able to get the contract terminated and your rights reverted at no charge if the publisher doesn't perform? For example, does your contract have a clause that states if the book hasn't gone into production within a specified period of time that you can request your rights back with no penalty?

The sliding scale is also a bit of a worry to me. How does the author know how much time and money the publisher has spent on the book? What's to keep a publisher from just sitting on a manuscript and collecting $1,000 from the author? I'm not accusing Damnation of doing these things, but I am saying I wouldn't sign a contract like that.

IceCreamEmpress
05-13-2011, 10:39 PM
The Better Business Beuro gave them an A+ and that is a tough thing to get from them.

That's the automatic rating businesses start out with; as they receive complaints, points get taken away.


Just because 1 person had a bad experience with them doesnt mean everyone has had one.

This is absolutely true. Similarly, just because one person has had a good experience with them doesn't mean that everyone has had a similarly good experience.

That's why these threads are here, so that different people can offer their different perspectives and the folks reading the thread can draw their own conclusions.

Could you say more about your good experiences of being published with them? Because that's important data for these threads.

Darren Frey
05-13-2011, 11:24 PM
I would be wary of signing a contract with a termination fee. Are you able to get the contract terminated and your rights reverted at no charge if the publisher doesn't perform? For example, does your contract have a clause that states if the book hasn't gone into production within a specified period of time that you can request your rights back with no penalty?

it says that if it is not published within a year or the company should go bankrupt all rights are returned to the author.

JulieB
05-13-2011, 11:55 PM
it says that if it is not published within a year or the company should go bankrupt all rights are returned to the author.

Glad to know there's a time limit. That can help protect you. The bankruptcy clause is nice, but as far as I'm aware, your book could still be held as an asset in bankruptcy court. There are folks here who have a better grasp of that bit than I have.

And as long as there's no sanity clause. You know there's no such thing as a sanity clause. :D (h/t Marx Bros.)

victoriastrauss
05-14-2011, 01:20 AM
I had the thing on my contract about termination fees. It is between 50-1000 dollars depending on the time and moneyd they put into your book.

A termination fee offers absolutely no benefit to a publisher. Instead of attempting to recoup your costs if your authors leave early, why allow your authors to leave at all? Set a reasonable contract term, and hold your authors to it. That's the way it's done all over the publishing world. There's just no good reason to have a termination fee.

Unfortunately, termination fees in publishing contracts can tempt publishers to abuse--for instance, holding the fee over authors' heads to enforce good behavior. Suppose the publisher saddles you with an incompetent or overzealous editor, and you protest--the publisher may tell you to get in line or they will invoke the termination clause, complete with fees. I've heard from quite a number of authors over the years whose publishers have used termination fee clauses this way.

- Victoria

CaoPaux
07-18-2011, 10:37 PM
Recovered from 7/9/11 (lost the first few re: editor’s request to rewrite the book in a different tense):


Today, 08:33 PM
djherren
I love mysterious projects!


Originally Posted by Darren Frey View Post
Everything should work out considering 24 hours later the book is almost completely edited to the editor's liking.
This is the scariest thing I've read in a while. Complete edits in 24 hours after the editor asked for an intensive rewrite? Even assuming you talked your editor around from the tense change, he/she couldn't have done more than basic content editing yet.
__________________
the Donna half of Moira Rogers


Today, 08:35 PM
firedrake
working on one book at a time. :D


Originally Posted by djherren View Post
This is the scariest thing I've read in a while. Complete edits in 24 hours after the editor asked for an intensive rewrite? Even assuming you talked your editor around from the tense change, he/she couldn't have done more than basic content editing yet.
Um...yeah....this.

I had fairly light edits for my book and they took more than 24 hours.
__________________
I have a new book! Stolen Summer to be published by Total e-Bound in August. Watch this space.


Today, 08:43 PM
Darren Frey
Vampire At Heart

No no these are the edits I did which was changing from present to past tense. Its hard to tell what else she will want me to do to it.
__________________
My Website: http://www.darrenfrey.net


Today, 08:47 PM
djherren
I love mysterious projects!


Originally Posted by Darren Frey View Post
No no these are the edits I did which was changing from present to past tense. Its hard to tell what else she will want me to do to it.
OH. I would call those revisions, not edits. Also, how in the name of sweet baby Jesus did you do that in < 24 hours?!? O_O
__________________
the Donna half of Moira Rogers


Today, 08:54 PM
Darren Frey
Vampire At Heart


Originally Posted by djherren View Post
OH. I would call those revisions, not edits. Also, how in the name of sweet baby Jesus did you do that in < 24 hours?!? O_O
well it is not completely done yet. I broke it in half and gave my wife the first half to do and I took the 2nd half. Mine is done and hers is about halfway done. I will try to help her finish it today.
__________________
My Website: http://www.darrenfrey.net


Today, 09:05 PM
brainstorm77
Weaver of romance

Everything put aside, this changing tense thing should have been brought to your attention before any contract was offered or signed.
__________________
Out Now!
Blog: Write Outside The Box


Today, 09:13 PM
priceless1
Under a messy desk


Originally Posted by brainstorm77 View Post
Everything put aside, this changing tense thing should have been brought to your attention before any contract was offered or signed.
This. If I have a big issue with a manuscript, I discuss those issues at the time of the contract offer. You don't just sign an author and say, "Oh hi, um, we need to you change the tense." And how you can effectively do this in 24 hours is beyond me. This is major.
__________________
www.behlerpublications.com and blog


Today, 09:20 PM
Darren Frey
Vampire At Heart


Originally Posted by priceless1 View Post
This. If I have a big issue with a manuscript, I discuss those issues at the time of the contract offer. You don't just sign an author and say, "Oh hi, um, we need to you change the tense." And how you can effectively do this in 24 hours is beyond me. This is major.
My book is only 40,000 words and it was already told in first person narrative so it was not very hard to do but I agree with you and the person above, they should have discussed it with me. The CEO of the company even read it before I was given my publishing deal so I don't know what is going on over there. I will know better than to deal with them again.
__________________
My Website: http://www.darrenfrey.net


Today, 09:22 PM
djherren
I love mysterious projects!


Originally Posted by priceless1 View Post
If I have a big issue with a manuscript, I discuss those issues at the time of the contract offer.
I agree. My writing partner and I have been working with our Samhain editor for three years now, and she still lets us know with a contract offer what her thoughts are on revisions. That way, we can decide whether we agree or discuss them with her before a contract is processed.
__________________
the Donna half of Moira Rogers


Today, 09:45 PM
priceless1
Under a messy desk


Originally Posted by djherren View Post
I agree. My writing partner and I have been working with our Samhain editor for three years now, and she still lets us know with a contract offer what her thoughts are on revisions. That way, we can decide whether we agree or discuss them with her before a contract is processed.
It's simply good business. That way everyone knows up front what the issues are and can agree or disagree with those changes. The upside is avoid wasting everyone's time.
__________________
www.behlerpublications.com and blog

shelleyo
09-15-2011, 06:46 PM
This is the scariest thing I've read in a while. Complete edits in 24 hours after the editor asked for an intensive rewrite? Even assuming you talked your editor around from the tense change, he/she couldn't have done more than basic content editing yet.
I've just read the samples of some books from this press. Anyone considering submitting here at the very least should download samples from several of their titles and read them with a critical eye. The ones I read were full of mistakes that I wouldn't expect to find in work that had actually been edited. These were glaring. And the prose itself, the storytelling, far below what I'd consider to be publishable quality.

Maybe I grabbed a few that are exceptions, but they would certainly give me pause before I submitted here, with or without warnings from anywhere else.

Shelley

amergina
11-02-2011, 08:30 PM
The owners of Realms of Fantasy (Damnation Books) announced that it is closing on the RoF website, here (http://www.rofmag.com/2011/11/02/farewell-2/).

victoriastrauss
11-05-2011, 01:23 AM
I'm sad for the magazine, and for the magazine's dedicated staff. But not at all surprised.

- Victoria

JL_Benet
12-19-2011, 11:34 AM
For whatever it's worth, they are paying for two tables at World Horror Con's dealer room and hosting a party.
http://whc2012.org/dealers.html
http://www.whc2012.org/parties.html

dondomat
02-16-2012, 06:50 PM
A novel of mine was just picked up by Damnation Books, and thus far the communication has been amiable, clear, and efficient.

BjornAbust
02-17-2012, 11:40 AM
I've actually been meaning to ask about this publisher. Looking at their site, they appear to have made some changes. Because of this, I've been considering sending them one of my novellas.

dondomat, would you be willing to describe your dealings thus far with Damnation books in more detail? Do you know if they still include termination fees in their contracts?

dondomat
02-17-2012, 12:11 PM
The dealings thus far in their embryonic stage; yes the kill fees are there.

Ask me again in 4-5 months when the novel is out there

Terie
02-17-2012, 01:31 PM
The dealings thus far in their embryonic stage; yes the kill fees are there.

Ahem. I think you mean 'termination fees'.

A kill fee is paid by a publisher (usually a magazine publisher) to a writer when the publisher decides not to publish a contracted stroy.

A termination fee is paid by a writer to a publisher when the writer wants to get out of their contract early.

Being as these terms are nearly opposite in meaning, it's a good idea to use them correctly.

dondomat
02-17-2012, 05:12 PM
A kill fee is paid by a publisher (usually a magazine publisher) to a writer when the publisher decides not to publish a contracted stroy.

A termination fee is paid by a writer to a publisher when the writer wants to get out of their contract early.

Being as these terms are nearly opposite in meaning, it's a good idea to use them correctly.

Thanks for the clarification, Terie. Gotta love absolute write, I learn new stuff here all the time.

chekzchevov
05-29-2012, 02:32 AM
"Overall my experience with Damnation was quite pleasant, until we disagreed on the design of the cover. They were unwilling to negotiate, so I asked to be released from my contract. At this time, they sent me a letter charging me a $800+ “termination agreement.” This letter included an itemized list of expenses—and as a publisher myself I know how exorbitant and ridiculous these charges are.

Further, there was no mention of a termination fee in the contract I originally signed. I spoke to a woman name Victoria Strauss, who wrote a fascinating blog post on the subject of kill fees (http://accrispin.blogspot.com/2009/08/victoria-strauss-kill-fees-and-why.html). She explained that a kill fee is used to blackmail an unhappy author into getting back in line. She said this example of a kill fee was especially “sleazy” because there was no mention of it in the original contract. When I refused to pay the fee, Kim Gilchrist told me that unless I paid it they would go on and publish the book without my support.

Believe me—I tried everything to negotiate—I even offered to PAY some of the legitimate fees in order to see a new cover designed for the book—but they refused. It was either, “Pay us 800 or shut up and sit down.” I also spoke to a lawyer—he agreed with Ms. Strauss in myself: Damnation Books would never get away with a kill fee in court, but they did have the rights to publish the work. So as of now, despite my pleas, Damnation will be publishing “The Berserk” in March (you can find it on damnation’s website).

I am writing this in hopes that you will alert your readership of Damnation’s hidden fees. They are unlawful, unethical and, for a small independent publisher who should be out there championing small artists—this kind of cutthroat publishing behavior is unconscionable. There are other publishers who do this. According to Ms. Strauss’ blog, writers should beware of this type of bullying, and keep an eye out for it in their contracts (and NEVER sign a contract that includes a kill fee) but Damnation does not state it in their contract.

Feel free to publicize this email and the contracts I’ve included as you wish.

I believe I’ve said enough—I am more than willing to answer any other questions regarding this incident, or fill in any details you may need.

Thank you in advance for any consciousness-raising you do on the issue.

Sincerely,

Alex Smith

UPDATE March 10th, 2010

Damnation Books officially violated their own contract when they made substantial changes to my text without my approval, including the re-naming of chapters and inappropriate additions to the copyright page. Further, Damnation published the book on Amazon as The Berserk by Alex Smith, April Duncan, and Matt Truiano. The latter two are editor and cover designer, respectively. It is outrageous that they would attribute the creation and writing of the novel to two people who, however talented and deserving of praise in their own right, had worked on the book for a month, where I had worked on it for two years. As such, I have decided to publish a “perfect version” entitled Berserk on Amazon. Damnation are welcome to try to sue me if they so chose."
http://reimagineritual.wordpress.com/2010/02/27/open-letter-about-damnation-books/#comment-650

P.S. Just to clarify here, as there's been some confusion, I'm not Alex Smith.


Holy shit.
I mean, excuse my tone, but....
Holy shit. Putting myself in this position, this is like one of the most terrible things I've read on here. I'd flippin cry if this happened to me.

Lordofthehunt
06-09-2012, 04:21 AM
While I loathe to make my arguments public, the unwillingness of Damnation Books to act like reasonable adults has forced me to take this step, the next being legal action. I want everyone to know how Damnation Books treats authors who want to leave their house.

On April 9, 2012, I sent a certified/registered termination letter to Damnation Books (received by Damnation Books on April 14, 2012) requesting the release of all rights they held regarding my works: Armageddon Bound, Resurrection, At the Gates, Skulls, The Long Road, and the Temple of the Dead.

On May 11, 2012, I received a certified letter in response to my request, summarily rejecting my request. (A PDF copy of the letter can be found HERE (http://tmarquitz.com/DB-RL-Edited.pdf))

Dear Mr. Marquitz,

This letter is to notify you that your request for return of rights is denied because the time length specified in the contract terms has not been reached. When each contract expires naturally, you will receive a return of rights at that time.

Signed: Kim Richards Gilchrist

In the specific case of Armageddon Bound (on a different contract than the rest of my works), this response is in direction violation of the contract term listed below. (A PDF copy of the complete contract can be found HERE (http://tmarquitz.com/Contract1.pdf))

Either party may terminate this contract for any reason with ninety (90) days written notice, sent registered mail to the current address of the Publisher. Upon termination of this contract, all rights return to the author.

As per the contract, I have complied with the terms and will consider Armageddon Bound to be released on July 14, 2012. (Nothing in the contract stipulates agreement or acceptance of the release required by Damnation Books, nor does any verbiage claim the right to refuse my request as they have done)

Further still, on May 8, 2012 (received by Damnation Books per USPS Delivery Confirmation on May 11, 2012), I sent $200 as payment in full of the minimum, early termination fees listed in the contracts for Resurrection, At the Gates, Skulls, and the Temple of the Dead: $50 for each. (A PDF copy of the contract* can be found HERE (http://tmarquitz.com/Contract2.pdf))

Once a work has gone into editing and forward and the Author wishes to terminate this contract prematurely, a penalty shall be charged to the Author to cover costs of staff and artists for work already performed. This fee shall be at a minimum of $50.00 to a maximum of $1000.00 to be determined by the time spent on preparing the work for publication and money recovered from sales of the work.

At the time, Damnation Books had chosen not to set a fee, deciding rather to deny the release of my rights without discussion or consideration of their own contract terms, so I sent the minimum fee for each contract, as it is more than sufficient to cover the costs associated with my works even without factoring in profits made by Damnation Books through the sale of my books.

The covers for the above listed books were $50 each, totaling $200. Fees for editing (as shown HERE in the editing contract for Damnation Books) are set at 10% net royalties, with no minimum or set amount promised the editor. There is also no minimum or set amount claimed in any of the contracts. As such, Damnation Books has no legal right to claim editing fees above and beyond what has been paid the editor through sales, regardless of amount earned. Given this, I had every intention of walking away with my rights on June 11, 2012, having met the terms of the contract release triggers in the following paragraph, present in all four contracts of the disputed books.

Upon receipt of a written termination request letter and the fees from the Author, the Publisher has thirty (30) days in which to remove the title from distribution and disable the ISBN numbers associated with this title. Rights to the work return to the author at the end of that thirty (30) day period.

Note: there is no stipulation in the contract requiring the approval or acceptance of either the fees (or even the amount of the fees paid) or the release of the rights by Damnation Books. There is also no verbiage anywhere in the contract that allows them to refuse the termination request or reject the payment.

However, today, June 8, 2012, I received a letter from a lawyer claiming to represent Damnation Books. While DB now acknowledges they have no claim to Armageddon Bound, per my original argument, they have chosen to set a fee for the remaining books: $1,000 for each, making it $4,000 for me to buy my way out.

Now, since each cover cost $50, single ISBNs cost $125 (and DB buys them in bulk so the cost is much lower), there’s no minimum fee for editing, and promotion is part of the cost of doing business, Damnation Books is charging me more than $825 for the formatting of each book (one of which is only 42 pages), all while ignoring any and all money they’ve made off the sales of the disputed books. And to top it off, their lawyer didn’t even provide me with an itemized list of the charges associated with my books or credits earned, making this nothing more an attempt to pressure me into submission.

So anyway, as I said earlier, I hate having to take this public but I want people to know exactly what they’re getting into when they sign on with Damnation Books. I was their first author, and I’d been nothing but loyal and supportive since the beginning and look where that got me.

This is, amongst the many, just one more cautionary tale for those seeking publication. I went into this with open eyes and still ended up having to fight for what is rightfully mine. So, be careful, and be absolutely certain you can abide the terms of the contracts you sign, and be ready to fight for what is yours because there's always someone out there trying to take it away.



*While this contract is specifically for At the Gates, the terms are the exact same for all of the disputed books.

Topaz044
06-10-2012, 04:33 AM
Ouch! I'm sorry you had to go through this. My only advice (and I'm not exactly an expert because every time I've had to quit a contract I've gotten off moderately easily) is to make it clear that you have no intention of promoting your book or encouraging others to buy this book, and that you will publicly condemn Damnation Books for their business practice, specially with the termination fee. This will of course discourage other writers from wanting to sign up with this publisher. Also ask for an itemized list of the charges applied which your future lawyer will need-although if you mention a lawyer, I trust you have seriously looked into that option as a lawyer isn't cheap. Even an initial consultation with a lawyer can take about $200/hour. So, in other words, be a pain in the ass and make it clear that it will cost more effort to keep you on rather than release you from your contract. That's option #1.

Option #2 is to not promote the book, but let the contract expire naturally. Call it lesson learned, write some new books, and forget these books ever happend. Sorry if that sounds harsh, but that unfortunately happens when working with a bad publisher. Even if you get the books back (and there's no guarantee) you will have an incredibly hard time selling a previously-published book elsewhere.

Hope this helps,
Natasha

Undercover
06-10-2012, 07:09 AM
I would go with option 2 and call it a lesson learned. Why on earth did you give them so many books and now backing out? I see you have other works too, I don't know where. But yeah, swallow your pride and keep the money for important things, like bills and gas. Why put all this time and effort into it and get a lawyer, that's going to cost more. You're talking thousands and thousands of dollars here.

I hate to be harsh too, but you should have caught on after the second and third or whatever other book you gave them. Whatever happens, I hope it works out.

Lordofthehunt
06-10-2012, 06:13 PM
Things will work out regardless whether my books remain with them or I get the rights back. I signed the contracts and knew what I was getting into and I'll handle my business. That said, it's absolute garbage that a publisher will ignore their own contract terms and fight to retain an author who doesn't want to be there.

My goal is to make sure people know how Damnation Books treat their authors when things don't work out between them. I stated the facts so people could see the whole picture and not some emotional rant. I'm not whining so people will pat me on the back and make me feel better, I'm warning folks off.

@Undercover: The reason they have so many of my books is because things were fine until Damnation Books changed. All of a sudden, ego got in the way. Being told my work is only as good as the worst of the dreck DB publishes is a clear indication that it's no longer about the quality but only the quantity. That's fine if that's how they want to operate their business, but I have bigger goals in mind.

I just want everyone to be sure of what they're getting into when they sign with Damnation Books.

Darren Frey
07-10-2012, 06:13 PM
Wow Tim! I had no idea this had happened to you. I have had no problem with my contract but I am unhappy with how the promotion has been handled. My book The Blood Reapers was released September 1st 2011 and I have yet to see a single attempt for them to promote it. I was told they would do the best of their abilities to promote my book. I have seen several pictures of their tables they had set up at conventions and I never even seen my book set up. I even sent them a big box full of promotional postcards I paid out of pocket for so they could hand them out but I am unsure if they actually did hand them out. I am currently writing the sequel to my first book which I am going to submit to Damnation because I couldn't really see anyone else accepting a sequel to a unknown book. I just wanted to share my experience with you guys.

triceretops
10-01-2012, 05:16 AM
"Now, since each cover cost $50, single ISBNs cost $125 (and DB buys them in bulk so the cost is much lower), there’s no minimum fee for editing, and promotion is part of the cost of doing business, Damnation Books is charging me more than $825 for the formatting of each book (one of which is only 42 pages),"

Now that's pretty strange when in reality, it looks like the author is totally responsible for nearly all the formatting of the book before or during contact signing. I have four single-space pages to prove it, with more rules and regs than I've ever seen from a small press publisher. (I wonder if I'm allowed to post those formatting guidelines). Looks like they need the author to do damn near all of the work.

Plus you must submit a marketing plan.

And if they are like Eternal, which I had a run in with two years ago, you won't get a contributor's copy, and they do claim to produce print books. The formatting guidelines are representative of both Eternal and Damnation contracts.

I goofed big time by submitting to them after reading their Duotrope page. I mistakenly thought their advance was listed as semi-pro, when in fact, that was an indicator of their pay scale per word for their novellas. One field over is their advance spot, and that one states "no monetary advance."

So I beat over to AW and found this thread. Oh, gawd. That's the first thing I should have done. Not to worry though, I haven't signed the contract, which is supposed to be on its way. And I'm not going to. It took them like five days to read the full, faster than anybody has ever read one of my books. Alas, no mention from the editor on how well they liked the story, only a reminder to download the PDF formatting guidelines--in other words, get your azz busy and do our setup for us.

When I saw the editing schedule rules, I really wigged out. Talk about tight; talk about missing deadlines; talk about do it our way or hit the highway. Nuh.

Tri

dondomat
10-01-2012, 11:45 AM
And if they are like Eternal, which I had a run in with two years ago, you won't get a contributor's copy, and they do claim to produce print books. The formatting guidelines are representative of both Eternal and Damnation contracts.Tri

Damnation and Eternal are two branches of the same outfit, with the same people. They do organize yahoo groups for their authors, so I suppose the underlying theory is that whereas a more pro-active indie publisher would buy the first few copies of book X on Amazon to get the ball rolling and would also mediate between its authors so that they publicly review each other's books, Damnation's and Eternal's authors are provided with a pool where to possibly do the same to each other if they find buddies. I suppose theoretically inside those pools the proactive authors cluster and promote each other, whereas lazy bums like me just grumble.

kelliewallace
10-31-2012, 10:05 AM
I submitted to them today without reading this thread. They got back to me within a few hours saying they will read it soon. I guess I'll just wait and see what they say.

triceretops
10-31-2012, 09:14 PM
I submitted to them today without reading this thread. They got back to me within a few hours saying they will read it soon. I guess I'll just wait and see what they say.

The speed at which they are responding (and sending contracts in my case), might be an indication that they are not getting too many takers from the sub trail. I can't abide publishers that feed off authors in any form whatsoever. We have enough inept small presses out there already.

tri:(

michael_b
10-31-2012, 10:31 PM
The speed at which they are responding (and sending contracts in my case), might be an indication that they are not getting too many takers from the sub trail. I can't abide publishers that feed off authors in any form whatsoever. We have enough inept small presses out there already.

tri:(

Just to address the speed with which publishers are answering submissions, it's because a large portion of them are in need of acceptable material. It's fast to reject something unpublishable and the bulk of what any publisher gets falls into this category.

There are a few other factors to take into consideration too. There are about 5x as many publishers now as there were even 3 years ago. There are not, however, 5x the number of good writers.

A portion of the good writers have gone the self-publishing route, thereby reducing the number of authors looking for publishers.

So if you get a fast response, don't just think it's a sign that you've sent to a bad publisher--not saying anything regarding the state of Damnation, but they aren't on my 'submissions shortlist'--just that you've sent to a publisher being hit by the shortage of publishable work, especially in the erotic romance field.

jonereb
12-28-2012, 08:27 PM
Why is Damnation Books on the "Beware" list? http://accrispin.blogspot.com/2007/02/happy-valentines-day-from-writer-beware.html

jonereb
12-28-2012, 08:31 PM
A portion of the good writers have gone the self-publishing route, thereby reducing the number of authors looking for publishers.



Opinions, please. In the age of e-books and social media, is it better to self-publish on Amazon and the other sources or go with a small press. Advantages? Disadvantages?

JulieB
12-28-2012, 09:11 PM
Why is Damnation Books on the "Beware" list? http://accrispin.blogspot.com/2007/02/happy-valentines-day-from-writer-beware.html

I didn't see it listed there. Maybe I need more coffee. (Hey, I *always* need more coffee!)



Opinions, please. In the age of e-books and social media, is it better to self-publish on Amazon and the other sources or go with a small press. Advantages? Disadvantages?

AW has a self-publishing sub-form here (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=47). The short answer is that it depends on the work AND the author. There's a lot of good discussion over there that can help you make that decision.

veinglory
12-28-2012, 09:13 PM
I would suggest asking that question in a separate thread so we can keep this one on the subject of Damnation Books.

Stacia Kane
12-28-2012, 09:45 PM
I didn't see it listed there. Maybe I need more coffee. (Hey, I *always* need more coffee!)




I'm not seeing it on the list either.

triceretops
12-28-2012, 10:01 PM
I didn't see it either. But it does appear on Preds and Eds as strongly not recommended. So does Eternal.

And that's interesting, 'cause I got a swift contract from Eternal the year before the Damnation one and turned that down too.

tri

Gokstad
12-29-2012, 04:57 AM
Why is Damnation Books on the "Beware" list? http://accrispin.blogspot.com/2007/02/happy-valentines-day-from-writer-beware.html

I don't find it there as of 12/28/12.

Lordofthehunt
05-03-2013, 03:46 PM
After filing a justice court suit against Damnation Books (http://www.damnationbooks.com/) on November 15, 2012 for multiple counts of breach of contract, I won a small financial judgment against the publisher on April 26, 2013. The judge, however, did not feel it was within his power to rescind the disputed contracts despite finding in my favor, referring me instead to a higher court. (My previous post on the subject can be found here. (http://tmarquitz.com/blog/?p=850))

However, as of my Q1 2013 royalties, I have met and well exceeded the contract terms set by Damnation Books regarding the early termination of my works, Resurrection and At the Gates.

As per Damnation Books’ contract terms (bolding is mine):

Once a work has gone into editing and forward and the Author wishes to terminate this contract prematurely, a penalty shall be charged to the Author to cover costs of staff and artists for work already performed. This fee shall be at a minimum of $50.00 to a maximum of $1000.00 to be determined by the time spent on preparing the work for publication and money recovered from sales of the work.

On June 6, 2012, after receiving my request for termination on April 14, 2102, the lawyer for Damnation Books set the fee for each of my contracted works through Damnation Books. He stated (again, bolding is mine):

“The Company has calculated the costs and time spent which the termination fee is intended to cover and in each instance the termination fee is $1,000.”

As of February 28, 2013, Resurrection has earned Damnation Books (per their official royalty statements less 10% editing fees deducted by contract terms) a total of $2682.02. At the Gates has earned them $2257.60. Both amounts are substantially over the $1,000 termination fees set by Damnation Books, effectively paying above and beyond the requisite (and excessive) fees for release. (These numbers do not reflect profits from March or April 2013)

As such, the rights for both Resurrection and At the Gates should be returned to me, effective immediately, as the thresholds for release have been exceeded (all associated costs paid) and my request for termination persists.

Therefore, I file this notice publicly as a statement of intent. It is on Damnation Books to do the right thing and release the rights to these two books, per our signed agreements, or I will take further legal action against Damnation Books to force them to abide by their contract terms.

(Damnation Books has been notified of this privately and has chosen to ignore my lawful request.)

michael_b
05-03-2013, 09:06 PM
What they're saying is that you owe them $1000 not withstanding anything the book has earned.

Have they paid any of those earnings to you? You didn't specify if that was total earnings for the books or if that was what you've been paid.

In either case, you're likely going to need to head back to court in order to secure the rights to your books.

Lordofthehunt
05-03-2013, 09:55 PM
What they're saying is that you owe them $1000 not withstanding anything the book has earned.

Have they paid any of those earnings to you? You didn't specify if that was total earnings for the books or if that was what you've been paid.

In either case, you're likely going to need to head back to court in order to secure the rights to your books.

This is total profits they've made off these two books. Damnation Books refuses to itemize or even tell me the charges they're claiming, but having worked for them (and having editing and art contracts as proof), it costs less than $62 for each book they put out.

They've earned every penny of time and money they've put into the books, and way more.

Also, their claim was made several royalty statements ago, and they've since earned well over the $1,000 each they were claiming since then, yet they still refuse to release the books.

shelleyo
05-04-2013, 12:33 AM
What they're saying is that you owe them $1000 not withstanding anything the book has earned.



Actually, what the book has earned is supposed to figure into the amount.

This fee shall be at a minimum of $50.00 to a maximum of $1000.00 to be determined by the time spent on preparing the work for publication and money recovered from sales of the work.

The problem lies in "and money recovered from sales of the work." Recovered would mean recovering their expense, not profits earned. So if they've recovered their cost, having earned more than $1000 on each book, they'll have a hard time convincing anyone that the writer is obligated to pay more than their minimum of $50 per book. IF and only IF that was actually written that way in the contract that you signed. The contract is all, so they have to abide by it.

But it's going to take a lawyer for you to convince them to follow their own terms, I'm sure.

michael_b
05-04-2013, 11:57 PM
The point is they don't say how much must be recovered in order to recoup their expenses. They get to set the amount they want back, not the author, which is unfortunate because they do not give a sliding scale of how much earned equals how much taken off production costs in this case. (And yes, there are publishers out there who clearly spell this out in their contracts when there is a buy out requirement on books that an author wants to pull before that contract ends.)

Also, a publisher's contract is only as good as the people behind the scenes, as we've seen with the Noble debacle--and may others for that matter.

NicoleJLeBoeuf
06-14-2013, 10:35 AM
FWIW, Damnation Books has a table in the World Horror dealers' room this weekend (similar to what was noted upthread a year or two ago). Spotted a couple of my friend's books there, and also an anthology which I remember was calling for submissions last year or so.

Seeing them there tonight was what prompted me to come looking for this thread and read it through, hoping against hope that there'd be some good news about them by the end. Sad to hear it's otherwise. It makes me feel very conflicted about purchasing books from them--though my friend was enthusiastic about me doing so.

FOTSGreg
06-15-2013, 03:43 AM
Wow, I can't believe it's been 3 years since I visited this thread.

In the intervening time, covers for ebooks have evolved significantly until they are at least as important for drawing in a reader as they are for a paperback or hardback book.

Amazon posts a cover image. Smashwords posts a cover image. PubIt! posts a cover image. It's the cover image that first attracts your eye and draws you in to at least take a look at the ebook's contents.

I've seen cover images that looked like they were drawn by a child using a crayon (which they basically were) and professionally-developed cover images from the Big 6. There's an enormous difference in the quality, naturally.

So, imho, covers for ebooks have become as important for ebooks as they are for paperbacks and hardbacks.

NicoleJLeBoeuf
06-16-2013, 10:19 PM
So here I am at the World Horror Con, and, as it turns out, not only is Damnation Press selling books here, but also Kim Gilchrist is here. She was on this morning's panel about small presses.

During that panel, another panelist (J. L. Benet) spoke highly of Absolute Write's BR&BC thread when the topic turned to need to research small presses before signing with them. (Writer Beware and Pred&Ed were also mentioned, and also just Googling the press's name with "scam" added to the search string to see if any red flags come up.)

When the microphone came around to Gilchrist, she (politely, calmly) registered disagreement with Benet about AW, saying she can't recommend AW because she's been flamed there and because she's had authors threaten to badmouth her there if she didn't do what they demanded.

Now. I've read this thread. I think her refusal to release discontented authors from their contracts without them paying her $800+ first is a pretty despicable act. That post of hers (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5505223&postcount=162) that MM quoted was pretty darn unprofessional. And even if I weren't familiar with her name from this thread, I have an innate distrust of anyone saying "Don't go to AW; they all gang up on publishers to flame them there." I've been here years. I know what's usually behind such an accusation: They didn't just take my word for it that I'm a good, successful, author-friendly publisher! They asked me hard questions I was uncomfortable answering! They told people not to sign my contracts, and I can't see what's wrong with my contract, so there must be nothing wrong with my contract, and they're just mean! They don't want my business to succeed!

But here's the thing: On this very thread, we had people calling her -- and these are all direct quotes, I've got the thread open in another tab so I get it word-for-ford -- "a failed author turned 'publisher'," "too chicken shit to come on here and explain herself," "we call her the Dragon Lady," "going out of her way to start wars with her authors." (I also remember, but cannot find to quote, a pretty nasty bit about how she's just trying to grab anything she can get.)

Some of the people commenting turned out to be sockpuppets (see the great sockpuppet invasion of 2011 in the "birthers" thread at TIO and you'll recognize names from the earlier part of this thread). But some are regulars in good standing.

In most cases, our hardworking moderators and some others of our regulars squashed that crap pretty hard. I can't praise that highly enough. Our community is a fantastic one. But we have to stay fantastic. We have to strive always, despite heated tempers, to hold ourselves to a high standard of discourse in the first place.

Here's the thing. I'm not trying to defend Gilchrist's business practices. But when criticizing a publisher's practices, it's supremely important that we here at BR&BC confine ourselves to the facts: what the contract said, whether the publisher upholds it, what the advance/royalty terms are and whether the checks come in like they should. Every negative comment needs to be an observation of fact -- "they did this," "the contract says that" -- or a factually-derived opinion -- "this contract term/business practice is bad for authors and here's why."

The moment we start in with the personal insults, accusation of malign motivation, sweeping statements of moral character, or claiming to know someone else's inner state, that's when we lose the high moral ground. That's when we lose the ability to go back to the facts to defend our words. That's when someone like Gilchrist can say she got flamed here and be absolutely correct. The real people here in this very real audience who heard her say that she got flamed here, they can find the posts here in this thread calling her "chicken shit" or "Dragon Lady" and see for themselves that it's true, she was flamed.

Please, y'all. It's understandable that we're going to have publishers coming away from this forum feeling persecuted, and we can't let that keep us from sharing information and dispassionately analyzing contracts. We have to protect authors.

But for crying out loud, don't give them ammunition. Don't give their persecution complexes any basis in fact!

I'm sure I've done it myself from time to time. I'm human. But I shouldn't do it, and I'm going to renew my commitment to this right here, right now.

Stay classy, y'all.

AnneGlynn
06-17-2013, 02:03 AM
Thanks, Niki, for sharing your thoughts. "Classy" is a good thing.

Now that you've been to this year's Horror Con, what are your feelings about Damnation Books?

articshark
06-17-2013, 03:31 AM
Niki- great post. Seriously. This needs to be reposted in several threads here in BR&BC.

James D. Macdonald
06-17-2013, 04:17 AM
In this thread's defense, both the "chicken shit" and "Dragon Lady" remarks were made by trolls: Sock puppets talking to other sock puppets. Those socks have been identified, labeled, and banned.

I suppose I could go through the thread and put THIS POST WAS MADE BY A SOCK PUPPET--DISREGARD IT at the top of each.

Btros
06-18-2013, 03:46 AM
Question about Damnation Books (figured I'd just post it here instead of starting another thread):

Is the beef with them just that they charge you an unreasonable termination fee to get out of your contract early when you're not happy with their services? From what I can gather, the author with the biggest issue was unhappy with the cover and wanted out before his five years were up? Is that the main gripe?

Just curious, because I have a work that was accepted for publication by DB, and I really don't care if they keep the rights for five years. What I'm wondering is if they are a legitimate publisher, or if they're one of these pseudo-publishers that basically accepts anything they get and just takes a cut of the sales for doing things you could do yourself.

kaitie
06-18-2013, 03:57 AM
My opinion:

Termination clause is awful. It's a ridiculous amount, and shouldn't be required at all.

The covers are very amateur. I personally wouldn't buy a book with a cover that weak, and I know I can't be alone. As an author, I would cringe to be given a cover that looked like many of theirs. As such, I wouldn't submit.

The content is also weak. I remembered being unimpressed before, so I just read samples on four different books. I saw a couple of grammatical errors, though not as many as I've seen with some presses, but they just a general sense of not quite there writing. I'm sure they have some that are better than others, but it either shows a willingness to publish things that aren't quite ready to be published, or a lack of editing ability. Neither would speak well to me.

dondomat
06-18-2013, 06:30 AM
In this thread's defense, both the "chicken shit" and "Dragon Lady" remarks were made by trolls: Sock puppets talking to other sock puppets. Those socks have been identified, labeled, and banned.

I suppose I could go through the thread and put THIS POST WAS MADE BY A SOCK PUPPET--DISREGARD IT at the top of each.

Uncle Jim, just saying this is good cause for an early morning coffee cheers from me. Cheers!

dondomat
06-18-2013, 06:40 AM
Just curious, because I have a work that was accepted for publication by DB, and I really don't care if they keep the rights for five years. What I'm wondering is if they are a legitimate publisher, or if they're one of these pseudo-publishers that basically accepts anything they get and just takes a cut of the sales for doing things you could do yourself.

Yo,
if you mean legitimate in the sense of respected - try variations of 'damnation books author wins award' or 'damnation books with another winner' or something in Google. If you get positive and real results, then the answer is yes.

If you mean legitimate in the sense of helping their books become commercially successful - check their books closest to yours in genre on Amazon. If the sales ranks (I recommend Kindle, because that's usually the strength of smaller guys) hover within the top 100 for paid Kindle - you've got yourself a winner. If they all wobble around the top 10 - 50 000 - you've got yourself a pretty OK mid-level situation. If the books that you check out are all around like 500 000 or 1 000 000 in paid Kindle - then, obviously, the only way to succeed commercially with them would be to take command of your marketing yourself.

This still wouldn't necessarily mean that they are 'illegitimate', but it would mean that they are probably not the people through whom it is realistic to become commercially successful, unless you think that a) they are basically decent folks who just needed a real winner to appear and that winner is you, or b) that you're still beginner level and have to see the publishing process from the inside a few times with smaller guys, before trying 'for real', which is also OK, albeit time and effort consuming. And probably best done with pen names.

Btros
06-18-2013, 06:47 AM
Thanks both for the good info. I also reread my comment and I really hope it didn't come off as flippant toward anyone who voiced a concern about the publisher. Appreciate your comments.

NicoleJLeBoeuf
06-18-2013, 08:20 AM
Now that you've been to this year's Horror Con, what are your feelings about Damnation Books?

I revisited this thread after I saw their table in the dealer's room; their name rang a bell with a sour note in it, so I was worried, especially after I saw a good friend's books in their stock. That particular friend seems happy to be with them, and I do regret I never made it back down in time to buy a copy. I also saw them selling an anthology I remember seeing the call for submissions for; that anthology contains authors whose names I know of repute along side the names I don't recognize. (Except... now that I look up Corrupts Absolutely, I see it is associated with Bastard Books, not Damnation -- so I'm not sure why I saw it on Damnation's table. Maybe the two tables were next to each other?)

So clearly some people who I consider authors-in-the-know are publishing with them in one form or another.

The covers of the books on their table didn't make my eyes bleed or anything, though none of them wowed me.

Gilchrist's contribution to the panel I attended did not strike me as unprofessional in the least, though when she mentioned having been flamed on AW and not recommending it therefore, I did wince. She said it calmly and without sounding vindictive, but it still made me want to facepalm for her. Meanwhile, an author friend sitting next to me leaned in and whispered, "If authors were telling her they'd report what she did to Absolute Write, it's probably because she did something that needs reporting." She went on to note that she's got friends published with Damnation/Eternal who've share some unhappy experiences with her.

That is the sum total of all I heard from or about Damnation Press while at World Horror this year.

Nothing about the Con, or about seeing friends' names on book covers and antho TOCs on Damnation's table, has changed my mind about the undesirability of Damnation's "kill fees" practice. It seems to me that poor sales are a very good reason for an author to want their rights back, and that many epublishers have specific rights-reversion language in their contracts for just that reason; and that holding a book for some arbitrary amount of years despite a dearth of sales unless the author pays up is predatory.


In this thread's defense, both the "chicken shit" and "Dragon Lady" remarks were made by trolls: Sock puppets talking to other sock puppets. Those socks have been identified, labeled, and banned.

I suppose I could go through the thread and put THIS POST WAS MADE BY A SOCK PUPPET--DISREGARD IT at the top of each.

Yes, I did in fact note this very thing in my post! The majority of those setting the flamebait were handles who are now clearly marked as "Sockpuppet"; ditto in the Eternal Press thread (which I finally read yesterday). Maybe your addition would make that more obvious, I don't know. But I do know--and this is what really bothers me--that some of the people chiming in eagerly behind Clementine and showme and Kensington and the rest were not marked as sockpuppets or as "banned" or the like. They were members in good standing (although I admit luvreading still has only some 50 posts).

I appreciate that others of our regulars pushed back. (I especially appreciate Stacia in the Eternal thread telling off one of the sockpuppets for their nasty comments about those suffering mental illness.) At times moderators closed the thread, reopening it only cautiously. That was good too. But the band-wagon-jumping-upon by people who weren't part of that particular sockpuppet hivemind was disturbing, as was how long the whole thing went on. I'm not condemning the thread outright; I just can't help wondering if it could have been handled better. Not necessarily such that Gilchrist wouldn't have come away feeling hard-done-by; she'd have felt that regardless--but just such that I'd feel less conflicted sending to this thread any author friend who wanted to know about Damnation Press but wasn't familiar with AW.

Basically, since yesterday's panel and Gilchrist's comments therein--since, essentially, my real-life reminder that the people whose business practices we investigate here do in fact occupy real life and we may come face to face with them at any moment--I've just become hyper-aware of the onus upon us to always bring our best game to this forum. And it seemed valuable to share that feeling with y'all.

Stacia Kane
06-18-2013, 03:19 PM
The thing is, how else are we supposed to handle it ("we" as in the AW community, not the mods in particular)? We can't tell people what opinions they are and are not allowed to express, as long as they follow the One Rule. This is an internet forum where pretty much anyone can sign up and join the conversation. Readers of these threads really should be able to separate the wheat from the chaff when it comes to deciding who's worth listening to/whose opinions are worth taking seriously.

We all felt the termination fees were and are unfair, to put it mildly. There's nothing wrong with saying so; that's what this forum is for. But I know I personally tried very hard to be objective, and I know I'm not the only one. Discussions of the termination fee were pretty unanimously against, but I saw a lot of people defending this publisher against the more outrageous and uninformed opinions expressed--and yes, that includes the disgusting and offensive comments about mental illness, which frankly I think show any person with any intelligence what kinds of people those comments come from, and how much weight to give their other posts.

Whether or not someone is labeled as a sockpuppet is far less important than the fact that when a sockpuppet says something like, "Well, that contract is obviously illegal because it wasn't signed in front of a lawyer," a bunch of us said, "No, it isn't." Labeling someone a sockpuppet is far less important than the fact that when the sockpuppets said things like, "It's totally the right thing to do to violate a contract," a bunch of us said, "No, it is absolutely not, and an attorney who has all the information has said so."

We provide a place where people can speak. It's a conversation, and in conversations sometimes people express opinions others may not like and some people will correct them or express differing opinions or whatever. People here have said all kinds of rude or silly or incorrect things, and expressed all kinds of criticism and positive remarks about all kinds of publishers or publishing methods or whatever else. The fact that the discussion takes place here doesn't mean we personally approve of every statement made in every thread, and usually we say so.

When I read an internet forum and see people saying outrageous things, and then see moderators or people with experience and credentials on that topic expressing differing opinions, I know whose opinions I'm going to listen to. I can't imagine I'm the only person who feels that way and I honestly think that anyone calling themselves a writer should have at least enough reading comprehension to tell who's legit and who has an axe to grind.

Personally I felt the members here did a pretty good job defending Ms. Gilchrist against some of the more ridiculous accusations and statements made here, and I'm sorry she feels that by letting those comments stand and openly, publicly refuting them (as opposed, I guess, to deleting them) she thinks AW somehow "flamed" her. I wonder if she would have preferred us to simply delete them without refutation, thus allowing the sockpuppets and axe-grinders the chance to go elsewhere and make the same statements without refutation--and without, then, even the chance for people to see them, Google Damnation, and find this thread to read various publishing professionals here express differing opinions.

If you're going to charge a rather outrageous termination fee, you should expect that writers will have something to say about it. It's not AW's fault that they did, and it's not our fault that rather than delete some of the more outrageous and misinformed statements we chose instead to point out publicly why they were outrageous and misinformed.

amergina
07-09-2013, 09:13 PM
From a link tweeted by Writer Beware, an author blogged about her ongoing dispute with Eternal Press/Damnation Books:

http://www.terribruce.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=321%3Ajuly-5th-update-on-publishing-dispute&catid=65%3Athereafter&Itemid=81


So…what, exactly, happened?

Well, basically, when I received the final proof copy of Thereafter on April 28th (for a May 1st release date) from the publisher (Eternal Press, a division of Damnation Books), it was riddled with errors. In addition, the publisher had made quite a few substantial changes to the voice/tone/style of my writing, changes that were never discussed with me and certainly not approved by me.


In short: The final/publisher's version of Thereafter make me sound like an illiterate git.


Every book has a few errors. That’s just life. However, Thereafter has 194 errors and 84 erroneous changes. Let me repeat that: THEREAFTER HAS TWO HUNDRED AND SIXTY THINGS WRONG WITH IT…in a 252 page book.

164 of these errors are formatting errors.According to the blog post, she tried to work things out amicably, but will now be going to court to sort things out.

Lordofthehunt
07-10-2013, 02:37 PM
I've spoken with Terri and, unfortunately, she's in the same position as I am. Kim Richards will not budge even despite my already having a legal judgment against Damnation Books.

To date, my books, Resurrection and At the Gates (through DB), respectively, have earned her $4535.21 and $3920.38 in pure profit, and yet, to my face at World Horror Con, she told me she still expected me to pay $1,000 for each book if I want to get them back, no exceptions. Therefore, she's telling me that each book cost over $5,500 to produce. (Out of pocket for DB: cover art $50, editing: $0 (editor paid based on sales only, with no minimum), producing the book: DB gets the better end of a 60/40 split for exactly that purpose, the potential profit on a 5 year contract. ISBNS: bought in bulk means less $1 to $5.75 per version. Not sure how any of this adds up to $5,500)

Here is the contract term she's ignoring: Once a work has gone into editing and forward and the Author wishes to terminate this contract prematurely, a penalty shall be charged to the Author to cover costs of staff and artists for work already performed. This fee shall be at a minimum of $50.00 to a maximum of $1000.00 to be determined by the time spent on preparing the work for publication and money recovered from sales of the work.

BTW, she also told me, and the court, directly that she's not obligated to provide any sort of cost breakdown on these charges she's claiming.

Old Hack
09-07-2013, 02:39 PM
Terri Bruce has gone ahead with legal action against Damnation (http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/20130906/articles/130909654?title=Author-sues-Santa-Rosa-publisher-over-typos-in-book). From that article:


A Sonoma County judge on Wednesday agreed there was evidence to support Bruce's claim and ordered the publisher to stop selling, distributing or promoting the novel until the dispute is resolved.

The book appeared to have been listed for sale on Amazon. A paperback version of her first book, “Hereafter,” was going for $16.31.


“Plaintiff has demonstrated through competent evidence that she will likely prevail in this matter,” Daum wrote in his tentative ruling.


As I just said in the Round Table thread where this has been mentioned (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?p=8414201#post8414201), this case has very interesting implications for writers who have signed with any publishers with similar approaches. Of which there are many.

Undercover
09-08-2013, 01:00 AM
I think I only have a year left for mine and my royalty payments are depressing, but I know my books are still selling on certain sites, including Amazon UK, which I've never seen on my statements. I'm tempted to bring it up (like I've brought this up before) but I'm afraid they're just going to say the same thing in that some of these places are on a majorly delayed payment schedule. If they don't get paid you don't get paid. I think it's just I don't get paid.

I'd pitch a bitch about it but I don't think I'd get anywhere with it. So I made a conscious decision (that I learned from my mistakes) and never sent them another novel again. And all the new stuff I write now, I make sure the publisher has a good reputation.

JulesJones
09-11-2013, 11:18 AM
Email sent by Kim Richards to a public Yahoo mailing list yesterday:
Damnation Books has a call for horror submissions. No, despite recent rumors, our contract DOES NOT have termination fees...hasn't for over fifteen months now. We originally included them because the author in me wanted to be nice and allow writers a way to buy out their contracts if they want. Heck, my cell phone contract has one...they're a viable way of doing business. However, after the criticism and complaints, we took them out. It's actually to the company's advantage NOT to offer those. For me, this falls into the realm of 'no good deed goes unpunished'. While it doesn't say explicitly, I would assume from the phrasing that she no longer allows early termination even for a price, rather than reducing the price to one that realistically reflects Damnation's losses.

Terie
09-11-2013, 11:29 AM
Email sent by Kim Richards to a public Yahoo mailing list yesterday: While it doesn't say explicitly, I would assume from the phrasing that she no longer allows early termination even for a price, rather than reducing the price to one that realistically reflects Damnation's losses.

Termination fees are not standard in a publishing contract. No matter what kind of spin she's trying to put on it now, they're not author-friendly. Especially not when she seems always to have asked for the maximum amount allowed by the contract.

Stacia Kane
09-11-2013, 02:28 PM
Her original contract--at least the one we saw posted here--didn't include the termination fee, either. (Or any termination clause.)

kaitie
09-11-2013, 04:52 PM
I love the "As an author I wanted to be able to spend hundreds to cancel my contract" angle. I'd think that, as an author, she'd want to be able to cancel without having to pay up. That just reeks of making up an excuse she thinks sounds better than it was purely for business because she wanted to make money on books that were being taken away so she couldn't make money on them the traditional way.

I'm not buying it. In fact, it kind of offends me that she thinks authors will nod and smile and say "oh, that was so nice of you!"

veinglory
09-11-2013, 06:31 PM
That's quite the spin. 'Fees are better than never allowing termination'. Well, yes, but there is another option. Especially if the author wants out because of shortfallings in the publisher's performance.

neicolec
09-18-2014, 07:29 PM
Just adding a link to Naomi Clark's blog post today about Damnation Books and why she doesn't promote her own books that have been published through DB.

http://naomiclarkwrites.blogspot.com/2014/09/i-suppose-we-should-talk-about-elephant.htm

Undercover
09-18-2014, 07:37 PM
Just adding a link to Naomi Clark's blog post today about Damnation Books and why she doesn't promote her own books that have been published through DB.

http://naomiclarkwrites.blogspot.com/2014/09/i-suppose-we-should-talk-about-elephant.htm

Looks like she took the link down.

Maggie Maxwell
09-18-2014, 07:54 PM
Looks like she took the link down.

Try this one: http://naomiclarkwrites.blogspot.com/2014/09/i-suppose-we-should-talk-about-elephant.html