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Thread: Treeside Press / Electric eBook Publishing

  1. #1
    Writting broad batgirl's Avatar
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    Treeside Press / Electric eBook Publishing

    Okay, I myself am unpublished. But I have an acquaintance who has three books with Treeside, and I have been watching in dismay recently. I don't have anything like full information, unfortunately.

    However, roughly, they're an e-publisher and PoD, and their contract got them a 'not recommended' on P&E. The founder said he'd clean up his act, and I gather he rallied the troops to send in their positive reports.
    This was followed shortly by his saying it was all too much for him, and handing the company over to a friend in-whom-he-had-complete-faith. Friend was published by him, and may have been an editor (don't have solid info on this) but no track record in publishing himself. The website went down and came back up again.
    Most recently, the website has gone away again, the former owner is being treated for depression, and the new owner has sent out a curt note saying something like "I can't deal with the guy anymore." Neither of them seems to be available to explain what's going on.
    (The website used to be something like www.treesidepress.ca - I suppose there's cached info somewhere.)

    What I'm wondering about is this. I've read a bit about what happens to the authors' rights when a publisher goes bankrupt, over on the PA thread (short answer: It depends), but what happens to the rights if the publisher just vanishes?
    Is she stuck in limbo? Are publishers legally dead after seven years? Or what? I'm not sure of the details of the contract - I think the book stays in their catalogue? for two years, and if you want out of your contract after that they'll think about it. But I don't have the language, so that's no help.

    -Barbara

  2. #2
    haz a shiny new book cover Christine N.'s Avatar
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    That sucks. I also have a friend who has a book with Treeside. She was hearbroken when the site shut down last time, but really encouraged when it was sold to the other person. Are you saying it's gone again?? Drat. Her book was good too. Sigh Guess I better get her some virtual brownies.
    Christine

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  3. #3
    practical experience, FTW writerjenn's Avatar
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    There should be something in your friends' contract about what happens if the publisher declares bankruptcy or becomes insolvent for whatever reason. Generally, rights revert back to the author.


    If there is nothing, and your friend has heard nothing from them, then have her take another look in the contract. Their SHOULD be something in there about how to break the contract ie:registered letter and thirty days notice or something like that.


    Jenn
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  4. #4
    Writting broad batgirl's Avatar
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    update

    Yep, the website was gone when I looked for it, and none of the authors (at least, the ones she knows of) have been able to get hold of the owner.
    I'll see if I can find out about her contract. She doesn't want to talk about it at present, unfortunately. A mutual friend saw it when she first signed on and said it had a serious rights grab. But she was happy to be published.
    If they declare bankruptcy, at least that's something definite. I'm more worried about them just vanishing.

    ETA: an update. The former owner has reappeared. He says that if anyone wants a release they just have to ask. The writer asked. He said she could have the rights to the original mss but that he retained rights to the covers, to the edits, and to the isbns. Also that he has the right to continue to sell the works until his costs have been recouped. No accounting of said costs has been provided, and it's possible that royalties have been shorted (is all this starting to sound even more familiar?).
    If anyone can explain how exactly this is a 'release', I'd be interested. It sure as heck isn't a reversion of rights.
    The contract (according to the mutual friend) didn't seem to have any provision for the writer to cancel it.
    -Barbara
    Last edited by batgirl; 06-21-2005 at 07:49 PM. Reason: more information

  5. #5
    Ooo! Shiny new cover! Absolute Sage Cathy C's Avatar
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    The first part IS a release. All any publisher is going to give an author is what they originally presented. The cover art belongs either to the publisher or to the third-party artist who created it. The ISBN follows the COMPLETED book, so that's also correct. The edits belong to the editor as a "Joint Work" under the copyright laws.

    If the publisher has printed books in a warehouse (which seems unlikely), then usually the publisher is entitled to sell off those copies and pay the royalties agreed to in the contract. But if there are no books presently warehoused, it seems . . . odd. That's where I'd stop and be concerned.

    I'd definitely suggest that your friend involve an entertainment attorney at this point, or s/he might wind up worse off than s/he is now. Especially if the owner actually decides to file bankruptcy. That will be a real problem, because the book will become an asset of the debtor that can be used to pay off creditors by the Bankruptcy Trustee!
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  6. #6
    Brian S. Matthews
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    Return of Rights

    A qualified person informed me that TreeSide/EeB entered into a fundamental and inarguable breach of contract with all writers/artists in April of 2005. At that point every contract became null and void.

    The company continued to function under my stewardship until early June of 2005 when it was made clear to me continued association was not in my best interests. I withdrew my services as well as my property (New Wilderness). At no point in time did I purchase the company.

    Even if contracts had not been rendered void, the owner issued a blanket offer of return of rights to all authors on June 16th, 2005. Authors that requested this and actually received a reply, were told that the company "reserved the right to sell the book until costs had been recovered."

    (takes a few moments to laugh his arse off)

    According to Canadian business law, ammendments to an agreement cannot be made subsequent to offer acceptance without the agreement of both parties. In other words, the company cannot offer return of rights and then make conditionals upon authors' acceptance of the offer.

    It is in my opinion that TreeSide/EeB holds no ownership, or right to, in any way, any of the properties it signed up.

    Of course this is just my opinion, so showing your contract to an entertainment lawyer is always a good idea.

    The silver lining here, in my opinion, is larger then the cloud. The contract all of us TreeSide/EeB authors signed was the definition of Faustian: lifetime ownership of book, all movie/tv/computer game/comic book/etc. rights with the authors receiving 50% of the "net" profits from sale of said rights. I would never ever sign a contract like this again. I only signed it in the first place because, like most of the TreeSide/EeB authros, I'd have signed away a kidney to get into print.

    An excellent contract can be found at www.mundania.com. Mundania goes as far as to supply an English translation of each of the more confusing bits of legalese.

    Brian S. Matthews
    Author: New Wilderness

  7. #7
    haz a shiny new book cover Christine N.'s Avatar
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    Yeah, my friend told me that they had told she could have her rights back. I think she's going to leave it with them until she finds another publisher, then yank it.
    Christine

    Young Adult Fantasy Author

    A CURSE OF ASH AND IRON: Coming Spring 2015 from Curiosity Quills Press

    "The Watchmaker's Ball" (short story), to be included in BEWARE THE LITTLE WHITE RABBIT (anthology), coming April 14 from Leap Books


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  8. #8
    Gone
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    Quote Originally Posted by Christine N.
    Yeah, my friend told me that they had told she could have her rights back. I think she's going to leave it with them until she finds another publisher, then yank it.
    Isn't that like saying, "I'll wait until I find somone else I want to marry, and then I'll finalize the divorce"? *g*

  9. #9
    Preditors & Editors Requiescat In Pace DaveKuzminski's Avatar
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    If your friend wants out and can have the rights reverted, now is the time to do it. Your friend shouldn't wait until time is of the essence and the publisher can then hold out for some sort of payment.
    When it comes to PA, the royalty check and the reality check arrive in the same envelope.

    Remember to be kind to writers who step in PA. They really don't know how bad it smells.

    The difference between PA and WLA? None. Both have the stench of dead and dying books emanating from their doorways.


  10. #10
    Hi, everybody. Another unfortune TreeSide author here. LoL! Brian, nice to see you popped over to shine a little light on the situation. So basically what you're saying is I don't even really have to request the return of my rights, because the contract's bullshit anyway? In any case, I did fire off a letter last week asking for the release of my book. I'd originally planned to stick it out, but now the phone number is disconnected. Somehow, I'm finding it hard to remain optimistic.

    Soooo ... anybody have any leads on a good place to market a reprint of a psychological thriller? *wink*

  11. #11
    haz a shiny new book cover Christine N.'s Avatar
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    Hi Reni!!! This is my friend I was talking about. I think. Unless there's another Reni somewhere who writes psycological thrillers published by Treeside Press??

    LOL
    Christine

    Young Adult Fantasy Author

    A CURSE OF ASH AND IRON: Coming Spring 2015 from Curiosity Quills Press

    "The Watchmaker's Ball" (short story), to be included in BEWARE THE LITTLE WHITE RABBIT (anthology), coming April 14 from Leap Books


    Represented by Jordy Albert of Booker Albert Literary

    I tweet

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  12. #12
    Hi Christine. Yes, it's me. A little disheartened, but still kicking. Can't ever get the writer down, huh? LoL!

  13. #13
    haz a shiny new book cover Christine N.'s Avatar
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    Not you, baby! Especially since you're good.
    Christine

    Young Adult Fantasy Author

    A CURSE OF ASH AND IRON: Coming Spring 2015 from Curiosity Quills Press

    "The Watchmaker's Ball" (short story), to be included in BEWARE THE LITTLE WHITE RABBIT (anthology), coming April 14 from Leap Books


    Represented by Jordy Albert of Booker Albert Literary

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  14. #14
    Lea Tassie
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    Coming out of the closet

    I'm coming out of a closet I didn't even know I was until a couple of days ago when I Googled TreeSide and stumbled across this forum. I'm the TreeSide author Batgirl was talking about when she started this thread. Thanks for going to bat for me, Batgirl!

    Yes, I signed three TreeSide contracts. Like most unpublished authors, I was desperate to change my status. And I've always been good at wearing rose-colored glasses. But never again! Brian Matthews called the contract Faustian; I say Draconian. No, there are NO provisions for cancellation.

    The owner offered to return rights to anyone who didn't want to stay when he "returned" in the middle of June. I accepted. I think that constitutes a contract. I'm going to treat it that way, anyway. The website is still down and I haven't heard from the owner. If there is any new information, I'll let you know.
    Lea

  15. #15
    Touch and go robeiae's Avatar
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    I'm not sure what this means, but at this website:

    http://www.elibron.com/english/other...ml?pbl_id=4117

    there are some 46 Treeside books being sold as e-books. I see several by you, Lea. Are you still getting royalty statements of any kind? Perhaps all rights to these books were sold to this company.

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  16. #16
    Lea Tassie
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    TreeSide

    You ask am I still getting royalty statements? HA!

    I've only ever had one check for royalties from TreeSide and that was in January of this year, and covered the first 18 months of my career with them. There was no statement with it and I had to email the owner and ask for a breakdown. He gave me one by email, just x number of ebooks and x number of paperbacks for each title.

    The next royalty check was to be at the end of April, for the first three months of this year. Since the owner decided to fold the company during the first week in April, then gave it to Brian to care-take, there was obviously no hope to seeing a check or a statement. I should imagine my chances of ever getting another nickel out of TreeSide resemble those of a snowball in hell.

    As to the ebooks, they're listed in quite a variety of places, though eBookAd is supposed to have prime responsibility. I'll check out the address you provided (thank you!) and see, if I can, what's happening.
    Lea

  17. #17
    Hi, Lea. I must've been sharing that closet with you, because Christine pointed this thread out to me quite some time ago but I was still giving TreeSide the benefit of the doubt. That defensive "don't talk about my publisher like that" creature was still lurking at the time. Now, however, my experience with TreeSide has begun to suspiciously resemble an anal probing ........

    My book has supposedly been in print for over a month, and I haven't even seen the real thing. Why? Because I haven't been able to place an order. First the phone was apparently off the hook for a month, then the number was disconnected. Now I see my listing has disappeared off eBookad.com. How uplifting.

    This is my take on the matter. We signed a contract with a company. The company apparently no longer exists. Therefore, the contract should be poof and we should all be free to submit as we please. Correct me if I'm wrong--I certainly could be.

    In any case, I understand that if you make changes to the manuscript and re-publish under a different title, it's considered a newly copyrighted work. Again, somebody correct me if I'm wrong.

    If nothing else, we can all at least hold onto the "published author" title. We have had novels published. It's not our fault the company folded, and I don't believe other companies will hold that as a strike against us. Particularly in cases like mine, where the book never made it out the publisher's door before the company became defunct. It never had a chance with TreeSide.

  18. #18
    haz a shiny new book cover Christine N.'s Avatar
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    <<Hugs for Reni>>
    Christine

    Young Adult Fantasy Author

    A CURSE OF ASH AND IRON: Coming Spring 2015 from Curiosity Quills Press

    "The Watchmaker's Ball" (short story), to be included in BEWARE THE LITTLE WHITE RABBIT (anthology), coming April 14 from Leap Books


    Represented by Jordy Albert of Booker Albert Literary

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  19. #19
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Reni, you need to talk with a lawyer.

    If the company abandoned your contract that's one thing. If they went bankrupt that's something else. They might have sold your contract to a third party. We don't know.

    As to making changes and resubmitting to other publishers -- again, talk with a lawyer competent in entertainment law first. Exactly how much of a change you need is something it's best not to guess at.

    My personal feeling would be (once you're sure you have the rights) to submit the current manuscript as-is, and be upfront with your next publisher. If the book was never printed it may not be poisoned.

  20. #20
    Sockpuppet
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    Reni, you need to talk with a lawyer.

    No she doesn't. This publisher released the writers from their contracts - in writing. Care to see the letter?
    Last edited by Liz James; 07-08-2005 at 05:13 AM.

  21. #21
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Last I saw from Reni she said she'd fired off a letter asking for release and hadn't heard back. We've also heard a report upstream that some Treeside books are being offered as e-books (by a third party?).

    Even with a letter from the publisher this may be murkier than it appears.

  22. #22
    Sockpuppet
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    If nothing else, we can all at least hold onto the "published author" title.

    Sorry to disappoint you Reni, but being published by Treeside is not a legitimate writing credit. Treeside was an author mill, much like Publish America. It would publish anything.

  23. #23
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    Treeside books were tacky and amateurish looking. The cover paper thin and cheap. They were never edited, and full of mistakes. The publisher made his money from selling them to the authors. I doubt if many, if any, were sold any other way. So there was unlikely any opportunity to cheat on royalties, because there were none. The books that are still listed on the Internet will be removed when news of Treeside's fate reaches the administrators. These books were never advertised, promoted or distributed by the publisher, so how could there be any sales? Treeside was just one step up from Vanity - like Publish America. And, Publish America has a better contract, only demanding rights for 7 years, whereas with Treeside it was a forever thing.

  24. #24
    Sockpuppet
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    April 7, 2005

    Dear [Author name]:

    It is with much regret and sadness I write to you today.

    You may or may not know I have been fighting health issues over the last five years. These health issues have finally forced me to stop the level of activity required to keep a company like TreeSide Press and EeB Publishing alive and growing.

    This letter will serve to return all rights for [book name] under a TreeSide Press or EeB Publishing contract to you, the author(s) who wrote the book.

    Over the coming weeks I will be mailing a hard copy of this letter and a disc containing any finished files to you to enable you to go to any printer and have more copies printed. Please make sure to make arrangements with your cover artist if you wish to continue using the same cover.

    You may order existing inventory copies from our printer while supplies last. Please call 1-800-661-3332 extension 203 for pricing and availability. In addition you will likely want to change:

    · The ISBN number
    · The Cataloguing in Publication (CIP) data
    · The Publisher information (name, address, website)

    I apologize personally for any inconvenience this may cause you.

    Good Luck on your writing career.

    Regards,

    Terry R.L. Williams
    Publisher/ President
    TreeSide Press Ltd and it’s imprint EeB Publ

  25. #25
    Liz,

    Here's my question. Is this letter valid, since none of us ever received the actual letter pertaining to each individual author and work?

    Just for the record, it's now been two weeks since I sent my correspondence to the publisher. Nothing. Nada. Not a friggin' word. And mysteriously, it seems all the TreeSide authors have vanished as well. Anybody in the Victoria, British Columbia area want to drop by Selwyn Road and see if there's any sign of life? LoL!

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