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Thread: Damnation Books

  1. #251
    Mildly Disturbing Filigree's Avatar
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    You can find it if you go directly to her home page, or at least that worked a few minutes ago. ETA: link already up.

    A shocking and disheartening story, and one I'm seeing all too often from small publishers.
    Last edited by Filigree; 09-18-2014 at 08:03 PM.

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  2. #252
    practical experience, FTW EvolvingK's Avatar
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    A friend of mine is published through Damnation, and I recently got a look at his print copies. I have to say, if I'd ever had any thoughts of working with them, those books put me right the hell off. They looked awful on the page, nowhere near enough white space. According to him, it should have been a 300 page book, but they wanted to make it 200 pages to "reduce cost."

    Really awful looking stuff.

    He's happy with them, but I've been encouraging him to take his next book elsewhere if his contract allows.

  3. #253
    <witty comment> angelameadon's Avatar
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    Damnation Books unlawfully withholding my royalties, in breach of contract

    This is going to be a long story. I have a lot of ground to cover and a lot of points I need to make. It starts in 2012, when I signed with Damnation Books, and runs all the way until this week, when Kim Richards continued to refuse to pay me royalties she owes me. Those are the basics. I want to break this down for you though, so that you can see how an author can do all the right things and still make bad decisions that end up hurting her in the long run.

    The bottom line is that Kim Richards and Damnation Books are in breach of contract and she doesnít give a damn. The author-publisher contract should be sacred. It is the only thing governing your relationship, and to flaunt it like Kim Richards has is the most despicable thing a small press like Damnation Books can do.

    If you are a reader, I hope that you will learn just how badly some authors are treated. If you are an author, I hope you will learn from my mistakes.

    Here goes.

    The Beginning

    It was late at night in August 2012. I was feeding my son and drifting off in the dark when my phone buzzed with an email. It was an acceptance from the submissions editor at Damnation Books. I was over the moon, not only was this my first acceptance for anything longer than a short story, but it had taken less than 24 hours from submission to acceptance.

    Iíd submitted on a whim, so I spent a lot of time the next day researching Damnation Books. They had a bit of a spotty reputation, but it seemed to me at the time that they had sorted all their problems out. When the contract arrived, it seemed solid and didnít include any of the issues theyíd been called out on in forums like AbsoluteWrite.

    I decided to go with it. I had written A Taste of You for NaNoWriMo and this seemed like the best possible use I could make of the book. I was going to be published!

    Everything up until publication went smoothly. I got a gorgeous cover. The editing was perfunctory but I worked well with the editor and I was pleased with the way things were going.

    I tried to find out what kind of marketing would be available and the answers I got from Damnation Books were vague, with promises that Kim Richards would follow up Ė she never did. I did know that I would have a marketing budget of $100 for my book, and they would do really hard things like list it on Goodreads and Shelfari (things I could *never* do on my ownÖ /sarcasm).

    Publication
    The book dropped in December 2012. There was very little marketing from Damnation Books, but I didnít really know what to expect. I lined up a bunch of interviews and did as much as I could to get the word out there to my network.

    I even made a book trailer for it (professional book trailers cost more than my $100 marketing budget).

    Pretty much nothing happened. It was really disappointing, but I think the truth is that by December 2012 the zombie thing was already wearing out.

    I had slow but steady sales, a few kind reviews, and I was still really excited about having my name on the cover of a book.

    Royalties
    Royalties started to trickle in. A few dollars every quarter. It was kinda lame but whatever. I was published! If I just kept working at it I could keep things growing, right? Slowly but surely?

    My royalties were being paid into my PayPal account, as per our contract, until mid-2013 (I donít remember the exact date, it could have been late 2013). Thatís when everything started to go wrong. I received a cheque in the post. I thought it was cute, it was for $13.08. I planned to frame it with a copy of the book. Then I didnít receive any royalties for a long time.

    Admittedly, I was pregnant with my third child, working hard at a new job, and writing stories. I didnít really think about it. The royalty reports werenít arriving. The book wasnít selling. I was busy and disheartened.

    And then I got three more cheques in the post all in one go.

    The Shit Hits The Fan
    The only way I can show you what happened next is to show you the email conversation between myself and Kim Richards. This is the entire conversation to date, I havenít left anything out or made any changes whatsoever. I have the full email thread, in tact, as you see it here.




    Please Note, at NO POINT did we make any arrangement to pay my royalties by cheque instead of via PayPal. The fact that Damnation Books, and Kim Richards as the owner (or whatever she is), changed to paying my by cheque is absolutely in breach of contract. She should never have done this.




    At this point Iím thinking: ďfair enough, they made a mistake but sheíll rectify it.Ē Hahaha, I couldnít have been more wrong.






    At this point Iím starting to suspect that if I do mail those cheques back to Kim, Iíll lose what little leverage I may have in this situation. That was stupid of me. Those cheques didnít give me any power. They were worthless scraps of paper I couldnít cash. Kim Richards, on the other hand, could have cancelled them in a heartbeat. She could have done that on the 18th of June, but she didnít. Why? What is she hiding?





    OK, now Iím getting pissed off.



    I tried to calm myself down and reel myself in at this point. I still thought, mistakenly, that Kim Richards might do the right thing and pay the money Damnation Books owes me. Then our local post office embarked on a strike that lasted six months. Thatís the price you pay for living in South Africa.



    Iím still trying to keep cool at this point. And Iím dealing with a heavy bout of post-natal depression.



    The post office starts working again, and I post the cheques.

    Nothing happens. Of course nothing happens. What was I expecting? Did I really think that Kim Richards would pay me? Damn stupid of me.






    SECONDARY PAYMENT? SECONDARY PAYMENT? Am I hallucinating? Why doesnít Kim Richards cancel the cheques and pay the royalties via PayPal as she should? What is she trying to do here?



    Thatís right! Kim Richards has just accused ME of cyber bullying because Iíve threatened to tell other people about her behaviour. Thatís not how cyber bullying works. If Iím assaulted and I sue the person who assaulted me, does that make me a bully? NO!



    Conclusion
    As the existence of this post suggests, Kim Richards has not yet paid me the royalties she owes me. The really stupid thing it that itís only $49.58 that she owes me. All of this for fifty dollars. Sheís prepared to destroy contracts and relationships for fifty dollars.

    I hate having to make this public, but I really feel as though I am out of options. Thereís simply nothing else I can do for $50.

    It sickens me that Kim Richards thinks that she can treat me like this. And Iím really not the only one. There are a LOT of other authors out there who have been treated like shit by Damnation Books in one way or another. You donít have to look very far to see that this is a trend, not an anomaly.

    If you are considering submitting to Damnation Books, please read all the way through this post, and the many others out there. A simple Google search will return bucket-loads of similar stories. Contracts are of no import to Kim Richards and Damnation Books.

    I will post any response or updates on my blog: Go To Hell
    I don't write to become famous, get rich or impress friends and family with the size of my ego. I write because of an itch, because of an overwhelming desire to tell a story, to entertain with my words. I write because I can't not write.
    -Simon Haynes

  4. #254
    practical experience, FTW
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    Actually, I can see why she is hesitant to pay you via PayPal when she hasn't received the checks yet. For all she knows, you can just deposit those checks on top of the PayPal payments, doubling your deposits. It costs money for a check to be cancelled, I think about $30 each, so I can see why she wouldn't want to cancel them.

  5. #255
    <witty comment> angelameadon's Avatar
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    Be that as it may, she never should have issued my royalties as checks to begin with, and her continued refusal to pay my royalties to me constitutes breach of contract.

    I posted the checks back to her three months ago.
    I don't write to become famous, get rich or impress friends and family with the size of my ego. I write because of an itch, because of an overwhelming desire to tell a story, to entertain with my words. I write because I can't not write.
    -Simon Haynes

  6. #256
    practical experience, FTW Treehouseman's Avatar
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    Oh gosh, too much work for such a small return. All that time you could spend writing. For that amount, cut your losses, ask for your rights back and go elsewhere. It's a 50 buck lesson you've learned.

    A short story to a semi-pro magazine will get your cash back, and self-pub will probably net more dollars. Sorry I can't be more helpful, but that's the path with the least heartbreak. Its what I'd do.
    Writin' Urban Explorin' and other stuff.


  7. #257
    banned as an incurable tosspot
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    Quote Originally Posted by chompers View Post
    Actually, I can see why she is hesitant to pay you via PayPal when she hasn't received the checks yet. For all she knows, you can just deposit those checks on top of the PayPal payments, doubling your deposits. It costs money for a check to be cancelled, I think about $30 each, so I can see why she wouldn't want to cancel them.

    It's a small amount of money for even a minor publisher to risk bad press over. Obviously, the woman has something to hide!

    Sorry, Angela. I would not take that.

    What's his name? Will?
    Why does she keep hiding behind him?

    Kim Richards, were it me, you would have a problem on your hands. Of course, you may already know that you can prey on authors residing in third world countries because they are less able to wield certain immediate remedies. But word will get out.

    Obviously, Kim Richards, you are withholding $50.00 in royalties for a suspect reason!

  8. #258
    banned as an incurable tosspot
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    Quote Originally Posted by Treehouseman View Post
    Oh gosh, too much work for such a small return. All that time you could spend writing. For that amount, cut your losses, ask for your rights back and go elsewhere. It's a 50 buck lesson you've learned.

    A short story to a semi-pro magazine will get your cash back, and self-pub will probably net more dollars. Sorry I can't be more helpful, but that's the path with the least heartbreak. Its what I'd do.

    Now, this is where a little localized knowledge goes a long way.
    Angela Meadon has a new baby. $50.00 can go a long way in the third world either for baby supplies or staples.

  9. #259
    Perpetually in transit Helix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lenticular Psaloid View Post
    Now, this is where a little localized knowledge goes a long way.
    Angela Meadon has a new baby. $50.00 can go a long way in the third world either for baby supplies or staples.

    Er...South Africa is...oh, never mind.


  10. #260
    <witty comment> angelameadon's Avatar
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    South Africa is pretty much a third world country. We have some first-world things, but mostly we're beset by poverty, unemployment, poor health and public education system that does not produce graduates who can function in the workplace. That's a different discussion though.
    I don't write to become famous, get rich or impress friends and family with the size of my ego. I write because of an itch, because of an overwhelming desire to tell a story, to entertain with my words. I write because I can't not write.
    -Simon Haynes

  11. #261
    <witty comment> angelameadon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Treehouseman View Post
    Oh gosh, too much work for such a small return. All that time you could spend writing. For that amount, cut your losses, ask for your rights back and go elsewhere. It's a 50 buck lesson you've learned.

    A short story to a semi-pro magazine will get your cash back, and self-pub will probably net more dollars. Sorry I can't be more helpful, but that's the path with the least heartbreak. Its what I'd do.
    You can't get your rights back from Damnation Books. They try to enforce obscene kill fees that run into thousands of dollars.
    I don't write to become famous, get rich or impress friends and family with the size of my ego. I write because of an itch, because of an overwhelming desire to tell a story, to entertain with my words. I write because I can't not write.
    -Simon Haynes

  12. #262
    practical experience, FTW Treehouseman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by angelameadon View Post
    You can't get your rights back from Damnation Books. They try to enforce obscene kill fees that run into thousands of dollars.
    Oh gosh, that's horrible.

    Which doesn't help right now, I guess.
    Writin' Urban Explorin' and other stuff.


  13. #263
    Mildly Disturbing Filigree's Avatar
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    God, Angela, I feel for you. It's a ridiculous situation. But this is the risk in dealing with a small press that already had numerous issues documented before you signed with them.

    I see a couple of different problems here. I was involved with a shady art dealer five years ago, with similar fallout. It's not easy to walk away from a fight half-won, but you may have to for your own sanity's sake. The money and time you spend on this is not helping you write more work.

    You said yourself that you 'submitted on a whim' and researched after getting your first novel acceptance. Wrong order. A mistake lots of new writers make. Chalk that one up to a learning experience. I'd also be a bit suspicious of any acceptance of a debut book that happened within 24 hours, no matter how good.

    You said you sent the checks months ago, Kim says she hasn't received them. Given the state of SA mail, there's a strong possibility both of you are right.

    Even if Kim is lying, she's probably not going to back down. If she's violating her own contract, now everyone who can read English knows it. Get your rights back. (ETA, you can't, those kill fees alone would have made me not sign that contract, especially coupled with the low marketing budget.) Write and publish other things. Rest easier in knowing that Kim might now be getting the kinds of high-maintenance, low-earning clients that small, dicey publishers deserve.
    Last edited by Filigree; 03-29-2015 at 05:07 PM. Reason: Added info

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  14. #264
    <witty comment> angelameadon's Avatar
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    Hey Filigree,

    It is a lose-lose situation for me now. I absolutely realise my mistake in signing with them. What I read at the time, before I signed the contract, led me to believe that they had rectified the problems they'd had in the past.

    They seemed organised and professional up until publication. Everything after that was a mess.

    I'm moving on, I've got a couple of books in the works. I just hope that my experience will help others.
    I don't write to become famous, get rich or impress friends and family with the size of my ego. I write because of an itch, because of an overwhelming desire to tell a story, to entertain with my words. I write because I can't not write.
    -Simon Haynes

  15. #265
    Resist. Love. Go outside. Marlys's Avatar
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    For future reference, are there other ways of handling checks someone can't cash? Like, instead of trusting to the mails, maybe writing VOID across the front or ripping them up, and sending pictures of the defaced/destroyed checks?

    Yes, I suppose a really shady person could fake the destruction with high-quality copies, but for smallish amounts and for someone you have a contract with, I'd think something like that might suffice.

  16. #266
    <witty comment> angelameadon's Avatar
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    I actually asked if I could void the checks very early on. Kim refused.
    I don't write to become famous, get rich or impress friends and family with the size of my ego. I write because of an itch, because of an overwhelming desire to tell a story, to entertain with my words. I write because I can't not write.
    -Simon Haynes

  17. #267
    practical experience, FTW Treehouseman's Avatar
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    It's just been merged. Oh, that's 11 pages of horror, right there...

    If it's any consolation, I fell into a small press situation years ago, and got out of it. It's doable. At least you haven't "spent" any money. I feel sorry for those poor sods who pay upwards of $6K for some shady vanity pub thing :-(
    Writin' Urban Explorin' and other stuff.


  18. #268
    A dash of pure Slytherin oceansoul's Avatar
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    This is a hard one. On the one hand, I can very much understand being motivated by the principle of the thing. But on the other, the hassle of fighting it is probably not worth the amount of money you'll actually get back. Either way, this publisher sounds absolutely dreadful to work with and I'm sorry you've had this experience!
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  19. #269
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    Off topic a hair, but is this Kim Richards the same who belongs to AW? Used to be, or still is, Little Red Barn.

    I was offered a contract from Damnation and refused it. I can't recall the reasons--I usually make notes in my spreadsheet about all publisher's requests and comments. This one is blank.

    tri

  20. #270
    Elf on the Shelf is for amateurs AW Moderator Calla Lily's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by triceretops View Post
    Off topic a hair, but is this Kim Richards the same who belongs to AW? Used to be, or still is, Little Red Barn.

    NO.

    That AW username belongs to Kim Michele Richardson, author of The Unbreakable Child and Liar's Bench.

  21. #271
    Super Browser triceretops's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Calla Lily View Post
    NO.

    That AW username belongs to Kim Michele Richardson, author of The Unbreakable Child and Liar's Bench.
    That's what I thought. The Kimmie I know is a sweetheart.

    tri

  22. #272
    practical experience, FTW Lordofthehunt's Avatar
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    While I've kept quiet for a while now, the drama with Damnation Books continues as they still refuse to honor their contract terms. My contract for Sepulchral Earth - The Long Road ended on February 26, 2015 and DB has yet to remove it from anywhere. (I had it removed from Amazon). Here it is on their site with a buy button.



    And while I can give them some leeway on missing the date for Sepulchral Earth, though not much, the Corrupts Absolutely contract ended March 2014, and we had Amazon remove their version of it. This was Kim's response to Amazon:

    Thank you for looking into this. There is NO copyright infringment. I can provide a copy of the contract as proof. Per the contract with each individual author, the authors ARE free to sell reprint rights to their individual stories as of March 2014. I have been in contact with the editor of the anthology and am awaiting his response.

    Kim Richards
    CEO Damnation Books LLC/Eternal Press
    www.damnationbooks.com
    www.eternalpress.biz

    Here is the contract term:

    Rights

    This contract grants the Publisher worldwide electronic and digital rights, First North American Anthology print rights, First Anthology print rights for the United Kingdom and First Anthology print rights for Australia lasting a period of two years from the date of release. If all parties agree, at the end of that two year period, the Publisher has the option to renew this contract with the Author at the initial payment rate indicated in this contract. This agreement may only be terminated naturally at the end of the contractual time period to protect all of the contributors involved in the anthology. Upon termination of this contract, all rights to the author’s work return to the Author.

    There is absolutely nothing in this contract term that gives them the right to continue the sale of the book at the contract's end. This is a screenshot of the Damnation Books' site today:



    This version is still up at this location buy button still up one year after losing the rights to it.
    Last edited by Lordofthehunt; 03-31-2015 at 05:25 PM.

  23. #273
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    We have a maximum image size of 400 x 400 pixels at AW. Could you reduce the size of those pictures, please.

  24. #274
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lordofthehunt View Post
    This contract grants the Publisher worldwide electronic and digital rights, First North American Anthology print rights, First Anthology print rights for the United Kingdom and First Anthology print rights for Australia lasting a period of two years from the date of release. If all parties agree, at the end of that two year period, the Publisher has the option to renew this contract with the Author at the initial payment rate indicated in this contract. This agreement may only be terminated naturally at the end of the contractual time period to protect all of the contributors involved in the anthology. Upon termination of this contract, all rights to the authorís work return to the Author.

    There is absolutely nothing in this contract term that gives them the right to continue the sale of the book at the contract's end.
    So you didn't receive a renewal notice from the publisher at the end of the contract period?

    I'm also damned if I can figure out what's meant by this: "This agreement may only be terminated naturally at the end of the contractual time period to protect all of the contributors involved in the anthology."

    - Victoria

  25. #275
    practical experience, FTW Lordofthehunt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by victoriastrauss View Post
    So you didn't receive a renewal notice from the publisher at the end of the contract period?

    I'm also damned if I can figure out what's meant by this: "This agreement may only be terminated naturally at the end of the contractual time period to protect all of the contributors involved in the anthology."

    - Victoria
    There was no renewal as the editor wanted the book to go to another publishing house. None of the authors or the editor were asked to extend the contract.

    The naturally bit is Kim speak for "You don't get out of this contract before I say so." Edited to add that she didn't want anyone trying to pull their story out individually, for whatever reason. Not that it makes much more sense.
    Last edited by Lordofthehunt; 04-01-2015 at 04:00 AM.

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