Good afternoon everyone, and happy New Year...
2011 was not a kind year financially for a great many people. As ever, there are promises that 2012 will bring a break to the economic recession, but those promises really have begun to ring hollow after the same were made for 2011 and 2010, etc. etc. Starting a business as fragile as publishing in the midst of a recession was at best crazy, and at worst foolhardy. No one has ever called me completely sane, though, and at the time we had a solid business plan that held through for our first year and most of our second.
For the past four months, past and present investors in Belfire Press have been looking for ways to continue on as we've been doing. Unfortunately - all of us are currently unemployed in the non-literary world, and have been since September. This leaves Belfire in a rather tight spot as it is down to those investors to cover certain costs pertaining to each title's release. As per our business plan, investors put forth the funding to cover all start-up costs for each title, including the ARCs, promotional materials (and then reimbursement for promotional materials), reimbursement for privately attained cover art, distribution fees, proof & review copies and shipping.
And then the economy struck us several blows, in different ways. Low sales, postal strikes, postal theft, bank and transfer fees, changes to withholding & payment thresholds, and freelancers that disappeared or chose to back out at the last minute - it all helped to chip away at what we had in reserve.
After several sometimes heated debates amongst ourselves, and then discussion with the staff, this is the only
- unanimously agreed upon - way we can move forward without shutting down production entirely, releasing all future titles, until one or all of us returns to work and is able to begin putting that money into the company again.
Titles previously released and those up to the end of February 2012 will have changes to their royalty statements beginning with Q1 2012.
Amazon now has a threshold at which they will make a payment to us, which I believe is $100 based on past payments. Smashwords pays out earlier, however they often don't have all payments in from their distribution partners in time to sync with our statement periods. Therefore, we have chosen to report and pay on ebook royalties twice yearly; end of Q4 statement will show sales and payment for Q1&2; Q2 the following year will show sales and payment for Q3&4 of the year previous.
All titles scheduled for March 2012 and forward will be re-contracted.
A separate email with the new terms will be sent out to which each author must reply; we do hope that every author will consider staying on, but will understand if you choose not to, and will wish you all the best.
We hope these measures are temporary, and that we can make recompense via royalty & author discount hikes in future.
Please note that once I send the new terms & staff email out, I'll be away from the desk again until late Wednesday, so won't be available to reply to questions right away.
Belfire Press - http://www.belfirepress.com
The New Bedlam Project - http://www.newbedlam.com