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Thread: [Publisher] Month9Books

  1. #126
    Awesome R Us Miss Java's Avatar
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    I got my first royalty statement a year after publication. Until that point, I had no idea what I had sold. I published in 2014.
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  2. #127
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    Quote Originally Posted by amergina View Post
    ...you haven't gotten a royalty statement??? That's some BS right there! Totally understand why you're going the SP route!

    FWIW, most trades aren't like that. I'm published w/ Penguin Random House, and while they're on a 6 month royalty period, they *also* have an author portal where I can see my weekly US sales (and monthly overall, because some numbers come to them differently), so I at least have a decent idea of how things are going.

    My smaller pubs pay/report monthly.

    It's absolutely shitty that you don't *know*. Your books been out a while, as I recall!
    It was released last November. I've really had no idea what's normal. I thought they had said they gave quarterly statements, but I might be wrong about that. Apparently it takes an insanely long time, and I just don't really see how that benefits the publisher OR the author. If I could see what I was selling, I could see what advertising works best for me. Without that info it's just blindly trying things and hoping to see some change in my Amazon ranking than indicates a sale.
    Last edited by andiwrite; 05-21-2016 at 04:16 AM.

  3. #128
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    I’ve been wanting to come forth about my experience with Month9 for some time now, and in light of what’s currently going on with the company, I feel I have to speak up to warn other authors. I separated from Month9 over a year ago, and it was by my own choice. I requested my rights back for several reasons.
    In the beginning, Georgia was extremely nice to me. She made a lot of promises, including that my book would be the feature title of the year. I’ve since come to learn she made this promise to many other authors as well, even one I shared a release day with. Apparently, it was a token promise made to secure a deal. I didn’t know that at the time though and I believed the things that were promised to me.
    Things began going south rather quickly. I was asked to make some big picture changes on my manuscript, which I did even though I didn’t feel they were the best for the book. Then when the manuscript was edited, I discovered my editor was sent the original version of my book, not the one with the big picture changes. When I brought this to Georgia's attention, she decided not to have my editor read the updated version, (I can only assume because it would mean my editor would have to be paid for that additional edit) and instead sent the book on to copy edits. So really, only my copy editor worked on my book with me. There was no back and forth or multiple rounds of edits, which left me feeling like my book wasn’t important enough to merit the time.
    There were also issues with my cover reveal and incorrect information in my book that I asked to be fixed four months prior to release. I was assured the issues were corrected before the book went to print, but when my author copies arrived, I immediately discovered the errors were still there. I cried. The moment when you hold your book for the first time is supposed to be filled with joy. Instead, I was embarrassed to have the book out in the world this way.
    I was also never paid the advance that was promised in my contract. And when my agent questioned Georgia about it, we were given the runaround. After asking her to follow the contract, we were called names by Georgia. I had to beg for my rights back. It was an extremely emotional time for me and I’ve never experienced more unprofessional communication as I did during emails with Georgia. When my rights reversion was finally granted (after citing several instances of breach of contract), it arrived with multiple typos, including the misspelling of names and book titles.
    I still haven’t been paid, and my book released years ago. Since going through this, I’ve had other M9 authors approach me with eerily similar stories. It breaks my heart to see so many authors treated poorly and not being paid for their work. And that is why I’m coming forth now. (Please note that when asked about my experience with this company, I have always been honest. I never tried to hide it, but I never went public with it either.) I don’t want to see anyone else have to endure what I and so many others have had to. My agency as a whole will no longer submit to Month9 or any of its imprints since I’m not the only one of their authors to experience this treatment from Month9. I think that right there speaks volumes.

  4. #129
    Moderator AW Moderator Maryn's Avatar
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    Thank you for sharing that with us, writerslife. I'm so sorry this happened to you.
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  5. #130
    Rewriting My Destiny Cyia's Avatar
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    This popped up on PublishersLunch. http://lunch.publishersmarketplace.c...alth-problems/

    Recently diagnosed with a blood clot, following other stress-related health problems, McBride writes, "I am making changes which I believe will enable me to have a healthier work-life balance while also allowing me to continue to do what I love." The fast-growing publisher will pull back somewhat, and McBride writes, "I am reverting rights to 40-50 authors across all imprints from those published to some yet to be published. There are many reasons for doing so, but mostly, I believe these titles may be better served elsewhere. If you or your agent receives a reversion letter, details and questions will be addressed therein."
    If you can log in, there are a couple of other paragraphs that give an explanation for and a promise to rectify payment issues. I didn't want to post the whole article here, as it's very short. The quoted section should be visible whether you have a subscription or not.

  6. #131
    Mildly Disturbing Filigree's Avatar
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    Well...that's sane, if it actually does happen. But it is another cautionary point about working with a single person or family small business...there's usually no plan of intervention or succession. And often no emergency capital.

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  7. #132
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    Quote Originally Posted by Filigree View Post
    Well...that's sane, if it actually does happen. But it is another cautionary point about working with a single person or family small business...there's usually no plan of intervention or succession. And often no emergency capital.
    THIS IS ABSOLUTELY IT! Filigree, you nailed it. Again, You always have a good insight for the truth. Jesus, I've blogged about this topic for years. Even though I have been published primarily by small press, I have accepted the fact, ten years down the highway, that it is a dirt road to nowhere. I've had small and medium sized publishers collapse and send me packing. Reason: single press owners; family owned presses.

    When somebody gets in a financial bind they scramble for a way to pay the deficit. Dental, medical, vehicle accidents, eviction, utility repair, car repair, funerals and all other normal everyday matters in sundry. Now if you had a small press with capital in the bank because of books sales, the urge/temptation to sack those funds, with the intention of paying them back, seems like a safe and viable option. Until you realize that you goofed (for any type of reason) and cannot replenish those funds. Hell, I think multiple author owned presses stand a much better chance of keeping the books straight because of checks and balances. My gawd, look at the success of Bell Bridge Books. I know those gals--all A-list authors--a few editors, but no real publishers.

    This kind of behavior, this snatching funds out of the royalty account, reminds me of the W.C. Fields movie, "The Bank Dick." A lesson about taking something, in all good and trusting faith, with the noble intention of putting it back whilst nobody is the wiser. Look at what's happening: we are losing the A-list, high tier small and independent presses--this is starting from the TOP down! They're crashing. If this isn't mis-management of funds, I'll eat my fedora. Okay, medical emergencies and deaths--completely understandable, to a point.

    Don't tell me I'm going to blog on this again at Guerrilla Warfare. My gasket is leaking and I know I'm ready to blow a steam valve.

  8. #133
    Three of a perfect pair. AW Moderator amergina's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Filigree View Post
    Well...that's sane, if it actually does happen. But it is another cautionary point about working with a single person or family small business...there's usually no plan of intervention or succession. And often no emergency capital.
    That part is sane. This part, (from the same article) is not:

    At the same time, the company "will continue to acquire new works and aggressively pursue subsidiary rights including book club, audio, foreign, and film and TV."
    So, business as usual, basically.
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  9. #134
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin RG Sarsparilla's Avatar
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    Heath excuses are just that, excuses. I signed with Month9 in 2012 and had two books with them. To date, I have received one payment. ONE.

    She isn't going to pay. Period.

  10. #135
    practical experience, FTW akaria's Avatar
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    I'm so sorry to all the authors going through this. A publisher should NEVER make you feel bad your book isn't selling. They should be doing everything they can to make sure it DOES sell. That's their job.

    Family emergencies or health issues do not excuse the bad behavior on display here. We've seen small publishers struggle and eventually shut down and still treat their authors with respect.

    Self pubbing is not for the thin skinned. There are a lot of bloggers and review sites that won't review indie books. Getting noticed is the hardest part. When you have to do everything yourself, you have to up your research game to make sure you are hiring quality people to edit, design, promote, etc. There's a lot more opportunities for disappointment. That said, join us over in our little corner of AW where there's always room for one more!
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  11. #136
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    Darn. I accidentally deleted my post. I will do my best to retype.

    I have talked with a number of M9B and GMMG authors. These are some of the issues reported:

    *no statements of sales for up to nearly two years after publication
    *lack of payment to authors, editors, and cover designers
    *statements and payments in which money owed does not match sales numbers reported, only for "corrected" statements to show up later
    *entire pre-order sales canceled
    *typos appearing on official copy and in printed books even after multiple requests to fix errors
    *major delays in printed copies
    *belittling, name calling, and scolding given through both private email and on the message board through which much communication is held
    *unfulfilled promises (ie, many authors told their book would be a lead title, have articles featured in major news sources, book trailers, marketing at BEA, printed ARCs promised but not produced, etc)
    *numerous breaches of contract and unauthorized changes to contracts by the publisher without the author's consent or required signature
    *arbitrary changes to payment and statement schedules without authorization, consent, or author's signature
    *constant deflection of blame when mistakes happen instead of admitting fault (ie, the printer lost the order for your print run, the accounting was bad, we didn't have a lawyer, no back up plan for running company during health issues)
    *numerous agents who will not submit to GMMG
    *unresponsive to questions from agents and authors
    *numerous authors asking for their rights to be returned and within weeks this statement appears to make it seem like these rights reversions are a generous act of the company, hence covering up how many authors are leaving. While some rights reversions are initiated by GMMG, many are not, too.
    *numerous unfinished series because the authors opted not to finish rather than continue to work with the company
    *authors were told not to approach indie stores about selling their books, making it hard for authors to schedule events and effectively market their books
    *publicity efforts from the company are largely limited to an outsourced blog tour organizer without further support and authorization required for any additional publicity efforts was often ignored
    *when critical posts appeared here or elsewhere online, the authors were told they weren't allowed to say anything but how awesome the company was

    How many red flags are needed to show the practices of this company aren't good? These issues are not recent developments as told in the article in Publishers Lunch. Some have been going on for 2-3 years.

    There are many authors who would have spoken up before now but couldn't. Some were scared. Some were worried about their careers. They've seen legal action threatened against others who spoke out. Others who left have been gagged by nondisclosure agreements. Many authors were made to feel they were the only ones having problems and everybody else was happy. The number of authors who felt entirely alone and often bullied is not small. This wasn't entirely a case of bad contracts, rather the way those contracts weren't upheld. The publisher failed it's authors.

  12. #137
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    Quote Originally Posted by writerslife View Post
    I’ve been wanting to come forth about my experience with Month9 for some time now, and in light of what’s currently going on with the company, I feel I have to speak up to warn other authors. I separated from Month9 over a year ago, and it was by my own choice. I requested my rights back for several reasons.
    In the beginning, Georgia was extremely nice to me. She made a lot of promises, including that my book would be the feature title of the year. I’ve since come to learn she made this promise to many other authors as well, even one I shared a release day with. Apparently, it was a token promise made to secure a deal. I didn’t know that at the time though and I believed the things that were promised to me.
    Things began going south rather quickly. I was asked to make some big picture changes on my manuscript, which I did even though I didn’t feel they were the best for the book. Then when the manuscript was edited, I discovered my editor was sent the original version of my book, not the one with the big picture changes. When I brought this to Georgia's attention, she decided not to have my editor read the updated version, (I can only assume because it would mean my editor would have to be paid for that additional edit) and instead sent the book on to copy edits. So really, only my copy editor worked on my book with me. There was no back and forth or multiple rounds of edits, which left me feeling like my book wasn’t important enough to merit the time.
    There were also issues with my cover reveal and incorrect information in my book that I asked to be fixed four months prior to release. I was assured the issues were corrected before the book went to print, but when my author copies arrived, I immediately discovered the errors were still there. I cried. The moment when you hold your book for the first time is supposed to be filled with joy. Instead, I was embarrassed to have the book out in the world this way.
    I was also never paid the advance that was promised in my contract. And when my agent questioned Georgia about it, we were given the runaround. After asking her to follow the contract, we were called names by Georgia. I had to beg for my rights back. It was an extremely emotional time for me and I’ve never experienced more unprofessional communication as I did during emails with Georgia. When my rights reversion was finally granted (after citing several instances of breach of contract), it arrived with multiple typos, including the misspelling of names and book titles.
    I still haven’t been paid, and my book released years ago. Since going through this, I’ve had other M9 authors approach me with eerily similar stories. It breaks my heart to see so many authors treated poorly and not being paid for their work. And that is why I’m coming forth now. (Please note that when asked about my experience with this company, I have always been honest. I never tried to hide it, but I never went public with it either.) I don’t want to see anyone else have to endure what I and so many others have had to. My agency as a whole will no longer submit to Month9 or any of its imprints since I’m not the only one of their authors to experience this treatment from Month9. I think that right there speaks volumes.
    I'm trying to keep calm about this as possible because I want to make sure I get my rights back. I still don't have my rights back yet, and I fear they will read something I say, get mad, and try to deny me somehow. I feel like so many of us have been living in fear and that is just bullshit. I'm done catering to anyone else. At some point I will tell my full story about this, but I will say right now I went through a number of different but equally maddening issues. I have one particular story that truly blew my mind at the time. Certain mess ups I can understand, but this incident led me to believe someone was PURPOSEFULLY trying to lead me wrong, and I don't understand that. All I can say is it has brought extreme peace to my heart to know I was not the only one driven to near insanity by the way these people handle their business.

    I know people are saying not all publishers are like this, but this experience has ruined trade publishing for me. I won't trust anyone again after this.

    Many authors were made to feel they were the only ones having problems and everybody else was happy.
    100% how I felt the entire time. It wasn't until a couple of months ago, when I reached out to another author after reading on her blog that she'd had her rights reverted, that I learned she felt EXACTLY how I felt and had a number of similar things done to her. From there, more and more kept getting revealed.

    I hate that there is so much I could say but I'm still holding back out of fear. I just want my fucking rights back! I'm pissed! They said the paperwork was coming by this Friday, and I swear if it doesn't I'm going to lose my mind.
    Last edited by andiwrite; 05-23-2016 at 04:23 AM.

  13. #138
    Moderator AW Moderator Maryn's Avatar
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    andiwrites--and anyone else this affects--remember that you can ask the board's moderator to post your words as a quote without attributing it to you. I don't know if they're able and willing, but they would certainly consider it. Over at the erotica board, I've done this many times for people who were afraid to ask very specific questions about sexual practices. If what you have a mod post on your behalf does not lead a reader directly to you, it lets you speak truth without fear of retaliation from a publisher.

    Maryn, just throwing that out there
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  14. #139
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    I also encourage folks to forward their experiences to Writer Beware; especially those hesitant to share publicly.
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  15. #140
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by andiwrite View Post

    I know people are saying not all publishers are like this, but this experience has ruined trade publishing for me. I won't trust anyone again after this.
    No, not all publishers are like this (though entirely too many of the bottom-feeders are).

    Trust, but verify.

  16. #141
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    Quote Originally Posted by James D. Macdonald View Post
    Trust, but verify.
    Okay, for newer writers how do you do this? My friend who went with them had an agent who thought them worth shopping to a couple years back. I checked here and on Writer Beware and saw nothing to indicate they were problematic. I did a basic internet search to make sure there wasn't anything out there that looked ugly. What else could I or she have done two years ago?

    It seems like so many of these situations look fine until they don't. If you don't have access to people willing to give you the inside scoop on their own experiences, how do you know it's a bad situation? I don't know what the contract looks like, although someone indicated about a year ago that it was bad, so that maybe provided some hints. But...is the lesson just avoid primarily one-man or -woman shops? I met a rep from Ellora's Cave that I really liked about two months before that thing blew up and would've subbed to them without question back then. Obviously, a big mistake if I had, but how could I have known better? And Angry Robot looked great until they were suddenly up for sale, although I believe that one worked out okay. It just seems to me that these things fester under the surface for years before they blow up.

  17. #142
    Quote Originally Posted by M. H. Lee View Post
    Okay, for newer writers how do you do this? My friend who went with them had an agent who thought them worth shopping to a couple years back. I checked here and on Writer Beware and saw nothing to indicate they were problematic. I did a basic internet search to make sure there wasn't anything out there that looked ugly. What else could I or she have done two years ago?
    I recommend contacting the publisher's individual authors (at least 10, preferably more) and asking their experience. More than any other industry, authors like helping other authors. That is one of the reasons the problems with certain publishers have become known. You might also use forums like this to encourage authors to anonymously respond if they wish to keep their name out of whatever their report, or so they may contact you privately. I would specifically state what you're looking for and your concerns as well, so that authors who aren't happy and might think they are the exception can speak up with confidence.

    Otherwise, though, it sounds like you're checking where I'd recommend checking, and I'm sure others here will have other suggestions.
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  18. #143
    practical experience, FTW akaria's Avatar
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    I feel bad because I think those who submitted to M9B did the best they could as far as research is concerned and still got screwed. It's part of what happens when you take a chance on small presses. Sometimes you can do nothing wrong and everything still goes tits up.

    If a publisher lists its editorial/marketing/design staff this could be a way to see if the company is on the up and up. Also, contact authors directly. See if they're getting paid on time or what the marketing is like. Maybe they'll be more honest in a one on one email exchange. Writers Beware is an invaluable resource. Use them!

    Get savvy at reading between the lines. Publishers should have a very public face. If they are secretive about basic publishing practices that other, well known small presses have no qualms about revealing, think twice. Listen to your inner voice.

    Most importantly, new writers need to detach themselves from their books. A lot of people put more effort into choosing a new washing machine than they do selecting a publisher. Look at what the publisher is offering. Now act as if you're buying a new car or getting someone to remodel your kitchen. Would you still take the deal?
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  19. #144
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maryn View Post
    andiwrites--and anyone else this affects--remember that you can ask the board's moderator to post your words as a quote without attributing it to you. I don't know if they're able and willing, but they would certainly consider it. Over at the erotica board, I've done this many times for people who were afraid to ask very specific questions about sexual practices. If what you have a mod post on your behalf does not lead a reader directly to you, it lets you speak truth without fear of retaliation from a publisher.

    Maryn, just throwing that out there
    Too late. I've already been "called out" for talking about this. Sigh.

    It's not my goal to hurt anyone, but I'm not going to be silenced, either. This isn't okay. I responded and told her everything I was feeling. What have I got to lose at this point? She hasn't written me back, but I feel good knowing that I spoke my mind. Hopefully she will understand where we are all coming from here. It's not like I'm even demanding royalty statements or money or anything. I don't even care anymore. I just want to start over on a better path.
    Last edited by andiwrite; 05-24-2016 at 03:49 AM.

  20. #145
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin RG Sarsparilla's Avatar
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    Good for you, Andi! Don't let her bully you. And don't ever feel bad for standing up for yourself and your work. Georgia does NOT deal well when confronted with the truth. Her go-to tactics are isolation, bullying, and threats. Don't let her fool you. She is a paper tiger.

  21. #146
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    I'm not fooled, and I'm not scared. I'm a very assertive person. I hate confrontation and will avoid it as much as possible, but if I get angry enough I will speak my mind. I told her in the email that the only reason I didn't complain more was that I understood how busy she was, and I was trying to be agreeable.

  22. #147
    Super Browser triceretops's Avatar
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    It's okay, andi. Kindness should never be mistaken for weakness. Diplomacy is actually a better road to take. Me? I go ballistic. My agent will not back down either. It's our way or the highway.

  23. #148
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    The short answer is, the authors did nothing wrong. The publisher did.

    The lessons learned are to wait to submit to startup publishers for the first two years, to avoid one-person shops, and to publish around (have more than one publisher, so that when one collapses (and they all do, eventually) you aren't entirely out in the cold).

  24. #149
    Mildly Disturbing Filigree's Avatar
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    Oh, and once a publisher has shown those warning signs, be extra careful about any business ventures their principals start later. Someone who once cooked the books, didn't pay, paid wrong amounts, and threatened authors for speaking out...will very likely do it again. And teach their subordinates that is approved business practice. I'm not saying 'No second chances', just that it's worth extra scrutiny.

    Going back over my notes since 2009, M9B was always interesting to me, but the single proprietor aspect took it off my list. I was actually waiting to see if it got sold to a larger, more solid imprint.

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  25. #150
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Also make sure your contract has a robust reversion clause, and if things start slipping (e.g. the contract specifies royalties every six months, if you don't see a statement on schedule ... be cool, be professional, but get your statement) don't be the first to bail out, but don't be the last.

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