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Dreamspinner Press

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Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

cool pop

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DS authors on FB and in the groups have been talking about how DS is trying to blame Amazon, etc. for this. Trying to blame it on a lack of sales, etc. I'm so tired of these pubs blaming Amazon for their bad or shoddy business handling. Now, I am NOT a fan of Amazon at all. I am the last one to defend them when it comes to the book industry or fellow authors but this is different. Dreamspinner is not the first to blame Amazon. Many of these pubs follow the same blueprint when their businesses go up in smoke.

Uh, Amazon didn't tell you to basically LIE to your authors for two or more years and string them along and not pay them.

Amazon didn't tell you to threaten authors or blame them for your bad accounting and recklessness.

Amazon didn't tell you to keep signing authors YEARS after you knew you couldn't pay the authors you had let alone new ones.

Amazon didn't tell you to start using authors royalties to expand your business.


Come on. These places can't ever admit they were wrong when this happens. It's always blame Amazon for killing the market, blame the readers for buying books where they can get them cheaper, blame the authors because they didn't promote enough.

NO! This is Dreamspinner's fault. PERIOD. They didn't respect their authors, they weren't honest with their authors and then have the nerve to have an attitude and play the victim.

We see this time and time again and this won't be the last time.

It's no one's fault but their own.
 
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cool pop

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And this little gem from the publisher:

"It is a sad reality that if Dreamspinner had sold an average number of books in May-July, everyone would be paid, but because people are scared and not buying, payments are becoming more overdue. Sometimes, unfortunately, opinion becomes reality."

This is disgusting, blaming readers.
 

thethinker42

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Also, even if Amazon were the problem, DSP would still be able to pay royalties from ALL THE OTHER VENDORS -- including their own website.
 

frimble3

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And this little gem from the publisher:

"It is a sad reality that if Dreamspinner had sold an average number of books in May-July, everyone would be paid, but because people are scared and not buying, payments are becoming more overdue. Sometimes, unfortunately, opinion becomes reality."

This is disgusting, blaming readers.

Why would readers not buy? What are readers scared of? Human nature suggests that if there's going to be a shortage of some desired thing, people grab up as much as they can.
I would think that anyone wanting books from a Dreamspinner author would buy now,
while the books are still available.

Unless Dreamspinner has acquired a rep for taking the readers' money and not handing over the book? In which case it's not the readers' fault - once again, it's all on Dreamspinner.
 

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That's the main concern many readers have expressed. They're worried that if they buy anything published by Dreamspinner, the authors won't see the royalties.
 

cool pop

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That's the main concern many readers have expressed. They're worried that if they buy anything published by Dreamspinner, the authors won't see the royalties.

Which is all Dreamspinner's fault. It's a snowball effect that's gotten bigger and bigger over time. If they hadn't been screwing authors in the first place none of this would've happened. The professional thing to do was to be honest with their authors BEFORE things got this bad. Not string them along knowing darn well they couldn't pay or probably never intended to pay. How long did they think authors would take that treatment? Dreamspinner should've closed a long time ago instead of digging the knife into authors' backs. Dreamspinner authors have said that DS told them they knew for over a year or more they were having financial issues. Yet, they couldn't share this with authors before? They keep talking about expanding but who do they think will sign with them now with this mess going on? Who would sign with someone who isn't paying their authors and treating them this way? It's like the publisher is living in a fantasy world. Their reputation is mud. Authors are trashing them everywhere and putting out all the dirty laundry on social media, and DS deserves every bit of it. This is not the old days when authors had to take whatever treatment pubs dished out. Authors are not going for this crap anymore. I just hope DS authors can recover but some of them are out of a ton of money.
 
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Earthling

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This is such a shame. My experience with DSP staff was great: thorough editing, good communication, clear timescales. Sales of my novella only hit triple figures but, you know, it was a novella. I wasn't expecting anything else.

I haven't been following this whole thing closely enough to say who's to blame - and despite being one of their authors I only get some of their communications - but it's sad. For authors and readers.
 

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Why would readers not buy? What are readers scared of? Human nature suggests that if there's going to be a shortage of some desired thing, people grab up as much as they can.
I would think that anyone wanting books from a Dreamspinner author would buy now,
while the books are still available.

Unless Dreamspinner has acquired a rep for taking the readers' money and not handing over the book? In which case it's not the readers' fault - once again, it's all on Dreamspinner.

As BenPanced pointed out, readers are concerned about buying books and not having the money reach authors. I've had a number of readers reach out and ask if they should buy my DSP books or hold off until I've rereleased them. Many have asked on social media whether they should buy DSP or not (my answer is always that I won't tell them where to spend their money).

Plus a lot of titles have disappeared over the last few months as authors have taken back their rights.

Annnnnd it probably doesn't help that their pricing is not so great. I had a 46K novella released a few months ago, and it was $6.99 while my other books in the (multi-author) series were in the 55-65K range and priced at $5.99. I'm not sure if this is a new issue for them -- these were my first DSP releases in years -- but I can't imagine it helped.
 

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I have a release coming in October from DSP and I don't know what to do. It's likely too late to cancel the contract as review copies have already gone out? I want to believe things will get better, but it's looking less and less likely. I worry that if I do pull my books, no other small publisher will want them. I also think that it's easier to wait and see, and if the publisher does go under, rights will revert and I can go from there.

I'm just kinda lost here.
 

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I have a release coming in October from DSP and I don't know what to do. It's likely too late to cancel the contract as review copies have already gone out? I want to believe things will get better, but it's looking less and less likely. I worry that if I do pull my books, no other small publisher will want them. I also think that it's easier to wait and see, and if the publisher does go under, rights will revert and I can go from there.

I'm just kinda lost here.

I have a release in November and had one last week. I requested my rights back anyway, and we basically agreed that the Amazon pre-orders had to stay up (Amazon's rules), but then the books would go dark immediately after. So if you do want to pull them, they'll work with you.

I don't think any small houses will hold it against you if you jumped ship during something like this. People generally didn't have trouble getting books picked up after Samhain closed or things blew up with Riptide (in fact, the two books I mentioned above were pulled last year when Riptide was having problems - go figure).
 

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That's the main concern many readers have expressed. They're worried that if they buy anything published by Dreamspinner, the authors won't see the royalties.
Thanks for the explanation! Makes sense for readers who know about the problems with Dreamspinner. And, good on them for not wanting to see an author ripped-off!
(Confession- I only look for a publisher's name on occasion, usually for craft books.)
 

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RWA has notified Dreamspinner they're on indefinite probation from October 1, meaning they've been removed from their Qualifying Markets list and are unable to participate in RWA events until they've cleaned up their act.
 

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RWA has notified Dreamspinner they're on indefinite probation from October 1, meaning they've been removed from their Qualifying Markets list and are unable to participate in RWA events until they've cleaned up their act.

Am I the only one who is betting DS will be out of business before they "clean up their act"? And I can't see how you can repair screwing a bunch of people. The damage has been done.
 

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Am I the only one who is betting DS will be out of business before they "clean up their act"? And I can't see how you can repair screwing a bunch of people. The damage has been done.

I genuinely don't see how they can recover from this. They're still paying Q2 royalties out of Q3 income, and I don't see how they can get out of that deficit.

So yeah, I'm with you.
 

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Am I the only one who is betting DS will be out of business before they "clean up their act"? And I can't see how you can repair screwing a bunch of people. The damage has been done.
Possibly it was done this way to give those writers, who've been trooping trustfully along, a warning to get their rights back ASAP, before the inevitable bankruptcy?
 

michael_b

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Former DSP author here, weighing in. I'm not owed a lot, but I no longer have any books with them. There has not been a peep about paying me the small amount owed. They used a sale THIS MONTH on their site to pay authors who are owed money from the earlier part of the year. They've admitted this. So how do they plan to pay for those sales next year when they come due? That's a question we are all wondering. Frankly the hole they are in is so deep they can no longer see light at the top. They are rapidly going the same way EC went.
 

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It's bad. Really bad. I'm talking with a lawyer, and I know others are too.

If you're an author considering submitting to Dreamspinner, I cannot emphasize this enough:

RUN.

They owe me in excess of $4,000. Other authors are owed 3, 4, and well into 5 figures. Nothing short of a literal miracle is going to turn this ship around. They're too far in the hole, and they're digging themselves deeper by using current income to pay late debts.

Don't buy into the "family" and "loyalty" nonsense. That's nothing more than gaslighting to guilt people into staying or entice them into joining, even when the place is so obviously on fire.

In case it's not crystal clear:

THERE IS NOTHING DREAMSPINNER CAN OFFER YOU THAT'S WORTH LETTING THEM SELL YOUR BOOK AND NOT PAY YOU.

- - - Updated - - -

(that last part applies to any publisher, but my emphasis here is on DSP)
 

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As someone who pulled my books later than I should have, I agree with thethinker42 and michael_b above. DSP's ship is sinking. Any author who publishes with them is not going to get their books treated well--they will do the bare minimum and use the money they make from you to pay off their debts, not you.

DSP used to be a good publisher, but the key phrase is used to be. For now, avoid avoid avoid.
 
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thethinker42

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Any author who publishes with them is not going to get their books treated well--they will do the bare minimum and use the money they make from you to pay off their debts, not you.

This. Absolutely this. You'll never see a dime of your royalties because they're going to use them to pay those of us owed money from two quarters ago.
 

cool pop

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Oh, there will still be writers signing with them. That's the sad part. You're always gonna have some desperate writer who just wants to say they are "published" (and not to mention DS being a big name) so they still sign with a pub that goes bad. And they can't say they don't know because you can simply Google and find out what's going on. Even after EC went bad and reputation was mud there were still writers signing with them. They didn't care as long as they could say they were with EC.

I don't feel sorry for people who sign with publishers or whoever when they know they are bad. I've seen this movie many times. Seen it right here on AW where people were repeatedly warned about a publisher but signed with them anyway and months later they post their sob story right here in the Bewares & Background Section (which they completely ignored before) going, "I should've listened to people on this thread." Yeah, you think?

It's different if you sign with a pub and things go wrong. But when the pub has gone south, you ignore the crap going on, and you still sign there?

You're a fool and that's on you.
 
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Filigree

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This one bloody well broke my heart. DSP was supposed to be a solid small-press outfit, lifting M/M romance into Big5 levels of great writing, competence, and market reach.

I have a lot of Dreamspinner books. They were where I went for gay fantasy & SFF when the commercial genre pubs went coyly fade-to-black with gay characters. NineStar Press has taken over that guilty pleasure for now. So has some incredible fanfic.

I started hearing rumbles about spotty Dreamspinner editing a couple of years ago. And now this.

I know I've been gently corrected by the mods before about reposting 'Filigree's Rule': I'm too cynical, I'm ruining the joy for newer writers, I'm stepping on favored publishers' toes, etc.

Whatever. Google isn't that hard to use, folks. Any writer capable of doing online or email submissions, can do basic research.
 

cool pop

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This one bloody well broke my heart. DSP was supposed to be a solid small-press outfit, lifting M/M romance into Big5 levels of great writing, competence, and market reach.

I have a lot of Dreamspinner books. They were where I went for gay fantasy & SFF when the commercial genre pubs went coyly fade-to-black with gay characters. NineStar Press has taken over that guilty pleasure for now. So has some incredible fanfic.

I started hearing rumbles about spotty Dreamspinner editing a couple of years ago. And now this.

I know I've been gently corrected by the mods before about reposting 'Filigree's Rule': I'm too cynical, I'm ruining the joy for newer writers, I'm stepping on favored publishers' toes, etc.

Whatever. Google isn't that hard to use, folks. Any writer capable of doing online or email submissions, can do basic research.

If you're cynical than I am too. But seriously being upfront and honest in order to help people is NOT being cynical or negative. People should want to know the truth without the sugarcoating. That's what I want. If I was about to get on a runaway train, I'd like someone to tell me so I can save myself or whatever.

In the long run new writers will appreciate an honest look into these publishers and the industry because it only helps them. If someone wants to go through life being blind and only seeing what they want then they'll never get anywhere.
 

Elizabeth George's book Write Away