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Ridan Publishing

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

priceless1

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I read Robin's comment on Solar Clipper's site. Her claims that she's not soliciting sympathy are ludicrous because not once did she apologize to her authors. What about their plans for promoting their books for what they thought would be a lucrative Christmas season? Don't they deserve a major mea culpa, I totally screwed up?

Then there is the timing issue. Her father passed in December, yet she had books that were supposed to hit the market earlier, so one would assume those books would have already been edited and ready to publish. How does one justify this? She's saying January was a wash, but looking at the timeline of the books that were supposed to be released, she's been AWOL for far longer than a month. And yet, there is no hint of "I'm so sorry, this should have never happened."

She's in way over her head, and I can't understand why she is just now figuring that out. Didn't she see that she couldn't crank out that many releases and expect to avoid hitting a wall? She's been doing this long enough to know how long it takes to produce and market efforts, so how and why did she let it get to the point? I'm angry because when you offer a contract, you're making a legal promise to perform in the best interests of the author and your company - and she broke that promise repeatedly.

She came to this discussion and explained with pride that her marketing and quality product are an unqualified success. I questioned the sanity of her 30-day reversion clause because she risks spending countless hours and money on production and promotion, and her authors could cut the cord at any time. Her reply was to the effect that she is so great that her authors never want to leave. It made zero sense to me then, and it still doesn't.

I see someone who is supremely over-confident, yet there are niggling things in the back of my head that make me believe she isn't all that. One person simply can't put out that many books while shouldering marketing and promotion, and not implode at some point.

I'm sorry for her troubles, but I'm more concerned about her arrogance and lack of contrition for screwing her authors. That is unforgivable. That her authors are so forgiving is a testimony to their amazing patience. I hope she appreciates it.
 
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shaldna

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Then there is the timing issue. Her father passed in December, yet she had books that were supposed to hit the market earlier, so one would assume those books would have already been edited and ready to publish.

This has been my point over this issue. I mean, it takes a while to get novels ready and out, with any other publisher that work would have been done months in advance so all that would happen come release time was that the book came out.

Here it seems that, come release time, there were still edits that hadn't been done, no schedule for release etc. THat's simply not good enough. No matter what your personal circumstances are.


She's in way over her head, and I can't understand why she is just now figuring that out. Didn't she see that she couldn't crank out that many releases and expect to avoid hitting a wall? She's been doing this long enough to know how long it takes to produce and market efforts, so how and why did she let it get to the point? I'm angry because when you offer a contract, you're making a legal promise to perform in the best interests of the author and your company - and she broke that promise repeatedly.

Here's the issue - people are still thinking of Robin as being a professional publisher. But she's not. She's someone who has a bit of PR and marketing savvy who had some success promoting her (already published) husbands books.

Since then she took on some more (already published) authors and have promised them the same success.

The problem is that she doesn't seem able to separate Robin the supportive wife from Robin the publisher.

She hasn't been in this game for all that long. Less than two years.
 

Sheryl Nantus

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I stand corrected. But two years is plenty of time to rip your hair out and realize you're drowning.

The author linked below has answered on the comments thread on his website that he intends to stay with Ridan for the duration of his series - I can't say that I blame him because he's already heavily invested in seeing this entire series come out under one publisher and keep the covers in sync, etc. He *does* say that he'd be considering self-pubbing for the rest of his works.

I'd like to hear from other Ridan authors, other than her husband, as to why these release dates keep moving and moving. If she's making good money off these already-established authors, and I have no reason why she wouldn't, why not spend the money on getting good freelancers?

The covers for the Starbridge series are *awesome*... and probably drawn by her husband so that she can cut costs.

I guess I'd have to ask *where* is all this money going if not to put out new books or hire more help. Is Ridan running that close to the edge that they can afford to not put out any more books or hire help?

Hopefully other Ridan authors will chime in with their thoughts...
 

thothguard51

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Michael's Twitter feed has been very silent lately, even about his Orbit stuff...

I do remember that when Michael first went with Orbit he talked about the difference in the editing and he was learning a lot. What this tells me is that Robin, who did all of Michael's editing, was not up to professional standards if Michael was that astonished by comments from Orbits editors...

Now, the disclaimer, I have not read any of Michael's work before or after Orbit so I don't know what the differences would be. I have read samples of his work but did not find myself all that interested in his style. But that is a personal like and not a criticism of his writing...

He is one hell of an artist though...
 
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priceless1

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The author linked below has answered on the comments thread on his website that he intends to stay with Ridan for the duration of his series
He's in a real jam. You want to keep a series with the same publisher for continuity and ease of sales. I can't blame him either. And Robin, no doubt, realizes this as well -so she's pretty free to continue running slipshod over her authors until such time she gets her act together.

While he's made his decision to remain with Ridan, it's plain to see how upset he is, and rightly so. She's been barely treading water for a long time, and now her authors are paying the price. And that's what gets my Vickie Secrets in a twist...it's always the author who suffers.

If she's making good money off these already-established authors, and I have no reason why she wouldn't, why not spend the money on getting good freelancers?
Excellent point. It's not as though she couldn't see herself getting deeper under water. Though I will say that hiring an editor isn't as easy as one would think. You have to get the word out there first.

If she's anything like me, she probably gets a lot of queries for editorial services, but you want to find an editor who's sympatico with you and the types of books you produce. No two people edit the same way, so you need to have a lot of communication about style.

I've read books from publishers who have a team of editors all over the world, and you can really spot the differences. Some are bleeding disasters, while others are very good. A publisher must have consistency...and that takes time and care to establish. That said, it's hardly impossible.

I hope Robin either accepts fewer books - which cuts down on profit margins - or gets some good help, so she can keep her contractual promises to her authors.
 

Sheryl Nantus

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priceless1

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The Orbit books still have huge problems with respect to editing.

You might remember Robin indicating that she was stetting most things.

There are grammar problems, misused words, and the attempt to use what Michael called Shakespearian English is a disaster.

http://www.strangehorizons.com/reviews/2012/01/theft_of_swords.shtml
I share Sheryl's confusion. Are you saying that Orbit gave all editorial approval to Robin and Michael? Oh my holy liver...why would ANYONE agree to such idiocy? I would never give that kind of power away because it's my name on that book, too, and what would that do to my reputation as an editor? Gah. I hope I'm wrong about this.
 

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Authors absolutely do have the last word in approving the edits for their books. If the issues highlighted in that review aren't apparent in other books published by Orbit then one has to consider who should take responsibility for them.
 

Sheryl Nantus

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I share Sheryl's confusion. Are you saying that Orbit gave all editorial approval to Robin and Michael? Oh my holy liver...why would ANYONE agree to such idiocy? I would never give that kind of power away because it's my name on that book, too, and what would that do to my reputation as an editor? Gah. I hope I'm wrong about this.

Well, Mr. Sullivan talks here about his Orbit editing - so they didn't just reprint the Ridan books.

Having said that it can just be that they were rushing to get the books out and raced through the edits.

All of which doesn't excuse Ridan being woefully behind in putting out books aren't Michael Sullivan's...
 

shaldna

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The Orbit books still have huge problems with respect to editing.

You might remember Robin indicating that she was stetting most things.

There are grammar problems, misused words, and the attempt to use what Michael called Shakespearian English is a disaster.

http://www.strangehorizons.com/reviews/2012/01/theft_of_swords.shtml


Ouch. That's gotta sting.

I'm confused - was she overriding the Orbit edits, and could she do that?

Or was Orbit just being lazy in the editing area?

I'm not seeing these problems in other books from Orbit.

I'm confused. Shouldn't the author be the one to deny or approve changes?

For anyone who hasn't read this thread all the way through, here's the thing - Robin is very much the one calling the shots in terms of Michael's career. She openly bitched about the Orbit contract on this thread - something she was advised over and over was a bad idea especially as the contract hadn't yet been signed.

In fact, if you read what she wrote it sounded very much like SHE was brokering the deal.

The same thing can be seen over and over in this thread, before Robin got banned, she tended to talk about 'her' books, rather than Michael's. In addition she frequently admits that she posts as Michael or uses his various accounts online.

She's very arrogant and can talk up a storm, but let's not forget that she's new to this and really doesn't know as much as she likes to pretend, and lacks any experience other than Ridan - which seems to be built on Michael's work and a host of other authors with a solid backlist.

Now, being arrogant and inexperienced, while usually a toxic combination, is not necessarily the end of the world. After all, to give her the credit she deserves, she's done a pretty good job so far.

BUT, and I'm ignoring her personal circumstances because they have no place whatsoever in the world of business, she's started to drop balls. And this, it has to be said, has started since Michael got the contract with Orbit.

I believe Michael has an account here too. I don't think he was banned, was he? Perhaps he could weigh in?
 
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priceless1

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Well, Mr. Sullivan talks here about his Orbit editing - so they didn't just reprint the Ridan books.
After reading that post and some of the reviews of his book, methinks he should have listened to his editor. There is a fine line between who knows best - the author or the editor. If there were major changes that the editor felt strongly about, then it should have been discussed during contract negotiations because there are no real surprises with a completed manuscript. The editor should already have a firm idea of the structural and organizational problems, so she should get those out in order to avoid author freak out.

That she told Michael he didn't have to make those changes makes me do a double-take at the editor, considering how he's been singed with reviews. It appears to be very sloppily edited, and I would be furious if I were the author.


Having said that it can just be that they were rushing to get the books out and raced through the edits.
I understand being rushed, but there is no way I'd ever sacrifice quality.

And Jane is very correct. Authors should always have the final say to edits...which is what I should have said originally. However, there are times when editor and author have a huge disagreement over what those edits should be. If it's that big of an issue (and they didn't discuss them an contract time), then the editor has to decide whether the book is strong enough to sell as written. But you simply don't allow a crappily edited book to go to market.
All of which doesn't excuse Ridan being woefully behind in putting out books aren't Michael Sullivan's...
If I were Orbit, I wouldn't be displeased because it could portend more sales for Orbit.
 

Richard White

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It was enlightening seeing the "rebuttals" (weak and incoherent that they were) to that review.

Reminds me of the "legions of doom" who show up annonymously to defend a publisher/agent, swear anyone who could talk about them must be either an uncultured philistine, a wanna-be hack or mentally derainged, or simply a jealous toady-bug who can't possibly understand, then either repeat their arguments regardless of whatever is said back to them or flounce off, swearing they'll never buy anything from said offender (as if they would have been buying stuff from them in the first place).

Hmmm.

Where could I have seen that kind of behavior before?
 

Momento Mori

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Richard White:
It was enlightening seeing the "rebuttals" (weak and incoherent that they were) to that review.

It was more enlightening to see Robin take time out to post twice on that thread, suggesting she was keeping tabs on it. One would think she had more important things to worry about.

MM
 

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Regarding the holdups for the StarBridge books. There are a number of reasons they were delayed. The books are now being released.

The reasons were:

1. A death in Robin's family, which had her flying back and forth from coast to coast to settle matters.

2. A demand from Kindle for the reversion letter for StarBridge, which could not be located, not by me, my agent, or Ace. A new reversion letter had to be generated. Fortunately, Ace was cooperative and my agent was persistent, so this happened very quickly. It was a rude shock to look through my safety-deposit box and realize there was no trace of that 13 year old document. Authors, keep your documents in order!

3. I came down with a serious infection and was in the hospital for five days.

4. Robin came down with a serious bug and was unable to work for more than two weeks.

We are trying to get back on track now. Unfortunate timing all around. The first three books are now out, and the fourth is in the pipeline. Books 5, 6 and 7 need author proofing, then they, too will be in the pipeline.

I don't believe any of this amounts to any chicanery. Merely a combination of bad luck and unfortunate timing.

-Ann C. Crispin
 

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I don't think anyone here thinks that there's chicanery going on, Ann. But it is very unfortunate that an entire publishing schedule could be so thrown out by these sad and difficult events, simply because Robin has no deputies. It's effectively destroyed much of the affected authors' promotional activities, and a whole lot more besides.

The question of how books which were scheduled for publication prior to the sad loss of Robin's father have not yet been published (I think I'm right that this has happened: apologies if I've misunderstood) has not yet been addressed.
 

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I mirror Hackey's reply. I don't think there is anything intentional going on. She's simply in over her head, and she appears to be selective about titles were released. Additionally, her lack of public apology (when replying to others' blog posts) makes me uneasy about where her head is because she seems to find plenty of time to reply to blogger's posts.

I'm a small publisher, and I know what it's like to keep all the balls in the air. I've had two surgeries in six months, and our authors didn't even knew because I took care to have all the bases covered in case I didn't bounce back quickly. I may have personal issues, but they play no part in running our company because I made a contractual promise to our authors, and they come first.

From what I've seen, she's let quite a few of them down, and ruined their carefully-crafted promotion. And still she issues no apology. It's about character in this business and from all appearances, it appears Robin may a bit lacking in this department.

As I've said before, she has the most wonderful, patient stable of writers, so I hope she doesn't abuse their good nature for much longer.
 

robjvargas

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...before Robin got banned...

Folks, should we really be commenting on the attitudes or thoughts of someone who can no longer speak for themselves?

I'm not saying she should or should not have been banned. But once banned, is it fair to discuss her?
 

Sheryl Nantus

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Folks, should we really be commenting on the attitudes or thoughts of someone who can no longer speak for themselves?

I'm not saying she should or should not have been banned. But once banned, is it fair to discuss her?

I think it's fair to discuss the publishing company.

If I were looking at signing up with Ridan I'd be very nervous after reading this thread. She's updated her blog, detailing her woes and vowing to do better by her authors but we've seen this cycle time after time with other publishers - and it rarely turns out well. Ridan might be the exception to the rule but I sure wouldn't sign with her at this point.
 

robjvargas

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I think it's fair to discuss the publishing company.

If I were looking at signing up with Ridan I'd be very nervous after reading this thread. She's updated her blog, detailing her woes and vowing to do better by her authors but we've seen this cycle time after time with other publishers - and it rarely turns out well. Ridan might be the exception to the rule but I sure wouldn't sign with her at this point.

Yup.

That's why I limited my quote so tightly. This is a forum about the publishers, editors, etc. Fair game. But about one person as a person or as a poster, and who has no option to reply to that?

Clearly, that's for moderators to decide as a matter of the rules. But as a matter of etiquette, we can decide for ourselves.
 

kaitie

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Honestly, I think the point has been made and at this point it just comes across as people repeating the same thing over and over. From my perspective, it looks more negatively on us.

Yes, there are problems and authors should consider them. It might be the signs of horrible things to come, and it might be that in a couple of months she's back on track.

It's important to mention negatives so that authors can make an informed decision, but I'm not sure there's as much need to beat a dead horse. I'm not sure we need daily (or even weekly) updates on the fact that she's not keeping up.

Just my own two cents.
 

thothguard51

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There are grammar problems, misused words, and the attempt to use what Michael called Shakespearian English is a disaster.

http://www.strangehorizons.com/reviews/2012/01/theft_of_swords.shtml

Perhaps the attempt was a version of the sample I read and why I did not find the sample suitable to my taste. Others obviously liked it or he would not have sold so many copies before Orbit got a hold of him...

I once had an editor slap my wrist for trying to sprinkle bits of the Kings English when obviously I was not proficient in normal English usage. I took no offense and understood what she was saying, Write what you know and know what you write.

It was a very valuable comment for me...