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Ridan Publishing

Sheryl Nantus

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I want to hear that Ann's got the money and the rights back before I get too excited. Saying it's going to be resolved is a first step, but Robin can get a lot of traction with just saying "I'm making amends and everything is going to be okay now".

It's easy to say the check is in the mail.

True.

I'd love to be at NYCC at their panel where the Sullivans can once again brag about how wonderful Ridan is...

... until someone asks them about this.

I'd love to see this resolved quietly and quickly with a check in Ann's hand and the books off an updated Ridan website and off of Amazon in days.

I'd love to see that.

I'm waiting.
 

thothguard51

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Knowing that Robin has responded to AC and NL, I hope she updates the Ridan website soon as well as her various blogs. I seriously hope she resolves all matters in a positive for the authors.

As far as Ridan surviving this mess, I suspect there are other authors who will still sign on with Ridan. Of course, Ridan could always go back to Michael Sullivan who has a good fan base. Hell, Michael should consider putting a picture book out of just his artwork, he might find a following for such a book. I buy picture books all the time of my favorite artist.

So yes, I suspect Ridan will survive this, but if they want to grow and earn back the respect they lost, then Robin is going to have to treat her business more professionally. IMHO of course.
 

MadGastronomer

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A recent post on Lowell's blog from a disgruntled reader:
"MadGastronomer says:
September 10, 2012 at 4:50 am
This is not the only place Ridan is falling down on the job. Months ago, I ordered and paid for the StarBridge ebooks through Ridan’s site. I never received them, nor did I receive any response to my inquiries. Last week, I tried it again anyway. I have received no ebooks and no response to my two emails. Ridan doesn’t offer these books on Smashwords, only through Kindle and Nook services (neither of which is a reader I use). I paid at Ridan in an effort to get Ms. Crispin as much of the cover price as possible, but now in order to actually get the books I’ve already paid for twice, I would have to buy them a third time through a third party and then strip the DRM and convert the file to make it readable for me. At this point, I don’t care how many personal problems they’re having over there, they’re just massively unprofessional, and need to shut down until they sort their shit out."

Granted that there's no way to verify if this actually happened, but if it did... it doesn't seem to look good for Ridan.

Michael Sullivan's blog shows that he was on vacation last month traveling with Robin - no mention, obviously, of Ridan's problems (if they exist).

just fyi.

Er, hi. I'm the MadGastronomer quoted above. I just happened across this thread from Jim Hines' post, and was somewhat startled to see my name crop up. Since it did, though, I thought the thread might be interested in what's happened since then.

I emailed Ridan three times, with no response. I then emailed Ann Crispin as well (someone in the thread the above quote is from gave it to me), and she encouraged me to enter a complaint at Paypal and initiate a chargeback, which I did. I placed the order on September 2nd, initiated the complaint on September 19th, and finally received a response from Robin Sullivan on September 25th, which included the five Starbridge books I had purchased.

The email read:

I'm terribly sorry for the delay in getting these books to you. I've had an emergency that has taken me off line and the person I had to take care of orders in my absence obviously dropped the ball.

I'm now following the whole Ridan saga with some interest, and have been fascinated by this thread in particular. I'm pretty ticked off, really. I didn't mind paying for the books twice so much, since I assumed that Ann Crispin would get both sets of royalties, and really, $20 is pretty good for five books I love. But since it turns out she hasn't seen a penny of it, and had to go to a fair bit of trouble to get the books I'd paid for twice, and very possibly lied to about the reason for the delay, since it seems Ridan has no employees... Well, I'll certainly be looking to buy the next two Starbridge books, since they'll be coming from other publishers, but I certainly won't be buying anything from Ridan again, and I'll be telling everyone I know that, and why. (Not that my voice is very big, or anything, but I'm an avid reader, and so are my friends. Drops in the bucket add up, eventually.)

I have a lot of sympathy for a small business owner who has a string of problems. I've been a small business owner, and I've had my business go to pieces around me. But I never didn't pay vendors or employees, and I never didn't deliver product that was paid for. I have no sympathy or patience for that.

I'm not a writer, so I don't expect to become a regular at AW, but I'll probably hang around this thread for a while.
 

Terie

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Thanks for updating us on your situation, MG. :) I've been wondering whether Ridan was making any effort to make good on customer purchases.

I'm curious about one thing: Did you get a refund on the second purchase?

Oh, and welcome to AW. :D
 

MadGastronomer

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Thanks, Terie! No, I never did get a refund for the other purchase (the first, actually, which was back in January). I emailed Ridan about it once, then forgot about the entire thing until well past the Paypal deadline for charge reversals, and I didn't mention it when emailing them about the second. I just gave it up as a donation to Ann Crispin, with a cut off the top for the intermediary. Of course, that was before I knew they hadn't been paying her...
 

bearilou

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Er, hi. I'm the MadGastronomer quoted above. I just happened across this thread from Jim Hines' post, and was somewhat startled to see my name crop up. Since it did, though, I thought the thread might be interested in what's happened since then.

Damn. So sorry that happened but I'm glad there was finally a resolution and you got the books.

I'm not a writer, so I don't expect to become a regular at AW, but I'll probably hang around this thread for a while.

Just FYI, and certainly not intending this to sound like a hard sell or anything, but AW has plenty of members who are not writers but avid readers. They are equally welcome here as they have the voice and perspective the writers desire to hear about.

I hope you stick around even after this unfortunate mess with Ridan clears up!
 

Terie

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Thanks, Terie! No, I never did get a refund for the other purchase (the first, actually, which was back in January). I emailed Ridan about it once, then forgot about the entire thing until well past the Paypal deadline for charge reversals, and I didn't mention it when emailing them about the second. I just gave it up as a donation to Ann Crispin, with a cut off the top for the intermediary. Of course, that was before I knew they hadn't been paying her...

If Ridan doesn't refund your money on the first set, they're still culpable. I doubt you're the only customer who never received purchases.

Seriously...if the only way customers can get product they have ordered and paid for is to order and pay a second time and then file a claim with PayPal, if the only way writers can get movement on late royalties and reversion of rights is to go public.....well, I guess this post from April 2010 sums it up nicely:

If Ms. Sullivan runs her business with the same tenacity as she defends it, then Ridan will certainly succeed.

Too bad her tenacity went only as far as defending her business, not to actually running it.
 

escritora

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Thanks, then forgot about the entire thing until well past the Paypal deadline for charge reversals,

If you paid with PayPal "cash" you may not have recourse, but if you paid with a credit card via PayPal, you can request a refund directly through your CC company. Most CC companies give customers 6 months or a year to issue a refund request.
 

victoriastrauss

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I'm very glad for Ann if this means she's going to get paid (and the other Ridan authors too). But it's pretty sketchy that it took someone with a big soapbox (I suspect Jim could have gotten John Scalzi in on the Internet-dropping thing) to get some action on this.
No kidding. And I hope that's what people remember, going forward--the behavior that precipitated all of this, rather than Ridan's tardy efforts at damage control.

- Victoria
 

MadGastronomer

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While I appreciate the advice, and Ridan is certainly still culpable, $20 is not enough money out of my budget to make it worth it for me to pursue it at this time. It would cost me more time and energy than the money could buy me in spoons.

And thanks, Berilou, I'll keep that in mind.
 

Amadan

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Robin Sullivan posted a response to the situation over on the Kindle boards:

http://www.kindleboards.com/index.php/topic,128742.msg1906523.html#msg1906523

....yeah. I think I'm not going to comment.


I will. Holy crap, what a bunch of self-serving "poor me" BS.

A simple "Yes, I screwed up big time, and I'm trying to make it right" would have gone a long way toward convincing me that she was a sincere person who just got in over her head. But the multiple layers of patting herself on the back while asking for pity and understanding for what a rough time she had while she was on vacation?

And revealing the amount (even as a ballpark figure) that she owed Ann (especially in a manner so as to imply that it wasn't really a significant sum and therefore not worth making such a big deal over) seems pretty sleazy, too.
 

Terie

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Robin Sullivan posted a response to the situation over on the Kindle boards:

http://www.kindleboards.com/index.php/topic,128742.msg1906523.html#msg1906523

....yeah. I think I'm not going to comment.

How disgusting for a publisher to publically even hint at how much an author earned in royalties.

Further, since Ann Crispin has publically stated that her Starbridge royalties were her sole source of income this year, to disparage ANY amount of earned royalties as being not enough to make an issue about is even more disgusting.

Robin Sullivan, I know you monitor this thread. You are morally bankrupt.
 

nkkingston

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Even if you take her apology at face value, the underlying issue is the big red flag we raised right back at the beginning of this thread: one person cannot run an entire publishing outfit alone. Personal tragedies, illnesses, acts of god - these are why you need other members of staff to pick up the slack when you're personally incapcitated, to at least stick a note on the website saying "we are unable to fulfill orders at this time" and to make sure money owed still gets paid.
 

shaldna

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Well. I think I'll wait and see how this pans out before I comment.

But I'll second Terie in that any publisher discussing publically how much an author may have made is very poor taste and not terribly professional.
 

Sheryl Nantus

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Robin Sullivan posted a response to the situation over on the Kindle boards:

http://www.kindleboards.com/index.php/topic,128742.msg1906523.html#msg1906523

....yeah. I think I'm not going to comment.

I think the reaction on the Kindleboards is probably what we're all feeling.

As before - I wouldn't recommend Ridan to anyone now or in the future. I think it's pretty obvious how business is run there and how authors are considered.

And as I said in a previous post - I'll believe it's all over when Ann receives her checks *and* they're cashed. This has been a long and horrible experience for her and I believe there's no amount of excuses that can be given or explanations *or* BLAME put on HER that can redeem Ridan or Robin Sullivan at this point.

JMO.

Not Recommended.
 

Stacia Kane

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And revealing the amount (even as a ballpark figure) that she owed Ann (especially in a manner so as to imply that it wasn't really a significant sum and therefore not worth making such a big deal over) seems pretty sleazy, too.

How disgusting for a publisher to publically even hint at how much an author earned in royalties.


QFT. That jumped right out at me.



Even if you take her apology at face value, the underlying issue is the big red flag we raised right back at the beginning of this thread: one person cannot run an entire publishing outfit alone. Personal tragedies, illnesses, acts of god - these are why you need other members of staff to pick up the slack when you're personally incapcitated, to at least stick a note on the website saying "we are unable to fulfill orders at this time" and to make sure money owed still gets paid.


And QFT here, too.


I am genuinely sorry for Ms. Sullivan's personal losses and stress. It sounds like she's had a horrible time, and I sincerely hope things are improving for her. Ms. Sullivan, if you are reading this, please accept my sympathies.

But this is why a one-person operation isn't a great idea, and I still don't understand why authors were kept in the dark, and/or why she didn't ask for help. The payment of royalties and the delivery of paid-for products are not favors a business does, which can be performed whenever the time can be found. They are legal, contractual obligations.
 

Sheryl Nantus

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Are these the books that Ridan was supposed to have out LAST Christmas?

If so, it's pretty shitty that Ridan have basically set an authors career back a year.

I believe that was the first indication that RS was in way over her head with a one-woman outfit.

The series is/was a major seller and delaying a release probably cut Ridan's profits a hell of a lot. There wouldn't be any reason to delay it other than basic inability to deliver.

OTOH if more authors leave she might find it easier to manage the company. Less authors, less books - less stress.

I see she's posted more on the Kindleboards in response to the outrage from her original post. I'd still be curious as to how the Sullivans' handle themselves at NYCC this weekend on their self-publishing panel.

Still not recommended.
 

victoriastrauss

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Robin Sullivan posted a response to the situation over on the Kindle boards:

http://www.kindleboards.com/index.php/topic,128742.msg1906523.html#msg1906523

....yeah. I think I'm not going to comment.
Not for nothing, but how many times have we seen troubled publishers offer these very same lame excuses to justify their unprofessional behavior?

As a friend, I am outraged, but this situation is Ann's to discuss, and she'll decide how much more she wants to reveal. As Writer Beware, suffice it to say that I now provide a warning about Ridan to writers who contact me to ask about it (based not just on Ann's experience, but on other complaints seen and received).

- Victoria
 

amergina

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I think the reaction on the Kindleboards is probably what we're all feeling.

As before - I wouldn't recommend Ridan to anyone now or in the future. I think it's pretty obvious how business is run there and how authors are considered.

And as I said in a previous post - I'll believe it's all over when Ann receives her checks *and* they're cashed. This has been a long and horrible experience for her and I believe there's no amount of excuses that can be given or explanations *or* BLAME put on HER that can redeem Ridan or Robin Sullivan at this point.

JMO.

Not Recommended.

Pretty much what I wanted to say, only in a much nicer manner than I could have said it when I posted the link.
 

shadowwalker

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Robin just seems to have a real problem distinguishing between personal life and business life, and seems to think that the people she does business with (customers and authors) should somehow care about her personal problems. Unfortunately, it seems those who do (or did) are the ones who got hurt the most.

Just a good lesson all around - publishing is a business. Make it personal at your peril.
 

twiharder

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everytime this woman speaks i am more and more disgusted by her. The fact that she implies Ann is the only one she dropped the ball with one author is insane and she must think we are all a bunch of imbeciles. What an insult to her other authors not even to acknowledge that she dropped the ball with them too. In in the next 30 days I predict Ridan's "author" page will be much, much shorter.
 

Sheryl Nantus

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I feel bad for her husband.

Although he seems to have a very successful writing career in front of him with Orbit and is supposedly not associated with Ridan other than being married to Robin, I suspect this will tag onto him like an albatross 'round his neck.

Not to mention Robin's whining about *that* contract.

"My husband has signed three US publishing contracts and not only is he wedded to those companies “for life” he’s wedded to them in death as the terms extend for the length of the copyright which is 70 years after his death."

She then compliments herself for having such a great contract for Ridan authors.

I hope she realizes that she may be doing her husband's career more harm than good with these excuses and continuing to run Ridan the way she has.