Since the beginning of this year, I've been hearing rumblings that all is not well with the authors of another e-publisher: New Concepts Publishing.
In the beginning, the two complaints I heard most often were that there was a lack of responsiveness to author emails and a lack of information on release dates.
I refused to post the rumors because I have friends published at New Concepts, and I haven't wanted to be a gossip monger.
However, the author unrest has grown to the point that it has now moved onto the blogosphere via Karen Scott's blog here. [Update: Apparently Ms. Scott is having server problems].
Since the beginning of the year, although I haven't heard all of the things that Karen's informant alleges, I have heard the following:
1) Non-receipt of royalties. By their own Author Liaison's report, the royalty checks are due at the end of the month following the close of the quarter. That means that the checks for the quarter ending December should have been sent by January 31. I hear some authors have still not received those checks.
2) Late receipt (or non-receipt) of the 1099s. Some authors got them a month late. A few say they are still waiting despite the government mandate that these should have been mailed by
3) Non-responsiveness as a publisher. More than one writer has complained that they can't even get firm release dates for their books.
4) Non-responsiveness by the Author Liaison, who openly acknowledged on a loop that he is always slow in responding to individual e-mails; he prefers to answer questions on the author loop.
5) Lack of input given to the author about their cover art.
6) Lack of editing.
7) Lack of responsiveness from Customer Service when a download link to a purchased e-book doesn't work. Another writer alleges that some bookstores are no longer stocking NCP print books because of problems with customer service.
Probably the thing that bothered me the most was the perception on the part of some NCP authors that they will be punished for voicing complaints. They claim their books have been pulled
from the production schedule, and they worry about veiled threats.
To support their perception, the disaffected authors point to a post by the moderator of the NCP promotion loop: "I'm simply saying that networking is everything in this business, and people talk. If an author is seen as being a prima donna, a complainer, a troublemaker (whether it's true or not) it can be (sic) cause an author problems down the road."
That post contains an important nugget of truth: Perception is everything. NCP needs to act quickly to address these author complaints. In the same way that the rumor mill can ruin an author's reputation, it can hurt a publisher's reputation.
Poorly managed e-publishing operations have gone out of business with depressing regularity over the past two years. NCP needs to focus on convincing its authors that the problems they've identified are being addressed and will shortly be a thing of the past.