|Publisher Cautions: Riverdale Avenue Books, Breaking Rules Publishing, Adelaide PublishingPosted: 02 Mar 2021 10:50 AM PST|
Posted by Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware®
Riverdale Avenue Books was founded in 2012 by literary agent Lori Perkins of the L. Perkins Agency. Riverdale, which describes itself as a “hybrid” publisher even though, as far as I know, it does not charge fees, boasts a whopping 13 imprints, covering everything from erotica to mystery to sports and lifestyle titles.
It also, apparently, has trouble providing royalty statements and author copies.
Writer Beware has received a number of complaints from Riverdale anthology and book authors who cite publication delays, poor copy editing, late or missing royalty statements, non-provision of contractually-promised print author copies, and poor communication (for instance, authors finding out about to-be-published stories only when other authors spotted the stories in proof copies).
I’ve also seen royalty statements for several RAB anthologies, which appear to sell in miniscule numbers (for example, several years into its five-year contract term, one anthology had sold just 35 copies in total, according to correspondence from RAB). RAB has a policy of not paying out anthology royalties at all until at least $50 is due; this benchmark is stipulated in most of the RAB anthology contracts I’ve seen–but not in all, and even where it’s not, the $50 benchmark has been cited as a reason for not providing royalty checks.
Lori Perkins’ previous publishing venture, Ravenous Romance, was the focus of similar complaints before it shut down in 2016 (some examples can be seen in the comments thread on this post from the Dear Author blog). In particular, it stirred conflict of interest concerns, in part because of Perkins’ dual position as owner of an agency and part-owner/editorial director of Ravenous, but also because Perkins Agency agents and Perkins herself were placing clients’ manuscripts with Ravenous. Similar concerns exist for RAB–something that is explicitly acknowledged in at least some RAB book contracts:
Breaking Rules Publishing (BRP) bills itself as “an open and inclusive publishing house” that was founded “to help writers break down the system.”
Indications at its website, however, are not auspicious. Founder Christopher Clawson-Rule had no professional publishing or writing experience before starting BRP in 2018. BRP covers leave a lot to be desired (to put it mildly). It runs a large roster of high-entry-fee (read: profit-generating) awards (such awards, with no name recognition, are a complete waste of writers’ money, especially where, as in BRP’s case, the primary prize is “exposure”), along with no fewer than 15 different writing contests that, while not as expensive to enter, are clearly also designed to generate a profit. To complete the picture, BRP sells a range of paid services, including editing and cover design (always a signal for caution, as this poses a potential conflict of interest), and hawks ads to writers:
All of the above would be sufficient reason to be wary of BRP. But there’s more.
Writer Beware has received multiple complaints about BRP, from both authors and staff. These include: late payment of royalties; non-payment of royalties, staff salaries, anthology flat fees, and story fees for publication in BRP’s magazines; failure to provide author copies; failure to provide books ordered and paid for by authors; problems with online orders; confusing or inadequate contract language (for instance, anthology contracts that are really only lightly-adapted book contracts, and magazine contracts that don’t include rights language or grant terms); and rude and aggressive responses to questions and complaints.
These financial problems and logistical snafus will probably sound very familiar if you’re a regular reader of this blog, as they often precede a publisher’s abrupt demise. Even if BRP isn’t on the brink of going bust, the complaints suggest that there’s considerable disarray behind the scenes…possibly because BRP–which offers not just book and anthology publishing, but magazines, awards, contests, workshops and classes, and a recently-established European branch–may have expanded its offerings considerably beyond the capacity of what (I’m guessing) is a tiny and not-necessarily-very-experienced staff.
(If Breaking Rules rings a bell, that may be because of its encounter with supertroll Gary Kadet, about whom I wrote last year. Briefly, BRP agreed to publish Gary’s novel, Ogre Life (giving it a cover of typical BRP caliber), but Gary’s reputation caught up with him when, apparently, he was mean to people in one of BRP’s author groups. In response, BRP “downgraded” and then booted him. Drama ensued: Twitter insults, angry Yelp reviews.)
Adelaide Books presents itself as “an independent publisher dedicated to publishing literary fiction and creative non-fiction.” In fact, it is pay-to-play, requiring authors to purchase 45 copies of their finished books.
Shifting fees to purchases, rather than book production, is a tactic some fee-charging publishers use to try to make their fees more palatable. You’re not paying the company to publish your book–just buying books once the process is complete! But whether you pay upfront or on the back end, the bottom line is that you are giving your publisher money in order to be published. That’s vanity publishing.
Adelaide does not mention the purchase requirement on its website, nor is it included in the sample contract. Writers’ first indication that they will have to pay comes with the offer email:
Naturally some writers, having assumed they were submitting to a non-fee-charging publisher, aren’t too pleased to discover they are in fact expected to “support” the publisher by handing over a large amount of money. Here’s Adelaide’s rather snippy response to the concerns expressed by one of them:
The 45-book fee may not be all authors wind up spending, either. At the 2019 Book Expo, authors were given the “opportunity” to buy 100 ARCs for $1,100, to be exhibited for sale at Adelaide’s booth. I’ve also heard from writers who paid even larger sums in “partnership” arrangements, and were not satisfied with the results.
Additional concerns: royalties paid on net profit (net income less printing and shipping costs–not quite as “generous” as claimed), very high cover prices (at least for print, likely an indication that Adelaide uses KDP and/or IngramSpark for production), an eyepoppingly huge publishing schedule (Adelaide published more than 120 books in 2020, with a similar number planned for 2021–an enormous list for a small press even with a large staff, which I could find no indication Adelaide has); and a range of author complaints, including inadequate (or no) editing, poor proofreading (books published with errors), little in the way of marketing, and, recently, difficulty getting the publisher to respond to emails.
We all need a good laugh occasionally
MONTANA STATE TROOPER
In most of the Unites States there is a policy of checking on any stalled vehicle on the highway when temperatures drop to single digits or below.
About 3 AM one very cold morning, Montana State Trooper Allan Nixon #658 responded to a call there was a car off the shoulder of the road outside of Great Falls, Montana. He located the car, stuck in deep snow and with the engine still running. Pulling behind the car with his emergency lights on, the trooper walked to the driver’s door to find an older man passed out behind the wheel with a nearly empty vodka bottle on the seat beside him.
The driver came awake when the trooper tapped on the window. Seeing the rotating lights in his rear view mirror, and the state trooper standing next to to his car, the man panicked. He jerked the gearshift…
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We all need a good laugh at times.
tt1Sp3oinmhsoreld · LOL Love it!
These are actual comments made by Georgia State Troopers that were taken off their car videos:
1. “You know, stop lights don’t come any redder than the one you just went through.”
2. “Relax, the handcuffs are tight because they’re new. They’ll stretch after you wear them a while.”
3. “If you take your hands off the car, I’ll make your birth certificate a worthless document.” (My Favorite)
4. “If you run, you’ll only go to jail tired.”
5. “Can you run faster than 1200 feet per second? Because that’s the speed of the bullet that will be chasing you.” (LOVE IT)
6. “You don’t know how fast you were going? I guess that means I can write anything I want to on the ticket, huh?”
7. “Yes, sir, you can talk to the shift supervisor, but I don’t think it will help. Oh…
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|Vanity Press Storm Warning: Waldorf PublishingPosted: 29 Jan 2021 09:51 AM PST|
Posted by Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware®
A couple of years ago I featured Waldorf Publishing in a post about a manuscript contest it was running, which was replete with red flags–not least of which is that Waldorf is a vanity publisher. At the time, it was charging a menu of fees, from which authors could pick and choose:
In 2019, Waldorf switched to a book purchase requirement: authors were required to buy 50 or 100 books, “to ensure us that Authors are participating in marketing and actively promoting their book”. Possibly it won’t surprise you to learn that there is nothing on Waldorf’s website or in its publicity materials to suggest that fees are involved.
Waldorf is owned by Barbara Terry, who describes herself as “America’s Favorite Auto Expert, CEO, Spokesperson, Author, Off-road racer, Columnist, Television Host, Marketing and Public Relations expert”. The company appears to depend heavily on unpaid interns for staffing (at least one of whom did not have a happy experience); this may explain the quality of its covers, some of which you can see here. For a time, in addition to pay-to-play publishing, it sold author services a la carte.
Recently the company has re-branded as Waldorf Publishing, Marketing and Public Relations–the marketing and PR being provided by Barbara Terry Public Relations Group, which promises MAXIMUM IMPACT without providing any examples to illustrate the claim (and no indication as to whether these new services entail extra cost for Waldorf authors). Ms. Terry has also started several spinoff businesses: Waldorf Bookstands LLC, which “provides books on spinner display stands to businesses all around the United States” and has no web presence other than a single mention on an investment website; Shaggy Pup, a distribution company focusing on “libraries and school curriculum” that also seems to be on pause (its Facebook page hasn’t been updated since January 2020, and clicking on its webpage URL produces a 403 Forbidden notice); and Waldorf Book Fairs, whose website is currently blank.
Other business ventures undertaken by Ms. Terry include Dream Coast Films, a production company she established in 2013 that doesn’t appear to have ever gotten off the ground, and Master Media Class, a short-lived media training course she co-founded in 2020 with two Waldorf authors.
Over the past couple of years, complaints trickling in from Waldorf authors and contractors suggest a company under stress: unfulfilled marketing promises (such as paying for Kirkus Indie reviews that were never delivered), books paid for and not received, under-reported sales, and unpaid royalties. You can see additional complaints in the comments thread on my original Waldorf post (Ms. Terry threatened at least two of the complainants with legal action) and in other places online.
Recently, though, signs of trouble have increased.
This document from the Fort Bend, TX library system appears to be a request to terminate a contract won by Waldorf in October 2019, through which Terry’s distribution company, Shaggy Pup, was supposed to supply “high demand” books to Fort Bend libraries. The document details numerous issues and lapses on Waldorf’s part; for instance:
This past December, a comment appeared on my original Waldorf post from a liquidation company that claimed to have acquired a large number of Waldorf books. I followed up with a request for more information and got this response, which I’ve been given permission to share:
A defaulted storage unit filled with thousands of books? Not good.
Waldorf is also shedding contracts. In September of last year, a number of Waldorf writers received emails informing them that their books were being discontinued due to low sales. (A brief brouhaha erupted when a former Waldorf staffer contacted terminated authors to offer her own formatting services should they wish to re-publish, prompting the company to send out another email declaring that the former staffer was “misleading [authors] of communications from Waldorf Publishing” and that the matter had been referred “to our attorney as we speak.”)
Then, last week, I began hearing from more Waldorf authors who’d received termination emails in early January, this time from a lawyer apparently retained by Waldorf. Just like in September, they were informed that their books were being discontinued due to low sales. But this time, money was involved.
Now, there are two ways to read this email. The first is that two separate things are being offered here: one, the return of “physical and electronic” rights, and two, a suite of (dubious–see below) extra services. Saying yes to the first offer, which does not involve a fee, doesn’t mean you have to accept the second, which has a price tag of $350.
The other way to read it–especially if you are in shock at suddenly discovering your book is being axed, or your eyes glaze over at the sight of legalese–is that the return of rights is contingent on handing over $350 for a bunch of services you didn’t ask for. Which is, in fact, exactly what all the authors who contacted me about this email assumed.
Poor wording, or deliberate ambiguity? Hmmm.
As for the services writers are being asked to buy, they are at best dubious, and at worst undeliverable. The shoddy quality of much of Waldorf’s design and formatting work is not a huge recommendation for the reformatting offer–plus, there’s no guarantee it would result in a file that was usable by another publisher or publishing platform, all of which have their own requirements and protocols. The new ISBN might not be especially useful either; ISBNs uniquely identify the purchaser, and if Waldorf bought them, they are Waldorf ISBNs just as much as the ones on the books that are being discontinued.
As for the offer to “release and reassign” audiobook rights…Waldorf audiobooks are published through Audible/ACX. ACX contracts extend for seven years, can’t be terminated (except by Audible), and can’t be reassigned without written permission from Audible (and Audible is highly resistant to such requests). So it’s unclear how–or if–Waldorf could accomplish this.
I can’t say for sure that Waldorf is in the kind of death spiral that offloading contracts and abandoning stock often indicates for small presses. What’s clear, though, is that Waldorf’s business ventures are in disarray, and it is not just getting rid of books, but trying to monetize the process by making a few bucks on its authors on their way out the door.
Some of you may have noticed that I have not been very active on this blog for a while. With everything that’s going on I just haven’t had the inclination or desire to write. The political uprisings, people being censored on social media, free speech being tossed in the garbage can as well as other liberties, Covid deception, (I do not discount people being sick and loss of life,) as well as other things that life has thrown at me.
All that seems to be invading my world and has left me feeling empty of being able to write without anger and “non-Christian” language. Glen Beck did a short video and it is exactly how I feel! He says a whole lot more than I can say here.
I think many others feel the same way but all we can do is pray, wait, and watch for what God has planned. He will not be mocked! And has told me, and others, “Watch, be patient, wait, it isn’t over!” (in regards to China Joe taking a seat in the White House) It reminds me of my five years of hard lessons in learning to trust Him and to be obedient as He moved me all around the country. (I wrote a book about that – Laying Down my Net)
As stated in a previous post I have been sending several books to the Prison Book Ministry and even though others have encouraged me to write another book it just isn’t there. The desire has vanished. Whether it returns is up to the Lord. For now there’s absolutely no desire to write one.
Isn’t that how the world will invade our peace, joy, and desire to take another step in the right direction? I’ve listened to little news. The T.V. is off most of the time and I seldom listen to the radio, but if I do it’s a Christian station when I’m driving.
So what’s with the down trodden spirit I have to ask myself. The answer? I’ve looked out over what’s going on in the world instead of looking up to see what the Lord our God is doing. In other words, get your focus right, Cass!
I have been clinging to Him, but somehow the enemy always comes sneaking in to redirect my attention. I think that’s true with many of us. With all that is happening in our crazy mixed up evil world we MUST stay focused on Christ and try to be a part of what He is doing. And that is not always easy!
We’re being invaded by evil spirits like never before in this country. They are determined to not only destroy our country and every Christian breathing but lead as many into hell as they possibly can. I’m not talking about republicans, democrats, independents! I’m talking about the spiritual warfare that is being carried out across our country and the world! Christ is coming back and Satan knows it even more so than many of us. His time is short and he is determined to rob, steal, and destroy as much as he can and through anyone he can! Our battle is in the heavenlies, not each other.
This post is as much for me as it is being written for you. I’m as guilty as everyone else in the anger, frustration, and name calling. I will make it very clear though, I will NEVER accept evil as any part of leadership in my country and I’m looking to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, to deal with it in His way and in His time.
In the meantime hopefully we all can hang in there. My prayer: Come Lord Jesus come!
WOW, Mother Nature sure knows how to handle things! These photos really are appropriate for the weather this week. Fixing some soup and baking some bread sounds like a great plan for today…..Have fun and enjoy yourself.
|#2The Ice Neatly Folded Itself#3Fresh Snow Over Christmas Lights#4Art Only Nature Can Create. My Fence This Morning After A Snowy Night On Terschelling, The Netherlands#5This Pattern In The Snow On A Patio Table#6When Constant Winds And Ice Meet A Fence#7How My Cat Feels About Snow#8The Snow Was Very Geometric When I Went Skiing#9When They Ask If There’s Much Wind Where We Live#10Yep That’s Snow#11The Way The Snow Is Resting On This Handmade Stone ArchApple Orchard After A SnowfallSnow Striped ForestThis Stop Sign After A Week Of No SunThe Snow Has Settled Only On The Outline Of The Bricks On My…|
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Don’t let your worries get the best of you;
Moses started out as a basket case.
Some people are kind, polite, and thoughtful
until you try to sit in their pews.
Many folks want to serve God,
but only as advisers.
It is easier to preach ten sermons
than it is to live one.
The good Lord didn’t create anything
without a purpose,
but mosquitoes come close.
When you get to your wit’s end,
you’ll find God lives there.
People are funny; they want the
front of the bus,
middle of the road,
and back of the church.
Opportunity may knock once, but
temptation bangs on the front door forever.
Quit griping about your church;
if it was perfect, you couldn’t belong.
If a church wants a better pastor,
it only needs to pray for the one it has.
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Amen and Amen