Hell Hath No Fury…On Professionalism and Silence.
There’s an old saying, I’m sure you’ve heard it. Hell Hath No Fury Like A Woman Scorned. This is a phrase that has chilled many hearts, mostly because it’s true. Women may be considered the gentler sex, but times they are a changing. As the manager of a gaggle of other females in my day job, and a member of the so called fairer sex, I can tell you that women are not to be taken lightly in matters of love (as the original sentiment pertained to)… OR business. Here’s where the Grimm Mistresses come in.
I’m not going to rehash all the details here, they have already been most eloquently stated by Allison M. Dixon HERE And Stacey Turner HERE
I would, however, like to add my voice to the chorus. Or as I like to think of it, this bitch is about to bang her drum.
I am not shy about my feelings when it comes to Shared Royalty Anthologies. The entire idea is shit. Worse than shit. For The Love Markets are almost a better deal. At least they are upfront about ripping you off. You know it from minute one. It’s like they’re saying, “Hey Lady. I want to publish your work, hope to make a few bucks off your friends and family who will buy it, and never pay you a damned cent. You okay with that?” It’s not cool, but it’s almost honest. Shared royalty though, they offer the possibility of payment, while putting the risk directly on the author’s shoulders. I didn’t bring you all here to bitch about shared royalties, though. Just know it’s not a good model. It’s so bad, in fact, that I won’t allow them in my Open Market Group.
“But C.W.!” You may be saying, “you have submitted to them! What a hypocrite you are.” Perhaps. I will admit that Grimm Mistresses was a shared royalty market. I didn’t submit to it because of that. I knew the likelihood of making any money was slim to none. The fact is, I liked the idea of the book. When Stacey Turner approached me about it and told me who else would be in the anthology, I liked the idea of sharing a TOC with those ladies. It’s a cool bunch of women who filled the pages of that book. And the cover art Ragnarok bought for it? Unbelievable. The most beautiful cover I have ever laid eyes on. I wanted to be part of this project and honestly, my story was already written. Why not? It was a story that I wrote for Ad Nauseam and was never quite happy with. Upon expansion, I liked it more. I will say with complete honesty that I think it is the weakest one in the book, though a few of the reviewers have disagreed (I am grateful). But here’s where the story gets interesting.
We actually moved some copies. It was a pretty decent seller (how decent I cannot say, as I have seen no sales reports). Through much hard work, interviews, podcasts, Twitter launches and such, we actually managed to sell the damned thing. I started to have hope that I may see a return on this. To date, I have not.
Before I go on, I must say that this isn’t a personal attack on anyone. It’s business. You see, though I have found the owners of Ragnarok to be really nice guys, their business model has left a lot to be desired. They have failed to live up to their promises at every point. I could go on and on about cancelled anthologies, late contributor copies, pre-orders taken on limited edition hardcovers that the customers had to beg for their money back when they were canceled without notice, late royalties (really, really late) and blocked authors, but if you want to hear about all that, please go up and read the posts by the two lovely ladies I linked above.
I won’t go into all the details. I don’t need to. I will tell you that if you want the things that are owed to you by Ragnarok, you will have to get LOUD. You will have to bitch publicly. Then, and only then, will you get an apology on facebook about being overextended and how they have grown too fast. Then, and only then, will they start to deliver on their promises, but they will probably pull your book from sale as well.
I should stress at this point that I do not speak for all of the Grimm Mistresses. Some have spoken out as well, and some have remained silent. I respect all four of my grim sisters. I will admit I haven’t personally contacted Ragnarok. We decided early on to let just one grim mistress be our voice in these matters as she has a very cool head and possesses a sense of the utmost professionalism. Also, I don’t believe authors should have to hound publishers for what is owed to them. I won’t speak for her, or Mercedes M. Yardley. I adore them both. I won’t speak for Allison M. Dixon or Stacey Turner either, they have spoken for themselves (I adore them both as well). But I will speak for myself. I am disappointed. I am frustrated. I am pissed. Not for myself. For the others. Whatever money owed won’t break me or these other ladies. But we deserved better.
Ragnarok had a book by five talented, intelligent women. They bought the most kickass cover art I’ve ever seen. It couldn’t have been cheap. They then proceeded to drop the ball at almost every turn. And when confronted? They pulled it off the market. What a sad waste of a beautiful book.
I have no doubt that we will be labeled hysterical. I have no doubt that some might want to consider us hard to work with. I’m not afraid. I have plenty of publishers and editors who will verify that, on the contrary, I am very laid back when it comes to business.
There seems to be an unspoken rule in small press that when wronged, we authors are to bear it in silence. That to speak out, we are being unprofessional. Fuck that noise. That only benefits bad publishers. Have you been wronged? Has the publisher taken little or no steps to correct it? Then speak up. Save others from suffering the same fate. Maybe you’re a new author and you don’t want to make waves. Maybe you’ve signed with them and want to believe it will be different for you. Hell, maybe it will. Maybe a lesson will be learned and things will go better in the future. I hope so. But, though I cannot speak for the others, I can state simple facts. One of our number was the poster girl for this company. She had multiple works published by them and was their biggest champion. She has since pulled all her works and reversed her rights. They owe her a hell of a lot more than they owe the rest of us. Pay attention to the authors who aren’t with the company anymore. Ask them why.
I hope I will get paid soon, but I’m not holding my breath. There are other avenues available, grievance committees and such, but I hope it won’t come to that. If it does, they have only themselves to blame. I am not afraid to make noise. This bitch will bang her drum. Hell Hath No Fury Like A Woman Who Hasn’t Been Paid.
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