Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Ellora's Cave Redux: When Publishers Don't Learn Their Lessons

The folks at Ellora's Cave are at it again. This time, their attorney sent a letter to Romance Writers of America, threatening to file a libel suit. Nate Hoffelder at The Digital Reader has a nice run down of the latest situation. And the comments at TDR fill in more information. You can read the full text of RWA's notice here.

Basically, it's the same ole-same ole. Actually, it's even older than the recent lawsuit against romance blogger Dear Author.

Issues between RWA and EC have been going on for nearly ten years. The first problems occurred back in 2007 when RWA changed its approved publisher rules in order to block any writer who has an e-book only release. (The president at the time was notoriously dismissive of e-books and writers who signed e-book contracts.) The issue at the time was not specifically about EC, but ANY e-book publisher. I attended the RWA National Conference that year, and sat through the annual board meeting. A lot of members were angry because EC had approved status for several years before this bullsh** happened.

The behavior of certain board members and general members wasn't pretty.

There was another major upheaval between 2011 and 2012 within RWA, again over the subject of e-books. Indie writers weren't considered to be actively seeking publication. Around this time, RWA changed the term from "approved publisher" to "qualifying markets", and EC was eliminated from the list. Also, during this period was when I first heard rumors of problems at EC, but most of the romance community was focused on the collapse of Dorchester.

So RWA has been warning its membership away from EC for some time. The only thing that's changed? RWA, acting on behalf of members who previously published with EC, is demanding payment of overdue royalties.

EC has been denying the allegations of non-payment for some time. But the funny thing is that every time EC goes to court, the case gets settled right around the time opposing counsel demands proof of payment.

The difference between suing DA and RWA? DA is a romance book review blog essentially headed up by one person. RWA represents over TEN THOUSAND romance writers.

While I quit RWA in 2012 because I didn't agree with their e-book and indie publishing policies (according to several friends, thing's have recently changed), I don't agree with trying to silence critics. If EC really wanted to settle things once and for all, prove that all writers, editors and artists have been paid in full.

It's that simple.

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