Or why it is not enough to research publishers once, at the start of your writing career. Diligent authors need to keep tabs on the industry at large, especially on already-established publishers. Because you never know when one is going to melt down…
Anyone who has been involved in romance publishing for the past few years has followed the apparent downward spiral of erotic romance publisher Ellora’s Cave (EC). I’m not going into the charges, countercharges, previous actual court decisions, judge’s comments, author comments, editor and cover artist comments, social media responses from EC principals Tina Engler (aka Jaid Black) and Patty Marks, or the very real phenomenon of the Streisand Effect.
Since EC has already demonstrated a willingness to threaten bloggers, authors, and other critics with SLAPP lawsuits* to silence their concerns about the company, I’m keeping this post quick and my opinion only.
I’ve loved many EC books in their time. EC authors are among my closest friends in the business. EC inspired me toward my first halting attempts to write original erotic fiction publishable in their genre. By last year, I’d already stopped querying EC for my own work, but that was simply because I felt that EC and I were probably not a great fit.
I’m now adding my tiny voice to the groundswell of social media protests against how EC is handling criticism of its apparently unstable empire.
I will no longer buy EC books in digital or print form, nor will I borrow their available books from libraries.
I will not review any future EC titles until such time as the company has either gone out of business and reverted those books to their authors, or until EC comes to its senses and evolves into a responsible business again.
I will not beta-read new or reprint novels that I know for certain are being aimed at EC, though (as per Filigree’s Rule) I will not attempt to dissuade those authors.
I will look for non-EC books by EC authors, and give their work special consideration for reading and/or review.
These are my perfect rights and opinions as a private reader. The fact that I’ve documented them on social media does not make them a crime in a capitalist society.
Here are links to relevant and interesting commentary on Ellora’s Cave.
The Digital Reader comments here: http://the-digital-reader.com/2014/09/26/elloras-cave-sues-dear-author-book-blog-defamation/#.VChmAPldU1I
The original Dear Author post that started this round of lawsuits and threats: http://dearauthor.com/ebooks/the-curious-case-of-elloras-cave/
The Dear Author response to EC’s suit: http://dearauthor.com/misc/elloras-cave-sues-dear-author/
A good overview of romance reader/reviewer responses: http://thebookpushers.com/2014/09/28/our-reply-to-elloras-caves-recent-actions/
The AbsoluteWrite.com’s huge-but-worthwhile thread on Ellora’s Cave (starting with the most recent page as of this post): http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=808&page=25
For EC authors and supporters who need to share more detailed info, here is this great link: http://deirdre.net/elloras-cave-author-exodus-support-thread/
* Update 9-29-2014: that lawsuit is widely viewed as ill-considered on EC’s part, as the defendant is a lawyer – and has engaged the services of a very skilled legal firm. No one in their right mind at EC would want the case to go to discovery, let alone a jury trial, considering EC’s prior legal mistakes and the earlier and chronic complaints from authors.
General opinion is that EC therefore brought the suit not necessarily to win again the Dear Author blogger, but to create a chilling effect on all other criticism.
That has failed. Check out the Twitterverse for #notchilled to see the latest comments.