The acceptance letter you get for your book is a dream come true for most authors, especially if the watchdog websites like P&E green-light the company. If you’re fortunate, you never have to find out any different. In the case of AMP, the other authors and I were not so fortunate.
I signed a three-year contract, and Dark Side of the Moon went live on October 8, 2008. I had a great editor. AMP had over a hundred authors, and I admired Sandra for being able to run the company and work full time for a police academy. Because I was starting to publish books under the Night to Dawn imprint, I had hoped to learn something about publishing.
I never knew of any serious problems until several months ago. Perhaps I should have seen the red flags, but denial is a wonderful place to be when you’re busy watching over sick family members, working on other projects, and putting books out in print. I haven’t blogged for some time because my mother once said, “If you can’t say something nice about someone, don’t say anything. I was worried that people reading might consider me just another author ranting about her publisher. And lest anyone gets that impression, I would like to direct them to Piers Anthony and Celina Summers, among others. My mother, you see, also advised me to “tell the truth and shame the devil.”
I started reading several emails of people demanding their rights back, and I thought, whoa! I don’t recall getting any royalty statements for Dark Side, let alone royalties this year. I didn’t get any statements during the spring and summer. Naive person that I am, I thought the book didn’t sell. As I said, denial can be a comfortable place. Maybe the book sold and maybe it didn’t, but I’ll never know without royalty statements. Most of the other authors report they haven’t gotten royalty statements or payments. Perhaps I am just another author at that.
Sandra posted an email informing everyone that she was suffering from depression and back pain, and was trying to get treatment without medical insurance. That didn’t sound right. If you work for the police, you work for the government. My heart went out to her because some people in my family suffered from depression. By then I was missing my statements, but because she was sick, I went easy on her. People offered to take over various projects for Sandra. She refused.
I realized my contract would expire on October 8, 2011. According to my contract, the rights revert to me on that date, so I sent Sandra a certified letter around the middle of September requesting that my rights be returned. No answer. I sent multiple emails to her on the AMP site (the sites where authors and publisher communicate). Nothing. October 8 has come and gone, and the book remained for sale on the AMP website. So I contacted the third part sites myself and got the book taken down. The other authors did the same for their book. No author should have to do that. For those new to publishing, it is the publisher’s job to list and remove books from third-party sites.
I enjoy exposure for my work. Another publisher has shown interest in the book, and offered to print it in paperback with a new cover. However, Sandra posting the book could take away sales from the new publisher. On October 9, the AMP website was shut down. Last night, the site went back up, and Dark Side was listed. This afternoon, I checked again and Dark Side is gone. Other authors have reported contracts expired for months, yet AMP continues to list their books. No offer to renew the contract, no communication.
At the moment, my heart is bursting with gratitude that she removed my book. She also has a book by another author whose book I want to publish. The contract on that book expired too, but I dare not touch it until the book is removed. Alas, the letters to the third-party publishers and watchdog sites has taken me away from other projects.
I would give ten cents to the poor to find out what motivated Sandra, what was she thinking when she continued listing books with expired contracts. Why didn’t she accept help when people offered? Publishing is, after all, is a business. I’ve met some great people at the AMP site and through Night to Dawn. However, if my health should prohibit me from doing my job, I will walk away with my head held high and memories intact. That’s exactly what Sandra should have done.