Over the past few weeks I've been waffling between letting you all in on the dark seedy side of publishing or keeping it to myself. I've decided to let you in and hopefully keep what's happening to me from happening to any of you aspiring authors out there.
My tale begins July 4th 2010.
It should have been one of the happiest days of my life and for a while it was, because that was the day I got my first contract offer from Aspen Mountain Press for my novel, He belongs to me. After reviewing the contract, I tried to get clarification on certain parts of the contract. I found my contact with Sandra Hicks to be lackluster, blah, and severely underwhelming. It honestly left a very bad taste in my mouth. Because of that, I thought about not going with her company. However, I had a few acquaintances who had published with AMP tell me that regardless of her demeanor, AMP was a good E-Publisher.
Long story short, I signed with her.
It was--without a doubt--the biggest mistake of my publishing life.
I sent the contract back to her at the end of July, beginning of August. She sent it back to me promptly, fully executed and all. The month of August went by, then September, and then October. I heard nothing from anyone at the company about my release date, edits, nothing, nada, zilch!! I sent off a generic email to Sandra requesting an update as to when I could expect my novel to be released. I heard nothing from her until the end of November, I believe. It was a very nonspecific email, but it was something.
2010 goes out and 2011 comes in and still, I have heard nothing about my release date. I end up posting to the Beware Forum at AbsoluteWrite.com (AW). One of the nice people who work at AMP responded and I promptly received a release date, and was put in contact with my editor. It's now the end of January beginning of February, 2011.
From there the process was pretty smooth, my novel released on April 8th, 2011, a full week early. I, as an author, was happy and had almost forgiven Sandra Hicks for her lack of responsiveness and unprofessionalism. And then in July I received my first royalty statement--YAY!
It basically told me that from the day my novel was published, I had only sold one book. Thing is, even if no one else on the face of the planet bought my novel, I personally bought 15 of them. I promptly informed AMP of this and was told that it would be researched.
Supposedly, it was and they still couldn't find proof of the other 14 novels that I purchased. So, being a good sport, I sent them my receipts proving that something was wrong with their system. It was swept under the rug or combed over—how ever you want to say, covered up.
I received no additional funds.
Since that time, I still haven't received an update as to my correct royalty statement and missing money. The entire staff at AMP has quit, Sandra Hicks is MIA and is not responding to emails, phone calls, or accepting certified mail. Every once and a yellow moon, she creeps out of her cave and posts a short message--I heard--saying she's doing her best. She has also removed any and all authors who are speaking out against her horrible treatment of AMP's authors from the AMP website yahoo loop.
Basically, she’s treating us like we’re not published with her company, but yet she is living off of money incured from the sales of our books.
Moving on, I Sent Sandra Hicks a formal email requesting a correct royalty statement and any back funds she owe me as well as a formal explanation as to the state of her company. I gave her 45 days to get back to me and clear this mess up, or I formally requested that she revert my rights back to me post-haste. That email was sent to her on the 9th of September.
To date, I have had no response from Sandra Hicks or anyone at her so called company. I'll keep you all informed as to when--if I ever do--get my rights back or at the very least some answers, a check and a freaking apology!!
That’s all folks, I'll be back in a few days with some excellent news about my new paranormal romance novel, Storm's Fury!!