“Don’t share your hysteria, anxieties or disappointments”

i-know-how-you-feel.jpg

That’s what Madris DePasture wrote in a New Concepts announcement letter addressed to her authors in 2002/2003.

It would seem that even as far back as that, Madris lacked a certain finesse when dealing with her writers.

Because I’m a bad, bad girl, let me post this warning that she included within one of the letters:

Please remember, this page is ONLY for NCP authors, so don’t give out the address to anyone else. There is no link on the main site going to the Author Lounge, so be sure to bookmark it. The address is http://www.newconceptspublishing.com/authorlounge33.htm

Ooops, again.

That should get some of the authors at the Romance Divas forum anxiously wringing their hands. Yes, I know, I am the devil herself.

Let me post you some snippets anyway, after all, the devil has no conscience:

“Any author who has NOT fulfilled the terms of their contract, or in any other manner behaved unprofessionally, been verbally abusive or just uncooperative, who demands the release of their book, may or may not be given permission to withdraw.

If money has been exchanged and/or time and effort put into marketing your book, we might then decide NOT to release you from your contractual obligations. It’s entirely up to you whether or not you wish to hire a lawyer to regain the rights. If we do decide to relinquish the rights, and state as much via email, do NOT expect to receive further written confirmation just to make you comfortable.

We will not go to any extraordinary lengths to soothe your fears. You are not welcome to submit again at a later time when we have managed to build a market and your work will never be considered again by New Concepts Publishing.

Charming woman.

For those of you who don’t understand and get nervous when you don’t hear anything and want to be continually updated on any and all progress… I’m sorry, but we just don’t have time to hold hands right now. Please repeat this mantra…..NCP is a business with much work to do.

As long as the website is there, they are there. If the phone is busy, it’s a good thing. If my emails have not been answered it’s because they are busy doing the work publishers do in order to stay in business and sell books. I am not being ignored because I’m not important, or because they’re thinking about dumping me. They are busy and I am allowing my fertile imagination to conjure paranoia.

Good grief.

Otherwise, keep in mind that your reputation is our reputation and our reputation is your reputation. If NCP is thought well of, then our authors have status as our authors. If our authors are thought poorly of, then NCP is not considered a good publisher. Whatever doubts or anxieties you might have, when you make NCP look bad, it makes you look bad.

Watch what you say, where you say it and to whom you say it. Don’t share your hysteria, anxieties or disappointments. Don’t play the blame game. Whether you realize it or not, YOU always get tarred with that feather.

I realize that people are either confident, or not. Nothing anyone can say or do can build confidence in those who lack it. Everything anyone says or does can further deteriorate a fragile confidence. However, I am sick to death of hearing ‘we’re not as good as’ NY, or any other publisher for that matter.

I have a feeling she’s not that big on trying to build confidence in the first place.

Rumor has it that Ellora’s Cave is so desperate for ‘romantica’ that they’re asking their authors to add sex scenes to previously written books. Anyone who’s been in the business for a while, and learned their craft, will know that this is a formula that will generally not click.

Hehe, she dissed Elloras Cave. That should go down well with the folks over at EC. We all know how precious they can be.

Before I go further, I need to address one serious problem that frequently rears it’s ugly head in this business, particularly when I try to talk shop to our authors—jealousy. I do understand that this is something that is a part of some people’s nature, hard to control and hard to combat. However, it is a totally useless and unproductive emotion. If it empowered a person to strive harder, then it would have some use. I’ve yet to see that—I’m not saying it couldn’t happen, but in general it just causes problems.

Set your jealousy aside. The plain, hard, indisputable fact of life in publishing is that you are an entertainer. Sometimes your ideas appeal, sometimes not. I wish I knew the exact formula to produce highly successful books every time, but no one knows that. Even authors who regularly sell well occasionally write one that flops, and usually some that do not perform as well as others—this isn’t an exact science and it is useless to try to compare your books to anyone else’s.

Hey, it’s not all bad, she does give props to one of her authors:

Now, having said that, I want to give credit where it’s due, Autumn Dawn ‘lucked’ out by writing a wonderfully appealing book, effective promotion, and being in the right place at the right time with the right story.

I wonder she couldn’t just say the author in question did a good job, without having to say that her success was due to ‘luck’?

What a great ambassador for her business eh? I can’t believe how bad she is at addressing her writers. It is possible to write a communication document without leaving the recipients feeling like they just had a fight with a cruise missile.

Oh, and for those folks over at Romance Divas who insist on wringing their hands over the legality of posting Madris’ e-mail, and discussing whether it should have been posted in the first place, rather than concentrating on the fact that your fellow authors are being shafted left, right, and centre, let’s hope you’re never in the same position as Ellen Ashe eh?

Thanks to you-know-who for the link.

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33 responses to this post.

  1. Ok…based on the comments NCP made on EC et al…. Is it WRONG of me to wonder whether or not said parties should just get a room? Or have I been writing too much smut as of late? Oh my poor, poor erotic romance addled brain. 😀

    Reply

  2. Posted by Ellen Ashe on March 19, 2008 at 5:12 pm

    http://ellenashe.blogspot.com/

    Come join the FUN! My gawd- this is JUST too funny! Dare I say HYSTERICALLY funny!!!????
    BTW- you’re welcome!

    Reply

  3. I haven’t read the full text yet, but regarding the Romance Divas comments… most of them struck me as people concerned that you or Mrs. Giggles might be the target of a lawsuit from NCP due to the content posted. I don’t know if you actually read the thread in question or if somebody just mentioned it to you, but prior to the discussion about legality were about 5 pages of posts about NCP and other “badly behaving” publishers. 🙂

    Reply

  4. Posted by Ana Anonymous on March 19, 2008 at 6:20 pm

    Rumor has it that Ellora’s Cave is so desperate for ‘romantica’ that they’re asking their authors to add sex scenes to previously written books.

    This sounds like a desperate drowning person clutching for a raft. What does EC have to do with her drama and unprofessional behavior. Not a thing. Let’s be honest here. This woman is not fit to lick Raelene’s shoes.

    Reply

  5. activities that courts have regarded as fair use: quotation of excerpts in a review or criticism for purposes of illustration or comment

    Reply

  6. Hadn’t a couple of their authors already “lucked out” – or rather gone on to sign with traditional publishing houses? I know Desiree Erotique has announced she is now with Kensington, and if I’m not mistaken so has Devyn Quinn (hope I spelled the name right). Makes me question why the inner hoopla over this one success NCP is acknowledging.

    Reply

  7. Posted by Another anonymous on March 19, 2008 at 7:32 pm

    “Makes me question why the inner hoopla over this one success NCP is acknowledging.”

    This note was written back in 2002/2003.

    Reply

  8. Hi Nonny, yeah, I read the posts, (it’s amazing how these things always seem to reach me somehow, me being a lazy Googler and all) and I saw the posts prior, but it seemed to start heading in the direction of whether posting the e-mail was ethically correct.

    Reply

  9. activities that courts have regarded as fair use: quotation of excerpts in a review or criticism for purposes of illustration or comment

    Oh is somebody threatening to sue me again? Oh goody. Makes a change. *g*

    Reply

  10. I don’t know if it’s ethical, but it sure is eye-opening and jaw-dropping entertainment for someone who isn’t with that company. No, entertainment is the wrong word. It’s just a freaking mess.

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  11. I swear Karen, why do they not know how to use Google?

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  12. Frankly, I don’t really care about the ethics of it myself, I’m glad that you’re posting these. People need to know the truth. I’m just concerned that you might end up with a lawsuit as a result.

    The posts seemed more concerned with legalities (and any legal questions around there get jumped on immediately, because everyone wants to know what they can and cannot legally do :P) than ethics, but that’s just my interpretation. 😉

    Reply

  13. Please repeat this mantra…..NCP is a business with much work to do.

    Not for long.

    Reply

  14. Posted by sistergldnhair on March 20, 2008 at 12:58 am

    Man, oh, man.

    “Whatever doubts or anxieties you might have, when you make NCP look bad, it makes you look bad.”

    Seriously? I think Madris is doing a mighty fine job of making NCP look bad all by herself.

    Reply

  15. Wow!! That is absolutly horrible! I know of an author that went with NCP and she is totally devistated about how they treated her! If this woman were any kind of good professional there would be no reason for her to be so hostile…keep the bad thoughts inside your head don’t direct them toward the authors that make your paycheck! Seriously she needs and attitued adjustment!
    Hugs, Crystal

    Reply

  16. Another anonymous wrote, “This note was written back in 2002/2003.”

    Thanks for the clarification. I really screwed up not catching it!

    Still this Madris person and her cohorts really seem not to give a rat’s ass about their ethics, authors or rep.

    Reply

  17. Posted by Sam on March 20, 2008 at 4:09 am

    I am not talented enough to be a writer. If I were lucky enough to have talent, I’d stay as far away from NCP as possible.

    If/when this lady wrecks her company, I hope the many authors find new/better publishers.

    Sam

    Reply

  18. Posted by Nora Roberts on March 20, 2008 at 11:16 am

    This lecture doesn’t sound like any publisher I’ve ever heard of. She sounds like a paranoid, bossy, controlling elementary school teacher trying to break the spirits of a bunch of kids she considers stupid and unruly.

    She and her staff are busy, busy, busy (not editing, of course because what’s the point), and the authors are whiny and demanding and just silly. Nice that occasionally one of them ‘lucks out’ and has a successful book.

    If this letter was written five years ago, I’m amazed authors didn’t start heading for the hills then and there.

    Reply

  19. Oh sign me up, please, please! PFFT. NOT. What a freaking disaster of a publisher that is. I can’t imagine signing with them… unless you like being treated like you’re unworthy of the air you breathe.

    Reply

  20. Posted by Another anonymous on March 20, 2008 at 12:08 pm

    “If this letter was written five years ago, I’m amazed authors didn’t start heading for the hills then and there.”

    I have to agree with you. When I go back and look at these quotes, I do wonder what on earth I was thinking. However, Madris’ tone was somewhat more moderate at this point (if you read the full letters, they do come across as somewhat less abrasive), and I at least always dealt directly with Andrea, who at the time was responsive, professional, and very pleasant. I agree that there were warning signs, but overall, my experience with NCP was pretty good until recently.

    At this point, I’m going to refrain from kicking myself in the arse about it, and simply try to make sure no other authors get sucked in by this publisher in the future.

    Reply

  21. I can’t believe a publisher would sent this notice to her authors. Thanks for posting this Karen, I hope you don’t get into too much trouble for it.

    Reply

  22. Posted by Phantom on March 20, 2008 at 3:00 pm

    meh… this sort of thing goes on at plenty of publishers. I’ve had personal experience at one we’ll call “M” where someone blabbed something off the email loop and the owners began a hunt to find out who it was. Meanwhile royalties were late and books are grossly behind in being released – but the hunt was on to find out who leaked something to someone!

    where the hell is EPIC in all this? Shouldn’t they be doing/saying something about this?

    Reply

  23. There IS support for NCP… go figure! A little voice out there has stated that Madris’s messages are all “taken out of context” and that we’re running a “smear campaign” against a “decent company.”

    Reply

  24. Posted by anon on March 20, 2008 at 3:47 pm

    where the hell is EPIC in all this? Shouldn’t they be doing/saying something about this?

    Nope, because Epic is even more useless than the RWA is. Authors have to protect themselves, none of these organizations seem to care about anything but their awards, their conferences and what to wear to their themed parties. Authors being mistreated and shafted left and right? Pish, we have outifts to plan and hair to get done! But do send your membership fee on time, mmkay pumpkin?

    Reply

  25. Posted by Nora Roberts on March 20, 2008 at 7:29 pm

    I don’t know anything about Epic, but I wouldn’t say RWA is useless. It offers its members a list of publishers they feel meet certain standards. It’s up to the individual to agree or not, sign or not.

    RWA takes a lot of heat for those standards, a lot of flak. But they hold them to inform the membership.

    Reply

  26. I was thinking about RWA standards earlier and how I shouldn’t post my thoughts on that today, but what the hell, right?

    While I’m fortunate to be with two e-publishers who haven’t done me wrong and seem to be fine, upstanding companies, if I was the RWA and looked at e-publishing as a whole over the last year, there’s no way in hell I’d recommend the venue to my professional membership.

    Their “stamp of approval”, so to speak, does carry some weight. After they “recognized” EC and Trisk (or whoever it was) a lot more writers started looking that direction and a LOT more epublishers opened their doors. I really don’t think that’s a coincidence, and I think RWA was wise to revisit the issue when the bandwagon publishers started to crash and burn.

    Yes, some legitimate publishers and authors get the brush-off, but it won’t be long before the bandwagon companies are gone and the legitimate ones are left standing—publishers who offer fair contracts and the ability to earn decent money for their authors and authors who respect themselves and their work enough not to sell out for a contract and a book cover just so they can call themselves published.

    So, while it won’t make me any friends, I support RWA’s currrent standards and think their value as an organization transcends the pink ribbons.

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  27. I never thought I’d say it, but I totally support their stance on e-pubs. This past year has been a real eye-opener, as far as e-pubs are concerned.

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  28. Posted by Nora Roberts on March 20, 2008 at 8:59 pm

    ~but it won’t be long before the bandwagon companies are gone and the legitimate ones are left standing~

    I absolutely and optimistically agree.

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  29. While I’m fortunate to be with two e-publishers who haven’t done me wrong and seem to be fine, upstanding companies, if I was the RWA and looked at e-publishing as a whole over the last year, there’s no way in hell I’d recommend the venue to my professional membership.

    I’m going to have to whole-heartedly ditto this. RWA sets standards and I know some people think they expect publishers to leap through hoops? Hey, might seem strict, but if the publisher is serious about their business, these standards aren’t hoops. High expectations, maybe, but not hoops. Most of the places that have crashed and burned of late have did so after bad choices, lapses in judgment and too often, things that stemmed from a lack of understanding or caring about what is and isn’t professional. (ie: slamming your authors).

    Did they make it hard for publishers to get recognized? Yes. But I’d think it needs to be. Because anybody can claim to be professional and serious. But those who are serious are going to work for that goal and it has nothing to do with RWA recognition, but because they are serious and they want to be the best they can be. Professional standards go along with being their absolute best.

    Regarding RWA’s usefulness, perhaps they aren’t everything to every writer, but they can’t be called useless. They’ve worked to improve the image of romance in general, they raise huge amounts of money for literary programs plus they serve as an information source to their members. Again, not all things to all writers, but they’re hardly useless. The networking among members alone is one huge reason I stay with them. My local chapter is wonderful for support, education, etc…

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  30. I didn’t disagree with it at the time it happened last year. I hated it, I wanted our company to be an exception (who wouldn’t), but I knew what was happening with some of the epublishers, such as Triskelion, and wasn’t shocked. Just sad. Discouraged. It’s hard not to feel beat down when things like this happen in such a rapid succession. But hey, as I said to some friends earlier today, Goonies never say die 🙂

    Reply

  31. I’m still singing Cyndi Lauper.

    When the debris is cleared away, I have no doubt Samhain will be one of the epublishers still standing, and those epublishers will be stronger in the industry for having survived it.

    Reply

  32. oops, forgot to close a tag.

    Reply

  33. Posted by Nicoel Suzanne on March 28, 2008 at 11:11 am

    LMAO
    This is what happens when writers, and writers alone, are left to run businesses. She can work a word, though she should not do it while infuriated with the horrible tasks of running a business she is supposed to love. I am reminded of my mother when she went from loving nurturer to razor fanged menopausal-she-bitch. Love you mom but you know what I am talking about.
    Look, Genius, if you need to hire an “intern” to handle email and stroke egos–do it. There mystery solved–and reputation saved.
    Clearly this would save you the headaches and hello? This is effecting you seriously if can’t see that having the time to make mass email, but not to talk to writers one on one, with self righteousness in the forefront of these saint-like ego-loving-letters your spew accusingly at your bread and butter, make you look nothing if not incompetent and over your head.

    Going to bed, and taking my toys with me.
    Humph!

    Nicoel Suzanne
    aka Paxton Hood

    Reply

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