"My work may be garbage but it's good garbage." Mickey Spillane
I lost six months of work at the end of 06 because my old computer decided to die. It was obsolete, which made finding new parts impossible, and I went with trying to fix it using used parts. During that time, I worked on my novel long hand. Toward the end, I could not post on most blogs and messageboards without the computer dying. I had a large number of rough drafts that I printed out to go over later and eventually I could not access the printer either. It turned out to be the motherboard that was causing trouble. The only choice was to build a new machine. Despite decent advances, I was not able to get all the parts to build the new one before the old one died. A concerned fan, desperate for the next book, heard about my problems, went to New Egg and ordered everything on my wish list to be sent to me.
Natalie and I put it together and I was soon back on the road to catching up on all the books and other projects I was behind on.
That year, using this machine, I was able to turn seven of those rough drafts into finished novels.
I thought, “Gee, I’m way ahead and I can relax.” Wrong.
Here’s what happened.
When Richard was in charge, Renebooks had a policy of just doing one book by an author each quarter to allow the other books time to sell. The exception to this was erotica and porn. Those were slammed out as fast as they came in.
I thought Jean would wait on bringing each book out. But she told me to turn them in for editing as soon as they were finished. I did so. And Jean brought them all out so fast that I could not keep up with it. In the end, I was exhausted and I was behind in getting books finished, instead of ahead.
This year I put my foot down and she’s only gotten two books from me. Now she will not get any more.
Here’s the interesting thing. She never sent me a contract for the Lycan Blood series. She kept insisting that they were covered by the previous contract. I had a look at that contract a few hours ago, and guess what? They are not covered.
I have contracts for the Journey of the Sacred King series. I have contracts for the Dark Brothers series. I have contracts for Mother Damnation and In the Darkness, Hunting, (I have since gotten the rights reverted on MD and ItDH), but nada for the lycan novels.
That means that all rights are mine.
But I wondered why she would bring them out so fast. Her answer was that I write fast. Uhm, well, sometimes I do. I’m a sprinter, not a marathoner. I have only finished one book this year: Blood Hope.
Jean normally sends out sales reports each month, but sometimes she would miss a month or three. Then she would play catch up. I did not get copies of the statements AT ALL from the first month that Blood Hope came out until a few weeks ago.
I asked her about them and I asked her to send them to me.
Guess what? She does not retain copies of them. She sends them out and then deletes the files.
I have to ask why?
Blood Hope was my most awaited novel. It had been over a year since I had written a Dark Brothers novel. It was the one that I got the most inquiries about.
I can’t compare the sales figures to what I received in royalties, but it landed on the Fictionwise Best Seller list, and yet my royalties were less than half of what I normally receive.
I started investigating. That’s a bad habit from my days as a journalist.
I found my books on dozens of sites that sell ebooks, but here’s the interesting thing. Except for Fictionwise, none of the places selling them had had a complete set of my books uploaded. Some places would have one or two from each series and not a complete series among them. Then I checked the Renebooks site and found that she was not keeping that current with what I had out. In some cases, the middle book from a series would be missing. Just enough to make the reader wonder what was going on.
Basically, she had abandoned my books.
I’m her top seller in fantasy/dark fantasy. In fact, I’m her top seller in all of the speculative fiction genres.
The only people who outsell me with Renebooks are writing erotica and porn.
So what happened?
(continued from The Trouble with Renebooks)