For a complete timeline of the Dorchester saga, click here.
A number of troubling reports are surfacing just one month after Dorchester closed its community Blog, was officially disqualified by the SFWA, and told Publisher’s Lunch (via company representative Hannah Wolfson) that the recent news I (and others) reported was nothing more than “propaganda” and that things were “business as usual”.
Author John Skipp stated yesterday in an update to Kickstarter supporters: “one potential piece of bad news is that Dorchester Publications has apparently gone under for good. So we may be unable to get all the copies of SPORE we need.”
Then when a second author, who wishes to remain anonymous, reported that she’d been told Dorchester had “locked the doors and turned off the lights” but were “still selling books”, I asked via Twitter, if anyone else had heard these rumors. Former Dorchester Senior Vice-President of Sales and Marketing Tim DeYoung responded with, quote: “Office is closed and remaining people are working from home.”
Meanwhile, Grace Wen confirmed that the company doesn’t have any editorial staff for their magazine line, either. As with the book publishing arm, employees from marketing and other departments are now doubling as editors.
One year ago, Dorchester CEO Robert Anthony stated that the company would do right by authors and resolve the disputes. At that time, I listed six author disputes (a sampling of dozens more). To the best of my knowledge, none of them have been fully resolved. Here is a sampling of more recent disputes from the last month:
Author Deborah Macgillivray reports: “One of the saddest casualties of this mess is the sister of Dawn Thompson. Dawn did over dozen books with Dorchester. The rights were refused returned, as were mine, and a lot authors. Before Dawn’s death, she turned the rights to her books over to her sister, Diane. Diane is disabled, living at the poverty line (which Dorchester is aware of). Last August she got a notice that one (just one) of Dawn’s books had earned $4300 and a check would follow. A check never followed. This is the same thing that happened before. Chris sent a notice that $10,003 would be forwarded to her and that never came either… I won’t mention the dozens of foreign rights sales… To date, over 4 years, not one dime of that has made it to Diane.”
On Facebook, author Bryan Smith reports: “I have never received a sales statement for Depraved. That’s the one book I’ve never received a (royalty) statement for and all the anecdotal evidence available suggests it’s far and away my most popular book. Coincidence? Hmm…”
An author who wishes to remain anonymous verifies to me that she has now sent two rights revision requests, after Dorchester continues to violate their contract with her. It has been a year since the first request was sent, and she has still not received a definitive response. Meanwhile, the company continues to sell copies of her books digitally, for which she has not received restitution.
Author Deb Stover says “Count me among the authors who has one book still allegedly ‘in print’ with Dorchester.”
I have confirmation from two separate authors that they have now chosen to begin legal proceedings against Dorchester. Both authors wish to remain anonymous, and were advised by counsel to say no more, although one did confirm to me that “the paperwork is on its way to them (Dorchester) as we speak.”
Oh, and remember when Dorchester sold digital copies of my books AFTER the rights had reverted back to me, and they assured Publisher’s Weekly that they were, quote: “…committed to solving the problem with Keene and treating all authors fairly. Dorchester will pass along all money to Keene on e-books that were sold after rights reverted.” Yeah, well, I haven’t seen a dime. Or a statement. And I know copies were sold. I have receipts confirming such, as well as documentation from booksellers.
I must take issue with Dorchester’s claim that this is all simply “propaganda” but it does indeed seem to be “business as usual” for them.