For a complete accounting and timeline of Dorchester Publishing’s malfeasance, as well as links to other sources, click here.
NOTE FROM BRIAN: I first met Mari Mancusi back in 2008 at BEA – a publishing industry trade show held each year in New York City. Mari and several other romance writers were there for the launch of Dorchester’s Shomi line, and Deborah LeBlanc and I were there to promote the horror line. After a long day of signing books for and shaking hands with librarians, booksellers, and salespeople, we went out drinking, and Mari started a knife fight with some drunken Teamsters… okay, that last bit didn’t happen, but my point is this. I respect and admire Mari, so when she asked me if she could write a guest blog about life after Dorchester, I said I’d be honored. And here she is.
I still remember the day my dot.com company dragged us all into the conference room on Friday afternoon — pay day — and announced there would be no pay checks distributed at the end of the day. Not today — and not ever again. We were summarily dismissed and suddenly found ourselves unemployed — with no way to make up the money that was owed to us. It was devastating, to say the least. I felt powerless and weak and alone.
Fast forward 10 years and bring on the déjà vu when I opened my mailbox to find a royalty statement from my long time, traditional publisher, Dorchester. While the statement clearly stated I was owed money, there was no check inside. Dorchester was having financial difficulties, just like my dot.com and chose not to pay what it owed.
But this time, I wasn’t going to just lay down and die. Maybe I’d never see a dime from Dorchester, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t make a dollar on my own. And so, as my agent, Kristin Nelson, worked tirelessly to get the rights to my books reverted (as the company was now in breach of contract), I started researching how to publish these backlist titles on my own. Together we began the process of working with cover artists, copyeditors, and converters to breathe new life into these old books. I even did some rewriting! One of the advantages to digital publishing—you can always update and tweak your product. (Though my husband likes to tease me and say I’m like George Lucas in that regard…)
On March 9th we launched Tomorrow Land, a dystopian YA novel previously published as Razor Girl in Dorchester’s crossover Shomi line. Best described as a post-apocalyptic pilgrimage to Disney World in a zombie infested wasteland, the story follows two teens who had fallen in love before the apocalypse and then separated, Casablanca style, only to be reunited four years later and forced to find a way to trust one another again. All the while trying to deal with those pesky, flesh eating zombies!
I can’t tell you how awesome a feeling it is to log onto Amazon and see Tomorrow Land up for sale and know — without a shadow of a doubt — that I’ll be properly paid for each and every download — with a 70 percent royalty rate instead of the six percent my publisher couldn’t even cough up in the end. Even better, the new book will never go out of print and I can charge half the cover price of the original. (So not only do I benefit — but readers do, too.)
I know that I will never get that last check from my dot.com company. And there will never be a royalty check in the mail from Dorchester. But you know what? Their failure is not mine. I have taken back the reins of my career and now have the freedom to seek out my own pathway to success.
About Tomorrow Land
Can true love survive the end of the world?
Imagine finding your first love, only to be ripped apart by the apocalypse. Peyton Anderson will never forget the day she was forced to make a choice–between her family–and Chris Parker, the boy she’d given her heart. And now, four years later, as she steps from the fallout shelter and into a dead and broken world, he’s the only thing on her mind.
All Chris “Chase” Parker wanted was to take Peyton away and keep her safe from harm. But he waited for hours in the rain on judgment day and she never showed–breaking his heart without ever telling him why.
Now the two of them have been thrown together once again, reluctant chaperones of a group of orphan children in a post-apocalyptic world where the dead still walk…and feed. As they begin their pilgrimage to the last human outpost on Earth, can they find a way to let go of old hurts and find the love they lost–all the while attempting to save what’s left of the human race?