Monday, September 21, 2015


Recently, an email arrived announcing that one of my publishers, Secret Cravings Publishing, was closing. Every author dreads losing a publisher, their books, covers, and the relationship they’ve developed with their publisher, editors, and other authors. Their business model was great, their contract fair, and they paid on time. The publisher/owner was a pleasure to work with and I wish her, the editors, and the other authors only the best.

As an aside, it’s difficult for publishers to be successful when readers download pirated books for free and some authors believe that giving away books is a great marketing tool (I disagree – over 1000+ books are available for free on various sites.). Remember the old saying about not buying a cow when the milk is free? Also, self-publishing has become so easy that almost anyone can release books – regardless of their merit.

As a romance author who writes in several genre, I was contracted with several publishers because I wanted to keep my romance books separated by sub-genre. Secret Cravings published my contemporary hot military books and Sweet Cravings published a sweet Christmas story (with a touch of spice) last year.

So what happens to your books when a publisher closes? That depends. The books should be removed from the sales sites and authors should receive a reversion of rights letter. Some contracts provided for an automatic reversion of rights if the publisher closes. For those who have never experienced a publisher’s demise, it can be very messy – personally and legally. Some publishers just walk away, leaving the authors to fend for themselves. One even left the country, taking the assets that remain. Fortunately, the SCP publisher, despite her obvious personal devastation, committed to taking the books down and returning the rights as quickly as possible. She worked tirelessly and completed her work within two weeks. 
An author has several decisions to make. (1) Submit to another publisher. Some publishers will accept submissions of previously published books. The publisher might require a reversion of  rights letter for books to be considered for publication. Expect to write a cover letter, provide a synopsis which summarizes the entire story (including the ending), and a copy of the book in whatever format they required. (2) Self Publish. Depending on the number of books involved, authors might decide to self-publish. The  book is already edited. The author, however, usually does not own the cover of the book. The author can buy the cover from the artist, make her own cover, buy a readymade-cover, or commission a cover from an artist. Some companies/individuals will contract to publish the books to the various sites for a flat fee or a percentage of the profits.

My personal decision is to submit my stories to one of my other publishers, hoping they will pick up the stories. In the meantime, I’m taking the opportunity to edit/add to my stories before sending them off. More next month.



KMTolan said...

Good luck to you. I must admit that having only a single publisher is a risk, although it can help if your readership associates you with a single source (though that too could be debatable). Every time I come out with a new book, the question arises about submitting it to the same publisher or finding another. So far I've chosen the former due to my great relationships there, but I do cringe at the notion of what to do if the basket fell out from all those eggs. The pressure on a small publisher is huge, and much of it from the deluge of self-published novels absolutely flooding the market (thanks, Amazon) eating away at slim margins. Even the best-run company could falter, and no publisher is too well established to not run into trouble (Elora's Cave for instance).

January Bain said...

The song about times are a-changing is too darn accurate! Good Post Rita!

Catherine1216 said...

Good luck to you on finding a home for those books. I try to talk books all I can so that more books get sold. I wish more book shops would open, but I don't see that happening in my city.

Rita Bay said...

Thank you for the comments. I have been through one closing with an author friend who ended up self-publishing and does very well. Fine, if you don't mind the mechanics of the publishing end of things. SCP was my first experience with a publisher of my books closing. As I mentioned in the post, the publisher did her best to make it easy, once the announcement was made. Even so, some of the authors were devastated. Most appear to be managing well enough. I'm taking my time because this is a great opportunity to "fix things." Fortunately for me, I just signed a contract with Champagne Book Group to republish my sweet Christmas Regency. We'll see how it sits with my paranormals.