Indie Writer Woes – Protect Yourselves!

Janet Gershen-Siegel

Jespah (Janet Gershen-Siegel) has been a fan of Star Trek since probably the first set of reruns of The Original Series. She has an eclectic background, including an undergraduate degree in Philosophy, a JD (she practiced insurance defense law for a few years in New York and is a lot happier since she retired from that in 1990), and a MS in Interactive Media, which is a real-live social media degree.

Along the way, she has about a decade and a half of data analysis work under her belt and currently works as a blog coordinator for a high-end wedding blog and also as a blogger for hire (topics include diverse subjects like ad retargeting but also the nursing job market), and has a shingle out to work on social media presence, with a focus on independent authors as she is also a published science fiction author. Plus, she has been a community manager for a large Q & A website since 2002, which is before that existed as a job title.

She was raised on Long Island so, when she is riled up, the accent gallops back out and she can sound like Fran Drescher with a law degree. She lives in Boston with her husband of over 20 years and more computers than they need.

She can always be bribed with pie.

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Indie Writer Woes

Are you an indie writer? Me too, and I have seen a ton of issues with any number of things.

Indie Writer Woes
You can download the accompanying extra video here. **

This goes beyond the usual expected issues, such as writer’s block. Or finding a good crop of dependable beta readers. Or querying your work to publishers and agents. And it even goes beyond imposter syndrome and dealing with less than stellar reviews.

Starting Up

First of all, for a lot of independent authors, you can sum up their origins in two words: fan fiction. That certainly applies to me. I had the great fortune of starting my paid writing career as a contest winner for a reputable publisher. However, a lot of indies can make no such claims. Furthermore, I understand the longing to get published. Indies also may want to take the first thing which looks at all legit. Also, when a person writes in the LGBTQ space, that can bring with it (rightly or wrongly) a fear that a readership would be hard to find. So many of those issues seem to have gotten play here.

All Romance E-Books

    • According to

Blog Critics

    • , on the previous day, December 28, 2016, All Romance E-Books released a surprise notice from its own Lori James. She said:

 

      • Therefore, James and All Romance essentially presented authors with a take it or leave it proposal. We give you ten cents on the dollar, and you agree not to sue us. Furthermore, the original All Romance agreement provided a 60% payout to any given indie writer (which explains why the site attracted attention).

Writers felt, understandably, outraged, particularly when Ms. James framed her statement as being a way for All Romance to avoid bankruptcy. Except bankruptcy could have, potentially, divvied up the company’s assets differently. Furthermore, indies felt outraged as they realized bigger publishers would likely get their money, whereas tiny presses and the standard indie write would likely be at the bottom of the payment list.

It Gets Weirder

Then, the following day (December 30, 2016), Blog Critics followed up the story. They reported that, in 2014, the company had already engaged in some questionable business practices.  A conflict took place between Lori James and her business partner, Barbara Perfetti Ulmer. In addition, Ulmer sued James and All Romance E-Books, LLC in the Sixth Judicial Circuit Court of Pinellas County, Florida, on March 2, 2015. All Romance was established as a legal business entity there.  Ulmer’s complaint alleged that James had been “denying access to contemporaneous and current financial information related to All Romance, breach of duties (fiduciary, care, and loyalty) unjust enrichment, inequitable distribution, and judicial dissolution of All Romance.”

The case ended up settled out of court.

And Now …

Enraged indie writers got serious and organized a Facebook group to start talking to lawyers about a class action lawsuit. The Byrd Campbell law firm took their case, and issued the following statement:

Indie writer lawsuit against All Romance E-Books

If you think you could be a part of the to-be certified class (and since All Romance may have also taken down paid e-books, you could be a member of the class if you are a reader and not an author at all), contact Mr. Byrd here.

Protecting Yourself

As always, protecting yourself should constitute Job One. Dig for information before accepting any offers. Keep a critical eye out. Deals which seem too good to be true probably are exactly that. Spend some time and look at public records for items such as bankruptcies and court cases. LinkedIn can be another decent source of information. Be a skeptical yet optimistic indie writer, okay?

Don’t become a victim.

Janet Gershen-Siegel

Jespah (Janet Gershen-Siegel) has been a fan of Star Trek since probably the first set of reruns of The Original Series. She has an eclectic background, including an undergraduate degree in Philosophy, a JD (she practiced insurance defense law for a few years in New York and is a lot happier since she retired from that in 1990), and a MS in Interactive Media, which is a real-live social media degree.

Along the way, she has about a decade and a half of data analysis work under her belt and currently works as a blog coordinator for a high-end wedding blog and also as a blogger for hire (topics include diverse subjects like ad retargeting but also the nursing job market), and has a shingle out to work on social media presence, with a focus on independent authors as she is also a published science fiction author. Plus, she has been a community manager for a large Q & A website since 2002, which is before that existed as a job title.

She was raised on Long Island so, when she is riled up, the accent gallops back out and she can sound like Fran Drescher with a law degree. She lives in Boston with her husband of over 20 years and more computers than they need.

She can always be bribed with pie.

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