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Old 07-30-2011, 07:17 AM   #89
RyanCallaway
New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 3
RyanCallaway is on a distinguished road
I might be beating a dead horse at this point but I did want to share my experience with Vanilla Heart Publishing. I was very excited when one of their authors/editors put me in touch with Kimberlee and helped me submit one of my novels. It was accepted and she was supposed to be my editor but ended up leaving the company. Things went on fine from there, I had a relatively good relationship with my new editor, and Kimberlee was always kind and professional. I even submitted a short story to the company for one of their anthologies (Arms Wide Open). Compensation for that, mind you, was supposed to be between $15-$45. Not a huge amount but still worth the 7,500 words they were asking for. It was upon the release of that anthology that I first noticed something I found problematic.

As an author and a filmmaker, I enjoy using flashbacks as a storytelling device, typically to move the story along and keep the timeline compact while giving exposition or background. My editor didn't too much care for it, and in one flashback in that short story, which came while a character was telling another of a recent event - she changed it into an all dialogue section, without really altering the wording. So a scene/subchapter written in third person as a flashback, was converted to first person with no other revision. The result was a quiet and reserved character speaking like... well, like a weirdo. That was a minor gripe, but it was definitely a questionable decision when it came to quality and dedication to releasing good products.

Onto the major issue, the contract I signed which I still have to this day, stated that I would be paid and given royalty statements quarterly. And that was it. No other conditions or clauses. My novel was published back in June of 2008 and I have yet to receive a single royalty statement or payment. I emailed Kimberlee three different times to ask what was going on. First she told me that they had been backed up but to expect a payment and statement in a few months (giving me a specific date). That date came and went and we went through the same thing a second time half a year later. The third time she told me that I had just reached "payout", something that was not in the contract nor had it been brought up at any time prior. She also was sure to let me know that she was considering dropping my book since I had little participation in its marketing, leading to declining sales. Of course I wasn't marketing it by this point because I hadn't gotten a dime after two years. Anyway, she gave me another date which came and went. That was back in October of 2010 and the date she gave me was January 30th.

I don't know the experiences of other authors related to payment problems, although one I was in contact with did say he strongly believed he hadn't received everything he was entitled to. As for me, I know I earned SOMETHING from watching the sales rankings from time to time, and even hearing from Kimberlee a couple months after its' release about how well it was doing. So regardless of whether I ever made four figures out of it or not (I'm sure I didn't), contractually I know I was and am entitled to something. I would like to seek legal action because I still have the contract and the email correspondence. I may have to count my losses though because I would probably end up losing money in the end after the lawyer fees, etc.

But anyway, just had to get some of that off my chest, lol. It has been frustrating but I am happy that VHP is no longer selling my book and all rights have reverted back to me. Even that took longer than it was supposed to. She told me last summer that she would be discontinuing YH as of January 1st. It was still on sale until May, meaning she had either forgotten or was squeezing a couple of extra bucks out of me while she could. She also informed me that I could not use the edited version of the book whenever I self published it or submitted it elsewhere. I may ignore that direction though because my initial contract didn't say anything about it, regardless of her agreement with my editor.

I know some people have had decent experiences with VHP but I was blatantly ripped off, and have little recourse unfortunately.

Ryan
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