Ben Peek (benpeek) wrote,
Ben Peek

Dorchester Boycott

It's a hard life, being an author and making money. There are a lot of people who will promise you a lot, and never deliver, and on big and small levels, once you start getting published, you are going to run into it. It's unfortunate, but you shouldn't be silent, though not being silent will, perhaps, cost you.


Brian Keene and a lot of others are spreading the word about Dorchester, who are not paying authors and using rights that they don't have, and I am passing on the link to share the information. That such practices are common in the publishing industry is, really, due to the desperate, and awful way that the industry is run in relation to authors, but that doesn't excuses it--and if you're a new author, and you have work with this publisher, and are considering it, just let it go for now. It's hard, but trust me, the alternative is a lot worse.

Starting in late 2009, Dorchester – Leisure began making late payments to some of their authors. Indeed, some authors report never having received payments at all, nor royalty statements verifying what, if any, monies were owed. This continued throughout much of 2010. In mid-2010, with these payment issues still unresolved, Dorchester announced that they were switching to an all-digital format. Then they announced that those digital books would be accompanied by trade paperbacks. Due to the ongoing payment issues, many professional writer’s organizations such as the SFWA and RWA placed Dorchester on probationary status. During a late-August conference call with their creditors (for which I was present and for which I have a transcript of, just in case Dorchester wishes to dispute what follows), they revealed that: The company saw a 60% decrease in book orders in mid-2009; payroll was down from 1 million to $600,000; the company had no cash flow, but also had no bank debt; the company owed six million dollars to various creditors, including $700,000 to active authors and $400,000 to inactive authors; ebooks accounted for 10% of their profit; their trade paperback plan was currently on hold; they didn’t think the sale of the company was possible; and that as of August 9th (2010), they considered themselves “in bankruptcy but are not actually filing for bankruptcy”. Vendors and authors who were owed money for books or services from August 8th forward took precedence in being paid. All others would have to wait.

I was one of those authors. I had not been paid since late-2009.


A few minutes ago, someone asked me why we (the authors) didn’t just seek legal means. Well, I can’t speak for any of the other authors involved, but I’ll tell you why I haven’t — because I’m broke. I’m broke because Dorchester didn’t pay me what was owed, and then I gambled to get my rights back, and then they continued to fuck me. And yes, I’ve got a nice new deal with Deadite and Ghoul starts filming next month, but I won’t see checks from either of those until a few months from now, and until then, I can barely pay the rent and eat anything more than Ramen noodles, let alone hire an attorney.

So I’m asking you to boycott Dorchester Publishing and Leisure Books. I said above that I can’t speak for my fellow authors, but I can tell you that many of them are in the same situation — or worse. If they could get their rights back, they could do as I have done and sign with a new publisher, or they could follow the trail blazed by Joe Konrath and Scott Nicholson, and self-publish their work. In either case, they could begin to make a living again.


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