Too many are shutting down with little or no notice, leaving their authors in limbo and/or tied up in litigation for years.
All Romance ebooks/Omni Lit (ARe) is the latest to go out of business.
I received notice this morning that they’d shut down the end of December, and their website is down. They were offering to pay four cents on the dollar for the fourth quarter of 2016 in an attempt to avoid bankruptcy or a lawsuit, which is more than some publishers have offered. What’s worse is ARe was sending out ad requests for their site as late as the first of December. Now those authors who paid are out the money.
ARe is the latest in a string of online publishers to crash. To the shock of many writers, some of the largest and most respected shut their doors in 2015/2016, including ebook publishers who were doing a landslide business in erotica, and others who published multi-genres. Some shut down without notice, leaving their authors in shock, grief, and worse, with their books tied up for years. Most have had to write off their books as a loss, as litigation can last for years. I know. I’m still involved in a class-action suit against a publisher who offered ebooks as well as print. I doubt I’ll ever see a dime of the royalties I’m due, but I finally did get an offer of all rights returned if I drop out. I think I’ll take it. If not, if I continue, the legal system could retain my book rights and Amazon could refuse to publish that title, no matter who holds the rights.
So please, y’all, give some serious thought to querying online publishers. You’re taking the risk of late-payment, non-payment, and/or eventually losing your rights to that book in addition to losing your money. And as an aside, they are NOT recognized by the professional writing organizations, and you would NOT be considered a published author by agents, so why take that route?
Get your manuscripts as good as you possibly can. Take classes, read books, attend critique groups run by knowledgeable leaders for help in improving your manuscripts. Then go for the gold with recognized major publishers – or do it yourself.
Since Amazon distributes their books all over the world, you have a good chance of making some money with self-publishing. It has disadvantages for those who hope for a career in publishing, but many authors got their start by self-publishing. Just please, make sure your manuscript is ready to publish. Readers today are knowledgeable, and if you publish before you’re ready, even if you later improve it, you risk a reputation as an amateur, something you don’t want.