Tuesday, October 4, 2016

The Great EC Books - Ellora's Cave Debacle ... My Story

Back in October of 2013, I was over the moon excited. You see, I'd been offered a four book deal contract from what was one of the top publishers of erotic romance. I knew people who got their start there, who became "somebody" there, and I hoped... this was my big break.
The contract offer that started it all.

And that they offered me a four book deal? Seriously, it was my first multi-book contract. This was big. Huge.

Sure, there'd been rumors in the past of dissent, but that was all a long time ago. I sincerely was excited and thrilled and told everyone about my accomplishment, my new contract.

I haven't shared my "confidential" emails during this whole debacle, but the company no longer exists so I no longer owe them silence. While others spoke out, though, I stayed silent. Why? I was ashamed. I was "salty" as the kids say. I was frustrated.

Begging for my money
But mostly, I was angry. Infuriated they turned what was a big moment for me... what I was so excited about... into something that made me twitch each time I saw their company name pop up on my social media. Into something that made me ashamed for being a fool.

You see, they randomly decided to stop sending me my royalties. The last payment I got was in 2015 for the period ending in August 2015. My emails inquiring about it were either ignored or otherwise blown off.

And the statement they DID send back in 2015? I mean, I can't help but laugh about it. One title--they said it sold one copy on All Romance Ebooks.

The silver star means "bestseller"

I can click on the title. I can see that it was an ARe bestseller.  

Usually... it takes more than one copy, I would think, to earn that bestseller star. 

It also had a pretty good rank at Amazon and on other places, too... as did the others, but I couldn't PROVE they hadn't paid me based on my statements. All that proved was the accounting probably wasn't accurate. Maybe one copy did make it a bestseller? So, without proof, I just emailed EC about missing royalties and got ignored.

I didn't say anything publicly because when the authors spoke out, they said, "How do you know they owe you money, if the statements don't say so?" Well, in my case, that little silver star, but okay. I'll keep my mouth shut. Maybe they'll make it right.

Then, yesterday, I got this in the email.

 My favorite part is the sentence that says they're not checking email. Probably a good call. Probably a lot of people would have questions, especially after their "official statement."

 Do you see the P.S.? I like the passive aggressive threat they tacked on there. "We don't want to leave anyone's rights in limbo--which could definitely happen if we don't take the time to individually revert them back to you--so please read carefully from this point forward."

What was included after that, you're wondering? No worries, I'll share.

I'm not going to agree to those terms. They owed me outstanding royalties and have no intention of paying me whatsoever. They want me to agree to that, and I will not.

No, this will not put me in a position to get my money back. Yes, this means those four stories of mine are likely getting dragged to bankruptcy court with the rest of the Ellora's Cave madness.

Why would I do that?

Because just as I've had to see their name and twitch helplessly without recourse, they will continue to see mine. They took a dream, squashed it, took the squashed remains and stomped them, and then made me continue to look at the leftover shards for years now.

Ellora's Cave? My name is Virginia, and I hope that my name pops up on your desk as a reminder of what you did just as yours has continued to pop up on mine for so very long.


  1. Stand tall, Virginia. I'll be standing right here next to you. You deserve so much better than this.

  2. You got this! I meet many authors through EC and they opened my eyes to erotic romance.

    Every one of you deserve your books and money owed to you. I wouldn't sign that paper either.


  3. Virginia, I know exactly how you feel about the first acceptance by EC. I couldn't stop crying for the happiness my editor gave me with her e-mail. Like you, I thought I'd arrived in the stratosphere of erotic romance authors. Told everyone, even people who had no idea what I was talking about, had never heard of the publisher. Had two chocolate martinis to celebrate. Within a year the bottom fell out of my big dream. I've been out from EC now for a year and have republished my books. Some of my favorite authors have been/had been with EC and now I know them via e-mail so something good came out of this. I don't wish EC and its owners well. They called us names for claiming we weren't getting paid WHEN WE WEREN'T GETTING PAID. Bizzarro world. I, like many others, wonder if the newbies got paid.

    1. 'I, like many others, wonder if the newbies got paid.' I, as a new author have the answer. Nope. I took the risk upon hearing the stories and thought they had fixed the issue. Not so much.

      No idea about the next steps but at least I met some great people!

  4. Epic post!! Seriously epic. Love you sharing all the nonsense and passive aggressive bs. Sending good thoughts your way!!

  5. Epic post!! Seriously epic. Love you sharing all the nonsense and passive aggressive bs. Sending good thoughts your way!!

  6. I wish you all the best. I'm so sorry that you were not taken care of.

  7. OMG, I can't believe they just expect you to forgo your paycheck. I bet if someone owed THEM money, they'd be screaming at the top of their lungs.

    I also loved how they blamed their implosion on everything except themselves. From everything I've heard and read, they were the cause of most of their issues.

  8. I can not believe they want you to sign that and then keep your book live and still collect money from it until the end of the year.
    And yes the, "Don't bother emailing us because we ain't gonna read them" bit was a class act.
    Hugs. Sorry you are part of this cluster.

  9. Stand strong Virginia, and don't be ashamed. No one wants to have to fight for something that is legally theirs. As a fellow author I'm so very sorry for those caught in the appalling behaviour exhibited by EC. I must admit I was waiting to read the part where they asked you to waive owed royalties and there it is - devastated to be right. Hugs, though I don't know you and best of luck!

  10. I know that best seller star story, I got one on a EC release and my royalty statement said I sold three copies. I call BS

  11. I discovered erotic romance through EC and am heartbroken that they treated their authors this way, I'm also incredibly angry that they didn't pass my hard earned money where I wanted it to go namely to the author whose blood sweat and tears created the works I was was buying. I didn't buy the books to fund EC's owners lavish lifestyle I bought them because I loved them and it was the way I could encourage and support the person who wrote the books that were entertaining me. Keep fighting you are owed and deserve every cent that you haven't been paid. I wish you the best of luck and am so glad this whole mess hasn't put you off writing.

  12. My stars, what a bunch of crooks! Ellora's Cave should be publicly shamed.

  13. I'm in the same boat here...someone knows a good lawyer?????

  14. I am in the minority here. I am foregoing the monies they owe me. It's in the thousands. I won't get it back. I could hold out. I could wait. I could watch as they sell my contracts to who the hell knows... And what will that get me? What will any of that get me? Not a thing. Not only will I be out the money they owe, but I'll be out 7 books I worked my ass off on. I'll be damned if I will let them steal those from me too. I understand wanting to sue. I understand wanting to stand on principle. I understand the hurt and pain and frustration. Because I've cried, yelled, commiserated. They've stolen from hundreds of us. I've been with EC since 2009. Half of that time, there's been issues with money and them paying us on time, if at all. I know that November 2015 was the last time I was going to see $ from them. I wanted my work. I wanted my words and my power back. I wanted my creativity back and my joy of writing. I wanted to be free of them. So I wrote, asked for my rights, told them they could keep the $ just give me the books. They sent me a reversion of rights letter last month. I'll start moving forward with it tomorrow. I am free of their hold over me. And, sadly, that feels as incredible as the day I signed with them.

  15. If Tina was honest--at least somewhat honest--she would revert rights back immediately. But to keep the books until Dec 31 and keep your money. I'm with you, Virginia. I wouldn't agree to those terms, either. Best of luck.

  16. Take your rights. Forego the check. Self-publish (it's already edited for you and proofread, one assumes, so why not?) THEN....Keep an eye on possible future litigation and the implied threat of "limbo" (might seem coercive).

    And maybe someone can write a revenge book on how some fictional exploited authors take revenge on a severely morbidly obese shark of a publisher who keeps playing martyr while actually being the tormentor. Sort of like a First Wives Club with "romantica" writers. :)

  17. Wow...I'm just stunned to read the news that EC has closed down. I sold my first story to them in 2004. I had a wonderful experience with EC and was SO DANG PROUD to be one of their authors. Of course I felt I had "made it" and with my foot in the door I had planned another 8 stories, all geared toward EC. But, life got in my way, as it does with many people. I was never able to complete my other novels. I stopped getting royalties from my 1 book with them in 2015. Yes, even though the checks were for just a few dollars once a month, LOL!, I was still thrilled my book was selling. And now, my life has settled down enough for me to revive my writing career. I logged in this morning with the intent of finding out what's new at EC, and if my stories would still fit...only to find out they are closed. I'm so sorry other authors had this horrible experience with them! I feel let down and deflated right about now. I guess I'll have my little pity party and get over it. And I need to find out what publisher authors are working with now? It appears the stigma of self-publishing is finally a part of the past, so, how to do that? Life, and writing, goes on. Peace to all my fellow writers out there. XO

  18. I have also felt very embarrassed about this...they claimed that they were happy to have more writers from diverse cultural backgrounds. It was my first novel and I was too naive to read the signs. Not to mention I haven't been updated on anything since I moved out of the US in 2013. I know I can re-publish and move on, but this really wiped me out. Never would I have thought a company would have treated so many people with disrespect after claiming that they were feminist, but this was obviously just propaganda. Thanks for confirming that I am not the only one who has been thrown for a loop.