After over six months of lies and bullshit, Dreamspinner has finally paid me what I am owed. Well, presuming their sales figures weren't as much a lie as every other damn thing, but I guess I'll never know, will I?
And, to make it perfectly clear, just because they have paid me in no way excuses the fact that they stole from me--and countless other authors (most of whom still haven't been paid)--to begin with.
For the absolute biscuits out there (and I am referring to authors, not readers) who are still living in denial: royalty money is meant to remain in escrow. It is NOT the publisher's money to use for other purposes. It is the authors' money. The fact is, Dreamspinner was paid money by retailers, and that money somehow went missing when it came time to pay it to authors. This is theft.
Dreamspinner has lied repeatedly. Dreamspinner tried to blame a third party, Tipalti, for the fact our royalties hadn't gone into our accounts. Elizabeth North stated in an email to me that "There are parts of what I do that I don't have control over once I initiate the action. I stated that payments would be sent through Tipalti by 1/10 and they were." What she failed to mention, of course, was that the reason the payments didn't go through was because there were no funds in the account. You can check my Twitter for receipts on that from Tipalti.
Anne Regan stated to me that "We have paid authors over $13.3 million dollars in royalties over the last decade. All of that income has been properly accounted for and paid out. We hit a crisis in 2019 that we are doing the best to correct." She further stated that royalty money was held in an escrow account.
It's not a crisis when someone raids the escrow account, Anne, it's theft.
Also, I don't care if you were a fantastic publisher for a decade. That's irrelevant. That's like saying "Well, my wife and I have been married for twelve years, but I've only been beating her for two." What do you want, congratulations?
During this whole mess of a journey, I've been called a greedy child by a DSP author for having the audacity to want the money that was stolen from me, as though it just vanished due to some bizarre fluke of fate. Could have happened to anyone, right? Well, no.
I've worked with publishers before that have closed because they could no longer see a way forward. And guess what? Royalty money was still paid when the business was wound up, because nobody had taken the money from the escrow account.
If you are an author, do not sign with Dreamspinner. Hundreds of their authors are still awaiting payment. Elizabeth North stated that payment plans would be sent out by the restructuring firm Berger Singerman, and that they hoped to contact the majority of authors by March 15. I am in contact with 160+ DSP authors. That's about 10% of the total number of authors, which should be a decent sample size, right? Guess how many have been contacted about a payment plan? If you guessed zero, you would be correct. In fact, the only authors I know who have been contacted by Berger Singerman are those who have hired their own lawyers.
These are just some of the lies of the past 6 months. There have been many, many more.
My opinion as an author: Dreamspinner can go fuck itself.
My opinion as a reader: I will never buy a DSP book, however good it looks, because I have no way of knowing if the author is getting paid.
And it's not just the authors who haven't been paid. It's also editors, translators, cover artists and more.
Oh, and if DSP thought that paying me would shut me up, it looks like they were wrong.
Before I go, here's another easily provable lie from Elizabeth North and Dreamspinner:
"December reports will be uploaded by January 15, and December payments will be made by January 31. Each month after that will report by the 15th and pay by the end of the month."
That never fucking happened for the vast majority of authors, many of whom haven't received a payment in six months.