I am one of the many authors who lived through the Triskelion debacle.

Nor sure what that is?

Well, a few years back, one of the big players in the e-publishing romance game was Triskelion Publishing. They published my first book, Photo Opportunity, and then another book, Visiting Paradise. Fortunately for me, they argued about contracts and payments for Ask Adam, and I was forced to shop that book around, happily finding a home for it at Samhain.

Fortunately, you ask?

Yep. Fortunately. Just a couple months after signing with Samhain, Triskelion Publishing went bankrupt – in a spectacular fashion. The publisher herself did a grand job of screwing each and everyone of the authors.

I try not to speak badly about anyone in the industry, but honestly, this publisher had every Triskelion author tied up for months, maybe even a year, in the bankruptcy debacle. Rights to books were lost in the pits of hell, and some authors opted to leave the industry altogether as a result.

I was lucky. I had Samhain to support me and hold me up, and even luckier, because just days before Triskelion died its ugly death, I received the rights back to Photo Opportunity, and Samhain promptly contracted it.

Visiting Paradise was not so lucky. It was one of those books caught in the Triskelion nightmare. And it was only a year or more later when I finally, finally, finally received rights to that book back.

As the book was part of an anthology called Boys Down Under, the five authors of the anthology jointly decided to contract the antho to Aspen Mountain Press. We thought this would be a fantastic route to take, as the publisher of AMP was an author herself, and she had lived through the Triskelion debacle.

We knew we could trust her. We knew she would not let us down. She knew what it was like to be an author at a collapsing company.

Which is why, almost three years later, I’m pretty sure you can understand my horror as I watch Aspen Mountain Press die a hideous death. As I watch a woman I believed I could rely on and trust, refuse to pay authors royalties, send out statements or return rights to authors who are pleading for their books back.

I haven’t spoken much about this, waiting to see how the crisis played itself out, waiting to see how the publisher would react under pressure. Unfortunately, I’m still waiting. And now, without any warning or notice, I see that Visiting Paradise and the anthology it was part of, Boys Down Under, had disappeared from some third party retailers on the internet. The Aspen Mountain Press site is also down, with no indication as to whether it will go back up again.

Do I want it to go back up? Er, no. Not if it means Visiting Paradise, once again gets lost in the debacle of a publisher closing down. Not if it means the book continues to sell, and I continue to not receive royalties. And ya know what? I’m one of the lucky ones. I have only one book at AMP, and mostly I have received royalties. (Mostly, not always.) But there are a very lot of authors out there desperately watching their life’s work getting caught up in the hell of unreturned rights. Authors who contracted all their stories to AMP, and now cannot recontract them with other publishers or rely on AMP to pay them royalties.

Right now AMP are in breach of contract. They have not paid authors, they are not selling books. End of story. But until the publisher actively returns rights, our hands are tied for a very long time, unless we are willing to hire a lawyer and cover the costs of a legal battle.

So for now I sit back and watch in despair as a woman we thought we could trust, a woman we relied on, not only let us down, but continues to disappoint us day after day.

Hopefully one day she will come to her senses and release all of the AMP authors from their contracts. Until that day we can only sit and hope.

Jess

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