All Romance Hell No

So.

This landed in my inbox today.

FROM: All Romance Ebooks
TO: contact@lilithsaintcrow.com
DATE: 28 December 2016 at 10:57
SUBJECT: All Romance Closure

RE: All Romance Closure

ALL ROMANCE EBOOKS, LLC
6252 Commercial Way #145, Weeki Wachee, FL 34613

To Whom It May Concern:

It is with great sadness I announce that we are winding down the operations of All Romance eBooks, LLC. For the first year since opening in 2006, we will be posting a loss. The financial forecast for 2017 isn’t hopeful and we’ve accepted that there is not a viable path forward.
We are grateful for the opportunity to have worked with you. On midnight, December 31, our sites will go dark and your content will cease to be available for sale through our platforms. This includes any content you are having us distribute to Apple. If you wish to inactivate your content sooner, you can do so by logging into your publisher portal.

We will be unable to remit Q4 2016 commissions in full and are proposing a settlement of 10 cents on the dollar (USD) for payments received through 27 December 2016. We also request the following conditions:

1. That you consider this negotiated settlement to be “paid in full”.
2. That no further legal action be taken with regards to the above referenced commissions owed.

If you are willing to accept the offered amount and the terms proposed, please hit the reply on this email keeping the history intact. Change the subject to “Publisher Settlement Acceptance” and copy/paste the acceptance statement below into your email, filling in the fields.

Upon receipt of the signed agreement, I will authorize payment of the settlement amount in full by 28 February 2016 via the method stipulated in your publisher account.

It is my sincere hope that we will be able to settle this account and avoid filing for bankruptcy, which would undoubtedly be a prolonged and costl y process.

I appreciate that you may have questions. Unfortunately, we will be operating with limited staff as we prepare for closure. We will do our best to respond to the extent possible and will do so in the order received. Our priority over the next few weeks will be processing settlement requests. At this time, there is no additional information to share.

I thank you for your time and consideration in this matter.

Sincerely,

Lori James

All Romance Ebooks, LLC

Acceptance of Agreement:
I accept the terms of the attached proposed settlement on this date.

Signature:

Electronic Signature
The author’s sub mission of the information entered by selection of the submit button below shall constitute author’s signature signifying acceptance of this Agreement with the intent that it be valid for all purposes and in compliance with the U.S. Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act of 2000 and the laws of any other applicable jurisdiction.

Please note: This message is intended for use by the person or entity to which it is addressed. Please do not disseminate, distribute or copy. If you have received this message by error, please notify us immediately and destroy the related message. Re-disclosure without appropriate consent is prohibited.

Interesting. This is the same company that, as recently as last week, was putting together ads for Boxing Day sales, and contacted me for permission to sell my self-published ebooks at a discount during the sale. It’s also really interesting because half of it’s a scare tactic. Ten cents on the dollar for royalties? No, I don’t think so. That’s not how business is done. Additionally, “Re-disclosure without appropriate consent is prohibited” in what universe? You can bet your bippy I’m disclosing this, because you’re attempting to take advantage of numerous writers.

ARe used to be a good distribution channel. Now I’m wondering if the royalty statements I’ve received from them for the last year of sales are accurate, and I’m wondering what other chicanery is afoot. I am a little steamed at the moment, so I won’t unpack this further. Their website is crashing now, no doubt as publishers yank their books and customers attempt to use their credits and gift certificates (that they pushed before Christmas, not to mention the 2017 advertising they took money for) and in short, it’s a fucking mess.

Here’s my response to their ungenerous offer:

FROM: Lilith Saintcrow
TO: All Romance Ebooks
DATE: 28 December 2016 at 18:21
SUBJECT: Re: All Romance Closure
Dear Ms James,

I do NOT accept this “deal.” You will pay me the royalties you are legally obligated to. You will provide me with a reasonable schedule within which the whole of said royalties will be paid. And you will not, under any circumstances, threaten me again as the “re-disclosure is prohibited” rider is an obvious attempt to do so.

Sincerely,

Lilith Saintcrow

I doubt I’ll ever see any of those royalties, but I am not resigned.

ETA: AS OF 6:37PM Pacific time, I managed to get in and inactivate the three self-pubbed books I had at ARe for distribution. They haven’t been deleted so customers can go and make sure they’ve downloaded! Keep trying to get through, it took me about an hour to do so.

  • Mel

    “We will be unable to remit Q4 2016 commissions in full and are proposing a settlement of 10 cents on the dollar (USD) for payments received through 27 December 2016.”

    Whaaaaat? I’m not any sort of contract expert but I’m pretty sure that “hey how about I pay you 10% of what I owe you” is not how contracts work.

  • vaspider

    Well isn’t that just a mess.

  • None of this is how business works. I flat-out laughed the first time I read the email, expecting a punchline.

  • I’m pretty sure it’s going to get worse, too.

  • Skyla Dawn Cameron

    Did you screenshot/download your reports? Word has it today that commissions due are lower today than they were yesterday for several authors.

  • No. I’m pretty sure I won’t see any more cash from them. Lesson learned, you know? Just another fuck-you financial hit from 2016.

  • SFWA members with books there should mail Griefcom at griefcom@sfwa.org.

  • Ramona Tanay

    This is clearly not how business is done and everybody deserves to pay for their work. PublishDrive says to offer better financial terms and pay its publishers out even if they haven’t received the fund from the retailers yet. They deliver books to iBooks, GooglePlay, Scribd and to others globally.