I am Vera Nazarian, two-time Nebula Award Nominee author, award-winning artist, publisher of Norilana Books. In 2006 I singlehandedly started a small independent press Norilana Books, with about 300 paper print POD (Print-on-Demand) titles in print, mostly classics of world literature (about 90% of the complete catalog), and a few of my favorite contemporary genre authors.
. . . .
Things were going well the first few years, and I was promptly and happily paying royalties to all my wonderful authors, and releasing handsome paper print editions of their works in hardcover and trade paperback. And then the economy crashed, while at the same time, a series of personal misfortunes struck.
Within a very short period of time I was faced all at once with the cancer of my mother, death of my father, the loss of my home to foreclosure, bankruptcy, a cross-country move from California to Vermont, and having to start my life over on a severely reduced income, after having to undergo major life-saving surgery myself.
At the same time, the publishing industry started to change rapidly, with the advent of ebooks and ereaders, and paper print sales dropped considerably, so that my already inadequate income was reduced to about one third of what it had been.
. . . .
But this fundraiser is not about me…
It’s about the wonderful Norilana Books authors who need to be paid their long overdue royalties. As months went by and I was struggling just to survive, I was no longer able to pay my authors the royalties owed them.
My authors have understood my dire situation and have waited patiently throughout all this—are still waiting. All rights to their books are theirs, and some of them chose to exercise their reversion, while others are still with me and my tiny press because they prefer for their books to stay in print in their current editions.
Regardless, they all need to be paid as soon as possible—all the back royalties, down to a cent.
Link to the rest at IndieGoGo and thanks to Devin for the tip.
Allow PG to translate: “I spent all the money that I should have paid to authors and now I would like the nice people who come to IndieGoGo to give me more money so I can pay the authors (unless something else comes up in the meantime).”
PG strongly recommends that if you want to help any of the Norliana Book authors, you track the author down and send them a payment directly rather than trusting someone who has already stiffed the author to make that payment.
At least in the US, if a publisher runs into financial problems, authors stand at the end of the bankruptcy line with other unsecured creditors, likely receiving little, if any, of the royalties owed to them. To add insult to injury, the authors’ publishing contracts may be purchased for a pittance by some third party who may not be any better at paying royalties than the bankrupt publisher was.
The most common early danger signs are delayed royalty payments caused by “accounting problems” or “bank errors.”
Unfortunately, with the shakeout underway in traditional publishing, PG predicts more publisher collapses in the future. Small publishers are like other small businesses – some are very well managed and others are not. Large publishers are like other large businesses – some are very well managed and others are not.
Unfortunately, in the middle of a major technology disruption like ecommerce and ebooks, even well-managed businesses can be taken down.