From The New Zealand Herald:
A celebrated children’s author-turned-publisher has left the country, with a trail of unpaid debts and angry authors in her wake.
. . . .
It started so promisingly and ended so horribly. Twenty months ago Jill Marshall was a local hero, albeit an adopted one. In 2011, Next magazine chose her as its Woman of the Year (arts and culture), an honour still listed on her profile on internet site LinkedIn.
Marshall is now back in England, having left behind a posse of irate and disillusioned authors, a trail of debt and no forwarding address. A “desperately-seeking-Jill” message by one of the authors on Marshall’s Facebook page has gone unanswered, attempts to contact her by email and via the two vice-presidents appointed to her company have proved equally fruitless.
Two authors have won Disputes Tribunal claims, another has hired a copyright lawyer to stop what he claims are “unauthorised” sales of his book by England-based companies, and a complaint has been made to British police about what became of the proceeds of a charity book.
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Marshall was “outraged” with what was happening to her career as an author. “Poor communication, poverty, lack of promotion, feeling unloved and unwanted, and having no control over many rights issues were just some of the topics that fuelled my fever,” she wrote in an article in February 2012 promoting her own fledgling publishing company.
Surely, she figured, those who created the books – the authors and illustrators – should be those who were most connected and supported.
“I began to recognise that many areas of the traditional publishing chain were just not working – or if they were, it was for the wrong people.”
With the era of the e-book came the chance do something about it.
. . . .
In its first year, Pear Jam Books delivered quality books that were well-edited and produced to a high standard. One of its authors, who did not want to be named, told the Herald that the structure then was similar to a traditional publisher. Several of Pear Jam’s authors had been published before, some had won awards, and none were asked to pay Marshall any money.
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Problems began to appear later, with a second group made up mostly of first-time authors, who each paid $10,000 for a “partner-publishing programme”, whereby Marshall’s company contracted to provide coaching, marketing materials and book production in various formats including a printed book “to industry standard”.
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When the relationship broke down, the work of some authors had already entered the distribution chain and is listed for sale on some overseas websites. Having flawed versions on the market is bad for business and the fledging authors’ credibility, says Stuart. A lawyer is negotiating for his book to be removed from two British-based online vendors.
“Sounds strange, I know. I mean, how many new authors have to fight to be unpublished?”
Link to the rest at The New Zealand Herald and thanks to Catherine for the tip.