From Dear Author:
To All Ellora’s Cave authors:
You are probably aware of the quick, sharp decline of ebook sales via Amazon in recent months. EC is not the only publisher experiencing this sudden decrease, and interestingly, we are not seeing the same drastic dip from other vendors. But Amazon is our largest vendor, so we are having to make some fairly large changes quickly to deal with the situation until we can understand it and turn it around.
We have already cut staff, special EC projects and other expenses, but the drastic drop in sales has resulted in large net short-term variable production losses and slow and often negative return on investment for EC on almost every new book we publish, with the exception of a handful of the highest sellers. For that reason, for the foreseeable future almost all manuscripts will be edited by in-house editors, and covers designed by in-house artists.
We know that many of you love your current editors and covers, and we are very sorry to lose this dedicated group of talented people (and hope to be able to offer them other opportunities in future). The good news is that our staff editors and designers are highly skilled and deeply experienced, and will bring new perspectives to your books. We are looking forward to this creating a more direct relationship with our authors so we can be more aware of and thus more quickly responsive to your needs, questions and concerns.
If you have a book currently in edits or awaiting edits with a freelance editor, Managing Editor Whitney Mihalik will contact you within the next few weeks about its status.
Ellora’s Cave has weathered storms before and we will this one as well. We are aggressively adjusting our business to the current publishing environment. We will fill you in with our endeavors as they are unveiledhopefully with the first exciting news later this week.
In the meantime, since these declines are primarily related to Amazon, it is a good idea to encourage your readers to purchase ebooks from the Ellora’s Cave site because it benefits you and your readers. Prices of books on our site are often lower, your royalty rate is higher and you get paid faster for books purchased through our site. You and your books are also much easier to find on our site.
Even readers with Kindles and Nooks can purchase on our site and load onto their devices. The process is not difficult. Our site has instructions on how to do it: http://www.ellorascave.com/downloads-support/. We are also working on some fun videos to show people how to do it and will put them on YouTube so you can link to them when they are done.
It is also important to support and promote Barnes & Noble and All Romance Ebooks as well until we are able to determine the reasons for Amazon’s declining sales. Hopefully we will be able to work with Amazon to correct the inconsistencies quickly. However, in the short run your net royalties per book are consistently higher in the following order: 1) Ellora’s Cave, 2) Barnes and Noble, AllRomance, and probably Kobo 3) Amazon, and 4) Google. It would certainly make fiscal sense for you to send your fans to those first venues.
This is by no means meant to be a statement about Amazon. We are not at this time coming to any conclusions regarding the many negative rumors and articles about Amazon the Gazelle Project, their disputes with Disney and Hachette, and the 900 authors’ open letter in the New York Times which we have been made aware of over and over again. For many years we have had a reasonable business relationship with Amazon, up until this drastic drop in sales, and we are certainly hoping that it will all be resolved as we present discrepancies that we are identifying. We have not completed our analysis at this point and therefore have not had any direct communication with Amazon regarding these issues. We are just saying in the meantime that it makes sense for you to promote your books to be purchased through the venues that are most profitable to you on a per-copy basis (and of course to Ellora’s Cave). This benefits all of us. That way you will make more per sale and, in the unthinkable event that the sales at Amazon continue to decline, your fans will be aware of other venues that are out there for them. Hopefully though, this is temporary and not a continuing trend and Amazon will go back to being as profitable for us as it has been in the past.
I know that there has been some discussion and concern about a new project announced by Jaid Black. We will make an announcement soon with details, but please be assured that no EC funds are being invested in this venture, that it is in no way a publishing company, and that my full attention and loyalty remain to Ellora’s Cave and its authors. We are looking at the new venture as a means to enhance the opportunities and options that are available to our authorsnot to take away funds from Ellora’s Cave and are very excited about releasing the news to you soon. We are always looking at new projects and interests as they present themselves to ussome connected to the publishing industry and some not. Please be assured, however, that EC always has been and remains our main focus. With the help of our fantastic staff and authors, we are working very hard to adjust to the current publishing environment and remain the premier publisher of erotic romance.
Also, please note that almost all the royalty checks have been mailed, with the exception of a handful that should be out by end of week. We are not bankrupt (rumors) and are not in any kind of shape to even file bankruptcy. While we have had some issues getting the royalty checks out as quickly as we have in the past, we are still within our contracts. We certainly understand why you are concerned and appreciate those of you who have asked questions rather than spreading conspiracy theories and propagating rumors that are only detrimental to fellow authors. We hope all of this does not detract from what all of you do bestWRITING. Rumors are distracting and disconcerting and all of you deserve better.
Thanks for your support and understanding. We do appreciate all of you and respect your talents, your pride in your work and your concern for your careers. Please do not EVER sell yourselves short! What you do is valuable to everyone who comes in contact with you through your stories.
Link to the rest at Dear Author and thanks to Amy for the tip.
Let’s count the red flags:
the quick, sharp decline of ebook sales via Amazon in recent months
the drastic drop in sales has resulted in large net short-term variable production losses and slow and often negative return on investment for EC on almost every new book we publish
Amazon is our largest vendor, so we are having to make some fairly large changes quickly to deal with the situation until we can understand it and turn it around.
we have had a reasonable business relationship with Amazon, up until this drastic drop in sales, and we are certainly hoping that it will all be resolved as we present discrepancies that we are identifying
We are not bankrupt
[We] are not in any kind of shape to even file bankruptcy
we have had some issues getting the royalty checks out as quickly as we have in the past
PG has no inside information about what’s going on at EC and he doesn’t deal in rumors.
That said, PG has not not heard of any other publisher or any significant number of indie authors who have experienced a sharp decline in ebook sales via Amazon in recent months.
As a general proposition, a small business person doesn’t want to be involved with a business that is experiencing financial problems.