A few days ago, we had a visit from Steven Zacharius, President and CEO, Kensington Publishing Corp., who responded to this post about a traditionally-published author who apparently got in trouble with her publisher because she revealed how little she was earning from her romances.
Among other things, Steven spoke about the important services his company provided for its authors/
Steven’s comments generated a lot of reponses, many of which disagreed with him. PG thinks this was the most commented-upon post that has appeared on TPV.
The following is a response to Steven that PG just approved.
Steven, I’m posting this anonymously because Kensington still has the rights to some of my books. I’m afraid that if you knew who was publicly stating this, you would retaliate by refusing the reversion I am owed under my contract.
The only reason I’m posting the information here is that my conversations with other Kensington authors assure me that at least 10 other authors could write this exact same post using this exact same language. I have altered a few items to obscure my identity, but I have not bent the underlying truth.
If you’re serious about everything you’ve said here, you don’t know what is going on inside your own company.
I requested reversion on the titles I have with you a long time ago. Your time to respond to requests under the terms of my contract passed months ago, and I have yet to hear from your legitimate publishing company despite my multiple attempts to get an answer.
I was published under the Kensington debut romance program. Your legitimate publishing company acquired my books without telling us that you were already planning to scrap the program and therefore no matter how my books performed I would not be getting a second contract.
My editor for those two books, John Scognamiglio, did not edit my books. The only response he gave to my second book was “Good.” I admit that I changed the one word I got from him here on the off chance that his single-word edit letter to me would identify me, but the friends I talked to who had him from an editor say that one to five words is the typical response he gave to their books. John is notorious among Kensington authors for not editing books.
You gave my books covers that were made from $10 pieces of stock art. The covers did not match the genre of the books.
The only reason I am not auditing my royalty statements is because it means my rights will revert to me sooner and I can start making real money off your titles.
Are you serious about wanting your company to be a legitimate publishing enterprise?
Go choose 10 random books from your catalog that John Scognamiglio has worked on and ask him to send you the edit letters he sent the authors. See how much deep editing he is really doing to make those books better.
Ask your royalty department to send you the royalty statements for all the books that sold less than 10 digital copies in the last six months, and then perform an in-house audit on those titles. (If you’re not performing in-house audits on your own royalty statements, how do you know they are accurate?)
Go tell your legal department that when a contract says they have X number of days to response to a reversion request, they should respond in no more than X number of days.
I wish you and traditional publishing all the best, but you are either lying on this page or do not understand what is happening inside your company. Neither bodes well for the long-term future of Kensington.