Mystery, suspense, thrillers, paranormal, horror & YA by "Cheryl Kaye Tardif" & romance by "Cherish D'Angelo". Cheryl is represented by Trident Media Group in NY.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Publishers who don't pay their authors--like Kunati Books

Today was the deadline I gave my publisher Derek Armstrong at Kunati Books to pay me and give me my statements. I haven't been paid by them in over a year. And I was never, ever paid on time, as per the contract that we both signed.

The mail is in. No check. No statements. No big surprise.

Can we say "breach of contract"?

It's publishers like this that give the publishing industry a bad name.

I was promised a check by the end of July. A check that was already late, as per the contract. I was promised statements too. Makes you wonder WHY a publisher is holding back this information.

And it's not just me; many Kunati authors have struggled to get paid and get their statements. Quill & Quire, Canada's leading literary magazines ran two recent articles exposing the goings on at Kunati. After careful consideration and after a reporter contacted me, I decided to come forward with other authors and tell Q&Q what a contract means over at Kunati. A big fat whoppin' NOTHING.

Quill & Quire:
  • Kunati Books neglecting its authors (you might have to subscribe to view)
  • The July/August print edition features a follow-up story where they "investigate the troubled publishing history of Kunati Books."
Would I recommend Kunati Books to other authors? Not on your life! There were far more problems than I've mentioned here. The bottom line is this: As an author, you work too hard writing and creating a work, then promoting it (and spending a ton of money to do it), and you deserve to be paid on time, with no hassles. You also have the right to know your print run and sales stats and to receive statements on time. My advice: stay far, far away from Kunati if you want to be paid and receive your statements--on time or at all.

Thankfully, I got all my rights back for Whale Song, which sold consistently well as a Kunati title and launched their trade paperback imprint UNA. And I pulled my new novel Children of the Fog out just in time, right after Kunati accepted it. Now all I want is what's owed to me--the money for my sales (I personally bought over 130 copies of Whale Song through various online stores to give to charities and reviewers in 2008; none have been returned) and my statements and print run info. Early on, Armstrong claimed that the 2007 titles went into a second print run. I still have his email. In fact, I have all his emails, something I recommend you do if you're having problems with your publisher.

Do you have a publisher horror story? If so, contact Writer Beware and Preditors & Editors. You can also obtain legal advice, like I have, through various writers' groups and associations like Authors Guild, and through private entertainment lawyers. It's not easy coming forward and speaking out, but sometimes it's necessary. Too many authors are being taken advantage of. Don't let that happen to you.

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif


J.W. Thompson said...

Thank you for coming forward and letting other authors know.


Cheryl Tardif said...

Jim, you're welcome. And thank YOU for your support. Much appreciated!

Cheryl Tardif said...

I've now finally heard back from Derek Armstrong at Kunati Books. He emailed me my statement and a Nielsen BookScan report. Apparently, my check is "on it's way". I've given him 10 business days. If it's not here by then I'll know, once again, I've been fed a crock.

Surprisingly, my statements show decent sales, especially if they were all made from July to December 2008. Kunati authors were told by Derek that no one earned a royalty check on sales from January to June 08 as there were too many returns. I never understood that, especially when I knew I'd never returned any of the books I'd bought on Amazon for reviewers.

But at least he's now moving on this. Perhaps it was my blog post that spurred him on. Or the emails to writers' organizations reporting him for not paying or giving him statements. Regardless, I am so done with Kunati Books. Once I receive my check I'll be free.

I'm on to bigger and better things. :-)

Thank you to all the writers' organizations and writers and friends who have supported me through this ordeal. I appreciate it.