After the events of this last week, I’ve given it some thought, and decided that I needed to share what happened to me. I’ve spoken to a few other authors, who shall remain nameless since they are still under contract with Etopia, and their stories have compelled me to get the word out there. I’ve heard of covers not being received until days before release, authors who have been assigned editors that were not qualified and authors who were not paid on time. There are also a few authors who have asked for their rights back many times, only to be told no and then cut-off completely from communications with Etopia. When I was offered a contract with Etopia Press, I did some research, but I couldn’t find a single negative thing about them. I only want do my best to allow other authors to be informed, not to trash my former publisher. So here’s my story, sorry if it’s so long.
For a little over a month I had a book published with Etopia Press.
I participated in pitchMAS last December and Etopia requested two of my manuscripts from that. At the time, there was nothing negative on the web about them. I sent the manuscripts and a month later was offered a contract on Collision. I took some time to think it over and do my research, but I couldn’t find anything bad about the company. So I went forward with it and signed a contract for Collision in late January.
Within a week of signing their website disappeared. I asked about it and was told it was under construction and that would be back up by mid-February. It didn’t go back up until early June. Then some negative stuff popped up on Absolute Write and I started to sweat, but I was stuck and decided I needed to give them the benefit of the doubt. There was nothing I could do about it anyway.
The editing process went smoothly and I thought everything was ok. I didn’t really know what to expect once my book was released as far as promos or support from my publisher, but I figured once the time for my release got closer, I would get more info. In late April I still hadn’t been given a date, but it didn’t worry me since I expected the book to be released in late summer. Then I got an email from another author informing me her release date was May 2nd and she had just found out. She knew I’d signed about the same time and wanted to give me a heads up. Which was great, especially when I sent an email asking for a date and found out that my book was also being released on May 2nd. Less than 2 weeks away!
I wasn’t thrilled to be given so little time, especially when I had just signed a contract for a second book with them. I scrambled to get the cover out then set up a blog tour, but by then the earliest I could get it was late June. My book came out and Etopia did nothing other than put my book in their newsletter an on their blog. They may have tweeted about it as well. I emailed and asked about promotions and was sent a list of bloggers they sent ARCs to. That was it.
I moved forward thinking I could promote on my own. It was tough, but I was excited about my book. The edits on my second book were moving along and I was getting nervous about once again having no notice of the release. I asked my editor (who was great and works for Etopia freelance), and she said she had asked on several occasions for a release date but hadn’t been told. On top of that, I hadn’t received my advance check. My contract said I would get it within 30 days, and the first check I received from them came super-fast, but it had been almost 2 months and I still hadn’t received it. Since we had moved about that time I was wondering if it went to my old address and got lost, so asked about it. They didn’t know and even though I was told they would look into it, they never got back to me. I started to get very nervous, so I sent a polite but firm email voicing my concerns and asking for answers to my questions. Later that night I got an email back from the editor who had originally offered me a contract. It was nice and gave me what little information she had. She even expressed that she thought I was behaving professionally and told me she had forwarded my email to the executive editor. Two days later I got an email from Annie Melton, the executive editor, informing me that she thought it would be in both our best interests for us to end our professional relationship. They reverted my rights back to me. At first, I thought it was only for Broken World, but then I realized it was for Collision as well. They had already removed my book from all retailers and their website.
It was a strange turn of events and I was upset at first. Now, the more information I get from other authors and the more I think about it, I’m relieved. It’s obvious from their behavior that they don’t have a desire to promote their authors or help them succeed, and if a few questions upset them that much I don’t want anything to do with them. They clearly want authors who are content to sit back and do nothing, but that isn’t who I am and it never will be so we are not the right fit.
If you are considering a contract with Etopia Press and wish to contact me, feel free. I can privately give you names of other authors to contact so you can get more information about the company.