Dear Dark Bite readers,
I received very sobering e-mail from my friend, Steve Wedel, on December 25th. You may remember Steve from a previous post HERE. Between vacation time and fighting a nagging bug now out of the way, it's time I start to catch up things of importance, like this post. If you're a regular reader of Dark Bites - Thank-you, by the way - then chances are you hate when writers get screwed by publishers as much as I do. I don't care what a publisher's reason is or how justified he or she may think they are for not paying a writer, or any creative artist for that matter, but if you choose to accept and publish any work from any creator, then that creative author deserves to get paid, period. They deserve for you to live up to any payment promises outline in either your submission guidelines or, especially, i an agreed upon binding contract. Sad;ly, Steve is not one of those writers who met with a fair and honest deal and Scrybe Press is so far from honoring what they promised to pay for publishing Steve's books that they aren't just scrapping the bottom of the barrel, they are the bottom of the barrel.
And this just isn't happening with Steve, or with Scrybe Press. I'm sure we've all heard the stories about other sour deals, including a more than familiar one that involves Dorchester screwing several of their best selling authors because they feel they can. (You can read Brian Keene's take on it HERE if you like, but I warn you it's another scary truth.)
I would hate to think how a first time writer might get jaded from the business of writing altogether if their first time publishing was met with getting shafted instead of paid. Or how so many honest publishers have a hard time competing in this highly competitive industry of genre fiction simply because their neighbour has given the whole street a bad buzz. This sort of crap will likely always go on in some capacity. Where there are bad cops, bad doctors and lawyers, there will be unscrupulous book sellers trying to rake in money that isn't there's to rake in while some struggling author busts his or her ass for them to make ends meet, if they're lucky to make ends meet. But that doesn't mean that we can't do what we can to put these bastards in as bright of a spotlight as possible to help others avoid them like the plague they are.
Without further ado, here is the message I received from Steve so that you may draw your own conclusions and act how you feel is in your best interest against travesties such as what Steve outlines below.
It is with great sadness that I bring this to you. However, after many attempts to resolve my problems with Nathan Barker and his Scrybe Press, I am asking that you boycott his other businesses and spread the word to your friends about his corrupt business practices.
For years I have tried to get Nathan to pay me the advances and royalties he owes me for publication of five of my books. On November 23, 2012, I sent the following to the Upstate New York Better Business Bureau:
Nathan Barker, doing business as Scrybe Press, was in breach of contract on five fiction titles he published from me. I terminated our agreements in early 2012 and demanded payment of all monies owed to me. I do not know the full amount owed because he continually failed to deliver royalty statements. However, I have e-mails from him recognizing that he still owes me $401.78 for back royalties up to October 2011. The actual amount owed me is more, but I have no way of finding out by how much. Mr. Barker has continually ignored e-mails, phone calls, and my certified letter demanding payment of the $401.78.
I have copies of the original contracts that were signed as the books were released between 2004 and 2008, as well as renewed contracts that were signed for all titles in early 2011. I have lost some e-mail exchanges due to a computer crash, but I have records of our correspondence about the money he owes me dating back to Dec. 2, 2011.
I feel I have been very patient. Mr. Barker is a small business owner with a family to support. However, he was paid by the book distributor as the copies sold and, for whatever reason, did not forward my share of the money to me at that time, as the contracts required. I have continued to be patient since cancelling our agreements, but his lack of response has brought an end to my charity.
I would like a full accounting of the complete number of copies sold for each of my titles, along with the money he owes me based on those numbers, plus a reasonable interest payment for the time he has withheld my payment. However, I'll forego royalty statements and payment for copies sold after our revised contracts, plus the interest, and settle for an immediate payment of $400.
I received a reply from the BBB today. Not surprisingly, Nathan ignored them, too. The BBB suggested I file a small claims lawsuit. I am considering that.
In the meantime, I ask that you do not buy from his online store, Kayleighbug Books, or his physical store, Main Street Books of Morristown, NY. This would include his listings on eBay, Alibris, Abe Books, etc.
If you share my outrage and feel the need to express it to Nathan, he does have a Facebook page. There's also this contact method: 408 Main Street PO Box 205 Morristown, New York 13664. Phone: 315 750 4042. His e-mail is email@example.com.