Mystery author Beth Groundwater writes the Claire Hanover gift basket designer series (A REAL BASKET CASE, 2007 Best First Novel Agatha Award finalist, TO HELL IN A HANDBASKET, 2009, and A BASKET OF TROUBLE, 2013) and the RM Outdoor Adventures series starring river ranger Mandy Tanner (DEADLY CURRENTS, 2011, an Amazon bestseller, WICKED EDDIES, 2012, finalist for the Rocky Award, and FATAL DESCENT, 2013). Beth lives in Colorado, enjoys its outdoor activities, and loves talking to book clubs.
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
A Sad Day When a Publisher Goes Under
Virtual Tales was the publisher of my science fiction novella, The Epsilon Eridani Alternative. I chose them for this one-off project because, even though they were small, they had a good reputation and put out quality products in trade paperback and ebook formats. I was extremely pleased with everyone I worked with there during the process of getting the novella published, and I thought the cover art they produced absolutely rocked!
My good experience with Virtual Tales made it even harder to bear when I heard the sad news that after five years of struggle, with no profits, the board has decided to close the company's doors. I can certainly sympathize with the principal players who want their life back, so they can work on their own writing projects, after toiling for years with no pay. I'm sad to see it happen, nonetheless.
And, in keeping with their solid, ethical reputation, Chairman Dave Law and Director of Marketing & Promotions Sheri Gormley, are trying their best to soften the blow of the closing for their editors, cover artists, authors, and everyone else involved. They've contacted other small presses to arrange for them to accept resumes from staff and manuscripts from authors for consideration. They've provided signed Return of Rights letters and final manuscript files to the authors in a timely manner. They promise to pay royalties on book sales made in the final royalty period, even though they personally are volunteering hours and hours of unpaid labor to close the company gracefully.
All I can say, Dave and Sheri, is that it was a tremendous pleasure working with you both, and I wish you huge success in your writing projects. You are definitely a class act!
And for those of you reading this, The Epsilon Eridani Alternative is currently still available for sale from select on-line vendors in trade paperback. Those few paperbacks could become collector's items in the future--you never know!
Posted by Beth Groundwater at 2:09 PM
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Oh, I'm sorry to hear that. I'm glad they're doing right by you.
Nicely said. And I will defend Virtual Tales to my last breath. It feels as if a family has fallen apart.
Amen to Virtual Tales treating their authors right. My manuscript never made it to the format stage, but I enjoyed working with everyone associated with the company.
Ours is a small community, and the fact the high road was taken will hold them in good stead.
Still, it is sad.
It's refreshing to read of a publisher going under and not taking the author's rights with them. They seem to be a class act all round. What a shame such an ethical company went under.
Hopefully, Virtual Tales's ethical reputation will follow Dave and Sheri and the other principle players and open new, better doors for them.
My sympathies to everyone involved. I do believe good things happen to good people even though it may take a while
What a graceful way to exit this difficult business! I'm so sorry for everyone involved and appreciate how they are handling this.
Sorry to hear this, Beth. Virtual Tales sounds like a real professional shop, and we need the small SF publishers--the genre is really shrinking.
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