Sunday, December 15, 2019

A Statement From Diverse Reader In Regard To Dreamspinner Press





I want to start this out by saying I hate having to write this at all. I despise this decision had to be made and I’m heartbroken by this entire situation.  As of January 2020, Diverse Reader is dissolving our relationship with Dreamspinner Press and their other publications: Harmony Ink Press and DSP Publications. We will not be reviewing, advertising, or promoting any books by this publisher. 

Through the many years I’ve run this blog I’ve made incredible friends, read outstanding books, interviewed hundreds of authors, I could go on and on. Dreamspinner Press was a publisher that was a beacon for the LGBTQA+ community and it was an honor to review and promote for them. But, 2019 was a very hard year and I watched as they spiraled. It broke my heart to see it happen, but I held on to hope they’d find their footing and make it okay. That’s the main reason it took so long to come to this decision. I wanted to believe in them.

I spent a lot of time talking with Dreamspinner authors and artists, both who were sticking it out and those who had left. I heard everyone and as I sat and beat my brain over everything, it was coming face to face with the authors and artists out thousands upon thousands of dollars that broke me.
It’s no secret I’m very vocal about things I’m passionate about. I’ve never faltered in my beliefs, and I’ve ALWAYS wanted to see people in this community thrive. I’ve never been in competition with anyone, I want us all to win, but sadly there were no winners here.

In the end it was tearing a piece of me away with every book we promoted knowing authors weren’t getting this money instead it was feeding something that, in my opinion, had become toxic. When you see an author cry because they don’t know what they’re going to do now and then you go and promote a Dreamspinner book you feel shitty. 

I’ve spoken to my reviewers as well, other blog owners, readers, you name it. This wasn’t a decision I came to lightly. I hoped beyond hope for a Christmas miracle, but this isn’t a fictional story, this is real. If things change and Dreamspinner Press makes things right for their authors, artists, and others not getting paid, I will reassess. 

We will keep our 2019 schedule and finish promoting and reviewing books we’ve already agreed to do up until December 31, 2019. 

I am sorry for those hurting. I’m sorry for those hurt by this statement. I’m sorry I even had to write it at all because this is something that never should have come to pass. 

Be kind to each other.

6 comments:

  1. If it's okay with you, I'll add the same comment I made a few hours ago on another blog who had come to the same difficult decision. My sentiment for your wonderful blog is the same.

    Thank you for the ongoing and tremendous support you’ve shown to all authors. I am among the Dreamspinner authors who, after many years with them, made the decision to request the rights back for all my books. It was difficult and heartbreaking. I’m sorry it has come to this.

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  2. I'm so sorry it's come to this. I also am a former Dreamspinner author, and this was the last company I expected to do anything like this. Although I stopped submitting to them a few years ago, I'd had every intention of keeping the novels and novellas published by Dreamspinner with them. The fear of my books getting lost in legal land if Dreamspinner declared bankruptcy was the reasoning behind my request for the reversion of my rights. This still breaks my heart.

    Thank you so much for taking this stand.

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  3. Sadly, encouraging people to not buy from DSP has only driven in the nail. It would have been nice to see a "let's save DSP" (which maybe would have meant the authors would have gotten paid) instead of people insisting on tearing it down. (to note--I'm not a DSP author)I can understand authors who publish/published with them making comments, but I never did understand why authors who don't got so involved.

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    1. Yeah, lots of us continued to buy books hoping for the best. They still didn't pay and, as time went on, more and more came to light. If it was just a money problem, that would be one thing. But, an ongoing history of being [at the least] misleading, blaming others, and continuing to make bad monetary decisions over the course of years [even after the problems became public]? There are good faith mistakes, and then there's what has happened here. If Ii worked and my boss didn't pay me $10k... Or $30k... I'd be homeless. I can only speak for myself, but I can't excuse the ongoing bad faith any longer. As to why authors who aren't with DSP and readers get involved in the discussions? Because we care about the people in this community, because we may know some of the people involved, because we are decent human beings who have values around fair and honest treatment in business dealings, because it's hard to watch the destruction of people's livelihood and just shrug [especially when you feel a kinship to the person, by virtue of being in the same work or appreciating their work]. How can people NOT say something??

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    2. Sorry but I absolutely disagree Sadie J. There is no one to blame for this situation than Dreamspinner Press themselves.
      They still haven't explained what actually happened to author royalties which should have been in escrow and kept separate.
      Their hubris and utterly blinkered attitude towards their own actions, and the fact they're trying to blame the situation in authors and readers, is just one factor in wht I made my decision to stop working directly with them.
      I find it an absolutely heartbreaking situation, but until they own up to their responsibilities, it's not going to change.
      The amounts of money some authors are owed is staggering.
      No one wants them to fail. I speak personally as both a reader and a blogger.
      They've been an amazing part of the community for many years, but that doesn't give them an immunity shield when they do things which then hurt the community.
      This situation should never have reached the stage it has. If they had owned up ag the beginning to their cash flow issues and that fact they'd "borrowed" author royalties to fund their expansion ideas, then j suspect a lot more people would have been willing to help them ride it out.
      But the fact they're now using present sales to pay off owed royalties to authors for almost 12 months is a sign, imho, that things aren't getting any better.
      This has been going on for at least 12 months. There were mutterings about issues before tg as well.
      It's not popped up out of nowhere with people pulling support.
      I made my decision to stop working directly with them a few months ago and it was an incredibly difficult one to make.
      No one has been "tearing" them down but it's past time for people to make their own decisions on how to deal with them.

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