Authors Who Reverted Between Sep 2014-Sep 2015
Based on screen scrapes taken of Ellora’s Cave author page on September 24, 2014 and September 29th, 2015. So, it’s as accurate as that data is.
Boldfaced means the author has been an author of either a NY Times or USA Today bestseller.
Note that some unknown percentage of these had titles that were below the threshold for reversion, and the remainder were likely rights that were bought back.
Ellora’s Cave’s Unreverted Bestselling Authors
With the notable exception of Laurann Dohner, the New York Times and USA Today bestsellers I could find from these authors were all published by other houses. Because Ellora’s Cave is a digital first publisher, the “Most Recent EC Title” column means: the most recent unreverted Ellora’s Cave ebook release date.
Also, even though an author still has titles at Ellora’s Cave doesn’t mean some of their titles haven’t reverted.
|Name (made list as)||Most Recent EC Title|
|Abigaile Barnette (as Jennifer Armintrout)||Jan 2013|
|Amanda Ashley||Dec 2014|
|Cheyenne McCray||Jul 2007|
|Dakota Cassidy||Aug 2011|
|Delilah Devlin||Sep 2011|
|Jaci Burton||May 2009|
|Jaid Black||Oct 2015|
|Jan Springer||Feb 2014|
|Joanna Wylde||Jan 2013|
|Joey W. Hill||Aug 2014|
|Jory Strong||Dec 2013|
|Koko Brown||Feb 2013|
|Laurann Dohner||Oct 2015|
|Lora Leigh||May 2014|
|Madeline Baker||Aug 2014|
|Mari Carr||Nov 2012|
|Marie Harte||Jul 2011|
|Roberta Gellis||June 2012|
|Sabrina York||Jul 2014|
|Shiloh Walker (as J.C. Daniels)||Apr 2014|
|Tawny Taylor||Apr 2011|
Update March 19, 2016: More Reversions
- Amanda Ashley’s titles have completely reverted.
- Joey W. Hill is down to a couple of discount print titles; all her e-titles have reverted.
- Laurann Dohner later announced that she would be self-publishing future titles.
- Lora Leigh has had all books reverted except for stories she has in anthologies.
- Madeline Baker is down to a few discount print titles; all her e-titles have reverted.
- Shiloh Walker wrote a blog post. Apart from one discount print title and several cavemen anthologies, her titles have reverted to her.
Six major changes out of their 21 remaining NYT/USAT bestselling authors in five months.
Bestselling Authors Who Reverted Their Ellora’s Cave Titles Prior to Sep 2014
There may be a much longer list here, but I don’t know all the early Ellora’s Cave authors.
Author Counts Over Time
I’ve scraped the Ellora’s Cave site a few times, and have used all of archive.org’s available scrapes as well. I have a reason for posting this, but after the graph, I’ll post a timeline, then wrap it up so you can see why I think this is significant.
Here are some dates to keep in mind when looking at this chart:
- Ellora’s Cave layoffs announced August 18, 2014 (report on AW), published in Dear Author the following day and Publishers Weekly a week later.
- The Curious Case of Ellora’s Cave, published Sep 14, 2014.
- Lynne Connolly also spoke up on Sep 14:
No, I can’t have my rights back on those two. If I don’t cooperate with the editing, Ellora’s Cave will exercise its contractual right to edit and publish the books anyway. If those books do come out, I will make a statement to say I had nothing to do with the editing and the books are released without my cooperation. After that, it’s up to the reader to decide.
By “editing,” they mean “light editing.” The editors are not even allowed to alter spelling mistakes, because that would be changing the “author’s voice.”
- Cat Grant says Ellora’s Cave would allow her to buy out her contract on Sep 20, 2014.
Rights buybacks are disgraceful. Failing or not, a publisher should either revert rights or not revert them—but it shouldn’t hold authors’ books for ransom, even if the motive isn’t to make a quick buck before the ship goes down.
- Lawsuit against Dear Author and Jane Litte over the Curious post was filed September 26, 2014.
- The following day, Cate Cameron asks for a guide to requesting rights reversion. The day after that, I linked to one I’d found.
- News of the lawsuit hit Publishers Weekly on September 29th.
- On October 1, Victoria Strauss posted a reversion guide on Writer Beware and posted a link to that on the Absolute Write EC thread.
Ellora’s Cave’s Claims re: Reversions
In the first eight and a half (8 1/2) months of 2014, prior to Lampe’s bankruptcy scare, Ellora’s Cave had a total of 154 books go out of print for various reasons—mostly sales below threshold for rights reversions. In the twelve days between Lampe’s defamatory blog and the filing of this action, Ellora’s Cave had requests for reversions of 404 titles, an astronomical increase. Since Lampe’s defamatory blog, Ellora’s Cave has reverted over 1250 more titles and still has requests that it is working on. In the one year since the defamatory post, Plaintiff has had almost double the number of rights reversions than it has had in its entire 14-year history.
So here’s the thing. The standard reversion language is given by example here on p.44, and you’ll note it takes (up to) six months for the process to complete.
In other words, if people had asked for reversions solely and only because of the Dear Author article, then those reversions would have occurred between September 14th, 2014 and March 26th, 2015.
If you look at the total number of authors EC had as of March 21st (5 days before the end of that window), they had the exact same number of authors (though not necessarily the exact same authors) as they’d had after Jane Litte’s Curious article.
In other words, the overwhelming majority of authors leaving Ellora’s Cave entirely appear to have done so so after the effects of Ellora’s Cave filing a lawsuit, not after Jane Litte’s article published by Dear Author and before the lawsuit.
Also (note that I’m talking about net additions here):
- In the 14-1/2 months leading up to July 28, 2014, Ellora’s Cave added exactly 100 authors…an average of 6.8 per month (1.6 per week).
In the two months between July 28, 2014 and September 24, 2014, EC added two new authors…an average of 1 per month.
In the six months between September 24, 2014 and March 21, 2014, EC added zero new authors…an average of 0 per month.
In the following six months, EC had a net loss of 125 authors (142 left, partially offset by 17 new authors). That’s an average of 21 leaving per month and 3 added per month.
In the last three weeks, EC’s added five new authors.
And Now I Quote from Patty Marks
From her August 18th letter announcing the layoffs (emphasis added):
We have already cut staff, special EC projects and other expenses, but the drastic drop in sales has resulted in large net short-term variable production losses and slow and often negative return on investment for EC on almost every new book we publish, with the exception of a handful of the highest sellers.
I believe this translates as: “We lost a lot of money by adding 100 more authors so quickly, especially once sales also dropped.”
If I’ve missed any author links or have any incorrect links, please let me know.
I do have the data to do more in-depth analyses of the authors who left over time, but the old site used Lastname Firstname and the new site uses Firstname Lastname, and I have zero spoons for that. If anyone would like the raw data, please let me know.