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The · Plasteel · Spider · Factory


What I'll say as a former Norilana Books author and editor

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UPDATE: Within an hour after this post went up, Vera sent a message to her writers that she's cancelling the fundraiser.

I have no appetite for taking sides in this debate. I like Vera Nazarian as a person, I feel much sympathy for her because of the hardships she has endured. I also have no argument with any of the numerous valid criticisms of her terrible business decisions.

I'm listed on the Indiegogo fundraiser as one of the authors she owes. I'm sure this is technically true, though I have no idea how much I might be owed — though based on royalty payments I received from Vera before 2010, I don't expect that the amount is large. She does owe me about $100 for my short story in her anthology Sky Whales and Other Wonders — none of the contributors to that book were paid, except perhaps Tanith Lee, whose story was secured much earlier than the others. (She did pay all the contributors to the first three Clockwork Phoenix books; I don't want to raise any doubts about that.)

However, when Vera reverted my books back to me, I told her that I absolve her of her debts to me. Not because I didn't want the money, but because I do not believe she will ever be in a position financially to pay me back. I've told her this too, more than once. Her response has always been that she will pay me what she owes me come hell or high water. I appreciate the sentiment, but don't believe it will come to pass. I have moved on.

If any of the Norilana authors are pressing her to conduct this fundraiser, I am not one of them. I do recognize that I am lucky in that, despite some scares of my own, Norilana's bad turn has ultimately for me ended up amounting to an unpleasant inconvenience. Others have been much more seriously hurt.

The current situation didn't arise out of any sort of hustle or dupe. This isn't a new thing; it wasn't a secret. So why would it go on for so long? Just imagine the phrase, "I'm sorry that I can't pay right now, but I will as soon as I can!" repeated, sincerely (and I do believe the intent has always been sincere...) for many years, the situation gradually building to the current explosion. Having been burned before by publishers well-meaning and not, I was perhaps more skeptical about the eventual outcome than some of the other authors.

I must say though that once I made up my mind, Vera handed over the electronic rights to the Clockwork Phoenix books to me in 2011, the print rights to Clockwork Phoenix and The Journey to Kailash in 2012, without a fuss. The contributors have been receiving royalty payments since I took over. They and I have both earned considerably more than we did when the books were with Norilana, thanks to ebook sales, which Norilana never ventured into.

I've seen a fair amount of rather silly second guessing about what the authors' motives are or were. I'm not trying to make any sort of grand point here. Just explaining the view from my corner.

 
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