The Cone of Silence Is Lifted

Today, I received my reversion of rights for my historicals Scandal and Indiscreet. I haven’t been able to talk about the situation with these books for over a year. I could only apologize to everyone who couldn’t get the books. And now I can tell you what happened and why I had to wait until today to talk about it.

I signed a two book contract with Berkley in 2007. Scandal and Indiscreet were published in 2009. Berkley only had North American rights to those books. From 2007 to about 2011, that didn’t really matter. There wasn’t anything I could do about that.

Then indie/self-publishing came along and it did matter. In 2012, I finally realized (doh!!) that I could publish all four of my Berkley Historicals wherever I had rights — everywhere except the US and Canada. I also realized, after I’d put out my versions, that Berkley had Scandal and Indiscreet on sale where they did not have rights.

And so my agent and I asked Berkley to stop selling the books where they did not have rights. And Berkley eventually complied.

By taking their books off sale EVERYWHERE at EVERY VENDOR. Including the US and Canada.

Soon after, a disappointed reader alerted me that there was no Kindle version on Amazon. So yeah. Between then and February 2013, my agent sent three different written requests to Berkley alerting them to their mistake and asking them to put the books back on sale. That’s in addition to phone calls.

After the third notification with no response, I told my agent that we should stop trying to get Berkley to sell the books again. The next royalty statement would show 0 books sold, and we could request reversions.

And so…there began a rather tense time. I was losing money while the books were not on sale in North America. But indeed, the next royalty statement showed 0 eBook sales for those titles, and with print sales being more or less dismal, we requested reversions. And we waited some more…. I was worried that when they saw the royalty statement with 0 sales, someone might think that was odd and take a look.

But, as it turns out, no worries! No one looked because today, the reversion letter arrived. More than a year from the time the books were mistakenly taken off sale.

Now they are mine, and I can get them on sale EVERYWHERE!!!

To all the people who have been asking me, this is what happened and why, and I’m sorry you could not buy the books, but SOON you can.

Files are actually already populating out, but it will take a bit before I have links to give you all. I don’t even have to do DMCA take downs, because there are no files to take down. That’s pretty convenient!

It’s a shame that no one at Berkley followed up on their mistake. It doesn’t say much about their internal organization and any checks and balances. If it’s just the case that no one cared because my sales were never good enough to make them care, then it’s a bigger shame that I had to wait more than a year to get my rights back. Nobody was making any money on those books during that year and a few months.

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8 Responses to “The Cone of Silence Is Lifted”

  1. K8theCurst says:

    Hooray!! Huzzah!! And other exclamations of glee!

    This is such fantastic news, Carolyn. Congratulations! Let’s pop the cork and partaaaaaay!

  2. ki pha says:

    It has been a long a painful journey but I’m glad everything is settled and that you got your rights back. I’m really looking forward to your comeback!!! <3

  3. Donna says:

    No matter which way you take this, Berkley comes off looking terrible. Either they’re incompetent and screwed up not once but twice, or they did it all (illegally and) on purpose. Neither is very confidence inspiring.

    I’m glad you have your books back.

  4. Mia West says:

    Congratulations! I downloaded a sample of SCANDAL in 2012, and then, of course, the full book disappeared from vendors. Very excited to be able to read it soon.

  5. Sad that a publisher can hold you back so long. This is great that we all can now enjoy your work!