(P.S. There is a happy ending. . . )
So. The afternoon of May 2 I get this email from Dorchester Publishing:
With the return of your signed reversion letter, we contacted the online vendors we distribute through, instructing them to suppress/remove the following title(s):
If any of these title(s) were in e-book format, they will be suppressed by the vendor directly. All vendors have their own timetable for removing titles once receiving notice to do so; for example, Sony usually takes a few days, while Amazon has unfortunately proven to take a few weeks. Please note, the electronic rights to the above titles will legally revert to you at the end of this month. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.
I immediately emailed back and reminded the sender that my rights reverted in August 2010 and that in any event Dorchester never produced an ebook of those titles. I noted that I had self-published both those titles under new ISBNS and asked that they contact the vendors right away and tell them the request was an error.
That night, about 10pm I got an email from a reader who asked if I had Lord Ruin or The Spare available for Kindle.
I said, sure! But then I went and checked and yeah. The books were gone.
To me, this is really, really coincidental.
I emailed Dorchester, told them my Amazon eBooks had disappeared from sale and asked that they address the issue immediately. I also emailed Amazon and asked that the books be restored to sale.
By morning, Dorchester had emailed me saying they would look into it right away. I contacted Amazon two more times and got two flavors of sorry, we can’t help you that’s another department and they don’t have any phones, here’s an email address for you. The second person said she had to fill out a form and took A LOT of information from me. But I still had no assurance that anyone at Amazon cared or was going to do anything.
I called the NY State Attorney General who told me, quite reasonably, that they only handle consumer fraud (and an author is not in a consumer relationship to a publisher.) So that was a no-go.
I emailed my US Senator (Diane Feinstein) to complain about the lack of due process in IP claims. I’ve been meaning to do that anyway.
I emailed my agent, of course, and cc’d her on some of the emails.
I called RWA who asked for a written statement and documentation (which I will pull together tonight) as they are looking into legal options.
I didn’t call the Author’s Guild because they ignored me the first time around and I, very seriously, think they don’t think much of Romance/genre authors. That’s probably an unfair assumption but it’s based on the fact for all the years I’ve been a member, I have never ever ever seen them interview or seek input from a Romance author. Other genre authors have been. I’ll probably email them so I can be ignored again for my $90 yearly dues.
Later, I asked Dorchester to confirm that they had contacted Amazon and a bit later heard that they had.
Then a little later Dorchester emailed to say they’d spoken to their Amazon rep and that he had discovered there was a “technical glitch” and that my files would be restored today.
I just got this email from Amazon:
I checked and assure you that your books “Lord Ruin (sexy Regency Historical Romance)” and “The Spare (Sexy Regency Historical Romance),” have not been unpublished per Dorchester’s request.
It appears to be a technical issue, I’ve now reported the issue to our Technical team and will get back to you with an update in 2-3 days.
Thanks for using Amazon KDP.
I have two main observations:
1. Chris Keeslar at Dorchester took this issue seriously and really did take action.
2. None of my non-Dorchester titles were affected by this “technical issue.”
Lastly, the good news is that as of 5:44 PM Pacific, Lord Ruin and The Spare are back in the Kindle store. I’m hoping they stay there, as do all the other versions at other vendors.