I’ve been mostly offline for the last couple of weeks, so I’m late with this news. Romance book blogger Jane Litte and her group blog Dear Author have been sued by erotic romance publisher Ellora’s Cave for reporting on the problems experienced by some of EC’s authors. Those problems include allegations by a number of authors of late or non-existent royalties payments, and books being put out with little or no editing.
There is now a defence fund, as this is going to be an expensive suit to fight. I’ve donated, because I believe that Dear Author should be able to report legitimate concerns about a publisher’s behaviour without fear. There’s more information about the fund at Dear Author’s post. As some people in comments have been concerned about their legal name being exposed by the donation process, I can report that the GoFundMe site asks for your name twice, the first time being the name to use on the public acknowledgement, and the second time defaulting to using the same name but allowing it to be changed to the name on your credit card. There’s also an option to be anonymous on the public acknowledgement.
It’s been mentioned in the comment threads at Dear Author (and in the coverage at the Absolute Write Water Cooler, which is where I first saw the news) that a few authors have been publicly gloating about the lawsuit. The authors in question have had poor reviews, and as a result think that the Dear Author blog deserves everything it gets by way of punishment. They’re being very short-sighted. It may give them a warm happy glow now to see their supposed nemesis punished, but the chilling effect of this suit is going to have major repercussions for authors if bloggers decide it’s safer not to report on publishers’ misdeeds. That includes the self-publishing platforms — some of those have done some very naughty things that I’d rather know about when I’m deciding where to publish.
No, I’m not just saying this because Dear Author was nice to me. The only review I’ve ever had from Dear Author was a D, and I think it did hurt my sales. I’m saying this because I think that Dear Author’s reporting is good for authors in general, and I resent someone trying to make them shut up.