Thursday, August 11, 2011

Cobblestone Updates

I’m Sensing a Pattern

In the world of e-commerce, there’s one tool that must be at your disposal: email.

Communications have been sketchy, at best between Cobblestone and its authors, and far more than email has been slow to come out of the publishing house. Recently, another author and I have taken the discussion public because of our extreme frustration with the business practices and lack of response from this e-publisher.

Now some are suggesting we should feel bad because one of the owners has claimed to be hit by a computer virus. I have no problem admitting when I’m wrong, really I don’t. But don’t you think that a pattern can sometimes indicate a deeper problem? This is at least the third documented extended email outage in the last six months.

Let’s think about this in terms of good business practices.

Let’s say you and a partner own a company, and 100% of your business is conducted through e-commerce. Email is the primary way your customers, your suppliers, and your secondary distribution outlets communicate with your company.

In my little scenario here, let’s further imagine one of the partners believes she may have a computer virus. Quick…what would you do?

A. Buy a cheap lap top and access my online storage files, then download the information I need from the secondary distributors. Business continues as usual after a day.

B. Partner Number 2 would take over the business communication until I was able to resume my usual duties.

C. Ignore my business obligations, and assume everyone will understand because it’s not my fault I have a computer virus.

Right, now, times up. How many of you picked answer C? That’s what I thought.

How many of you pay your bills online? Have a mortgage? An electric bill? Credit card bills? How long would any of your creditors allow you to skip payments because you have a computer virus?

Let’s be clear, I am not unsympathetic to anyone who picks up a virus, however, that cannot be an excuse to ignore your business obligations. A professionally run business has on obligation to develop and implement contingency plans in the case of natural or man-made disasters.

Having said all that…writers- run, don’t walk to back up your files to an external source. We can all learn from this experience.

Late Update

I just received an email from Cobblestone, indicating an agreement with my request that our contract be dissolved. It was very polite and professional, which I appreciate. I will update you as the status changes.. . ie, the books are removed from distribution, I'm paid the royalties for books sold, and a letter indicating that the rights have been returned is received.

New again, before I even hit post:  Rescued and Whiteout are no longer available on the publisher's website or at All Romance eBooks. 


  1. Glad to see you got some response from Cobblestone and your books are being returned. I hope they are responsive to other authors, too. Good for you not taking their bad behavior. Best of luck selling your books.

  2. Glad to see the progress. Sad that Cobblestone is resorting to excesses. I would have never picked C

  3. Hmm, funny that it took you and other authors going public with your complaints about their shoddy business practices for them to fix that pesky 'virus problem'. Good for you!

  4. Glad to see something coming from that Laura!


  5. Strange, I did not receive that email on either of the two email addresses that Deanna Lee has. And I don't have a virus on either of my computers.

  6. Hmmm....Mercy...maybe it would be a good idea for DS to link your blog on his FB page....

  7. I'd like to know how you managed to get your book rights reverted to you so quickly. I have a friend who's been trying - sent something in via Registeed/Return Receipt (which was signed for) months ago, with no response. She feels understandably frustrated.

  8. to anonymous unfortunately Laura had to come forward publicly to get them to take action. It is a shame to say this but the squeaky wheel gets the grease just to shut it up.