Friday, August 12, 2011

Happy Anniversary? Harner and Cobblestone Part Ways

A year ago, my first book, Whiteout, was published by Cobblestone Press. An hour ago I received my legal release from my contract. I spent the last few minutes removing all the cover art for those two books from my blog and Facebook pages, and contemplating if this was actually the end of this ugly chapter.

Unfortunately, it is not. I admit that I’m tempted to grab my rights and run, get working on editing and designing two new covers. That part is pretty exciting for me, and I am already pouring though Dan Skinner’s galleries, imagination running wild.

Before I can completely move on, there is still the lingering matter that I haven’t been paid for the books that have been sold. I have an email promise to pay me the missing $87.33 for the months of February through May, and statements that show the only place my books were sold was the Cobblestone Press website. On July 18, I did receive a much larger check that included sales on the All Romance eBooks site for the first quarter only. My books were not on the ARe site for the whole quarter, so I know I’d like to see the statement and the check from the second quarter and the first six weeks of the third quarter. I would also like to receive the royalties from the Fictionwise sales for those same periods.

And damn it, it’s not all about me…every Cobblestone author deserves to be treated with respect, receive timely communication from their publisher, and above all, be paid for the books they sell.

So, I will not go quietly grateful with my books clutched to my chest, and willing to leave my money behind. Cobblestone Press needs to make this right and pay all their authors the money that’s owed.

For those following this saga on my blog and on other sites listed below, you know a big area of contention is the lag or lack of putting the books up for sale at retailers, other than the publisher’s website. The Cobblestone Press website submissions FAQ section for authors considering publishing with them has the following information:

Q. Do you distribute your books to vendors?

A. Yes, we currently have contracts for distribution with Fictionwise, Barnes & Noble, All Romance eBooks, and Amazon Kindle.

Q. Why should I publish at Cobblestone Press?

A. We’re dedicated to producing quality. Everything about Cobblestone is designed to create a positive, creative, and attractive experience for both authors and readers. Our contracts are pro-author and demonstrate our dedication to the success of our authors while they are with us and beyond.

After all was said and done today regarding the agreement to return the book rights and pay me the money for the missing checks, one of the owners felt the need to make one last comment. Other than the legal notice, which was signed by an agent of the company, this is the final line of communication I received from Deanna Lee, one of the owners of Cobblestone-Press. I have copied the entire line, including her embedded signature.

Additionally, absolutely no where in our contract does it state when, where, or IF we will distribute books to other venues.
 All the best,
Deanna Lee, Publisher & Editor-In-Chief
Cobblestone Press, LLC

The emphasis is hers- I did not edit the word ‘IF’ for dramatic effect, she did. She is absolutely correct, I read through my entire contract and nowhere does it say they would sell it at any other retailer. 

Consider that statement and tell me why any author would sign a contract with Cobblestone Press ever again?


  1. Very eloquently and professionally stated Laura- I wish all CP authors the best
    Dawne P

  2. Ditto here too! UNREAL. Things like this is why authors run to self pub. However, there are great pubs out there and CP unfortunately is one that cannot be trusted. Very sad


    and my final word.


  4. Thanks friends. Honestly, that last line is really causing me problems. I doubt I would have done much more than write a quick paragraph, had that been left off. I'm glad to see her true colors revealed for everyone, though.

  5. Absolutely Laura - you are the one who has been totally professional here and I can't believe that this publisher thinks they can treat people this way.


  6. Checking in - have you been fully paid now? I received my payment from CP today for July (or is it June?)

  7. So sorry to hear about this. As you know the authors of Aspen Mountain Press are currently in limbo awaiting a response of any kind. Royalties are not being paid and out of contract books remain and have been for sale for many months despite repeated pleas for them to be taken down. The only honourable thing writers can do is to speak out as a group against such practices so that reputable companies can survive.