On Smart Bitches, they posted about this article in Publisher’s Weekly. Apparently Genesis Books, the largest privately owned publisher of African American books has been screwing over its authors, not paying royalties or issuing 1099s for a while because writers were afraid to speak out. The owner is a powerful attorney with friends who are judges in the state of Mississippi, as I understand it. Well, the first thing I have to say is: this sucks.
I had a similar experience with an e-publisher. The company started out with rave reviews, won a bunch of awards for being the best for e-pubbed authors, so I sold two books to them and basically never got paid. That company was NBI and a lot of people were screwed along with me, some to the tune of thousands of dollars. I lost over 1K myself. So it always sucks when a writer enters into a publishing contract in good faith and then gets fucked over. We turn in our best work and get shit back? I don’t think so, not in this lifetime. Unfortunately, if the company is big and powerful, like Genesis, they may have a big expensive legal team on the payroll, and the authors just can’t afford to compete. In the case of NBI, the scamming CEO moved to Florida, disappeared with any money that was made and hasn’t been punished so far as I’m aware.
Among the posts on SB, it was stated that white people won’t care that black authors are getting screwed over. I find I don’t like being told what I care about, and it’s just wrong for authors to be cheated out of what they’ve earned. I don’t care who does it, a slick attorney in Mississippi or a middle-aged “I want to be your best friend” woman in Massachusetts.
I care, okay? It’s not fine with me if authors are mistreated by their publishers. We need to put the pressure on Genesis until they get their business sorted out and these authors get the royalties, statements and 1099s that they’re owed. Until then, put Genesis on your DO NOT SUBMIT list because they aren’t desirable for authors. They’re going to have to earn back the trust they’ve broken with some serious bookkeeping and maybe some community service besides.