Friday, August 23, 2013

Noble Romance Publishing closes...& I get 2 series/3 books back!

A few days ago, Noble Romance Publishing authors received an email stating the house was closing, and that rights for all stories by every author will be reverting to them automatically; books to be removed from sales outlet between now and October, tops. Authors who wished for an official Return of Rights letter simply had to request one, and it would be delivered.

I received my Return of Rights letter yesterday morning, on the following titles:

Walking The Edge (Corpus Brides #1)
Before The Morning (Corpus Brides #2)
Calling Home (A Destiny's Child Book)

These books are back to being unpublished manuscripts on my hard drive, and will be going out on submission again shortly.

It all sounds so simple and breezy, innit? Sadly, it was not the case....

I signed with Noble Romance Publishing back in February 2011. The previous year, I had thrown off the mantles of my pen names and decided to publish under my real name, with the kind of wholesome-plot stories I loved and not the drivel I had been encouraged to write previously. Let's keep things short - today I have no clue why I went with Noble... They looked like a solid house, and I suppose I still didn't trust myself enough back then to reach for 'higher'. I thought Noble would be a good place to be at. I mean, hey, they paid advances, so the place had to be solid to be able to afford that, right?
Little did I know... The writing was going up on the wall even back then, but all this happened behind the scenes.

Still, I went on with them, not hearing any of the ramblings behind the scenes, and the minor glitches I faced along the way really looked like human error that could be forgiven. Over the course of the next 15 months, I signed 2 more contracts and had 2 more books released with them, on top of that first one that gave me in in there. I was getting ready to write the following books in each series I had with them...when the sky fell on our heads.

July 2012, Jill Noble, whom we (and I mean everyone, from authors to readers) thought to be the owner of Noble Romance, waltzed out without looking back. Can anyone hit the panic button quick enough? Authors started hyperventilating, and then we were told the company was bringing in a new CEO, someone whose expertise was in rebuilding companies on the brink of collapse.
Sadly, that person, Mr Jean Gombart, turned out to have no experience whatsoever with the world of publishing, and proved himself to be a corporate shark of the most ruthless kind. While I have 'only' had emails ignored, my fellow author friends have not been so 'lucky' - the new CEO had set out to "teach authors how to behave".

Emails ignored, certified letters ignored, communication channels closed, contract breaches galore...then royalty statements stopped coming. Royalty payments also trickled or altogether stopped. Some authors even had monies paid to later be told those 'monies' had been errors and these sums would be held from their next paycheck. Third party sites could prove that they had paid royalties to the company, and these royalties never made it to the authors.

All this is only the tip of the iceberg; I will let my fellow authors come out and tell you, each in his/her own words, what their ordeal with Noble Romance has been. Mine have been contract breaches and ignoring all communication coming from my end. Needless to say, this was enough for me to want my rights back, for my association with Noble Romance terminated. Sadly, Mr Gombart and the head honchos at NRP didn't seem like they'd ever cut anyone loose, so I resigned myself to wait out the rest of my contract before I could legitimately pull out. I'm from Mauritius, and not only can't I afford to attempt something legally against NRP in the US, I have just enough money to make life a tad easier for my family (after our early days of existing the second half of the month only on a diet of potatoes, this kind of financial liberty is not something I'll give up, esp not when I can pull my patience in and wait for another few years).

Thank goodness I didn't have to wait, and now my books are mine again. All 3 of them were close to my heart.
Calling Home, I started while on the hospital bed following surgery after my second bout with breast cancer; I wrote much of that book on my phone while waiting for daily radiotherapy treatments at the hospital. I had always loved stories with children at the heart of the romance, and Destiny's Child would've spelled that from my brand.
The Corpus Brides series is what trailblazed me into the world of mainstream writing. I had found an angle (edgy heroine-centric espionage from a dangerous clandestine agency, all with a splash of hot romance) and was determined to pursue that. To this day (and yes, you might say I didn't have so many stories out, lol), the Corpus Brides series is the one that garners most of my fan feedback and mail. My readers love this story, and clamours were going up as to when Book 3, and the last in the series, rounding up the intrigue set out in the first 2 books, would be coming out.

Well now I cannot say when these books will be coming out again, but I can assure everyone that I will be writing Book3 of the Corpus Brides series, Let Mercy Come, asap! With NRP being in such a precarious position, it didn't make sense for me to write that story and invest my time and energy in there only to have to hand it to an unprofessional publisher.

Look forward to the re-release of both these series, peeps! I, for one, am definitely looking toward the future. Onwards & upwards!

From Mauritius with love,



Raven McAllan said...

I've got one back, and I'm waiting for the other one... then I think they'll both need a good 'looking at'.
Like you I didn't know what was going on...

Anna_esq said...

Congratulations on getting your rights back, Zee!

Anonymous said...

I'm still waiting on confirmation for mine.

Rebecca Royce said...

Years ago when I told you I liked them, I did not know what was about to happen or I would have told you to RUN. So sorry you ended up in this mess.