Thursday, March 31, 2011

Special Letter from HWA

Dear HWA Member:

The National Board of the Horror Writers Association previously voted unanimously to remove Dorchester Publishing and its Leisure imprint from our list of Approved Publishers, primarily because the company no longer meets two of our key criteria:

1. The initial print run by the publisher for a book-length work of fiction or nonfiction must be at least five hundred copies and must be widely available in brick-and-mortar stores (not "special order" titles). In other words, print-on-demand publishers and Internet-only publishers do not qualify.

2. The publisher must not wrongfully withhold or delay royalty payments to authors. We have been hearing an unusually high number of reports from our members of unpaid advances and withheld royalties on their Dorchester books. We have also heard reports that electronic versions have been published in breach of members' copyright.

New Dorchester titles are not eligible for Bram Stoker Award consideration nor will its authors be eligible for Active Status membership for any books published after January 1, 2011. It has been made clear to Dorchester that it is welcome to reapply for Associate membership status only if all these problems have been rectified.

The HWA president has written an open letter to Dorchester, which appears below. This e-bulletin has been authorized by HWA's National Board of Directors.

Open Letter to Dorchester Publishing:

To the Attention of Robert Anthony, President, Dorchester Publishing

Dear Mr. Anthony,

This is an Open Letter on behalf of the Horror Writers Association.

We have been made aware of numerous claims by our members and other authors that reflect poorly upon Dorchester’s business practices. This is particularly the case with the Leisure imprint.

On behalf of our members, I write to remind you that Dorchester/Leisure has been removed from our Approved Publisher List. New Dorchester/Leisure authors cannot use their relationship with your organization as status credits for our Membership categories; nor are your titles published after January 1, 2011, eligible for Bram Stoker Award consideration.

We request that you pay all HWA members who are owed royalties by Leisure/Dorchester no later than April 30, 2011. We also request an immediate assurance that Dorchester will fulfill all your contractual obligations to all HWA members published prior to March 31, 2011; that you provide a full and accurate accounting of royalties due as per your contracts with each HWA member; and that you will pay all future royalties in full and on time.

We also request Dorchester audit your catalog and that of your Associates to determine that no fiction is offered for sale in electronic format in breach of authors’ copyright or other rights, and that Dorchester compensate HWA members for any electronic copies of their work that have already been sold in breach of their rights, no later than April 30, 2011.

We request that Dorchester provide immediate active assistance to all HWA members wishing to revert rights where that reversion is consistent with Dorchester’s existing policies and/or contractual obligations.

Leisure/Dorchester should also cease and desist from publishing any material written by HWA members where that member has requested Leisure to do so within your mutual contractual obligations, and in any format—printed or electronic.

Should Dorchester complete these requests and show ongoing good faith toward all authors, including HWA members, HWA will reconsider Dorchester’s status.

Rocky Wood
President HWA (in accordance with Resolution of the HWA Board)

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