After filing a justice court suit against Damnation Books on November 15, 2012 for multiple counts of breach of contract, I won a small financial judgment against the publisher on April 26, 2013. The judge, however, did not feel it was within his power to rescind the disputed contracts despite finding in my favor, referring me instead to a higher court. (My previous post on the subject can be found here.)
However, as of my Q1 2013 royalties, I have met and well exceeded the contract terms set by Damnation Books regarding the early termination of my works, Resurrection and At the Gates.
As per Damnation Books’ contract terms (bolding is mine):
- Once a work has gone into editing and forward and the Author wishes to terminate this contract prematurely, a penalty shall be charged to the Author to cover costs of staff and artists for work already performed. This fee shall be at a minimum of $50.00 to a maximum of $1000.00 to be determined by the time spent on preparing the work for publication and money recovered from sales of the work.
On June 6, 2012, after receiving my request for termination on April 14, 2102, the lawyer for Damnation Books set the fee for each of my contracted works through Damnation Books. He stated (again, bolding is mine):
- “The Company has calculated the costs and time spent which the termination fee is intended to cover and in each instance the termination fee is $1,000.”
As of February 28, 2013, Resurrection has earned Damnation Books (per their official royalty statements less 10% editing fees deducted by contract terms) a total of $2682.02. At the Gates has earned them $2257.60. Both amounts are substantially over the $1,000 termination fees set by Damnation Books, effectively paying above and beyond the requisite (and excessive) fees for release. (These numbers do not reflect profits from March or April 2013)
As such, the rights for both Resurrection and At the Gates should be returned to me, effective immediately, as the thresholds for release have been exceeded (all associated costs paid) and my request for termination persists.
Therefore, I file this notice publicly as a statement of intent. It is on Damnation Books to do the right thing and release the rights to these two books, per our signed agreements, or I will take further legal action against Damnation Books to force them to abide by their contract terms.
(Damnation Books has been notified of this privately and has chosen to ignore my lawful request.)
** Here’s a link to Mark Edward Hall’s blog, another author having problems with Damnation Books. (The link details some of his issues.)
And here is Mark’s statement on my Facebook page, posted in its entirety with his permission:
“I feel for Tim and his plight. I too have a pending suit against Damnation Books. Out of ignorance I gave up three of my titles to them in 2009, not realizing that they were an author mill and that they didn’t really care about working with individual authors. From the beginning there was no interaction. The kindle formatting was atrocious and when I asked to have the formatting corrected I was told by Kim Gilchrist that because I asked I would be put at the end of the line. Three years later and the formatting still hasn’t been corrected. It’s embarrassing that my name is on those books. The entire text of The Lost Village and The Holocaust Opera is totally in italics. Hello! If you want to have a good laugh go to my book page on Amazon and see for yourself. Reviewers have pointed out the formatting issues but the lazy publisher still hasn’t corrected it.
Out of frustration, and using the terms of their own contract, I legally obtained the rights to The Haunting of Sam Cabot back when DB refused, for whatever reason, to upload the nook version to Barnes and Noble. After going through the proper legal steps per their contract I asked DB to take the book down from Amazon. When I got no response I uploaded a new clean copy with my own publishing imprint. DB subsequently contacted Amazon and said that I was in breach of contract. When I explained that I had legally gotten my rights back Amazon told me that contracts aren’t their problem and that DB was the publisher of record. They subsequently pulled my copy and warned me that stealing other publishers work was a crime.
That was the last straw. I now have a lawyer and I don’t just want my rights back anymore. That would have been fine by me if DB had just played fair. Not anymore. Now I’m suing for damages. They have damaged my reputation and they will pay. I guarantee it.
Please, if you are a writer looking for a publisher, heed these warnings. Don’t do business with these awful people. But don’t take my word for it, check their rating on Preditors and Editors and see for yourself.”