The person hit worst by Permuted Press' decision was Gabrielle Faust. Gabrielle was Permuted's marketing woman before being let go a few months before the kerfuffle. This was due to wanting someone in Nashville, TN versus Texas. There's more to this story but separating truth from hearsay is difficult. One thing to note is Gabrielle Faust is an author with a very large web-presence. In the world of Goth, Gabrielle Faust is a Baroness (if not Viscountess).
Gabrielle's series, Eternal Vigilance (the first book reviewed here), was one she'd done a great deal of marketing for. She'd even taken pre-orders for the book's print release. Gabrielle would buy physical copies with her author discount and then send them to her fans. The cessation of POD publication hit Eternal Vigilance hardest because of these pre-orders.
Gabrielle had to refund the orders along with inform her fans they would not be getting their physical copies of her series. This was compounded by another issue. Permuted Press was willing to return published rights to all of the authors who wanted them back (voiding their contract) BUT with the caveat authors would have to pay for any work done on their editing, cover art, etcetera. In Gabrielle's case, that was a significant amount of change. Another author I knew found himself saddled with a four figure bill. All for the option to self-publish his own work. Only authors who had no work done on their books, like me, were in the clear.
People were unhappy.
All of this was legal by the contract signed with Permuted Press. Technically, they didn't even to publish our books. They were contracting the right to publish our books when and if they wanted to (and that no one else would). The contract did, however, mention free ten paperback copies of the book and if they didn't have to do POD then they certainly implied they would. There was a general sense that Permuted Press had gone from being bean bags and cappuccino to this:
However, authors thrive on drama and the situation was getting media attention. Brian Keene, an indie horror celebrity, weighed in and groups like the Lovecraft ezine. Gabrielle Faust's outrage was made public and drew attention from her not-inconsiderable fanbase. The Horror Writers Association (HWA) became involved as well, which is like the Teamsters for horror writers. I'm a unionized author but due to what my previous works were before I moved to horror, I'm loathe to admit who I belong to.
I swear I'll move as soon as my new books come out!
I often played arbitrator during this dispute. I'd made a lot of friends on both sides of the issue and people respected what I had to say on the subject. My opinion was authors didn't have to be happy with this situation and it was important to protect your rights. The thing is, of course, if you felt you were getting a bum deal then I suggested it was better to show yourself out the door than try and force the issue.
I respected Permuted Press' right to do what they were doing but I also knew it was a deal I didn't want to be part of anymore. I wouldn't mind ebook release alone if it weren't series I'd devoted three or four years to perfecting and knew were good enough for print release.
Permuted Press said it would publish series worth marketing and gave a decent but achievable number for a POD release but I had to prepare for the worst. I decided I'd wait to see how they handled things before announcing my departure.
That's when things got interesting.
In the Chinese sense of the word.
Concluded in Part 6.