June 12th, 2008 The Babes
As some of you may remember, we had previously reported about how R.W. Day had gotten a royalty check from Iris Print.
Today, Day reports that the check was returned because of insufficient funds…
The royalty check I received last week was returned by my bank for insufficient funds. I wrote Kellie yesterday, asking her to make good via Paypal, and have heard nothing. Honestly, I’d rather she not have paid me at all rather than sending me a bad check. I get ‘I can’t afford to pay you right now.’ I’ve been there - living from hand to mouth, paycheck to paycheck. What I don’t get and can’t accept is no apology, no attempt thus far to make restitution, no word at all. Even if she hasn’t got my email, I’m pretty sure her bank will have informed her of that her check was dishonored, if, of course, she didn’t know it from the start…
At this point, I feel that I have no choice but to officially ask people not to buy new copies of Thaw. I hate to do that, as I want my book read, but a writer is entitled to a reasonable royalty on the sale of her work, and until this situation is resolved, I can’t support Iris’s efforts in any way.
My contract has provision for the return of my rights if Iris goes out of business, and the minute she officially announces, I will be seeking a new publisher. Preferably one with a proven track record. -R.W. Day
As much as we may have wanted to give Iris Print the benefit of the doubt, this just goes too far.
Day, and her book, deserve far better treatment than they have been given.
June 8th, 2008 The Babes
We’re sure some of you have heard this news already, but for those of you who haven’t, there’s been some more bad news in the world of publishing. TOKYOPOP released this press release earlier in the month…
TOKYOPOP announced Tuesday that it has reorganized its North American business into two separate companies by spinning off its newly established comics-to-film and digital units into one new entity TOKYOPOP Media LLC.
As part of the spin-off and reorganization, 39 positions within the organization have been eliminated. The move will allow the company to align its publishing business with current book retail trends, as well as aggressively pursue growth in the white-hot comics-to-film and digital space.
According to Stuart Levy, CEO and Chief Creative Officer of the TOKYOPOP Group, “This reorganization is the right business move, but we are doing it with a heavy heart. It involves saying goodbye to 39 of the most talented, creative and compassionate people I’ve ever known. While it goes without saying, it’s important to note that our restructure is not at all a negative reflection on them. The time is now for us to focus our publishing business to overcome current market challenges. Fewer releases will allow for less cannibalization at retail. At the same time, the opportunity is significant in the digital and comics-to-film space. As one of the largest comic book companies worldwide, we must adjust our overhead to properly execute this new business plan…” -Anime News Network
Now, we don’t know what this is going to mean for our favorite stories from BLU, but it is a bit disconcerting, given all of the other bad news we’ve had about publishers recently. Hopefully, we won’t see a delay with our beloved BL releases.
Oh well, on to happier news!
LJ yaoi pundit Zehavit Lamasu shares her top 10 favorite historical manga…
“I read stories set in the past because I want to remove myself from the present and be transported to “the olden days” for a short time. I am addicted to escapism so I shun accuracy like the plague. …And this is how I came to yaoi. I am worried that I would have to justify myself. My fantasies, my indulgences, my *gasp* FETISHES. I don’t want to do that and I rather not get drawn into defending the genre. It is what it is. Riddled with faults, vastly misunderstood and in my opinion, utterly brilliant because it is nothing more than what it is. It doesn’t TRY to be high literature.” -Speak Its Name
Then, Kaz over at the Lucky Bag of Kaz, Tina Anderson found that he uploaded an English edition of his short gallery comic Go Go Footballers. Anderson says she hasn’t been keeping up with her Japanese site surfing lately, so she has no idea how long it’s been up - but it’s cute and NSFW. We like Kaz, mainly because of the way he presents himself, and his willingness to accept English language fans. He says in his English “info” page, that he sees manga as a way for gay men to celebrate what they do and how they do it:
“The reason why I started drawing Japanese gay Manga was very simple. I’m gay and wanted to read Japanese Manga for gay. OR I wanted to watch Japanese “anime” for gay.
You see so many TV programs and movies. However, hey, how many of them are actually for us? (ESPECIALLY in a country like JAPAN) It cost fortune to create movies or TV dramas. On the contrary, the expense can be very small to create Manga (Paper, ink, some stationeries [sic] and PC). But there’re so many things you can do. You can draw almost everything from Amazon jangle to a space ship only with a pen and ink. What a convenient mass media Manga can be for the minorities like us!”
June 5th, 2008 The Babes
It’s that time again. We bring you reviews of: Steal Moon 1, The Devil’s Secret, and Love Mode 9. (There are some old-ish reviews that got lost in Wordpress Hell too: Thirsty For Love, Pathos 1, Let Dai 12, Kiss All the Boys 1, and A Foreign Love Affair.)
June 2nd, 2008 The Babes
When we talked to the higher ups at Drama Queen at Anime Boston, they assured us that they would have stuff ready to print in May, and that RUSH was ready to be mailed out to all of us.
Yesterday, this appeared on the Drama Queen forums…
As always, anything I post is not to be considered official, but it can be considered better than nothing.
As some of you already know, the closest thing to an official DramaQueen news announcement since September, 2007, was a Publishers’ Weekly article published April 1, 2008. In it, DramaQueen’s President and CEO, Tran Nguyen, reportedly either said or hinted that the next round of releases would hit bookshelves by the end of May. This has obviously not happened. She also revealed the cause of the delay — DramaQueen is waiting on investors.
Since my credibility has recently been called into question, please allow me to introduce myself before telling you what I know. My name is Taisa Toluchanian. I joined DramaQueen in 2004 as Head of the Japanese Translation Department, receiving payment in the form of commissions. In July, 2007, I was offered the position of Vice President of Production and moved 1,500 miles from my home in California to DramaQueen’s headquarters in Texas in order to accept a job that would pay a steady salary. I purchased a small home on the promise that my salary would begin in September, 2007. I was not told that my salary was dependent on investors until after it became clear that a salary was not forthcoming.
Apparently, several business arrangements and commitments were made on the assumption that the investors would come through. This is what dug the company the hole it’s been sitting in. I was not the only one who was promised money.
When those original investors pulled out, leaving DramaQueen to its hole, Tran quickly found new investors. What I was told every month thereafter was that the new investors had promised to come through “next month.” At the time, I had no reason to believe otherwise, and it was DramaQueen that I had moved to Texas for, so I didn’t try to seek alternative employment. For a while at least, I had enough savings to last me until “next month.”
Eight months later, in March, 2008, I finally began looking for another job. On April 1, however, Publishers’ Weekly stated that DramaQueen was going to print by the end of May. Tran had said nothing of the sort to me.
When I spoke to Tran about the article, I asked plainly what the investors had told her to make her believe that this “next month” would be any different from the last “next month.” After some prodding, she let it slip that if DramaQueen did not print by the end of May, the company was pretty much dead in the water anyway. When I asked her to repeat what she had just said, she quickly retracted the statement. That was the first and only time I’ve ever heard her confidence waver.
Let me say this about Tran: She is a good person. She is not intentionally misleading anyone. Rather, I believe her trust has been misplaced, and I think she is optimistic and spiritual to a fault. Her good nature makes her charming, and it is what allowed her to start a business from nothing. Unfortunately, it’s that same good nature that prevents her from doing what needs to be done in business. She has made many mistakes, and I believe she continues to make mistakes, but all with the best of intentions, which is why I waited for her for so long. Frankly, if she sucked it up and started being more of a bitch, I think she could turn this around. Unfortunately, it’s just not in her nature.
I spoke to Tran at the end of May, 2008, before writing this, to ask her what news there is of the investors, and I received the same answer I have been hearing for the past year: “next month.” I relayed to her Jordanmarks’ suggestion of a “‘I totally promise to buy books when they come out’ pledge list,” and she is considering it, but after holding my breath for nearly a year I can’t recommend that anyone else do the same.
Beyond this, everyone is probably wondering what will happen to DramaQueen’s licenses. Having not been a significant part of the contract negotiations, I can’t say. Tran is resisting giving up on the company, but I imagine that if or when she does, she will forfeit the company’s legal claim to any titles, and they will once again become available for licensing.
But, then again, who knows? Perhaps the investors will come through next month. –Taisa
It might have been nice to hear an official announcement, rather than having your translator keep everyone informed. We’re thinking that a lot of people just don’t want to pull their heads out of their asses and face the music.
DQ had so many licenses that people were really looking forward to. We’re hoping that they get picked up by either 801 Media or BLU, as those two seem to be the most stable companies out there at the present time.
In other publishing news, Circle Dark Publishing is going to be closing up shop. One of our readers, Seraphim Grace, got this letter regarding one of her submissions…
I am saddened to inform you that a series of events beyond our control has led to the suspension of operations at Circle Dark Publishing. Because of this, your submission, can no longer be considered. For this we extend our deepest apologies. We strongly urge you to submit your manuscript elsewhere.
Thank you for your time and your faith in us. We wish you the best of luck in your writing and the future.
FUN! When are people going to realize that running a publishing house isn’t all games and boysmut? There’s a lot of work involved in it.
June 1st, 2008 The Babes
So, the question about Iris Print is still up in the air. A recent blog post from Dear Author poses the same question, and gets the following comments from Iris Print authors.
I was considering asking people not to buy Thaw until I’d heard from the publisher, but last week I did receive an email from Kellie, have now got a royalty statement with promise of a check to follow. I think I’m likely to get it, so those of you who are thinking about reviewing, please do!
As to what Kellie said about the future of Iris - she’s planning to shut down and will be making an official announcement, supposedly this week. Obviously, I have a lot of questions I asked her if she wanted me to keep quiet about it and she didn’t answer, so I’m assuming it’s okay for me to tell you all. –R.W. Day
Yet, Tina Anderson still has not gotten any information from Iris Print about the state of her royalties.
My rep still has heard nothing from her, and she’s sent three emails. There’s no excuse for this when it comes to me–back in January she expressed disappointment in having to deal with my contentious nature as a creator and said this was partly why she didn’t contact me until the last minute. After that I secured a representative to deal exclusively with Ms. Lynch so that she wouldn’t have to pull this silent nonsense again, and she would have no excuse in not being punctual with my statements. Now here she is–giving my rep the silent treatment and my rep has been nothing but polite to her in every email. I’m very angry over all this because I feel like I’m damned if I do and I’m damned if I don’t; and anything I say here in regard to this nonsense is going to be considered inflammatory and will reflect poorly on me as a creator. :( –Tina Anderson
While this is great news for Day, and we’re thrilled that she was able to obtain some resolution, it just goes to show the poor communication on the part of Iris Print. We had such high hopes for the company. Here’s to hoping that the authors they had under contract are going to be able to sell their stories to other companies - companies who have the ability to answer e-mails.
In happier news, the SL Publishing Group is officially open for business. This is the company that started up after the Yaoi House debacle. Some of our favorite authors are writing over there, and they’re hopefully going to be releasing print novels this fall.
It still looks like the Yaoi House drama is continuing. There have been some poisonous e-mails going back and forth between Kira and people like Alice Montrose and Becca Abbot. Alice has been keeping track of the batshittery that Kira is spouting.
It’s really sad that after all this, Kira still believes her own bullshit.