Previously on Norilana Books and Vera Nazarian, Something Needs To Be Said and Something Else Needs To Be Said.
Let’s note that it really is and here: Norilana is a sole proprietorship and therefore legally the same person as Vera Nazarian. (Last I checked, which was admittedly a few months ago.)
Today, Vera Nazarian started an Indiegogo campaign to raise money for back royalties owed Norilana’s authors.
She did not list the authors as creditors in her bankruptcy discharged in 2012, even though she hadn’t paid royalties since (apparently) 2009.
Further, now she’s apparently preferentially wanting to pay her author creditors amounts that should have been partially discharged in bankruptcy even though this is unlawful. Does anyone have contact information for Kevin J. O’Donnell, Jr.’s heirs? They may be interested in getting the bankruptcy overturned.
You know, the guy dying of cancer that she snubbed to the tune of $109,364?
But, of course you should believe that the $19,198.36 of back royalties that she’s raising the money for herself (rather than having an independent party doing it for accountability purposes) is going to her authors.
And of course you should believe that $19,198.36 is in fact due.
Which, let’s look at.
Here are the titles from third parties that aren’t public-domain authors. I’m assuming Val Noirre is Vera’s pseudonym (because it’s not on her list of authors due royalties) and thus am excluding.
Titles that Norilana Still Publishes Where Royalties May Be Due
- 2011: Delusion’s Master by Tanith Lee (Note: Tanith Lee had an advance setaside in the creditor matrix, so any royalties due would be dependent upon it earning out) (reprint)
- 2011: A Song of Awakening by Roby James
- 2011: Phantas by Jeffry Dwight
- 2011: The Birthgrave by Tanith Lee (reprint)
- 2010: Death’s Master by Tanith Lee (reprint)
- 2010: Warrior Wisewoman 3 (anthology)
- 2009: Sounds and Furies by Tanith Lee (single-author collection)
- 2009: The Captain’s Witch by Rosemary Hawley Jarman (reprint)
- 2009: Under the Rose edited by Dave Hutchinson
- 2009: Night’s Master by Tanith Lee (reprint)
- 2009: Warrior Wisewoman 2 edited by Roby James (anthology)
- 2009: A Cold Day In Hell by Ken Rand
- 2009: Lace and Blade 2 edited by Deborah J. Ross (anthology)
- 2009: The Memory Palace by JoSelle Vanderhooft
- 2008: Warrior Wisewoman edited by Roby James (anthology)
- 2008: A Guide to Folktales in Fragile Dialects by Catherynne M. Valente (single-author collection)
- 2008: Lace and Blade edited by Deborah J. Ross (anthology)
- 2007: Leaving Fortusa by John Grant
- 2007: The Covenant by Modean Moon
- 2007: A Little Peace and Quiet by Modean Moon
- 2007: Evermore by Modean Moon
Titles that Norilana No Longer Publishes (But Royalties May Still Be Due)
- 2011: Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Sword And Sorceress XXVI (anthology)
- 2011: Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Sword And Sorceress XXV (anthology)
- 2010: Clockwork Phoenix 3: New Tales of Beauty and Strangeness (anthology)
- 2009: Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Sword And Sorceress XXIV (anthology)
- 2009: Returning My Sister’s Face: And Other Far Eastern Tales of Whimsy and Malice by Eugie Foster (single-author collection)
- 2009: Clockwork Phoenix 2: More Tales of Beauty and Strangeness edited by Mike Allen (anthology)
- 2009: Another Chance at Life: A Breast Cancer Survivor’s Journey by Leonore H. Dvorkin
- 2009: Business Secrets from the Stars by David Dvorkin (reprint)
- 2009: Mearsies Heili Bounces Back: CJ’s Second Notebook by Sherwood Smith
- 2008: Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Sword And Sorceress XXIII (anthology)
- 2008: A Stranger to Command by Sherwood Smith
- 2008: A Posse of Princesses by Sherwood Smith
- 2008: Clockwork Phoenix: Tales of Beauty and Strangeness (anthology)
- 2008: The Journey to Kailash by Mike Allen
- 2008: A Posse of Princesses by Sherwood Smith
- 2007: Over the Sea: CJ’s First Notebook by Sherwood Smith
- 2007: Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Sword And Sorceress XXII (anthology)
- 2007: East of the Sun and West of Fort Smith by William Sanders (single-author collection)
- 2007: J. by William Sanders (reprint)
- 2007: Senrid by Sherwood Smith
For the next part, let’s assume the following gross oversimplifications:
- An author’s royalty for a given work is equal year-to-year and book-to-book (and across authors).
- Reprints earn half the royalties of original works.
- Collections and anthologies often don’t earn out. Let’s assume these count as 15% of an original title. (This is extremely generous, though.)
- If an author or editor withdrew the work, then I’m assuming in-print and royalties due in 2010 through 2012 (or the first two years) as stuff really started blowing up in 2013.
- Royalties due per book run, on average, $1.25. Royalty rates for trade paper generally start at around 7.5% of list price, and many run around $15, so $1.125. This is a little generous for trade paper only, but there were often both hardback and trade paper editions, released at the same time.
It’s Spreadsheet Time
a.k.a. Time to check Deirdre’s arithmetic.
So, what does this mean, gross oversimplifications aside?
- Assuming Vera’s royalty number is true, the average Norilana author sold 196 copies of any given book in any given year. Reprints would be 98 copies, anthologies and collections 29.4 copies that royalties would be paid on.
- If you want to assume every book sold the same number of royalty-paying copies over time, there’s 41 titles, 4 years, that would be (19198.36/41/4/1.25), or 93.65 copies per book per year.
So That Selling Books Thing
Vera Nazarian aka Norilana Books simply has no idea how to actually sell books. If you’re a publisher and consistently, on average, selling under a couple hundred titles per year with dozens of titles to market….
You’re doing it wrong.
Especially if you publish twelve such titles in one year and then the next year, “Oops, can’t pay royalties.”
Everything about this Indiegogo campaign is intensely problematic. We don’t really know that the money is owed (except for Eugie Foster having opened the can of worms). We don’t really know how much is owed, and we only have vague ideas of to whom. It’s possible some authors have been paid (while others have not). There’s also what someone called “the Vera factor” in all this. I’ll let you figure the meaning.
Raising money to pay debt like this is also problematic. Vera already received that money. She spent it on other things (like her cable bill, which she details in one of her comments to my first post linked at the top).
All I can say at this point is: I don’t even.