All Romance Ebooks (ARe) Author Emails Exposed

emailiconSo, I know there has been a lot of speculation out there about what authors were getting before All Romance Ebooks closed. But I thought I’d set the record straight and show you the last emails I got from ARe the weeks before it sent out notices through emails of its closure. I’m just putting it out there so you can see they were operating as business as usual until the time of the closure emails on Dec. 28.

Here is the Boxing Day Promo that was sent to me on 12/19/16. It was the last promo email I got. I had also received one for a promo back during Halloween and for Black Friday. So, it looked like it was running as usual. I had done a promo during the earlier part of the year and past other years. This year, it didn’t seem to generate any sales as compared to other years. So, I didn’t sign up for either of these sales.

Boxing Day Promo Email received on 12/19/16. It also includes a blurb about their Daily Deals program for 2017. So, they were clearly trying to promote advertising for 2017.

“FREE Promo Ops at All Romance!

Participate in our Boxing Day #AReBlast

Deadline December 23, Noon Eastern

This promotion will be held for 1 day only, on December 26. In celebration of Boxing Day, we’re going to b e promoting a 25% discount from select publishers.

You agree to discount your entire catalogue of books by 25% for the day and we’ll do the rest. We’ll set the discount and tag all of your titles with the hashtag AReBlast and link our front banner ad to them. Then, on the 25th, we’ll blast the promotion all over social media and we’ll be sending out a dedicated Boxing Day Bargain Newsletter.

If you’d like to participate in the Blast, just reply to this email. Include your publisher/company name along with written permission to include you. 

Please note: If you have other discounts set for books on this day, the greater of the two discounts will be applied. If you are a hybrid author who sells self-published titles through us, this offer only applies to books within your publisher account.

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Participate in our FREE Daily Deal Program for 2017

These Daily Deal’s provide an opportunity to get a discounted title in front of thousands at the point of checkout.

  • Works must be originally priced at $2.99 or higher.
  • You must be willing to allow us to discount by at least 50% for the day of the promotion.
  • The final discounted price cannot be less than $0.99.

All submissions MUST come from the publisher (or author if the title is self-published).

You may submit more than one title for consideration, and you may submit for any available month. Start your submission process here: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/reservations/

  1. Choose the month for your“Daily Deal Submission” and click“Search Availability”. Please note that you are selecting the month of your deal, and your deal may be scheduled for any one day during that month.
  2. If your chosen month displays in the pop-up, you can begin the submission process by selecting “Apply”.
  3. Then scroll down to view the order form. Daily Deal promotions are FREE and should show $0.00. Click “Purchase.”
  4. Enter the requested information.Read and understand the guidelines and specs, check the boxes if you agree, then click “Upload your artwork.”
  5. Enter the ARe URL of your book, the regular price, and the discount price.
  6. Next you will be asked to attest to the fact that you are the publisher of the work and have the right to set pricing by entering your initials. 
  7. Click “Submit Info” then “Complete order.”
  8. You will be pr ompted to review your order and choose a payment method. Since price is $0.00, simply click “Complete order.”

If your submission is selected for a Daily Deal, we will notify you via e-mail and supply you with promotional graphics.

Please e-mail Lisa Kessler at Lisa.Kessler@allromanceebooks.com if you have a specific day in mind. If that date is available and your submission is approved, we will do our best to accommodate you.

We look forward to partnering with you to promote your books and the romance genre!

If you have any questions, please let us know!

 

Lori James

CEO

All Romance eBooks, LLC”

The next email is the 2017 advertising email trying to get authors to sign up for 2017 ads and list all the options for where your money could be spent. I received this email on 12/23/16.

2017 Advertising

All Romance eBooks (ARe), founded in 2006, is the largest eBook-focused commerce bookseller specializing in the Romance genre. The company has close to 1.2 million titles across its two retail sites. ARe has built a loyal and recurring customer base of over 480,000 registered readers, which we additionally reach through our social network and content site, our newsletter, and social media advertising. Our demographic is your demographic.

#1 Google ranking for “Romance eBooks”
+35 millions annual page views
+195,000 opted in newsletter subscribers
6.26 minutes average session duration
34.5% new sessions
16,691 Alexa rank in the US
+52 thousand social media followers

Reserve here: https://www. allromanceebooks.com/reservations

Website Advertising:  Most of our 2017 Sidebar Ads have sold out. We do have a few slots remaining in Zone 3. These ads will appear in a 10% Share of Voice rotation on all pages of AllRomance.com, OmniLit.com, and AReCafe.com. You can purchase multiple slots to increase your SOV. Reserve your spot now!

Social Media Advertising:  Leverage the power of our Facebook and Twitter platforms and let us manage your social media campaigns. We work with monthly budgets from $50 – $1000.

Newsletter Advertising:  We have large banner ads (600X300) and cover spots (140X210) available throughout the year. If you want to promote a discount, consider featuring your bargain in our Friday newsletter (+195,000 subscribers). The spotlight will include a large cover image, summary, price point, and links out to Amazon, BN, Kobo, iTunes, and AllRomance.

Featured Author Spots:  Get your author brand in front of our readers with a feature on the AReCafe.com and our weekly newsletter! Each feature includes a photo, bio, tailored interview questions, and book covers.

Daily Deal Promotion:  Get a discounted title in front of thousands at the point of checkout. Works must be originally priced at $2.99 or higher. You must be willing to allow us to discount by at least 50% for the day of the promotion. The final discounted price cannot be less than $0.99.All submissions MUST come from the publisher (or author if the title is self-published).You may submit more than one title for consideration, and you may submit for any available month.

Reserve here: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/reservations

Please send questions to lori.james@allromanceebooks.com

You are receiving notice this notice because you have books available on AllRomance.com and an active author page. This mailing list is only used for important business communications and promotional opportunities. Author pages usually contain author contact and website information as well as a bio and author headshot. If you wish to update your author information or remove your contact information and thereby unsubscribe from future notifications, please email Audrey.Sharpe@allromanceebooks.com.”

So, I thought this would be helpful since I’ve been noticing a lot of speculation and rumors about what emails authors received. People didn’t seem too sure at times or know exactly what they said. I like to read the actual article to make my own opinions. So, I’m posting the emails to let readers know the behind the scenes for authors affected by ARe’s closure.

The actual email of ARe’s closure is available in my original post when this all began on Dec. 28, 2016.

I hope this answers questions and helps others in their research of this romance publishing/retailer failure. If there is any other information available, you can be sure I’ll post it. Until then, keep writing and reading,

-Marilyn

 

 

ARe Closure: Aftermath Continues

ebookmarket

The aftermath continues with ARe closure as readers/authors/publishers wonder, what is next?

So, I got a request from an International News agency this morning for an opportunity to be interviewed. Unfortunately, I happened to wake up late, and I’m on the West Coast three hours behind New York. So, they interviewed another author. But it was still exciting to see a reporter request for info on the ARe closure and that he was interested in interviewing with an author affected by the ARe closure. It has made my day.

But it also got me thinking. I mean, we’re all connected by the internet. I really enjoy having people all over the world able to buy my books. So, something like a big third party retailer closing is affecting people worldwide. It’s kind of incredible. And it seems, ARe’s closure is international news.

This whole problem is really bringing the Romance Community together as I see small publishers promising readers copies of preordered books from ARe with a receipt. Authors are also promising this as well including myself. With email receipts, it’s easier to be able to stand by basic business ethics and stand behind your product(book) and offer to make the customer/reader happy when others in the industry have massively failed. Just like with most tragedies, people are banding together to help others feeling the pain and loss of this retail closure and are trying to soften the blow.

I mean, do authors and publishers have to do this? Technically, there is no law to. But people that do GOOD BUSINESS want to keep the main reason we write and publish, our readers, happy. Doing this means you are in this to serve the need to get great books out into the world. I kind of feel that is what the Indie ebook revolution has been about. Getting those good books out to readers. ARe was a main artery for this, and everyone is feeling the pain of it being gone.

I’ve seen many readers on other boards and blog comments trying to find a new outlet for their ebooks, especially epub format. The nice thing about ARe was that it had several formats available for people to read an ebook. PDF, epub or mobi were the main choices. I chose to have only epub or mobi, since it gives less pirating opportunities, and the formatting would hold up. It allowed me to reach more readers. Now, what is going to replace ARe?

ARe’s closure has left a big hole for some retailer to fill. Either Googleplay or iTunes could step up. Kobo is a likely retailer for people to move to. Amazon already has a locked in reader group because their own format is similar to what Apple has done. But I’m not totally sure what may happen. I just have a lot of speculation like everyone else. But I’ll watch and let people know what does happen. I’m sure we’ll see in a few months how this has completely affected the market.

My biggest prediction is that readers may loose faith with third party retailers, and I’ve seen comments on blogs and writing boards that are pointing in this direction. Buyers of ebooks want a retailer that won’t just close up and leave them hanging with nothing. Reader trust has been broken. So, it’s up to the ebook community to restore some of that trust. Just like what I’ve been seeing, a coming together of authors, publishers and readers is helping us all to get through a bump in the ebook historical road.

Another outcome of all this, diversifying is still a good idea. I still have my books on Amazon, and I have distributed through Smashwords to fall back on. So, if one distributor goes under, you got other streams of income. I’ve seen a concern expressed on some writing boards about putting all your eggs into the Amazon basket. If the Zon went under, that would be such a HUGE fail for most of us.

But the bottom line is to do what is the best for you. I think that is what made it easier for me to dodge a bullet and not lose as much as some others. Not to say I don’t feel for them. I do. Because ARe was really working for some. But going with my gut and seeing some red flags helped me avoid some serious trouble now. So, sometimes instincts in business works, especially if you are an author publishing your own books.

What were the red flags? 

RED FLAG #1: ARe  had been sending me info on promos for Boxing Day 2016 and even an email to advertise in 2017, adding a comment that space was filling fast. I have since been really budgeting my money for ads and using mostly Facebook and doing my own promotions. So, I really wasn’t interested in those offers, especially since my books hadn’t really been doing all that well over the last year.

RED FLAG #2: And several people caught onto this as well as me, over the last year, sales hadn’t really been too good. This made me not really want to do much with the site anymore even after a few promos, marking down titles to 50% on some titles. I didn’t see much earnings. So, I stopped doing them. SO: Sales not so great? Prices went up on their advertising? Red flags.

Overall impact: Basically, ARe owes me $0.59 for the Q4 2016 quarter or $0.05 if I claim it under the terms they’ve sent me. I said in the other post, I didn’t answer the email and take the deal. I have given my info to the FB group and got on the data list for the Florida lawyer. If anything, banning with other authors, even if it was just a little lost, still shows that Indie authors can’t be ignored as a force. Besides, we only have each other to support ourselves, and our readers, of course.

That’s another thing I’ve noticed. The huge outpouring of readers worried about their favorite authors and small presses that supply them with their books. It is truly awesome! I have read comments of some readers losing 1,000-2,000 books in their libraries. Many scrambled to use their ARe bucks, often purchased or received for Christmas, before the store closed. Many were sad that the authors and publishers pulled our books before they could download. And those same readers understood why we had to inactivate our books. We had to protect our intellectual work. They understood it could take years and lots of money to make those books.

And they would be right. I pay for editors, beta readers, cover designers, and formatters. There are costs I pay out of pocket just to get my books to them. Because I have that writing bug to get this story to them. I’m glad they understand. For this, I thank all of the ARe readers for your support and well wishing. I assure you, I will continue writing and bringing you stories no matter what retailer brings them to you. We’ll get through this together.

What is a take away from this?

In the end, sometimes all you have is your gut and instinct on what to do. If a retailer goes well for you, go for it. But back up or be careful in any interaction. Read contracts fully and back up everything. Take your writing seriously like a business and it might help you avoid more problems down the road.

I’m sure this story will continue as the closure continues to send ripple affects through the Romance ebook publishing and retailing world. I’ll follow up with any new breaks. Until then, you all keep reading and writing.

Have a wonderful and safe 2017!

-Marilyn

UPDATE 1/15/17:

There has been a class action law suit filed by Florida lawyer, Bryd Campbell, with the lead plantiff, Brenda Cothern of Brenda Cothern Books, Inc. I am posting a picture of the press release for all the available information so far on the lawsuit which includes contact information.

all-romance-class-action

All Romance Ebooks (ARe) Closes Site

ebookdownloadSo, the big talk on the internet today, at least with romance writers, has been the closure of the All Romance Ebooks (ARe) website. This morning, a message went up on the site that says:

“It is with a great sadness that we announce the closing of All Romance eBooks, LLC. For the first year since opening in 2006, we will be posting a loss. Despite efforts to maintain and grow our market share, sales and profits have declined. The financial forecast for 2017 isn’t hopeful. We’ve accepted that there is not a viable path forward.

All Romance has always been a labor of love. Over the years we’ve developed wonderful relationships with the vendors we’ve worked with, the publishers whose content it’s been our pleasure to sell, the authors who supported us, and the customers who it’s been our honor to serve. On midnight, December 31 our sites will go dark. Between now and then, we encourage consumers finalize any transactions, download purchases, and back up libraries.

If you directly publish content for sale through our platform or All Romance has acted as your publisher via our Publishing in Partnership program, you should be in receipt of an email from us with additional information. If not, please contact us at info@allromanceebooks.com.”

So, I got an email this morning basically telling me that my royalties for Q4 1016 will be paid $0.10 on the dollar earned. The website is basically trying to avoid bankruptcy fees and is hoping all the authors will help out in this. The email also states that answers to the email to settle accounts and money owed will take priority of answering questions about the whole closing of the site.

It’s sending shock waves through the romance writing community. Speculation of why it is closing down is running rampant. Authors that were published by them will only get their rights reverted back to them, and that is all. In the world of self-publishing and dealing with small presses, this is something to be on the look out for. Who you decide to publish with and how it’s done can matter down the road.

ARe also had been sending me info on promos for Boxing Day and even an email to advertise in 2017, adding a comment that space was filling fast. I have since been really budgeting my money for ads and using mostly Facebook and doing my own promotions. So, I really wasn’t interested in those offers, especially since my books hadn’t really been doing all that well over the last year. Basically, ARe owes me $0.59 or $0.05 if I claim it under the terms they’ve sent me.

What is a take away from this? Watch who you publish with, and really investigate who you self-publish with. Of course, ARe has been considered a very good website in the past. So, this seems a little unexpected. But speculation does center around how it couldn’t keep up with Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program and that the website wasn’t being kept updated with the newest technology. But who is to say what really happened.

I’m about to release my first full novel, Everything For Love, exclusive to Amazon and Kindle Unlimited for the first three months. I’m going to see how it does, and have it go wide if it warrants it later. We’ll have to see. I want to try to see if it does well, but after seeing something like this happen, I’m not hesitant much anymore. It seems like a sound way to release my book to my readers. With the way the ebook industry changes on a dime, this new turn of events could be the start of a new phase, Amazon taking on a bigger share of ereaders.

Here is the link to All Romance Ebooks. It will only work until December 31, 2016. If you’re a reader, you have just a few days to go and download your library to your computer or ereader. It will go dark at midnight Jan. 1, 2017.

Personally, this is kind of a horrible thing to do to writers, but business is business. It’s sad to see a place that specialized in romance ebooks go. Good-bye ARe! It’s been nice knowing ya!

UPDATE 12/29/16: Romance Writers of America has blogged about this as well. They basically think it stinks for the website to be open until Dec. 31 selling books, but will pay royalties up through Dec. 27, and $0.10 on the dollar if you settle.

Here is the link to the blog post:

https://www.rwa.org/p/bl/et/blogid=20&blogaid=1721

Plus, here is the email sent to publishers that I got yesterday morning. After reading different blogs and other opinions, I decided it should be posted, as a red flag to retailers or publishers or anyone else that thinks that scaring authors and asking them to sell themselves short is an option. Don’t. This shouldn’t be a precedent set on how to end a retailer business relationship with readers, authors and publishers.

“To Whom It May Concern:

It is with great sadness I announce that we are winding down the operations of All Romance eBooks, LLC. For the first year since opening in 2006, we will be posting a loss. The financial forecast for 2017 isn’t hopeful and we’ve accepted that there is not a viable path forward.
We are grateful for the opportunity to have worked with you. On midnight, December 31, our sites will go dark and your content will cease to be available for sale through our platforms. This includes any content you are having us distribute to Apple. If you wish to inactivate your content sooner, you can do so by logging into your publisher portal.
We will be unable to remit Q4 2016 commissions in full and are proposing a settlement of 10 cents on the dollar (USD) for payments received through 27 December 2016. We also request the following conditions:
1.     That you consider this negotiated settlement to be “paid in full”.
2.     That no further legal action be taken with regards to the above referenced commissions owed.
If you are willing to accept the offered amount and the terms proposed, please hit the reply on this email keeping the history intact. Change the subject to “Publisher Settlement Acceptance” and copy/paste the acceptance statement below into your email, filling in the fields.
Upon receipt of the signed agreement, I will authorize payment of the settlement amount in full by 28 February 2016 via the method stipulated in your publisher account.
It is my sincere hope that we will be able to settle this account and avoid filing for bankruptcy, which would undoubtedly be a prolonged and costl y process.
I appreciate that you may have questions. Unfortunately, we will be operating with limited staff as we prepare for closure. We will do our best to respond to the extent possible and will do so in the order received. Our priority over the next few weeks will be processing settlement requests. At this time, there is no additional information to share.
I thank you for your time and consideration in this matter.
Sincerely,
Lori James
All Romance Ebooks, LLC
Acceptance of Agreement:
I accept the terms of the attached proposed settlement on this date.
Signature:
Electronic Signature
The author’s sub mission of the information entered by selection of the submit button below shall constitute author’s signature signifying acceptance of this Agreement with the intent that it be valid for all purposes and in compliance with the U.S. Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act of 2000 and the laws of any other applicable jurisdiction.
Please note: This message is intended for use by the person or entity to which it is addressed. Please do not disseminate, distribute or copy. If you have received this message by error, please notify us immediately and destroy the related message. Re-disclosure without appropriate consent is prohibited.”
So there is everything in all of its splendor. I’ll be happy to let you know I didn’t send back an answer to this. I guess I’m just happy I saw the writing on the wall, and published my own books under my publishing account. I’m only losing $0.59. Though, I really feel for the other authors and publishers that worked with All Romance Ebooks. They were a really big romance book store and really brought in an income for some people. They just didn’t work out for my books and now I’m kind of happy about that they didn’t. RIP ARe! You join the many things to die in 2016.
Note also: My books are still available on iTunes, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon. They are officially off of All Romance Ebooks.
To my readers:
Let me know if there are problems downloading books from ARe. I haven’t sold any books there really over the last year. So, I don’t think any of my readers will suffer too much. IF you have problems downloading one of my books from your All Romance library, send me a message with a pic/copy of receipt in your library or take a screen shot. You can still take screen shots from the site until Dec. 31.
I only had three books on there, so all of my box sets were not included on the site. But I’d honor helping you out if you had any of the three novellas in the Beware of Warlocks series. I’m sorry this has happened, and I think everyone is trying to help each other out. It’s nice to see the Romance community, publishers, authors and readers, coming together to make this less painful.
Additional Update: Dec. 30th, 2016
A Facebook Group has been started for those authors wishing to ban together and take legal action against All Romance Ebooks. They are headed by a Florida lawyer. If you’ve lost money, here is the place to find out more info and talk to others with the same issues.
Search in FB groups for: “P*ssed Off (Former) ARe Authors”.
Additional Information: Dec. 31. 2016
This story keeps growing daily. So, I just keep adding updates to the original post. According to BC Blog,  the CEO Lori James, had most likely been planning this for two years. In 2014, Lori James claimed her co-partner and financial manager in ARe, Barbara Perfectti Ulmer to be unfit for duty due to mental disability with the help of a psychicatrist in San Diego. Law suits were filed in relation with Ulmer claiming James was keeping her from operating procedures and information in regards to the site. Basically, Lori James took over at the end of November 2014, making herself CEO and paying herself for the first time a large salary.
I have also gone back and checked my records on the site, gotten copies and downloaded documents of sales records. So far, I don’t see any payments having been made to me. My time selling on the site is Nov. 2o13-Dec. 2016. In all that time, I never got a payment. In fact, I was subtracted money apparently that was “Overpaid” in the Q3 2014 quarter, about the time Lori James took over. Of course, I thought it was because I was supposed to make over $25 before I got paid. As of the sales records I downloaded, ARe owed me $20.03 with the minus of supposed over payment(which I never received, it was just subtracted from my balance), I was owed $14.63. I have the report in Excel form. I’ve been working hard to get as much from the website as I can before everything goes dark tonight.
I’m not sure what will end up happening, but it doesn’t seem that someone that is so unscrupulous with their business partner is really trying to help out the publishers or authors with a $0.10 on the dollar payout. Most blogs and writing board discussions have brought up bankruptcy laws that might even have some creditors(authors) return that amount so they can go back through the assets and redistribute it equally.
So, another take away, we always try to be honest and good in most business transactions. Good business sense lends to that. But there are bad people out there that will just take advantage of a situation pretending to be nice. That’s the time to fight back so others will think twice about it in the future. I think the only way to get through this is to fight back with other authors and publishers, and try to give the message that this is not the way to do business with Indie authors and publishers in the future.
Another side note for today: There is a Google Document Survey up right now that is gathering info for how much money was lost by ARe authors and publishers. Here is the link for you to fill in info or check out results first hand.  I actually went through and added up the totals of money lost so far as of 12/30/16 4pm PST. The total came to: $97,178.13.

 

UPDATES Continuing: Jan. 1, 2017

All Romance Ebooks and OmniLit are no longer working. But the AReCafe, a site similar to a blog and full of author interviews, reviews,etc., is still up and functioning.

http://www.arecafe.com/

Don’t know what this means. But ads and features are dated from Dec. 28, 2016 in some of the features. So, at least some writers still got their money’s worth for those features. Still keeping an eye on things. I’ve been updating and compiling all the information in updates on my original post. Sorry if it seems messy. But this story grows each day.

UPDATE Jan. 2, 2017

The publishers/authors portal is still working. I just logged into my account, and it all works. You can’t delete files, but can deactivate them. Reports can still be downloaded if you need to back things up.

Here’s the link: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/publishers.html