Readers of The Independent Publishing Magazine will know that we have reviewed and reported on the travails of U.S. publishing service provider Raider Publishing International (RPI) over several years. TIPM first reviewed RPI back in 2008. At the time I considered RPI to be innovative and something of a bright new star in the self-publishing services arena. Though it was still a pay-to-play publisher, I liked RPI’s mix of traditional marketing with the cost-effective benefits of print-on-demand and the way it was using podcast broadcasting to promote its authors and their books. Back then, few self-publishing service providers were offering the array of services RPI had available. This was one company big on ideas and starting to build an impressive list of global authors as well as providing advice and resources for the online writing community.
How times have changed. No publishing service provider has ever generated so much negative feedback and as many poor comments publicly and privately on TIPM since RPI was reviewed in 2008. And I include PublishAmerica and AuthorHouse in that statement! There is a cruel and telling irony in the fact that RPI’s founder and CEO, Adam Salviani, also an author, began his career as a published writer by using both companies. In fact, the ethos of RPI was built on addressing the negative experience its founder had during his first few years of self-publishing.
Earlier this year, TIPM featured a guest post from former RPI author, Jenni Boyd. She actually cited some of RPI’s mission statement at the start of her post:
“It was then that I decided I would start my own publishing company that treated all of its authors with the respect that they deserve. We are the only publisher in history to offer the author more than fifty percent of the royalties of their work. We are also the only subsidy publisher that will arrange book events for you if you would like us to do so. Here at Raider Publishing we care about our writers and we look forward to working with them not only as clients, but as friends.”
Respect, 50% of royalties, arranging book events and caring about authors—now, in light of the extensive coverage of RPI over several years on TIPM, together with the reported experiences of many of its authors here and elsewhere, that mission statement rings pretty hollow. A brief look at the comment section on the TIPM review of RPI and a quick Google search will soon shatter the mirror RPI held up.
Here is the deal, and how history really panned out for RPI.
Salviani may have started out and created RPI with the best of intentions in light of his experiences with poor self-publishing services, but whether complacency, the rigours of growth and demand in the self-publishing sector all allowed RPI to become—for some of its authors—what Salviani had once hated about the self-publishing service sector. In the summer of 2010, TIPM reported that Salviani might even have seen the error of his ways when during a in a Christmas podcast on the now defunct (or on an extended hibernation) Raider Broadcasting Network, he address criticisms of some of his company’s services. For months after this podcast, RPI continued to advertise an expedited publishing service it clearly was struggling to deliver on.
By 2012, in what can only be described as a cynical but failed attempt to reinvent itself, RPI launched Purehaven Press, an awkward and curious endeavour to wipe the slate clean and put all the negative press behind it. Over the past few years, TIPM has communicated with many RPI authors and several freelancers and employees of the company, and we have built up quite a picture on all that has gone on there.
Vanessa Finaughty has been described elsewhere as an ex-Raider employee. I’d qualify that by saying Vanessa was not a direct RPI employee, but rather a freelance editor and proofreader for them while running her own company. She also published a book with RPI and has had a similar experience as some of RPI’s disgruntled authors, despite not having to pay a publishing fee as a freelancer. She has experienced life with RPI from both sides of the fence and for the good of her company and staff eventually broke ties with RPI when the complaints began to flow in.
“We were paid to proofread, yet I received many complaints from those authors saying they had paid for an edit.”
The issue of editing is one of the most common complaints TIPM gets from authors working with self-publishing service providers. The language around the process of editing is played with and misused so much with companies. Authors can be charged thousands of dollars for what is described as a full edit or copy edit and in reality all their books get is a basic proofread. A proofread is nothing more than a final polish of a book before it is submitted to a printer. It is simply the final piece of the jigsaw in the process of a full copy edit.
Finaughty has made countless attempts to persuade distributors and online retailers to withdraw her book despite a written assurance from RPI that all rights had reverted back to her. RPI continue to sell her book through retailers and collect on profits from the book even when Finaughty claims RPI no longer owns the intellectual property.
“I’ve asked all the distributors to remove it… but [in some places] my book is still being sold there.”
Ultimately, Vanessa Finaughty, aware of so many other disgruntled RPI authors, decided the time was right to make more of a stance than just cutting her professional ties with RPI and demanding the rights to her book back.
“I’m tired of watching others’ hard work be thrashed in this manner. I am tired of my book being sold illegally and I am tired of being tired.”
Finaughty has decided to orchestrate an online petition for disgruntled RPI authors and submit it to the IC3 in the hope that it can be referred to other state bodies. The IC3 was established as a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C) to serve as a means to receive Internet related criminal complaints and to further research, develop, and refer the criminal complaints to federal, state, local, or international law enforcement and/or regulatory agencies for any investigation they deem to be appropriate. The IC3 was intended, and continues to emphasize, serving the broader law enforcement community to include federal, as well as state, local, and international agencies, which are combating Internet crime and, in many cases, participating in Cyber Crime Task Forces.
Here is Vanessa’s full post on RPI and her petition to the IC3.
An End to the War with Raider Publishing
“A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi
Have you published with Raider Publishing International? Are you tired of fighting for your rights and contract to be honoured? Are you tired of your books being sold while you receive no royalties? Are you tired of being ignored, of complaining and reporting, with seemingly no solid positive results? Know that you are not alone.
The time for talk is over. Now is the time for action. Read on if you want to see an end to your woes.
Many authors who have published with Raider Publishing International are now suffering the consequences in the form of breached contracts, broken promises, their books sold illegally, their intellectual copyright abused and more…
While many of us have taken action against this, it doesn’t seem to be enough. For every author who ‘wins the battle’ and finally has his or her contract honoured, how many more new authors are lured into signing up with this company and are similarly caught out? To stop the abuse of our rights as authors and intellectual property holders, we need to start protecting each other as much as we protect ourselves. We need to think beyond ourselves to future authors whose lives will be made a nightmare if the overall ongoing situation with Raider is not resolved. Be one of those authors who stand up for your rights in a way that helps countless others rather than just yourself.
Never doubt that a small group can effect big changes. In fact, many small groups of determined people have started revolutions and thus changed the course of history. However, I do not think the group of authors who have had their contracts breached by Raider Publishing International could be considered ‘small’. Do you have the drive, purpose and passion to stop this publishing tyrant from abusing others’ rights, and to get what’s owed to you in the process?
The Strength of Many
It’s easy to ignore one or two voices and to assume a few individuals are being ‘drama queens’, but not so easy to ignore myriad voices all screaming the same thing. As individuals, many of us may never be more than a thorn in Raider’s side, a mere nuisance to be swatted away and ignored, while the overall problem persists as new authors continue to be caught out by this self-publishing company’s syrupy false promises. Together, though, we will be a force to be reckoned with. With enough names on an international petition, the authorities are bound to sit up and take fast note of our predicament.
Individually, some of us may receive what’s owed to us and regain control of our work; others will not be so lucky. Together, we have the power to inspire and motivate each other, to aide each other, and to succeed… Together, we will accomplish what may seem impossible to some right now. As one, we will create a new energy in the ‘war against Raider Publishing’, a positive energy that will lead us to victory. Together, we are stronger and our voices hold more sway with those who are in a position to force Raider to honour our contracts and desist from selling our books illegally.
It’s Time to Act!
After receiving numerous pleas from Raider authors and being unable to help them other than with advice, I have been spurred into action. I am tired of watching others’ hard work be trashed in this manner, I am tired of my book being sold illegally and I am tired of being tired. If you’ve read this post up until here, you probably feel the same way.
The IC3 is a partnership between the FBI and the NW3C (National White Collar Crime Centre), and this body takes crimes of this nature seriously. Hence, I have created a petition that contains the following headings, as per IC3 requirements:
* Author’s full name
* Author’s email address
* Author’s telephone number
* Author’s country of residence
* Book/s affected and ISBN if published
* Details of author’s issue/s with Raider
Please note that the IC3 requires all of the above information, but also asks for a mailing address to be included in reports. However, since I understand that many may be wary of sharing a physical address on a document that will be emailed to countless strangers, this information will not be included. The IC3 may, however, request it, along with a signature and copy of your identification document, and, by adding your name to the petition, you agree to provide these things to the IC3 if requested. Please also note that, once the petition has been sent to the IC3, it may not legally be cancelled.
Authors who are tired of fighting this battle alone, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to request the petition. Once I send it to you, please add your details, and then send it back to me. Please note that there may be some delay in my replies due to the volume of emails I expect to receive about this, and please return the petition to me as soon as possible so that I may send it to the next author.
Authors who request the petition agree to the following:
* The petition with your information will be passed from author to author so that others may add their information.
* Authors who request the petition may only do so if they intend to add their details. Authors agree not to harass or spam other authors on the list. If you would like others to contact you, please add your name to the separate Raider author contact list. Any author whose details do not appear on the contact list may not be contacted.
* Again, note that no one has the right to share the information contained in the petition with anyone, or to use it for any means. This information is strictly for the IC3’s use.
The petition will be sent to the IC3 once enough authors have added their details. As for how many is enough, I’m unsure at this point – 100… 500… 1000?
Fighting for our rights as authors and what’s owed to us can be an uphill battle that many of us just give up on in the end, but let me reiterate: as a group combining our efforts and energy, I believe we will be a force to be reckoned with…
As dear friend and fellow author, Alphya Cing, put it recently: “Feel the power and confidence of being in the right and knowing you are in the right. Right makes might.”
Dare to be mighty. Dare to gain the power of a motivated, determined, focussed and committed group to gain what’s yours. Request the petition and add your details today, and be sure to comment on and share this post so others can be inspired to join our ever-growing numbers.
Vanessa Finaughty is an ex-Raider employee (proofreader/editor) who not only published her first book, Ashes to Ashes, with Raider, but was treated in the same manner Raider’s other authors were treated – with no respect for her hard work, publishing contract or intellectual property rights. Vanessa grew disillusioned with Raider over a period of time, both in a personal (author) and professional capacity, and eventually informed the company that her company would no longer be doing work for Raider. Today, Raider still publishes her book in print, illegally and holding no rights to it, and many distributors refuse to remove it from distribution.