Quartet Press is No More

According to several sources via email, Quartet Press has ceased operations and authors who were part of the debut launch have had their rights returned. I have no details as to why but this is massive stinky pile of crap for digital publishing, and for the individuals involved.

Update: the Quartet Press blog has been updated with an unbelievably treacly announcement: they are indeed done.

I am absolutely fucking stunned, and so sad about this, but most of all, I’m mother fucking pissed off. One of my biggest complaints about digital publishing and romance publishing on the internet is that people forget that this is a business. It’s a business, which means that while it’s art and stories and words and craft, it’s also people’s livelihoods. It’s bad fucking business to hire someone away and close up three weeks later. I’m so angry I can’t even speak.

Comments are Closed

  1. S. W. Vaughn says:

    As I just said over at DA…


    Wha’ happened?!

  2. SonomaLass says:

    There’s a lot of anger over this, as well as a lot of disappointment. I will be interested to hear more.

  3. azteclady says:

    I am so very angry, and sad, on Ms James’ behalf.

    Beyond that, I’ve spent twenty or so minutes sputtering curses.a

  4. Mina Kelly says:

    THat was… quick. And completely unexpected. Does anyone know why yet?

  5. writer says:

    Well I guess it was just a lot of big talk after all. I feel sorry for all those that left jobs to go to that press.

  6. Oh god.  Poor Angela.  I’m stunned.

  7. Jocelyn says:

    That really, really stinks.  I hope Angela got a solid employment contract when she was hired and gets severance pay out of this mess.  Heaven knows, she worked long and hard to get that publisher up and running.

  8. Eve Paludan says:

    They were just hiring editors on August 27th!

    I was beefing up my freelance resume. Oh well!

    The poor authors. This is awful!

  9. Nonny says:

    I know some authors that had contracts and subsequently have had their rights returned. This all is very strange and sudden, since these people have seemed far more solid and with it than other new publishers that have cropped up over the last couple years. I wonder what made them decide this.

  10. MaryK says:

    to hire someone away and close up three weeks later

    That was one of the first things I thought of.  I hope she comes out of this okay.

  11. SarahT says:

    When I first saw this mentioned on Twitter, my initial reaction was to assume it was yet another instance of Twitinformation.

    The sudden nature of the decision is what I find most shocking, especially in the light of their widely-publicized hiring of Angela James. I don’t know Ms James from Adam but I feel terrible for her and for all the authors who contracted with Quartet Press.

  12. My condolences to Angela in particular for having what seems like the rug being yanked out from under her feet, and to the authors who thought they had a new outlet for their books.

    What a crazy world.

  13. Jessica D says:

    Ugh, shocking and sad. My condolences to all involved, esp. Angela and the authors.

  14. katiebabs says:

    Very shocking. Was there infighting among the owners or perhaps someone walked away because they didn’t like the way things were being done?

  15. PK says:

    What a horrible,horrible thing.  I’m so sorry for Angela James and pissed off on her behalf.

  16. KCfla says:

    * stunned*

    I don’t know whether to feel sorry for all those involved, or to be pissed off for them as you are SB Sarah. I only hope that all involved land on there feet.

    I really thought that this company had a chance- especially hiring Angela James.

  17. I’m annoyed that this again puts a dark cloud over e-publishing, especially since there was so much hype. And I have to say, looking at their site in the past few weeks I couldn’t understand why there was so much hype. It’s very sad.

  18. CourtneyLee says:

    I hope Samhain hasn’t replaced Angela yet. Maybe she can go back?

  19. Reacher Fan says:

    Well, that’s a huge disappointment.  Maybe they just couldn’t get the funding they needed, but you have to wonder what really happened to implode so quickly and unexpectedly.

  20. This is so disappointing.  I pray all involved can land on their feet.

  21. rae says:

    I hope Samhain hasn’t replaced Angela yet. Maybe she can go back?

    What? Are you insane?  She was doing all that stuff with KK for months – Rogue Digital conference anyone? It looks like she was working for QP at the same time as working for Samhain. Anyway Angela is the one who left for pastures new. You’d have to question her loyalty to the company if you ever took her back. How do you know she won’t take off again in six months?

    Anyway you’re too late they already appointed someone.

    I’m very sorry that this hasn’t worked out for those concerned but when you make a decision you have to live with the consequences. People chose to leave their safe jobs for a start up company. Now they have to deal with the fact they are out of work. C’est la Vie.

  22. SB Sarah says:

    It is my understanding that Angie’s position has been filled by two Samhain employees.

    Rae, you are mistaken. The Digital Rogue Seminar was created by Angie, Jane, Kassia and me when there weren’t any digital publishing seminars on the RWA National conference schedule.

  23. azteclady says:

    re: rogue digital conference.

    Are you trying to infer that everyone who participated in that was “working with QP” or are you only impugning Ms James’ ethics with that comment?

  24. Ashley Ladd says:

    I’m always sorry to hear when a publisher goes out of business, authors lose contracts, and people lose jobs.

    I was told once by a recruiter never to go back to a former employer. I did and I was sorry. It was never the same. Looks like the point’s moot anyway.

  25. Angela James seems like a really nice person.  This sucks.

  26. kinseyholley says:

    Angela James is awesome and I’m horrified that this happened to her. I had planned to submit my not-quite-finished WIP to Quartet only because she was there. 

    I’m flabbergasted that a group with the kind of resumes Don Linn et al have could do something like this.  I’m hoping that there is a reasonable explanation, one of those Acts of God things that happen once in a while, but I can’t imagine what it might be.

    No, it doesn’t look good for epublishing.  But I’m more concerned on Angie’s behalf.

  27. RKCharron says:

    Hi 🙂
    My very first thought on hearing Quartet was done/closed was – What the Hell? What about Angela James? She left a great job with a company she helped build to its current level of excellence for them. I don’t know if she can go back, it would be tres awkward plus it hardly ever happens.
    I am wishing her well – and hope she gets the best severance package EVER.
    I am outraged for her.

  28. What RKCharron said.

    I’m speechless. Stunned. Furious.

  29. I was stunned to read this.  So much positive feeling seemed to be flowing around Quartet.  I hope we’ll get more information on this, because this kind of implosion hurts all of epublishing.

  30. JLFerg says:

    Here is the Publisher’s Weekly story about Quartet Press closing, with comments from Kat Meyer.

  31. Lori says:

    Angela James hasn’t made a public statement, has she? It seems a little inappropriate to expend anger on her behalf when you don’t know what she’s thinking or feeling. This might have opened a door for her that nobody is even aware of.

    I’m sad about the news but on the other hand, people always say not to take your chances on a start-up. Despite how bright and shiny it looked, it still was a start-up.

    I hope all the best for everyone involved.

  32. Jamie says:

    From the PW article:

    Kat Meyer, a book marketer, blogger and one of the principals behind the company, said the financial structure the group had envisioned was flawed and ultimately would not work.

    Then a bit later:

    In a phone interview with Meyer, she said that ongoing discussions with a number of digital vendors made it clear that their financial projections would not work.

    Isn’t that the sort of thing you’re supposed to figure out ahead of time? You know, by doing research before starting up your company?

    The time is not right for a big start-up e-publisher. It may never be; big name e-books may always work best as a spin-off from a print publisher.  Or maybe some day they’ll be able to stand on their own. But that day is a long time from coming, I think.

  33. Chrissy says:

    Thing is, according to PW they “ran the numbers” and didn’t have enough money to make it work.
    You open with THAT much fanfare, lure AJ away from Samhain, take manuscripts, and announce you are hiring AND YOU DON’T KNOW if YOU HAVE ENOUGH MONEY?
    I must be ill informed about something.  This would have been my first step.

  34. Ana Thierry says:

    Jamie wrote: Isn’t that the sort of thing you’re supposed to figure out ahead of time? You know, by doing research before starting up your company?

    EXACTLY! Once again, another group of people with little epub experience from the business end go out and try to start a company and they fail. DOH! I’m sure when they started out they had all the best intentions but they should have done their homework so they didn’t take others down with them.

  35. Jessica says:

    unbelievably treacly announcement

    I am so glad you called them on this.

  36. GrowlyCub says:

    What I want to know is why they decided that paying 35% on net would not have allowed them to operate when other e-pubs that are paying 35-40% on gross can do so?

    And I agree with other posters, how come they didn’t figure this out before they launched an all-out publicity machine?

    This indeed gives all of e-publishing yet another black eye and will make it harder for others to succeed. 

    I’m really annoyed at the way the whole thing went down. As for James, she decided to leave Samhain; I don’t get the outrage on her behalf.

  37. 99 says:

    I agree, Jessica. It’s interesting to contrast Sarah’s response, which seems right on target, IMO, to those who are still trying to defend QP. ::rollseyes::

  38. @GrowlyCub

    What I want to know is why they decided that paying 35% on net would not have allowed them to operate when other e-pubs that are paying 35-40% on gross can do so?

    The gross/net debate is only relevant to houses that don’t distribute through major online retailers who can shave up to 70% off list price with their cut, plus buyer perks. Sadly, those vendors are taking over the market for most digital publishers, by consumer demand.

    And of course, most epublishers don’t have five very large names—who’ve earned the right to their clout and salary—to pay and support equally.

    Ouch. Just ouch. I hate that they closed. It’s a blow, no doubt about it.

  39. GrowlyCub says:

    And of course, most epublishers don’t have five very large names—who’ve earned the right to their clout and salary—to pay and support equally.

    Maybe I’m badly informed, but I had never heard of 3 of those ‘five very large names’ and herein may lie one of the issues.  Over-confidence.

    Also, I’m not sure what you are trying to say with regard to the net/gross argument.  The point I was making was that most e-pubs are paying their authors more than QP had planned to and they seem to be thriving, even though they do distribute through such channels as FW, BoB, etc. that offer promotions and other incentives that lower the e-pubs’ cut.

    Now, it’s entirely possible that we may see even established e-pubs such as LI, Samhain, LSB, etc. fold over the next few years and if so, I’ll be very unhappy and agree to lay the blame at the distributors’ doors (at least in part), but for now, I cannot help but wonder why a new e-publishing venture didn’t do their research better before launching a media blitz and also whether the financial reason given is just a smoke screen for other problems.

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