Q – “My publisher disappeared! How can I find out how many books they sold?”

Q – “My publisher disappeared! How can I find out how many books they sold?”

Q – 

Hi Angela,

My publisher, (name removed), stopped paying royalties months ago and they’re not responding to emails or answering their phone. I’m starting to panic a little bit. If I tell you who they are, can you find out how many copies were sold or how much they owe me?

– R.W.


A –

Unfortunately, only your publisher can provide that information. Amazon’s sales numbers are not reliable – not by a long shot. Even if you have access to Ingram’s ipage system (only publishers can get that), those numbers are also not reliable. The “in stock” figures for print on demand titles are often “virtual” numbers so bookstores will think they really are in stock, and are easier to quickly obtain.

The only option you have is to notify the attorney general in the state where the publisher resides (they’ll only take action if they receive numerous complaints), and/or to sue your publisher, which could be costly, and could earn you nothing in the end (except expensive legal fees). If your publisher is out of business, they likely don’t have the money to pay a lawyer and may choose to not even show up in court because a judgment would be worthless if they have no assets. Needless to say, if that’s the case, your royalties have long since been spent.

If you have your book published elsewhere, don’t sign on with any publisher that takes all rights to their authors’ production files. Unfortunately, almost every print on demand publisher does (BookLocker does NOT).

Read THIS PAGE to learn how to avoid being victimized again.

READERS: Have you had a similar experience? Please share it in the comments box below!

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3 Responses to "Q – “My publisher disappeared! How can I find out how many books they sold?”"

  1. bometzler@gmail.com  October 27, 2018 at 8:44 pm

    My publisher (Infinity) “merged” with FastPencil early last year. They sent statements through Sept 2017, skipped Oct-Dec and I received a blank statement for Jan-March of 2018. No other statements have been sent, and they too have not replied to emails. I have already contacted the AG of PA but, to my knowledge, they have not pursued an investigation – even though all Infinity authors are effected by lack of statements and lack of royalty payments. It is my belief that they are selling books and keeping royalties. I have had a long range problem with them going back several years. If there is no way to monitor and check and hold publishers accountable, then what can be done?

    • By Angela Hoy - Publisher of WritersWeekly.com  October 28, 2018 at 8:13 pm

      The AG’s office won’t take action until they receive numerous complaints from a firm’s customers. If other authors are experiencing the same treatment (or lack thereof), they, too, should file complaints with the Attorney General’s office.

    • By Angela Hoy - Publisher of WritersWeekly.com  November 1, 2018 at 4:58 pm

      Any author who is having a problem with Infinity Publishing needs to contact Victoria Strauss at Writer Beware right away. See: http://www.victoriastrauss.com/contact/