I can’t say that I’m surprised. When Kinship started, I really had high hopes for it. I helped come up with the name. I truly thought that they were starting up with the best of intentions, to help the authors that were wising up and moving away from Tabetha’s scam endeavors. And maybe that was their intention.
Unfortunately, the folks at Kinship established their company using Tabetha’s companies as a model, with roles that weren’t clearly defined within the company, with authors editing each others’ work, and a whole bunch of work slated to come out at the same time.
Kinship did start out by properly and legally establishing themselves as a taxable entity, so they at least had a legal foundation going for them, unlike Tabetha. That was a great start.
But I think Kinship was too ambitious. A small company that has no experience in the publishing industry should never have taken on as many authors as they did. They seemed eager to take on as many authors as possible, looking to sign Tabetha’s entire roster. The real people, anyway… never mind all of Tab’s many alts. That was a mistake.
They should have started out publishing only their own work, to get their feet wet. Then, after they knew that they were comfortable with the process of publishing, they should have taken on first a single author, to get comfortable publishing someone else’s work. From submission through the publication, launch and promotion process. It’s a lot of work to put out even ONE book properly. And there were only two or three owners and executives in the company. They took on far too much. I pressed this issue many times with Kinship’s owner, but my advice fell on deaf ears.
It’s highly suspect and completely inappropriate and unprofessional for any publishing company to have authors edit each other’s work. That blurs the lines between employer and client. The publisher works for the author, not the other way around. Authors are represented by publishing companies. That’s it. That’s the extent of the professional relationship. Tabetha did that, “hiring” authors to edit each others’ books, promising to pay them with an extra percentage of royalties – which she didn’t pay, anyway. This is absolutely wrong.
Authors who don’t know any better might think this is acceptable or professional, but it’s not. Most authors are neither trained nor qualified to be professional editors. Neither is the owner of a publishing company, unless he or she is trained in that field.
It is the responsibility of the publisher to secure the best possible editing for an author’s work. It’s the job of the publisher to make sure an author’s work gets the best treatment in a whole series of events on the road to getting published. Editing, formatting, pagination, illustrations, if there are any inside the book, cover art, and more.
Kinship published books with errors. They quickly paid to correct them (something that can not be said of Tabetha), but the errors should never have happened in the first place, If they’d had professionals editing and formatting their books, it wouldn’t have.
Another resemblance between Kinship and Tabetha’s companies is personal drama. In the past week or so, authors who wanted answers from Kinship’s owner heard only about the owner’s personal drama. Nothing about the books and business.
I’m not heartless. I’m sorry whenever anybody has hardships going on in their lives. But I do maintain that Bantam’s authors don’t hear about it if one of the executives’ dog gets hit by a car (heavens forbid). There’s personal, and there’s professional, and ne’er the twain should meet.
I’ve said it many times before, and will probably say it many times again. An author and publisher should have a comfortable working relationship, sure. But that relationship should remain professional. Period. If the two know each other independently of publishing, that’s great. By all means, they should be able to chat about whatever’s going on. But if a conversation is about business, that conversation should remain ABOUT BUSINESS. Personal conversations can happen another time. And never, EVER should personal troubles be offered by any executive as an excuse for why something’s not getting done professionally. That’s the height of unprofessionalism, and simply should. Not. Happen. Ever.
I’m kind of sorry to see Kinship fold. That leaves all of those authors with nowhere else to go. I fear that they’ll gravitate back toward Tabetha. She’s one of the two worst publishers in the history of the industry, but if the authors think that she’s the only game in town, they might feel that they have no choice.
If you’re an author, I’m here to tell you that YOU HAVE A CHOICE. You have the very real choice to publish yourself through Createspace. That’s how these small presses are publishing your work, anyway. You might as well do it yourself and keep all of your profits.
Whatever you do, DO NOT go back to Tabetha, under any name. Do NOT. take up with any small publisher that you don’t thoroughly investigate. There’s a new one out there right now that’s questionable as all hell, with only a gmail address for contact information. No phone number, no location, nothing. That sends up red flags, right there. If a publisher doesn’t even want you to know where they are, what else are they hiding?
More about that new company soon. For now, I urge you to remain calm. Don’t panic just because your publisher is folding. Don’t go rushing back to a known scam. Keep your wits about you and examine your options. You’ll likely find that you can do for yourself the same services that these companies claimed to provide.
Breathe. Think. Publish yourself.