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Aspen Mountain Press Shuts Down; Unpaid Fantasy Authors Feel Stiffed

Romance Novel

First Posted: 11/04/11 03:26 PM ET Updated: 11/07/11 11:41 AM ET

Aspen Mountain Press, a small publishing company in Aurora, Colorado, suspended operations recently after authors began reporting they had never been paid by the company and were locked into contracts there.

Charles Sanders, an author at AMP, told The Aurora Sentinel he should have started receiving royalties October 1 of this year. However, Sanders has yet to hear anything from the company, despite several attempts.

Celia Kyle, another author, writes on the Aspen Mountain Press Facebook wall:

I have posted a public request for the return of my rights for both 'Tie Me to the Bedpost' and 'In Knots' as the publisher, Sandra Hicks, is not responding to emails requesting royalty payments, royalty statements and is currently in breach of contract.

On a blog titled 'The Naughty Bits,' other authors weigh in with similar stories. Candy Caine (presumably a pseudonym) writes:

My 'Dancing for Dollars,' which was supposed to be released on September 5, 2011 has had... a history with Aspen Mountain Press dating back nearly five years. At that time, I had been contacted by Sandra Hicks... I immediately sent a story to her and never heard back from her, despite my inquiries. Nearly two years later... I signed a contract. Then it was a rush -- only to find out that the story is being held hostage.

The owner has since been accused of using authors' royalties for her personal use. A principal at AMP came forward in mid-October and acknowledged, in a blog titled Elf Killing And Other Hobbies, the customer service email account alone had over 500 unanswered emails and "everything was an absolute nightmare."

While some authors now report they have finally received rights reversion letters, the Aspen Mountain Press website says the company has temporarily suspended operations due to the current health of the owner.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly listed several books as published by Aspen Mountain Press. The titles were published by Cleis Press and Wild Rose Press.
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Filed by Ryan Grenoble  |