Trafford Publishing Theft of royalties, failure to maintain accounting of copies sold. Bloomington Indiana
In 1991 out of desperation I wrote an autobiography entitled, Ex-Inmate In Exile. This book was not about any encounters I had had with the prison system but, rather, the mental health system. I wrote it out of desperation for what was then the previous 20 years of my life as a mental patient. Initially, I self-published it at a vanity press here in Baltimore. Then, six years later, I republished the book with Trafford Publishing.
At that time, Trafford was located in Canada where it had been founded. Back then, it was also a thoroughly reputable business. Alas, it did not survive, and was sold off to a U.S. gang of crooks who ferried it off to Indiana, where it has been ever since. Trafford is now owned by a larger company known as Author Solutions. A.S., in turn, is owned by Penguin Books, which is owned by Random House. There, you have the hierarchy of ownership. After disposing of the copies of my book which I took delivery of from the first subsidy press I went to, I decided to sign with Trafford in order to be able to sell to a wider audience than just here in Baltimore. My feeling is that my life had already been full enough with tragedy so that I didn't need Trafford to add any insult to injury at this late stage, by stealing my royalties and by not updating me as to numbers of copies sold. I couldn't give less of a flying fuck if Trafford sues me for what I am revealing about them here.
When I published in Baltimore, I took delivery of 1,000 copies which I peddled in bars and restaurants. As I sold more and more copies, the book acquired more and more local notoriety, and it became easier to sell still more copies. Also during this time, a friendly college professor decided to make the book required reading for his students in Psychology class, and did so for a period of 13 consecutive years. Thus when I then signed with Trafford, I did so with the hope that the book had already acquired enough recognition that it would not be necessary for me to spend huge sums of money on advertising for it. I spent the next 16 years waiting for a hoped-for snowball effect to happen, and for sales to take off on their own. All during this period of time, however, Trafford only sporadically paid me and even those payments were paltry. Each time I called to find out if there had been any sales, I was simply told there hadn't been any. My Trafford royalty account on the Internet is never updated.
In July of 2015, I decided to spend some money on advertising afterall. I had a digital ad for the book designed for me which I then emailed to the Village Voice in New York. After I payed them the sum of money they asked for, VV then ran the ad four times that month in the hardcopy versions of their weekly publication. In their online version, they first linked the ad to the Amazon.com page which had been created for the book quite some time ago. They then ran the ad four different times in this online version. At the end of the month, VV informed me that there had been a total of 221 clickthroughs onto Amazon. Out of that number, it seemed to me I should have received at least a handful of actual sales. However, such as is perpetually the case with Trafford, there has been no indication of sales in my royalty account whatsoever, and I have received no payment.
In May of 2014, I learned that a class action lawsuit against Trafford had been brought by a magnanimous law firm in New York. This lawsuit alleged that Trafford was promoting fraudulent sales packages to its authors, designed supposedly to enhance sales of their books. The suit also alleged theft of authors' royalties, and I subsequently put all my hope into a successful resolution of this lawsuit as a means of resolving the trouble I was having with Trafford. Sadly, in September of 2015, I learned that the lawsuit had failed.
My worst fear is that Trafford is actually selling more and more copies of my book without paying me and without informing me of the numbers of copies sold. I have toyed with the idea of writing Trafford a notarized letter, in which I make it abundantly clear that I wish them to cease publication of the book. I would then send this letter to them by certified mail. But I'm also afraid they would ignore that letter, and continue publication illegally.
Whoa is me.