The Dreamspinner Press Controversy
The true story of a publisher that stopped paying its authors — and is somehow still in business
On July 16, 2021, I made the following announcement on my public Facebook page:
“I have made the hard decision to part ways with Dreamspinner Press and their imprint, Harmony Ink, who published Out of Order (2015) and Order in the Court (2016). The fate of these books — which I still love dearly, though they were written when I was a very different person — is somewhat up in the air. It is my eventual plan to re-release these titles along with a previously unreleased third book in the series after some editing and rebranding. Whether I will self-publish them or offer them to a new publishing company is yet to be determined.”
This decision, though it seemed to come out of the blue for many of my family, friends, and followers, was a long time coming. For the past two years, the publishing world has grown ever more weary of Dreamspinner Press. Once a leading indie publishing house in LGBT+ romance, DSP has lost all credibility and, like rats fleeing a sinking ship, the house’s big name authors — and many of its smaller ones — have been pulling their titles from DSP’s virtual shelves.
But that’s how this story ends. Let’s start at the beginning.
I have always wanted to be a writer. The idea of publishing a book was as wild and glamorous to me as the idea of becoming a princess is for most five-year-old girls. A beautiful dream, but unattainable. When I wrote my first 50k novel as a NaNoWriMo project in November 2012, I really didn’t think anyone would ever read it. But I revised it, and in a fit of absolute insanity (or so I thought), I sent it to Dreamspinner Press’s YA Imprint, Harmony Ink, in early 2014. They sent back a contract.
You can’t imagine my excitement. I was 19 years old, newly enrolled in my first year of University, and full of bright-eyed enthusiasm. They offered me a $500USD advance and I nearly fainted. I remember asking my mom, “Do I need a lawyer?” when it came time to sign the contract. My first book, Out of Order, finally came out in May 2015. By the time it was released, I was already finished writing the sequel, Order in the Court, which was again picked up…