Report to SFWA members regarding Dorchester Publishing

Dear SFWA members:

As many of you are aware, on December 10, 2010, the board of SFWA voted unanimously to place Dorchester Publishing Co, inc, on probation following an inquiry after we became aware of several instances in which Dorchester acted against the contractual and legal interest of authors, specifically by not paying royalties when contractually specified, or distributing books in a medium for which it had not legally secured rights.

Dorchester did not dispute these events. With cooperation from Dorchester, SFWA placed the publisher on a period of probation for one year. During the period of probation, SFWA asked the following from Dorchester in order for it to remain on the qualifying list after its probation period:

That it fulfilled its contractual and financial obligations to the authors it has already published, including full and accurate accounting of royalties per contract, with scheduled payment of any royalties outstanding;
That it examined its catalog to ensure it was no longer offering fiction in formats for which it has not contracted rights, and make whole those authors whose rights it has violated;
That there were no instances of contractual violations on the part of Dorchester against authors signed to publishing deals after the start of the probationary period;
That Dorchester assisted those authors wishing to revert rights, consistent with the company’s existing policies regarding rights reversion.
After SFWA performing a formal review of Dorchester’s progress on tasks above, based on the information currently available the board believes that while Dorchester made efforts on each of those points, they have not fulfilled their contractual obligations to our members.

Thus Dorchester Publishing has been removed from the list of qualifying Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America markets, effective from the start of the probation period December 10, 2010. No fiction contracted and paid for (by initial advance payment) before the term of probation began, December 10, 2010, will be affected by Dorchester’s status.

Sincerely yours,

Mary Robinette Kowal
Vice President, SFWA