I’ve Been Robbed!

Truth, not exaggeration.  Let me tell you about it.

In August 2009, I got in touch with Linda Williams at Burgundy Books in East Haddam, CT about the possibility of doing a reading/book signing.  After some talk, we agreed on October 24 as the date.  My books were to be sold on consignment (something she does with self-published authors and insisted on with me although my book was not self-published, but published through Seventh Circle Books, a small press in NYC).  I was to be paid my share after the event.

On October 24,  we had the event as planned.  Good time,  nice turn-out, sold a few books, reconnected with a few people.  Linda told me at that time that she would have the sales figures and money for me the following day.  (I thought that unlikely, but took her at her word.)  When I hadn’t received anything by November 3, 2009 I emailed her and was told that all accounting for October would be available November 19.  (Can you already see where this is going?)

On December 8, 2009 I emailed her again and was informed that she did not yet have everything tallied and accounted for, despite her prior assurance of November 19.  She said that she would have all payment due to authors paid out by December 31, 2009 for end of year taxes.  (Uh-huh.)

On January 9, 2010, I sent a letter with delivery confirmation detailing the issue and my dissatisfaction and asking that I have the sales figures and money by January 22 or I would have to seek other means of recourse.  (At this point, I was joined in the money-hunt by author MJ Allaire, who had not been paid by Linda in OVER A YEAR.)  I received a response that all would be ready on January 29.  She subsequently canceled the meeting, although on the 29th I received an email stating that she was terminating our consignment relationship and blah-blahing something about a release in contract although no contract was ever signed by either of us.  She also stated that she felt she had been very generous to us in even carrying our books and gave the impression that we were out of line.

We finally DID meet with her, only to have her return our books and promise our money by March 1.  (We’re talking a total here, for both MJ and I, of less than $300.)

On MARCH 9, 2010 (yes, you read that correctly), I emailed asking when we might receive our money and was told that her father-in-law had died and yadda-yadda and she would get the money to us on March 12, 2010.  (She subsequently cancelled that meeting and extolling us to be patient.  PATIENT?!)

On April 7, 2010 I emailed her again asking about payment.  The message was returned as a “failure notice.”  Subsequent emails (April 9, May 10, etc) resulted in the same “failure notice.”

On May 28, 2010, MJ and I failed at Small Claims Court.

On September 21, 2010, we had our day in court.  Linda was a no-show (is anyone surprised?) and the court ruled in our favor.

HOWEVER…and this is where the great state of Connecticut has let us down…they don’t enforce payment.  So….Linda passed by her due date of October 12 with nary a check to be seen.  We then had to hire a State Marshall.  HOWEVER…he could not locate her banking establishment and, apparently, cannot/will not walk into her store and demand the information so that her debt to us might be paid.

And that, friends, is where this now stands.

To say I am furious is an understatement.  I have done every lawful thing as it was recommended to me and yet this woman is still in possession of money rightfully due to MJ Allaire and myself for the sale of our books.  She has appropriated our money and refuses to deal with us.

So….those of you who bought my book (or MJ’s books) from Burgundy Books were lied to as well.  You thought you were supporting friends and independent authors, but the money was stolen.

All I can ask is that you no longer do business with Burgundy Books and that you pass the word to any and all you know to do the same.  Be careful of the booksellers you deal with and if you choose to purchase from an independent author, perhaps you ought to buy directly from the author rather than go through a middle-man.  At least that way you’re certain that the author will be paid for their work.


About Melissa Crandall

Longer ago than I care to admit--although I will--I cut my writing teeth on fanzines and media tie-in novels. Since then, I've moved on to narrative nonfiction, speculative fiction, and essays. I write to explore and understand the world around me, the things I see and experience nearby or from a distance. If I shake myself up, cool. If I shake you up, even better. Not gratuitously--what's the point in that?--but to set what I know, or think I know, on end and realize, "Well, doesn't it look different from this side!" My work is neither sexually explicit nor graphically violent. Let's face it - your imaginations will come up with things far worse than anything I could write, no matter how descriptive. Besides, it's just not my thing. I live in Connecticut with my supportive husband Ed, a cat named Ruby who might just think she's a dog, and an epileptic Australian shepherd named Holly who isn't quite certain anymore who she is, except she knows she loves her mommy.
This entry was posted in Appearances, Burgundy Books, Connecticut, CT, Darling Wendy, fantasy, Fiction, Honesty, Independent Book Sellers, Literary Fiction, Mainstream Fiction, Melissa Crandall, MJ Allaire, Science fiction, Speculative Fiction, Theft, Truth, Writer, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to I’ve Been Robbed!

  1. yes, I’ve had trouble with Linda, too. takes her months and months to pay her bills. I’ve had two readings there. the first one, no one showed. the second one, two people showed, one at my invitation. the next time I saw her she offered to be my publicist – said she had lots of connections. Imagine that – she wants to sell my books in other places, but can’t even get an audience for my readings. she also is seldom open during the hours posted on her website or her door. I’ve stopped there three times during “business hours” and the shop was shut. apparently, she doesn’t need to work. perhaps Burgundy Books is merely a hobby…

    • Matthew — THANK YOU for your comments and information. You are not the only author we are hearing that from. Encourage everyone you know to contact the Better Business Bureau regarding this and/or to write to the State Attorney General. Independent authors of any nature deserve to be paid for their work. (She offered to put me in touch with an agent; “said she had lots of connections.” Thank God I didn’t go that route.) I also have found that the store is never opened during posted hours. Maybe the store is a front for some other sort of business.

      • Brittany says:

        How perfectly horrid. I hope this gets resolved soon for both you and for MJ. Thinking of you!!!

      • Brittany,
        Feel free to send my blog posting to everyone on your email list. The more people who know about this, the better, even if they don’t live in CT. Thanks much for your support. It means a lot.

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