Well, that was unexpected.
The saga of Ellora’s Cave has been chronicled over the last few months, and especially over the last few weeks, on various e-book blogs I read. For example, from The Passive Voice:
- Ellora’s Cave
- The mysterious case of the missing royalty checks from Ellora’s Cave
- More Ellora’s Cave troubles…
- Cat Grant Gives Away Her Unreverted Ellora’s Cave Titles
And those are just from the last week or so. Authors have complained about royalty checks not arriving, and the publisher refusing to revert the rights to their titles, and so on. And Jane Litte at the Dear Author blog wrote a post called “The Curious Case of Ellora’s Cave” discussing the matter.
Susan blogged last year that Ellora’s Cave was “still going strong,” but even if that turned out not to be the case after all, there’s nothing terribly unusual about that, right? Publishers have troubles all the time these days, especially with e-books changing the playing field. (For example, there were those times a few years ago when Meisha Merlin and Embiid bit the dust, or more recently when comics self-publishing platform Graphicly got bought and shut down.)
But as it turns out, the publisher of Ellora’s Cave found Litte’s post to be a bridge too far, and has filed suit against her for defamation. She claims that none of the things Litte said in her article—authors not being paid, Ellora’s Cave liquidating assets, and so on—are true, and wants Dear Author to have to take down the postings, be prohibited from writing anything else about Ellora’s Cave, reveal the identity of commenters to her articles (which could include some anonymous EC authors or staff), and pay $25,000 plus punitive damages.
Litte has been fairly positive about the affair on her Twitter account, writing, “Dear @ellorascave I welcome your suit and look forward to inspecting all of your books. Truth is a defense in defamation cases.” She feels she can prove everything she wrote, and is looking for an Ohio lawyer specializing in defamation to defend the suit. (Seems clear she hasn’t found one yet; I suspect the first thing such a lawyer would have told her would be not to make any further statements about the case on social media.)
At The Digital Reader, Nate suggests that this could be a SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) lawsuit. which could get it dismissed (and Ellora’s Cave in trouble?) if it happens to be the case. That remains to be seen.
But whether it’s true or not, this will absolutely serve to draw all the more attention to the troubles Ellora’s Cave may or may not be having, as outlets that hadn’t had much interest in covering the proceedings before (such as this one!) are suddenly moved to report on the lawsuit to all their readers. Hello, Streisand Effect, so nice to see you again…
And then there’s the question of whether Ellora’s Cave actually did open itself to discovery—which is to say, Jane Litte’s lawyers being allowed to look through its books to ascertain whether or not what she said was true. I know that in theory this is supposed to happen when a lawsuit is filed, but so much that’s true in theory turns out not to hold water in the real world, so I’m not holding my breath until more facts come out.
Update: SB Sarah at Smart Bitches Trashy Books has written a good in-depth look at the situation.