The world of publishing is a tricky one, and as recent years have shown, there are a wide variety of ways that individuals can be cheated. From readers who fall victim to bought-and-paid for reviews to authors who are handed lousy terms for their hard-earned manuscripts, it’s a wonder books continue to reach the retail shelves.
A recent case involving a small press romance/erotica publisher highlights just one of the issues authors must contend with. Jana Koretko of Colorado has finally been charged for her part in stealing royalties from her authors. The process involved falsifying ebook sales reports in order to pocket the actual royalties herself.
Korteko’s multiple counts stem from underreporting an estimated 10,000 book sales to a total of about fifteen authors. By claiming lower-than-actual sales, Koretko pocketed an additional $125,000 of income. The icing on the cake is that she also failed to report this stolen amount as income on her taxes; that will place the defendant in additional legal trouble with the government.
This type of behavior is one of the many issues authors must contend with in the pursuit of being a “real” author. Publishers are the ones to control the sales reports, making this type of theft all too easy. In JK Publishing’s case, the real irony is that Koretko was also falsifying the sales numbers to the authors, boosting up their perceptions and making them think their books were faring better than they actually were. That makes it pretty risky to then turn around and reduce those numbers in order to keep a higher portion of the income. It was only after an author questioned the discrepancy in alleged sales in relation to how much money they received that an investigation was launched.
While Koretko will have to wait until next month for a hearing–nearly two years after the initial allegation of wrongdoing–hopefully this serves as a dire warning to publishers to keep their books straight and their dealings with the lifeblood of their companies honest.