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Watchdog Alert: Dog Ear Publishing

Watchdog Alert: Dog Ear Publishing

The Watchdog Desk of the Alliance of Independent Authors monitors self-publishing services, and identifies services which overcharge, over-promise, or in any way exploit authors.

The Watchdog Desk has received multiple reports of problems at Dog Ear Publishing, an Indianapolis-based self-publishing service. After careful investigation, in our opinion there is indeed cause for concern.

We have heard from several authors who allege they have been waiting months for payments on royalties due. Emails and phone calls to the company reportedly go unanswered. In at least two of these cases, the authors sent legal notices via certified mail, demanding immediate payment of overdue royalties and an accurate accounting of sales.

Although receipt of the demands was confirmed by the U.S. Post Office, Dog Ear Publishing has so far failed to respond.

I personally reached out to Dog Ear Publishing’s owner, Ray Robinson, via email, phone, and finally, through the company’s Facebook page. In these messages, I notified Mr. Robinson of the complaints against the company, and invited him to explain the situation and what was being done to remedy it.

On March 7th, Mr. Robinson responded via Facebook, apologizing for “missing your contact attempts”. He provided his personal email address, but no further information.

An email sent to that address on the same day is unanswered today, at time of publication, 1pm, UTC, 21st March

On March 7th, the US Better Business Bureau (BBB) posted an announcement stating that Dog Ear Publishing’s accreditation has been suspended due to failure to respond to complaints.

Additionally, the BBB site now lists 29 complaints against Dog Ear Publishing, 20 of which were filed in the last 12 months.

On March 8th, Dog Ear Publishing removed all mention of BBB accreditation from its website.

However, the company continues to solicit new business and collect payment from authors.

Perhaps the most important responsibility of any publishing service is to provide timely and accurate accounting, and prompt payment of royalties.

Accordingly, we have assigned Dog Ear Publishing our most severe level of warning:  Watchdog Advisory.

Dog Ear Publishing was offered right of reply, but did not respond before publication of this article.

#IndieAuthors beware: signs of trouble at Dog Ear Publishing. — by @johndoppler Click To Tweet

John Doppler

From the sunny California beaches where he washed ashore in 2008, John Doppler scrawls tales of science fiction, urban fantasy, and horror -- and investigates self-publishing services as the Alliance of Independent Authors's Watchdog. John relishes helping authors turn new opportunities into their bread and butter and offers terrific resources for indie authors at Words on Words. He shares his lifelong passion for all things weird and wonderful on The John Doppler Effect.

This Post Has 46 Comments
  1. I had a book published with Dog Ears back in 2007. My relationship with the company had always been good until the last couple of years. I haven’t received any royalty checks in that time and all of my attempts to contact the company have been unsuccessful. No one answers the phone anymore and Ray Robinson doesn’t respond to any calls or messages. My book certainly isn’t a big seller, but even on the Dog Ears author site there are listings of several copies that have sold over the past two years which I was never paid for. I’ve notified Ray numerous times, requesting he just send me the digital files of my book so I may publish with another company, but again, he never responds. What’s even more offensive is that Dog Ears has recently attempted to charge my credit card which they had on file for an annual distribution fee. I sent another message to Ray forbidding this, but once again, I received no response, until today, when Dog Ears notified me they would be billing my card.

    Again, I had always been happy with the company over the years, but what Ray Robinson is doing now is completely disgraceful.

  2. I published a book with Dogear publishing company in 2006. I have only received about 30 dollar total for my books. About two weeks ago two girls went to Barnes and Noble’s to order my books and got books the next day. I know that the books are selling. I filed a complaint with the BBB and they claim that the books don’t have sales but I know they are lying cause I know people who have them and dogear is the printer. They have stolen thousands of dollars from me. If anyone files a Class Action lawsuit, please let me know. I am thinking about filing one myself.

  3. I have three different books being sold by DogEar. My last payment was May 2019. I am unable to order any books now – and I cannot contact DogEar to assist me as all the phone numbers are “no longer in service.” I desperately need my files released so that I can get another publisher. If anyone would like to share a solution with me, or initiate a joint legal effort, I would be pleased to hear from you. Please email me at [email protected] Thanks.

  4. After many attempts to contact Dog Ear resulting in no responses, I filed a complaint with the Indiana Consumer Protection Division. On July 23, 2019, correspondence was received from that agency stating it would make every attempt to reach a resolution within a reasonable amount of time. After a few months with no response, I telephoned the Indiana Consumer Protection via telephone. After leaving a voicemail explaining the reason for my phone call, no one from that agency returned my call.

    There is no way to get around this. Ray Robinson is a criminal and belongs behind bars; however, if he has political pull, this leaves me wondering if there is anything we can do about it.

  5. I have the same complaints. I can not get through to the company nor have I received any royalties since 2012. I have sold books but have not seen anything even listed in the site. I wish I could just get my Gally back and resubmit to another company. Hopefully I can get through to them and sort that out.
    I have not idea what I have even sold. It cost me over 4,000.00. I am not pleased with what has become of them.

  6. Hello. Add me to the list of authors who has been duped by a lying dog. I’d like to thank all of you who have submitted their complaint about dog dirtbag publisher. I have not received any replies or, response from Ray or, Chris his son much less one penny. All I would like is my isdn number to be canceled or, transferred to another publisher and my digital files. Their company phone numbers now go to a recording that says the numbers no longer work. Does anyone know what is going on? I read somewhere that if there is a big enough number of complaints and large number of unhappy authors it may force this crook to release what belongs to us. Anyone?

    1. I am also a victim of the dog. I published with them in 2006 and I am not receiving my royalties. I filed a complaint with the BBB but lost hope after Dogear claimed the book was not selling. I’ve had to pay a 20.00 yearly fee just to keep the book on the list and t to order more of my own books. Their number is no longer in service and there is no means if communication. I’m willing to do whatever it takes to help bring this scammer down.

  7. There appear to be a lot of experienced people on this post so I’m wondering if anyone would be willing to help me avoid the pitfalls of unreliable publishers. I recently spoke with Christian Faith Publishing in Meadville, PA and they sounded pretty good. But I did a little digging and saw Dog Ear’s review of them. I took it with a grain of salt since they’re competitors so I checked the Better Business Bureau rating and the they actually have an A+, but there were still complaints listed. So I checked BBB’s rating on Dog Ear and it’s an “F”. However I also found out the CFP’s owner is Chris Rutherford who worked for Tate publishing that went out of business after bilking authors of their royalties and the owner have been convicted. So, the million dollar question… does anyone know any publisher that can me trusted outside of the biggies, like Random House, Harper, etc… ? Thanks.

    1. My suggestions from my experience. which included being totally ripped off by Dog Ear. Do NOT sign with ANY vanity publisher. I notified Ray Robinson with Dog Ear telling him I wanted to sever ties with his “company;” even though, I STILL want the money owed to me. Naturally, he has not responded. Afterward, I took a disc containing the second edition of my book, which was a polished edition of the original manuscript, to a printer. There, my manuscript was printed in paperback format. It looks MUCH better than the one printed by Dog Ear.

      I sell the new edition of my book, whenever I speak to groups, etc. If you choose to do this, don’t be disheartened. John Grisham sold his first novel, “A Time to Kill,” out of the trunk of his car until he found a publisher. Also, doing this has saved a ton of money for me!

      All the best to you!

  8. Greetings. We are not acquainted; my name is Waldman and I have just now stumbled across your page here. I have rather a sinking feeling that I’ve been pretty badly beaten up by the miscreants at Dog Ear. I am angry, confused, and licking my wounds. Is there any counsel you might offer? —I’d be most grateful. Thank you, H. Waldman, (516) 359-1848

  9. Want to thank Megan Weddle my contact at Dog Ear for promptly answering my call immediately informing me, she “no longer works for Dog Ear” which started me looking into complaints. I had not done that since I first contracted with Dog Ear. Saved me a lot of legal fees & frustration many of you have experienced unanswered calls expecting royalty checks that never show etc.

  10. Along with other authors I am most concerned that Dog Ear does not “print on demand” or fill orders as nearly all the 50+ sites who seem to intend to offer my book are out of stock or not yet available Barnes & Noble fades in and out sometimes cover picture starts to show then disappears. Dog Ear claimed to have a relationship with B&N. My booklet is a seasonal stocking stuffer small & inexpensive.

  11. I have also filed a complaint & received notice of mediation.
    I check Amazon rankings daily if not hourly! The paperback ranking rose from 5144946 August 12 to 364802 or 4 million, 780 thousand points yet Dog Ear posted zero sales when at length August 2019 finally posted. I am not an algorithm mathmetician but I think at least one book sold in August.

  12. I will join this chorus of disappointment and betrayal. I have published 3 books with Dog Ear since 2011, and everything went well. Great products, good service, timely payments as expected.

    In late 2017, I prepaid to publish my fourth book with them since they offered a deal. I was being loyal to them. Family problems got in the way of my finishing the book, but they assured me the offer was good without a deadline restriction.

    When a friend alerted me to this site and the problems at Dog Ear, I reached out to the owner, Ray Robinson asking for a refund as I was not sure when I could finish the book due to some ongoing medical issues and bills. The prepayment refund would help with our bills. Mr. Robinson replied that he would refund me. I thought he was being loyal to a 3-time client of Dog Ear. Time passed. I emailed again several times asking what was up. No replies. I can only assume his refund offer was not a genuine one. I guess loyalty is a one-way street.

    So, I seem to be out the prepayment fee, and perhaps royalties as well given what I have read here. Very sad as I had a good relationship with them and they did good work. I have no idea if they are filling any orders with Amazon or others, what I may be owed, or how I might get my formatted files from them if I want someone else to print the books.

    If the refund check does come I will let you all know here. But, for now, I join in the warning to beware of Dog Ear. They were a good publisher. But what was ain’t is!

    1. I am updating to my September 28th comment:
      I made contact with another publisher in hopes of getting my books published with a new company. They informed me that they would ask for my digital files from Dog Ear Publishing. Ray Robinson replied that I would have to call him to ask for my digital files to be returned….which I did by voice mail, since no one answers their phones, it’s all voice mail now. I have also left messages on their author website to no replies.
      I e mailed Ray Robinson to ask that he stop selling my books and to give me the Hosting company contact name and Admin password for my website and I again asked for the return of my digital files. I then followed up with a Cease & Desist letter, sent to Ray Robinson, Dog Ear Publishing by certified mail, signature requested a week ago. My e mail was not replied to, the signature on the certified letter was received and signed by a staff member. I still have not heard back on any of it.
      The other publisher told me they can’t begin to publish my books (2) until Dog Ear releases my files.
      I also filed a BBB Complaint.
      My next step will be to file with the Attorney General of the State of Indiana if I do not hear back within a week.
      So, as of this writing, I can either contact an attorney and the Attorney General to file a complaint and inform others who are also suffering this situation.

      1. Ms. Reed,
        I too have two books published with Dog Ear. I have not been paid in over a year regarding book sales. At this point, that is not important to me. I want my work back (digital files) so I may publish with another company.
        Please let me know of any progress you make as I am about to launch legal litigation.
        [email protected]

      2. Hello will you please let me know how things turn out? I published with them in 2006 with little royalties in return from my work. I also filed a complaint with the BBB but they lied saying my book was not selling when I know people personally who have ordered them. I also tried contacting them of no avail. I personally think they are about to shut down or go bankrupt.

  13. Does anyone know a copyright lawyer? It seems that we need legal information for retrieving our files and transferring ISBN numbers to another publisher. Please post here if you have info. Thanks

  14. I too am missing royalty payments. After repeated phone calls, e mails, there is no response. I contacted by rep, Matt Murry and repeatedly get an out-of-office canned reply with a list of contact e mails. Their history (since 2013) when I published my first book was a monthly check. In 2018, I had to call, write for a check. I took screenshots of my author profit payments, sensing the problem. In May, I was contacted for a payment by credit card, to maintain my website. Although I updated my site and attempted to pay it, the payment is not going through. Also, they’ve tacked on an additional $100, but never answered by calls or processed by original cost of $75. The last check I received was early 2019 and I was due a check in May, per my Author Profit Payment page, but never got it. Next step: An attorney.
    Anyone for a class action lawsuit?

    1. Yes. Please. Count me in. I’ve also been scammed by them. Filed a complaint with the BBB but lost hope after Dogear lied that the book was not selling when I know people personally who have purchased books which includes the church I attended.

  15. I originally left a message here at ALLI on April 8th 2019. On this same day I contacted the Better Business Bureau of Indiana where DogEar Publisher is located. Ray Robinson finally responded on July 7, 2019. He told me that he was still here and fully operational. He also told me that he had split from his two partners and was working to rebuild the company and that he had passed the 10,000 new authors mark this year. On July 23 and July 30th of 2019, I responded to Ray Robinson’s letter only to receive no response. I can only take from this silence that Ray’s letter was for the Better Business Bureau’s benefit alone and that he never intended to work with me. I want him to release my word files and cancel my ISBN number(which is in DogEar Publishing’s name) so that I can move forward and republish my books with someone else. This would be a way to get out of this terrible loss of failure and depression. It is like a death only worse.

  16. I’m just realizing that I have a problem with them. The unanswered emails I assumed was one weak link employee. Now I see it’s mostly any Robinson I have issues getting answers. Ray did email me back after I brought up an attorney, he said the reviews are incorrect. I’m noticing a pattern, however. I wrote a blog post on my website this morning about my struggles with Dog Ear.

  17. Me too! Everyone
    Lucky I published a tiny booklet “Xmas Stories for the Tasteful Athiest” at their lowest $1500 if I recall correctly rate. I was also wary of buying any marketing or other services so glad I did CD & audiobook elsewhere.

  18. I am also a victim I have not received any royalties and it’s been over a year with no response from dogshit publishing so what can we do about it? Can we file a class action lawsuit?

  19. I too published with Dog Ear, 3 large books, they always were late with author payments, and sometimes had to repeatedly ask for them to send the check, my last check was 10/2018, for books sold 6to 12 months previously. They stopped all further payments, but kept sending me invoices for marketing renewals etc…they do not return emails, phone calls, but keep selling the books and collecting the money…we just never see our portion of that money.
    In April 2019 I switched my books to IngramSpark, and the difference is dramatic…total transparency in sales… posted immediately, all sales in 30 day period posted, with ability to get sale report for any time period.
    My sales are also up with them…is it because they actually promote the book, or is it because Dog Ear hid half of our sales? Don’t know. Some of us filed complaints with the Attorney General, guess there are quite a few of us, they are investigating.
    So my last full year of sales with Dog Ear have been stolen by them. Every once in a while I send Dog Ear a invoice for past due payments…no response.

  20. I have also published with dog ear My book is selling all over the world Only check I get are mob direct sales not receiving my amazon checks or gram or barons and noble in 2019 Dog ear does not reply to email or phone calls . I can’t get into my website or blog either which I paid for them to build!

  21. They have also not paid me for the books I have sold. Do not use Dog Ear. They cannot fulfill promises they make

  22. I used DogEar several years ago and it was fine. The world changes. My last book (co-authored) with them was a logistics disaster. Amateurish approach to cover art, copy changes and interior design looked like they had been outsourced to someone overseas. Huge delays. We have NEVER received a royalty payment after a year-and-a-half. But the biggest insult was the obvious indifference by Ray Robinson. He basically told us to go pound sand when I asked to speak with him about the problems. He ignored emails and phone calls from my co-author and even ignored letters from our attorney. He needs to be driven out of business.

  23. I published two books with Dog Ear, one in 2013 and a second in 2015. I was very pleased with their services initially but I stopped receiving royalty payments in January of 2018. I initially reached out to my contacts Amber and Matt in January of 2019. Amber told me that I needed to contact Ray, the owner. Matt said he would look into it for me and two days later responded via email; he touched base with the Accounting department and was told they would be sending a new batch of checks shortly. I never received a check. I followed up earlier this month with a note to Matt. I received an automated response telling me to contact the Accounting department via a generic email. I sent an email to the Accounting department and another to Ray. No response. I have since followed with voice mails to Amber, Matt and Ray. No response. Seems they have or are going out of business. Through this time they charged my credit card for the $20 annual service fee. I have since removed my credit card information from my account and notified my bank about fraudulent charges to my account. I would suggest others do the same and cut their losses.

  24. I published in 2012. As of 2018 we stopped receiving royalties. The checks were always delayed but now nothing. Also in March they charged our credit card twice for the marketing fees for my website. We have called and emailed endlessly… nothing. It is so disappointing. I may need to find a new publisher – as we have promotional engagements coming up. Any recommendations?

  25. Anyone can have financial troubles, but transparency in the midst of those troubles goes a long way to extending grace. I’m sad to say that my multiple attempts to contact DogEar, the business office (which is non-existent now), or anyone at all I had worked with there (Adrienne Miller—my project manager, or Ray Robinson—the owner) have been absolutely fruitless. No response. Silence. Crickets.

    Dog Ear has not paid royalties, and a formal letter I sent to them was returned postmarked as “undeliverable.”

    So, if you are thinking of self-publishing with Dog Ear, DON’T. Until they clean up their act, you’re rolling loaded dice and will lose.

  26. My name is Susan Chapman and I am a self published author. I need some advice. I published both of my books with Dog Ear Publishing and I fear that they have gone out of business. Last week, I received my first copy of my second book published with them and after that day of receiving my book, I have not been able to reach anyone. I also paid for marketing and read aloud ebooks. I honestly do not know what to do. I have book signings coming up and readings and no way of getting my books printed. Also, I just wrote my third book and now need to look for a new publisher. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Susan:
      I’m in the same situation. I just published my third book with them but now I’m afraid to order more for fear they will never show. I have also paid two installments on a new project which I have now canceled but probably wont see a refund. I have several projects ready to go and was trying to contact Dog Ear to get the new ones moving but they have not responded to me in more than two months. I have since sought out a new publisher and am going to try Booklocker. they are recommended by independent reviewers and so far are very professional and respond quickly to my inquiries. Their fees are lower and if you tell them that you are a disgruntled author for Dog Ear you may get a discount. Hope this helps. Ay further info I can give you let me know at [email protected].
      Dave Monroe

    2. I missed a book fair and tour last fall because of they printed 100 glaringly defective copies of my book and then failed to rectify it (twice in a row) until I threatened to sue them. I had to really lean on them to get them to take action with the printer to send me replacements — eventually they did. They make false claims and are slippery. As people like to say, no transparency. Suing them will be useless, don’t waste your money, and don’t bother going through their staff — no matter what people say about the publisher himself, sadly, he is the only person who can get anything done there. Possibly there are no other staff left. Anyway, get your books to a different publisher. I have no idea how to do this, and perhaps a group of us could write up guidelines on what is involved in transferring to a different self publisher. I do know that it’s a pain, because you have to get them to cancel your ISBN, which is hard to do when they refuse to communicate. You can see from these reviews that many people are having trouble, and that is a small comfort. It’s hard enough to be an author without having people like this take advantage of us.

      1. Hi Gianna,
        I just found out about the problems at Dog Ear. In January my first book with them would have been published but I’m going to cancel my contract. I will have to find another self-publisher and am thinking of Amazon. I’m interested in seeing if we can collect info on the guidelines you mentioned. Please let me know if I can help.


    3. I did my first book with Dog Ear Publishing in 2009. My second book released in 2015. I order books from time to time for my own use and just today have tried again with no answer with the phone call. When I came online to contact them I saw this Watchdog Alert on them. I have two more books ready for publishing but am sad to think it won’t be with them. But all things in life change. I have no clue what they may owe me at this time for the two books already out there. Any and all help in what direction I should go would me most appreciated. I want them to release my word files and cancel my ISBN number, which is in Dog Ear Publishing’s name so that I can move forward and republish my books with a different company. Thank you for your help in this matter.

  27. I’m sorry to say I’m one of those who’ve had this exact experience with Dog Ear. I’ve now had to get a lawyer to send them a cease and desist letter just to get them to take my book off the market. It’s the only request they’ve complied with. They still have thousands of dollars of royalties that belong to me.

    And now I’m having to pay another company and start the process all over again. It’s been not only financially damaging, but extremely disheartening as well, especially because my book is selling well and generating some lovely reader comments.

    Please, please do yourself a huge favor and stay away from this deadbeat company.

    1. It is so sad, especially the starting over part. I have book signings and readings that I have scheduled. I feel like I am frozen in time

      1. I am sorry to hear my same story with DEP from so many other people. For awhile, I was dispirited by the problems with this dead beat publisher, and didn’t write much. The fact that I have no way of knowing how many books have sold was bugging me, since DEP says not enough to issue a royalty check ( hard to believe, after a year of supposedly no sales, when on Amazon there are used ones on the market). And the quality of the books printed is pitiful. .
        But here it is: I won’t let my life be governed by anger or despair no matter how justified. Is it worth moving the book? Yes. It’s your baby, and even though DEP didn’t take care of it, you still can. People ask authors why they write, and most say it feeds their soul, and when you love your book, someone else out there is waiting to love it too. We all deserve that. So I hope you call one of the different publishers mentioned in these posts!

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