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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.

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  1. 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

  2. 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?

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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?

  7. 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.

  8. 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!

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

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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?

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

    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.

  15. 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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