My publisher just dropped me! What do I do now?

On March 27th, I woke up to five of the most confusing emails I’ve ever received. Each one was from my publisher, had a pdf of one of my books attached, and contained only two words.

Rights returned.

Confused, I did the unthinkable and checked the author’s Facebook page for the publisher. At first, it appeared that it had simply vanished. I caught a comment from another author in a notification that I could no longer open. It read simply “I just got emails that said rights returned.”

Still incredibly confused, I sent an email to the publisher. It was fairly simple, so I’ll include the entire email below.


Sorry, I must have missed an email. Can you tell me why all of my book rights are being returned?


Nicole Luttrell

The answer came days later. As it was also simple, I’ll include that entire email below as well.

Your books were returned for a lack of promotion.

The only thing I cut from that communication was the name of the COO. I could share it. But I, unlike the people who run this publishing company, am a professional. I’ll not be saying the name of the publisher here. You know who published me. 

I have had links to my books on my website for years. The Woven trilogy isn’t exactly something I’m quiet about. And yet, at some point, this became not good enough. It wasn’t good enough for at least one other writer. I believe there were likely other victims in this culling, but I cannot prove that.

So here I was, at the end of March, with four books dumped into my lap that had been adequately represented just days before and me with no reason to think this was going to happen. 

I am hurt. I feel betrayed. I don’t know the real reason my publisher decided to drop me and potentially other authors. And yes, I imagine if I’d fought the issue I could have forced them to keep right on publishing my book. But frankly, I don’t feel like it. 

Frankly, I think I’ve got every reason to take my books and go home. Frankly, there’s a reason that Falling From Grace was the last book I published with them, even though I’ve published several books and a podcast since then. The company wasn’t exactly professional to start with. The covers were sad, the promotion was dismal. The launches were botched and my concerns were never met with any real answers. And honestly, the rights for at least one of my books were about to expire anyway.

If you ever find yourself in this situation, I have some advice for you. First, understand that it is perfectly okay to get mad. This was shitty behavior, and I didn’t deserve it. My books didn’t deserve it. I have every right to be angry. 

Don’t freak out online

Just because I have a right to be angry doesn’t mean I should jump on social media and start dragging people. It’s childish, and it’s unprofessional. Even here on my personal blog, I’m not going to start calling out my former publisher by name. I’m not going to call names.

For one thing, I’m a grown-ass adult. Just because others have not treated me properly doesn’t mean I’ve got to act in kind.

For another thing, the publishing world isn’t all that big. If I was to act like a child over this, I’m not going to like how other professionals in the field react. 

Don’t feel like you’ve got to hide what happened to you

That doesn’t mean I can’t tell you all that this happened, though. After all, I have every reason to warn people that this is the kind of thing that can happen to you. Since this is a blog about living a writing life, it’s kind of my job to warn you. Just because you have a publisher doesn’t mean your career is set.

This is one of many reasons literary agents are worth their weight in coffee. 

But if you have been mistreated in the publishing world, and you can talk about it without acting like a twat, do so. We need to know who the bad actors are in this world. 

See this as the opportunity that it is

Finally, celebrate. Yes, I’m sorry to say that this means my books are out of print right now. If you never got a chance to read the Woven series, you’re going to have to wait until later this year. 

Don’t think for one second that a setback like this has to be the end of your writing career. It’s not. You have your work, and you can do whatever the hell you want with it now. That’s the beautiful thing about the self-publishing world. If you have the rights to your books, then do what you want with them.

More of this on Monday. 

All in all, I think the next several months are going to be pretty exciting for me. And for you, if you like my work. Because now I have all my books back. I can only make them better. And of course, I have several other projects in the works. 

If you’re a fan of my horror stories, check in on Monday. 

If you loved season one of AA, July is going to be fun for you.

If you’re a fan of fantasy stories about boys who weave visions and girls that spin light, you should look forward to November. 

Don’t let anyone stop you, my loves. Don’t let other people’s shitty behavior make you shine any less. And I can’t wait to take you along on this journey with me. 

Paper Beats World is a labor of love. If you can, please consider supporting us on Ko-fi.


4 thoughts on “My publisher just dropped me! What do I do now?

Add yours

  1. You are so right about the publishing world being a small place plus if it goes on the internet it stays on the internet. It doesn’t matter if you delete it it will come back to haunt you. I know of many authors who found themselves in the same situation as you. Be please you have your rights back so you can resubmit elsewhere. Who knows you might just find yourself with a much better publisher. Good luck ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Good on you Nicole. Whatever happened to the days when authors wrote and publishers published? Well, yeah. Publishers have abrogated another of their historic responsibilities. Almost since Gutenberg in 1455, writers were in charge of creating books that readers wanted to read and publishers made sure those readers knew about those books and delivered them. Since the arrival of the internet, publishers seem determined to put themselves out of business by ensuring more and more writers learn how to self-publish. It’s not that difficult. If publishers won’t market our books, we might as well do it ourselves with our self-published books. The profit margins are much, much better.

    Liked by 1 person

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