We regularly hear from authors signed to Alyson Books, the gay publisher now owned by Regent Media, who haven’t been paid royalties, or have seen their contracts stipulating their books will be published drag on for months (or years!) without a single hardcover or paperback ever produced. It’s because Regent, owner of Out and The Advocate, is short on cash. Which might explain why Regent heads Paul Colichman and Stephen Jarchow (pictured, top) are trying to unload their book unit. For zero dollars.
Last month, Regent filed papers with the SEC saying it would stop reporting its finances to the industry watchdog. (Collective eye roll: “What finances?”) The move came after a string of shut downs including Unzipped, major staff guttings, and numerous reports about freelancers and contractors going months without payment. Short on cash, Regent appears to be unloading its assets, we’re told.
That’s where Alyson Books comes in. The publisher hasn’t released a new book in months, despite signing authors with agreements to release their books months ago. Only tomes from Christopher Bram and David McConnell have been put out, relays a source, and that’s because they’re friends of Alyson’s publisher Don Weise. (Even Out magazine’s collection essays book has even been delayed, because apparently book printers want to be paid for their work. But you can still read a preview chapter, so there’s that.) What to do? Sell. To who? None other than Weise.
Regent and Weise (pictured, left), who’s been on this job since 2008, are in talks to give him (and some investors) control of the publisher, we’re hearing. And while the sale price is expected to be zero dollars, any new owner would assume the debt obligations of Alyson. And depending on how Regent keeps its books, that amount could be substantial, given all the royalty checks to authors that were never sent out. We’ve already heard about how Regent balances the budget to make The Advocate look profitable (by moving the cash-positive HIV Plus magazine under its umbrella) when it actually loses money, so don’t be surprised, we’re told, when Alyson’s balance sheet looks worse than it is when Regent unloads it.
On the upside, without Regent’s involvement, maybe Alyson will actually be able to get some books published?