This is Paul D. Cohn, author of “Sao Tome-- Journey to the Abyss-Portugal’s Stolen Children,” and “Rapto em Lisboa,” the latter published by DIFEL in October 2008. “Rapto,” with its new title, is DIFEL’s Portuguese production of “Sao Tome.” DIFEL offered to purchase my copyright for a Portuguese edition in March 2008, and I sent them a signed contract the same month. As part of the contract we agreed to an advance of €1,000, a royalty schedule, and 6-mo. reporting on sales. DIFEL fast-tracked the production, produced a fine translation in an elegant format and had it in bookstores within six months. Despite my requests, they did not send a signed contract until September 2008, and they have never paid my advance or supplied sales data. At first they had a variety of excuses as to why no advance, and lately they refuse to respond at all. I contacted a number of authors (and agents) whose books have been translated and produced by DIFEL. All were either paid at least a year past due or not paid at all. It is my opinion that DIFEL decided from the beginning to steal my copyright: 1) They have a long history of non-payment, 2) I am un-agented and a lesser-known writer, and 3) My home base is far from Lisbon.
My suggestion to writers and agents in dealing with DIFEL is to get your signed contract and payment before you begin the translation and edit. I also believe that the other two imprints of Medialivros, Gótica and Edições Inapa, likely treat translation contracts in the same manner. If you wish to verify this information, please contact Filipe Almedia, DIFEL editor at Famedia.firstname.lastname@example.org, T: 21.885.5055, or the Assistant to the Administrator, Maria Vasconcelos, Malzira.email@example.com, or the Administrator, Rita F. Vital, firstname.lastname@example.org, T: 21.885.5055and for INAPA, Afonso.Chaby@inapa.pt. You may contact me, Paul D. Cohn, at Burnscolepub@aol.com, or 406.587.5997.
Update (July 13, 2009) - Received first DIFEL sales report (€15,118) for the introductory three months ending January 31, 2009. Royalties for this initial period exceeded the €1,000 advance holdback. Now royalties are also past due.