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Thread: Transferring a book from publishers to self-published...?

  1. #1
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
    Join Date
    Jan 2012

    Transferring a book from publishers to self-published...?

    Hi my name's Sheza and I did manage to publish my first book (a memoir) with a publisher in the UK called "Chipmunka Publishing". As time has gone by I've become increasingly fed up with them and believe that I have, in a sense, actually been conned.

    A thread about them has already been done in case you want a bit of background info regarding who they are ---------->

    The book's going nowhere. Few are ever going to read it seeing as Chipmunka have NO promotion to speak of for ANY of their books (other than the CEO Jason Pegler's own book "A can of madness"), they do not get ANY of their books into any shops, sell at ridiculously expensive prices (in such a time of austerity) and the author will see little of his royalties (if any).

    My book was called "The Undesirable"
    ( ).

    Basically, I want out. I want out so that I can get this book as an e-book, on Kindle, Lulu whatever (forgive me, I'm new to this so I don't know all the options as yet) - Is it possible for me to do this if I had already signed a contract with them in 2010?

    Can I just withdraw and then see into getting the book out elsewhere.

    The whole experience with Chipmunka has left me feeling a failure already (so much for the "empowerment" this Jason Pegler speaks of). I wish to completely 'terminate' from Chipmunka (yep, almost a 'vanity press' in disguise, despite, strangely, actually receiving Arts Council Funding in the UK) but Mr Pegler is a very arrogant man.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated,
    Last edited by Sheza Jilal; 02-10-2012 at 01:55 AM.

  2. #2
    practical experience, FTW
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    San Francisco bay area
    The method for reverting the right to the author will be spelled out in your contract. It's different case by case. No one can guess at what your specific contract says in this regard. Read the contract, and if the basics aren't clear enough go over it with your lawyer.
    J. Tanner vs the Page

    Latest Publication: "Bring Me the Head of Pepe Cortez!" in Return of the Dead Men Walking (anthlogy)
    Latest Sale: "Reunion Soup" to [title unannounced] fantasy anthology coming somewhenish

  3. #3
    Writing! Writing! Writing! Requiescat In Pace
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Pacific Northwest, Washington
    Once the publishing rights have been returned to you, you may do whatever you want with your manuscript. If they have done cover art, that is still theirs, but whatever you provided to them will revert back to you.

    Sorry for the negative experience. I signed with what sounds like a similar company here in the U.S. I ended up paying to get publishing rights returned to me. Long story. I wish you all the best.
    I'm a clickable link to Amazon

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  4. #4
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    In chaos
    You need to check your contract very carefully. It should tell you how it can be terminated. Make sure you get written confirmation that your rights have reverted to you in full before you self-publish the book.

    ETA: Also, do please post a report about this in the Chipmunka thread once you've got your rights back. I am sure that other writers would find your experiences useful. But only after you've got your rights back, ok?
    Last edited by Old Hack; 02-10-2012 at 07:17 PM.

  5. #5
    No compromises, except... Rooke's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    NSW, Australia
    Thanks for posting this, it seems like a good warning for potentially inexperienced writers (myself being one).

    I hope you get your rights back - and good luck on the open ocean!

  6. #6
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Basically this is the e-mail I sent him when he asked me why I'd like to terminate my contract. Reasonable?

    "Hello Jason,
    I'm not good with promotion, either down to cyncism or lack of self-belief, but I think that essentially there has been extremely limited promotion with Chipmunka (the 'self-promotion guide has had very limited help and authors depend on their publishers for promotion more than you think).
    Only two bookshops actually stock 'The Undesirable', only due to my own efforts. Although there was no financial reason for me doing so, seeing that paperbacks are sold at quite a price considering the times of economic austerity that we are currently living in. So to buy it full price and sell it cheaper means that the author is at a loss. At full price nothing gets sold. Without promotion no one is going to buy from a first-time author they have never heard of. I have had positive reviews with one person even stating how similar the abusurdist theme of the book reminds him of Camus (she actually wrote to me personally). But I feel that I have taken it as far as I can with Chimpunka. There has been almost no promotion and a book limited to friends, family and word of mouth has left me feeling, not empowered, but actually quite a 'failure'. I have a second book I want to get done but I'm already trying hard to get over the feelings of 'failure' from the first (especially all the more so considering 'The Undesirable' is a memoir). I can't help wondering if I could have done this differently elsewhere.
    Yes, there is confusion now stemming from the fact that I don't know where to go now. I leave the Undesirable with Chipmunka and allow it be a stationary, unread book that fades into greater obscurity by the day (seeing as those who have bought it already have)? There is an audience out there, a publisher is supposed to assist the writer in finding it. So far it was either people who already knew me on Facebook, people who knew me personally and that's it. Then there's the rather uncompetitive prices that Chipunka sells it products at.

    Such is the market for Kindle, e-books, i-reader - If I was to say that I would like it available there at greatly reduced cost, would this be possible? Many authors have done this, of course many did it via self-publishing instead (at least they managed to see their own royalities that way).


    Jason is known not to reply to people he thinks are being "rude" or "not behaving themselves".

  7. #7
    Formerly Phantom of Krankor. Torgo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    London, UK
    The bit in the linked thread about Chipmunka's contract requiring authors to waive their moral rights is worrying. (EDIT: Oh - apparently it's gone now.)

    What does your contract say about reversion of rights? Going to bet it says nothing, or something weaselly like 'mutual consent'.

    EDIT: Having read a bit more about this company... Hmm. While we're talking contracts: if you're talking about publishing memoirs, everything needs a legal read for possible libel or privacy infringement issues. Do they provide this, or just make you warrant/indemnify them in the contract?

    If you libel or infringe privacy in a memoir, you're not only looking at paying out damages in five figures, you're also looking at paying the other side's costs, which typically will be around £800/hr. (The lawyer will likely be working on a conditional fee arrangement and have no incentive to keep costs down, as the losing side pays.) So you can quite quickly be looking at a bill of a million quid or more.

    Red flags all over the place...
    Last edited by Torgo; 02-15-2012 at 09:36 PM.

  8. #8
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
    Join Date
    Feb 2012

    Never fear.....!

    Don't worry about removing a book from Chipmunka - heard of other people who had to do it too and it does say on their website that authors can remove their books if they want to (so they must be used to it!)

    Apparently all you need to do is email them saying you are removing the book immediately and ask them to return the digitial format or whatever it is they use and ask for the e book to be removed from the digital list. Say why you are removing it too is a good idea - keep it short and if you want you can CC a mental health organisation, newspaper, media folk etc etc into the email too- it will be removed in a flash!!

    Not only is this vanity publishing (taking money from authors) vaguely disguised as 'doing good works on mental health'- it is a particularly dubious outfit so the best thing would be to stay well clear in the first place.
    Last edited by inpassive; 02-25-2012 at 10:05 PM.

  9. #9
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    New Hampshire
    If the problem is lack of promotion, don't expect that problem to vanish if you go the self-pub route.

  10. #10
    Informant X03981 Meira's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Quote Originally Posted by James D. Macdonald View Post
    If the problem is lack of promotion, don't expect that problem to vanish if you go the self-pub route.

    True, very true.

    But if you are required to do all your own self-promotion anyway, you will be better off in the driverís seat.

    When you get the legal issues sorted out (and it looks like there are a number of them), I suggest the following self-promotional strategies:

    Free books - Giveaways on Goodreads. If you market your book only on Kindle, you can do the Kindle Select promotions. I sell more books by word-of-mouth than any paid advertising.

    Blog tours and social networking.

    Be prepared to devote time to answering emails, contacting readers groups, and seeking reviews.

    Good Luck!


  11. #11

  12. #12
    Herder of Hamsters AW Admin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    On the Server
    Quote Originally Posted by inpassive View Post
    Don't know how Jason Pegler finds the time - he has all these authors to manage too but the art of self promotion is clearly his thing.......
    Stop posting the same post multiple times in multiple threads.

    That's spamming and it's not tolerated.


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