I had a novel accepted by a small literary publisher called NeoPoiesis Press. The editor called me and was very enthusiastic about the book, everything was very positive. Then I received the contract. The royalties and rights in the contract were different than what the editor had told me on the phone and in emails. It was not an author-friendly contract.
I had the opportunity to run the contract by a retired agent who discussed it with his friend, a retired entertainment lawyer, and they agreed that the contract was all for the benefit of the publisher and not the author and did not provide adequate protection of the author’s rights.
I sent the editor some proposed amendments to the contract to bring it into line with what I had been promised by email. Then, another NeoPoiesis editor contacted me and said the editor I was working with was ill and asked me to withdraw my manuscript as the “contract dispute” was causing too much stress. He also said that the company could not afford to rewrite the contract and that they would not change their contract to suit an individual author’s needs.
I felt this was extremely unprofessional – if they want to reject me, that’s fine, but asking an author to withdraw an accepted ms is outrageous.
I did withdraw the manuscript, not because I was asked to, but because I decided NeoPoiesis Press was was not a company I wanted to work with. Any publisher who tells you one thing and has something else written in the contract is to be approached with caution.