Hello! This is my first post. Please treat me kindly.
I have just finished a trilogy of books based off of the Wizardry games. Actually, I finished them about two years ago, but I've been in copyright wrangling hell since I first got into contact with the original copyright owner.
Well, the copyright sale went through, and now the new company that now owns the rights is interested in publishing these books, but neither they nor I have ever optioned a book before.
I've hit quite a few snags with agents in the past, from the no longer in business ones, to the scammers, to the ones who never reply, to the ones who are just plain rude.
This post is about one of the latter ones. I spoke to a Mr. Paul S. Levine, who is basically half lawyer and half agent. I thought that sounded like a great idea for a copyright issue like this one, so I gave him a call!
He initially quoted me a $1500 charge for hammering out a contract with the original Wizardry owner, but when neither of us could reach him, I fell out of contact with Mr. Levine. Flash forward a few months, when the new company called me, and I emailed and phoned Mr. Levine again.
At first, he was really rude. About these books we discussed, he told me, "I don't know who you are or what you're talking about." After a few minutes of refreshment, however, he seemed to recognize who I was. Now he wants almost $1800 for a contract with the new company.
My question is... for optioning rights from parent companies, do I need to pay a lawyer upfront to take care of copyright issues for me? Or is that part of an agent's work, which carries a fee that he or she eventually takes from what the book makes later?
I read on this excellent board to beware of upfront fees, but this seems like a special case. I won't go with Mr. Levine for his condescending tone and general rudeness, but can I expect the same price tag from another agent?
Thank you very much,