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Thread: Hyperion Press Limited

  1. #1
    willo
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    Hyperion Press Limited

    Hello - I am a 'newbie': writer/illustrator with no agent but 3 books; 2 written/illustrated, one just illustrated; published with a small publisher in Canada.

    With this 3rd book I have run into some issues and wonder if anyone has advice, insight or experience that might help.

    The publisher sent the book to print without sending me proofs (or, in all fairness....me asking to see the proofs). On receipt of this book, once printed, I was appalled to find numerous spelling errors (6 in a 32 page children's book) as well as significant changes to textual content that had never been seen, let alone approved of, by me.

    Without getting into the whole ensuing conversations (...) they are now acknowledging that we need to reprint. (rather than just 'tip in' selected pages)

    The trick here is that although the book is already registered with the Library Archives of Canada (I'm assuming there is a similar body in the US or UK that assigns ISBN#s?) the publisher had previously failed to send me the contract so we are thus far only under a verbal agreement. They are understandably anxious to get my signature now.

    After this fiasco, I find I am unwilling to give them 'final rights of revision and review'. Are there standard examples of this NOT being signed over to the publisher and alternative clauses? (ie: I retain final rights of revision and they can refuse to publish....?)

    Secondly, since I was unable to give the books out as planned at Christmas, I self-printed greeting cards from the material for friends and family. The response was overwhelming and I wish to pursue these different media (cards, calenders etc) but am not sure how that needs to be dealt with as far as the publishing rights for the material goes. Even if they were into printing these additional formats (tho' I somehow doubt it) I don't know that they have a big enough client base to get them into stores etc. to my satisfaction.

    Not sure if this is the right forum for this inquiry but any thoughts, questions or suggestions would be great...thanks!!

  2. #2
    Resident Curmudgeon Requiescat In Pace ResearchGuy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by willo View Post
    . . . any thoughts, questions or suggestions would be great...thanks!!
    Allow me to urge you to consult an attorney who is well versed in the pertinent area of law (publishing contracts, literary rights, copyright, and so on). This is a tangle. I think you need expert help.

    --Ken
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    [/FONT][URL="http://www.amazon.com/Theres-Street-Colorful-Origins-Sparks/dp/1937123073/"][FONT=Franklin Gothic Medium][I]There's No Lake on Lake Street![/I] by James D. Umbach[/FONT][/URL]
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  3. #3
    the Bruin of Tomorrow™ Atomic Bear's Avatar
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    I agree with Research guy, you definitely need to have someone who knows contracts to see what yours says.

    As an artist myself I believe if you wish to do more with the art beyond the picture book it should be written into the contract. A friend of mine has been given a publishing contract for his graphic novel and he has been adamant that it clearly spells out what the rights are for the publisher and what they can and can't do with both the book and the art that comes through it. If you own the copyright, you probably have the power to make derivative work based on your book.

    I feel the contract should also clearly state what the publisher must provide for you in way of proofs and approval, but I am not sure how common it is to do that.

    As artists we want to hold onto our rights so we can keep making money from the artwork and items like greeting cards are a good way too do that.
    Last edited by Atomic Bear; 02-18-2007 at 05:18 AM.
    Brian Kolm
    Atomic Bear Press - Comics for the "big kid" in all of us.

    Home of "Beyond the Great Chimney" a fantasy comic book adventure about taking life by the horns. Featuring painted art by Brian Kolm.

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  4. #4
    Hagiographically Advantaged AW Moderator HapiSofi's Avatar
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    To be specific, you need a lawyer who's familiar with the publishing industry and its contracts. Otherwise, they won't be able to make any sense of it.

    Your other alternative is to get a good agent. They should know the pertinent law, and they're good at putting the squeeze on erring publishers.

    These guys put your book into print without a signed contract. You have them over a barrel.
    Winner of the Best Drycleaner on the Block Award.

  5. #5
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    I'm sorry, but I have to ask--why on earth would you allow a publisher with which you hadn't signed a contract to take your book to press?

    I agree you need legal counsel at this point.

    - Victoria

  6. #6
    willo
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    Awesome input thank you.

    Thank you all so much for your replies. I had taken steps to have a 'chat' with a 'lawyer friend' already but you've helped me realize that I need to engage full and appropriate legal council if for nothing else than to redraft the contract to counter-present to the publisher before reprinting.

    Re: HapiSofi's "Your other alternative is to get a good agent. "...
    The plan was to investigate representation once I had this third book under my belt. As I explored this site initially, I did visit queryagent.com and got the initial impression that agents are not really interested in jumping into a project that is already underway.
    If there are agents that are interested in queries such as this, I'd love to chat.........?

    As far as Victoria's "why on earth would you allow a publisher with which you hadn't signed a contract to take your book to press?"
    (No need to be sorry 'bout asking - that's why we're here, ain't it.... :-)...)
    ~ In not requesting the proofs and in assuming that getting no additional edits and having none mentioned meant there were none...I was stupid and lazy.
    ~ In not having a signed contract....I was ignorant and trusting but in the end I am glad for it. Hopefully Hapi's "These guys put your book into print without a signed contract. You have them over a barrel. " is true and I have the chance to secure rights that I might otherwise have already signed away.

    I'll keep you posted... ( I'm new here - is that a pun way over used? It wasn't intended.) and I continue to welcome the input and conversation.

    Uh...any 'lawyer who's familiar with the publishing industry and its contracts' out there?

    ~ willo

    PS. I like the 'esteemed new member' tag. It makes me feel very welcome.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by willo View Post
    ~ In not having a signed contract....I was ignorant and trusting but in the end I am glad for it. Hopefully Hapi's "These guys put your book into print without a signed contract. You have them over a barrel. " is true and I have the chance to secure rights that I might otherwise have already signed away.
    Am I missing something? I'm on the losing end of fighting the flu so it's entirely possible. But why on earth would a publisher go to the expense of printing a book without obtaining the rights? Seems like a waste of money and just plain stupid.

  8. #8
    willo
    Guest

    re: missing something....

    They are a small company and the woman was disorganised and over-worked....not getting my contract out to me was an over-sight on her part....an over-sight which may have put her job at risk....tho' I'm not totally privvy to whatever havoc the situation is wreaking on their side of the door right now.
    Last edited by willo; 02-18-2007 at 11:05 PM.

  9. #9
    practical experience, FTW Tsu Dho Nimh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by willo View Post
    The publisher sent the book to print without sending me proofs (or, in all fairness....me asking to see the proofs). On receipt of this book, once printed, I was appalled to find numerous spelling errors (6 in a 32 page children's book) as well as significant changes to textual content that had never been seen, let alone approved of, by me.

    (snip)They are understandably anxious to get my signature now. After this fiasco, I find I am unwilling to give them 'final rights of revision and review'.
    I don't blame you ... tell them that, considering how they messed up the book the first time, that you want those rights, or you will take the book to another publisher.

  10. #10
    Writting broad batgirl's Avatar
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    Just an uninformed guess, but if it's a small Canadian publisher, I'd guess they aren't paying the sort of advance or royalties that would attract an agent. Do they get gov't grants?
    Wish I had some suggestions about publishing lawyers in Canada, but I don't, sorry.
    -Barbara
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  11. #11
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    In case anyone was wondering, the publisher in question was Hyperion Press Limited of Manitoba, which looks to be defunct now.
    ICAO
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