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Thread: Publisher has violated contract. What do you suggest?

  1. #1
    goodscents1
    Guest

    Publisher has violated contract. What do you suggest?

    I signed a contract with a publisher in August 2003 to write a book. Under the contract the publisher stated that the book would be published during the 2004 publishing season. The book was not published then, and my contact at the company has not contacted me since September 2004 when I last contacted her. The editor who worked on my book (she owns her own business and works under contract for this publishing company) has also not been able to reach this same contact at the publishing company. This publishing company has been in business since 1942 and for fiscal year 2002 had sales of $7 million. However I believe that they are having some serious problems and are not owning up to them. My editor said that other authors told her that this publishing company is not publishing books anymore. That leaves me in a bind because they have my manuscript and are not fulfilling their obligations to publish my book in a timely manner.

    I would like to know what you advise in this situation. It seems to me that since my contract stated that the book would be published during the 2004 publishing season, and it wasn't, the book publisher has violated the contract and I am not bound by it anymore. Is this true?

    Secondly, I would like to try and find a literary agent to represent me, and officially sever my ties with this publishing company and hopefully get a new contract for my book. Do literary agents do this sort of thing?

    I appreciate any advice you are able to give. Thank you.

    O.F.

  2. #2
    vstrauss
    Guest

    Re: Publisher has violated contract. What do you suggest?

    >>Secondly, I would like to try and find a literary agent to represent me, and officially sever my ties with this publishing company and hopefully get a new contract for my book. Do literary agents do this sort of thing?<<

    No. If you really feel you've exhausted the possibilities of communication between you and the publisher, it sounds to me as if you need to consult legal counsel about your situation. Be sure it's an intellectual property lawyer with experience in publishing.

    Many US states and major metropolitan areas--New York, Washington D.C., Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and others--have Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts organizations, which offer referral services geared to helping people who work in the arts: dwij.org/matrix/vla_list.html

    The American Bar Association Lawyer Referral Network can put you in touch with an attorney who will evaluate your situation for free or for a nominal fee: www.abanet.org/legalservi...ctory.html

    - Victoria

  3. #3
    andyzack
    Guest

    Re: Publisher has violated contract. What do you suggest?

    OF:

    Every publishing agreement has a "window" in it, by which time the publisher must publish. Generally, it's 18 months, but it can be anywhere from 12 to 36 months. That window usually has a "notice" clause wherein the author must notify the publisher that the window has closed and the publisher generally gets 6-12 months from receipt of that notice to publish. You should find that clause in your contract and read it carefully. Usually if you send the notice and the publisher doesn't respond and/or doesn't publish the book, the rights revert to you upon their receipt of a notice that an automatic reversion has occurred. Be sure to follow the "notices" clause provisions of your contract when sending notices, e.g., you may have to send it Certified or Registered and you may have to send it to two or even three different people.

  4. #4
    goodscents1
    Guest

    Re: Publisher has violated contract. What do you suggest?

    Thank you Mr. Zack and Victoria for your great input.

    Sincerely,

    O.F.

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