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Thread: JAC Publishing & Promotions

  1. #1
    It's all happening... talps's Avatar
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    JAC Publishing & Promotions

    Hello all...

    I could not find any reference to this publishing outfit based in Mass., so I thought I'd take a begin a new thread. Apologies if I missed something in my search.

    Several years ago, I wrote what was basically a three page play as a favor for a friend. To my surprise, her theater company selected my scene for inclusion in a larger work, and now suddenly, the producer of this compilation has found a publisher: JAC Publishing & Promotions.

    To be honest, this isn't that big of a deal to me. Yet it is certainly & rightfully a big deal to the producer of the piece, a man I don't know at all, but who cares greatly about his project. Therefore, I don't want to stand in the way at all... However, the agreement/release I've been asked to sign puzzles me, as does the Publisher's Agreement with the author, the link to which can be found here: http://www.jacneed.com/JAC/JAC_Publish.htm

    As my personal agreement contains names, I'm reluctant to share here, but will happily PM upon request to anyone who can coax me into being OK with this. I'm just ever cautious & still new to publishing. Mostly I want to know what the worst thing that can happen is... Like, say, will I ever be financially obligated for any of this? Will the devil own rights to my soul? Things like that.

    I hope I've asked the right questions - do let me know if I'm missing anything. And many thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    practical experience, FTW Kadea's Avatar
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    TALPS!!!!!!!!!!!

    Uh... Gonna PM you.

  3. #3
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    JAC Publishing & Promotions wants to work with playwrights/authors toward getting their work/s Prepared, Published and Promoted. We're developing a fully-functional website to promote these works as a publishing agent, and will take many channels to promote the works in other targeted venues, as well. We will help set up scripts for printing (including artwork design, layout, etc.), and absorb the initial costs* of production to get your work ready for promotion. Subsequently, you will receive proceeds from each script sale, as well as royalties from every production launched thereafter. You work with us, we'll work for you!

    *Initial costs are considered publishing costs. Author agrees to submit just $55 to absorb fee for copyright registration with the Library of Congress. Fee is not required if such a registration has already been acquired.
    Erm...plays aren't my thing, but I gather the point of their service is to get your script in bound form for sending to agents, etc.? The least problem I find with this particular setup is that the copyright registration fee is only $45 if you do it yourself....
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  4. #4
    It's all happening... talps's Avatar
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    Cao: Many thanks for taking the time to review this for me.

    I am just one of several contibutors to this compilation - the deal itself is geared toward the original producer of the work some 6 years ago. Which is why it's tough for me to pass up on this - it's not my "baby." That said, since posting this thread, I have gotten some opinions from writers far more schooled in contract issues, and have been made aware of several possible red flags.

    And when in doubt, I find it's best to embrace the doubt when it comes to publishing.

    The hourly editing fees at the discretion of the publisher bothers me. So too does the fact that if anything has to go to court, there's a clause that says the author has to pay legal fees win or lose... as though they're perhaps anticipating problems.

    But again, this is not my deal... just my contribution toward a deal. Though it seems to me that walking away is best, that I should treat any affiliation with a publisher as though it were my deal. And I also have yet to distinguish the disclaimer I was asked to sign with the agreement the "Author" is asked to sign. I'm skeptical that I'm off the hook for financial liability even if I'm not the stated "Author."

    To answer your question... I don't think this is set up to get the piece submitted to agencies, as one of the selling points was that this would make me a "published playright!"

    The positivity troubled me. Plus, I'm not a playright. I wrote my piece pretty much on a dare from a friend in the theater company.

    Anyway, thank you again - so much! If you have any more specific questions (any of you), I'll certainly be checking in on this thread from time to time.

  5. #5
    Hapless Virago IceCreamEmpress's Avatar
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    If the compilation did well as a performed theater piece, the producer should look into submitting it to Samuel French and Dramatists Play Service, since right now they are the only places most theater companies would ever look for newly published plays.

    JAC Publishing is a publisher of newsletters/directories/playbill inserts; I have seen things they've done. If they want to expand into publishing plays, they would do well to get a good intellectual property lawyer to write them a better contract.

    It's hard to see what the advantage of publishing with them would be at this juncture. I certainly wouldn't sign that contract, and they don't seem to have a marketing plan for their play and monologue publications in place.

    However, publishing monologues is an interesting idea; in the parts of the US where "forensics" (i.e., public speaking) competitions are still a big deal for high-schoolers, there is a never-ending market for new monologues, and the existing supply doesn't meet the demand. My dad, who is a pretty obscure playwright, has had kids write to him from all over the US for permission to perform some of his unpublished monologues, which apparently have been circulating among high-school drama teachers as photocopies for years.

  6. #6
    Why Me Worry? comped's Avatar
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    JAC Publishing and Promotions

    Hello,

    I have a play in their submission pile (hopefully recieve word soon, since they say 1-2 months, and it's been about 1), and was wondering about them. I know they've only published a play for a few years, and was wondering if I should go with them if I am accepted. Does anyone have any expierence with them?

    link: www.jacpub.com

    Here's their contract link : http://www.jacpub.com//Sample_Agreement.pdf

    I'm not sure about their contract (^) as well. Anything I should watch out for?

    thanks,
    comped

  7. #7
    Why Me Worry? comped's Avatar
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    Sorry to bump this, But I noticed this on P&E about JAC:

    JAC Publishing & Promotions: Poor contract. Not recommended. Geared toward playwrights.
    What do they mean by "poor contract"? Could any of you contract-lawyer types tell me what's wrong with it?

    comped

    PS: link to contract (or "sample agreement" as they call it on their website): http://www.jacpub.com//Sample_Agreement.pdf

    PPS: I just got a email from them, and now they've upped their response time to SIX months, from the ONE or TWO that it states in their guidelines. Does this smell funky to any of you?
    THE FACTS OF ROMANCE: a 1 act play about teen pregnancy.}looking to preform and/or pub

    The Agency: book 1 (1,006 words/?): A boy's high school theatre class turns out to be anything but theatre. It's really a classified government agency. His first mission: kill the president.}currently writing

    Join the AW playwright group:
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  8. #8
    I grow my own catnip JulieB's Avatar
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    Is that liquidated damages clause standard in this type of contract? I wouldn't sign a book contract with that clause.

  9. #9
    Roofied by Rylan Bloo's Avatar
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    just slipped upon this. I would (as a published playwright, through not with a big house. There are a couple of Big House published playwrights around here who would probably know better then me/have more experience.) stay far far away from them. Going off the sample provided early in this thread, I've looked things over <here> (the pdf link comped submitted didn't open, however from the JACPub website, I was linked back to that above link by clicking on "Get Published!"...okay I did find the PDF sample contract).

    Stay far far away.

    Let me say this again, in big bold letters...STAY THE HELL AWAY![/U][/I]

    sigh...okay that is out of my system.

    First red flag: you have to pay anywhere from $75-300 for them to publish your play? and you only get 25-50% back per sale? And then you have to continue to pay them $120/year for as long as your agreement is in place?

    I did a sample test on a one-act play published through JAC. The gentleman paid $150 for one of his plays to be published (plus the $120 yearly fee--$270 upfront). JAC offers a $40 package for this play (8 scripts, according to their PDF catalog [which hasn't been updated in over a year] one acting script per actor plus two scripts for technical [director/stage manager/etc]). The author, under their agreement gets 25%, he would therefore get $10 (he loses about $0.56 on this deal). He would also get 50% of the royalty fee, which is $35/performance. As a director I always assume I'm going to do at least 3 performances over a weekend. $35*3=$105*50%=$52.50 to the author. Total $62.50 to the author. The author would have to sell 4 performances plus some additional scripts or performance rights just to break even his first year. That is for a one act play, I didn't break down a full act, but I can't imagine it being much better.

    In addition, if you decide you don't like what they've done/how they treated you/etc, you can terminate your contract with 30 days notice, but JAC bills you for the time and effort they put into preparing your play. This doesn't come out the initial fee you paid them for this work in the first place.

    Now again I'm not a playwright published by Samuel French or MTI or anything, my publisher is a small epublishing house. They aren't perfect, there are a few things I wish they did better (I'd like to see a system in place where I can track the plays sold online and I'd like a quarterly or semi annual pay structure as opposed to a yearly, but these are minor minor complaints). I never paid them a dime to read my play, format my play, edit my play or publish my play. They worked with me extensively, consulting with me on changes and giving me final script approval.

    approximently 90% of the play can be read on their website for free as a perusal copy. Rights run run $60/first performance and unlimited amount of scripts (they get a single pdf digital download that they can print off and copy as many times as they want/need). my split is 20% for the script (about $4) and 60% of the royalty fee (about $24/performance). Using the 3 show model I presented above, the theater performing would save about $5 and I would have made about $75 (this doesn't include my expenses that I never calculated such as a website presence, etc). Not bad for a script that runs about 38 pages.

    The publisher pays the author, the author never pays the publisher. That holds true for playwrights just as much as it does for novelists. HOWEVER that said, the goal of a playwright shouldn't be to be published. The market is huge, the goal of any playwright should be to be produced. You notice so many things in a production that you would never notice just writing and that bothers me. Have I put plays out there that have never been produced? I sure have, 10-minute plays through my Smashwords account. I sell them for $0.99 and because of all the returns (separating actors from dialog and action, necessary in a play) I'm not included in their "premium" catalog. I've not made a dime from these yet, nor do I promote them all that much. They are there really as an experiment to see if there is a market, via word of mouth, for new duets and monologues for HS forensics programs (big here in Kansas). I feel bad about about $0.99 but I have to sell them for something or KHSAA doesn't recognize them as published works via their rules. I thought running it through Smashwords would be easier then setting up a store on my website. But again, the goal of a playwright should be to see their work produced, not published.
    In The Shadow Of The Cross-Coming Soon from The Script Co.

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  10. #10
    Roofied by Rylan Bloo's Avatar
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    Questions about this publisher came up on a Facebook group for playwrights I'm on and I revisited their page. It looks like they no longer the $120/year fee but the fee structure remains the same ($75-300 depending on the size of your script).
    In The Shadow Of The Cross-Coming Soon from The Script Co.

    Based On The...-Black Box Theatre Publishing

    Allie In Wonderland and The Absolutely True Story of Tom Sawyer as Told by Becky Thatcher-Heartland Play Publishers

    Blogging AT

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