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Thread: Chipmunka Publishing

  1. #151
    starting over Marian Perera's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stlight View Post
    Katysara, the trick to dealing with rejections is to realize they aren't saying that you or your manuscript are bad.
    Here's another way to think of it, Katy Sara. You've probably rejected lots of writers yourself.

    How? If you ever walked into a bookstore and didn't buy everything you saw... because your budget couldn't stretch that far, because you were looking for something specific, because you just don't read political thrillers, etc.

    But there are many people who visit bookstores, and there are a lot of agents too. So an interesting book or a great manuscript is likely to be picked up sooner or later.
    Sleeping Beauty m/m retelling : 58,000 words.

  2. #152
    but appreciated anyway... Unimportant's Avatar
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    QoS, that's a brilliant analogy. May I borrow it?

  3. #153
    but appreciated anyway... Unimportant's Avatar
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    Last edited by Unimportant; 12-30-2010 at 03:07 AM. Reason: oops, double post

  4. #154
    Zombie lovin' elindsen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by katysara View Post
    But I write non-fiction psychiatry and fictional murder-thrillers! Tell me there is one agent out there that represents those two genres!! I am working on one of each right now!


    KSx
    I'm not sure about the thrillers, but agentquery.com and querytracker.net could help you out.

    New Harbinger would be an amazing place for you to submit your NF to.


  5. #155
    starting over Marian Perera's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Unimportant View Post
    QoS, that's a brilliant analogy. May I borrow it?
    Of course. I'm sure I'm not the first person who's come up with it.
    Sleeping Beauty m/m retelling : 58,000 words.

  6. #156
    Brian Boru brianm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terie View Post
    Oh, yes. First right of refusal clauses, yes. The question is whether the publisher can *force* you to accept their future offer.
    No, they can't force you to accept any arbitrary future offer and if the verbiage is written that way in the contract, I should sincerely doubt it would be enforceable. That said, you'll spend a good chunk of money getting that proven to the other party in court.

    A lot of contracts have provisions that are not enforceable or legal and that's why it is so important to have qualified legal counsel review a contract before signing it. I know you know this, but I'm stating this for the benefit of others who don't think it important to spend the money to have their contracts reviewed before signing them.

    They can offer you a contract, but I don't believe that they can *require* you in advance to *accept* it.
    If the terms and conditions for the future offer are spelled out in the original contract, then they can force you to accept it because you agreed to those specific terms and conditions at the time you signed the original contract.

    ~brianm~
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  7. #157
    Woof woof! Requiescat In Pace
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    My contract says this:

    11a) The Author hereby grants the Publisher an exclusive first option to exploit the Rights in and to the

    Author's next work suitable for publication ("Future Work") on the following terms:

    (1) If the Author wishes to exploit any or all of the Rights, in and to the Future
    Work [he/she] shall give the Publisher the first opportunity to read and consider for
    publication the typescript of the Future Work. The Publisher and the Author shall then
    negotiate the terms as to such exploitation in good faith.

    (2) If the parties fail to reach agreement as to such exploitation within sixty (60)
    days of commencement of negotiations the Author may enter into negotiations with third parties regarding such exploitation but not on more favourable terms to any such third party than those last offered to the Publisher provided always that if the Author makes or receives a bona fide offer from a third party which [he/she] intends to accept, [he/she] shall forthwith notify the Publisher of the terms of such offer and the Publisher shall have the right to match such offer within thirty (30) days of the Author advising the Publisher of its terms.
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  8. #158
    but appreciated anyway... Unimportant's Avatar
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    Katysara, that looks like most of the options clauses I've seen.

    So, you are contractually required to offer Chipmunka your next book. If they like it, they make an offer. If you like the offer, you take it. If not, you make a counteroffer, which they may or may not meet. If they don't, you can shop it around elsewhere, but before you sign another deal you have to give Chipmunka the chance to match it.

    If it were me, I'd consider these options:
    a) Send them a really crappy book I know they won't want. Let them reject it. Then I'd be off the hook and we could part ways.

    b) Send them my next book. Let them offer to contract it. Make a counteroffer specifying what I want: a solid four figure advance, a print run of no less than 3000, 10% royalties on cover price paid twice yearly with full reporting, no option clause, no subsidiary rights, 20 free author copies, etc. The odds of them agreeing to this are pretty much nil. I'd then shop the book elsewhere and when I got an offer I was happy with from a commercial press, see if Chipmunka could match it -- which again is pretty unlikely. Sign with the new publisher and walk away from Chipmunka forever.

    c) Seek literary agent representation. It's a long hard depressing slog, but what the heck, it's worth a try. If I get an agent, s/he can deal with Chipmunka.

    d) Decide that "next work suitable for publication" means a book in the mental health field, and write in some other genre. Those new books wouldn't be suitable for Chipmunka so they wouldn't fall under the ROFR clause.

  9. #159
    Woof woof! Requiescat In Pace
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    a, b, c, might work, but I wrote a murder-thriller and they still published that even though it is a different genre!

    I think I'll try and get an agent... maybe when my next book, which will be in mental health is ready. I think it will sell better than any of my books so far and i'd like some of the royalties this time! Plus I want it to be priced at a decent price, not chipmunka prices which are high, so it can help more people.

    KSx

    Edit: Ah but look, I can't make too grand claims from chipmunka because i can't then take LESS FAVOURABLE terms from another publisher. What about contacting another publisher on the quiet - is that just not done?
    Last edited by katysara; 12-30-2010 at 01:48 PM. Reason: to add my edit!
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    [I]Too Good for this World
    Reflective Reflections
    The Gentle Murders?
    Screaming in Silence.[/I][/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT]
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  10. #160
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    You can't contact another publisher on the quiet because you'd be in breach of your contract and open to legal action.

    You could, however, write a book you're certain Chipmunka wouldn't want to publish and submit it to them. There are all sorts of ways to do that. Think Atlanta Nights.

  11. #161
    Bemused Girl nkkingston's Avatar
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    If Chipmunka won't give you hard numbers, how can they prove the new contract is better or worse? The onus of proof is on them. If you've only earnt triple figure royalties, any four figure advance blows it out of the water immediately. I would definitely go agent hunting, since s/he's more likely to get you an offer Chipmunka can't match, and if Chipmunka cause problems s/he can bring his/her publishing experience to the table and, frankly, school them.

    Those who mention qualified legal counsel, does anyone have any companies in the UK they'd recommend? Especially those who'd be willing to work remotely (most of the companies I've found in my area so far are marriage/divorce/death focused, and one thing I've seen over and over on these boards in the insistence you need someone who specialises in publishing to look over publishing contracts).

    Hungry? Check out my other half's blog Colonel Mustard in the Kitchen.

  12. #162
    Woof woof! Requiescat In Pace
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    Damn it that's scary - so I have to turn down publication and risk the book never seeing the light of day. With this book I have a co-author who is desperate to be published no matter what, although it is a 60:40 thing with me being the 60. Does that make any difference?

    I could live with it if it took years to find a publisher, I want to find the RIGHT publisher (obviously).

    KSx
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    The Gentle Murders?
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  13. #163
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    Quote Originally Posted by katysara View Post
    Damn it that's scary - so I have to turn down publication and risk the book never seeing the light of day.
    Katysara, another way of looking at it is whether this publisher can actually get your book to see the light of day in the first place. You can't even get an accounting of sales. I'd say passing on this publisher is a better bet than sticking with them.
    With this book I have a co-author who is desperate to be published no matter what
    Writers who think like this are the most susceptible to falling prey to terrible publishing deals that will kill their careers. I recommend your co-author learn more about the publishing industry

  14. #164
    starting over Marian Perera's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by katysara View Post
    Damn it that's scary - so I have to turn down publication and risk the book never seeing the light of day. With this book I have a co-author who is desperate to be published no matter what
    If anyone is desperate to be published, they're better off with a reliable and economical self-publishing service than they will be with a press like Chipmunka. That's not saying desperation is a good thing - just that it's not exactly compatible with commercial publishing.

    It's like saying, "I'm desperate to be married no matter what". Your viewpoint - that it's better to wait years if that means finding the right publisher - is much safer.
    Sleeping Beauty m/m retelling : 58,000 words.

  15. #165
    Woof woof! Requiescat In Pace
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    I'm going to talk to the CEO of Chimpmunka (when he's back on Jan 10th) and see if I can get him to be more open with me. I'm also going to look for an agent. Meanwhile I will try and concentrate on writing which is not easy with all this storming through my brain.

    KSx
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    [I]Dark Clouds Gather - a bipolar memoir[/I]
    [I]Too Good for this World
    Reflective Reflections
    The Gentle Murders?
    Screaming in Silence.[/I][/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT]
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  16. #166
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    The current Chipmunka contract has changed some from the last one I saw (they no longer require authors to waive their moral rights), but it still has major problems.

    - It's a life of copyright contract with no provision for termination other than a breach of obligations. Authors will not be able to get their rights back until the publisher chooses to return them. (A good out of print/reversion clause should tie the out of print declaration to minimum sales or royalties, to ensure that a publisher can't pointlessly hang on to a non-selling book.)

    - Paperbacks aren't distributed unless the author "commits to the paperback trade option," which I assume is the 30-book buyback requirement (minimum payment $360)--though there's no mention of money in the contract. That's basically vanity publishing.

    - Royalties are paid on net profit (the publisher's actual cash receipts less production costs, the costs of digital storage, credit card charges, etc.). Reputable publishers pay on list price or actual cash receipts.

    - Royalties are 10% for both print and ebooks (this is poor for print, especially given the net profit provision, but it's really terrible for ebooks).

    - Royalties are paid only once a year (big publishers tend to pay twice a year; smaller publishers may pay quarterly or even monthly).

    - Ebooks are apparently .pdf only. If you really want to sell ebooks, you need to make them available across the widest possible variety of platforms.

    Put all of this together with Chipmunka's limited print distribution (wholesale only, and only for authors to agree to the buyback), no apparent marketing, and dreadful book covers, and you have a definite "beware."

    - Victoria

  17. #167
    but appreciated anyway... Unimportant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by katysara View Post
    Edit: Ah but look, I can't make too grand claims from chipmunka because i can't then take LESS FAVOURABLE terms from another publisher. What about contacting another publisher on the quiet - is that just not done?
    KS, are you sure it doesn't say "but not on more favourable terms to any such third party than those last offered by (not to) the Publisher?

  18. #168
    but appreciated anyway... Unimportant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by katysara View Post
    Damn it that's scary - so I have to turn down publication and risk the book never seeing the light of day. With this book I have a co-author who is desperate to be published no matter what, although it is a 60:40 thing with me being the 60. Does that make any difference?
    KSx
    KS, are you saying you have a co-authored manuscript ready for submission? If so, it's my understanding that a co-authored manuscript would not fall under the ROFR clause in a contract for a single-author work. (Perhaps James or Victoria can comment on this?)

    Why not, then, send that ms around to agents or publishers, excluding Chipmunka?

  19. #169
    Woof woof! Requiescat In Pace
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    Yes I have a co-authored ms almost finished - I am waiting on my co-author to finish his part. I don't know if that falls under the ROFR clause - I'm sure were I to ask Chipmunka they would say yes. I don't know where I stand legally. I can't afford a lawyer I'm on disability and crap royalties. Well, you have to laugh...

    I quite like my book covers Victoria - but then I have an artist friend and went to a great deal of trouble to get great pictures on the front... like Spike (my avatar). He's the cover for Screaming in Silence. (How I feel, though less in silence thanks to this place). I do agree, most of the other covers I've seen blow. Thanks for the breakdown on the new contract, that will help me when I write to him and ask for some changes on the books he already has (like more information).

    KSx
    Last edited by katysara; 12-31-2010 at 12:02 AM.
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    [I]Too Good for this World
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    The Gentle Murders?
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  20. #170
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Unimportant View Post
    KS, are you sure it doesn't say "but not on more favourable terms to any such third party than those last offered by (not to) the Publisher?
    It's "offered to." It's also "on more favorable terms," as in you can't offer more favorable terms to another publisher. So you could tell Chipmunka that you wanted an advance of 20,000 on the option work, which they certainly would not pay--and because you'd offered those terms to Chipmunka, you could then accept any terms from another publisher that were not more favorable.

    Frankly, I doubt Chipmunka has the will or the means to enforce the option clause, should an author choose to simply disregard it.

    The option clause identifies the next work as "the Author's next work suitable for publication." So while it doesn't specifically exclude co-authored works, I think you could certainly make the argument that they aren't covered here.

    - Victoria

  21. #171
    but appreciated anyway... Unimportant's Avatar
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    Thanks, Victoria.

    I agree that coauthored books ought not to fall under the options clause, and if KatyS were to sell her coauthored book elsewhere, what is Chipmunka going to do? I've heard that that clause is nearly impossible to enforce in court so I doubt Chipmunka would try to pursue it.

  22. #172
    Woof woof! Requiescat In Pace
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    A big thank you - if I can persuade my co-author to at least try some other options before chipmunka that is what i am going to do.

    KSx
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    [I]Dark Clouds Gather - a bipolar memoir[/I]
    [I]Too Good for this World
    Reflective Reflections
    The Gentle Murders?
    Screaming in Silence.[/I][/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT]
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  23. #173
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Quote Originally Posted by victoriastrauss View Post
    Here's a good definition (which also briefly explains the USA's rationale for not recognizing them): "Moral rights include the right to proclaim authorship of a work, disclaim authorship of a work and object to any modification or use of the work that would be injurious to the author's reputation."

    - Victoria
    Hi, I registered here so that I could participate in this rather troubling discussion of Chipmunka Publishers.

    I signed with Chipmunka in the early part of 2009, and point #21 of my contract reads:

    "The Author hereby asserts his/her moral right to be identified as the author of the Work and the author retains copyright."

    Given that, I do not see how the claim that the author gives up "moral rights" when they sign with Chipmunka could possibly be true. But I'm in the USA, so perhaps they just didnt include that clause in my contract because of what Victoria says above. I would not have signed with them if my contract said that. I'd like to see the actual wording of a Chipmunka Contract saying that, and know what jurisdiction it was signed in.

    Also, the final clause of my contract, #34, says:

    "If you decide you no longer wish Chipmunka to publish your book, Chipmunkapublishing will as soon as reasonably practical instruct its printer and distributor to cease publishing and offering your book for sale to the book trade. You acknowledge that Chipmunkapublishing cannot be held responsible or liable in any way for any content of the book which might remain on line or within the book trade after chipmunkapublishing has given such instructions."

    I take that to mean the Contract would be cease to exist and the Author would be free to shop his/her book elsewhere. Or am I wrong?!?!?!?

    Ron
    Last edited by ronanon; 01-08-2011 at 05:39 AM. Reason: extra thoughts

  24. #174
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ronanon View Post
    "The Author hereby asserts his/her moral right to be identified as the author of the Work and the author retains copyright."

    Given that, I do not see how the claim that the author gives up "moral rights" when they sign with Chipmunka could possibly be true.
    See my post above, which provides updated commentary on the Chipmunka contract. It used to require authors to waive their moral rights, but no longer does.

    I take that to mean the Contract would be cease to exist and the Author would be free to shop his/her book elsewhere. Or am I wrong?!?!?!?
    Ceasing publication is not the same as returning rights. They are two different actions. To get your rights back, the contract either needs to expire, or the publisher needs to release them back to you in writing.

    In the most recent Chipmunka contract I have, which is dated 2011, the grant term is for the life of copyright (your lifetime plus 70 years), and there's no provision for returning rights other than a breach of contract. See my post (the link above) for an explanation of why that's not a good thing.

    - Victoria

  25. #175
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Hi. I hope this thread is still open. Hello? Hello?

    Well, a few months ago I went to an attorney and paid dearly for him to write a letter to Chipmunka saying that we consider the contract to be ended, as per that final clause I mentioned earlier. They said OK and did not not contest our claim. The e-book is no longer for sale and has been removed from their site. (We sent them that letter before the paperback was scheduled to come out, so there wasn't that to complicate matters...) I'm now ready to start marketing an audio book I made of the same book, from my own web site. Will I need to get a new ISBN number for that, or will the one Chipmunka assigned to it suffice?
    Thanks!

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