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View Full Version : Big Time Writing/Publishing Issue [Moved from BR&BC]



dreamwriting
04-05-2012, 08:37 PM
I hope it's all right if I post this here! I just spent 20 minutes trying to see where this would fit :( I'll move it if need be!

Issue:
I was published a few months ago with a small press and only recently found out they were using lulu.com to print their books...something I could have done myself. I feel completely cheated as there was no mention of this in the contract - otherwise, I would not have even signed up.

I talked to the publisher - though I admit I didn't make a mention of what set me off. Instead, I made it seem as if I just wasn't happy with myself, hoping that I could manage through this calmly and without too much of a singe on either part.

Instead, I was threatened and told that they would not release me from the contract.

Now, someone else had mentioned that something similar happened to him and that he had to rewrite the entire book with different names, a new title, slight changes to the plot, etc and then publish that one. If I would go ahead and do something like this, what are the chances of me getting published with a new company(if accepted, of course.) Would the previous book - which isn't selling very well anyway because no one really seems to know about this company(it's first and foremost a ebook publisher and POD)- have a bad effect, hindering me from publishing the new version? No names or titles would be related to the previous work.

Thanks to anyone who can help!

Oh! P.S.
Would the publisher have grounds to sue me for doing something like this?
Might I also mention that even the history of the world that I created (it's fantasy) would change slightly. The titles used of the deities would change but the over-arching plot would be almost the same. The subplots would change for the most part.

JulieB
04-05-2012, 09:30 PM
I hope it's all right if I post this here! I just spent 20 minutes trying to see where this would fit :( I'll move it if need be!

Welcome to AW!


Issue:
I was published a few months ago with a small press and only recently found out they were using lulu.com to print their books...something I could have done myself. I feel completely cheated as there was no mention of this in the contract - otherwise, I would not have even signed up.

I talked to the publisher - though I admit I didn't make a mention of what set me off. Instead, I made it seem as if I just wasn't happy with myself, hoping that I could manage through this calmly and without too much of a singe on either part.

Instead, I was threatened and told that they would not release me from the contract.

It's hard to know without knowing the exact language of the contract. Did this publisher have any books in print when they picked you up? Were they published through Lulu?


Now, someone else had mentioned that something similar happened to him and that he had to rewrite the entire book with different names, a new title, slight changes to the plot, etc and then publish that one. If I would go ahead and do something like this, what are the chances of me getting published with a new company(if accepted, of course.) Would the previous book - which isn't selling very well anyway because no one really seems to know about this company(it's first and foremost a ebook publisher and POD)- have a bad effect, hindering me from publishing the new version? No names or titles would be related to the previous work.

I'm not a lawyer, but it seems you might be on shaky ground. Your best bet, IMO, is to try to get out of the contract or wait out the contract period.

As you seem to be reluctant to name the publisher, you might want to contact Writer Beware at beware@sfwa.org. Your correspondence will be confidential. They may already have a file on that publisher and might be able to offer some advice.

James D. Macdonald
04-05-2012, 09:43 PM
If someone else published the re-written version, would you think "Whole different book from mine" or "That SOB totally plagiarized me!" That's how to tell if a re-written version will allow you to do an end-run around a contract.

So, no.

Using Lulu as a printer isn't necessarily a red flag. Maybe not the best or wisest choice for a publisher, though.

Jamiekswriter
04-05-2012, 10:49 PM
If I would go ahead and do something like this, what are the chances of me getting published with a new company(if accepted, of course.) Would the previous book - which isn't selling very well anyway because no one really seems to know about this company(it's first and foremost a ebook publisher and POD)- have a bad effect, hindering me from publishing the new version?



This seems like a lot of work. Your book is completed and published. Why do all the work again?

You went with this publisher because you thought they could provide you with something you couldn't get by self pubbing. What was it?

If it was cover and editing, did you get it? If it was marketing, did you get it? If not, then they are in breach of contract and that would be how to break the contract -- not because you didn't research them very well. But even that is going to be a long drawn out battle that no one wins really.

I think you would be better off putting the effort into marketing the existing book and writing another one. That way you don't have to worry about being dishonest or encouraging a lawsuit.

When your new book is done, make a list of what you want in a publisher and research pubs that can do it for you. You may also want to order a book put out by them to make sure they look professional.

But really, I think this is a no-win fight for you. You signed the contract. Take it as a lesson and move on to the next book.

All isn't lost, though. Your book is published. Market it!

dangerousbill
04-05-2012, 11:54 PM
I was published a few months ago with a small press and only recently found out they were using lulu.com to print their books...something I could have done myself.


Lulu isn't a publisher. They print books. They can put them up on their own sales site, or send them back to you. They can even sell books under a publisher's imprint.

Things your publisher may or may not have done that you would have to do yourself:
- edit your book
- decide that it's marketable (a decision that you might not be able to make yourself)
- format it for printing
- have a cover designed
- solicit blurbs for the back cover
- ISBN, copyright registration, LOC number, etc
- having printed copies made (by Lulu or any other source), which includes an upfront monetary investment
- stocking an inventory of your books for immediate shipment
- advertising
- distributing
- maintaining a sales web site
- takes back unsold copies (necessary if you are going to make sales through bookstores) and takes on the attendant financial risk
- arranges your payments

dreamwriting
04-06-2012, 12:46 AM
But really, I think this is a no-win fight for you. You signed the contract. Take it as a lesson and move on to the next book.

All isn't lost, though. Your book is published. Market it!

You're right and I have most definitely taken this as a lesson. I was sadly one of those people who jumped in the water before knowing exactly 100% what I was getting into. It's been a pain and kind of depressing, but you live and learn. This is why I came here for help. Because, as much as I sometimes think I know what I'm doing, I'm still a sucker for giving in to the excitement lol

And everyone else, thank you! I didn't know what exactly I wanted to do and wanted to see if a re-write was even worth it :\ I guess I'll just go ahead and write a new one instead. No use in getting in trouble over a mistake on my part!