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View Full Version : Self-Publishing Consequences Question



JustGo
07-15-2012, 08:56 AM
Someone decided to send my unpublished manuscript off to a vanity press in order to give me a bound copy of my book for my birthday. I'm kind of freaking out about it now--they didn't ask for my permission, of course, since it was a surprise. I believe they only printed the one copy, and the brochure for the press said that all rights remain with the author (which they'd better, since I didn't sign anything!). Is this likely to cause any problems when I seek publication? Should I take any form of action, or can I relax?

Old Hack
07-15-2012, 09:21 AM
I think you can probably relax but to be sure I'd need to know the name of the "publisher" they sent it to; and if it's now available for sale anywhere, like Amazon.

Who did this, and how did they have access to your files?

robertbevan
07-15-2012, 09:30 AM
i'll be sad if this comes back to bite you in the ass. it was a sweet gesture.

Old Hack
07-15-2012, 09:44 AM
It was a sweet gesture, but if the book has now been published with an ISBN and everything, and is widely available then even if no copies have been sold, that's it published. First rights are gone.

If it was sent to a particularly predatory vanity publisher then no matter what they claim in their brochure about all rights remaining with the author, there might well be various obstacles to get over to get the book out of that publisher's clutches.

The OP can do stuff to clean up this particular mess and if the vanity publisher concerned isn't too bad it won't have any effect on his chances of publishing this book properly in the future. But if it's one of the nastier ones he's going to have a fight on his hands. One point in his favour is that the person who sent his book off to the press didn't have the right to do so, which might well make it easier to extricate it.

ETA: I'm going to move this from Self Publishing to the Round Table because it's not a self publishing question, it's a rights question and a vanity publishing question. I think it'll get a better response there.

M.Macabre
07-15-2012, 09:53 AM
I really hope this all gets sorted out for you :c

Cyia
07-15-2012, 03:15 PM
Definitely find out the name of the press.

If it's something like Lulu, then it's possible - assuming the person did all the steps right - that you've got what amounts to a proof copy. No ISBN, and it's not for sale.

If it's a predatory vanity press, then you might have some trouble.

I'm hoping it's the first one, because otherwise, the person who did this would have had to sign a publishing contract for the book, claiming ownership. In fact, they have had to do so even if it was Lulu (I'm not sure how their policies work.) Tell your "friend" that well-intentioned or not, fraud is not an acceptable way to celebrate a birthday.

Barbara R.
07-15-2012, 04:04 PM
You own the rights to your own work. If you didn't sign them away, you have nothing to worry about. If the book were to be released and distributed, the vanity publisher would have the problem, not you. It sounds as if your relative had the book printed and bound for you, not published. Seems like a loving gesture to me.

JustGo
07-15-2012, 05:27 PM
Thanks everyone! I'll try to find out if there was any contract signed or any ISBN number assigned to the book. I don't think there was--there's no copyright information or ISBN number on the book itself, just my name and the title. So I'm feeling a little better about that.

The company is Railroad Street Press, railroadstreetpress.com. I'm going to find out if the giver had to sign any sort of conract and any other piece of legal information I can get.

leahzero
07-15-2012, 05:28 PM
God, this is like nightmare fuel. Reminds me of the story of the AW member whose husband decided to self-publish their co-written novel without telling her.

Keeping my fingers crossed for you, OP. Even if it was "officially" published for distribution, like others have said, it was done fraudulently without the copyright holder's permission and you'll have recourse. But let's hope it doesn't have to get that complicated.

Cyia
07-15-2012, 05:33 PM
Looks like they're POD, using the espresso book machine as their selling point. You're going to have to find out if your book is available through "espressnet" and saved in the system for downloads through the machines.

Bufty
07-15-2012, 05:43 PM
Have you asked your friend about what it cost, what they signed, what copy mails he has, what he asked for...

Wow!

Nice idea but not exactly the most prudent thing to do with someone else's property.


Thanks everyone! I'll try to find out if there was any contract signed or any ISBN number assigned to the book. I don't think there was--there's no copyright information or ISBN number on the book itself, just my name and the title. So I'm feeling a little better about that.

The company is Railroad Street Press, railroadstreetpress.com. I'm going to find out if the giver had to sign any sort of conract and any other piece of legal information I can get.

Old Hack
07-15-2012, 06:01 PM
If it's something like Lulu, then it's possible - assuming the person did all the steps right - that you've got what amounts to a proof copy. No ISBN, and it's not for sale.

If it's a predatory vanity press, then you might have some trouble.

I'm hoping it's the first one, because otherwise, the person who did this would have had to sign a publishing contract for the book, claiming ownership. In fact, they have had to do so even if it was Lulu (I'm not sure how their policies work.) Tell your "friend" that well-intentioned or not, fraud is not an acceptable way to celebrate a birthday.

That was pretty much what I was thinking.


You own the rights to your own work. If you didn't sign them away, you have nothing to worry about. If the book were to be released and distributed, the vanity publisher would have the problem, not you. It sounds as if your relative had the book printed and bound for you, not published. Seems like a loving gesture to me.

And so was that.

I hope you get this all sorted out, and quickly. Good luck!

JustGo
07-15-2012, 06:01 PM
OK, I talked to the giver and cleared a few things up. I think that things are all right. They said it was only the one copy, that it wasn't uploaded to EspressNet, that they didn't and won't send for an ISBN and that they didn't sign any contracts or waivers. Supposedly they printed it directly off a USB drive and do not have my manuscript saved or available anywhere.

I checked EspressNet for my name and my book's title and nothing turned up, so I think we're in the clear there. I'll be checking every few days for a while though, just to be sure.

What do you guys think? Am I in the clear?

Cyia
07-15-2012, 06:08 PM
Sounds like you dodged a potential bullet, JG. Now, go make sure your files can't be accessed, copied, or removed without your knowledge/permission ever again.

Bufty
07-15-2012, 06:12 PM
Hope so. Touch wood.

Bet that gift aged you an extra year - :snoopy:

Now, because it's a 'real' book read it as a real reader and polish it even more.:Hug2:

Barbara R.
07-15-2012, 06:16 PM
God, this is like nightmare fuel. Reminds me of the story of the AW member whose husband decided to self-publish their co-written novel without telling her.
.

Yikes. Are they still married?

Old Hack
07-15-2012, 08:01 PM
EDITED:

Well, that's odd. A duplicate post from me, exactly two hours after the first copy of it appeared.

Sorry about that, everyone. I don't know how or why it happened, but it did.

I am confused. Ignore me.

CrastersBabies
07-15-2012, 09:12 PM
Yikes. Are they still married?

My question exactly. That's divorce material there.

But then again, I didn't marry a complete moron who would pull that kind of BS.

Bufty
07-15-2012, 09:29 PM
You might have hit the Quote button instead of the Edit button, intending to add something minor.

Easy done. I've done it more than once :snoopy: How could we possibly ignore you :Hug2:


EDITED:

Well, that's odd. A duplicate post from me, exactly two hours after the first copy of it appeared.

Sorry about that, everyone. I don't know how or why it happened, but it did.

I am confused. Ignore me.

Old Hack
07-15-2012, 09:53 PM
I don't think I did, Bufty: I restarted Google Chrome at about the time the second post hit, though, so perhaps it just resent my post to AW. That's the only explanation I can come up with.

Susan Littlefield
07-15-2012, 10:17 PM
JustGo,

It's sounds like your friend thought it would be a wonderful gift, which is very sweet indeed. I'm glad everything worked out, though, and now you have a copy for proofing. :)

dangerousbill
07-16-2012, 12:07 AM
Thanks everyone! I'll try to find out if there was any contract signed or any ISBN number assigned to the book. I don't think there was--there's no copyright information or ISBN number on the book itself, just my name and the title.


No ISBN? You're safe. Just check the printer's catalog to make sure it's not listed.

I use lulu.com all the time to get booklike versions of my advanced drafts for my sole use, or for gifts for a small number of patient victims friends. You can adjust the privacy settings so that only you can access it, or it is only accessible to someone with the correct URL.

JustGo
07-17-2012, 07:22 AM
Awesome, thanks guys! Sounds like I'm safe and I feel way better now. Man, I have no idea how I'd survive without these forums.

You're all getting rep points soon. Right now, though, I'm going to enjoy the liquor that the giver very, very thoughtfully included with this gift.

Susan Littlefield
07-17-2012, 06:53 PM
Awesome, thanks guys! Sounds like I'm safe and I feel way better now. Man, I have no idea how I'd survive without these forums.

You're all getting rep points soon. Right now, though, I'm going to enjoy the liquor that the giver very, very thoughtfully included with this gift.

We're all waiting for those rep points.... :D

Jonathan Dalar
07-18-2012, 03:33 AM
Ooo, I would be livid over something like that. Polite words could not express how I'd feel.

Looks like from what you're saying, you're in the clear, but don't take our word for it. See if there is any advice from agents/editors/other publishing gurus on the topic out there. I'm sure there is.

And of note, don't assume that because a book does not have an ISBN that it isn't published. Amazon does not use ISBN's when publishing their e-books, but they are still considered published as far as rights go.