View Full Version : Honesty or not?

09-26-2012, 04:39 AM
Honesty or Not? I am a generally honest person. My novel was published by an incompetent e-publisher that broke every promise. After months of trying to have them put it on the Internet successfully and professionally, they failed. I received four star reviews despite the issues. Finally, I had the right to terminate our contract, and I own all rights. Now it has been edited several more times, since I understand small independent publishers do little. It has a new name and it no longer exists on the web. The question: tell the new publisher or not that it was previously published for a very short time? I value your opinions.

Old Hack
09-26-2012, 10:58 PM
Inkblot, I've peeled your post out of the thread where you made it as it wasn't really on-topic there, and have made it into a new thread here, where I hope it'll get a better response.

Oh, and welcome to AW!

09-26-2012, 11:00 PM
You need to disclose a book's prior history.

09-26-2012, 11:07 PM
There are ways to find out this information, and if you withheld it and the agent (or future publisher) discovered it, it would not only create problems, but make you look untrustworthy. Relationships depend on trust, and you don't want to mess that up. If agents aren't willing to take this book on because of it's history, you can hold onto it and send out the next book you write instead.

09-26-2012, 11:07 PM
Seconding Cyia. You have to say it was published before under what name and by whom.

If a house wants to publish it anyway, they will. The other option is for you to write a new book and place that one with a new house and/or agent and perhaps self-pub this one later so your new and old fans can read it.

Give it a go, but be honest. The worst you're going to get if you're honest is "No," whereas the worst you get if you lie and are caught in the lie later is a whole lot of trouble (possibly of the legal variety).

09-26-2012, 11:08 PM

Chris P
09-26-2012, 11:09 PM
Cyia is right. The first rights of that book are gone, no matter who published it, even if it might as well not have been published.

09-26-2012, 11:27 PM
Honesty. I can't imagine starting a relationship with an agent or editor knowing we had this big lie between us. Reputations are hard to build and lost in an instant.

09-26-2012, 11:54 PM
Be honest, mate. It'll be a very hard lesson to learn if you try to hide it, because it will come out. You can be sure about that. Good luck.

09-27-2012, 12:26 AM
If you sell first rights to a publisher when those rights are already gone, you could be sued for it.

Be honest. If it's a book they love, they'll find a way to make things work.

09-27-2012, 01:16 AM
Another vote here for honesty.

09-27-2012, 03:41 AM
Be honest, but also make it clear that the publisher broke its promises and the book received no support or distribution. That will make it clear that despite being published, the book has not been tested in the marketplace, and is still essentially a virgin property.

No one will sue an author for re-selling a book to a new publisher, as long as there's full disclosure and the author has regained control of their rights. The "first rights" concept is important in the magazine, newspaper, and periodical world--where articles and stories appear for a limited time or as part of collective works--but not so much in book publishing, where re-publication happens on a fairly regular basis.

- Victoria

Josie Cloos
09-27-2012, 04:02 AM
Honesty is always the best road to take in any endeavor.

Becky Black
09-27-2012, 12:43 PM
Definitely honesty. The relationship with a publisher or agent is a professional one, so thinking "oh just don't say anything and hope they won't find out" won't cut it. It's also a legally binding one and if you sign a contract that says things you know to be untrue you are in the wrong - no ifs, ands, or buts.

Even if you aren't able to place it elsewhere and end up having to chalk this one up to experience, at least you've learned a valuable lesson. And if you're clear about the history of that book, then should you send another book later to the same agent or publisher, they may well remember they are dealing with someone who was up front and honest with them - something that will make you appear more professional.

09-27-2012, 04:50 PM
honesty. put it this way: Do you feel it is good for a business relationship to start out by lying? Do you feel it is good for your career to both lie to business partners and open yourself to possiblt legal action?

No good can come from hiding your past publication.

09-27-2012, 05:33 PM
A lie will almost always come back around and bite you on the ass. As Mark Twain said, "When in doubt, tell the truth."

Honesty is always the best policy.