View Full Version : Roadblock

01-26-2007, 12:01 AM
Okay, here's my conundrum:

The publisher I've been working with may be selling his company, so new projects -- including my MS -- are now "on hold." There aren't any specific dates as to when this will happen (or whether it will happen).

Now, even though my MS would probably be passed on to the new folks, one of the reasons I wanted to go with this owner is because he's a tremendous editor & really helped with the book. I wouldn't WANT someone else handling it who I hadn't already dealt with.

We hadn't signed the contract yet, so I'm under no legal obligations.

My question is, what to do? If I wait for news from him, it could take six months -- then there's another undefined amount of time for the new folks to read the MS, to settle in, etc., etc.

Should I tell him that if I don't hear any news by a certain date that I'm going to start shopping the MS around again? If so, should I cut all ties or should I try to keep a possible option open? I don't want to burn any bridges, but I don't want to wait another 2 years, either...

aka eraser
01-26-2007, 12:42 AM
Hi RTH. A few things sound a bit "off" here. You say you've been working with them and they've had your ms for a while but offered no contract? That's odd. It also sounds as if the publisher and your editor are the same person. If that's so, your publisher might be working out of his or her spare bedroom. Many small operations are underfunded and have difficulty delivering the goods.

What's the name of the company? Have they published books you can find in your local bookstore?

Based on what you've said here, I sure wouldn't wait around. I'd inform the publisher that you're going to shop your ms elsewhere until/if the uncertainty surrounding his company is over.

01-26-2007, 01:22 AM
Eraser's right, and that sounds very strange for a publisher. And if you have no contract, it's not "on hold" because it's not "their book" anyway.

I would love to know what publisher it is too.

I'm...loathe to offer further advice without knowing the publisher, though.

01-26-2007, 01:46 AM
Agreeing with others who've spotted an off note here. Knowing the name of the publisher, and why he wants to sell his company, would really help.

- Victoria

Kate Thornton
01-26-2007, 01:48 AM
Oh, I was waiting for Victoria to weigh in on this. It doesn't sound right to me, either.

01-26-2007, 04:23 AM
Commonly, to sell a business all contracts transfer or offer reasonable outs. The new owner would be aware of this. But you have no contract, which to my way of thinking, should have been dealt first thing and an advance advanced.

I have to wonder why it is for sale. If it is because of lack of funds then let it go, you lucked out.

Don't burn your bridges but I see a real pickle arising. If you shop your work elsewhere and get interest and the publisher doesn't sell you could be in deep doodoo (though only morally). Someone is going to get the short end. OTH, if you sit and wait and you get dumped either by transfer of ownership or defunction, it will be you that gets the short end.

I'll side with the others. Your best interest is in finding another publisher. Either way, you look to be in the stalled lane. The only good scenario would be if he decides to keep it and goes on, business as usual. Call him.

01-26-2007, 04:27 AM
If anyone gets the short end of the stick here, it's the publisher, if they don't sell. And they can have it. They should have offered a contract well before they started doing anything with the manuscript. First comes "yes," and then comes "contract," and then comes "other stuff." They've got their order mixed up.

So if you shop it to another publisher and GET a contract, good for you.

01-26-2007, 08:15 PM
Thanks for the advice, everybody. I was planning to shop it around again, but I thought I'd take a quick poll. Unanimous results! :)

Basically, the owner had said he had a few issues with the MS the first time around, and that if I worked on them he'd be happy to take it. So I worked on them, and that's when the waiting began.

I don't think there's anything ethically amiss, necessarily -- I think it's just a really new company that's been set back; the owner didn't say why he wanted to sell, though, so that has me a little skittish. From the recommendation of authors he's worked with I thought it would be a great deal (one of them's a big-name writer in Australia & had nothing but praise for the company), but I guess things just don't always turn out.

Anyway, back to AgentQuery.com... :cry:

01-26-2007, 10:54 PM
RTH, I tracked around the name you gave me for a half an hour this morning, and it took way too much effort to find anything about them. If they haven't offered you a contract, and they're in financial difficulties, consider yourself a rat on a sinking ship. Please get off quickly. So yes, I'm enthusiastically recommending you head back to AgentQuery.com, or some such.

01-26-2007, 11:10 PM
Already rowing away on my little plank of wood...

Maybe some shrimping boat'll pick me up before I get scurvy. ;)

01-27-2007, 02:29 AM
Is the publisher by chance Bohemian Ink (http://www.bohemian-ink.com/)? The Australian writer rang a bell with me, and I remembered that I'd checked the publisher out this summer in response to a question. I was suspicious, not so much for any red flags on the site, as for the fact that it was gearing up so extremely slowly--the one book it has published to date was issued in September 2004. You don't want a small press to overcommit--that's one way that small publishers get into trouble and go out of business--but one book in two years is not a good sign, and certainly suggests a publisher in trouble.

The Australian writer, Paul Collins, is a multi-published author who broke into the US market with his Earthborn Wars series, the first two books of which were pubbed by Tor Starscape. The fact that Tor isn't issuing Book 3 suggests to me that the first two books didn't do well. Even so, I can't imagine why he chose Bohemian Ink. There are many small press publishers of SF/fantasy that are much better established and have much better presence in the marketplace.

- Victoria