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Cavern Publishing Group / Cavern Press / Surreal Books

editing_for_authors
Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

cesarcarlos

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Hello everyone,

I write in representation of the authors of Shadow Regions anthology to make public our situation concerning publisher Surreal Books and her owner Tammy Perron. 3/4 of the authors who contributed to that anthology never got paid and some (including the editor) didn't even receive their contributor copies. May this statement be a warning for others in risk of falling prey to a similar scam.

You can read the statement here:

http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendID=121530412&blogID=222219295&MyToken=76db0bc9-c7ab-4acb-88e0-62bec259c491

Best,

Cesar Puch
 

James D. Macdonald

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Sury

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I am among Cavern's victims. The publisher "bought" my nonfiction book in December 2005 and sent me 1/3 of the advance amount. The other two installments were to be paid "upon editing phase" and "on delivery of final acceptable MS" respectively. I submitted the final, edited MS in February 2006. I never received the remaining two installments. My book was supposed to be published in April 2006, but has still not seen the light of day.

My communication with the publisher was mostly carried out through emails and IM. Since her disappearance nearly three months ago, she has failed to respond to all my efforts to contact her. I even sent her a snail mail, but never got a response to that either.

As an aspiring author, this experience has been as frustrating as it can be for me.

Sury
 

J.S Greer

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Sury said:
I am among Cavern's victims. The publisher "bought" my nonfiction book in December 2005 and sent me 1/3 of the advance amount. The other two installments were to be paid "upon editing phase" and "on delivery of final acceptable MS" respectively. I submitted the final, edited MS in February 2006. I never received the remaining two installments. My book was supposed to be published in April 2006, but has still not seen the light of day.

My communication with the publisher was mostly carried out through emails and IM. Since her disappearance nearly three months ago, she has failed to respond to all my efforts to contact her. I even sent her a snail mail, but never got a response to that either.

As an aspiring author, this experience has been as frustrating as it can be for me.

Sury

Wow, I feel for you. Did you sign a contract?
 

Sury

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J.S Greer said:
Wow, I feel for you. Did you sign a contract?
I didn't. In fact, I never got to scan and send the contract back to the publisher. The publisher happened to be a personal friend and since it was all informal between us, she never pressed either.

I also overlooked the fact that the contract mentions no projected publication date and has no clause regarding my recourse in the event of the publisher's failure to honor her commitment.

Sury
 

K1P1

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Sury, I'm confused. Are you saying that you never signed a contract, but that you do have a copy of one that wasn't executed?

If you never signed contract, then it may be that your e-mail correspondence is the only record of the terms of your agreement. While you don't have a signed contract, I think the fact that you received money in return for your ms implies that there really was an agreement.

I assume that you want to be released from that agreement (assuming one ever really existed). So that you can market your book elsewhere and get it published.

I suspect that the best thing to do is to send a certified letter and get a return receipt (showing the signature of the person who received the letter, so you can prove it was received). The letter should state clearly that because of failure to honor the commitment to publish and failure to pay the remaining agreed advance, you are terminating the relationship and reclaiming the rights to your work. I wouldn't mention returning the advance--if she wants it back in order to release the rights to you, then she can ask for it and you can negotiate that if she gets in touch with you. I would include a form letter stating clearly that the rights for your work (include the title), have been returned to you and that any agreement, implied or in writing, between you and the company (name names) has been terminated. Provide blanks for date, signature, and title of the signer. In your cover letter, include the statement that if the enclosed form letter indicating that the release of rights and termination of agreement has taken place has not been returned to you within a reasonable time (30 days?), the agreement will still be deemed to have been terminated as of (give a date) and the rights returned to you.

Perhaps some of the more experienced folks here could comment on whether they think this is the best way to proceed.
 

Sury

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Sury, I'm confused. Are you saying that you never signed a contract, but that you do have a copy of one that wasn't executed?

You got it right. The publisher sent me a physical copy of the contract in December 2005. However, I never got to scan and send it back. Back then we used to chat frequently over IM, and when she asked me if the contract was fine with me, I replied in the affirmative. Unfortunately, I lost the IM archives to a computer crash. So, yes, I had given my consent, even if I didn't actually sign the contract. Along with the contract, she had also sent the first installment of my advance.

I wonder if the situation is made a bit more complex by the fact that I am a non-US writer who entered into an agreement with a US-based publisher. Don't know how the legalities would pan out in this case.

Thanks for your suggestions, Maggi. I appreciate the help. :)

Sury
 

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