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Lyrical Press

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

Glenda

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I have to come on here and say I like Renee's honesty. I have talked with her several times and she answers my questions even if I don't like what I hear, (like my gener is not what is in demand right now). I have come to value her advice and I, like Donnette, know several of her authors and they have nothing but good reports about their publisher. In fact, I have yet to hear of any complaints about this publisher.
 

ChrisKelly331

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I love Lyrical Press. I submitted to them once when I really had no business submitting anything I was just so anxious. They sent me back the nicest rejection letter telling me I basically have talent and a good story but to try back when I cleaned up the manuscript. I really appreciated since they could have sent a plain old form rejection.
 

Melanie Nilles

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I have to chime in here that while Renee is very nice in her correspondence, I recently turned down a contract with them because of terms I found unacceptable. I won't discuss that openly but will say my judgment was based on past experience with a small press and what I found on SFWA and here for what should be acceptable. I think those subbing to any press need to be informed and not afraid to turn down something they don't agree with.

I do love the professional look of LP covers, though. Much better than some other small presses.
 

Jennifer Robins

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I am under contract with Lyrical for my paranormal novel, "What Happened to Anna?" I'm working with an editor and have to say, she has been great. They keep you informed between rounds by an email update of their schedule and when to expect the next round which by the way have been within a few weeks or sooner. I have no complaints about this publisher. There was one thing in the contract I asked for and Renee put it in for me after we discussed the reasons for it.
 

Melanie Nilles

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But for contracts, compare theirs to the sample on EPIC's site, the organization that most (not necessarily good) e-publishers belong to. Look here: http://www.epicauthors.com/contract.html and here: http://www.epicauthors.com/redflags.html and you'll see several red flag clauses in the LP contract, and they wouldn't negotiate on those.

Victoria is a great resource you're overlooking too. She knows her stuff ;)
 
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Melanie Nilles

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And a good lawyer will point out that contract has major flaws, but they won't know what a publishing contract is supposed to do without some experience in that field. Contracts should not contradict themselves nor should you sign away secondary rights to your work or television, multimedia, or derivative work rights, which are rights that you sign away with LP. If you get an offer for a movie, guess who owns those rights? Not you. Those were rights I was specifically told that LP wouldn't give up, which is a MAJOR red flag going against all sage advice on publishing contracts.

EDIT: If you're willing to throw away that much potential, then by all means, sign it. I'm not. I refuse to accept that as the final offer.
 
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victoriastrauss

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And a good lawyer will point out that contract has major flaws, but they won't know what a publishing contract is supposed to do without some experience in that field.

My bolding. This is very important, and worth repeating.

I don't provide legal advice, and make that very clear in my responses to contract questions. I have, however, seen a lot of publishing contracts, and am very familiar with standard and nonstandard terms. As I've noted already, the Lyrical contract is problematic in several respects--though in respect of Lyrical's desire not to publicly discuss the details of its contract, I won't be more specific.

Lyrical hasn't yet taken me up on my offer to correspond about these issues. My email address is [email protected].

- Victoria
 

Lyrical Press

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Mrs. Strauss, we were not avoiding answering any questions you may have regarding our contract. We will be emailing you shortly with our contact information.


Frank Rocco
 

Melanie Nilles

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I've been in your shoes, Saskatoonistan. Trust me. I know how you feel--"Why is anyone daring to say bad things about my publisher? How dare they!" I've been there with my other small pub. But that other publisher's contract was nearly identical to EPIC's model contract, except for the royalties, which I was willing to accept at the time. The problems with them began after the contract was signed, and haven't ended. I was defending them until the point when I had enough.

I wanted to believe Lyrical was good. I loved the covers and they seemed to do a lot for online marketing of their products--ebooks. I wanted to believe they really tried to meet industry standards. So I submitted. When I received the contract, I was appalled and disappointed. After finding out that they wouldn't budge and being blatantly told that they wanted movie, etc. rights because of the successes of books to movies, that clinched it for me. I was not going to open that can of worms. Getting burned once in a much lesser way was enough for me.

This forum is to inform writers of potential pitfalls in the publishing industry. I didn't say anything that can be taken as a liability. I gave the truth. Whether you want to hear it or not is not the issue. The issue is that writers come here for information, as I did. I didn't read anything except accolades by you and others, but my opinion has changed. Others deserve to know before submitting what they can expect. I will not silence my voice because you or anyone objects.

And you don't have to be a lawyer to interpret a contract, although a few business law classes and past publishing experience has given me a bit of an advantage over the average newbie writer. Otherwise what would all the agents do?

So, please don't snark on me. If you don't like the truth, turn to AW's moderators.
 

Melanie Nilles

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And I'm not saying you're wrong, but it doesn't take legal counsel to understand when you should be worried about terms in a contract.
 

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While I agree that legal advice is the ideal option, it's sometimes just not feasible. It's not always easy to find a lawyer who specialises in publishing contracts (and any other kind of lawyer will be pretty much useless). And it can be quite costly -- worthwhile if you're negotiating a major contract, but not for a small press where the author will be lucky to earn a few thousand dollars from her book.

So I disagree with Saska that this forum is not the place to discuss contracts. It's a very good place. No one is giving legal advice; rather, we discuss what a particular clause or subsidiary right means, and what the ramifications might be. Each author comes to his own conclusions based on his personal situation, desires, and bottom line. There's no legal liability inherent in that.

The Lyrical Press contract isn't evil; like any contract, it'll be right for some authors and wrong for others. And it's no insult to Lyrical Press for us to discuss that.
 

Sheryl Nantus

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I'm not sure where you're reading the word insult into this. My point has been (and continues to be) that only a lawyer can offer legal advice. This web forum is not legal advice. Take your contract to a lawyer, spend an hour of their time. Pick their brain and finally, make a decision as to whether a contract is good or bad for you. On the subject of liability, only a lawyer can determine whether there is a case for legal liability inherent in a contract's particular clause(s) or subsidiary rights. Only a judge can determine whether liability did indeed occur.

My point, as always, is to seek independent legal advice. Period. A web forum is no substitute for independent legal advice, and legal matters are probably best left for private correspondence since what we are really talking about here is a publisher or agent's reputation. Given the judgment against P&E, it's probably in everyone's best interests to keep concerns such as questions about Lyrical Press or any publisher's contract, off a public forum.

frankly, in that case the entire B*BC forum should be removed...

:D
 

Donnettetxgirl

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There are literary attorneys out there dealing specifically with these kind of contracts. I think out of anyone to consult with about a publishing contract, that would be the best source to turn to.

But, like has already been stated, some authors may be perfectly content with a publishing contract that another may not be. I guess it all boils down to what an author can & can't live with when it comes to a publishing contract.

If I received another publishing contract I'd want it looked over. But, I don't think I'd turn to a writers forum for answers. Although some of the information on them may be accurate, not all is. At the end of the day I would feel more comfortable turning to a proffesional for answers.
 

CaoPaux

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Given the judgment against P&E, it's probably in everyone's best interests to keep concerns such as questions about Lyrical Press or any publisher's contract, off a public forum.
Uh, no, it isn't, not the least because that case wasn't between commercial entities. Frankly, you're coming across as protesting too much. It's great you're happy with what you signed, but folks need to know what they're going to be offered, preferably before they spend the time and resources to submit. If Lyrical can't withstand discussion of its contract, then it's got bigger problems than author-unfriendly terms.
 

CaoPaux

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It's a key concern here as well, and you may be sure we'll step in if someone posts something problematic. IOW, please leave the modding to the mods.
 

KAP

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I'll resist the general discussion about lawyers, acceptable posts, individuality, etc., but I will add that I'm happy with my contract with Lyrical Press and happy with the negotiation process. They were flexible, reasonable, and responsive when working with me. We discussed all issues I questioned, modified/added/deleted a few things, and in short order had a contract that this particular author was quite happy to sign.

kap
 

victoriastrauss

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I'm not sure where you're reading the word insult into this. My point has been (and continues to be) that only a lawyer can offer legal advice. This web forum is not legal advice. Take your contract to a lawyer, spend an hour of their time. Pick their brain and finally, make a decision as to whether a contract is good or bad for you. On the subject of liability, only a lawyer can determine whether there is a case for legal liability inherent in a contract's particular clause(s) or subsidiary rights. Only a judge can determine whether liability did indeed occur.

I take your point. There is indeed no substitute for legal advice. On the other hand, not all legal advice is equal. Publishing contracts are highly specialized documents with terms and conditions not found elsewhere. A contracts lawyer, no matter how skilled, may not be able to flag problems in a publishing contract, if s/he doesn't have that experience.

Also, there are many issues to consider in a publishing contract other than liability. For instance (and this is a general example, not applicable to Lyrical Press), the implications of a life-of-copyright grant clause that's not qualified by an adequate reversion clause, or the problems posed by a royalty clause that pays on net profit. You don't need to be a lawyer to identify such issues--indeed, most literary agents aren't lawyers, yet they evaluate and negotiate publishing contracts as a routine part of their jobs.

I'm not a lawyer. But I've seen a lot of publishing contracts, and I don't agree that there are no major concerns here. I hate to be so cryptic about all this, but I'm trying to respect Lyrical's request not to discuss specific issues about their contract in public. They've contacted me, and I plan to respond. Saskatoonistan, I know you've already signed with Lyrical, but if you (or anyone else) wants to contact me privately, I'll be glad to share my concerns with you.

- Victoria
 
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Lyrical Press

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If Lyrical can't withstand discussion of its contract, then it's got bigger problems than author-unfriendly terms.

Respectfully, I would like to point out the inaccuracy of the above quote. Renee's statement below is taken from post #52 of this thread:

We've made it abundantly clear that we are open to addressing any concerns or questions authors may have regarding any aspect of Lyrical. We do, however, ask that sensitive matters, such as our confidential contract, be discussed in private and not on an open forum. We welcome any further questions or concerns to be sent to [email protected].

Although Lyrical maintains an author friendly environment, it is still a business and as such we must implement certain terms in our contract that ensure the protection of our investments or that are, frankly, smart business decisions on our part. We are not the sole house to feature an early termination fee or request Secondary Rights in our contract, merely one of many taking the same precautions to protect their company. I will also point out we do not pressure any author into signing with us and strongly advise legal counsel prior to the acceptance of our contract.

Again, I will be stress we welcome all questions, however, should anyone wish to address concerns regarding our contract please do so privately as it is a confidential legal document. We can be reached at [email protected].


Thank you,
Frank Rocco
Publisher, Lyrical Press, Inc.
 
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colealpaugh

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I take your point. There is indeed no substitute for legal advice. On the other hand, not all legal advice is equal. Publishing contracts are highly specialized documents with terms and conditions not found elsewhere. A contracts lawyer, no matter how skilled, may not be able to flag problems in a publishing contract, if s/he doesn't have that experience.

Also, there are many issues to consider in a publishing contract other than liability. For instance (and this is a general example, not applicable to Lyrical Press), the implications of a life-of-copyright grant clause that's not qualified by an adequate reversion clause, or the problems posed by a royalty clause that pays on net profit. You don't need to be a lawyer to identify such issues--indeed, most literary agents aren't lawyers, yet they evaluate and negotiate publishing contracts as a routine part of their jobs.

I'm not a lawyer. But I've seen a lot of publishing contracts, and I don't agree that there are no major concerns here. I hate to be so cryptic about all this, but I'm trying to respect Lyrical's request not to discuss specific issues about their contract in public. They've contacted me, and I plan to respond. Saskatoonistan, I know you've already signed with Lyrical, but if you (or anyone else) wants to contact me privately, I'll be glad to share my concerns with you.

- Victoria

There hasn't been even a hint of actionable 'conversation' in this thread. Not even close. Of course, anyone can bring legal action against anyone for anything, but real exposure is a different subject.

BBC is one of the best tools on AW. Imagine the world before resources like these had caught up to what the new mediums offered scammers?

I find it admirable that the LP owners stand behind their contracts. I find it valuable that Victoria has been clear in pointing out what she sees as specific issues.

I don't get this, though, "I'm trying to respect Lyrical's request not to discuss specific issues about their contract in public."

Why not? As long as Victoria didn't swipe someone's contract for posting, what does shining the light of day on what's really at the heart of the subject a bad thing? Why would a general contract structure be secret? A specific writer's contract, yes, but a general contract?

As a longtime journalist (25 years), I simply want to know what's what. No insult meant.

Thanks, Victoria. You rock.
 

victoriastrauss

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I've had some correspondence with the very nice and responsive folks at Lyrical, and I'm really happy to report that they have made a number of changes to their contract that resolve the confusing language issues, and make the contract much more author-friendly overall.

The kill fee remains, and while I'm never happy to see something like that in a contract, I can respect Lyrical's reasons for including it, and believe them when they tell me it's not something they anticipate invoking very often.

Kudos to Lyrical's staff for their cordial response to suggestions and their willingness to make author-positive changes.

- Victoria
 

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