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Tirgearr Publishing

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

zmethos

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Thanks for sharing all this information, zmethos, and congratulations on your book! Sometimes you just can't predict how the market is going to go no matter what method you use for publishing.

Do you know how many digital books are required to sell, or maybe what rate they need to sell, to allow for a physical book run with Tirgearr? I didn't see this anywhere on their site unfortunately.

I was told (only after signing the contract) I would have to sell 100 books within a quarter--at retail, not sale price--to qualify for print. PM me for details.
 

susangpyp

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I was told (only after signing the contract) I would have to sell 100 books within a quarter--at retail, not sale price--to qualify for print. PM me for details.

Wait. You have a contract that doesn't mention this? That would seem, to me, is a major piece of the puzzle.
Maybe this comment is too late for you and I don't know how it's dealt with in the contract, but it might help someone else going down the same path.

I don't have the contract in front of me so I can't tell you definitely, BUT your entire agreement should be the 4 corners of the written contract. In the law it's called the Parole Evidence Rule and it means that all major terms and conditions need to be covered in the written contract. You can't add or amend verbally. You would need a written addendum or the original contract is null and void. I would think that this 100 books thing is a significant condition. You can look up Parole Evidence Rule and see if it applies to your contract. If it does, I would imagine the contract would be non-binding.

Again, it might not help you (unless you want to get out of the contract and, depending on how this is handled IN the contract, you probably can), but I hope it can help someone else. ALL major terms and conditions must be included in the written contract. Verbal agreements as to a major term or condition are generally not considered legal or binding.

I'm really curious as to how this is handled within IN the contract if you only learned about it after.
 

zmethos

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Thanks. I'd never heard of the Parole Evidence Rule. Does it apply if the publisher is in Ireland? I looked at my contract again, but there's nothing specific in it as to whether one will get print books. I don't even know if other authors were given the same threshold as I was. My contract only states: "Print publication is limited to full-length works of 40,000 words or more. Shorter works may be combined in anthology form for print release." But I was told many times that they don't do print runs for every book, and Kem sends emails from time to time telling authors that print books take time to format and never make any money, particularly because in Ireland they have to submit something like 20 copies to various official institutions.
 

LindaJeanne

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My contract only states: "Print publication is limited to full-length works of 40,000 words or more. Shorter works may be combined in anthology form for print release."
Someone more familiar with publishing contracts may want to correct my ignorance but... that doesn't sound like contract language to me? A bit overly generic -- a general statement of policy, rather than a contract for a specific book. I'd expect the contract to state whether THIS book was getting a print run (or under what conditions, such as 'will be given a print run of X copies if it sells more than Y e-book copies within Z amount of time.').

Looking forward to hearing from others who actually has experience with this (since I don't).
 
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Old Hack

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Contracts should spell everything out. So if the contract didn't say that the publisher would publish your book in print within so many months of signing, you don't have a print publishing deal. If it said they have the option of publishing it in print then the terms of that option should be spelled out and if they're not, then you have a problematic contract.

Additionally, I think it's the "Parol Evidence Rule", not Parole.
 

susangpyp

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Contracts should spell everything out. So if the contract didn't say that the publisher would publish your book in print within so many months of signing, you don't have a print publishing deal. If it said they have the option of publishing it in print then the terms of that option should be spelled out and if they're not, then you have a problematic contract.

Additionally, I think it's the "Parol Evidence Rule", not Parole.

HA! It is. My Italian snuck in there. Bad lawyer! But when I studied it in law school, that is actually how I remembered it because word is "parole" in Italian.

What jurisdiction controls the contract? That should be spelled out. A contract MUST have specific terms and conditions as to significant points. That would be a significant point. If it's vague, you don't have a contract.

Any ambiguity in a contract is held against the drafter of the contract so it would be held against them. Once you start pulling apart a contract, chances are it's not going to hold up in a court of law.

I studied International Law in law school and, unlike most European nations, England follows case law like we do. I don't know if that is the whole of the UK but I would imagine it is. There are differences but I would be very surprised if that were one of them.

What does the contract say as to what jurisdiction controls?
 
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susangpyp

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The Elgar Encyclopedia of Comparative Law states that Ireland does follow the Parol Evidence Rule (I keep putting that e in there!) So you cannot amend or clarify via verbal agreements. Everything has to be in writing. This doesn't sound like a lawyer drafted this contract. If you truly want your book in print, you may need to negotiate a new contract.
 

zmethos

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The contract reads: "The Author, on behalf of himself/herself and his/her heirs, executors, administrators, successors and assignees, grants the following exclusive worldwide rights to publish, distribute, and sell the Work including but not limited to all electronic, print and audio editions or similar media of presentation known or to be invented."

And then: "If the Publisher does not publish and make available for sale the Work named in this contract within twelve (12) months of the manuscript's editing by a staff editor, this contract is void and all rights revert to the Author, unless otherwise agreed upon by Publisher and Author."

But there's nothing specific about them having to do a print version. They only have to "publish and make available for sale."
 

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That's not good.
 

susangpyp

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Does it have a clause as to what jurisdiction controls the contract? That's a very vague contract. There's absolutely no specifics as to what you have to do to get to print which means they don't have to print it. Ever.
 

zmethos

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Does it have a clause as to what jurisdiction controls the contract? That's a very vague contract. There's absolutely no specifics as to what you have to do to get to print which means they don't have to print it. Ever.

Yeah, they do bill themselves as primarily a digital publisher. I don't know how many of their books ever go into print (though a recent email mentioned there's a current list of 10 titles to be given print runs). I do think the owner, who is also an author, does print most of her titles. That's her prerogative, I suppose.

As for jurisdiction, this is what it states: "In all countries where the Berne Convention standards apply, copyright is automatic, and need not be obtained through official registration with any government office. At their discretion, the Author will be responsible for registering the copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office, including payment of any fees and the costs of preparing printed and/or electronic documentation of the Work as required by the U.S. Copyright office." Also: "The Terms and Conditions of which will be governed by Irish law. Any dispute in relation to these Terms and Conditions shall be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the Irish Courts."
 

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It doesn't really matter which is the home country for this contract: it doesn't specify which formats your book will be published in, just that it will be published "within twelve (12) months of the manuscript's editing by a staff editor". If their staff editor doesn't get to work at any time within the next twenty years, the contract still stands. And meanwhile they can sell whatever rights to your book that they want to, because they now have all the rights.


 

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My experience has been that the first round of edits are returned to me in about 2-3 months of the contract signing. I'm on my fifth book with them. My contract also has a clause that the contract shall be in force from the date it is signed by all parties until five years from teh actual release date of teh first released format. It can be renewed or not at that point. So the rights do revert - if they aren't going in the direction you want, you get them back. You can also buy out before the contract end with 90 day notice and a fee.
 

zmethos

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This morning I received an email about changes being made to the Tirgearr contract... One was this: "Tirgearr Publishing will first publish the Work in digital format. And based on the sales of that digital Work, other formats, including print, audio, large print, etc. may be released." But it still feels vague. Shouldn't they have solid numbers instead of just "based on the sales"? They're also giving authors 25% of print royalties (from Net) if the book goes into print.
 

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This morning I received an email about changes being made to the Tirgearr contract...

They can't make changes to existing contracts without the author's agreement. So be careful if you're asked to sign anything: you are under no obligation to do so.

One was this: "Tirgearr Publishing will first publish the Work in digital format. And based on the sales of that digital Work, other formats, including print, audio, large print, etc. may be released." But it still feels vague. Shouldn't they have solid numbers instead of just "based on the sales"? They're also giving authors 25% of print royalties (from Net) if the book goes into print.

Yes, they should give solid numbers. And without a definition of "net", that 25% could end up being nothing.
 

susangpyp

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It's true. They can't just make changes and that is vague. Ask them to quantify.
 

zmethos

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It hasn't really changed much from where I sit, though we (Tirgearr authors) were recently sent very specific formatting instructions for submission. Don't know if they would apply to new authors? But I've posted them below for reference since I imagine if they want existing authors to send stuff formatted this way, they'd like it this way from anyone:

1) Please do not put double spaces between sentences. This is a very old school requirement from mass market publishers which no longer exists with most of them, and rarely requested by small press. Most authors will preset autocorrects that when you hit a period, that it will automatically correct to the period with a double space. When you reach the end of a paragraph, the double space is applied as the writer continues on the next paragraph. In formatting terms, this means EVERY PARAGRAPH has to be hand edited before publication to remove those extra spaces. This is extremely time consuming, especially for lengthier tomes. So PLEASE. Period and one space between sentences and no space after the period at the end of a paragraph.

* Submissions that come in with the offending double spaces will be returned to the author for YOUR correction before first reads or edits can begin.

2) Indenting the first line of each paragraph...DO NOT TAB!!! You can set defaults on your documents to automatically indent your first lines of new paragraphs. There are two ways to do this...

a) Open your document > right click > chose Paragraph > on the window that opens, change Indentation To: set the auto-tab here. We prefer .75 or 1cm. Default is usually 1.25cm > Click DEFAULT > on the window that opens, click YES to change your Word template. This will mean that every time you start a new document, the auto-indent will already be in place.

b) If the story is already started, open the document > highlight all of your text > right click and chose Paragraph > Set defaults here as above.

When setting whole page formatting, this is what we prefer, and what we use for formatting books for publication.

Paragraph window: Indents and Spacing tab (see image below):

General -

Alignment - Left
Outline level - Body Text

Indentation -

Left - 0
Right - 0
Special - First line = By 0.75 cm

Spacing -

Before - 0
After - 0
Line spacing - Double (for submission) At: Blank

Click TABS and be sure your Default Tab Stops says 0.75 cm, click OK

On the Paragraph window, click DEFAULT and chose YES to change your template setting.

Every time you open Word, these settings will be automatic.
 

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1) Please do not put double spaces between sentences. This is a very old school requirement from mass market publishers which no longer exists with most of them, and rarely requested by small press. Most authors will preset autocorrects that when you hit a period, that it will automatically correct to the period with a double space. When you reach the end of a paragraph, the double space is applied as the writer continues on the next paragraph. In formatting terms, this means EVERY PARAGRAPH has to be hand edited before publication to remove those extra spaces. This is extremely time consuming, especially for lengthier tomes. So PLEASE. Period and one space between sentences and no space after the period at the end of a paragraph.

Blimey. I'm staggered that any publisher would produce such error-ridden text.
 

Jeneral

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I admit I'm one of those old-school people who learned to type with the two spaces after a period thing. I've been working on retraining myself, but that extra space still sneaks in. So when I finish a draft of something one of the last things I do is a global find-and-replace for two spaces and replace with one. Takes about 10 seconds.
 

Old Hack

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I wouldn't worry about the two-spaces thing. As you said, it's easily sorted out. But that explanation they've given is stuffed full of errors, and that's a big worry. When publishers can't write clear text which is gramatically correct, how can they oversee editors and be confident they're doing their jobs properly?
 

D.L. Shepherd

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Thanks. They were active on #PitMad, but this thread doesn't sound that promising. I will keep looking...
 

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I admit I'm one of those old-school people who learned to type with the two spaces after a period thing. I've been working on retraining myself, but that extra space still sneaks in. So when I finish a draft of something one of the last things I do is a global find-and-replace for two spaces and replace with one. Takes about 10 seconds.

You could say the same thing about the indent. Sure, it's annoying, but it's not super hard to fix. It's not like these guys are cranking out 125 titles every week. So what they're saying is you could send them the next Harry Potter, but they're not gonna read it because two spaces between sentences. That's just stupid.
 

zmethos

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Pro: They've always paid on time.

Con: They do very little marketing (though incentivize you to market yourself by offering "Tirgearr Bucks" to put toward blog tours or other promotional efforts).
 

Elizabeth George's book Write Away