Well, it’s Friday–or it was yesterday when I started writing this!–and this time I only have to go back about six months to find the topic of today’s Friday Folly.

I remember it clearly, even know the date, and could probably recount every second leading up my foolish action.  I’d been debating with myself whether or not to submit my novella to a contest.  I would’ve done it in a heartbeat, except the publisher holding the contest was new.  I’d just started having doubts about my other publisher, who was also new when I signed with them, and I kept thinking; you’ve been down that road before and what if the same thing happens again?  Finally, I decided to take a chance because the story fit the contest so perfectly.  So, I hit the ‘Send Now’ button. 

A month later, I was notified that my book had won and they wanted to offer me a contract.  I was thrilled.  I signed the contract without thinking twice about it and sent it back.  Over the course of the next month, I worked with an editor–who was wonderful–and the month after that, the cover artist–who was awesome.  Everything went downhill from there.

And now I find myself caught up in a battle with the publisher for my rights and it’s beginning to look like I’m going to have to fight for them.  Their breach of contract is clear–trust me on this, I’ve consulted a lawyer–so I wrote them yesterday and told them I was taking my rights back.  Given their history of not responding to emails from their authors, I really didn’t expect to hear back from them…

…except I did.  Their quick response was nice, and I was elated to read the opening line which went something like this: “As you requested, your rights will be returned to you.”  Oh, happy day, right?

Wrong.  By the time I finished reading their response, I was not just angry, but thoroughly pissed off to the point I was ready to go postal on these people.  The rest of their email was surly and about as far from professional as you can get.  I was, in turn, reprimanded, insulted, blamed for their problems, and threatened.  All that from a publisher who not only failed to live up to their contract, but has spent the last month making excuses and blaming their mistakes on everybody but themselves.  I don’t know why I was surprised, but I was.  

The only thing that saved me from publicly spewing venom about them on every group and blog I could find is the fact that they gave me my rights back.

That was good, right?  Well, no.

The thing is, they may have given my rights back to me, but they did it in an email that I refuse to send out to other publishers when I submit my book elsewhere.  So I promptly wrote them back and told them I expected to have a rights reversion letter in my hands on or before October 25 (the deadline I gave them in the original email), and I expected the letter to be written in a professional manner, or they would be hearing from my attorney.

Will they do it?  Who knows?  I think all bets are off with this publisher.  From everything I’ve heard, they aren’t paying their staff, much less their authors, they’re picking and choosing which parts of the contract they’ll honor, and they treat their authors–this isn’t hearsay, but fact based on my own experience–as if they’re idiots and/or children who are mentally challenged.

My problem now is how do I handle this?  I could take his email and delete out all the derogatory comments and use it as my rights reversion letter–or maybe I can’t, that’s something I’ve never needed to do, so I’ve never tried it.  Or I can continue sending them emails and certified letters until I get a professional rights reversion letter.  Or I can just turn it over to my lawyer and let him handle it.

I’m not sure what I’ll do, but one thing I am sure of, this has the potential to be the worst folly of my life, because I’m not trying to kid myself that this will turn out all right in the end.   

  

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