Wednesday, March 4, 2009

I'm very disappointed right now. Why can't people do the right thing? Especially when you follow the rules and do what they request of you? I don't like bashing people or businesses but if this situation continues much longer I will be forced to take legal action.

I'm talking about getting the book rights back to two of my novels where the contracts have expired. In my mind they're my books and I can do what I want with them. But until the publisher acknowledges in writing and in a public notice that the rights revert back to me, I can't do anything with my books.

Three months I've been waiting patiently for that acknowledgement. I sent them a certified letter, which was required of me, in advance of my contract ending. I know they received the letter because they had to sign for it. So when the time came and I emailed them a reminder I was met with nothing but silence and finally excuses. Their last excuse? It was tax time and the 4th quarter of paying royalties and they were too busy.

Okay, that seemed like a valid reason why they hadn't updated their public notice section so I was willing to give them a little more time. But do you know they didn't waste any time in removing my books from their website? Now you tell me, was that right?

Tonight I sent them my last request. I was proud of myself for being professional but I'm telling you my friends, if they don't revert the rights back to me by the end of March the next letter they receive will be from my lawyer. I don't want to go that route but enough is enough.

Am I wrong?


Nancy Bristow said...

Debbie...Personally I think you've already been way too patient and too nice. The publisher's excuses are not your problem.

I worked for years in a financial department and never did the company stop functioning in other areas because it was tax time or payroll was being handled.

You're saying the publisher needs to acknowledge that the books rights have reverted back to you in writing...meaning the publisher needs to send you a boiler plate letter of some kind AND placing a public notice acknowledging the books rights have been reverted back to the author(you) in putting a few lines in a newspaper? These are tasks requiring minimal time...not months. These are tasks publishers handle on a regular basis.

Have you been in touch with other authors that have been through this problem with this particular publisher?

Meanwhile your hands are tied and the publisher is preventing you from receiving potential income.

Something to keep in mind...there is zero benefit to the publisher to accommodate your request in a timely manner and that being the case, they will drag their feet forever. Companies are not into doing what's right...they are into the bottom line. I wish it were otherwise.

You've heard that the squeaky wheel gets the oil and you know it's true. Playing nice ain't going to cut it. It will take putting on the biggest "assertive" hat you own and getting in their faces and not backing down or off until you have the issue resolved. You can stay professional and repeat the issue and resolution of your problem to them until they resolve it, which will take your time and energy OR it may be worth pricing out attorney action right this minute (it may just require a letter from an attorney...the publisher is not disputing the contract...only being lazy about what needs to be done to finalize the reverting of rights...if I understand correctly). A good attorney can ballpark the cost before you commit and advise what action needs to be taken right this minute...if you don't already know.

Have you already approached the owner/president of the publishing company? I've always found it to be beneficial to start at the top.

Anyway just some thoughts. I don't doubt you will get it handled and I hope for you that it's sooner rather than later....Nancy

Karin said...

Definitely not wrong. You have been completely patient with them and what they're doing just isn't right. I hope things work out for you, and quickly.

RachieG said...

I completely agree Debbie! If the contract has expired, it's yours. You did your part - THEY should do theirs!!

Debbie Wallace said...

Thanks for your support and understanding, ladies. I really appreciate it.

Nancy, I did start at the top and unfortunately this publisher has a history of this kind of thing. The started out as one of the best publishers to write for but their reputation has gone into the toilet in the last couple of years. I didn't find out about them until they had 3 of my books.

I'm thinking of having my lawyer just send them a letter and be done with it.

Karin, thanks:) I will get my books back, unfortunately on their terms and when they're ready.

Hi're new here, welcome:) It would be nice if we could make people do the right thing, wouldn't it? Patience isn't one of my virtues but in this case I thought it would work in my favor.

Ellen Ashe said...

Ah, New Concept Publishing, I assume? Why do I ask? Because they did EXACTLY the same thing to me last year. They ignored my requests after writing to tell me they didn't have the time because they were busy with taxes and to, basically, go away. It took my lawyer writing them twice to get my rights back. That, and a lot of whistle blowing on the part of a number of other authors who were being mistreated the same way.

Patience and professionalism on your part when writing to THEM doesn't get anywhere.

Get the lawyer if you want your books back. With NCP there is no other way.

Debbie Wallace said...

I'm afraid you're right, Ellen. I just don't like to think that people, especially professional, act so unprofessional. It's very sad.

I've already contacted my lawyer:)