Thursday, August 2, 2012

When It All Goes Bad

Good morning everyone.  Sorry about the big giant picture of me at the top of the blog today but with the problems involving copyright and the use of pictures I don't dare put up a picture of anything else.  So there I am. I own the rights to my photo...I think.

I'm going to write today about what happens when it all goes bad...or when a publisher you are dealing with suddenly disappears.  And, for the record, I am not going to be naming any names because I really don't want to get into a shouting match with anyone. There are a lot of feelings about this subject. But, I get asked publishing questions all the time and this seemed like a good use of my blog this week, especially because, in all likelihood, as I am writing this days in advance because of my upcoming move from New Jersey to Texas, things have most likely changed in any particular issue and I probably don't have internet service yet in my new house which means I have no idea how any of it played out.

Which is why I'm writing this very blandly, and not naming names.  There? Have I covered myself well enough yet?

I've had the situation come upon me recently of a publisher suddenly vanishing.  How can this happen? Well, in my case, I didn't see it coming because I wasn't paying proper attention to things.  Firstly, apparently, the royalty payments to some authors started coming late.  I didn't notice.  We've been getting ready to move for months now.  I had other things on my mind.  I think, had I been more alert to my life, I would say that is a pretty good indication that things have gone very wrong.

The sudden exit, purely a business decision from what I can tell, of a person in charge of the publishing house started a fury of activity and a lot of people seem to be very worked up.  At the moment, I am not.  My recommendation to people when this happens, and really it doesn't occur very often but when it does tends to be very dramatic, is to remember how it is that you want the rest of the publishing world to look at you. Everyone is going to have an opinion on what happened and you want to appear to be reasonable.  We really don't know if the publisher is going to send out royalty payments. We really don't know if they're going to return our rights.

We just don't know. Calm down for a while. Let's see what happens.

Thats the best advice I can give about most things in this industry. Don't fly off the proverbial handle.  If you have to, you can always send certified letters later and deal with lawyers.  Just make sure every contract you sign has an out clause.

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