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Publisher Alert: New Concepts Publishing Releasing Unauthorized Material

Sydney Somers, a former NCP author, released an alert regarding a New Concepts Publishing release. Somers wrote three chapters of a full length novel that was never released but was contracted by NCP last summer. Today, the three chapters has been converted into a novella and inserted into an anthology with two other authors. Somers neither authorized nor condoned this anthology and has no knowledge of what it contains other than possibly her first three chapters in some form.

The anthology, Howl for Me, is the same title of the book Somers was contracted for this past summer. She urges her readers to “not buy this release assuming it is a finished project of mine.”

I’ve heard of some pretty shoddy publishing actions, but this seriously has to take the cake. Can you imagine how horrible it would be if a publisher took a proposal an author wrote and packaged it into an anthology with no opportunities for rewriting or editing and no information as to how your work is being transformed, but still sold under your name? I’m aghast at the chutzpah of NCP and I wonder how many authors will be eager to work with them again. If I were Somers, I’d be checking my contract for an out clause.

Both Ellen Ashe and Emily Veinglory have written on this subject.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

158 Comments

  1. Annmarie
    Jun 25, 2008 @ 20:45:02

    I’m not surprised. I hope Sydney Somers has a good lawyer.

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  2. Diana Castilleja
    Jun 25, 2008 @ 21:11:25

    I’m not surprised that NCP is behind this. I hope she has a lawyer too. NCP will not let her out of any agreement if she signed it. They don’t honor the contracts. She’s been pooched unfortunately. Even Ellen’s lawyer got her nothing, but being in Canada I’m sure she had a harder time of it.

    I’m really hoping Sydney can get her story back.

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  3. Kayleigh Jamison
    Jun 25, 2008 @ 21:16:14

    The buy page for the book classifies it as a “round robin anthology,” so I’m assuming these other two authors simply continued Somers’ story where she left off. One of the authors has no online presence other than this one book out with NCP. The other has no website, but a large number of books released by NCP.

    I’ve heard in the past about NCP’s owners writing large amounts of the publisher’s catalog under a myriad of pseudonyms. Call me a conspiracy theorist, but I wouldn’t be surprised if these two additional authors are NCP’s owners writing in disguise again.

    If not, it begs the question: how did NCP get these other two authors on board? What did they tell them, and why did they not think to collaborate with Somers? Not to mention the copyright issues here, aye aye aye.

    All around, it’s disturbing. I know some publishers will do a lot of work for an author, but to actually finish her book for her? Well…that’s quite generous!

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  4. Ellen Ashe
    Jun 25, 2008 @ 22:17:15

    The other two authors could very well be NCP owners.

    I feel so disgusted I could hurl.

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  5. Ellen F.
    Jun 25, 2008 @ 22:23:52

    NCP’s contract states, “Under no circumstances shall the Publisher make revisions to the manuscript without the approval of Author, via letter or e-mail.”

    Calling it a “round robin” is entirely misleading. Assuming that the book is an expansion of Somer’s partial, as it appears to be, it’s a massive copyright violation, as well as a violation of NCP’s own contract. Somer’s work is protected by copyright law the moment it leaves her computer, and other authors have no more right to add to it without permission than they have to write an unauthorized sequel to “Gone With the Wind.”

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  6. CJ England
    Jun 25, 2008 @ 22:24:47

    Having had my own problems with NCP, including them “mistakingly” putting up a book on the Coming Soon page with my title and my name that I had NOT contracted, I can tell you they have the balls to do just about anything. I was able to get my name off the book, but they took the title I had submitted to them and used it on one of their own books. Not illegal I know, but tacky and unprofessional to say the least.

    Authors Beware!!!

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  7. Ellen F.
    Jun 25, 2008 @ 22:49:50

    It’s been pointed out to me that newer versions of NCP’s contract were changed, and it now reads, “If in publisher’s sole opinion the manuscript is not suitable for publishing purposes, then Publisher shall have the option to request Author to perform such changes or rewrites of the manuscript as Publisher deems necessary.” The remaining clause stating that the Publisher could not alter it without the author’s permission has been dropped. Nevertheless, the contract clearly states the publisher may REQUEST changes, not have them done by a different author. Also, the copyright issue remains the same– no one should have the right to expand and drastically alter a partial without the permission of the author.

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  8. Ellen Ashe
    Jun 25, 2008 @ 22:53:29

    “If I were Somers, I'd be checking my contract for an out clause.”
    Sadly, there isn’t one. Believe me, many of us have tried to get out once we discovered the horror of what being contracted with this publisher-from-hell truly meant. In fact, my lawyer said so many problems could be avoided if there was an “out clause”. But NCP refuses. They won’t even grant a Reversion of Rights after the contract expires!
    Authors would be better treated if the owners were the Sopranos.

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  9. Ann Somerville
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 01:11:32

    They won't even grant a Reversion of Rights after the contract expires!

    But if the contract expires, surely rights automatically revert unless you’ve agree otherwise?

    This publisher operates like a smash and grab gang. I hope the authors lawyer up soon and take them down.

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  10. Nora Roberts
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 03:17:26

    This really sounds like copyright violation–plus absurdly tacky and underhanded.

    Lawyer, definitely required asap.

    Question. Do most e-authors have agents? If not, why not? If so, an agent should and would jump right on this.

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  11. Fae Sutherland
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 05:59:24

    Question. Do most e-authors have agents? If not, why not?

    Nope. Because e-pubs (all but possibly EC, maybe Samhain, I dunno) don’t offer advances, so there’s no money for an agent to make. Plus sales of ebooks are so small compared to NY sales, they’d be hard pressed to make much off 15% of the royalties either.

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  12. Jackie
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 06:17:19

    But if the contract expires, surely rights automatically revert unless you've agree otherwise?

    Not if there’s an in perpetuity clause in there. Then they own it basically forever. (At least, that’s my understanding. I’m not a lawyer, though.)

    My heart goes out to Ms. Somers. As the others have already said, lawyer-time.

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  13. Lynne
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 06:37:45

    A successful copyright violation suit against them might be enough to put them out of business for good. Those things can be incredibly expensive to lose, particularly if there’s willful violation involved, which appears to be the case here.

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  14. Betty
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 07:07:35

    I have been trying for a while to regain the rights to a book sold to them in 2004. I know the contract is out and would appreciate getting the work back to revamp and resell. The book is worthy but has run its limit and is simply just another title on their list. I believe that is their main concern. I plan to hound them until I get what I own.

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  15. Nora Roberts
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 07:22:21

    I get the no advance, but agents don’t just make their cut on advances. Also get not big sales (though I continually hear from some e-authors that e-book outsell print, and/or they make more money than print). 15% of not much is not much.

    Still, it seems there’s a desperate need for good e-agents, or a department within an agency that specializes in e-book authors. So many of these horror stories wouldn’t happen if the author had good representation. Maybe better rep, better contracts would begin to generate higher sales.

    It just feels hateful to see so many people getting shafted or taken advantage of.

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  16. Nora Roberts
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 07:32:59

    Another question. I know e and print don’t have the same set up or culture. But I wonder why so many e-authors spread their work among so many e-houses? I often hear one say they work with three or four or even more houses. Why not build a reputation, relationship and a body of work with one or two of the e-publishers who are known to be more solid and ethical?

    I understand the lack of advance and the smaller sales as part of the motivation for this, but in the long run focusing on career with a specific house, or two, would build a more solid foundation. It seems to me this would hold as true for e and for print.

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  17. Shiloh Walker
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 07:38:15

    Jaw dropping.

    There can’t be any question of whether or not they violated copyright. Unless she authorized the book to be written as a round robin, then it was her work, her piece to end as she saw fit. Them taking her beginning and pasting a different ending on counts as changing the work around.

    That’s copyright violation, right?

    Man, I’d be furious-and I’d already be on the phone with my lawyer.

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  18. Ellen F.
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 07:38:38

    I agree, Nora, but right now most agents simply don’t seem to be interested in handling e-book deals. At any rate, the problem in this particular case doesn’t appear to be the contract, but the fact that NCP is not abiding by the contract. There is nothing I can see in the contract that permits them to hugely expand a partial without an author’s permission. And, of course, as Shiloh points out, it’s a violation of copyright law, too.

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  19. Bernita
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 07:40:31

    I notice both Ms. Ashe and Ms. Somers are from Canada, which may make legal proceedings more difficult.
    Makes one wonder if NCP counts on that.

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  20. Ann Somerville
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 07:45:48

    Nora, I can’t answer your question completely, but I know that editors with a lot of these publishers tend to move around and retire at quite a high rate, and that might lead to authors following them, or being less enamoured with the press after that. I know if my wonderful editor at Samhain left, I’d be tempted to follow her to a new press.

    Also, a lot of the epresses have very specific requirements – Loose ID, for example, likes a pretty high level of erotic content, while Samhain’s happy if the romance is there. An author in the m/m and erotica genres needs to shop around if they write varied styles and so on. And it also seems to be the case that a lot of epublished authors have a rather high production rate (because they can sell shorter stories to the epresses) so they might need to spread their stuff around because publication schedules fill up.

    Jackie, from the little I’ve seen of epublisher contracts, a perpetuity clause would be very unusual. Most only want rights for 1-2 years (Samhain ask for 7 which is damn long in the epublishing world.) There’s often a clause that the contract is deemed to extend past the term unless specifically terminated by the author, but the publisher can’t refuse that. And in any event, NCP are operating by standards no publisher I’ve ever heard of uses – other than scam companies.

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  21. Jane
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 07:48:58

    I’m not sure it would be a copyright infringement. Somers says that the book was contracted which seems to me that her part of the contract was to tender her distribution rights for the book. NCP, though, would have contractual duties to perform under the contract and it seems like it should not include publishing an unfinished work of an author.

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  22. Ellen Ashe
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 07:50:13

    “I notice both Ms. Ashe and Ms. Somers are from Canada, which may make legal proceedings more difficult.”
    From what I have seen these last few months Madris DePasture is equally belligerent to ANY author who stands up for themselves.From this point of view they are an equal opportunity publishing house.

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  23. Lynne Connolly
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 07:53:14

    I’ve put a column up about this elsewhere.
    I’m a colleague of Sydney’s, at Samhain and at the late unlamented Triskelion, and she writes a damn fine book. I can only imagine her distress and fury after finding this out. So it isn’t even safe to send NCP a partial. Probably the best thing she can do at this stage is to make her opinion public and broadcast the fact that she neither knew about or condoned this anthology and will not be promoting it.

    Agents – many EC authors have an agent, as do some at Samhain, and it’s not just the ones who are also contracted in New York. I’ve been “between agents” for 3 years now, and I really should get my finger out and get it sorted. It’s rare that an author at one of the smaller epub houses has an agent. I have left it because many of the agents I’ve talked with haven’t a clue about the demands and the requirements of the e-published author, and frankly, wouldn’t be able to represent me adequately. But with so many new agents popping up, many of them much savvier than they used to be, I should be looking around, I guess.

    Another question. I know e and print don't have the same set up or culture. But I wonder why so many e-authors spread their work among so many e-houses? I often hear one say they work with three or four or even more houses. Why not build a reputation, relationship and a body of work with one or two of the e-publishers who are known to be more solid and ethical?

    More than one reason. One is habit. In the “bad old days” when there were no market leaders and publishers popped up and closed down all the time, it was like hedging your bets. At least if Publisher A closed, you’d still have books with Publisher B. And at the beginning of your career, it’s all about getting your name out there and building a backlist. Backlists are vital for a good income for the e-published author. I took a huge hit when 12 of my books went down with Triskelion, and this year, I’ve been starting again.

    Another reason is specialisation. Some e-publishers only publish a certain type of book, for instance, Changeling offer only hot novellas, and an author might want to spread her wings and write a sweet full-length book.

    And then there is the slots available. New authors to a company are at the bottom of the release queue, and they don’t get the publishing opportunities the established authors do. Only to be expected. When a publisher is smaller, it can only release so many books a week, so if an author wants more books out, she has to go to other publishers. I was taught early on in my writing career that I should create a “brand” for myself, so readers would look for my books, wherever they were published. But I don’t have the resources or the expertise of the bigger e-pubs, so I am reliant on them and their reputation. So yes, now the e-publishing industry has a history and the larger companies are much more stable, and also expanding the books they take, then it does make sense to go to one of those first and work with them to build a reputation and a name. I would always advise an aspiring e-published author to go to the best (in terms of sales and reputation) first, before considering the smaller companies, but some of the smaller companies can be very good indeed.

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  24. Lynne
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 07:54:23

    Betty, have you thought about sending them a DMCA takedown notice? If someone posts copyright-infringing work on her web site and doesn’t remove it promptly after she and her Internet provider are officially notified, I believe the provider is required under the law to pull the plug on the web site or at least the sections that contain the infringing material. I’m not a lawyer, of course, but I’ve seen a few web sites get yanked over copyright violations. If someone like NCP was still trying to sell my work after the contract expired or if they had done to me what they’ve apparently done to Somers, I would certainly be exploring my options under DMCA.

    I did a traceroute to newconceptspublishing.com, and it looks like they’re hosted through EarthLink. EarthLink’s info on how to file a DMCA notice is here.

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  25. Nora Roberts
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 07:56:27

    ~At any rate, the problem in this particular case doesn't appear to be the contract, but the fact that NCP is not abiding by the contract. ~

    Absolutely. It just sent my mind off in that other avenue.

    This seems so clearly a violation of contract. I hate when this sort of thing happens to a colleague. Both burns my ass and makes me sick.

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  26. KristieJ
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 07:56:53

    Why oh why do people still buy from this publisher? I don’t get that part at all. In order to order ebooks, one has to have some kind of internet/online savy and how could they possibly miss seeing on various blogs what a dishonest, corrupt, vile publisher this one is?

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  27. Angela James
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 07:58:08

    Still, it seems there's a desperate need for good e-agents, or a department within an agency that specializes in e-book authors. So many of these horror stories wouldn't happen if the author had good representation. Maybe better rep, better contracts would begin to generate higher sales.

    It just feels hateful to see so many people getting shafted or taken advantage of.

    It IS hateful. Sadly, I think the percentage of e-authors who actually have someone qualified look at their contract is very small. I’m not sure why this is, but even coming from the publisher side, it’s something that’s frustrated me. Because, I’m sorry to put this so bluntly, but I find many authors don’t think before they sign, letting their excitement/emotion get the best of them, thinking it doesn’t matter what they sign away to an epublisher (yikes!) and then, often not understanding their rights at all when something ugly happens or when they want out and blaming the publisher for not giving them an out. If your contract ties you into a relationship with someone and you cannot get out of it, that is not the other parties’ fault. In business, once the contract is signed, neither party is obligated to let the other out of the contract just to show good faith or be nice.

    And before anyone jumps to wild conclusions and accuses me of something, I’m not speaking of any situation in particular but in generalities and I’m not defending unethical or inappropriate actions by a publisher in any way, shape or form because it makes me sick to see it–it gives us all a bad name and gives epublishing a bad name and loving epublishing the way I do…it disheartens me–I’m simply speaking of contract terms here because Nora raised the point and I wanted to address it. Bottom line is this–know what you’re getting into before you sign it and know that not every clause is negotiable. Only you can decide what you want to live with and your strongest position comes from the willingness to say no and walk away before the contract is signed, just as the publisher will.

    An author doesn’t need an agent in order to have someone look over a contract. I think it should be considered an investment in an author’s career, just like promo, to pay someone like a literary attorney (not your attorney down the road, but someone who understands contracts and publishing contracts in particular) to look at and advise you on your contract with each new publisher. If you don’t have an agent who can handle these things for you, then this is an excellent way to protect your career, your books and your money.

    However, each time I say this, there are any number of authors who come to tell me that their circumstances are different/special/outstanding and that they can’t do this for whatever reason. But even so, I’m going to keep saying it, in forums, blogs and in workshops–you must know what you’re signing and be sure that you can live with it no matter what happens.

    At any rate, the problem in this particular case doesn’t appear to be the contract, but the fact that NCP is not abiding by the contract. There is nothing I can see in the contract that permits them to hugely expand a partial without an author’s permission.

    I normally try not to directly comment on any particular publishing situation, but I just hope that authors from both within the epublishing community and coming from outside can remember that this is not something that most publishers could even think of doing. It’s not normal business practice for most of us and not something I can even still wrap my mind around.

    I think it must be getting increasingly difficult for some people not to paint us all with the same brush when things like this come along.

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  28. Ellen F.
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 08:02:05

    “There's often a clause that the contract is deemed to extend past the term unless specifically terminated by the author, but the publisher can't refuse that.”

    Yes and no. A year ago I requested the rights back on one of my books at the end of its contract, and was told by the author liaison that it was being returned to me. Eventually (I’ve had personal problems and haven’t been on top of business as I should be) I noticed it was still being sold through various vendors, and was still up on the NCP site, albeit with the buy button disabled. When I contacted NCP, they informed me the rights had in fact never been returned to me. I still haven’t gotten a clarification from them as to whether they consider it returned to me as of this year or not, but it’s still up on their site. I’ve been trying to clarify this situation since April.

    Similarly, I have another book, a novella in an anthology, that was issued in print. NCP’s contract allows them to sell print remainders after the contract ends, which is fine. I’m willing to buy up a reasonable amount of remainders, but this book has, I’m told, “hundreds” of print copies remaining, so it’s not feasible for me to buy them up. When I wrote the author liaison for clarification, I was told NCP would retain the print rights until EVERY print copy was sold, thus making it extremely difficult for me to resell my novella (because most publishers want all rights). This could conceivably mean that NCP would hold onto the print rights forever. That is not what my contract reads, and I have contacted the author liaison and stated that I disagree with that interpretation, but a week later I’ve received no reply.

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  29. Nora Roberts
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 08:07:59

    Everyone should listen to everything my BFF in MD Angela just said. Then do it. I’ll be even more blunt:

    You New Author or Hopeful Author are NOT special. Your circumstances are NOT different, and there is NO reason you can’t invest in your career in order to protect your work. None. Maybe there will be some cases where that investment didn’t pay off–and something intensely crappy (such as what’s happened to SS) happens anyway. But you’ll have done the right thing, the smart and professional thing. And will have both legs to stand on when the crap comes down.

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  30. Ellen Ashe
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 08:13:30

    Amen Nora. And may the New Author have eyes to SEE and ears to LISTEN to those of us who have suffered the Shit-Storm and lived to tell the tale.

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  31. Angela James
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 08:13:36

    Maybe there will be some cases where that investment didn't pay off-and something intensely crappy (such as what's happened to SS) happens anyway.

    To continue the mutual love, thank you for making this point. I should have in my original comment. You can do everything right and still have something horrible happen (because really, what could you possibly do to protect yourself from something like this particular case?), but still, it’s important to take the steps that you can to protect yourself from the start.

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  32. Ann Somerville
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 08:16:35

    there is NO reason you can't invest in your career in order to protect your work

    Nora, Angela, getting a lawyer to look over every contract is a lovely idea – but if you only reasonably expect to earn a couple of hundred dollars from a story/novella, you’ll spend more on lawyer’s fees than you get back in royalties.

    If you hit even close to the big time, sure. Get that lawyer. Though if you don’t live in the same country as your publisher, finding one that can deal with all the ramifications of sorting out a dispute across national boundaries could be a tad difficult.

    But if you can’t afford a lawyer, then you can at least ask more experienced authors to look over the contract and see if they spot any problems. The response of the publisher to questions over the contract should also tell you how they handle problems as well.

    Hanging around the more intelligent blogs and using Google with intent should be a basic survival tactic as well.

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  33. Jane
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 08:19:53

    You don’t need them to look at every contract, particularly if most contracts are standardized. It would likely cost around $500 for someone to look at the K. It could be negotiated before hand. Yes, the royalties aren’t likely to earn that out but it’s a step toward protecting yourself. As an author, you are a small business. Would a small business company go about conducting itself in this manner?

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  34. Nora Roberts
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 08:25:50

    Ann, I have to disagree unless the writer is looking at this as a hobby and doesn’t care about protecting the work or building a career. It may initially cost more than you earn to protect the work, to make sure you’re not signing something you shouldn’t, but again, long run, not only worth it, but essential.

    Other, more experienced authors may be able to help a little. But authors aren’t agents or lawyers.

    I don’t know the number of contracts I’ve signed over the years–and I couldn’t explain a single one of them fully. I’d be very hesitant to advise another writer on the terms of her contract.

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  35. ilona andrews
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 08:26:53

    However, each time I say this, there are any number of authors who come to tell me that their circumstances are different/special/outstanding and that they can't do this for whatever reason. But even so, I'm going to keep saying it, in forums, blogs and in workshops-you must know what you're signing and be sure that you can live with it no matter what happens.

    Yes. Absolutely. You MUST know what you are signing. It is imperative.

    I have a former friend who runs a a small press. She emailed me about a year ago asking me what First North American Rights meant. I about lost my head at this point, because she had people sign a contract which she herself didn’t understand.

    I urged her to get a lawyer. “No, it’s too expensive.”

    So I spent two hours going over the contract and explaining what is typically put in there and why. And again said, “Get a lawyer.” Her reaction? “It’s too complicated.”

    “It’s not complicated, it’s precise.”

    “I’ll have to edit all the legalese out.”

    The legalese is there for a reason! It protects the publisher, it protects the author, aaaarrrgh.

    I CANNOT stress this enough: if you don’t have an agent, get a lawyer. Pay the fee. Don’t be a dufus.

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  36. Ann Somerville
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 08:27:57

    Jane, I honestly don’t know what it would cost for me sitting in Brisbane, Australia, to ask someone versed in American contract law, to look over a contract. It could be as little as you say, it could be a lot more. As you point out, it’s the kind of thing that a small business should do. But with many epubbed authors earning small sums, and spreading themselves across publishers as Nora noted, I’m just saying that the cost:profit ratio really could be a prohibiting factor.

    Small businesses generally don’t have to go to a specialised lawyer to handle their contracts. The cost is going to be less. Still, it’s astonishing how many small and one-person business don’t even operate with written contracts, let alone have a lawyer check them over.

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  37. Lynne Connolly
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 08:30:55

    I’ve put a column up about this elsewhere.
    I’m a colleague of Sydney’s, at Samhain and at the late unlamented Triskelion, and she writes a damn fine book. I can only imagine her distress and fury after finding this out. So it isn’t even safe to send NCP a partial. Probably the best thing she can do at this stage is to make her opinion public and broadcast the fact that she neither knew about or condoned this anthology and will not be promoting it.

    Agents – many EC authors have an agent, as do some at Samhain, and it’s not just the ones who are also contracted in New York. I’ve been “between agents” for 3 years now, and I really should get my finger out and get it sorted. It’s rare that an author at one of the smaller epub houses has an agent. I have left it because many of the agents I’ve talked with haven’t a clue about the demands and the requirements of the e-published author, and frankly, wouldn’t be able to represent me adequately. But with so many new agents popping up, many of them much savvier than they used to be, I should be looking around, I guess.

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  38. Angela James
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 08:31:01

    Jane actually said what I was going to. I didn’t suggest a lawyer for every contract, nor would I as I’m in the perfect position to understand why that wouldn’t be financially feasible. But I don’t think blogs, Google or another author are a substitute for a professional. And really, what do I have to gain by telling you that? One would think, as I’m on the publisher side of things, that I’d be all for people signing a contract without a thought. So maybe the fact that someone on the opposite side of the table is saying this should be a head’s up to just how important it is.

    The response of the publisher to questions over the contract should also tell you how they handle problems as well.

    I both agree and disagree with this. Because again, if you don’t understand the clauses you’re asking about, if you don’t understand what you’re negotiating, and the publisher says “no, that clause isn’t negotiable” what does that tell you about how they handle problems? Certainly how they respond is telling (not the response itself, but the manner of the response) but a response in the negative isn’t in itself an indication of future dealings, so it’s important to clarify that.

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  39. Lynne Connolly
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 08:31:26

    Another question. I know e and print don't have the same set up or culture. But I wonder why so many e-authors spread their work among so many e-houses? I often hear one say they work with three or four or even more houses. Why not build a reputation, relationship and a body of work with one or two of the e-publishers who are known to be more solid and ethical?

    More than one reason. One is habit. In the “bad old days” when there were no market leaders and publishers popped up and closed down all the time, it was like hedging your bets. At least if Publisher A closed, you’d still have books with Publisher B. And at the beginning of your career, it’s all about getting your name out there and building a backlist. Backlists are vital for a good income for the e-published author. I took a huge hit when 12 of my books went down with Triskelion, and this year, I’ve been starting again.

    Another reason is specialisation. Some e-publishers only publish a certain type of book, for instance, Changeling offer only hot novellas, and an author might want to spread her wings and write a sweet full-length book.

    And then there is the slots available. New authors to a company are at the bottom of the release queue, and they don’t get the publishing opportunities the established authors do. Only to be expected. When a publisher is smaller, it can only release so many books a week, so if an author wants more books out, she has to go to other publishers. I was taught early on in my writing career that I should create a “brand” for myself, so readers would look for my books, wherever they were published. But I don’t have the resources or the expertise of the bigger e-pubs, so I am reliant on them and their reputation. So yes, now the e-publishing industry has a history and the larger companies are much more stable, and also expanding the books they take, then it does make sense to go to one of those first and work with them to build a reputation and a name. I would always advise an aspiring e-published author to go to the best (in terms of sales and reputation) first, before considering the smaller companies, but some of the smaller companies can be very good indeed.

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  40. ilona andrews
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 08:32:24

    You know what would be nice? It will never happen for obvious reasons, but a side by side review of a “typical” contract from several publishers would be awesome. Obviously, contracts are confidential and this will never take place, but if we at least could pull a typical one apart in public, it would do a bunch of authors a huge load of good.

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  41. Lynne Connolly
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 08:32:40

    Why not build a reputation, relationship and a body of work with one or two of the e-publishers who are known to be more solid and ethical?

    More than one reason. One is habit. In the “bad old days” when there were no market leaders and publishers popped up and closed down all the time, it was like hedging your bets. At least if Publisher A closed, you’d still have books with Publisher B. And at the beginning of your career, it’s all about getting your name out there and building a backlist. Backlists are vital for a good income for the e-published author. I took a huge hit when 12 of my books went down with Triskelion, and this year, I’ve been starting again.

    Another reason is specialisation. Some e-publishers only publish a certain type of book, for instance, Changeling offer only hot novellas, and an author might want to spread her wings and write a sweet full-length book.

    And then there is the slots available. New authors to a company are at the bottom of the release queue, and they don’t get the publishing opportunities the established authors do. Only to be expected. When a publisher is smaller, it can only release so many books a week, so if an author wants more books out, she has to go to other publishers. I was taught early on in my writing career that I should create a “brand” for myself, so readers would look for my books, wherever they were published. But I don’t have the resources or the expertise of the bigger e-pubs, so I am reliant on them and their reputation. So yes, now the e-publishing industry has a history and the larger companies are much more stable, and also expanding the books they take, then it does make sense to go to one of those first and work with them to build a reputation and a name. I would always advise an aspiring e-published author to go to the best (in terms of sales and reputation) first, before considering the smaller companies, but some of the smaller companies can be very good indeed.

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  42. Sharron McClellan
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 08:32:58

    When I signed my first contract and pre-agent, I had a lawyer/agent look at it and it cost around 150.00. Expensive? That depends on the POV. But for me, I found the peace of mind worth it.

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  43. Nora Roberts
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 08:33:18

    I sincerely hope some authors will listen to what’s being said here by a respected editor, a lawyer and a writer who’s been in the business for over 25 years.

    You have to pay to play. If you won’t, don’t be surprised if the rules aren’t what you thought they were, and you get your ass kicked.

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  44. Jane
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 08:33:52

    I know that some claim to use Dan Poytner’s contract (did I spell that right). Maybe I should buy it and take a look at it. I think its $9 or something.

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  45. Ellen F.
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 08:39:13

    “I can only imagine her distress and fury after finding this out. So it isn't even safe to send NCP a partial.”

    It isn’t safe to CONTRACT with them on a partial. I have an incomplete partial under contract with them too, and I sent them a firm note last night telling them they did not have my permission to do this with it. However, NCP has stated they are no longer contracting on partials, so this, at least, is something no one should have to worry about, except those of us who already have contracted partials with the company.

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  46. Lynne Connolly
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 08:41:27

    The trouble is, sometimes a contract isn’t saying what you think it is. Take the Triskelion bankruptcy. Now whatever the problems the company had, once they put the business in the hands of the receivers, it was a whole new ballgame.
    A ballgame with people who didn’t know the rules. At first, the receivers thought they had the authors’ copyrights, and we all got letters to that effect, and that they proposed to sell the copyrights as part of the company assets.
    Erm, no. We wrote back and showed them the bit in the contract that said we the authors retained the copyright to our books, and then they said oh, then we’ll sell the contracts. Which they were entitled to do, but in the Triskelion contract there was a clause giving the author the right to withdraw their book, giving 6 weeks’ notice. After that, the publisher had the right to sell the copies they had, ie. the print copies, but not the electronic ones. If the contracts had sold to a company we didn’t like, we would all have invoked that clause.
    And there was a clause in the contract that said that if the company went bankrupt, the rights automatically reverted to us. Again, erm no. The bankruptcy court was federal, so it ‘trumped’ the state laws the contract was drawn up under and it claimed the right to freeze the contracts as assets. They could have kept us going for years, lawyers or no lawyers. Yes, we consulted lawyers and they said this time the bankruptcy court was within their rights.
    Most author contracts are specific. I know mine aren’t like anyone else’s because I’ve negotiated certain clauses, even at the same publisher that can be the case. So I’d add, if you get a lawyer, get one who knows what s/he is doing. Not all lawyers are equal or have the same specialisms.
    Speaking as a Brit, it always struck me that the US is a bit lawyer-happy. In the UK, employing a lawyer is the last resort. It seems to be the first in the US. And very often, the only winner is the lawyer.
    But then, Dickens was British and “Bleak House” shows what devastation lawyers can wreak, given their heads.

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  47. Ann Somerville
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 08:42:16

    I don't think blogs, Google or another author are a substitute for a professional

    Neither do I, but I’m saying that at the very least, you can use those to educate yourself about the potential problems. I agree completely a properly experienced lawyer is your best bet – I’m just saying that they’re not that easy to find if you don’t live in the States. If I was looking at an advance over $1000, it would be worth chasing around Australia to find one. That’s me personally.

    Certainly how they respond is telling (not the response itself, but the manner of the response) but a response in the negative isn't in itself an indication of future dealings, so it's important to clarify that.

    Absolutely. I was really thinking of reports (about NCP, in fact, I think) of abusive, insulting responses to quite ordinary queries about contract points, and wondering why the hell the authors didn’t bail at that point. If the reply is evasive, or abusive, or the publisher doesn’t even understand what the contract clause means, that should be a huge red flag.

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  48. Ann Somerville
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 08:46:12

    Ilona, you can start with EPIC’s model contract:
    http://www.epicauthors.com/contract.html

    They also list a number of red and yellow flag issues for contracts.

    EPIC are effing useless though, so I’m putting this out here with no comment on the worth of their advice.

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  49. Jane
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 08:49:29

    I agree completely a properly experienced lawyer is your best bet – I'm just saying that they're not that easy to find if you don't live in the States.

    Here is where the miracle of the internet comes to play. Most contracts contain a forum selection clause whereby the contract dictates the legal jurisdiction (i.e. State of Ohio) where any disputes must be litigated or if not the place of litigation, what forum’s law will be applied so that if you sued in New York, the New York state court would apply Ohio law. That’s generally enforceable. So you troll on the internet to find a good lawyer in that forum (State) and email them!

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  50. Angela James
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 08:49:50

    I agree completely a properly experienced lawyer is your best bet – I'm just saying that they're not that easy to find if you don't live in the States. If I was looking at an advance over $1000, it would be worth chasing around Australia to find one.

    I know of at least one literary attorney who has experience with epublishing contracts who lives in Maryland but has looked at contracts for authors from all over. The attorney who looks at your contract doesn’t need to be where you live. Looking over your contract and advising you can be done via email, and the contract is going to be the same, whether you live in Timbuktu or Small Town, USA.

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  51. Jana J. Hanson
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 08:50:54

    Don’t many cities have Legal Aid? Or perhaps a local bar association? Here, the local bar association keeps a list of attorneys that handle such-and-such, and they refer people who call their office to one of the attorneys.

    Most attorneys I know certainly offer the first consultation for free.

    And I’d like to jump in on the agents and e-publishers. When I worked in submissions for a now-defunct publisher, we received TONS of queries from agents. Almost every agent on the Writer Beware list.

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  52. Nora Roberts
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 08:52:13

    I bet a literary lawyer in the States would work with an author outside by e-mail, phone, snail mail over a contract with an American publisher.

    That would be a good avenue to tap other authors about. What lawyer they used, what the basic fee was, and how satisfied they were/weren’t.

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  53. ilona andrews
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 08:54:01

    Ann,

    I’m on my first cup of coffee, so it might be just me, but where is the clause specifying how much time the publisher has to publish the work and and that if they fail to publish it, the rights revert to the author?

    I wouldn’t sign this.

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  54. Nora Roberts
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 08:54:06

    Okay, Jane and Angela mostly beat me to it. Consider my last post a reinforcement of theirs.

    ~ Almost every agent on the Writer Beware list.~

    Wow.

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  55. Ann Somerville
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 08:55:10

    So you troll on the internet to find a good lawyer in that forum (State) and email them!

    Wow, I didn’t know that. Good advice, thank you. (This is the first time anyone’s ever mentioned this to me, and I’ve had dozens of conversations with authors about contracts, including apparently clued up ones. Exposing the limitations of my advice immediately!)

    Then why is where the NCP authors live an issue? Because bringing suit from outside the USA is more difficult?

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  56. Ann Somerville
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 08:58:54

    Ilona, I have no idea. I only put that link up to give you some idea of what a typical epub contract is supposed to look like, according to EPIC. I know from experience that in reality, that means very little.

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  57. Nora Roberts
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 08:59:29

    ~Because bringing suit from outside the USA is more difficult?~

    That was my take. I have no idea if it’s true. But I wonder if already having a relationship with a U.S. literary attorney would clear some of the obstacles if they exist.

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  58. Jane
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 09:01:17

    I’m not sure where the NCP authors live should be an issue. They would have the right to avail themselves of the courts to litigate a claim against NCP. Alot of these contracts also have arbitration clauses which require all contractual disputes to be resolved through binding arbitration (a different forum that a court and not a full trial, a limitation of rights in essence).

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  59. ilona andrews
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 09:06:00

    Ann,

    I call shenanigans! :P

    If I sign a contract, it better tell me that the publisher has an x amount of years to get my work to the public and if they fail to do so, they better pay me a kill fee.

    This EPIC contract seems to be slanted heavily toward making sure the Publisher can just wash their hands of the whole thing very quickly.

    I’m not a lawyer, but heck, even I can spot holes in it.

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  60. Shannon Stacey
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 09:08:38

    Having shared the cover of a legitimate Samhain antho with Sydney, I know she’s a talented, awesome lady and I hope she makes them cry. And no doubt to add insult to injury, they list her last on the cover?

    I can’t believe they haven’t taken it down yet.

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  61. Angela James
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 09:14:55

    I once got a very scathing letter from an author because our contract didn’t match exactly what EPIC’s did. Very scathing. I only mention this because I think it’s easy for people to look at that and say “this is exactly how it’s supposed to be”. I think this should be a case of author beware.

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  62. Jane
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 09:16:48

    I have a hard time seeing why an author wouldn’t just self publish rather than signing that contract.

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  63. Ciar Cullen
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 09:17:04

    Nora, I’m one of the epubbed authors who has been with a number of companies. When I started, Samhain didn’t exist, and I wasn’t writing erotic romance (EC level stuff). I started with Triskelion, and we all know enough about that one. (BTW, I had a lawyer read my contracts–as someone said. That did help me get out when it was clear I needed to.) I published with Loose ID, fine company, but their focus has changed. I wrote two books for EC, but I’m increasingly uncomfortable writing ever hot, hot, hotter stuff. There are many reasons folks move around a lot–some good ones, some not.

    I think small press writers are very wary of putting all their eggs into one basket, given issues like NCP. Fortunately, this doesn’t go for a few solid companies. But too many new writers jump at the “they took me!” start-up epublisher and then wonder why they got burnt. It is reflecting badly on everyone. Shame.

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  64. ilona andrews
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 09:18:09

    Angela,

    That contract is ridiculous. “Author Warrantees. Author warrants that s/he is the author and sole owner of the Work or has been assigned the rights delineated above; that it is original and contains no matter unlawful in its content, nor does it violate the rights of any third party; that the Work is not in the public domain. Author also warrants that these rights are owned or controlled by him without encumbrance and that Author has full power to grant the listed rights to Publisher.”

    First Warranties is misspelled. Second, what does that unlawful in its content even mean? You can interpret it whichever way you want to, because the way it’s phrased just makes no sense.

    The more I read it, the more confused by it I get.

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  65. Ann Somerville
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 09:31:37

    Ilona, one contract I’ve signed with a highly regarded epress includes an author warranty that “the Work contains no matter whatsoever that is obscene, libelous, in violation of any right of privacy, or otherwise in contravention of law or the right of any third party;”

    And the contract I have with my print publisher has an indemnity clause against “any violation by the author or any of the Author’s agents of any law, statue, ordinance, ruling or regulation”

    Which is the same thing effectively as the EPIC clause, and just as vague. I see this as a catchall protection against things like paedophilic or terrorist material, and that kind of thing. I’m not delighted by the phrasing, but it seems to be standard, since I signed similar contracts when I did a bit of academic publishing a while ago. It’s almost meaningless because it’s impossible to guarantee a piece of writing hasn’t broken a law *somewhere*. I write gay romance – want to guess how many countries that would be flat out illegal in?

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  66. Jules Jones
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 09:38:56

    Just to reinforce something said up-thread. If you use a lawyer, get a lawyer who specialises in literary contracts. Do *not* just use your family lawyer for this, because there are a lot of innocent-looking clauses in literary contracts that have very specific meanings within the industry — and a general practice lawyer who isn’t familiar with them is liable to happily sign off on things that no experienced agent or IP lawyer would touch with a bargepole.

    And research an agent before paying them money. There are a lot of “agents” out there who are either clueless or outright scam artists, and they heavily outnumber the people who are competent and honest.

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  67. Jane
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 09:39:46

    Ambiguity in the contract makes it more difficult to enforce. I actually see that clause as also extending to copyright infringement.

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  68. ilona andrews
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 09:41:08

    The violation of right of privacy I understand, as there have been a case where a man managed to publish an extremely libelous book trashing his ex-wife and was successfully sued by her. But stating it as vaguely as they have leaves it open to interpretation.

    :digs in her document drawer:

    “… that the Work does not, in whole or in part, infringe any copyright or violate any right of privacy or other personal or property right whatsoever, or contain any libelous or scandalous (hehehehe – Ilona) matter or matter otherwise contrary to the law; that no recipe, formula, or instruction contained in the Work are injurious to the user…”

    Edited: my issue isn’t with the clause in Epic contract but with phrasing – they couldn’t be bothered to spell it out

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  69. Jane
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 09:44:45

    Of course, how is the atomic bomb bible or whatever it is called get printed with that clause “no recipe, formula, or instruction contained in the Work are injurious to the user.”

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  70. Lynne
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 09:44:58

    Jane said:

    I have a hard time seeing why an author wouldn't just self publish rather than signing that contract.

    Because their decision is based on ego, not business or common sense. Someone’s finally willing to wave the magic wand and make them a “published” author, and to some people, that’s what matters. Going the self-published route wouldn’t have the same ego boost.

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  71. Ann Somerville
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 09:50:50

    Going the self-published route wouldn't have the same ego boost.

    Or numbers, frankly. I put two novellas out this year – one through Lulu, one through Samhain. I sold twice through Samhain what I sold through Lulu over three months, in three weeks. Both novellas are stories I am proud to claim, and are both of high quality, but flogging a self-pubbed item is a major pain in the arse.

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  72. Jackie
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 10:29:03

    You have to pay to play. If you won't, don't be surprised if the rules aren't what you thought they were, and you get your ass kicked.

    Amen, Nora.

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  73. Ellen Ashe
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 10:46:44

    But shouldn’t we keep sight of the fact, regardless of how well or how badly an author understands what she has signed, that what happened to this author was New Concepts blatant disregard of their own contract? It seems that it doesn’t matter what is in a contract~ NCP does with it what they damn well please anyway. How can we protect ourselves from that type of abuse except to get the lawyer after the fact?

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  74. Nora Roberts
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 11:02:29

    Ellen, you’re right. In most cases, however, doing the research, having a contract professionally vetted will protect the work and the author’s interests.

    In cases like this, the only recourse I can see is hiring a lawyer and doing whatever can be done to rectify the truly awful situation.

    And if NCP has done what it appears to have done, writers considering submitting to them should be very ware. A publisher can’t continue to ignore contractural terms if there aren’t authors signing contracts.

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  75. Angela James
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 11:04:05

    Ellen, perhaps you missed it but Nora and I both made this point. My comment is #31 above, that some things you can’t control, because, to pull out my psych background, you can’t control the actions of others. Only your own. You shouldn’t have to worry about protecting against things like this and it’s a shame that authors do.

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  76. Ellen Ashe
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 11:11:03

    Holy shit! Look at what just came out at NCP:

    http://www.newconceptspublishing.com/publicnotice.htm

    Shouldn’t these be private letters? Ah, announcing our real names??
    Hmm… think Ms De Pasture is pissed off?

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  77. Treva Harte
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 11:14:00

    Wow. I shouldn’t tell myself I’ve seen everything in this biz because, sure enough, something new comes along to stun me. I wish I could give some good advice although, as I tell all authors who ask me what a contract clause means at LI, I shouldn’t be the person they trust to explain anything because I’m an interested party. They need an independent third party if they really don’t know. And I guess authors desperately need to educate themselves about publishers in the business.

    This one. Wow again.

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  78. Jane
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 11:18:21

    In as much as author Sydney Somers has refused to honor her obligations to this company regarding completion of her novels Howl for Me and One Dark Knight. ///

    Remember my posting yesterday about the use of full sentences? Subject, Verb? Seriously, we need some training on that. I wonder what “in as much as” means in NCP legalese? I like the concise WHEREFORE or WHEREAS myself.

    I can’t help but wonder if NCP thinks authors don’t have the wherewithall to take legal action against them such as an application for temporary injunction in conjunction with a declaratory judgment action to have the court sort out the rights and obligations of each party.

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  79. B
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 11:21:25

    Holy shit! Look at what just came out at NCP:

    http://www.newconceptspublishing.com/publicnotice.htm

    Shouldn't these be private letters? Ah, announcing our real names??
    Hmm… think Ms De Pasture is pissed off?

    Holy tackiness, Batman! O.o That’s so horrifyingly unprofessional that I completely lack words!

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  80. Angela James
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 11:23:02

    I can’t help but wonder if NCP thinks authors don’t have the wherewithall to take legal action against them such as an application for temporary injunction in conjunction with a declaratory judgment action to have the court sort out the rights and obligations of each party.

    In English please :P

    And I think public letters aren’t a bad thing, so there’s no misunderstanding in this case, but the use of real names is…icky.

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  81. Jody W.
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 11:31:31

    Do those reversion announcements cover most of the folks at NCP who aren’t a penname for one of the owners?

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  82. Jane
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 11:33:59

    I think NCP doesn’t think the authors have the money, time, cajones, etc. to bring a court action. A temporary injunction would be a request to the court that NCP stop selling things, stop breaching the contract, stop doing whatever illegal things an author and her lawyer think NCP is engaging in.

    The declaratory judgment action is where you ask the court to determine the rights of the contract and who has what. Essentially it would be an application to say something like – this publisher is treating the contract like its worth no more than a kleenex and I want out so give me a get out of contract free card. Or if I can’t get the get out of contract free card, can I at least get you to order them to stop doing all these bad things that are hurting me financially and in ways that I can’t even tabulate.

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  83. Nora Roberts
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 11:44:18

    I don’t know contract law, but ‘what they deem appropriate’ doesn’t sound, well, appropriate. Seems to me that what they deem is really, really broad and loose and wildly open to all kinds of interpretations.

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  84. Angelle
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 12:04:32

    You know what?

    I keep hearing people saying stuff like “I don’t live in America (USA), and oh how do I find a literary attorney to review my contract? It’s not possible.”

    You know what? I live in Japan, found myself a very reputable literary attorney in the States to review my contract with Samhain, and yes, had the gall to email the publisher with all my questions and concerns. The attorney cost about $250. I wasn’t going to sign something I didn’t fully understand or feel comfortable with. I also had the same attorney review my agency agreement.

    It’s your career. Don’t you think it’s worth at least $250? It just makes me angry when people complain about crappy contracts they signed, then give excuses as to why they can’t get a lawyer and do the right thing.

    BTW — in case anyone accuses me of being filthy rich, I’m not. I had to make some sacrifices to pay the attorney, but it was worth every penny.

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  85. Kristi Ahlers
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 12:11:36

    This yet again a perfect example of why small press has such a cruddy name. This just makes me sick that a house would do this to a writer.

    As for the agent question Nora asked above, I’m trying very hard to get an agent, deciding it was in my best interest to have someone on my side when it comes to trying to break into NYC. Small press for the most part has left a bad taste in my mouth. Not so much from experience but by listening to stories other authors have been having.
    How ever finding an agent I’m finding is easier said then done.

    It’s really too bad that there isn’t some sort of way to better monitor the underhanded practices of small press publishers. This industry is hard enough without having to deal with stuff like this. And now that the owner has publically made comments on the home page of NCP the situation is only going to get worse…

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  86. Angelle
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 12:21:12

    Sorry for my rant. I see that Angela, Nora & Jane already discussed how to get a lawyer if you don’t live in the States. Remind me to read the entire thread before responding… *slinking away*

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  87. Ellen F.
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 12:21:36

    Well, tacky or no, I’m glad to have NCP publicly state that the print rights DO revert to the author even in the case of remainders. That’s something. Also, NCP emailed me and informed me my partial would not be expanded without my permission, so that’s also something, for me personally.

    However, stating the authors’ real names on this page, along with their pen names, strikes me as rather unprofessional, especially when the NCP owners have been so assiduous in guarding their own pen names. And stating publicly that authors have “refused to honor their commitments” is fairly appalling, too.

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  88. Jane
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 12:27:16

    That part about refusal to honor commitments could lean toward being defamatory.

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  89. Schuyler Thorpe
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 12:33:36

    I think it’s nuts! As I’ve said before in Ellen Ashe’s group (which I’m a proud member of!), NCP should be flogged in a public square, burned at the stake, and keel-hauled.

    But what worries me most is e-publishing and its attractiveness for authors whom aren’t the ‘apple of my eye’ for the mainstream?

    Is NCP doing this just to piss off everyone whom wants a LEGITIMATE shot at getting e-published?

    It’s something I scorned in the past–because I honestly wanted to be mainstreamed. But the enormous lengths of my 300,000+ word tomes has shut the door in that regard.

    So I started thinking about e-publishing and how inexpensive and easy it would be to do it–before launching my books into print under my own special imprint.

    But NCP has been nothing but a royal pain in the ass to people like me. I look at what they are doing and it leaves me questioning whether or not people will take *me* seriously enough when my time comes.

    Because I hope to someday take some unpublished writers into the realm of publishing myself with my own publishing company. But first, I need to find out how successful my attempts are by using me as a guinea pig.

    And all this negativity-crap that NCP is doing–only serves to give e-publishing a black eye; and a reason for the mainstream to disown it out of hand.

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  90. B
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 12:35:13

    My problem with it is that, in consideration of when they chose to do it, and the way they chose to do it, it just seems like a lot of very childish lashing out.

    If they were simply making the public statements, that would be one thing. But using the authors’ real names, and making remarks like “refused to honor their commitments” smacks of petty revenge. It really does nothing to make them more sympathetic.

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  91. Angela James
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 12:41:45

    So I started thinking about e-publishing and how inexpensive and easy it would be to do it

    Epublishing is neither easy nor inexpensive, and entering into it on the publisher side of things thinking of it as so is actually one of the problems of epublishing.

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  92. Jaci Burton
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 12:48:16

    Holy shit this is bad. I feel awful for all the authors involved.

    Couldn’t the authors who are being royally screwed by NCP in one way or another engage in some form of class action or some type of suit or cease and desist order? Could they band together and pool their monetary resources? Hire one attorney to handle the interests, both individual and collective, of all the authors? I don’t know if that can be done or not. Jane would know better than I of course if this is even feasible.

    Cuz really. This needs to stop.

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  93. Kayleigh Jamison
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 12:52:05

    Stuff like this just makes me so glad I have a legal background. I read every word of every contract I sign, and I don’t sign until I am comfortable with each tiny detail. Hell, I read my dry cleaing tickets.

    I would see this when I was EIC for the now-defunct epress, Aphrodite’s Apples. Whenever I offered an author a contract, I gave them an admonition to READ the entire thing, have it reviewed by a lawyer if possible, and not hesitate to bring me any questions or concerns. Above all, I would tell them not to sign until they were 100% comfortable with what they were signing.

    More than once, an author would later have problems with the contract, after signing it. “Well, I didn’t realize that’s what that meant…” I had a hard time feeling sympathy.

    So, I echo Nora and Angela’s sentiments exactly (and not just because they’re fellow Marylanders).

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  94. Kayleigh Jamison
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 12:58:24

    Good lord. NCP has posted a “response.”

    “Notice of Breach of Contract and Intention to Resolve

    In as much as author Shalon Stewart aka Sydney Somers has refused to honor her obligations to this company regarding completion of her novels Howl for Me and One Dark Knight. And, in as much as New Concepts Publishing has invested money in art, editing, and promotion of these two books as well as other considerations and Ms. Shalon Stewart having been informed of this circumstance has stated the intention of not completing the projects, New Concepts Publishing has taken such steps as they deem appropriate to resolve this situation. ”

    http://www.newconceptspublishing.com/publicnotice.htm

    EDIT: Oops, I see someone else beat me to it. Must pay better attention…

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  95. Treva Harte
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 13:00:42

    Epublishing is neither easy nor inexpensive, and entering into it on the publisher side of things thinking of it as so is actually one of the problems of epublishing.

    As I said somewhere at some point — starting an epub is easy. Keeping it running year after year is hard. Apparently people forget it’s a business, with all that entails.

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  96. Ellen F.
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 13:04:17

    “Couldn't the authors who are being royally screwed by NCP in one way or another engage in some form of class action or some type of suit or cease and desist order?”

    Well, if they’re cutting authors loose (and wow, there are a lot of authors on that list!), then there really isn’t much to sue about, IMHO. Sydney still has legitimate issues, but I don’t think the rest of us have too much to complain about at this point. Of course, they haven’t let go ALL books, just the ones that have expired– I still have quite a few with them. Nevertheless, they do seem to be letting authors go in a massive way, which is really all most people want, I think.

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  97. Grace Draven
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 13:35:04

    This – New Concepts Publishing will continue to sell Naughty Men until we have recovered our investment in these print versions of A Hitman for Hannah and Loverboy. – is something that begs a question.

    Is the author officially informed when NCP has recovered their investment in these print versions? Does the author have to request a periodic audit in order to keep track of the progress of this obligation? Is NCP legally required to send out notification?

    If there is a legality that can force NCP to provide a periodic audit trail (monthly, quarterly or annually) that shows where they stand in recovering monetary expenses towards shutting down sales of those reverted titles, it might be in the author’s best interest to do so. Even if there is no contract violation tied to this, possibly something that crosses the line of IRS regs?

    NCP has shown time and again they aren’t above twisting the letter of the law in an effort to take advantage of an author or benefit themselves in the most underhanded way imaginable. Their business practices seem to border on the illegal and have certainly shot right past the line in regards to professionalism and ethics. Obviously, appealing to their better nature (which seems to be nonexistent) has not and will never work, so forcing their hand legally to prove they’ve attained return on their monetary investment seems like a good thing to do. The question is, is such an option available to these authors? I certainly hope so.

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  98. Ellen F.
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 13:48:49

    I *think* all NCP is saying is that they have the right to sell print remainders, and they will continue to do so until they’re all gone, or they feel like they’ve sold enough to make their money back. They do have the right to do that, per the contract. The important issue to me is that the author liaison originally told me that if NCP still had print books, we could not recover our print rights until they were ALL sold. But with this page, they seem to be saying that print rights DO revert to the author, even though remainders will be sold. I don’t have a problem with that, and it does seem to be permitted by the contract.

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  99. Schuyler Thorpe
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 13:54:24

    As I said somewhere at some point — starting an epub is easy. Keeping it running year after year is hard. Apparently people forget it’s a business, with all that entails.

    What Treva Harte says is the TRUTH.

    E-publishing is a lot harder than it looks. I mean, I have no illusions that this is going to be easy. In 2003-2004, I ran an experimental advertising business for ONE YEAR–just to see if I could do it.

    In the end, I discovered 2 things:

    1) I needed MONEY to run a successful. (Which is hard when you’re on limited income; but the challenge is fun regardless. Didn’t we all grow up playing ‘store’ when we were kids? Pretending that we were in charge, having a lot of ‘money’, and being able to have fun? That’s what I wanted to do: JUST HAVE FUN.)

    2) I also needed a lot of advertising capital and moxie–to be successful. Having a lot of money would help get the word out a lot faster. But I also discovered that I had to be PERSISTANT and DEDICATED to what I was doing.

    So like I said before, I aim to start up my own imprint. Take those books I’ve spent close to 20 years writing and having edited; and *publish* them as e-books first; print books later on.

    But the process of doing so has never been easy for me, and I’ve had numerous setbacks of all kinds. But it hasn’t deterred me–because I believe in myself. I have FAITH in my abilities and my desire to turn out a really great book.

    Reason why I haven’t done a rush job on The Starchild or any of my other books. BECAUSE I NEED TIME TO IRON OUT THE BUGS.

    E-publishing has been given a bad rap as it is. Many still think its vanity-press all over. Why do I want to add to that perception by delivering a substandard product?

    Hence my patience and dedication to what I want to do with my books and my life. But I also want to turn that asset into an advantage and take some books I’ve read from fellow writers and publish them as well.

    Because in my opinion, they are that *good*.

    So what if the mainstream doesn’t want to take risks? Doesn’t mean the rest of us can’t.

    As Michael Rosenbaum said in Smalleville once: “You have to spend money to make money.”

    And that’s how I look at what I want to do, and what everyone else has to do in order to make it as a reputable (and successful!) author.

    There’s no such thing as free any more. If we want something badly enough, we are going to just have to WORK for it, aren’t we?

    Reason why it took me several years to lay out the foundation for my publishing company idea: I needed time and space to work out the kinks.

    Now, whether or not I am successful or not–is besides the point. The point of my endeavor is to connect with unknown authors and their works, and just have *fun*.

    Try to remind people that money isn’t everything in this world. It’s what we do with our lives (as authors and writers) that is more important.

    How we can connect with the world around us, and grow as a community of dreamers and thinkers.

    I just wish companies like NCP understood this.

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  100. Kayleigh Jamison
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 14:00:36

    I *think* all NCP is saying is that they have the right to sell print remainders, and they will continue to do so until they're all gone, or they feel like they've sold enough to make their money back. They do have the right to do that, per the contract.

    Could be, Ellen. That thought occurred to me too. Then again, I think it behooves authors to be wary given NCP’s track record, eh?

    It still doesn’t explain their reasoning behind Somers’ book.

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  101. Angela James
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 14:30:06

    So like I said before, I aim to start up my own imprint. Take those books I've spent close to 20 years writing and having edited; and *publish* them as e-books first; print books later on.

    E-publishing has been given a bad rap as it is. Many still think its vanity-press all over. Why do I want to add to that perception by delivering a substandard product?

    With all due respect, you realize that starting a company to publish your own books is the very definition of vanity press?

    Now, whether or not I am successful or not-is besides the point. The point of my endeavor is to connect with unknown authors and their works, and just have *fun*.

    Try to remind people that money isn't everything in this world. It's what we do with our lives (as authors and writers) that is more important.

    I don’t think whether you’re successful or not is beside the point to any authors whose work you might contract to publish. I hope you will be sure to put your thoughts about both the business, as well as money–which, quite frankly is the point of both publishing and having a business, otherwise you could just give them away for free anywhere at all–on your FAQs page when you start, as a warning to future authors.

    I’m sorry, but I will no longer remain silent on things like this when people say they’re starting an epublisher. I believe in competition, I believe there is room in the market for more than one publisher, as has been proven. But believing in those things and staying silent when someone talks so cavalierly about running a business do not seem to be doing the health or reputation of epublishing any good.

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  102. Nora Roberts
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 14:41:43

    ~Now, whether or not I am successful or not-is besides the point. The point of my endeavor is to connect with unknown authors and their works, and just have *fun*.~

    As an author and as a businesswoman I have to say success is not besides the point, particularly when you’re talking about other’s work and careers. And the point really isn’t just to have fun. It’s great if your work and your business also has fun, but the first point is work and business.

    You sound very good-intentioned. I think it’s probable a lot of the people who started e-pubs that went under and took authors with them were good-intentioned. Intentions aren’t enough. Business and publishing isn’t about the fun. It’s about publishing good books for profit–for the authors and the publisher.

    When I hear authors say they don’t care about the money, the money doesn’t matter, then–to me–writing is merely a hobby for them. When I hear someone say they intend to start a publishing house, but it’s not about making money, the red flags, they start waving.

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  103. Nora Roberts
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 14:47:29

    ~Try to remind people that money isn't everything in this world. It's what we do with our lives (as authors and writers) that is more important.

    How we can connect with the world around us, and grow as a community of dreamers and thinkers.~

    As a philosophy it’s very nice. As reality, it’s not even close. Unless you’re writing strictly for the fun, while holding a full-time paying job, and with no need or intention of making a living from the writing, the money matters. Unless you have a spouse or a lover or a patron who’ll happily pay your bills, put a roof over your head and food on your table, the money matters.

    Dreaming’s great. I’d even say it’s vital. But you’d better have a solid grip on the difference between the dream and the reality of making a living, or you’re going to be dreaming with creditors banging at the door.

    I don’t want a dreamer as a publisher.

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  104. Kayleigh Jamison
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 15:01:36

    Dreaming's great. I'd even say it's vital. But you'd better have a solid grip on the difference between the dream and the reality of making a living, or you're going to be dreaming with creditors banging at the door.

    I don't want a dreamer as a publisher.

    Amen. Is my sole motivation for writing money? No. (I’d have thrown in the towel long ago were that the case) But do I want to make money from my hard work, absolutely; and part of trying to move my career as a writer forward involves doing what I can to make more money (marketing, choosing the right publisher, and so on).

    A writer can say it’s not about the money, and that’s fine. IMO a publisher cannot be so magnanimous. It doesn’t cost me money to write a book (unless you want to get technical and talk about ink, paper, etc). It costs money to be a publisher. It costs money to make money, and running a publishing house, regardless of size, needs revenue. Period. There’s just no way around it; you’re going to have overhead. A publisher who doesn’t care about the money isn’t going to be a successful business owner and that may sound harsh, but it’s true.

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  105. emily
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 15:24:29

    E-publishing is a volume business, so often ebook authors need to do as collectives what others would do on their own. As the contracts are pretty boilerplate authors could, perhaps, chip in for an opinion on a contract from publisher X? I am not sure how legal that would be but it would help reduce the cost per author so it doesn’t eat a huge proportion of the manuscript’s total earning capacity.

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  106. Treva Harte
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 15:56:36

    As the contracts are pretty boilerplate authors could, perhaps, chip in for an opinion on a contract from publisher X? I am not sure how legal that would be but it would help reduce the cost per author so it doesn't eat a huge proportion of the manuscript's total earning capacity.

    But make sure it’s not the lawyers the publishing company used to look over the contract. :) We’ve used two — one known for intellectual property, one versed in contract law. I know a smart e-publisher will use at least one and most of us don’t use the same lawyer.

    Oh, and to whether e-publishing is fun. Well, it can be. Much more fun than the legal biz. But that’s a side benefit. When you have hundreds of authors, editor, artists, etc. depending on you — it’s a responsibility first.

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  107. Kristi Ahlers
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 16:25:10

    I am going to totally admit “it’s all about the money.” I would love to be able to supplement the household income with valid contracts. I’m not in this to give stories away. I work hard and I want the money that is due me…Now, I know this is not a way to get “rich” but if the publisher is going to make money off my stories…I’m going to get my share.

    Too many e-presses open their doors without fully understanding the whole business process. Whether it’s due to expanding too quickly, or poor money management or simply being clueless…what ever the reason behind why they fold…owners of these houses have a responsibility to their writers.

    I’m multi-published with two small publishers. Ms. Roberts made a valid comment regarding why so many of us are spread so thin…for me…when I found the practices of one houses suspect, I left. ***Shrugging*** Who wants to be stuck in a bad situation? Not me. I have since learned, small press, while more open to different ideas does not offer a great deal of stability. I still have people contacting as a result of the things that were said here back in April regarding one of the houses I was published with.

    In the end writers need to be serious about their career's do a lot more research and really listen to what authors experience with each house. I have several friends published with NCP. I wouldn't touch that place with a ten foot pole. Stories of books going to publication before edits are finished, or going to print with re-written portions of the story is whack!

    As far as contracts go…I have always taken my contracts to a lawyer to have them look over them. I'm learning to be very contract savvy. Authors need to keep in mind that they need to know both the writing side of the business and the business side of it. Ignorance is only going to get you into trouble.

    If authors would be more discriminate and a little less hungry to be published…these house may be forced to clean up their acts. At the very least writers wouldn't have their business splashed across a publisher's home page.

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  108. Sarah McCarty
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 16:48:35

    Just to join in with everyone else:

    An agent is not necessary before signing a contract, but as everyone has pointed out, an attorney is essential. The first person that needs to make the effort to cover an author’s butt is the author themself. Having an attorney look over a contract and make corrections and clarifications won’t stop a a publisher determined to see themselves as above the law, but an attorney cleaned up contract will be specific and deal in specifics, which means the author will have several very clear cut violations on which to file a complaint. They’ll be no arguement over what rights are owned because of vague clauses or left out deadlines and limiting clauses. It will be all spelled out. Very clear cut.

    The clause that allows the publisher to subvert the grant of rights is the clause named Rights surviving termination. There’s an industry standard interpretation of this clause that allows it. If the publisher won’t let limit this clause to the term of grant of rights, then you have the option to walk away. Yes, it’s okay to walk away. Even advisable at times.

    Sarah, who doesn’t want a dreamer as a publisher either.

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  109. Marcia
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 17:27:58

    *Long-time lurker coming out*

    The way I look at it, either you can pay an IP lawyer now, or pay later with heartache and despair on top of the legal fees to get your rights back. For me, the latter is not an option.

    As writers, we need to decide how much our work (time, effort, promo, etc.) is worth to us. If it’s not that much, then go ahead and sign away your first born along with a quart of blood due at the first of the month. Seriously. However, if your work is invaluable, then the least a writer can do is hire a literary attorney to cover their ass. It’s not a guarantee, but you’ll probably have a better idea of where you stand with regards to who has the option rights on your next book, your pen name, the copyright, bankruptcy, contract termination, foreign rights, print rights, etc.

    *going back into lurkdom*

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  110. Marianne LaCroix
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 17:36:30

    Do those reversion announcements cover most of the folks at NCP who aren't a penname for one of the owners?

    No. I asked (actually TOLD them I want) to have my contracts terminated and was denied. I’m not on that list…damn it.

    I’ll be offering them as freebies through my newsletter soon.

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  111. Amanda Brice
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 17:44:13

    To the people on here who keep claiming that they can’t afford to invest in their career and hire a literary attorney to look over the contract (and really, it can often be relatively inexpensive…most e-pub contracts are a LOT shorter than the NY print pub contracts, so if paying on an highly basis it probably won’t take much time), at least contact a pro bono organization that specializes in assisting artists.

    There’s a list of such organizations here:
    http://www.starvingartistslaw.com/help/volunteer%20lawyers.htm

    I occasionally volunteer with Washington Area Lawyers for the Arts and have looked at publishing contracts during the monthly clinics.

    Trust me, this is worth it.

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  112. Marianne LaCroix
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 17:46:02

    And stating publicly that authors have “refused to honor their commitments” is fairly appalling, too.

    I think the purpose behind this was to publically humiliate the authors. The only person who should be humiliated is Madris. I can’t believe they did the public posting as well as the “round robin” of a partial. It is clear NCP views themselves as above the law…or maybe they ARE the law.

    I still want my book rights back. I don’t authorize any going to print, though I fear they will just to tick me off. The “round robin” book was obviously a shot at Sydney. I have no doubt the 2 other authors of that book are the owners.

    NCP makes me sick. Sick.

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  113. Schuyler Thorpe
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 17:48:08

    Could be, Ellen. That thought occurred to me too. Then again, I think it behooves authors to be wary given NCP's track record, eh?

    It still doesn't explain their reasoning behind Somers' book.

    Kayleigh:

    I think what NCP is trying to do is try and latch onto the ‘gravy-train’ and milk poor Somer’s book, before going to someone else–at the expense of her contract and royalty rights.

    Has anyone *asked* if she stands to make any money from this botched venture-or is it all going to be paid under the table; out of sight, out of mind?

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  114. Lynne Connolly
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 17:58:34

    You can also look at the way the publisher behaves, to its customers the readers and to its authors. If they are honest and above board, if there aren’t any complaints, or very few, then it might be worth taking a closer look at the contract. I did a recent post on red flags to look for in e-publishers, because another case disturbed (and disturbs)me. I have never heard anything bad about this publisher, so I’m not going public because I could well be wrong, but something just itches.
    But the post isn’t on the formal side of the contract, it’s on warning signs that might make you want to either back off, or approach with caution.

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  115. Marianne LaCroix
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 18:04:49

  116. veinglory
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 18:20:42

    I haven’t paid for a lawyer. I’m not saying it wouldn’t be a wise thing to do but it’s a cost:benefit judgement at the small press level, like whether to register copyright. It possible to greatly reduce your risk without using formal legal advice by sticking with established companies with good reputations and understanding the contracts as well as you can. And you have to know you are taking a risk. The only trouble I had was with a company that didn’t honor their contract so it would not have mattered what it said. That leaves me currently up the price of a lawyer and losing nothing. Next year maybe it will look different if Loose Id or Samhain go rabid, but I must say that possibility isn’t exactly keeping me awake at night.

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  117. Schuyler Thorpe
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 18:21:28

    Sara:

    I know that. All I’m saying, is I’m going to try something different with what I want to do. There’s nothing wrong with being a dreamer.

    At least I can sit here and say: “I have a *vision*. I have a dream.”

    Most people don’t have them anymore. Everybody is seen struggling to make ends meet–and it’s just…disheartening. To say the least.

    Myself? I’ve never had a shortage of ideas, dreams, and what have you. But practicality-wise? Things are a bit more challenging in real life than they are on the surface.

    But it doesn’t stop me from *trying* anyway. It’s what has made my endeavors so interesting.

    I get a lot of people telling me: “It can’t be done.”

    And I say: “Why not?” And that’s where I have them.

    Because no one *thinks* outside the box. We are so consumed with our linear existances, we never stop to imagine if things can be done differently–apart from the conventional and traditional business models.

    You know? Mix things up. Add a little spice to our lives. Shake the tree and see what falls.

    But given the odds that very few authors make that establishment of money in the long-term, there’s no real harm in trying what I’ve just discussed and shared.

    People tell me: “Sky: You’re nuts.”

    And I’m like: “Yeah? So tell me something I don’t already know.”

    In order to survive, we have to be a little crazy. I’m sure Nora Roberts and authors like her thought along the same way–once or twice–when they started out writing.

    Everyone has to start *somewhere*. We can’t go on being afraid of our shadows or the unknown.

    That’s what I keep trying to impress upon people. We’re too terrified a nation to even *embrace* the possibilities–we are always going back to what’s already been a broken-down system which offers little in return.

    But seeing how so many people are being taken advantage of by their publishers or agents (even editors), I’m just going to draw up a simple contract that *addresses* the rights of the author in regards to the company, and make it pointedly clear that if something were to happen to myself or the company falls on hard times–the rights revert back to the author and any royalties earned for that year shall be paid to that author without delay.

    No questions asked. NOTHING to hinder or impede the author. I don’t like dealing with courts and I’m certain that the authors don’t either.

    I look at what’s happening here and it just infuriates me that there are some publishers whom just don’t give one whit about author rights and contractual obligations.

    I want to change that perception. That’s one of my goals as an aspiring publisher. I don’t think that’s so wrong, is it?

    But I won’t sit there in my chair, and pull the same crap over and over again–that NCP and others have–because they can, because they have the money and the power, and because (like I’ve read from Ellen Ashe’s blog entries), these “fakes” think that authors don’t have any real authority to challenge them on the matter in question.

    I believe that in order for a publisher to be successful, they have to work with their respective clients, address any problems forthwith, and have a good line of communication open.

    I’ve seen how divided this nation has become. One side against the other. Neither one wanting to budge because either side stringently believes that *they* are in the right.

    With this…? The publisher and the author each have their respective obligations. Their respective duties. One publishes the book, one *writes* the book.

    But…

    They can work together also, they can bridge the gap of any differences or any problems which often pop up–from time to time.

    But it can’t be one-sided–as it has been: Where the publisher leaves the author hanging with little or no “tech support” to help them with getting onboard and going strong–once their book is published.

    Nowadays, the top 1% of published (established) authors get most of the lion’s share of the help and the newbies just get screwed, blued, and tatooed.

    How fair is that? Does that do anything for the author–let alone the publisher? We all know that advertising and publishing costs are going to infinity and beyond (to coin a phrase), but should that mean that the publisher deep-sixes their new acquisition because times *may* be tough; and they can only spare enough time, effort, and money for their more priviledged few clientele?

    I don’t think so.

    But that’s what is happening, Sara. How many of us first-time authors have made a healthy living from our books in recent years? I can’t remember a single one myself. Every new book comes and goes, and very few fresh faces are tagged for a follow up novel.

    The success rates for first-time authors is horrendous. Which is why I’ve been pushing for more cooperation between the author and the publisher. Make it mutually *beneficial* for both parties, so that the pair can win in the end.

    Both sides have to get creative and start *thinking* about what they want to do, what they want to accomplish, and find a way to get there together.

    That’s what brings in the *money*! All this yo-yoing around from one author to the next is just creating unneccessary expenditures for the publisher in question.

    Even in tough times, both parties can still find ways to work together–instead of being driven apart solely on one issue or the next.

    This *is* a team effort after all. Or am I wrong on this?

    What NCP is doing is taking a page from Adam Douglas’s Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: “So long and thanks for all the fish.”

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  118. Ann Somerville
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 18:37:29

    Emily, after being burned with one publisher, I decided with Samhain that I’d ask about the contract items I was unsure about and see what the response was like. Crissy Brashear was civil, lucid and firm, so I took a calculated risk. If Samhain turn ugly (god forbid!) I might lose out on a few stories, but it won’t be a death wound because I’ve not given them anything that would really hurt me emotionally or financially to walk away from. They’re still the best writing I can give my readers, and I don’t want to be screwed over, but I am treating them as loss leaders. If I stay with Samhain – and I hope I do – then experience with them should show whether I want to give them things that are more important personally.

    Still a risk, I know, but I didn’t go into it all starry-eyed. I got that out of my system with the first epublisher ::rolls eyes at own stupidity:: The truth of the matter is that almost all the problems I’ve seen with epubs have been flagrant disregard of contracts, shoddy financial accounting and downright dumb or vicious behaviour. Trying to sort out that kind of thing with a lawyer would cost a lot more than any of my pieces are worth to me.

    When I’m pulling down the big advances, I’ll be taking a different approach.

    Scuyler, I’m not saying you’re a scammer, but you should be aware that it’s a common schtick with scam/disguised vanity presses to wax lyrical about their ‘new approach to traditional publishing’ and how they will think outside the box etc. Read over some of the posts at Writer Beware. I have no reason to doubt your genuineness, but a lot of what you’re saying sends up honking big flags to me and should to any author wanting to work with you. Not trying to attack you, just trying to warn you, you’re being treated with scepticism for a very good reason.

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  119. K. Z. Snow
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 18:40:52

    Has anyone else gotten the impression there’s a streak of personality-disorder-level egotism (or would that be narcissism?) among many small-press owners? Truly, I don’t know how else to account for such selfish disregard for writers’ artistic integrity as well as livelihoods.

    I couldn’t freakin’ live with myself.

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  120. Kristi Ahlers
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 18:48:13

    K.Z.
    I totally agree with you. I think that’s why I came away so shocked and frustrated with one of my small press experiences. I don’t think that way so it was difficult for me to wrap my mind around the behavior I was seeing in some people. How can one prepare for such frightful treatment? One thing I’ve learned, is you can’t be “PollyAnna” in the way you think. And to remember trust must be earned…

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  121. Lauren Dane
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 18:50:12

    E-publishing has been given a bad rap as it is. Many still think its vanity-press all over.

    Not to belabor the point or anything, but the reason many think it’s vanity press is because of the folks who start up epubs to publish their own books they can’t get published elsewhere. Which is the definition of vanity press.

    Also, I don’t want a dreamer in charge of my livelihood. I want a businessperson in charge of my publisher, thank you very much. I don’t want a clique, I don’t want crazy people, I don’t want people stuck in eighth grade either. I want people who run a business like a business needs to be run. When dreamers are in charge you get publishers who spend all their time on stuff not actually related to the books.

    I don’t have my agent rep my small press work. Samhain has been totally reputible and their contract is fair and very clear. They’ve been very above board with me when I wanted to negotiate as well. However, frankly, I’d use my agent elsewhere but that’s just my perspective. Also, many agents will look over a contract for you, even if they’re not going to rep the book deal – some for free, some for a small fee.

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  122. Lynne Connolly
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 19:02:17

    Sky – you’re nuts.

    It takes me a lot of time and effort to write my books, so I want to protect that investment. It makes sense to me to think long and hard about the publishers I choose to submit to and make all the enquiries necessary. Worth it.

    BTW, in the UK, the Society of Authors have guides available on the different types of publishing contracts, and the cost of membership includes a clause by clause vetting of a contract. I’m not a member, but I’ve heard that it’s well worth joining, especially for new to the business authors. So if any of you are in Blighty, it’s well worth considering. Cost of membership is £90 pa, about half what you’d pay a lawyer to look over a contract. I must get around to joining.

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  123. Kayleigh Jamison
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 19:15:44

    Sky, correct me if I’m wrong, but I seem to recall about a year or so ago someone wanting to list their self-published ebook for sale at $20+. I also seem to recall that was you. Am I wrong? Because that does not sound like someone who isn’t in it for the money.

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  124. Ann Somerville
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 19:24:11

    When dreamers are in charge you get publishers who spend all their time on stuff not actually related to the books.

    You also get people who freak out when things start to go bad, who then ignore correspondence and demands for answers. I’ll take a cold hard-nosed businessperson any time, thanks. The stories I want to share with the world and not put through the publishing mill, are all on my site for free. But if I sell something, I expect to deal with a professional, not a new age flower child.

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  125. veinglory
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 19:54:43

    I think to run a small press you need to be a bit crazy. But I distinguish between good crazy and bad crazy. Good crazy is that kind of bullish personality that overcomes obstacles and solves problems that would make other people whimper and hide under the bed. Bad crazy considers authors to be one of those obstacles.

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  126. Throwmearope
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 20:45:00

    When I started my career, I was so broke it was pathetic. Despite this, I scrimped and saved and had a lawyer explain every frickin’ word in my first contract. Cost me $1000 because I asked so many questions. Then because the contracts are so similar (boilerplate), my second contract didn’t need any explanations. I modified one clause, the group accepted my modification and when they went bankrupt a couple of years later, I saved myself thousands of dollars. Was that initial investment worth it? You betcha.

    If you’re writing for fun, do what ya wanna wanna do.

    If you’re starting a career, pay some attention.

    (Not a writer, although that is, of course, self-evident.)

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  127. veinglory
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 21:42:59

    I’d have to say broke for me was when I ate ramen twice a day and waited out back of supermarkets for the bread they threw away. $1000 would not be doable. Now I could do it but I feel I can fully justify that I don’t. Would paying 20% of my royalties income for the year on a lawyer be a wise professional choice? I didn’t think so and still don’t. Horse for course. My gamble has paid off so far.

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  128. kate r
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 22:09:54

    but, but, but…..http://www.newconceptspublishing.com/publicnotice.htm

    they release somer’s stuff back to her a few Legal Statements down.
    Huh?

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  129. Ellen F.
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 22:29:37

    “but, but, but…..http://www.newconceptspublishing.com/publicnotice.htm

    they release somer's stuff back to her a few Legal Statements down.
    Huh?”

    Looks to me as if they’re releasing one of her older books, but saying they intend to take “appropriate steps” with two other works– not only with “Howl For Me,” but for another of her partials as well. They seem to be implying they’ll perform similar surgery on the other partial in the future.

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  130. kate r
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 22:37:22

    Pretty vague wording on that reversion of rights statement: “previously contracted works” Not previously published. Contracted.

    Looks like it’s the same sweeping release they use for most of the other authors who’re running away.

    Eh, I’m not a lawyer>>I’ll stop trying to guess if this is real or just gibberish.

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  131. Nora Roberts
    Jun 27, 2008 @ 04:36:18

    ~In order to survive, we have to be a little crazy. I'm sure Nora Roberts and authors like her thought along the same way-once or twice-when they started out writing.~

    Well, there are variations of crazy.

    However, I’ve had an agent since the beginning, and have never signed a contract without her vetting it. I didn’t want to simply sell a book, I wanted a career. I’ve always looked at writing as a job, a business. I’m lucky I think it’s the best job ever, but it’s my work.

    I don’t want a publisher who’s a dreamer, a philospher, who tells me we’re all one big family or we’re all in this together.

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  132. Sarah McCarty
    Jun 27, 2008 @ 06:45:15

    Exactly what Nora said. Back when she started there wasn’t epublishing so things were less opportunities, but that’s the only thing that’s different. There are still many ways to look at a contract. The first is “Oh my God, someone wants to buy my book where do I sign?” The second is, “Oh my God, someone wants to buy my book, but is this good for my career?”

    Too much of the first response is why these pubs can do what they do and cause the mess they cause, because authors are signing improper /incomplete contracts which in some cases is about the equivalent of a handshake, the contracts are so vague. Other contracts are so full of double dipping, deliberately unspecified terms, etc, the publisher can screw the author six ways to Sunday with the author’s full written permission.

    A proper contract, again, is specific for both sides, in all things, defining all terms, all mathematical calculations, accounting periods , percentage of remainder to be withheld and for how long, (though no epub should have this in their contract IMO.) Royalties should always be on gross not net, (If the term net is used then the definition of net in each instance and what can be factored into it (Very limited) should be in the contract), at what point Royalties should be paid, and the dollar amount the book will be sold for should be a concrete number. If the publisher wants print rights then a print date from time of contract signing should be in there. Otherwise an addendum with print terms should be added later if print rights are sold.

    All that is for starters and doesn’t even deal with the finer points, but every contract should have those basics. (And those are basics) Just think of the contact as a mapquest to publication. Saying Western US doesn’t really do much to help a body get where s/he wants to go although s/he does know what direction to face when s/he steps out the door. What’s really needed is those turn by turn details to successfully get to the destination. Contracts should have highly detailed turn by turn instructions.

    The benefit to a proper contract? Simple. If publisher does A author has clear recourse B. And while the author may have to hire an attorney, it’s still a clear (and much less expensive path) to resolution than a judge having to determine what both parties actually meant, versus what’s the industry standard and how or if it can be applied in that instance.

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  133. Shiloh Walker
    Jun 27, 2008 @ 08:01:22

    Try to remind people that money isn't everything in this world. It's what we do with our lives (as authors and writers) that is more important.

    This is a pretty philosophy.

    However, IMO, it’s also impractical and not particularly viable.

    I’m a writer. It’s my talent. It’s also my job.

    I’m a mother. It’s my obligation, my first priority, my gift, the beginning and the end of everything for me. My job as a writer is what provides my income to care for my kids.

    I can’t feed my kids on philosophy and pretty words. And sorry, what I do for them as a mother is far more important than any words I string together and what I may or may not make off of them. Since some people think I put words together well enough to make a living at it, that’s what I do.

    But take the money out of the equation and I’ll go back to my old day job and jotting stories for my benefit alone when I have time.

    Writing down a story isn’t exactly hard work, at least not for some.

    The hard part is making it a publishable story-one where it’s been revised, edited, cleaned up, torn apart, put back together again. That is hard work. Everything else that goes with being a published writer is hard work and the writer deserve to be compensated for it. Anything less is impractical and thinking otherwise is part of the reason so many writers sadly end up getting shafted.

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  134. Lynne
    Jun 27, 2008 @ 08:07:19

    I think authors should also do a quick background check on a company before signing a contract. Heck, I do it before I even submit anything, but I’m paranoid like that. :-)

    Some of these small presses and epubs that have gone belly-up in the last few years weren’t even incorporated to do business. They had no federal tax IDs. What SSN they used to pay people — if they paid them at all — is anyone’s guess.

    In one case, the publisher finally incorporated in 2008, after having been in business for close to a year and supposedly paying PAN-qualifying advances to authors, but they went out of business a few months after getting their articles of incorporation filed. I have no idea if their authors ever actually got those advances or not.

    Doing a search for a company’s corporate records can be done completely for free on the Internet, particularly if you have a good idea of where the business is likely to have been incorporated. If not, a site like KnowX can help you narrow it down.

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  135. Sydney Somers
    Jun 27, 2008 @ 08:46:23

    Thanks so much to everyone for their support. At such a frustrating time, all the wonderful comments and show of support mean more than I can say. I'm still just as angry, frustrated and stunned by NCP's actions as I was when I discovered what they'd done. Being on vacation with my family when this happened hasn't helped and made it a little harder to get the ball rolling. Unfortunately, given NCP's response so far I doubt this will be resolved as quickly as I would like, but hopefully before they attempt something similar with my other partial manuscript.

    Again, thank you to everyone for the incredible support.

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  136. Ellen Ashe
    Jun 27, 2008 @ 08:56:14

    http://www.newconceptspublishing.com/publicnotice.htm

    Calling those who know!!

    As you likely saw, Madris decided to post publically a few of our real names on this Bulletin Board. Not everyone- Autumn Dawn and Michelle Pillow were excluded- but mine is there for the world to see.

    I want to return the favour. I am collecting a list of names that NCP write under. Madris, Andrea and Megan- WAHT ARE THIER PEN NAMES?

    Write me privatley if you like
    [email protected]

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  137. Jules Jones
    Jun 27, 2008 @ 08:58:10

    Even if you’re happy to be in it just for the dream — money is a way of keeping score.

    If I’m writing to reach an audience rather than purely for my own amusement, then I want a publisher that’s capable of connecting me with an audience. And with as much of the potential audience as is feasible. What my monthly royalty statement tells me is not just how much money I’m getting, but how many people like my work enough to put down their hard-earned cash for it. You bet I want that number to be as high as possible, and not just for the health of my bank balance.

    To reach that audience, I need a publisher that runs their business as a business. Not a dream, not a way of connecting with authors, not as a big happy family, but a *business*. Complete with proper accounts, and tax records, and the capital reserve necessary to pay for all the costs of doing business in the first year or two or three before the income fully covers the expenses. They’d better have the drive to be a publisher as well, because publishing is hard work if you’re doing it properly. But the dream means nothing without the understanding that it is first and foremost a business.

    My aim is to a) make money, b) connect with an audience — and a publisher who doesn’t take (a) seriously isn’t a publisher who is likely to give me more of (b) than I’d get by putting my stories on my own website.

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  138. Angela James
    Jun 27, 2008 @ 09:00:57

    Not everyone- Autumn Dawn and Michelle Pillow were excluded- but mine is there for the world to see.

    That is Michelle’s real name :P

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  139. Ellen Ashe
    Jun 27, 2008 @ 09:09:56

    spelling terrible… (36) sorry… not enough coffee! LOL
    Been enjoying the discusiion BTW. Are we all thinking that maybe NCP is suffering a few sales?

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  140. Anon76
    Jun 27, 2008 @ 09:10:22

    I’ve learned a ton about this business since entering through that magic “published” door, and let me tell you, there are a number of things I’d do differently.

    No, I did not get burned on a contract, however I feel that was pure luck on my part. I signed with a brand spanking new company while acknowledging a huge risk was involved. I rolled the dice, and for the most part things have been good, if not always rosey.

    Now though, boy has my attitude changed. To have a career you must be well prepared and not all googly-eyed just because some publisher wants to put out your book.

    And while I definitely have no money (just ask the creditors who ring my phone off the hook daily) I WILL spring for a lawyer to check over any future contracts. Or at least the first one if signing with a new publisher.

    So many say they can’t afford to do this, and so did I, once. But now that I think on it, I spent my money foolishly on that first book. Would a couple of those conference fees have paid for a good attorney? You betcha. Would the gift baskets and giveaways have paid for said attorney? Yeppers. Would my sales have been harmed by giving up a few of these things? Undetermined, but I believe not.

    I guess what I am saying is, spend what money you have wisely. You will definitely benifit in the long run.

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  141. Ellen Ashe
    Jun 27, 2008 @ 09:19:41

    “That is Michelle's real name :P”

    Go figure. Anyone know why she’s bowing away from NCP so quietly? When I was there with a question that even hinted a complaint she and Mandy were down my throat like a snot ball.

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  142. Julia Sullivan
    Jun 27, 2008 @ 10:55:31

    Saith Nora Roberts: I don't want a publisher who's a dreamer, a philosopher, who tells me we're all one big family or we're all in this together.

    No, that’s where I grab my pocketbook tightly and hold on for dear life. Like you, and like Jules Jones, I want a publisher who thinks of me as a business partner, not as a soulmate.

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  143. Seressia
    Jun 27, 2008 @ 11:00:56

    RWA used to do contract reviews back in the day. Sure wished they’d bring those back. Wish also that they’d do an epub contact that actually benefits the author.

    Schulyer, your dream sounds pretty. I’m sure there will be some people out there who prefer the warm fuzzy of writing who will flock to your banner. But if anyone were to ask me my opinion, I’d tell them to run the other way. If all you want are warm fuzzies, offer free reads on your website or any number of free story forums.

    I’m single with no dependents. I have two full time jobs: one writing training materials and one writing fiction. I want to transition away from the first and make a living from the second. To do that, I have to be “Me, Inc.” Every decision about what to do with a completed writing project is a business decision. Given what I would bill my time at in my profession, I wouldn’t dream of turning over my creative work to a business that says money isn’t important.

    If I’ve learned anything in the eight years I’ve been published, it’s this: you cannot think emotionally about your projects when you’re ready to sell. You cannot choose a publisher because they’re nice and have kittens and cute music on their website and treat their writers like a family. I certainly don’t treat the people in the corporate office in which I work as if they’re my brothers and sisters. Why would I do that in my fiction career?

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  144. Alesia Holliday
    Jun 27, 2008 @ 11:39:25

    Coming late to this, but if you join Author’s Guild (and the membership fee is prorated by earnings, so it’s quite reasonable for beginners), contract review by their legal dept. is one of the benefits. Since they see so many contracts across a wide range of publishers, they know quite a lot about what they’re doing. Literary law is so specialized that please, PLEASE don’t take this to your attorney who did your will or sued your neighbor or something. I practiced trial law for 8 years and still missed quite a lot in my contracts that my agent pointed out in a heartbeat.

    My best wishes to everyone in this situation; seeing any people leach off of writers like soulless vultures makes my blood boil.

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  145. Lauren Dane
    Jun 27, 2008 @ 15:41:19

    Outside circumstances like this (one with work being put out that the author never authorized) the best way to leave is quietly. It’s pointless without such a terrible grievance, to make a public show out of leaving.

    Alesia you are so right! I’m a lawyer too and there are things in my early contracts that I missed totally. An attorney who knows publishing contracts is a very good thing, or an agent.

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  146. MK Mancos/Kathleen Scott
    Jun 27, 2008 @ 18:10:39

    Thanks, Alesia for mentioning Author’s Guild. That’s what I kept thinking as I read through the responses.

    I, like many others here, have been caught up in an epub bankruptcy that turned into a long road of nightmarish porportions. But not because of the contract, because of the federal courts’ response to said contract. Did it sour me on epubs or small presses? No, it only made me more cautious. Lesson learned. I still write for epubs and will for a long, long time – God willing and the muse providing.

    I feel for all the authors caught up in this latest kerfuffle. It’s very stressful to have your work out there and not know what’s going to happen to it. I hope it’s all resolved soon.

    -Kat

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  147. Leeann Burke
    Jun 27, 2008 @ 19:47:49

    This is truly sad. All I keep hearing about this publisher is one bad thing after another.

    As for my contract with LBF Books, I was lucky enough to have a lawyer friend look it over for me. Although my agent looked it over I still wanted a lawyer’s opinion.

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  148. Shelli Stevens
    Jun 27, 2008 @ 21:03:40

    This is scary and sad! And some scary stuff in the comments I’m seeing.

    I have an agent (after just selling to NY), but our agreement is I’ll handle my own epub stuff with the two epubs I’m currently with (who I trust/have a relationship with). If I sell to an epub with some heavy contract stuff then she’ll step in.

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  149. kirsten saell
    Jun 28, 2008 @ 01:27:55

    I think authors should also do a quick background check on a company before signing a contract. Heck, I do it before I even submit anything, but I'm paranoid like that. :-)

    More than a quick one. I researched epublishers for months, pored over booklists and author websites and FAQs and submission guidelines, bought books so I could see the quality of their editing, googled like a madman trying to nose out every little speck of dirt I could regarding their level of professionalism in public, whether there were complaints from authors or customers. In the end, it came down to four I was willing to try. Samhain was my #1 and I feel very lucky to have them. Luckier still, whenever I read something like this comment thread. Holy crapweasels, who the fuck does Ms. De Pasture think she is?

    Oh wait, she’s Desiree Acuna. I bought one of her books–it was the second ebook I ever read. When I finished it (oh, why did I bother finishing it?) I decided then and there that I wouldn’t be submitting my work to NCP–and that was before I realized Ms. Acuna and Ms. De Pasture were one and the same.

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  150. Lynne
    Jun 28, 2008 @ 05:49:05

    I agree, Kirsten. I would definitely do that kind of checking, too. But even if a small press or epub comes off as reasonably professional online, they still need to have their financial and legal house in order to be a viable business. The one small press I mentioned had a lot of “rah, rah” online, and you’d have to go far and wide to hear a negative word about them.

    But I would never have sent anything to them because I could find no evidence they’d set up a business with a decent chance of making it. If there’s no record that the publisher is incorporated to do business and has a federal tax ID to use for paying authors, people should run the hell away, no matter how many good things are said about the publisher on blogs and message boards.

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  151. Poppi Flowers
    Jun 28, 2008 @ 09:22:42

    I don’t know about your contracts or the NCP contracts but mine says if I contract a book with my NY pub and I don’t finish that book on time or to their satisfaction, it can be taken from me and finished by a ‘staff’ writer and released without my name attached.

    I get the feeling that was the case with the supposed release of unauthorized material. If you contracted the book, in my opinion that makes it authorized and my IP lawyer brother-in-law agrees.

    And this was on the NCP authors’ list this morning…………..

    Ok, this was posted at my rwa group and this writer talked to the lawyers she worked with. This is what they said ****

    Showed the New Concepts “PUBLIC NOTICES” to a publishing attorney in my
    office – it is just a legal formality, and done in other arenas
    (although he said he hasn’t seen it used in publishing before, but said
    it would actually be a good idea to avoid confusion about who is holding
    the rights on the properties in question). For the purposes (most
    likely, he says, since he has no knowledge of New Concepts) of
    clarifying for public information who the rights holders in these
    properties now are and they they no longer have anything to do with the
    stuff. It is not to inform the authors – it is to inform the public.

    My take may be that they also want to divest themselves of any
    responsibility should a third party suddenly start selling or excerpting
    the works somehow.

    Not an attempt to embarrass, really. And they have to use the names and
    pseudonyms to avoid confusion over the same or similar titled books by
    different authors.

    And those instances in which the author has been accused or deemed to
    have breached their contract and the notice indicates that the publisher
    will attempt to recoup costs by not paying royalties, the publisher (if
    they can prove breach) can recoup costs incurred if they so choose. If
    it had been a traditional paper publisher, they could have demanded
    their advance back, for example.

    Not playing Devil’s advocate here, since I don’t really know anything
    about the New Concepts issues. Just throwing in my legal 2 cents since
    I can’t swing a dead cat without hitting an IP lawyer here ….

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  152. Anne Rainey
    Jun 28, 2008 @ 10:25:09

    I usually don’t comment on publishers behaving badly. Mostly because someone else says about the same thing I’m thinking so my comment becomes redundant, but I do want to address the ‘why don’t e-authors have agents’ issue. It’s SOOOO not a simple matter to find representation as an ebook author. I don’t think it’s a case of authors not bothering to find an agent so much as finding an agent willing to take a chance on a new author.

    However, having someone look over your contract before you sign is mega important. I think one mistake a newbie makes is thinking that they don’t want to rock the boat. In my experience, most reputable publishers are more than willing to answer contract questions and work with the author. :)

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  153. Chaoscat aka Samantha Storm
    Jun 28, 2008 @ 13:01:11

    I guess my comment would be yes it might be legal but have you seen any other publishing houses do it? No because they respect the privacy of their authors. And if NCP is going to do this in future what author is going to want to submit to a house which at some point will make their private names public. And even if you don't terminate your contract when it's up, the management can decide to make you one of the last chance books and terminate the contract for you. So right now every author in the NCP stable has the possibility of having their real name come out publically. Some of these authors may have morality clauses in their jobs. They may have been keeping the fact they are writing erotica from their family or maybe they live in a small town.

    It's another example of NCP making a vindictive move that damages their authors and their own house.

    Chaoscat AKA Samahtha Storm

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  154. Heeding the Warning Signals in ePublishing | Dear Author: Romance Book Reviews, Author Interviews, and Commentary
    Jun 29, 2008 @ 04:01:18

    [...] light of the recent occurrences at NCP in which the publisher took a partial from an author and inserted it into an anthology without her [...]

  155. Jonquil
    Jul 02, 2008 @ 15:40:16

    First Warranties is misspelled.

    This, right here, demonstrates why you can’t trust yourself to read legal prose.

    “Warrantees” is a legal “term of art”. IANAL, but the meaning is something in the neighborhood of “promises” or “guarantees”* . “Warranties” is not the same word, and therefore doesn’t have the same meaning in a contract.

    I’m not picking on the original poster, so much as showing why a writer really, really doesn’t have enough background information to interpret a contract correctly.

    * I just looked it up, and I was SO wrong. “A warrantee (accent on last syllable) is a person or party who is guaranteed something. ” Which is why I can’t be trusted to read this, either.

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  156. Donna Wright
    Jul 07, 2008 @ 14:44:42

    My gut feeling is this: when you sign a contract, know what/who you’re getting into. Period. I don’t care if you’re self pubbing, just know it up front. Second, I tend to believe the writers in this case and I’ll tell you why. I see the public notice, whether legal or not, as a way of saying to their authors, “This is what happens when you mess with us.” US of course, being this publisher. Third, and I promise to stop after this: Regardless of legal or not, to put that notice out there should warn other authors to beward. Oh, and btw, I checked P&E and they were only listed as a publisher, no other info. HOWEVER YOU MAY FIND THIS INTERESTING, or you may already know. P&E is being sued. They didn’t say by whom, only that they are collecting money to mount their defense. All in all, this is extremly intersting info for my day off! I appreciate all the comments and have vowed to return to this blog a lot more.

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  157. Pam Payne
    Jul 07, 2008 @ 17:21:49

    I’m confused. Did she actually sign a contract with NCP, or did they just take her submission and use it without her permission as the foundation for an anthology? I’ve heard of this happening with other epubs. Either way, it’s totally outrageous for them to even consider doing something like this. It’s unethical business practices at their very lowest. Can RWA do something to help shut this publisher down?

    And Nora, to answer your question about agents and epubs, some agents do take on e-published writers, but not many. You have to have a really good track record before they’ll sign you. I’ve tried to get an agent and though I’ve come close, it’s like the print pubs–really like the book, don’t want to take it on… Maybe once my book comes out, if the sales are good, etc.

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    Dec 08, 2011 @ 10:42:17

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