Publisher Wins Arbitration Suit Against Author for a Return of an Advance
If I was an author, I would probably want to get my hands on this arbitration decision1. Regnery was in litigation with author Richard Miniter. He had a two book contract with Regnery and delivered a book called Disinformation. Regnery believed that the book “did not live up to [Miniter’s] two book contract”. Instead, Miniter took a book to Simon & Schuster that Regnery believed should have been its. (This sounded like shades of Dara Joy).
Miniter claims that he wanted to write a book about Abu Musab al-Zarqawi for his second book but that Regnery refused to pay an advance. The book fell apart when al-Zarqawi was killed in 2006.
The claims of Minter sound like Dara Joy. She took Ritual of Proof to HarperCollins instead of giving it to Dorchester claiming the Ritual of Proof was a science fiction not a romance. I am pretty sure that Dorchester won that round. Regnery says that they had a two book deal and that he kept the money for the advance and failed to deliver. Regnery sued Miniter, took it to arbitration per the contract, and Regnery won, getting a judgment in the amount of $150,000.00.
Minter claims that the advance was not for two books but for the one book and that Regnery is unhappy because the first book didn’t turn the expected profit. The money quote from Miniter is thus:
Regnery won this award by contending they’re entitled to some of the advance on that first book they published because they didn’t make as much money as they expected on it. If that becomes a precedent it could be dangerous for authors worldwide because advances would, in effect, become loans.
But, in reality, isn’t that exactly what an advance is? A loan against royalties?
Via Publisher’s Weekly.
1. Arbitration is a legally binding method of resolution. It is not the same as a court trial and is not subject to the same rules that bind a trial. Essentially, the parties can agree to an arbitrator (or it might be in the contract that the arbitrator come from a certain pool of individuals). The arbitrator acts like a judge and makes a determination that is binding and rarely is overturned.