Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Some Days You're the Bird...Others, The Windshield...

Years ago, a publisher I had signed with became the center of attention on a well-known blog, and the owner of the house was described as someone with a split personality and a problematic person to deal with.  Many author's fought for their books back at the time, but I remained committed to the contract I'd signed and stuck out my three years.  I promoted the book on various yahoo loops, created a video trailer, and entered my lovely cover in contests.  I did my part.

My three years is up. Imagine my surprise, when asking for my rights back, to be reminded of a small clause in the contract which, despite modern technology, requires a registered letter be sent to the publisher sixty days prior to the contract expiration date. Of course, I missed that in January.  If the publisher deems she will return my rights, it will take her sixty days to hopefully send me a letter notifying me of the reversion of rights. It's not a sure thing.  Does this seem fair?

   Now as someone who has many contracts and has re-released several books, I wrongly assumed that a simple email and friendly demeanor might be the answer.  Nope!  A novella that made absolutely no money during the time it's been featured, and one I can only assume lacked sales because of bad publicity surrounding the house, is being held hostage out of pettiness.  My assumption is based on the fact that everything else I've written is realizing sales.

As if the extra hoop through which I have to jump isn't enough, I've also been informed that should the rights revert to me, I own only the pre-edited copy of the work.  I'm not sure how one goes about determining which words are owned by the house and which are mine.  Basically, I had very few changes to make, most re-wording or omitting words such as "she, so I consider all the words to be my own.  How do I prove this?  My original copy became the working copy for the editor, and I have three copies that we exchanged to reach the final copy which came to me in PDF. 

These are the things of which nightmares are made.  Issues that make an author want to walk away and question whether not what we do is worth dealing with publishers who want to make us as miserable as they are.  I thought I had maintained a good relationship with this person despite her less than glowing reputation.  I gave her the benefit of the doubt, which clearly she hasn't earned.  I saw my contract through to the end, and now I have to play silly games and probably pursue the issue in small claims court.  A novella isn't the be all/end all of my career, but it comes down to letting someone walk on me, and I absolutely refuse to do that.  I did my part, my contract is up, so give me back my story.  Simple, and everyone stays friends.  If only.

Today has been a red letter day for being disappointed in people.  I discovered a review on Amazon written by someone who evidently based her opinion of my book on how she expected my characters to act, react, and even how the story should progress.  I suppose she hasn't ever met a naive person in her life, as she saw that as an unrealistic flaw in my heroine. must suck for people who have to drag everyone down in their miserable mire in order to be happy.  She even took issue with how many releases I announced in a year, suggesting that perhaps instead of cranking out so many books, I should spend more time fleshing out my stories and bringing them up to her standards.  Good luck with that since the majority of people who saw fit to comment liked what they read.  When you research all your facts, drop me a line.  Oh, and hey, Ms. Unhappy reader, I suggest you might want to write your own book, then you can make it exactly as you want.  Before you start, you might want to look up the word "fiction" while you're at it, and please don't read anything in the fantasy category because you'll be so disappointed to find out those stories feature werewolves, shapeshifters and fairies.  Gasp!  *whispering* They aren't real you know?

Okay...I feel better for venting a little.  Just wanted to share that being an author isn't a career without challenges.  Like my title says...some day you're the bird and other days you're the windshield.  Guess which I was today.  *lol*

Tomorrow is bound to be better.


S.G. Rogers said...

You have my sympathies, Ginger. I feel bad for you but I enjoyed your dry wit. Best of luck maneuvering over these bumps.

Dawné Dominique said...

Well, Ginger, today "I" was the bird, the bug, and, oh, road kill too! I think they backed over me a few times as well. *chuckles*

I'm really sorry to read this, but I know you'll rise above it all. Tomorrow is another day...and it can't be as bad as today!

I'll be thinking 'bout you and wishing you all the very best.

Hugs and smiles always

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Ginger,
You certainly have my sympathies because as you know, I have been put through the wringer by a publishers. I personally think that it is sheer spite on the publisher's part. If your contract is up and you want to reclaim you rights, that should be the end of it. You get your rights back.

Life wasn't meant to be easy as they say, and an authors lot certainly fits into that category.
Tomorrow is another day. With your humour and determination you will bounce back, that's for sure.



Gabrielle said...

It's always an awful feeling when you did the right thing for the right reasons and are punished for it. Believe it will work out for the best. :)

widdershins said...

Bad reviews suck, that's for sure ... still, it's just one person's POV ... and like you said, you're selling other stuff now so that proves you gotta be doing something right.

I have that same clause in my contract too, although I believe it only applies if I want to get out of the contract early. (note to self - check out contract) I thought it odd as well, but 'oomins are nothing if not incomprehensible at times!

Ginger Simpson said...

S.G....if not for humor, I'd have thrown in the towel long ago.

Dawne...I forgot all about the bug. *lol* Sorry you had a crappy day, too. Sometimes they seem to get closer together than we'd like. Love ya for dropping in.

The end of a novella isn't going to do me in. If she wants to hold it hostage, I'll let her. Of course, if she thinks I'm going to promote it and not warn people to read the fine print and compare to other contracts, then she's totally wrong. :)

Gabrielle...that saying bad things happen to good people must have been invented for a reason. :)

I love when you stop by. You always make me smile.

thanks to all of you for coming by and letting me cry on your shoulders. Well, maybe not quite cry, but whine. :)

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