Publisher Bites Author

From over at PG’s place, the dreadful tale of a publisher-relationship that went badly wrong for the writer. Short version – he got stiffed and was not paid what he was owed.

Dan Rhodes got curious about why one book wasn’t earning anything. Here’s the first part of the story, and the publisher’s explanation: it was all a mistake.

Rhodes, after that mess, decided to pull all of his books with the publisher. Every one. It hurt. A lot. He’s not entirely sure what to do next, but he’s still writing, just not what he’d planned and been working on.

I knew we get tired of reading horror stories that don’t end with the hero or heroine triumphing over evil, but this is a timely reminder: read the contract, track everything, and look at the books. Early. Often. If you can’t do that, you probably want to think a third or fourth time about signing the contract.

PG’s take on what authors should do.

10 thoughts on “Publisher Bites Author

  1. This is more than just not getting paid for his sales. Based on his second posting, the demoralization AND time spent tracking this down has really stopped up his ability to write. Over any significant period of time, that’s a lot more financial harm than they did by stiffing him in the first place.
    Long live INDY!
    Long live responsible publishers as well.

  2. yeah, he needs to contact the arbitration panel and start arbitration proceedings, and stop messing with the publisher.

  3. I am assuming Mr. Rhodes is a UK author. Don’t know how it works over there, but hear abouts his best option I would think is to, as he has done, pull all the rights if at all possible. Cite violation of contract if necessary. Then reissue them all with new covers under his own imprint.
    Since he was still being published I would assume he had an established base which in all probability would continue to read him no matter who the publisher.

    1. “…his best option I would think is to, as he has done, pull all the rights if at all possible. Cite violation of contract if necessary.”

      And make them eat the print run, so they remember for next time. 😡

  4. A Guy I know via Facebook wrote half the songs for Robotech, and SANG a third of them (As the singing voice for Lancer).

    He kept wondering why he never heard from the studio (Besides being a Los Angeles real estate company, Harmony Gold imported anime in the 80s, and was a music company before and after that), after they released 3-4 different CD Soundtrack editions (each new one with more of his music than the last), 2 VHS releases, 2 video games, 3 DVD releases, etc. Then, he finds he’s being replaced and his songs rerecorded for a new project.

    He asks where all his royalties were, and they offered him a check for THREE DOLLARS, and told him he’d have to pick it up at their offices (Several hours away).

    Ironically, he’d actually been able to TOUR LATIN AMERICA (especially the Patagonia region) profitably performing the series music for fans now grown up, filling clubs. I think HG resented him for being more loved by the fans than they were.

  5. I have to admit I read this, and I wondered what kind of fantasy land Mr. Rhodes was living in for so long. What he’s describing is -NORMAL- out there.

    This lack of followup by companies who owe my company money is an ongoing issue in my business. You would think that after entering a legal agreement with a big, shiny, reputable company, they would uphold their end of the bargain. Right?

    But no. Very often they don’t. Invoices get lost. Or forgotten. Or ignored for cash-flow or other reasons. Most companies are pretty good, with the occasional slip.

    Some few, on the other hand, occasionally come through but most times are late/clueless/borderline insolent. Most often it is sheer incompetence, their staff are just that useless. Sometimes they’re playing creditor bingo, choosing who gets the not-enough-money this week based on who screams the loudest.

    Those bad/useless ones I have to decide on a case-by-case basis if its worth bothering with them. Balance the income with the cost/aggravation of chasing them for money every month. The really shitty ones we just turn off the tap and let them starve. When/if they pay up, we open the tap again.

    But I always know who owes what. That’s basic.

    So, if you enter an agreement with somebody, you make bloody sure there are REPORTING REQUIREMENTS in your contract, whereby they must report hard monthly numbers to you, and if they don’t the contract is void. If Amazon can do it, anybody can.

    For an author, this would seem doubly important because authors don’t control print runs, inventory, quality control, prices, none of that. We control nothing, essentially. So if we can’t control it, we had better know what’s happening with our book so we can protect our own interests.

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