I don’t need any further proof of how the gatekeeper system fails, lies, and keeps authors out. I don’t – I’ve proven it, given solid reasons, heard the testimonies of other published authors and from a host of wannabes. I simply don’t need any further proof.
Nevertheless, I keep having proof provided to me both from around the Internet and from right here at home.
Last week I told you how the publisher for which I wrote my last non-fiction book claimed they “lost” my contract. Couldn’t find it. Gee, without that, we don’t pay. Note, not that they “can’t” pay. Just that they WON’T pay. Period.
There are two conditions in the contract which stipulate conditions under which I get paid. One is execution of the contract by both parties. When the contract has been signed by both parties I get half the money. The other half I get when they accept the fully-edited manuscript. That is, the proofs are finalized and accepted by the publisher. Upon those two conditions, I get the money.
Imagine my surprise when I heard from the agency through which I work with this “publisher” about one of the largest publishers on the planet “losing” my contract. It’s mayhem there, so they claim – and remember, this is a BIG company (they say) – because the EIC’s assistant resigned.
Her last day, btw, was in February. So this huge company, full of resources and people, “lost” my contract somewhere (admitting THEY lost it, notice) and they’ve had a hard time getting things processed because one person resigned. Not the president, or a vice president, or the entire board of directors, or even the EIC himself. No, it was an administrative assistant. A secretary, in previous generations when it wasn’t politically incorrect to refer to them thus. So when a secretary quit from this massive publishing GIANT, it fell apart. That’s what I’m supposed to believe.
The terms the massive publishing giant wants to use to pay its authors is net 45. As of the date of this writing (and you’re reading it a couple of days later), the book has been written (which took about 90 days), edited and proofed (which took until March) and now has been re-typeset and sent to the printer to have the nice, glossy coat put on it and is ready to go on bookshelves in brick and mortar corpses on April 26, 2011.
I have the book in my hand. They went to press with MY book, printed MY book, and are getting ready to distribute a property they have not paid for yet. It’s still MINE.
This is, of course, illegal under international copyright law, and they know this. But they don’t care.
That’s the background. When I got those ARCs, I was furious. I was beside myself and didn’t know what to do.
After I prayed, I called my agency and spoke the young lady in charge of getting payments invoiced. She’s actually the director of the company’s department for this. She was apologetic, sympathetic and asked me if someone from her staff has contacted me. I said no, they hadn’t since I last asked for an update from them about a week and half ago. She profusely apologized again, told me someone from her team was supposed to contact me and let me know that – guess what? – the massive publishing giant had found my contract after all! Oh, they were going to “begin the processing” of my payment.
I grinned. Well, I said, that’s fine for them, but what about me? I’m not willing, at this point, to wait for another 45 days. They don’t have net 45 anymore. That ship has sailed. She agreed, and told me technically, it’s still my book. They haven’t paid for it yet. Still mine. She promised to meet with her staff and then sent nasty-grams to the massive publishing giant telling them they need to expedite the payment.
So I hung up, and prayed again. Thank you Lord for getting involved.
I don’t know when I’ll see the money for this, but I know massive publishing giants don’t want this sort of thing getting out about them. This is, in fact, the second time this particular massive publishing giant has delayed my payment. I don’t know why. Last time I never got an explanation at all. I got a “oh, sorry, it was an oversight.” The check was then issued within a few days. I’m presuming – erroneously perhaps – that this case will be handled in the same way. They don’t have the luxury of paying me in two increments anymore. If they do cut two checks they need to be issued the same day. They are now in BREACH of contract and have published a book which isn’t their intellectual property and I will have every legal right to sue them for a whole lot more than the advance payment – which isn’t, at all, by any stretch an “advance” at this point.
There is no detail too small for God to be involved in. He’s taken care of our every financial concern for so long, I didn’t even recognize He was doing it. I know I can now trust He will manage this process too. And that’s fine.
Now wonder this industry’s dying, and it can’t happen fast enough. While I’ve enjoyed doing the non-fiction, and I love working for the agency and the agent I have, I do not care for the business practices of this particular publisher. At all. And while they’ve always paid, it’s never failed to be a fight. They’re batting a thousand now. Two for two. Two books written, two payments stalled or missed without cause.
I’ll say it again for the posterity of the Internet: I love my agent and my agency. The publisher and the industry, not so much. Payments > holding a print book in your hands, period. FULL STOP.