Adventures in Publishing

We (Lyrical) had something happen this week I think it’s worth sharing with authors, a sort of “please never do this” caveat.

First, let me repeat for the umpteenth time that publishing is a business. A contract for publication is a legal document that holds both the publishing house AND THE AUTHOR to very specific obligations.

Once you sign that contract and return it to the publisher, it becomes legally binding. After signing, you can not suddenly decide to sign a contract for the same work with another publisher and ask the first house to tear up their contract. 

Mind you, Lyrical took one for the home team and let it go. We’re not interested in getting this particular author in hot water with the other publisher in question, and we’ve issued a release of rights.

The point is, any other publisher might not have responded the way we did. (And personally, I feel we set a dangerous precedent, here, but were left little other choice.)

So please don’t do this. If you submit simultaneously to a number of houses, please wait until you’ve received response from all parties before accepting a contract for publication. It IS legally binding, and this is a real good way to land yourself on the “unprofessional ” list.

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One Response

  1. Sounds like someone wanted to play all sides of the fence without taking any risks…

    not a good idea.

    letting them go may not be the best precedent, but given that he/she may have just thrown a hissy fit and been horrible to work with until you *had* to let him/her go, it may have been the best decision.

    VERY unprofessional.

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