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Jenny, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 6682
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor specialising in Employment Law and general legal matters. Please start your question For Jenny Only
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Hihi I signed a contract with Austin Maccauley to publish a

Customer Question

hihi I signed a contract with Austin Maccauley to publish a novel and paid an installment (1/3) fee 5 months ago. They have yet to submit an edited version of my book (which by the way is very publishable) and they are now asking for the 2. Third. I would by now have expected to see an edited manuscript, had meetings with the editor etc but alas I get boffed off with emails. Having researched the publisher I want to terminate the contract and ideally get my money back but if not at least be free to sign another publishing contract - the contract I signed also included an option on a second book
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jenny replied 3 years ago.
Hello my name is ***** ***** I am happy to help you today. Do you have a written contract with the publisher and if so is there a termination clause in that contract?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Yes I have a written contract -

there is a clause called Discontinuance of Publication which gives the Publisher the right at his total discretion to discontinue with the publication of the book

But there is otherwise no termination clause

Expert:  Jenny replied 3 years ago.
Ok thanks, ***** ***** contract set out the publishers obligations and has the publisher failed to meet those obligations?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


There is a clause called Production Programme

which gives the publisher 290 working days to produce the work in the Publishers edition

This clause does not specify what type of interaction the author is supposed to have with the publisher during this period.

There is a second clause which refers to the publishers pre-publishing responsibility which states the Publisher has to provide the Author with a copy of the edited manuscript for proofreading

Expert:  Jenny replied 3 years ago.
Ok thanks does the contract say when and how the balance of the fee must be paid?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The contract says a total fee of 2300£ is payable - their offer to pay in installments came in different documentation

on 29th of June I was offered to pay in 3 installments but there was no specification of what the Publisher had to do in between the 3 installments falling due

Expert:  Jenny replied 3 years ago.
Ok that has covered what was in the contract, did they otherwise agree with you to do the work in a certain way? For example did they tell you they would do things within a certain time frame or that they would correspond with you in a certain way prior to you taking out the contract?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

There were a couple of phonecalls with a lady called Dasiy Wilson Sub Editor, who also contacted me initially by email April 2015, prior to me signing the contract who said that there would be a personal editor assigned and he would be in contact with me to discuss editorial changes to the manuscript, and in general work with me but no time frame for this was offered.

12 of June I was contacted by ***** ***** Production Coordinator who told me that the production department would now deal with my work. The email implies high standards of editing and a lot of time and imput on their part. They will need to co-operate with me fully in this process and there may be a few weeks between updates. Loads of emails until I paid first installment on the 26 June. Since then noone came back to me unless I chased them, except for the accounts department reminding me of future installments due and invoices.

Tom Haynes has been in touch with me for the second time via email (1st September) and claimed that he is working on layouts and editing of my book. In this most recent email he says that when finished he will send the book for my approval. This approach concerned me and I started to check on blogs what the experiences other people had with this publisher. When i consulted writers blogs, it seems that for the unknown authors they sign up this way they simply just put the manuscript thought a desk top soft ware and put it out as the final publishing copy i.e. no work at all. Hence my concern about progressing with the contract.

Ideally I would like to terminate this contract and look to have my book published elsewhere is there any way I can do that?

Expert:  Jenny replied 3 years ago.
Unfortunately as the contract itself does not contain a cancellation clause and they are not in breach of the contract the only way you can try to get out of the agreement is by saying that you consider it amounts to a misrepresentation.
This means that you have been told that the work would be done in a particular way and it has not.
If you have evidence that they are not going to personally edit the work but it will go through a computer programme , this is also evidence that it amounts to a misrepresentation.
I would suggest you ask for a refund of the money you have paid and say you no longer want to work with them as you believe the contract has been misrepresented to you.
They may well try to pursue you for the balance of the contract on the basis that you are in breach of contract by cancelling.
If you have email evidence to support the misrepresentations then this will help you defend such a claim.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Would a way forward be to ask for a specific outline of editorial and promotional services which are going to be provided?

Should the publisher be given a 1 week timeframe to provide this outline?

Once either confirmation is received of a very limited service propositon contrasting with the on the website and verbal proposed service or no outline is received would it then be correct to proceed to claim misrepresentation and send a letter outlining the misrepresentation and thus my decision to terminate the contract?

Does the publisher need to be given a chance to defend their service?

Expert:  Jenny replied 3 years ago.
Hi yes, your way forward sounds sensible.
At the moment as there is no claim, as such, there is no need for them to have the right to defend themselves. You are simply putting forward your position.
It might be that they will respond to say they are providing the service under the contract and you are obliged to pay the remainder of the fee.
At this stage you do not know what they will say. They may well decide it is too much hassle to proceed.
If you have any further questions please do ask. If i have answered your question I would be grateful if you would take the time to rate my answer. Thank you and all the best.
Expert:  Jenny replied 3 years ago.
Hello is there anything further you would like to know about this as I note you have not yet rated my answer which is an important part of the process?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

No at this stage until they reply to an email I will send today there is nothing further

Expert:  Jenny replied 3 years ago.
Hi that's fine, It would be great if you would now take the time to rate my answer as I am not otherwise credited for my time.

If you need further help with this I will answer your follow on questions for free.