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Jenny, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 6466
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor specialising in Employment Law and general legal matters. Please start your question For Jenny Only
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My question is to do with a book contribution-based book publication

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My question is to do with a book contribution-based book publication contract which has been signed and the book has been published in Jan 2016. Yet since being told that the initial print run was just 100 copies I am somewhat staggered by the costs and believe them to be disproportionate since researching.
I have paid all the invoices but the last one remains outstanding which I have stated that I am NOT refusing to pay but I would like a breakdown of costs as to where my £2,500 contribution has been spent and I said that they must have an idea of this otherwise how could they propose a figure in a contract as a projected cost? They have confirmed that the costs are towards the production only and not marketing as they cover these costs. So as the book is now in print is my request something that they should give me and are they legally obliged to do so?
Currently I am receiving every excuse to not reveal to avoid transparency?
Hello were the costs discussed with you fully at the outset?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I received a contract, an agreement between myself and the publisher. At point 15 - ADVANCES, it states 'it is agreed that the AUTHOR shall, in consideration of the undertakings, services and expenditures made on the part of the PUBLISHER, in accordance with the terms of this Agreement contained herein, pay to the PUBLISHER the sum of £2,500 for the publication of the WORK.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
This is the only description of the costs which is why I am now requesting a full breakdown
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
The headings of the full agreement cover:
1, Warranty made by the author to the Publisher
2. Copyright and sub-licensing
3. Warranty Infringement
4. Editing of the Manuscript
5. Production Programme
6. Quoting of Copyright Material
7. Author's reading of edited manuscript
8. Physical specifications printing and binding runs
9. Author's alterations
10 Review copies
11 Author's complimentary copies
12 The Copyright Act
13 Author's right to purchase copies
14 Promotion and Marketing (which they say the cover the costs)
15 Advances
16 Royalties
17 Subsidiary rights
18 Compliance by author and publisher
19 Author's responsibility
20 Infringement of copyright
21 Assignment of contract
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Sorry it goes on...22 Discontinuance of Publication
23 Complete Contract
24 Payment of Accounts
25 Option to publish further work
26 Governing law and jurisdiction
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
There are another 2 x 2 page documents, one is a brief outline of the publication process (I have asked for a detailed version but this has been ignored), the other is their Promotion and Marketing Outline.
What concerns me is that the book was published mid January and the publishers advised me that they wouldn't provide an e-book version in February as it is detrimental to the sale of the paperback version and then in March the book is available for kindle version.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
but No, the costs were not discussed at all and I have been asked about submitting further work with these publishers and I asked if would I have to foot the same upfront costs and I get a response that each book is evaluated on it's own merit.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi Jo, do you need any further info or can you work with the material given to-date?I can scan a copy of the contract and publication costs to you if this helps? Another concern is that since going with what I have now established is a 'vanity publisher' I have since read bad press about them and other people mentioning on forums of this figure of £2,500 which is why I would like the breakdown of costs and want to know if they can refuse me this info.Many thanks
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
* sorry should read.. I can scan a copy of the contract and publication process*
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi Jo, Do you have an update on this please or can you advise when you expect to have a response - thanks.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi Jo,
Any news?
Hi I can see that my colleague is no longer working on this. Can I just clarify the position. Did you sign the contract to say you would pay £2500 for the book to be published but you are now querying the price? I think that is the position but would just like to clarify?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi Jenny, yes, that's correct. Sadly, this publisher is promoted as a traditional publisher, The Independent has written an article on them and they are on a list of publishers to avoid. However, for new author's such as myself, Receiving a contract was like the golden egg. The reason I am querying the price is due to lack of transparency. I thought that my book would be in book retail outlets, and I was staggered that the initial and as far as I know only print run is just 100. Since looking up this company they have very poor reviews and are classed as a 'vanity' publisher. What I am asking is for a breakdown of costs of £2,500 to see how my money has been spent - I think that this is a fair and not unreasonable request and want to know if they have a legal obligation to provide this?
Have they delivered what was promised for the £2500? If not how was the contract misrepresented to you? Have you paid the money?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I have paid all but one invoice the last payment of £250 which they are now chasing and was due in Feb/Mar. Let me just check the contract and see if there is any misrepresentation.
Are all of the invoices in respect of the same book?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Yes, all invoices are in respect to the same book. I won't submit another book with them as I asked if I would have to put the same upfront costs and they replied each book is valued on its own merit but many writers forums are quoting this figure of £2,500 in a contract offered by this publishers so how can they offer the same figure to varying sizes of books some with illustrations some without?
So have you been asked to pay the £2500 in installments of £250? I just want to be clear on what the position is.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Yes, we agreed on instalment payments but as the book was only published in January and in February they advised that they would hold-fire on an e-book version as this is detrimental to the sales of the paperback then in March I find an e-book has been published so they have little faith in the paperback version.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
This is the response and my email requesting a breakdown of costs:Dear VanessaAs pointed out before we do not have a set menu with prices to pick from. The contribution is for time, knowledge and expertise as well as the physical materials. The editorial department use their experience to estimate the costs of producing a particular book and taking into account its marketability then decide upon the author contribution. As also pointed out before, if they underestimate the amount of work then any extra costs also fall to us. If the question had been asked before the production process began then we could have kept an account of how many hours were spent on your book. I also repeat that marketing can be ongoing for several years.So far we only have firm sales figures for January and should receive February sales at the end of this month, which should give some indication of how the book is being received and our marketing department can then look at where more effort needs to be put. Please keep Claire-Rose up to date on what you are doing to promote your book so that you can both help each other in the efforts.With regard to print runs and stock, we always make sure we have enough stock in the warehouse to cover expected orders. The original print run was 140 but hopefully when the book takes off we will need to print in larger batches.RegardsSandraFollow us on Facebook our latest blog post emailFrom: Vanessa Ball [mailto***@******.***]
Sent: 15 April 2016 15:33
To: ***** *****
Subject: RE: THE PEARL ORB - BREAKDOWN OF COSTS PLEASE IN FIGURESDear *****,My accountant's query is the same as mine - please simply provide a breakdown of costs for the production and/or marketing of the book 'The Pearl Orb' which as we have highlighted in each email you must have an indication of to issue a me with a contributions based contract for the sum of £2,500. I am assuming that this is a 50/50 split of contributions (unless you advise to the contrary and that Pegasus have covered the costs also for £2,500. Making the total cost to produce and market this book £5000.Please include in your breakdown the costs (if applicable) for:Amazon Distribution
Full Wholesale Distribution
ISBN Allocation
Kindle Preparation
Full Ebook Distribution
Advanced Amazon Listing
Electronic Proof Copy
Media Contact List
Author's Handbook
Rounds of changes
Cover Design
Basic Proof Read
Professional Proof Read
Entry on Book Reviewer Website
Newspaper Review Copies
International Press Release
Mini Trailer
No. Of copies sold to - date
No. Of print runs if more than 100 printsMany thanks
Ok thanks, ***** ***** to the question is that so long as they have done what they state they will in the contract and they have not misrepresented the contract to you in any way then you will be contractually obliged to pay the outstanding amount. You should check the contract to see that they have performed what they way they will under the contract. They may have misrepresented the contract if they verbally told you the print run would be larger and the book would appear in bookshops. If you have made an assumption on this then this would not amount to a misrepresentation. I take your point about the cost being the same no matter the material or size of the book but this is really a point of negotiation at the outset of the contract. if you have any further queries please do ask. If I have answered your question I would be grateful if you would take the time to rate my answer as I am not otherwise paid for the time I have spent working on your question. Thank you and all the best.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi Jenny, Thank you for your response but my original question remains am I legally entitled to a breakdown of costs or not? I appreciate that the £2,500 is contractual but a breakdown would help me know where the costs have been allocated.
You can ask for it but it won't assist you. They do not have to prove the costs. So long as they have done the work stated under the contract for the agreed price then the fact the 'costs' may be less is irrelevant to the position I am afraid. The only way you can reduce the bill is by showing they have not done the work under the contract or misrepresented the contract in some way. Value for money is not an argument that can be used in a court.
Is there anything further I can clarify for you?
Jenny, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 6466
Experience: Qualified Solicitor specialising in Employment Law and general legal matters. Please start your question For Jenny Only
Jenny and other Law Specialists are ready to help you