I received an email from a woman this week who claimed to be the ex-wife of one of our authors. She said she’d heard that he was publishing a new book through us on a specific topic, which I will not mention here (for obvious reasons).
She wanted to know if any personal photos were in the book. She then stated that he and we do not have permission to publish any photos. I assume she meant photos she herself had taken. She said the author could only use stock photos in the book.
She then asked me to keep her email message private.
I checked and, yes, the author is publishing a book through us on that topic.
But, how was I supposed to discuss this problem with him without letting him know his ex-wife contacted me? And, how would we know which photos were his versus hers?
I wrote back to her, saying I would not send him a copy of her email but that I had to contact him about this situation to prevent any future copyright infringement problems. And, I did immediately write to the author.
I also told her that she really needed to contact him directly about this problem. I wrote a a book on divorce years ago, The Emergency Divorce Handbook for Women. While conflict after the deterioration of a marriage is almost always a factor, dragging third parties into that (especially a business), and asking them to keep it “private,” is pretty ridiculous and extremely unprofessional.
I found the part where she said he could only use stock photos amusing. I find it impossible to believe that the author has never taken a photograph himself.
Here’s the kicker. I checked and there is only one photo in the book…and it’s from Dreamstime. It IS a stock photo! He hadn’t even done what she accused him of. Had the ex-wife simply contacted the author directly, she could have learned that from him.
Under current law, if the author had used her photos, he would be on the hook for copyright infringement. But, of course, if we knew there was a conflict, he would need to provide us with proof that he owns the copyrights to the photos before he could use them. We always respect the intellectual rights of others, regardless of how they’re acting on a personal level.
A more appropriate email from her would not have asked us to keep the email private. I mean…what were our options? To flat refuse to publish the book, and not tell the author why? What if she was lying, and just trying to make him miserable? Even if she did own the copyrights, her approach could have been far more professional.
This isn’t the first time I’ve received a sour grapes email from an author’s spouse, and it most certainly won’t be the last. I wish people would remember to act professionally when they’re going through personal turmoil. I’m sure this was embarrassing for the author and, truthfully, the author’s wife should be ashamed as well.
- Want to Get Sued? Write About Your Ex!
- Don’t Invite Lawsuits by Real People Featured in Your Book! (Hint: You Can Still Be Sued Even If You Don’t Name Them!)
- Don’t Invite a Lawsuit with Your Memoir
- Did Your Lawyer Say, “You Can’t Be Sued?” BEWARE!
- Is the Culprit Your Sp*m Filter…or Your Spouse?
About The Author
Angela Hoy is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, and the co-owner of BookLocker.com (one of the original POD publishers that still gets books to market in less than a month), PubPreppers.com (print and ebook design for authors who truly want to self-publish), and Abuzz Press (the publishing co-op that charges no setup fees).
WritersWeekly.com - the free marketing ezine for writers, which features new paying markets and freelance job listings every Wednesday.
BookLocker.com - According to attorney Mark Levine, author of The Fine Print, BookLocker is: "As close to perfection as you're going to find in the world of ebook and POD publishing. The ebook royalties are the highest I've ever seen, and the print royalties are better than average. BookLocker understands what new authors experience, and have put together a package that is the best in the business. You can't go wrong here. Plus, they're selective and won't publish any manuscript just because it's accompanied by a check. Also, the web site is well trafficked. If you can find a POD or epublisher with as much integrity and dedication to selling authors' books, but with lower POD publishing fees, please let me know."
Abuzz Press offers FAST and FREE book publication, but only accepts a small percentage of submissions, and only works with U.S. authors.
PubPreppers.com - "We Prep, You Publish!" Print and ebook design for authors who truly want to self-publish. Offers formatting and design services only, and then provides simple instructions for authors on where to sign up to have the print and ebook editions printed/listed/sold. Cut out the middle man. Keep 100% of what bookstores pay for your book!
Angela's POD Secrets Revealed Series can be found HERE.
Have a POD Book with another publisher? See if BookLocker can give you a better deal. (BookLocker offers "disgruntled author discounts" to those who want to move from other POD services.)
See BookLocker's publishing packages HERE.
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