There are other unscrupulous publishers out there with a similar ‘go after the family’ plot. A friend recently contacted me about an author’s daughter who wants to bring her father’s books back into print. An established publisher quoted her a figure of $10,000 to republish each (not all of them). I suspect this publisher will also treat them as traditionally published books, which would mean that she’d never recover those huge charges with 10-15% royalties.
I told him that was absurd, that she could self-publish those books as facsimiles for essentially nothing or for a few hundred dollars she could OCR them and create new editions. And this reminds me, I need to get back to him to discover what she is doing.
Angela, I like your idea of a beneficiary clause in the author contact. All too many wills leave that out and, as a result, the literary rights fall under the residuals clause. That’s how John Steinbeck’s own children lost control of his literary estate. When he died, those rights fell as residuals to his third wife. On her death, they fell to her children not his. The result has been a long series of horrors, culminating in this.
I got to know Gail Steinbeck, wife of Steinbeck’s son Tom, during an earlier stage of this dispute when we were both involved in a legal action. She’d temporarily regained control of the estate and was trying to protect his legacy. These losses must hurt her greatly and they drive home an important point. If you have a literary estate, make sure it will pass to those you trust. You don’t want it to be left to the vagaries of probate.
– Michael W. Perry
At the time when I was reading and filling out your contract, I remember that the beneficiary clause impressed me. One more out of hundreds of reasons to sign with BookLocker. Cheers!
– Pamela Allegretto
Bridge of Sighs and Dreams
Two women clash in World War 2 Nazi-occupied Rome.
Hi, Angela, It’s not just authors. Those ghouls are everywhere. I was amazed at what crawled out of the woodwork after my wife died. One bank–a household name–hassled me for months over an account that turned out to have ten cents left in it.
– Woodrow Wilson
REPLY FROM ANGELA:
It’s despicable when someone dies and one of the survivor’s first thoughts is, “Where’s the $$$?! Gimme the $$$!!”
Hi Angela, I’ve been a follower/subscriber of yours for the past couple of decades and have seen you write about all sorts of scams, but I’ve never seen one like this. There are a lot of creative criminally minded people out there.
REPLY FROM ANGELA:
Yes, it’s absolutely disgusting. And, the demanding, rude tone of the email was unbelievable!!!
Kristin does have a point.
However, if you begin a writing project with the only objective of creating a book to obtain the highest numbers of sales, you may find that most subject are off the table — including the one you are passionate about.
– Wendy Jones
Highlander Imagine – Beyond Infinity
Duncan MacLeod must fight a South American Immortal at Teotihuacan.
“Jeansbet.com is giving away ebooks for free, including mine! What’s a DMCA takedown notice and where can I find one?”
Friend of mine told me they were a fake site that downloaded viruses to users. So I haven’t sent off a DCMA. Still, instant karma.
– Roxanne Bland