Saturday, August 19, 2006

Bad Experience

Hi All,

Just thought I'd share with you all a sad discovery. This is when I go off into one of my stories.

Over a year ago I sent a pack of educational resources to a certain online educational publishing group and everything seemed to go smoothly until it came to signing the contracts.

As normal, I dutifully sent my contract to the Society of Authors and they sent a few comments back with suggested changes. I sent these to the publisher and they basically told me the contract was non-negotiable. They also said they'd never heard of the Society of Authors and if I didn't like it I could always withdraw my manuscript. Well, as you can imagine I was a bit upset by this. But, I was not happy with their bully tactics so I did withdraw my manuscript and sent it to another publisher who has since published it.

Why is that sad or a bad experience you ask? Well, I haven't finished yet.

I recently found out from the original publisher catalogue they were publishing a resource with a very similar title as the one I sent them. Anyway, through contacts I managed to get hold of a copy and it is very similar to the stuff I'd sent them. However, they had changed it just enough to be different. Another thing is they've used a lot of the illustrations I'd drawn as well. They have not acknowledged me or even paid me for these pictures. I'm not sure if they've changed them so they are slightly different, as I was so upset I've put it away for now.

I've no idea what to do.

My charming daughter says sue them. I'm not sure I have grounds to do that.

Any, suggestions of any kind would be helpful.

For now I will go on my hols and not think about it for two weeks and maybe if I'm still upset by it when I get back I will contact the Society of Authors and ask their advice.

Has anyone had a similar experience? What did you do?


Dave said...

Have a good holiday and ask the Society of Authors on return.

One thought, if their book is different enough for you not to be able to sue them, they presumably can't sue you if you publish with the other publisher (and since they've stolen the template from you, would they dare anyway?!?!)

Interestingly, who do they credit as the author?!?!

Or write to the papers and point out what the theiving Publisher has done. They'd then have to sue you for libel, and presumably would lose (I hope).

Dave (Yep, THE Dave from Thatcham Writers)

Anita Marion Loughrey said...

Thanks for this Dave,
Looking at the reource again, I think I may have a case with the illustrations. I will have to look into the copyright implications of this. I will think about te writing to the papers idea.
All the best,

Jude said...

Oh Anita- how awful... dare I ask who the publisher was? I hope things work out alright in the end. I'd just move on with the next project and perhaps pursue the case if you feel you've been wronged- ask Society of Authors what they suggest?

mumatwork said...

what a bummer, anita. you should check with the society of authors. do you have a record of your correspondence with them? it was just as well you withdrew your manuscript because they sound like shysters who would've hit you some other way if you went ahead. good luck and best wishes, candy

Nicky said...

Oh Anita, what an awful experience! I'm with the others on this - contact the Society of Authors and find out what your rights are. Surely this amounts to either copyright infringement and plagiarism?

Penny Rossell said...

Anita, that's a terrible thing to happen - and I'm sure that the Society of Authors has dealt with that sort of thing before. Do let them know who the publisher is so that they can be blacklisted!


Anonymous said...

Anita, this is so distressing. Would it be stating the obvious to suggest that you may have sent it to yourself first, special delivery? And that might mean you would have a sealed copy that hadn't been opened.

This would predate their publication date and prove it belonged to you before they had published? I wish you good luck

Anita Marion Loughrey said...

Hi All,
Because they had changed the text just based it on my information, i'm afraid I have not got a leg to stand on. Even my illustrations they had made slight changes to so they were significantly different.
I have learnt a vauable lesson and will not be dealing with them again.