Penguin Takes Underperforming Authors to Court

Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Steerpike, Sep 27, 2012.

  1. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis magnanimus Moderator

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  2. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    No book means you repay the advance and they charge interest. That simple. No sympathy here.
     
  3. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Mythic Scribe

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    Agree. The blog post title seemed misleading to me.
     
  4. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis magnanimus Moderator

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    I'd say failing to deliver a book constitutes "underperforming."
     
  5. Kevin O. McLaughlin

    Kevin O. McLaughlin Mystagogue

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    I'm a little confused by the Trident response in the article. They say if Penguin did this to one of their authors, they'd stop submitting books to Penguin. That doesn't make sense, to me. It sounds like Penguin is asked for perfectly legitimate reimbursement from writers who didn't fulfill their end of the bargain. Why would Trident punish all the rest of their authors for one writer failing to fulfill their contract?

    It'd be a very different story if Penguin was canceling contracts and demanding money back on books which had actually been delivered as promised, but...it doesn't sound like that's the case, from what I am reading here.
     
  6. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis magnanimus Moderator

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    It's all about leverage, Kevin. Whether Penguin is right or wrong, Trident's first concern is to look out for their writers. I think what they're getting at here is that they'd use their leverage to come to some terms with Penguin, not that it would actually get to the point of pulling their catalog.
     
  7. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    Underperforming is when a book is supposed to be a blockbuster and fails, or when the writing falls short or deadlines are missed.

    No book means there was a total failure to perform.
     
  8. Mindfire

    Mindfire Istari

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    +1 to this. Lol
     
  9. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis magnanimus Moderator

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    A failure of performance is less than what was expected in terms of performance, ergo "under" performance. All the way under is still under.
     
  10. Mindfire

    Mindfire Istari

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    True, but to call abject failure "underperforming" is also an understatement. :D
     
  11. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis magnanimus Moderator

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    So the person who wrote that blog post is being charitable :D
     
  12. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    Only to the authors.
     
  13. Kevin O. McLaughlin

    Kevin O. McLaughlin Mystagogue

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    Yeah, there's this feeling of shocked surprise in the piece, like the person writing it was stunned that publishers would actually do such a thing. Um. If I hired someone to do a job, paid the person $20k in advance for the service, and they failed to deliver better believe I'd be suing them, too. Just common sense.
     
  14. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis magnanimus Moderator

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    Kevin - what the author says (and I don't personally know whether it is true or not) is that even with author's failure to perform in past circumstances, these kinds of filings going after multiple authors are unusual. If that's true, then the story is significant in that regard alone. It appears from this piece at least that publishers in the past have not been quick to file suit. This, then, would signal a chance in philosophy.
     
  15. MichaelSullivan

    MichaelSullivan Scribal Lord

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    I actually can't see why there was an article on this...how is it news? Books are signed...and not published for any number of reasons:

    • Authors fail to turn in manuscript
    • Author and editor fail to agree on required edits
    • Publisher fails to put the book out in the time specified
    • Previous books in the series don't sell enough
    • Legal department decides they could be sued

    Every contract (despite what Trident said) indicates what happens in these situations. In almost all of them any money paid to the author has to be repaid. I don't see why there should be any a) surprise b) condemnation of Penguin.

    There are enough truly bad things that traditional publishers do...let's not jump on them for perfectly valid practices as well ;-)
     
  16. Zero Angel

    Zero Angel Dark Lord

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    One possible area of worry is if all the authors failed to deliver their manuscript or if Penguin deemed their manuscript unacceptable.

    As someone with his nose to the grindstone spending every free second trying to pave my own way while working two other jobs, I find it hard to feel sympathy for anyone that was paid to write a book and then did not deliver though. It sounds like they hit the lottery and then said, "Oh you know what? I don't like writing."
     
  17. Kit

    Kit Scribal Lord

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    This happened to my housemate. He's brilliant, and got contracted to write a technical book- but he's a terrible procrastinator, and just didn't make the deadlines. I knew it was going to happen as soon as I heard about the book deal (because I know how bad he is with the procrastination). Kind of frustrating for me, because I'd bend over backward for a chance like that.
     
  18. shangrila

    shangrila Grandmaster

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    This is my thinking too.

    I mean, I'll admit, I procrastinate when it comes to anything just about me. But if other people are depending on me to get something done? Or they've paid me to do something? You don't screw around in a situation like that.
     
  19. Ghost

    Ghost Grandmaster

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    I'd love to see a penguin in a courtroom.
     
    Devor likes this.
  20. Aravelle

    Aravelle Mystagogue

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    I'm with Penguin on this. I love Penguin. I want to be published by them someday. n_n
     
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