Open For Comments

We've been contacted by a number of WCP authors who are concerned about recent developments. It seems that WCP has been sold to Start Publishing and that a new contract has been issued. Some of the terms in this contract are causing concern, and the authors are unsure whether to sign it or not.  They are also unsure of their rights. We have opened the comments section and welcome your input.

55 comments:

Robert T said...

Check out some of the Start titles to see how they're doing on Amazon. I'd also contact a few of the Start authors to see how they feel about this publisher before signing up.

http://www.amazon.com/Agatha-H-Clockwork-Princess-Genius-ebook/dp/B007TNKU7O

http://www.amazon.com/Brave-New-Worlds-Dystopian-Stories-ebook/dp/B00B6TYIMK/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1402787534&sr=1-1&keywords=brave+new+worlds

http://www.amazon.com/Butcher-Bird-Dominion-Richard-Kadrey-ebook/dp/B006OOIA30/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1402787606&sr=1-1&keywords=butcher+bird

Cinday said...

These books are certainly not best sellers on Amazon, and it certainly gives us some food for thought.

Luv books said...

They're asking us to sign a new contract giving up our copyright to Start. I'm in fricken shock. Has anyone ever heard of anything like this before?

Luvbooks said...

No way I'm signing that shit.

John said...

They only have a few sci-fi books that aren't doing well on Amazon.

Anonymous said...

They're asking you to sign over your copyright forever. Anyone who signs that is nuts.

Author said...

They've only published 18 books so far. None of them are doing well on Amazon. Based on this alone, I can't see much reason to sign up with them, and especially not to sign away my copyright.

Anonymous said...

They don't have to sign this new contract. They'll never get their rights back if they do. If they don't sign they'll automatically get their rights back.

Anonymous said...

Start is offering 25% of net on ebooks. A disgrace. This ia predatory company looking to make a quick buck.

Anonymous said...

You won't automatically get your rights back at the time of company sale--check your contract. You will get your rights back when your contracted term is up. Your book will be held in limbo.

Bernard said...

Whatever you do guys, DON'T SIGN!!

CR said...

"You won't automatically get your rights back at the time of company sale--check your contract. You will get your rights back when your contracted term is up. Your book will be held in limbo. "

Rubbish! Holding the book in limbo is not part of the contract they signed. If WCP doesn't keep up their end of the bargain/contract, and they can't since they've sold out, then the authors are out too.

Cheers

Luvbooks said...

You don't have to be a lawyer to know that if this new contract isn't signed, the authors will get their rights back.

Melisse Aires said...

Seems they are not taking our books down or closing the website. And sheesh, charging 5.99 for a novella ebook. How NOT to sell.

CR said...

I agree, Melisse. Ditto for charging $11.00 for a novel length ebook. Incredible! No wonder sales are so poor.

Tom said...

Does

Tom said...

Will the copyright be transferred to the new publishing company? Does the author still own the copyright on his or her book?

Greg Gifford said...

No. Start Publishing will own it for the rest of your lifetime, and a further 70 years after your death.

Tom said...

Could they rewrite parts of the novel, remove the author's name, and put their name on it?

Anonymous said...

Tom, the Start contract is for life of copyright--your lifetime plus 70 years. WCP contracts were for 3 years.

Anonymous said...

Can we still use our cover art if we decide to publish it ourselves if we don't sign with Start?

Melisse Aires said...

No, you can't use WCP cover art. WCP paid the cover artist, not you. You can contact the cover artist and see if they will make one though.

Anonymous said...

I'm sick over this. Steve point blank told me I had to sign and there was no way I could say no. Calling attourney in am. I signed believing I had no choice...... Holly

Repo Man said...

So sorry to hear that, Holly. You were definitely coerced into signing that awful thing, and that should let you out. We're all behind you 100%.

Anonymous said...

I hope Womack sent you an email to that effect, and that you still have it. If he said it over the telephone, I'm afraid it comes down to a matter of your word against his, and he'll deny, deny, deny...

Desperate Housewife said...

I've sent all this to a reporter friend of mine, and I just hope he splashes it all over the media. We need the public spotlight on WCP and Start. Methinks they're like vampires and they'll cower away. Who knows what a good journalist can dig up about both of them.

Anonymous said...

Steve treated me like a silly child when I said I was going to self publish instead. I asked him several questions and only got a response a week later when I asked them again.
I didn't even read the new contract. I was already dissatisfied with WCP so I saw no reason to continue with them or anyone they sold to.

Luvbooks said...

You might as well toss your books out the window as sign that sinister letter of agreement.

Anonymous said...

@ Luvbooks
There's no need to rub it in. How do you think that makes the authors who have signed, like me, feel? We have to rally ourselves now and fight. I'm seeing a lawyer tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

With the way the publishing business is nowadays it is still an opportunity considering WCP did not market their books and is a small publisher. Start could be more lucrative. Also, there is a clause that states if they do not sell 25 books in any given year the rights revert back to the author.• As far as I can see this protects the authors if their book sales are not successful. I know selling 25 books a year is not exactly making it big, but at least it is something. See clause below: "Revision of rights: If the Work shall be declared out-of-print, or sell fewer than twenty five (25) copies in
all formats in any calendar year, or the Publisher shall have stopped selling the Work in all formats,
including reprints or editions licensed to other publishers in the United States and if, within six (6) months
of a request by the Author the Publisher fails to inform the Author in writing of a plan to reprint,
repackage, do a new edition, or license an edition to another publisher in the United States, then this
Agreement can be terminated by the Author in writing. After receipt of the termination letter, Publisher
shall have an additional two (2) weeks to reconsider its options (a total of 6 months and two weeks) and
notify the Author of its decision. If the Publisher still fails to inform the Author of an intention to keep the
Work in print in the United States, all rights shall revert to the Author, subject to any grant of rights made
by the Publisher prior to the termination date, and any third party licenses will remain."

CR said...

@Anon
"After receipt of the termination letter, Publisher
shall have an additional two (2) weeks to reconsider its options (a total of 6 months and two weeks) and notify the Author of its decision."
This is the pivotal clause, which neatly cancels out the reversion rights. Whether the author gets out or not, is left totally up to Start Media. So in essence, an author who signs the agreement letter has given away his copyright forever, and has no reversion clause to protect him.

Anonymous said...

Furthermore, since Start will control pricing, a 2 day .99 cent sale could quite easily sell 25 books in ebook...note the clause says in any format...which cancels out the parameter for the reversion. Twenty five books is a VERY low threshold comparatively to other similar contract clauses.

Biker said...

@ Anon
If Start wanted to hang onto a book all they'd have to do is splash out 25 bucks a year (25 X 99 cents) and voila, the author is locked in forever and ever. There is no reversion clause in that contract that's worth a grain of salt.

Anonymous said...

This sounds grim. I have already signed the contract not realizing this was the case. Any suggestions on what to do????

Anonymous said...

Once the contract is signed is there a way to get out of it if you were unaware of the fact you were losing your reversion rights?

Anonymous said...

Technically you are not losing your reversion rights but they may be difficult to regain. I doubt there is a way to get out of the contract once you have signed. Ultimately, it is your responsibility to read, understand, and know what you are signing before you sign it.

Butterscotch said...

"Once the contract is signed is there a way to get out of it if you were unaware of the fact you were losing your reversion rights?"
It's very unlikely. Once you sign on the dotted line you're stuck. Not knowing the law is no excuse. Like hey, Officer, I didn't know the speed limit here was only 30 miles an hour, etc.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your feedback about the reversion rights. Since WCP did not market their books, the future of their authors was not bright. Signing with Start Pub. might be a good change, in spite of all the negatives. A published book is sometimes better than an unpublished book. After all they are in this to make money also.WCP made it seem like a good opportunity and I trust them. In my opinion WCP were very professional and did a great job in producing the books, but not in selling them. I felt there was nothing to lose considering the current status of being a WCP author.

Anonymous said...

@Anon
I wish you well and hope that Start follows through on its promises. I think that everyone has to make the choice they feel is right for them. Other than poor editing, slow communication, and no royalty statements, overall, I had no major complaints with WCP. I just don't feel there is enough information about Start and too many questions in my mind to feel comfortable signing away my rights. I wish the best for all of the authors, whether you signed or not.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone heard a word about whether the deal went through...any contact from either WCP or Start? Anything?

Angie Baby said...

Not a thing...yet.

Anonymous said...

There has been an emphasis on all the negatives but there are positives as well. All WCP authors who have not signed and have retained their copyrights might regret it in the long run. It will be very difficult to find a new publisher with a book that has low sales. Books have a shelf life and a new release become old very quickly. WCP gave a higher royalty, but what good is it if they don't market and sales are poor. A 25% royalty with a bigger publisher who markets, and possibly makes a book an audiobook and translates it into different languages, and possibly pring, might generate much more money. Signing with Start can be a stepping stone and it is certainly a unique opportunity. It is a compliment to WCP authors that Start wanted to purchase these books and sell them. Also, these books will always have a publisher backing them. If a book is good there is no reason why it shouldn't sell if the author markets it too. Most bigger publishers own the copyright since they are the ones marketing and investing in the titles. Since these books were published by WCP, a small publisher and they were purchased as a group, of course Start is going to make the contract for their advantage. Business is cutthroat nowadays, but considering most of these books would be in limbo after the contract with WCP was over anway, this could turn out to be far better. A publisher can only own the copyright for 35 years according to the copyright laws, so it can be transferred to the author or their heirs in the future. Plus being published by a bigger publisher might help authors find agents and get published with other bigger publishers in the future. As for the dollar, it was only used as a medium to make the transition legal. The author they offered $200. dollars too must have had more successful books.

Anonymous said...

Correction in the message above, "possibly print"

Angie Baby said...

" It is a compliment to WCP authors that Start wanted to purchase these books and sell them."
Hi there, Jarred, how are things? :-)

Anonymous said...

I am a WCP author. My experiences with have for the most part been positive. I did sign the new contract, yet I was unaware that Start would own the rights to my book for life. That gives me a stomach ache.

Anonymous said...

This is from the new contract. It does not state that Start will own rights to the book for life....
With respect to all of your agreement(s) with Whiskey Creek Press, you agree to assign to Start Publishing
for the term of the copyright any and all rights currently held by Whiskey Creek Press. You further agree
that you will be paid by Start Publishing upon the same terms and conditions as currently exist in your
agreement, except that you agree to accept from Start Publishing an e-book royalty rate of twenty five
percent (25%). This new e-book royalty rate will apply to all monies actually received by Start Publishing
on your behalf on or after July 1, 2014. Print royalty rates will stay the same as in your current Whiskey
Creek Press agreement(s).

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous...you conveniently failed to include the paragraph preceding the one you posted which clearly claims term of copyright...which equates to approximately 70 years after author's death. Read the copyright laws...if that isn't owning the rights for life, I'm not sure what is.


By signing this letter, you agree that your agreement(s) with Whiskey Creek Press shall be assigned to Start Publishing, LLC (“Start Publishing” and/or “Publisher”), or any of its affiliates or subsidiaries, for the term of
copyright, and shall be modified to the extent set forth below:




• With respect to all of your agreement(s) with Whiskey Creek Press, you agree to assign to Start Publishing
for the term of the copyright any and all rights currently held by Whiskey Creek Press. You further agree
that you will be paid by Start Publishing upon the same terms and conditions as currently exist in your
agreement, except that you agree to accept from Start Publishing an e-book royalty rate of twenty five
percent (25%). This new e-book royalty rate will apply to all monies actually received by Start Publishing
on your behalf on or after July 1, 2014. Print royalty rates will stay the same as in your current Whiskey
Creek Press agreement(s).

Anonymous said...

@anon...my apologies...I see that you did include the paragraph...but term of copyright is just what I said.

Merry Maid said...

The way Womack snuck in 'term of copyright' it was intended that most WCP authors would assume it meant for the term of the contract, and not for life plus 70 years. This was an understandable assumption, and one I would have made myself. This fiasco proves you should never sign anything until you've run it past a lawyer.

Anonymous said...

Well isn't this interesting...on the Charles River Press homepage (a Womack Publishing Group publisher run by Steven's brother) it says "Whiskey Creek Press and imprints to make epic announcement July 2014. Stay tuned for what will be a milestone moment." And what do you know? Charles River Press will also have CYCLOPEAN REVENGE by Steven Womack available in Hardcover, Trade Paperback and EBook Fall 2014...if START is such a golden opportunity, why do you suppose Womack pulled his book from WCP and went with his brother instead?

Anonymous said...

Charles River Press http://www.charlesriverpress.com/

Anonymous said...

AND it seems as though most of the books on the CRP site, if clicked on, go to a page not found page

Anonymous said...

I have Steve Womack to thank for my not signing the Start contract. A royalty payment was overdue, and I wasn't going to settle for the amount shown in the new contract without having that. That gave me time to think and research, with the result that I'm not going to sign. Thanks, Steve!

Anonymous said...

The sale has been announced
http://publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/industry-deals/article/63414-start-publishing-buys-whiskey-creek-press.html

Anonymous said...

Not sure if anyone here is aware of this, but I was just informed by Start that royalties won't be paid until OCTOBER!! This is a breach of contract for those of us that did not sign that agreement letter! I did point this out to them, then, VIOLA ... the email exchanged stopped. No big surprise there. Seems like the folks over at Start are no better than the Womacks. I used the Buy-out option and was told that I would receive my May-June royalties in October and my July-August 4th royalties in January. What the hell? Why do they need to hold onto royalties for 5 freaking months for a book that they no longer sell? They tried to feed me some crap about how they couldn't pay anyone out of sequence. I told them that I knew that was a crock and the they were just being petty at this point. Looks like I'll still be keeping my attorney on retainer because these guys are a damn joke!
I hope nobody was really counting on that money showing up next week, because it looks like you won't see it unless you start emailing and letting them know that you expect it to come ON TIME as per your original contract that they are obligated to follow if you didn't sign the letter of agreement.

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