TO SIGN OR NOT TO SIGN...

In the WCP contract it states: “If the Publisher sells its assets to another publisher who does or plans to market and promote books of the type and genre of the Work, the successor publisher will be bound, as a minimum, to the same terms delineated in this agreement.”
Start is not offering the same terms, and the author has no legal obligation to sign the letter of agreement.  

“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...”
The term of copyright lasts for 70 years after the death of the author. I’ve never seen such a clause in an epublishing contract before and it raises a dozen red flags. Anyone who signs this contract, is signing away all rights to his book.

Here are a couple of other things that stand out. Re Start, Womack states: “They are highly skilled in e-book marketing, as evidenced by their swiftly accelerating e-book sales over the last year.”

Here are a couple of the books on the Start Media website. Take a look at their sales rankings. Of course, who wants to spend $11.00 for an ebook?


In the past few months Start has acquired Nightshade Books and Salvo Press. Here are the comments from the authors:

The Nightshade Books/Skyhorse Publishing Deal:Why I’ll Take A Pass

The messy demise of Night Shade Books

A sample of Skyhorse and Nightshade books on Amazon: (Note the poor sales.)


22 comments:

Hillside said...

"The term of the copyright?????????" OMG! Is it possible the Womacks fvcked up (again) and meant to say "contract??????????"

Anonymous said...

@Hillside
Whether this was a screw up or not doesn't matter. If an author signs it he's signed away his copyright forever.

Luvbooks said...

The Womacks treated their authors like dirt, ignoring their emails, and demanding 500 bucks per title to let them out. Now it's payback time. As ye sow...

I don't know what kind of a deal they've cooked up here, but I suspect they're getting a rake-off for every author that signs this new contract.

DON'T SIGN IT, FOLKS.

Mary Jane said...

The Womacks must be getting worried. (LOL) They've got someone from Start to send an email to some of the folks who have been active in warning WCP authors not to sign.

Tom said...

If you sign this contract, does the author transfer the copyright to the new publisher?

CR said...

@Tom
If you sign this contract you 'give' the new owner the copyright to your book forever. There can be no 'transfer' of something that wasn't there in the first place. The copyright clause has been added in the new contract. It isn't in the original one.

Tom said...

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

Anonymous said...

Once you have the copyrights to a work it's yours and you can do anything you want with it.

Luvbooks said...

It's all about the buyout clause of 500 big ones. Now that Start has bought all rights to the books forever, it's the only way the poor authors who signed will get out.

Anonymous said...

Just for the record, I was told by the Womacks that the buyout clause goes away for those who signed. However, my lawyer told me that he sees nothing in either contract that supports that claim.

Latimer said...

@ Anonymous
The only way the buyout clause would go away is if it were specifically mentioned as doing so in that letter of agreement. There was, of course, no mention of it at all. It really is troubling how the Womacks appear to be bullying authors into signing and lying to them as well. The grim reality is that once you sign that letter, thereby signing away your copyright forever, even if the buyout clause did go away, it wouldn't benefit you one jot.

Desperate Houswife said...

I had no idea what I was giving away when I signed the devil's agreement. I bet none of the authors did.

Anonymous said...

The Womacks weren't lying. If you signed the letter of agreement, it renders the buyout clause obsolete. You can't get the rights back to a book you no longer own.

Greg Gifford said...

I must admit it was crafty the way the Womacks snuck the 'term of copyright,' in there, and padded it with all the other stuff, hoping it wouldn't be noticed. I hope those who signed it know that once their original contract expires, they won't get another cent in royalties from Start. Why would they pay you royalties on a book that you signed away to them?

SP said...

Just out of curiosity, how many have contacted a contract lawyer about this? Personally, I am looking into hiring one myself. I wonder if a demand letter will take care of this, possibly scaring them enough to have them return the rights immediately, or if I'll end up having to take their butts to court. If so, I plan to sue for legal fees!!

Anonymous said...

I contacted a lawyer regarding the contract itself when the letter came out. She confirmed every doubt and question I had and convinced me not to sign. At this point, Start will just have to assume my contract as it stands for the time that's left and then I'm out. In the meantime, they have to leave my book up on WCP, amazon, and B&N and pay royalties as contracted or breach the contract and then I'm out too.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if there is an example of a demand letter anywhere?

SP said...

http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/free-books/small-claims-book/chapter6-4.html

Here you go!

Anonymous said...

Thank you!

SP said...

We have a friend who is a lawyer, and he is currently helping me to find someone that is in the practice of Contract Law, and I will keep you all informed of what I find out.
I've asked questions on sites for free legal advice, and all of the lawyers who responded to my question have all told me to hire an attorney! I plan to recoup my legal costs from WCP as well, and will let you all know if the lawyer thinks that is possible.

Anonymous said...

@SP
If you win the action, WCP will have to pay the costs.

SP said...

The bigger question then, is WHEN I will ever see my money again. Guess I'll have to make sure there is a "pay by" clause in there somewhere...

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