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Sunday, Apr. 25, 2004 - 11:19 p.m.

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WARNING!!!! if you know me personally, you may read my diary, but if you do, you take the chance of hearing things you don't want to know, misunderstanding what I've written and being hurt by it. If you are unsure if it is ok to read, save yourself and me the grief and heartache, and ask first!!! Please note that this is a DIARY, ie my subjective feelings, hearsay, suppositions, and outpourings of ranting of the moment. It does not represent objective news, the whole of what I think of a topic or someone, or even a thought-out representation of any of the above. Keep that in mind. Thanks. * Here is a Diary Etiquette Read Me.

Trees and Orchards do NOT a Legal Contract Make

Fuckity fuckity fuck.

I just got another email from the writer of the Bear book. The company STILL has not paid her a PENNY!! She had sent them a "pay within 30 days" registered letter in December... the thirty days was up Jan 5. They ignored it completely for 30 days and then sent her a condescending letter saying she was one of the 10 percent of "bad" writers who was pressuring them for money instead of being "understanding" that they will pay "when they can", and told her some story about cutting down the trees in the orchard instead of waiting for the apples.

Stupid asses. It was THEIR LAWYER who wrote that letter to her. I wonder exactly what kind of professional or personal faith we are supposed to have in them when they negotiate contracts to the letter with particular payment schedules, and then totally ignore said schedules. Imagine if we did that. Did the sketches for the drawings and then waited 6 months and said "look it's an investment... you are being a "bad" publisher for not understanding I have not gotten around to having time to do the finished work yet and don't know when i'll have the time".

The author now doesn't want to give them the text for her next book with the same Bear character (though she would like me to draw it)... I don't even know if I am allowed to in the contract. I'll have to check. Often you are not allowed to draw the "same or similar" character for another client. Even if it is the same author. Screw and fudge.

I cannot believe how stupid these people are. They owe the author something like $1500 Cdn, and me $500 Cdn. If they had paid her $150 a month since they first contacted me with her manuscript, and me $100 a month since I did the work, it would be paid off by now. But instead they are sending letters about being "bad" writers and "orchards and apples".

I mean really, if you hadn't made your car payment for 5-10 months, you would have your bloody car repossessed and your credit rating would be totally shot. I don't think you could write them a smarmy letter about how letting you have the car for free now, and not bugging you for money is an "investment" cuz you put your car payments towards some REALLY GREAT DEAL that will make LOTS of money in the future. Sheesh. Boggling.

Now I don't know what I am going to do. I suppose I will write them a letter. I will demand they pay me, but I guess I'll have to also demand that they pay the author. If they pay me, they will have the right to use my drawings, but no story. Youpee. And then I wouldn't be able to sell my drawings with another publisher if she manages to sell her story elsewhere. My drawings would be toast.

Ironically the book has been getting rave advance reviews, and they have lots of foreign distributors interested in rights. Which of course means that them paying US to KEEP the right (cuz if the contract is null and void they HAVE no copyright to print or sell the book) is an investment on THEIR PART. They have it totally backwards.

Sigh and deep sigh. If this falls through it will be the second book in my career that I have done all the color drawings for that never sees the light of day. It is all quite annoying.

Wish us luck. Or perhaps I should put up their actual address and telephone and email, and you could all send them letters, sort of like amnesty international for children's book creators. Glll.

Tah.

Off to work on the OTHER book, the Far North one.

wench77

12:13 amI lied. I wrote a letter to the publisher, their inhouse contract lawyer, etc and sent a copy to the writer. Here goes:

To whom it may concern regarding BLAHBLAH Press and the book "Bear" by Ms. Author.

This is an informal letter of utmost urgency until I get a formal letter in the post.

I have been informed for the third time of nonpayment of the author of "Bear", the first in November, the second in January and the third today.

I also have not been paid for the final drawings of "Bear", and given the lack of reply from The Publisher and BLAHBLAH Press in general when I inquired about when such payment would be paid, and when "Bear" would come out and I could expect the payment due on publishing, I am totally in accordance with Ms. Author's demands and feelings on this matter.

BLAHBLAH Press negotiated a legal document outlining my responsibilities in this contract (delivery of sketches and final drawings) and their responsibilities (payment as per an agreed upon schedule, publishing and promotion of said book). I have fulfilled my obligations, and I expect BLAHBLAH Press to fulfil its legal obligations without further ado, prevarication or letter writing.

Given that BLAHBLAH Press has sent a letter stating they are being "forced by Canada Council to pay their creator royalties for 2002", it seems that BLAHBLAH Press has a history of being a year or more in arrears, which does not bode well either for the outstanding payments nor for when we will be paid our shares of upcoming royalties.

Given that BLAHBLAH Press is asking us to be understanding (and which we have done for nearly 6 months now), and asks us to stand by them in requesting grants etc from the government and granting agencies, it seems it would be in their best interests to keep good relations with its creators. One is not understanding to someone who doesn't fulfil their obligations, asks for favors, sends letters about orchards and apples instead of payments. One is antagonistic.

I know very few landlords who are understanding to tenants who don't pay. I know very few car companies who are understanding to buyers who get the goods and are six months in arrears. Such suppliers of goods cut off the supply and repossess the goods. It is only normal that we as copyright holders should expect compliance with legal obligations and payment schedules, and when we do not receive such, we should lose our level of "understanding" and goodwill, as well as our interest in continuing the supposed business arrangement.

We are not your dependents asking for pocket money if you have some to spare, we are businesses with whom you have entered into a legal contract with fiscal obligations.

If you can pay a printer, you can pay the creators. You can always find another printer for a project if you do not pay in full. You cannot print or sell a book that if you do not own copyright. It is in all our best interests that legal and professional agreements are adhered to (even if rather belatedly).

I shall speak with a lawyer about having a registered letter properly drawn up in my name demanding the outstanding payment on "Bear", and I will expect to be paid promptly following the publishing date of "Bear" as well. If I am not paid I shall contact the appropriate funding agencies to inform them of BLAHBLAH Press's standing in this matter. I should have written such a letter in December when Ms. Author did so.

I would suggest that waiting for the author and illustrator to threaten withdrawing copyright is not a good business practice from a monetary or working relation point of view. We can scarcely be expected to happily promote a publisher who reneges on legal agreements, nor to be interested in working with such a publisher in the future.

As the illustrator who has done work specifically for this text, the outcome and condition of BLAHBLAH Press's relationship and contract standing with the author as per copyright ownership of "Bear" affects me directly. If the contract with the author is null and void due to nonpayment, this book will not go forward and I shall lose all the time and creativity I put into it. Therefore, above and beyond the legal and moral rights of the author, I stand beside her as a creator in this project as it is in my self-interest.

Please consider carefully.

Sincerely, Wench77, illustrator of "Bear"

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previous meanderings - future past

Goodbye Michael. May your next life be kinder to you. - Thursday, Jun. 25, 2009
Taking Care of Your Cows - Thursday, Jun. 25, 2009
Saint Joseph robs the cradle and eats spaghetti - Sunday, Jun. 14, 2009
sticky notes and broken irises - Friday, Jun. 12, 2009
The FOODCOMMANDER - Monday, Jun. 08, 2009

 

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