As many of you know my first novel was published about a year ago. The publisher was a small imprint and as with many small houses these days they were going through some difficult times. Nontheless, I was elated to be published at first.
The first sign of trouble was a delay of one year from the expected production date. Then, came a notice that the company might go under and a request that authors pay for the first thousand or so books if they wanted them published (I didn't do this and asked for my rights to be returned. I was refused and told that the note wasn't meant to go to me). After this, when the book was finally released electronically, there were glitches like the version sent to Barnes and Nobles had no cover, but these were small things.
With some of your help and a bunch of my own elbow grease, I managed to push the book for a short time into the top fifty of Amazon's best sellers. Then I noticed that neither my agent or I got our promised quarterly reports. Through my NPR contacts I got the promise to be interviewed for All Things Considered and a few other major shows. I even got some folks on CNN to agree to interview me. The only thing I had to do was get them a book or a galley. The publisher failed to do so.
Well, I didn't get my first quarterly report, nor my second, nor my third. I also never seemed to get a royalty check. My agent did get some sob stories about business hurting and Amazon being slow on payments. Still, we couldn't get movements nor the rights to the book back.
It's been a long simmer since. Today, the publisher finally made the wrong move. He announced that he's going to an all ebook model. Well, that broke the contract. I was published a run of 5,000 books and a hundred author copies.
Today, I got the rights back. I'm back to square one. I'm not whole, but I am a little relieved. The question is whether I should get a lawyer and try to get back what I'm owed. The problem with that is that it would probably cost more than I'd get back.
Ah well, at least he no longer has right of first refusal on new works!