I'm posting this here and on my E.M. Tippetts website. My temper's grown rather short. In the past I've always been careful to keep any issues between me and my publisher, Covenant, private, but matters have remained poor long enough that I may as well just make it public and hope other aspiring writers can learn from the experience.
My novel, Time and Eternity, was picked up by Covenant over two years ago and came out last June. It took months to negotiate that contract and most of that time was taken up by the person I was negotiating with not bothering to respond to my emails. We developed a regular pattern where he'd email me, I'd respond, wait several weeks, then ask my editor what was going on. Only then would I get a response. Through this long and laborious process we agreed that I would keep certain rights, including my copyright and film rights.
When I finally got the revised contract, it still said that they got the copyright. I x-ed this out and initialed the change, signed it, and sent it in. Soon thereafter I got my copy back and Covenant had also initialed that change.
I later noticed that the film rights phrase had only been deleted in one place and still appeared in another, so when I got my contract addendum for my most recent book, I sent it and the original contract in with the second mention of film rights x-ed out. This time I got a phone call from Covenant claiming that I couldn't keep film rights without renegotiating the royalties provision. I told the person that I still had the email from them which said I got film rights. The person told me to send that in, so I did.
It's been several months. I didn't hassle with this sooner because I was having a baby and getting my house ready to sell and had my husband recovering from surgery etc. etc. etc. I emailed my editor, who said she didn't know why the contract hadn't been finalized and she'd been wondering about that. This makes two of us. I've emailed the contract person at Covenant again, but you know? This shouldn't be necessary.
Covenant should send the contract to me with the initialed change, or if they want to argue and claim that I don't get film rights, they should get cracking on that. Send me an email or a phone call to that effect. Not bothering to respond is unprofessional.
Now, don't get me wrong. I know my place in the publishing world. I'm not being a diva and asking for monthly mailings of M&M's with certain colors taken out. But the small press tradition of trying to grab all rights is tiresome, and no seasoned author signs that contract. I may only make a few thousand for the company with my books, but that doesn't mean that I don't merit an email reply when I ask to get my contract corrected as per already negotiated terms.
So come on, Covenant. Surprise me. Get this resolved in a timely manner - oh wait, you're way too late for that. Howabout get it resolved within the next week? Just, stop making me work so hard to get a scrawled set of initials next to a line out WHEN WE'VE ALREADY AGREED ON SAID LINE OUT.
Okay, rant over. I don't plan to discuss this kind of thing on my blog in the future, unless matters get worse.