From author Tim Marquitz:
While I loathe to make my arguments public, the unwillingness of Damnation Books to act like reasonable adults has forced me to take this step, the next being legal action. I want everyone to know how Damnation Books treats authors who want to leave their house.
On April 9, 2012, I sent a certified/registered termination letter to Damnation Books (received by Damnation Books on April 14, 2012) requesting the release of all rights they held regarding my works: Armageddon Bound, Resurrection, At the Gates, Skulls, The Long Road, and the Temple of the Dead.
On May 11,2012, I received a certified letter in response to my request, summarily rejecting my request.
. . . .
In the specific case of Armageddon Bound (on a different contract than the rest of my works), this response is in
direction violation of the contract tenn listed below.
Either party may terminate this contract for any reason with ninety (90) days written notice, sent registered mail to the current address of the Publisher. Upon termination of this contract, all rights return to the author .
. . . .
Further still, on May 8, 2012 (received by Damnation Books per USPS Delivery Confinnation on May 11, 2012), I sent $200 as payment in full of the minimum, ear1y termination fees listed in the contracts for Resurrection, At the Gates, Skulls, and the Temple of the Dead: $50 for each.
Once a work has gone Into editing and forward and the Author wishes to terminate this contract prematurely, a penally shall be charged to the Author to cover costs of staff and artists for work already performed. This fee shall be at a minimum of $50.00 to a maximum of $1000.00 to be determined by the time spent on preparing the work for publication and money recovered from sales of the work.
Link to the rest at The Dark Fantastic and thanks to Bridget for the tip.
Passive Guy hasn’t reviewed any of the contracts involved here, so he can’t give any opinions about whether the quoted portions of the contract are or are not affected by any other portions of those contracts.
However, he has observed that something about the publishing business seems to attract controlling personalities. While PG has witnessed it at all levels of publishing, it seems to be more common with some small presses.
One of the owners or managers of the publisher decides he/she is in control and authors need to be taught a lesson about the power relationships. The dinkier the press and smaller the sales of the book, the more jerkish some publishers seem to be.
Once more, PG advises any author considering a contract with a publisher to check the publisher out before signing anything. He entered: “damnation books warning” into Google and found several complaints by authors. PG’s not going to blame the victim here but, while some small presses are wonderful, others are horrors and authors need to investigate carefully.