Books May Be MIA for a Few Weeks

One of the idiosyncrasies of the reversion of rights process is the legal requirement that the publisher getting the books can’t re-release them until they have a copy of the letter. The reason is that the author doesn’t have the rights to the “works,” the legal term used to describe the published manuscript to give them to a different publisher. You can’t have two publishers of the same book so it is a three step process. Step one, the current publisher gives the reversion of rights letter to the author. Step two, the author gives the rights, via a contract to a new publisher. Step three, the publisher converts the manuscript into a book under its imprint with a new ISBN number. In short, any work the publisher does before he gets the letter is at his (and the author’s) legal and financial risk.

What this leads to is a gap in book availability. Right now, Penmore is hoping to have all three – Cherubs 2, Big Mother 40 and Render Harmless – available by the middle of this month. I’d have preferred it to be a different time of year, but getting my rights back was more important than the calendar.

To get ready, I did several things. One was to find the last version of the manuscripts used to create the book blocks, go through them again and make changes, if desired.

Two, have new covers designed. Reason I went down this road is that now I own the cover artwork so if I have to go through this process again, new covers won’t be needed unless I want to have them re-done.

By the way, the new covers are major improvements over the old ones and give five of the six books in the series the same look and feel. The images and colors are vibrant and eye catching. Much more so than the originals. The cover of Forgotten is the outlier. It has a cover with a haunting image that I love and don’t want to change.

Three, negotiate the new publishing contracts. While again, they couldn’t be signed before I had the rights to the books, we could get them ready to sign and in the process, I incorporated all the lessons learned from the reversion of rights process in the new documents.

For a awhile, I considered self-publishing them but decided against it for two reasons. One was cost – the firms that help with self-publishing looked at what needed to be done as if they were brand new books. The other was I don’t want to get in to the publishing business. I’m an author, not a publisher.

The ball is now in Penmore Press’s court. My part is almost done because before they re-released, I have to sign off on the actual book block. That should happen toward the end of the week. All that is left is the waiting, and it is hard.

Marc Liebman

December 2017

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