I love New Zealand. It's beautiful and green, the people are welcoming and it's not all that far away. I didn't get a lot of time out and about, but hubs did. So here's some photos for you to enjoy!
So, I wrote a post on how I keep my rights information in one place. If you missed it, check it out here. But today I want to focus on the guts of asking for those rights back. Now, before I begin I have to add the following disclaimer:
I am not a solicitor/lawyer, and as such, all information shared below is general in nature only. I would suggest gaining legal assistance in the event that the matter requires it, but you must come to that understanding yourself.
Phew! Sorry about that, but I would hate someone to claim I was something that I'm not. I'm simply an author who has had in excess of 25 contracts and quite a few reverted successfully.
Now this is where it gets muddy. See, you need to read within your contract, the terms for the reversion. For me, the ones I looking for are something like this:
SECTION VIII: TERM OF CONTRACT
This contract shall be for a minimum initial period of three (3) years from the actual date of publication, with automatic monthly renewal after that. Date of publication is defined as the date the Work becomes available for sale on the Publisher’s website.
SECTION IX: TERMINATION OF CONTRACT
Publisher Termination: Publisher may terminate the contract at any time for reasons such as irreconcilable differences, Author’s failure to meet reasonable deadlines without notifying Publisher of a problem, or poor sales. Publisher shall give notice to Author of removal thirty (30) days prior to removal of the Work from distribution. Notice shall be in writing by certified mail or other receipted or traceable delivery service. When Publisher removes the Work from sale, this contract shall terminate and all rights granted shall revert to Author.
Author Termination: At any time after the initial contract period as stipulated in the Term of Contract, this contract may be terminated by Author with a sixty (60) day written, certified mail notice or other receipted or traceable delivery service, and all rights granted Publisher shall revert to Author at the time of the termination. Upon this termination, Publisher will remove listing of the Work from its website and all download-based distributors.
So read the information carefully. What are the reasons you can terminate your agreement? Now, I know a lot say that it's because of non-payment of royalties or other infringing actions of your publisher. I can't comment on that, but I would suggest if you're planning on asking for reversion on those grounds that you seek appropriate legal advice beforehand.
However, in the event that you wish to ask for the reversion of rights, the emails I've used in the past go like this:
Good evening XXX
I’m writing to request a formal reversion of the rights for
**Title Name** by **Pen Name (Real Name)**
I am in the process of tidying up my records/ contracts and believe this may now be reverted as per the Term of Contract (Insert Contract Clause) of the contract.
Could you please formally acknowledge the reversion so I can prepare it for re-publishing at your earliest convenience.
I have had one other time where I've had to be a little more forceful in my request. This one was a contentious one and required me to both email and mail by a tracked/signature on request format. I won't say which house, only that I never received the reversion letter, however I re-wrote this title and re-released it some time later as a novel.
Also emailed to:
I am now writing to formally request reversion of my rights to **Title #1 ISBN & Title#2 ISBN.**
Both works were published by **Publishing House** in **Date** under the pseudonym Imogene Nix, after contracts were signed in January ****.
On **Date**, I emailed your office requesting a rights reversion stating that I had only received ONE (1) royalty statement showing **period of royalty statement**. This covers the period up to and including April, May and June ****. Since then I have not received a royalty statement for THREE (3) consecutive royalty periods. Neither have I received any response to my request.
Each non-receipt of royalty statements constitutes a breach of the contact.
I feel I do not have any further option than to request this as clause IV subclause D which states that royalties shall be paid on a quarterly basis at the same time as statements are made available. I am further attaching details of the clauses that have been breached under this contract.
Part IV: Royalties
A. Royalties shall be paid quarterly from the time purchase price is remitted to Publisher in U.S. dollars. If work is an anthology with more than one Author, royalties will be divided equally between Authors. Royalties for e-books shall be 40% of download price. For sales between 301 to 500 royalties will be paid at 45%, and for e-book sales of over 501 copies sold royalties will be paid at 50%. That is off the web site sales not through other outlets that sell the ebooks. For books sold by other outlets, the royalty will be off sales received by the publisher from the distributor. If more than one Author royalties will be divided between them equally for the work supplied. If the amount of the royalty for this Work is less than twenty (20) dollars it may be held in trust until Author’s royalties have reached the minimum amount. Any withheld royalties shall be paid upon contract termination. Author agrees not to hold Publisher responsible for delays by postal service used. * Refer to Paragraph N above.
D. Royalty statements will be distributed to Author at the time royalties are paid. Payments may be made by physical check or electronic funds transfer such as PayPal. Also for international sales where funds need to be converted to funds other than US Dollars a company such as PayPal will be used to forward funds to Authors living outside the USA.
As I have previously contended no such royalty statements have been issued to myself. Given this, I am unable to determine if any sales or even zero sales have been made on these two titles, as I have no information/records received from **Publishing House Name** or any such body acting for and on their behalf.
Further, I have taken great pains to ensure that any and all known email addresses that you have previously corresponded are still available.
As such I am once more requesting a full reversion of my rights and a letter stating FULL reversion of these rights, for these works (**Title Name #1 & Title Name #2**) and will be taking all necessary steps to contact all vendors offering these works for sale, as of the 2nd July being 91 days from this letter being sent to you. This is in line with clause VII subclause B.
I believe I have acted in good faith during this contract and as such will be following the guidelines within the contact (Clause VII) to claim all rights back to this work.
Please be aware, that this correspondence now constitutes my NINETY (90) days of notification to request the reversion of my rights as laid out in the contract.
Writing as Imogene Nix
Now this particular letter is meant to push for an immediate reversion and was only issued AFTER I'd made every attempt to deal with the issue at hand. There was also ongoing action from other directions, of which I was not a part. This kind of letter is one that should only be used in exceptional circumstances and when there was no reversion forthcoming, I made requests to all platforms to remove my titles and sent copies of all correspondence, screen shots of the delivery of the letter and the returned signature on delivery acknowledgement to all sales locations.
One last thing, when you receive your reversion, scan it and keep it secure in a cloud as well as in printed format. You may need it at some point should you decide to self publish and need to prove your rights to the likes of Amazon and iTunes.