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Can my publisher sue me for refusing to finish a book?

Park City, UT |

I have refused to finish the work after the publisher rejected the initial manuscript, asking for extensive rewrites. According to the contract I have 30 days to accomplish this. The problem is that I refuse to continue to work with them due to personal reasons and the fact that a convicted felon (fraud) has been brought on board. It's a small publisher and they have pubished a previous work by me under the same contract, and I have another contract with them for other works that have already been accepted. They have sent me a notice of default, indicating that they will pursue any and all means of recovering their investment in the project if I don't complete the work. I was not paid an advance, so the investment they refer to includes artwork, marketing, etc.

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Attorney answers 2


It sounds like your relationship with the publisher has broken down. Has the publisher paid you? Have you provided what was agreed to be provided? If not, then you might have some problems. But if you have provided what was required and the issue is just in the future, then it is not such a simple answer....but you would be in a better legal position if this were the case.

Sorry, but it depends on the circumstances. Give me a call if you want to hash over things. My wife is an active writer and I have seen some of the difficulties of the business. Or you can wait to see if you actually get sued, then decide what to do. Or you can seek legal advice at a free resource --

Good luck.

This answer or response should not be considered legal advice, and does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you have further questions, I would be glad to discuss your situation further. I can be reached at US - (801) 746-6300, or online at --


Alot of the answer will depend on the contract. Who gwts editorial control? If you do, tell them the work is done. If they do, you will probably have to go along unless you can show they have breached the contract. It is time to hire a lawyer.

This is not legal advice. Even if it were, fee legal advice is worth what you pay for it. The facts of every case are different and should be addressed by a competent attorney who has all of the facts.

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