I signed a contract with an indie publisher who agreed to publish my novels and pay me royalties. The contract was for 2 books with first choice on publishing a third. I published three books for this author. My mistake and ignorance led to me signing this contract with incorporating a "get my rights back" date. As of January 2016, this publisher has not paid me any royalties and blatantly ignores any questions I ask in reference to them. She responds to other portions of the questions I ask, but not any pertaining to royalties. Side note, I'm in the US army and when I originally signed this contract I was deployed to Honduras.
You may need to file a lawsuit for breach of contract. Best to have a commercial litigation lawyer review your contract and discuss the matter with you. Many lawyers offer an initial free consultation, but even if you have to pay for an hour or two of time, that may be money well spent if you can learn more about your rights and options.
Posts on this forum are intended for educational and information purposes only and do not create an attorney client relationship. The answers posted should not be treated as legal advice. The posts are intended to be accurate but are based on incomplete information and may be truncated for expediency or to avoid disclosing confidential advice on a public forum. They are not a substitute for speaking directly with an attorney in your area. Mr. Thayer is licensed in Washington state only and laws in your jurisdiction may vary.
I agree you should consult a lawyer. You need a commercial or intellectual property litigator who is familiar with publishing and royalty issues. It may be that to get this sorted out, the best initial step will be to have a lawyer write to her and demand an accounting and full payment of royalties. A lawyer is more likely to get her attention than you are. If she responds, then you may be able to work this out without having to go to court. You can find people under the Find a Lawyer tab. You should look for someone in her location, as that will be more of concern to her than someone in another state.
Please note: This answer is not intended and should not be considered as legal advice. Such professional advice requires full disclosure to an attorney of a client’s circumstances and that attorney’s opportunity to analyze those circumstances against applicable law.
A contract is a two-way bargain. One side agrees to do “A”, in exchange for the other contracting party doing “B”. It sounds like you have fulfilled your part of the bargain, while the other side has not. You need to refer to the contract itself to see how it defines a breach and what remedies are provided for it. Many contracts have an arbitration clause, which require disputes to be submitted to arbitration, rather than the courts. If your contract does have such a clause then you can trigger it by making a demand. If your contract does not have an arbitration clause, then you are free to file a complaint for breach of contract in court. However, that can be expensive. I suggest that you consult with an Entertainment Law litigation attorney and ask that he/she start by sending a demand letter to the publisher. That may get her attention and resolve the issue. Otherwise, you have to resort to legal options. Good Luck
Years licensed, work experience, educationLegal community recognition
Peer endorsements, associations, awardsLegal thought leadership
Publications, speaking engagementsDiscipline