Sunday, April 08, 2012

Book Authors: Hold on to Your Rights

Guest post by Don Hendon

Pelican, a publisher based in Gretna, Louisiana, is a family-owned business. The head is a retired medical doctor, Milburn Calhoun, in his middle 80s. Pelican specializes in regional books (Louisiana and the south) and cookbooks. Occasionally, they publish a mass-market book.

365 Powerful Ways to InfluenceIn early 2010, Pelican refused to give an extra 5% discount to big-box chains such as Wal-Mart, Costco, and Sam’s Club. As a result, those chains don’t carry Pelican’s books—with a few exceptions. In February 2010, Pelican released my book, 365 Powerful Ways to Influence. Sales were very low because buyers at the big box chains refused to handle it.

In late 2011, I found a notation on my royalty check indicating Pelican had sold the rights to my book to a publisher in India. I asked Pelican to tell me the name of the publisher, as specified in our contract. I told them I was going to India in late 2011 to give seminars and would like to work with the local publisher. (Note: I have given several thousand seminars in 36 nations on 6 continents.)

Pelican refused to give me this information, and they refused to give me copies of this book. Both actions were violations of our contract. I eventually found the name of the Indian publisher through an Internet search. I had to buy copies of the Indian edition of my book from online bookstores in India. In the meantime, I search the Internet to see if my 365 Powerful Ways book has been published in other nations.

Two of my other books have been published in several nations, and my original publishers have given me complete information, royalties, and copies of translated books. These books are:
Classic Failures in Product Marketing (Quorum, 1989). 5 foreign versions: Singapore (Toppan, 1990), Japan (Dobunken Shuppan, 1993), Malaysia (Hardknocks Factory, 2001), Thailand (A. R. Business Press), and Indonesia (Elex Media Komputindo, 2003). Plus a paperback version in the US (NTC Business Books, 1992)
How to Negotiate Worldwide (Gower, a UK company, 1989). 7 foreign versions: United States (Wiley, 1990), Norway (Dagens Naeringsliv Forlag, 1990), Italy (Franco Angeli, 1991), Taiwan (Commonwealth Publishing, 1992), Indonesia (Binarupa Aksara, 1993), Sweden (Richters Forlag AB, 1996), and Mexico (Editorial Lumusa / Grupo Noriega Editores, 2006)
I learned my lesson. I have retained the foreign rights to my latest book, Guerrilla Deal-Making, co-authored by Jay Conrad Levinson, the famous guerrilla marketing guru. It will be in bookstores in the late fall of 2012. It won’t be published by Pelican.

Please contact me if you have any comments. I’m at Web:
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