Holding Authors to Ransom

 

Why Vanity Publishers won’t touch ‘Finding Myself in China: A Politically Incorrect Story’ and Why I published it myself.

Originally I advertised on my website that I planned to publish my book ‘Finding Myself in China: A Politically Incorrect Story’ at the end of 2016, but I have had a lot of trouble with publishers.

There was a lot of back-and-forth emails in which they were doing everything in their power to get me to remove a substantial amount of my non-fiction story – which I refused to do. They called it libel and said that I could only publish the libel if I used a different pseudonym – presumably because nobody would know who the author is.

The problem was that they kept changing the goal posts. What they said would satisfy them the day before yesterday, got altered somewhat yesterday and I was very much aware of what ‘new conditions’ would be provided me tomorrow. They maintained that they would publish the material if I used a ‘fake’ pseudonym (that’s gotta be redundant) but hadn’t gotten around to the obvious and logical extension of that concept.

Logically, if I had to use a ‘fake pseudonym’ so that in no way could I be identified, then I would also have to remove all links in the book to my website. My website advertises my upcoming book ‘Finding Myself in China: A Politically Incorrect Story.” Obviously I could not then publish the book under that title.

Although they hadn’t gotten to it, it was obvious that they would eventually have demanded that I remove all links in the book and change the name of the book.

Was this constant game playing because they objected to the content of the book – or – was it that I upset them by saying that I had received complaints about them [the agency] and that I intended to write about my experience with them and then complained about some of the eccentricities of their [the American Publishing House] contractual process.

Perhaps it was neither of these two things. Perhaps they thought my book to be a bloody good story but that it might leave us open to a libel. Therefore, rather than just let the book go, they decided to manipulate me in small increments until they could publish it. (I don’t actually believe that. The publishing house legal rep in America was one cranky witch. After her second direct-to-me email, she switched to passing on her opinions through the publishing agent.)

Such stupid people really. If they read the book they would have known what my reaction to manipulation would be. The specified four chapters were precisely about this type of behavior, the action I took and the end results.

Had they been absolutely upfront, I would have devoted considerable time to weighing all my options and I probably would have deleted the four chapters to which they objected. But when people play games with me, when they are obviously conning me; when they are manipulating and controlling me – I DON’T COOPERATE.

In the end I don’t know whether they were playing games because the legal team had personal objections to the heavily Anti-Political Correctness nature of the book, or, they honestly felt that it was possible to talk me into all their malarkey.

They would not publish the book and nor would they reject it. (I do have a definitive statement in one email to the effect that they have never indicated that the book is rejected). Instead it appeared quite obvious that they wanted ‘me’ to demand that they cancel the contract, but I was already aware of benign looking sections of the contract from which one could infer that if I demanded cancellation of the contract for this book being refused publication – contract sections could potentially empower the publishers to carve the book up and pass it off in portions to various novelty publications.

On April 29th therefore I prepared and published an article on this page which revealed the content of a number of emails to and from that company indicating the constantly changing goal posts and the utter inanity of the situation. It was my intention to write a number of articles – all of them ‘libelous’ – if their game continued.

This morning however – April 30th – I received an email that informed me that they were refunding me my money. Here is the email I sent yesterday that appears to have prompted their quick decision to cancel the contract (although to be fair the email does not say that they cancelled the contract or waive any and all inherent, stated or implied rights to enforce any section of the contract after cancellation of said contract).

∼∼∼ Email content∼∼∼

If you find that the content of the book is libelous and therefore it cannot be published then you must continue the logical path of action and inform me that you are cancelling the contract and refunding me my monies. There is no dispute in this matter. Your suggestion that what is published under the name of R.P. BenDedek is libel but what is published under some other name is not libel is just too ridiculous. I will not use a different pseudonym and until you tell me how many instances of libel there are and provide advice as to what you want to see removed, then all your legal advice is just rubbish. This is a game your company is playing and probably because you don’t want all the Anti-political correctness chapters seeing the light of day.

So accept it or reject it. It is all true; a non-fictional account of my life in China.

Whether you are just the patsy for —- (company) or part of their deception I do not know.

What I do know is that you don’t know how to report the truth.

You stated:

The initial result of the content evaluation stated that there were potentially libelous statements found in your manuscript. A sample of these libelous statements was sent to you along with the options on how to proceed

You did not nor did ——company—— inform me what the libelous statements were. EVERYTHING you send me is ambiguous and designed for me to INFER your meaning – like your deception when you say ‘How do you want me to proceed?’

I have answered and answered that question. It is a manipulative question designed to elicit the required response as a prelude to economic piracy; deceptive and malicious economic activity designed to financially benefit your company at my expense.

If you are having difficulty understanding my English, then it is within my power to re-send you this email in [the person’s native language].

1. Your company’s demands are unreasonable.

You provide no advice as to what is libelous so that it can in fact be corrected.

2. You ask for court documents but do not specify what court documents you require or for what incident.

3. You ask for proof of a right to use material – but you do not specify what material you question my right to publish.

4. You refuse to publish the book and yet I quote “None of my emails stated that we rejected your manuscript.” You do not reject the book.

5. If you refuse to publish and refuse to reject it – then if must be inferred that you do so because your company does not have sufficient funds to follow through with the financial reimbursement if you choose to cancel the contract – or – you intend to hold me to ransom neither publishing the book nor giving me freedom to submit to another company.

6. Why would you hold me to ransom unless there was an ulterior motive? I must infer the answer from what I read in the contract. If the author cancels the contract then you have the right to publish the book for one year. Of course there is nothing contractually stated that entitles the author to any payment of royalties during that period. Now it must also be inferred that the book you would publish would not have the ‘libelous’ material in it, from which one must infer that the company will unilaterally alter the material content of the manuscript. It would stand to reason that if the manuscript was published with the libelous material, then the material was not in fact libelous. Of course one must conclude that before you could sell off parts of the book (a right contained in the contract) you would first have to publish the book and in order to avoid publishing it with the alleged libelous content and to avoid materially altering the manuscript you could in theory sell it for such a ridiculously high price that no one would buy it and so then the economic piracy would remain undiscovered.

I am sorry it has come to this.

It is a pity that none of you actually read the book, for you would have had a better understanding of me and known how I despise manipulative game players.

You refuse to publish the book and you refuse to reject the book thus holding me to ransom. So be it.

∼∼∼

Today – April 30th, 2016, upon being advised of the refund in progress, I sent the following email:

As I said from the beginning, I went with your company with the intention of writing about my experiences after receiving complaints about your company. I wanted to understand what the problems were, if any.  One man said so many crazy things that I just couldn’t believe him. Now I can well imagine how those things could be true.

I don’t know the exact relationship [your agency] has with [the American publishing house] but I do know that you have always been nice as well as professional. Although I found many problems in this [American Publishing company’s] contractual and publishing process, they were all related to [that] company actions – not you or [your agency]. It was quite plain throughout almost the entire time, that you were forwarding me information received from [the American publishing company].

I had and have no beef with any company’s rejection of my manuscript. It is their right!

Thank you for bearing with me and I do want to say that I never meant to put you in a difficult position as the ‘go-between.’

My obstinacy in refusing to apply for the cancellation of the contract was based solely in a need to secure the legal protection of my intellectual property rights.

My apologies for offences caused by me in aggressively attempting to secure that legal protection.

Have a great weekend.

Final Note: On July 4th 2016 the monies owed me less a very small amount of fees was transferred to my bank account. My dealings with Xlibris Books and Author Solutions is at an end.

Post Final Note:

  1. My book is now available as an e-book.
  2. In July 2016 I arranged to meet with an author in Australia and during the course of our discussions, I discovered that what I had read on the internet about the dealings of the self-publishing companies is true. It is possible for them to eventually get authors to part with up to $20,000 before books are actually published. What is worse is that this author didn’t know that if her books are purchased through online book stores like Amazon, or in real life bookstores, she loses 60% of her royalties. You have no idea how disgusting this industry is.

R.P. BenDedek
Email: rpbendedek@hotmail.com
R.P. BenDedek on Facebook

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