What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? AMERICAN PIE by Don McLean
For professional advice. Having been an agent for 8+ years, I’ve certainly dealt with interesting events in publishing. Bankruptcy is just one of them.
A couple of years ago, an independent sports publisher filed for bankruptcy to re-organize. One of the first books I sold in my agency’s infancy was impacted.
What I learned? Most publishing contracts have bankruptcy clauses and ALL of them are useless. If a company files for bankruptcy, even if your contract stipulates that rights revert automatically, the bankruptcy court sees it differently and the rights can be tied up—sometimes for years.
Luckily for my author, I was able to negotiate the rights back with the help of my IP attorney and another attorney specializing in bankruptcy.
Sometimes it pays to pay for a professional assistance when it comes to specialized events like the one I describe above. If you’re an author facing similar and going it alone (sans agent), don’t ask friends or google the web. Get the facts. And in a lot of cases, it’s information only an expert can provide so you might want to consider it.