Reality Check Stealing Stories

8 Fabulous Writing Conferences in February 2022

64 Writing Contests in February 2022 - No entry fees

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Paul Whybrow

Full Member
Jun 20, 2015
Cornwall, UK
All of us have occasionally worried about someone stealing our ideas or even entire manuscripts—and worse, them having greater sales than us—because they’re more clued up commercially.

But, what if it’s your literary agent that’s the thief?

Iowa romance novelist sues over efforts to have ghostwriter take over series

Thoughts please @AgentPete

Interesting case. Clearly, there was more going on than a simple client/agent relationship.
Clark alleges that in late 2018, she entered into an agreement with Grishman for him to act as her literary agent and represent her in negotiations with prospective publishers. Within a month, Clark signed with Pink Sand Press, where Grishman is operations manager
OK, so that's unusual, for a start. Potentially open to self-dealing.
In March 2020, as editing continued on the fourth book in the series, Grishman allegedly informed Clark by phone that Pink Sand would be buying out the remaining two books in the Women of Hearts series and hiring a ghostwriter to pen them. Grishman allegedly told Clark she had no say in the matter because of a clause in her publishing agreement that allowed Pink Sand to use a ghostwriter working under Clark’s name.
There’s often a standard contractual clause allowing the publisher to have the work completed if the author can’t e.g. by disability or death. But this seems to go beyond that.
The lawsuit claims there is no such clause in the contract
Er, there either is or isn't, pretty easy one
Pink Sand made extensive developmental edits to the fourth Women of Hearts novel, “Secret Hearts,” and then told Clark she was in default on the publishing agreement and would not be receiving royalties until the parties came to an agreement to end their publishing agreement.
Sounds like they may be claiming that the work as submitted was not up to the standard required. Even so, there ought to be have a procedure under the contract, together with timeframe, for remedies.
Clark’s lawsuit accuses Grishman and Pink Sand of fraudulent concealment, breach of fiduciary duty and breach of contract
Pretty much what I'd expect from the account given.
claiming Grishman steered her into a publishing agreement with a company that employed him, took a 15% commission, and then failed to disclose his family ties with Pink Sand
The family ties thing is a bit weak. But what were the other publishing options? Did the agent actually market the property at all – were there any other offers? If not, then it could be argued that this was the only game in town.

Agents can, and do, make more money than the client sometimes, largely through inserting themselves profitably into the deal. I know of one agency that regularly stipulates it should be co-producer on any of their clients TV projects. Big can of worms, especially if the client is rather naive, not kept fully informed and no explicit permission is given.
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8 Fabulous Writing Conferences in February 2022

64 Writing Contests in February 2022 - No entry fees