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CopyWrong, Part 3

, , , , , | Right | November 13, 2022

My dad put me in touch with an old friend who’d just written a book, which needed some illustrations. Working with him was very casual so, because I was a naive college graduate, I didn’t make him sign a contract. The topic of copyrights didn’t come up at all until he brought me the first draft of the printed book. I was excited to see my name as the illustrator, but my name — and my copyright — was nowhere to be found.

Me: “I think you made a mistake here. It says you own the copyrights to my illustrations.”

Client: “Oh, no. I purchased the copyright when I paid you.”

Me: “No, you didn’t.”

Client: “Yes, I did. We talked about this.”

Me: “No, we didn’t. Ever.”

Client: “Oh. Well, it must have been because I was so sick recently. But they are mine, anyway.”

I argued with him for days that, as the artist, I maintained copyright privileges and that I just wanted the right to be able to display my work in my portfolio online, but he was paranoid about it. I think he thought that if people could see the pictures on my website, then no one would buy his book. Finally, we agreed that I would sign away the copyright on the condition that I could use the illustrations on social media to promote my work.

A week later, I get a threatening letter from a lawyer saying [Client] would sue me if he saw any of those illustrations on said social media. I didn’t have the money to try and see if I could call his bluff or if he really meant it, so I took everything down. I did over sixty drawings for that man, and my name and credit didn’t end up anywhere in the final printing.

Related:
CopyWrong, Part 2
CopyWrong

Why Bother Asking For Advice?

, , , , , , | Working | November 10, 2022

I was an individual contributor at a telephone directory publishing company. I was asked by our supervisor, along with a coworker, to sit in on job interviews to fill a position that would be our equal in the department.

There were three people interviewed. Two already worked for the company in a different department and would be great to work with. There was one girl — yes, “girl”; she was very young — who interviewed well.

However, my coworker and I saw right through her “act”. We both commented to our supervisor that she didn’t have enough experience to be considered. She also wouldn’t fit in well with the rest of the department.

Of course, the idiot supervisor hired her, and I was the one to train her. She never took notes, even though I suggested she should. I would give her tasks to complete to see if she was retaining what we went over. The task would not be done when I checked her progress.

I would complete it since it needed to be done in a timely manner. Then, I’d inform her I’d had to complete it since she hadn’t. Her excuse was always, “I was about to do the task, but you already did it.”

There were more issues that needed correction after she did do tasks. It was so aggravating to have to deal with her.

Then, she started coming in dressed in pajamas and slippers. She was told she needed to dress more appropriately.

Thankfully, she and the supervisor were both laid off during a reduction in force.

Bad At Writing, Worse With Numbers

, , , | Right | October 20, 2022

Our client has been hiring us for several years to type her books for her. (They are awful stories and never get published, so she has to pay a vanity publisher.) When we send her draft manuscripts, she usually makes handwritten alterations before sending them back. However, today’s call was the best.

Client: “Thank you for the copy of the book, but I’m in a terrible mess. I’ve made lots of alterations, but the pages are now out of order and I don’t know which pages should go where.”

Me: “Have you made the alterations to the manuscript we provided to you?”

Client: “Yes.”

Me: “Well, it has page numbers.”

Client: “Yes, but I don’t know which page numbers should go where.”

Me: “Okay, which is the first page you’re not sure of?”

Client: “Page twenty-nine.”

Me: “Okay, can you find pages twenty-eight and thirty?”

I hear a few seconds of shuffling paper.

Client: “Yes.”

Me: “Page twenty-nine goes between twenty-eight and thirty.”

Client: “Are you sure?”

Is This Book About Image Theft?

, , , , | Right | July 31, 2022

I work at a publishing house and started working on a new project where the author wanted fifty images in his book. I sent him an email asking for the image files, and he called me back.

Client: “So, you’ve asked that I send you the images at 300dpi and all these other requirements that I don’t understand. Didn’t you get the file I sent you?”

The file he sent me was a .DOC with the images pasted there.

Me: “I did, thank you, but I need the image files themselves.”

Client: “I don’t have them. Just Google!”

Me: “What about the image permissions?”

Client: “Well, in a perfect world, this book would be on the New York Times bestseller list and everyone would read it, but that’s not going to happen, so I don’t think anyone will notice.”

Me: “But stealing images and hoping no one notices won’t work except in a perfect world.”

Client: “Okay, so you’ll do that.”

I ended up reverse-searching all of the images from his .DOC file and chasing down permissions for a week, none of which was in my job description.

A Bad Client In So Many Ways You Could Write A Book

, , , , , , , | Right | May 16, 2022

I am contacted by a potential new client looking to rebrand their book series. It sounds like a great project, plus the client is actually a small publisher rather than the indie author and that’s always nice to add to a resumé, so I take the job.

The actual design process goes well. I get the proofs done quickly, get them approved easily, and start polishing up the final design.

This is where the trouble starts. First, the breaks between responses get longer and longer. I can’t get answers to questions or approval for drafts for up to two weeks at a time.

Then, I suddenly get a response from a new person who says they’re taking over for my original contact. Okay, cool. I don’t need to know the inner workings of their company.

The new person is even worse about responding in time but puts it off on the author, saying that they’re waiting to hear back from the author about some details about color and image choices. At this point, I’ve filed this client away as “not the best, but I’m loving the project, so whatever.”

At one point, I don’t hear from them for eight weeks. My follow-up email goes unanswered. My second follow-up email also goes unanswered.

Finally, they reply with a one-sentence approval. I finish the project and send the final proof and an invoice. This is at the end of September. October passes. November passes. December arrives. I send a final follow-up and then decide to heck with it. They have my information, and they don’t have the files, so I’m going to enjoy my holidays in peace.

Come January, I decide to do a little investigating (just making sure they haven’t tried to use one of the watermarked proofs as an actual cover) and find that the domain for the company is no longer active. Their email addresses are linked to that domain, so now I’m concerned that no one has even been receiving my emails.

The company is an imprint of a larger publishing house, which lists my first contact as one of their staff members, so I reach out to her through an alternate email.

Two days later, I get an email from the marketing department coordinator of the imprint, very condescendingly informing me that she’s the person I should be speaking with and sending my invoices to.

Cool. Fine. I’ve never heard of you before in my life and you are neither of the people I’ve interacted with but… fine. Here’s your invoice and the final proof again. Approve it, pay me, and I’ll send you your files.

I finally get paid and I send the files.

Two weeks later, I get another email from my original contact… asking for the files. Insert banging head on wall here. Apparently, no one at this company talks to anyone else.

They need an e-book and paperback. We’ve discussed this, and I sent a JPG of the front cover for the e-book and a PDF of the full cover for the paperback. But there are different print-on-demand (POD) services, and I now learn that they need files for two different ones. This was not previously agreed on, but it’s a pretty simple matter of just inserting the design into a different print template, so I just do it and don’t argue.

Then, they tell me, “Oh, sorry, when we said we wanted [POD company #2], we actually meant its subsidiary company, [POD company #3].”

They use exactly the same templates because they use the same physical machines but okay, here is the same file; it just now has [POD company #3]’s logo on it, instead.

The client complains that they don’t want a version that has all the “extra” bleed room and markings that the template uses, and I explain that this is how [POD #2 and #3] require their files to be submitted. At this point, they have four different files, three of which are full paperback covers; one of them should work.

I hear nothing for almost two months.

At 2:00 am one night, I get an email that says, “I don’t want to be a pain, but you’ve given us PDF versions in the past. Can we please get that for this project? This is how we’ve always submitted our files and we want to keep doing it this way.”

…the files you have are PDFs! The original file without the large template I sent was a PDF!

This is the first time I’ve ever worked with your company. I don’t think anyone cares how you’ve “always” done it. If you don’t submit the files correctly, they won’t accept them. Period. But you have all the potentially workable files you might need. This is no longer my problem.

I send an email saying, “Dear Client: On [date], I sent you a PDF of the cover without any excess bleed or margins. If [POD #3] is going to accept the files that way, they should accept that one, as it’s the exact same thing as what’s on the proper templates, just without the appropriate layout.”

That was three weeks ago. I have not heard back from them. They wanted me to do this author’s entire series, but after this escapade, I am firing them as a client and will not be working with them again. Even if I charged twice my rates, it’s not worth it.