Return of Advance

Termination a Book Contract

What happens if your publisher decides not to publish your book even though you have a signed contract and an agreement to publish within eighteen months? Do you have any say in this decision, or is it out of your hands?  You can't sell your book to another publisher until your current publisher releases you from your contract and reverts the rights to you. 

There are four reasons why a publisher may decide against publishing your book.

1. You fail to deliver your manuscript or artwork. The publisher then has the right to cancel your contract and ask for a return of your advance (or any sums paid to you) on the book. 

In this situation, expect a letter from your publisher requesting the full return of your advance immediately. They have six years during which to recoup these monies from you.

2. You fail to deliver a complete and satisfactory manuscript or complete and satisfactory artwork. If this happens, you should request a detailed list of reasons why your book is unsatisfactory and attempt to fix the book or artwork to meet the publisher's requested changes. If this is impossible, you can expect a cancellation letter and the publisher's request to return the advance (or any other sums paid to you). It is recommended that you work out a repayment plan to return the money in order to get the rights to your book back.  Once the rights have reverted to you, you can work on the book and try to sell it to another publisher. Without the rights returned to you in writing, you don't have the right to sell it or republish it as a self-published book.