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Beware Book-signing Attendees Bearing Manuscripts

An excerpt from columnist Steve Lopez in today's Los Angeles Times: 

"A woman had come to a book signing of mine last year and insisted that I look at some of her decades-old stories and photos to see if they could be published. I later FedExed them back, but she claimed hey never arrived and wanted $5,000 from me."

She sued. He won.

Still, something to think about, huh? Here's the whole column: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-lopez18-2009jan18,0,4615012.column

Comments
6 Comment count
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Only the legal eagles win.

June,
He won, but I'm betting he ended up paying his own attorney fees. (So he lost!)

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And ...

... either way he lost at least half a day having to haul himself to court.  He handled it better than I would have.

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Interesting

I thought it equally interesting that Steve Lopez was more interested in how the judge handled the caseload than his own problem. A good article, thanks for pointing it out. It has also escaped me why people think if you have a book published you should be able to get theirs written, edited and published as a favor. Interesting this human nature thing huh?

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Good point

I hadn't really stopped to appreciate that he took the focus off himself. Perhaps there is in that a good lesson in how the pros do business.

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In Advance of Their Advance

When asked to look at manuscripts be advised to ask immediately for the payment of $20 per page and $50 to cover postage and handling.

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I wonder ...

... how many times he said "no" before she strong-armed him into agreeing to look at the pages. What did the woman honestly believe that Lopez would do for her that an e-mail to an agent couldn't have done? Was she looking for an editor/teacher/mentor -- someone who could coach her to a state of publishibility? How rude to ask so much of a stranger and to ask insistently.