Book Publisher Goes To Court To Recoup Hefty Advances–But Not From RPCV Writers!

A New York publisher this week filed lawsuits against several prominent writers who failed to deliver books for which they received hefty contractual advances, records show.

The Penguin Group’s New York State Supreme Court breach of contract/unjust enrichment complaints include copies of book contracts signed by the respective defendants.

The publisher is seeking repayments from:

* “Prozac Nation” author Elizabeth Wurtzel, who signed a $100,000 deal in 2003 to write “a book for teenagers to help them cope with depression.” Penguin wants Wurtzel, seen at right, to return her $33,000 advance (and at least $7500 in interest).ewurtzel

* Blogger Ana Marie Cox, who signed in 2006 to author a “humorous examination of the next generation of political activists,” is being dunned for her $81,250 advance (and at least $50,000 in interest). Her Penguin contract totaled $325,000.

* Rebecca Mead, a staff writer at The New Yorker, owes $20,000 (and at least $2000 in interest), according to Penguin, which struck a $50,000 deal in 2003 for “a collection of the author’s journalism.”

* Holocaust survivor Herman Rosenblat was signed for $40,000 in 2008 to describe how he “survived a concentration camp because of a young girl who snuck him food. 17 years later the two met on a blind date and have been together ever since, married 50 years.” While Rosenblat’s story was hailed by Oprah Winfrey as the “single greatest love story” she had told on the air, it turned out to be a faabrication. Penguin wants him to repay a $30,000 advance (and at least $10,000 in interest).

* “Hip-Hop Minister” Conrad Tillard signed an $85,000 Penguin contract in 2005 for a memoir about his “epic journey from the Ivy League to the Nation of Islam,” and his subsequent falling out with Louis Farrakhan. The publishing house’s lawsuit is seeking the repayment of about $38,000 from Tillard.

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http://www.thesmokinggun.com/buster/penguin-group/book-publisher-sues-over-advances-657390

3 Comments

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  • OMG! Are there no good, genteel scams left? I mean when Aunt Tilly would spot you no more money, you could always count on your publisher for a little cash advance to tide you over. Of course you has to write a clever book proposal, but gosh no one actually expected you to deliver. What’s the world coming to? You probably can no longer sign for lunch at the Algonquin.

  • There are thousands of writers with books already finished who can’t get any major house, certainly not Penguin Group, to even look at their MS. Yet these publishers are willing to throw away thousands on promised books they haven’t even seen. What’s wrong with this picture?

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