When I submit a batch of ideas, may I also include a sentence in my intro
that says: "If I do not hear back from you in 3 months, I will
assume you are not interested in these ideas."? Then, I would
feel free to submit those ideas to a new company.
Yes, you can include such a sentence to basically "cover"
yourself, but it's no guarantee that the company will follow your edict.
Before submitting these same ideas to a new company, I suggest e-mailing
or phoning the original editor just to be sure. People get sick,
they take vacations, work piles up...you'd hate to be in the unenviable
position of sending out the same ideas to a different company and then
have a check arrive from the first company a few days later.
The company I have been working with owes me quite a bit of money. I
know the basics of copyright law & I know enough that 30+ of my cards
are out there in print-yet I have not seen a dime. Any
Greeting Card Writer:
I have several suggestions. First, call, e-mail or fax (or do all
3!) on a regular basis. Keep records of all your communications with
the company and its replies to you. Try to work out some sort of
weekly payment plan, especially if the company is in financial trouble.
Your goal, of course, is to get all your money-not an eventual 10 cents on
the dollar. Second, if you've seen your cards in print on the rack,
be sure and buy several copies of each, in case you need proof later on
that they were indeed published. These cards should be kept together
with any original purchase letter or purchase order showing that the
company bought these verses from you. Also, document where and when
you purchased "your" cards.
Finally, by now you've probably realized never have a company owe you for
that many greeting card verses. Every writer should have her own
little red flag come up when a certain number of verses have been
"purchased," yet not paid for. My advice is if you've
"sold" 5 or 6 verses, yet have not seen any payment, it's time
to put the brakes on in sending additional ideas. While this rule of
thumb won't help you this go 'round, it should serve in the future so you
don't find yourself in this situation again.