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My book was published by Melrose Books, Ely, U.K., in 2008. It was not self-published/vanity published, though I did have to pay toward publication. It is only available online; but despite knowing the title and ISBN, even I have problems trying to find it.

Can I legally change the title, pen name, character and place names and send it to another publisher?

Also, since I own all copyrights, can I simply send the book unchanged to a different publisher?

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You had to pay to get your book published? How is that not vanity published? If you own the copyrights, you can do anything you want –  Shantnu Tiwari Jun 8 '13 at 17:05
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@ShantnuTiwari: Actually if he signed a contract, that can restrict what he is allowed to do even if he still owns the copyright. However, that he owns the copyright means that he can do all those things he didn't agree not to do by signing the contract. So the answers to his questions are in the contract he signed. –  celtschk Jun 8 '13 at 17:43
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I agree with @celtschk: We have no way of knowing the answer to this question. Your contract (or other agreement) with Melrose Books will have the answers. –  Neil Fein Jun 8 '13 at 18:42
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Also, don't try to hide the fact it was already published from the new publisher. That may backfire badly. –  SF. Jun 9 '13 at 22:05
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This review of the publisher concludes it is a vanity press. Having a flash-only website (especially in 2013) is also probably not a good sign for a book publisher. (This may partially account for the difficulty of finding the book. Flash-based content is difficult for search engines to index; the website likely does not provide a search-friendly version for 'robots'.) –  Paul A. Clayton Jun 10 '13 at 22:16

1 Answer 1

I usually insist on a few things in contracts. First, that they get first publication rights only so the rights revert back to me immediately after they publish it (or some reasonable time after, like six months). Unless there's a reason not to, I try to maintain all electronic rights. You can negotiate on contracts if you're persistent enough. The more publications you have, the more leverage you have.

Note that I've never published a book, just articles and short stories, so your mileage may vary. Read the contract carefully to determine what rights you signed away and which ones you retained.

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