Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Non-fiction Requirements

OOPS! Where did the week go? The holiday messed up my schedule and I'm a couple of days late and dollars short. But, here goes on another requirement by publishers.

Little did I know when I wrote a non-fiction book that I might be required to pay for the museum permission to use art photographs. I discovered (for this publication) authors not only acquire and pay for permissions to use same, but, they also pay for the print run of said photos. It isn't horribly expensive but still a surprise.

I contacted the Amon Carter Museum about permission. However, being rather organized as I am, I found I jumped the gun. Amon Carter required the print run number and possible publication date. I emailed the editor. That's when she informed me to delay any museum contact until I received the returned, signed contract, even though the contract had a deadline and a request for permissions by that deadline. At least that is how I read it. I’d already received the museum contract but I tabled it until a later date. Signature and pre-payment were required.

In the meantime, Amon Carter explained that three of my painting requests were no longer their possessions. I knew about one after attending a retrospective of Russell's work at the Denver Art Museum (DAM). There was "The Hold Up" a major piece I used in my book. Credits claimed ownership by a local collector. I contacted a DAM docent friend from years past when I served as a DAM docent. She gave me the phone number of the collector because she knew his wife as an active member of the museum.

Imagine my excitement when he agreed to let me use the painting at no charge. He even sent me a print ready photo. In our discussion I named the other two paintings Amon Carter no longer owned. "I know the collector. I'll contact him." Now, a month later, I have print ready photos of all three paintings and permission to use at no charge from the generous collectors. Also permission to use one on the cover. Amon Carter charges an additional fee for cover usage.

I learned a lesson. I doubt there was any way to know my responsibilities in this situation beforehand. Perhaps, if I'd researched a little more, I might have discovered the expense. However, market guides don't include that information, a contract does. Next time I'll know what to expect and so will you!

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