A hugely successful Children’s writer, Cornelia Funke, recently dropped publisher Little, Brown, citing editorial differences.
Her publishing-house editors wanted her to gear her stories more toward a YA audience. She believed this change would eliminate much of her established Middle Grade readership. Ms. Funke refused and plans to publish her books via her personal imprint. I’ve predicted for some time that more name authors will do this.
In fairness to Little, Brown, Ms. Funke might not have needed much of an excuse to opt out. She’s had her private imprint up and running for some time. Hence, she could have been waiting for just the right opportunity to go out on her own.
Regardless, what’s also significant about this entire scenario is that Ms. Funke was able to get the rights back to her books. Subscribers to my Newsletter will recall that I just discussed rights to perpetuity and other authors’ issues in recent Newsletters.
If this author didn’t have opt-out language in her contract, she would have been left with either acquiescing to the publisher’s demands or discontinuing writing her series. Neither of which I believe are very pleasant options.