How to Lose a Publisher but Keep Your Advance

Ultimately, Wong and Doubleday Canada agreed to part ways, with Wong receiving her full advance – which she describes as “not a trivial amount” – and rights to sell the edited manuscript elsewhere. Initially, the publisher insisted she sign a confidentiality agreement, but having been gagged throughout her legal proceedings with the Globe, Wong adamantly refused. In fact, she was already envisioning a new epilogue for the book, in which her former publisher would undergo the same criticism as the Globe.

“I told them, ‘You know what, you should just pay me – make this short – because the longer it takes, the longer the epilogue will be,’” she says. “And I wasn’t kidding.” In the end, Doubleday Canada dropped the confidentiality clause. (Wong did write that epilogue, but kept it to a brief four pages.)

Quill and Quire relays the story of how Jan Wong’s publisher, Doubleday Canada, dropped her book about being fired by the Globe and Mail for … being about the Globe and Mail. But: She negotiated to keep her full advance and rights to publish her book, Out of the Blue: A Memoir of Workplace Depression, Recovery, Redemption and, Yes, Happiness. It would have been her fifth with the publisher, but now is her first as a self-publisher. Wong is a hustler. We should all be hustlers. Respect.


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