Getting Help With Grievances

If you haven’t been paid for your work, your publisher said one thing and did another, or your story was turned into a video game and you haven’t seen a dime, the Grievance and Contracts Division is here to help. We’ve won over $1.5 million for members since we started keeping records.

But before you email us to request help by clicking here, ask the bad guys to fix the situation first. Maybe they forgot to input your $1,500 per video game royalty into their system. Maybe they’re behind on their bills, and are only paying the writers who bug them. So bug them.

If that doesn’t work—and often it does—contact us and we’ll pair you with a grievance officer (GO); the two of you will work together on a demand letter, and threaten to file a formal complaint if you aren’t paid X dollars by Y date. That often works, too. If you still haven’t gotten satisfaction, the next step is for the GO to bug the bad guy.

To clarify, GOs aren’t lawyers, and can’t take legal action. But they do have extensive experience in dealing with publishing matters. If you’re upset because your publisher used a blue cover when they promised you a yellow one, your GO will be on your side in the fight. GOs can’t force a publisher to print your work, but once it’s printed they can insist you be paid for it.

Many members have successfully negotiated their own cases after consulting with GOs. In addition to being incredibly resourceful, they bring a perspective that you don’t have because you—understandably—are furious. Also, they’ve seen a lot of grievances and know what’s worked in the past. Where GOs have intervened directly, they’ve had remarkable success because it’s easier for third parties to demand money for you than it is for you to do it yourself. And you can’t beat the price.

Barbara Mende is coordinator of the Grievance and Contract Division