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Publisher Sues Author for Return of $550K Advance

Author Richard Ben Cramer

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Richard Ben Cramer

Scribes, I don’t know the details of this legal complaint between Hachette Book Group and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Richard Ben Cramer, or its veracity; just take it as a cautionary tale to meet your deadlines. According to The Smoking Gun, Hachette wants the $550,000 advance they gave Cramer back, saying Cramer has failed to deliver the Yankees/Alex Rodriguez-themed books they paid him for by the agreed-upon delivery date.

The Smoking Gun reports:

According to documents filed with the lawsuit, in September 2006, Cramer signed a $1.5 million, two-book deal with Warner Books, a Hachette subsidiary. Cramer’s first book, a contract notes, would take readers “inside the world of today’s New York Yankees and shows what makes them the best franchise in baseball history.” The contract included a $250,000 bonus provision if the hardcover edition of the Yankees book sold 200,000 copies within a year of its publication.

As part of that contract, Cramer has been paid $550,000, according to Hachette’s December 14 complaint. In an October 2009 agreement extending the due date for Cramer’s book, the publisher listed the work’s provisional title as “The Importance of Being Alex: A Life with the Yankees.”


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