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Working With Publishers

Will my publisher be offended if I take a character to another house after they rejected a book about that character?
Q: I am an artist/designer whose first two picture books are being published this spring. When I first submitted the dummy for the books, I also included another about a different character. The publisher returned the book dummy about the second character, and there is no option clause in my contract for the other books. I’m interested in finding a publishing home for this new character, but do not want to offend my publisher. Is it ethical to go elsewhere?

Your publisher has already decided not to publish the book about the second character, so it’s fine to take the idea elsewhere. This would be so even if you did have an option written into your contract because you offered your publisher the first right of refusal. 5:6/01