What Griefcom Can and Cannot Do for You
What Can Griefcom Do for Me?
The answer to that question is “It depends.” We aren’t lawyers (and we’re certainly not your lawyers), so we can’t threaten to sue your publisher over unpaid royalties. What we can do is start by writing very persuasive letters showing the offending parties the error of their ways. This works surprisingly well; most businesspeople don’t like conflict any more than you do, and in many cases the problem is simply one of communication.
If that doesn’t do the trick, we have a couple of options: if the problem is money, we can remind the subject of our attentions that they may be leaving the complainant (you) with no other recourse than to seek legal redress—and nobody likes that. Or we can shine a light on unfair practices and make life uncomfortable for those in its glare. This is a small industry, and a reputation for creator-unfriendly practices is both swift to spread and hard to shed.
Griefcom’s main job is to see that your issue is resolved, and to that end, we will exhaust every means at our disposal. That’s a promise.
When We Can’t Help You
There are a few instances in which we can’t be of any help, period. This is not because we don’t want to help, but because we’re not lawyers. For instance, if you’ve signed an onerous contract, we can’t do anything about it except shake our heads mournfully and wish you had talked to the Contracts Committee before signing. If you want to get out of a contract, you’ll need an attorney.
If you have a problem but haven’t tried to resolve the issue yourself already, we’ll commiserate with you, then turn you around and send you back to your laptop to write a complaint letter like a proper businessperson. There’s no sense in our getting involved if you can patch things up by yourself, and you won’t know that until you’ve tried.
If you’re not a SFWA member or SFWA-eligible, unfortunately, our services are not available to you. You can still share a complaint at Writer Beware that may help other writers avoid your situation, and you’re welcome to use any information from our site that can help you.
Finally, while it should go without saying, if we find that you’ve misrepresented any part of your dispute, we’re done. We all have reputations to protect, just like you.