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Doubleday Settles Suit with 'Meg' Author
Judy Quinn -- 6/29/98
In a formal mediation held in Miami last Wednesday, Doubleday agreed to what literary manager Ken Atchity described as a "very satisfactory six-figure settlement" to resolve author Steve Alten's breach-of-contract suit regarding the cancellation of Fathom, the follow-up book to his "Jurassic Shark" thriller, Meg. The settlement, less than the "in excess" of $1 million asked for in the suit, addresses an accelerated royalty payout on Meg, the first book in a $2.1 million, two-book deal. It also gives Alten full rights to Fathom, so that if he sells it to another publisher he d s not, as is typical in book contracts, have to pay the original publisher any part of a new advance. "The lawsuit was definitely worth it in order to get all the rights back," Alten told PW.
Commenting on the settlement, negotiated by Doubleday's lawyer Bruce Derman and Alten's attorneys, J l McKuin and Barry Davidson of the Miami firm of Coll, Davidson, Carter, BDD spokesperson Stuart Applebaum made the usual "we wish him well" statement on behalf of Doubleday. He also noted, however, that "I think that Doubleday decided that however contractually righteous our position was, it was in our best interest and the author's to move on with our lives."

Alten is already working on his version of Fathom, which he has retitled Domain. It will be offered as a possible second book along with The Trench, a sequel to Meg that Atchity has already submitted to publishers. Atchity believes he will find a buyer for it, although he admitted to PW that he believes Alten's book was unfairly slammed in the press. "Meg has netted slightly under 100,000 copies hardcover, as well as over $1 million in foreign advances," he said, "but one publisher didn't believe it even when I showed him the royalty statements."
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