Monday, November 05, 2007

The Good, the Bad, the Ugly...

Yes, it has been awhile since I’ve hung out here. But I was gainfully employed—painting my home office. It is now a lovely lilac color on the walls and a lovely white on the trim. Or at least as lovely as I can make it, fighting through all those little nooks and crannies of woodwork around windows and such. I swear I found yet another spot that had gotten “missed” in the painting the first couple times around, and it’s on my list for touching up AFTER I clean the 4,568 paint spots off the floor. (Yes, I have heard of drop cloths, but this is literally just the perimeter of the room, where I didn’t have as much covering due to having to work around the drop cloth-covered furniture in the middle....) :-) Anyhow, that’s almost done—taking the major part of the last three weekends. This weekend, hub and I are supposed to be at a Marriage Encounter, so I may not be “encountering” the rest of the office redo for awhile unless I can s-q-e-e-z-e it in on a weeknight this week. Sheesh! Anyway, some interesting publishing stories have come by, courtesy of Publisher’s Lunch. The first one, I found heartening: Brunonia Barry’s originally self-published debut supernatural thriller THE LACE READER, about a woman who can see the future by reading patterns in lace who returns home to Salem, Massachusetts after her great-aunt goes missing, to Laurie Chittenden at William Morrow, in a major deal, reportedly for $2 million (NY Mag), at auction, by Rebecca Oliver at Endeavor (world English). I think it’s just the “bee’s knees” that someone who’s been able to self-publish then goes on and gets a $2 million deal. Just proves the rule that not EVERY self-published novel dies an undignified death and/or earns disrespect for its author. This also sounds like a horking good story—so ya gotta wonder why it had to go the self-pub route in the first place! I personally wonder what it was that would prompt an editor not to want to read that story. But then again, what do I know? I edit nonfiction. :-) The second bit of news I found was both “bad” and “ugly”—also from PL: JK Rowling and Warner Bros. filed suit in Manhattan yesterday against Michigan's RDR Books over their planned publication in November of a Harry Potter Lexicon, adapted from a web site of the same name. In a release from the studio, Rowling says she may write her own Potter-pedia, saying "I cannot, therefore, approve of 'companion books' or 'encyclopedias' that seek to preempt my definitive Potter reference book for their authors' own personal gain." BBC Yanno, the woman’s already richer than God, as the old saying goes. She hasn’t written this book yet. She may not even ever write this book. But she somehow got her publisher to go in with her on a lawsuit to prevent anyone else from publishing any “companion” books that “seek to preempt” a book that she hasn’t even written yet…just so those authors can’t make any “personal gain” off of something she’s already made so much money on that her grandchildren’s children won’t be able to spend it all. The first smart-aleck gut reaction to this, of course, is for us to ask, “How can I get a deal like that?”:-) But in the final analysis, truth be told, I don’t want my publisher to treat me this way. I would hope they’d have more spine than to allow me to get away with such spoiled-brat selfishness on an off-the-chart-scale. I would hope someone within that company would have the guts to say, “This book is done. It’s blog material. It can’t possibly hurt you. It can only help you overall. And it’s additional work you don’t have to do. Let’s set up a licensing agreement of some kind, sit down, shut up, and count the money.” But they chose not to do that. Why? Legally and technically, of course, they’re well within their rights. But if anything proves the point that what’s “legal” isn’t necessarily what’s “right,” this does. In spades. It’s just a shame that so few people in the publishing business seem to have either common sense or a conscience anymore. Thoughts?



Donna Alice said...

Have to admit, I'm pretty sick of J.K. Rowling and as my grandmother used to say, "she forgot where she came from." Anybody who's been dirt poor (been there, done that) and then been blessed to succeed in a very scary business should thank God and be so grateful they don't have time for petty lawsuits to keep someone else from making money too.

I loved the story of the self published book. Shows me that woman really had a big dream and kept sticking with it until she got that 2 million dollar deal. Sounds like a terrific book too.

Your office sounds lovely and peaceful--write on!

Deb said...

As far as Rowling--she gets too much press already. Did you know her so-called next book, "Tales of Beedle the Bard" will only have 7 copies printed? They're all for rich people. Get over yourself, woman. Enough said.

I, too, love the story of the self-pubbed lady who made very, VERY good. One wonders whether she re-wrote the self-pubbed book, or improved on it? Or did she even attempt to sell it until she tested the waters by self-pubbing it? Inquiring small press authors want to know.

The next good news I'd love to hear is how a small press, struggling, keep-on-keeping-on writer scores a "very nice deal" somewhere in the upper 6 figures. Lower 7 would be fine, too.