Sunday, October 14, 2012

Greedy and Unfair

Penguin is demanding advances be repaid for never-delivered manuscripts* and charging interest

Ha! A hearty laugh in Penguin's face! Whose contract provides for Penguin to pay interests if a royalty underpayment is discovered? Ha! Greedy, unfair Penguin.

This is the way of things today. STNY is biting back!

A lousy experience at Harper resulted when editors asked a pedigreed author/illustrator to revise a dummy thrice, THREE times!, and then declined it. STNY demanded a kill fee**— for our client had invested hours (in other industries, billable hours) working at two editors' behest. Why shouldn't Harper share with the creator a risk that its editors suggestions will not, finally, work?

The editors blanched to be asked to pay for the work. "STNY is happy to appeal to executive management, if your immediate supervisor lacks the say-so for releasing a few hundred bucks," said we.

Three months later, we still have no proper response, despite our follow-ups. Why? Because Harper is greedy and unfair.

Even though STNY is biting back, publishers' skin (always tough) is virtually impermeable today. To test that assertion. . . 

In the coming months, we shall broadcast publishers' greed and unfairness, in all its multiple manifestations, as we slam up against it. 

*      *      *

*For our younger readers, some history: in the distant past (like, ten years ago), advances were paid before work was revised on spec: publishers paid a signature advance intending it to sustain authors while they rewrote.

**This term derives from a standard magazine practice: when an assigned article is cut mid-development, the author is given a kill fee, less than the completed article would earn but recognition of the professional, goodwill effort of an author under contract. 

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