This is a very long blog entry, in five parts, about how indie writers, musicians, and film people need to work together and support each other. (Scroll down to see Part One.)
Part Two: Disrespect and Downright Theft
Writers have a chance to circumvent—perhaps even destroy—what 1940s hipsters called “The Man,” or what 1960s hippies called “The Establishment.”
And it deserves to be destroyed.
Some cases in point:
In the 1970s, Stephen King was Doubleday’s hottest author. Yet when he visited the Doubleday offices, he was practically ignored by everyone but his editor, presumably because he wrote horror and not “highbrow” literary books like Doubleday’s Leon Uris. This lack of respect, plus the feeling he deserved more money, led King to find another publisher (Lisa Rogan, Haunted Heart, New York, St. Martin, 2010, 86-89).
In the 1980s, literary agent Richard Curtis openly charged, “Publishers have always cheated authors.” (Edwin McDowell, “Publishing Agent Says Writers Are Being Cheated,” The New York Times, February 4, 1983).
And the disrespect and cheating continues.
On March 24 of this year, horror writer Brian Keene published the following at his Web site: “Starting in late 2009, Dorchester-Leisure began making late payments to some of their authors. Indeed, some authors report never having received payments at all, nor royalty statements verifying what, if any, monies were owed. . . . [Meanwhile] I had not been paid since late-2009.” Keene signed an agreement with Dorchester to take back the rights to all of his books. However, Keene writes, “Dorchester has repeatedly violated that agreement.” (Brian Keene, “Boycott Dorchester,” Brian Keene: Official Website, March 24, 2011, (http://www.briankeene.com/?p=6140).
Meanwhile, literary agents and publishers continue to reject hopeful writers. Of course, they have to do it. But must they do it with such flippancy? Or nastiness? Or relish? If you don’t believe me about the flippancy, nastiness, and relish, just follow some agents on Twitter and look at the abuse in their tweets against the writers who submit to them. Yes, it’s anonymous, they don’t name the writers, but it discloses an underlying attitude of, at best, contempt.
That’s the bad news.
The good news is:
Coming Soon: Part Three: E-scaping