Sunday, April 6, 2008

Sunday, April 6, 2008
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Rainy and cool

The trip down to Philly was so smooth. Up at 5 (okay, not so much fun), on a 7 AM train to the city (late as usual), cruised smoothly across the Deuce. Kind of gross when a dead pigeon fell from the sky and landed on the sidewalk next to me, but it would have been worse if it landed ON me.

Got to Port Authority; saw the building in which I used to live, which is in terrible shape. Got on the bus, we left on time, and we made it down to Philly in an hour and a half. I’ve never travelled down that smoothly.

Needless to say, I did not take The Demon Bus from Hell this time. I stuck to Greyhound.

Grabbed a cab, got to where I’m staying, unpacked, went grocery shopping. Decided to go to the bookstore. Grabbed the Sharon Shinn novel I wanted, and, on impulse, went upstairs to the DVD section, and there it was: A Dog’s Breakfast. Can’t get it in NY, but it’s here in Philly. So I grabbed it. Can’t figure out how to use the DVD player in this place (why do there have to be SEVEN remotes and one needs a different configuration for everything?), so I’ll watch it when I get home. But I have it.

It was sunny and I spent some time in Rittenhouse Square, playing with other people’s dogs. I am a puppy magnet. I used to go to Central Park to read and write, and within five minutes, I was covered in dogs. I don’t mind at all.

I spent most of the day reading Sharon Shinn’s MYSTIC AND RIDER, which has joined my list of favorite books. I know I’ll re-read it often.

Worked on the screenplay. I hit 60 pages, the halfway point, this morning, and hope to get a lot of writing done on several different projects today.

Stacia, just because you haven’t received advances in the past doesn’t mean you shouldn’t, or that any of us shouldn’t. I emphasize again: Publishers have no reason to exist without writers. And writers deserve to be paid for their work. Paid a fair, living wage, and THEN a share of continuing profits. Not pie-in-the-sky, maybe you’ll get paid someday. Accounting numbers are moved around all the time to say what companies want them to say. Bet you most of those people never get a penny EVER. And yet the publisher will show a profit. That’s why we have unions — so we get a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work with a finite amount of time.

Will this experiment destroy publishing? No. Does it chip away at the few rights writers retain? Of course. It’s what happens at every negotiation, because publishers/producers/etc. have no respect for what creative people do. And unless the writers and their agents take a stand, pretty soon the only kind of publishing that exits will be POD. A line needs to be drawn, and this is a good place to start.

I have no problems with advances that aren’t in the six figures, but have more parity spread among the authors on the list. As long as it’s a reasonable amount. And as long as the lack of a large advance doesn’t cause the publisher to ignore the promotional needs of the book. What I’m against is NO advance, with the promise that “maybe” in the future you’ll get a larger share of royalties. I’m telling you right now there will be clauses in the contract declaring royalites won’t even start being considered until all production, shipping, editing, etc. costs are recouped, so most writers will NEVER see a penny. They won’t start calculating royalites with the sale of the first book. I’ve worked on contracts departments — I know how they do this.


Published in: on April 6, 2008 at 8:14 am  Comments (9)  


  1. Eeww, the vision of the dead pigeon.

  2. I didn’t say I’ve never received an advance; I have. I said I’ve never been paid for a book I didn’t finish first. That will hopefully change soon. I’m not against advances by any means and I’m not gung-ho about Harper’s experiment. I just like to not worry about things until it’s time to worry, and I try to look for the positive. That’s all.

  3. I didn’t say I’ve never received an advance; I have. I said I’ve never been paid for work before it was completed. Hopefully that will change soon, but as of now, while I’ve sold on proposal I haven’t been paid an advance on proposal. I like advances. I’m for advances. I just try to look for the possible upside to things, and not start worrying that the End Times are coming because a publisher is thinking of trying something new (which isn’t that new anyway–Stephen King has been operating on this system since Bag of Bones, for one) with 25 literary fic/non-fic books. I’m used to being paid a high percentage of royalties and making good money doing it. So this isn’t all that different for me, that’s all.

  4. Sorry about the double response; I got a system error on the first one.

  5. no problem, stacia. I’m happy to hear your point of view no matter how many times it appears!

  6. Glad to hear your trip went smoothly, and that you found the DVD you’ve been looking for.
    Have a wonderful time!

  7. If I were offered a huge advance, I’d snatch their hand off before they changed their mind. However, I do know a couple of authors who’ve been given big advances, never earned out and, surprise surprise, been dropped by the publisher (who, I hasten to add, hasn’t done a thing to promote the books). I get a small advance – half when I’ve completed the book and signed the contract, and half on publication. The goo thing about such a small advance is that you know you’ll earn out and soon get royalties.
    I do so agree that soon, it’ll all be POD. Grr.

  8. By the way, sympathies re the pigeon. I would have totally freaked out. :o)

  9. Ah, so you avoided the Chinatown bus? 🙂

    Sounds like you had a lovely day, Devon. I spent mine in Tax Pergatory. Not Tax Hell, for I’ve discovered TurboTax really DOES work.

    See you later, toots!

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