Robert Frost won four Pulitzer Prizes for his poetry. He was an earthy icon and, in some eyes, an American shame, for the man could love only himself and not his children or his wife. I’m not sure if that’s a crime against himself, or his promises, but there is no denying the man was an original and he knew how to write and he knew what he was.
Marred by the mistake of genius, Robert Frost cared only for his poetry, and his legacy, and that’s why the new fascination with protecting Frost’s legacy on the page is so intriguing.
The bane of any hopeful professional author — one who writes for money to feed a family and a future fortunate — is the old “Work for Hire” kludge-as-cudgel and it is wielded against unwitting amateur authors, and even published, working, authors, by publishing houses as a “proper payment system” that is both fair to each side and an early warning windfall for the writer. Unfortunately, none of that is true.
Publishers love to force writers into Work for Hire contracts because the benefit is all on their side of the dyad, and while initial risks are shared, the goal of good fortune tomorrow is not.
I warned of this impending trend way back on September 7, 2007 in my article: “Work For Hire is a Bad Idea” –
If you get royalties you are in partnership with your publisher. If you are “Work For Hire” you’re used up when you’re done writing.
Publishers live to exploit that hungry author desire for fast money now — and in the process of the “Work For Hire” hiring — the author not only loses a potential profit bonanza, but also sells out their self-respect, self-worth, and fellow authors.
John Wiley & Sons came up bupkis in the Supreme Court of the Unites States in their Copyright infringement case against a Cornell student who was reselling Wiley textbooks published in Thailand in the USA at a highly discounted rate. One would think that ruling is terrible for textbooks and for authors — the opposite is true.
Getting your writing published in book form has long been the penultimate goal of authors across the world. I’ve made my fair share of money in the publishing marketplace and one thing I can confirm is how much the industry has changed over the last 20 years.
Fifteen years or so ago, you could easily get a $15,000.00USD book royalty advance from a major computer book publisher. You knew going into the job that, at the end of 90 days, you’d be fifteen large richer. It was a great way to earn a quick living. Once you had a book or two, the major computer magazine publishers would come calling, and you could write a 10,000 word essay and make $5,000.00USD for that weekend effort. It was a rich and rewarding life, but then the chain came off the sprocket with the rise of the interwebs, the internets, the web. Many book publishers were consolidated with other houses, or entirely demolished in bankruptcy, and all the great computer magazines are as dead now as the tree pulp they were printed on.
Today, I am pleased to announce the immediate availability of the Boles Books Tribute to Howard Stein, Volume 1 (1948-2013) from Boles Books Writing & Publishing and published on Amazon Kindle Direct!
Playwright Mac Wellman has an interesting idea: Give CUNY students a tuition-free Master of Fine Arts degree to allow them to study the Arts without going deep into debt. Mac wants these students to learn how they construct the world so they can understand their place in its spinning.
Every year during the month of November, I attempt to complete the National Novel Writing Month challenge and every year at a certain point in time it becomes clear to me that I will have no way of completing the challenge. This year has been particularly brutal to me in that it is only the 11th of the month and I am aware that, short of a complete writing miracle, or being temporarily stranded on a desert island with nothing but a word processor and necessary nourishment, I will not come even close to completing the challenge.