Pub Rants

A Very Nice Literary Agent Indulges in Polite Rants About Queries, Writers, and the Publishing Industry

Publishers Behaving Badly

STATUS: All my post-BEA stuff is done! Yes.

What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? FOREVER YOUNG by Alphaville

After my blog tirade two years ago when Simon & Schuster didn’t play nice in the sandbox (by deleting the crucial last four lines of their Out of Print clause without telling anyone), you know how strongly I feel about publishers behaving badly.

Sounds like John Wiley & Sons might be doing similar if the Authors Guild strong warning is anything to judge by.

I do not have any authors impacted by the sale of Bloomberg Press to Wiley so I have not seen this letter. And for the record, I have no personal take or stake on the situation but for general purposes, I like to pass on warnings when they occur so they reach as many readers as possible.

If you’re impacted by this, you might want to touch base with the folks at the AG.


17 Responses

  1. Shauna said:

    Wow. That is some shady business dealings. Behavior like that puts the whole company in a negative light and puts their very integrity into question. As an author, the fact that they would conspire in this way would make we want to avoid them completely.

    This is one of the reasons I like you so much, kudos to you for letting the word out- even when it doesn’t affect you.

  2. Kristi Helvig said:

    That seems highly unethical to me, and I’m glad there are agents on top of the issue.

    Also, Forever Young was my prom song so now it’s stuck in my head–thanks. 🙂

  3. Kellion said:

    I would guess that many Bloomberg Press authors don’t have agents. That’s what makss this especially sneaky and underhanded.

  4. kgborland23 said:

    That is absolutely ridiculous. Wouldn’t they have to send the contract to the agent before the writers? Hopefully the agents of the authors caught it.

  5. tessaquin said:

    This is shocking! This is a good way to alienate future writers. What were they thinking?

    Thanks for the warning. I won’t query them first hand, if I can’t get an agent. I’m assuming they’re first and foremost trying to trick the agent-less people.

  6. juliana said:

    Please shoot me now! Though I have been working on a book for some time, I am new to the publishing world. I wish I had found your site with examples of submitted query letters prior to sending one out yesterday. Ouch! Kristin, if you feel so inclined to read it and give any advice, please shoot me an e-mail. Thanks!

  7. Anonymous said:

    Royalties on “unknowable” net are a screw, period. Not because the percentage is off. If the publisher sold the books for 50% of cover price, I wouldn’t mind that I got 20% of net, as opposed to 10% of cover price. But, guess what, publishers can sell the book for anything they want to. Why don’t they add in their contract that they won’t sell the book for less than 50% of cover price. Then, gimme a double cut of net, I don’t mind.

    Why hide the truth in a contract? That’s the place where everything should be clearly stated and understood by both parties… and, well, being “knowable” helps.

    The payment a publisher makes for “content” should be stable, knowable, and, well, payable. Please.

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