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Sydneyd
11-17-2011, 09:10 PM
This is blazing through Twitter right now. What's your reaction?

Good for you pal?

Wouldn't want to be you?

You were one step away from doing the same thing?

http://www.sebastianmarshall.com/an-open-letter-to-simon-and-schuester-ceo-carolyn-reidy

Taken from the end of the letter:

*Your industry is fucking slow
*Your industry disrespects authors
*Your industry under-equips and disrespects editors
*Your industry is lacking basic modern technology
*Your industry uses draconian contracts with artists which destroy goodwill
*Your industry is conservative about trying new things despite being in a deathspiral (this is the most confusing one to me)
*Your industry doesn’t foster a good enough collaboration among basic functions like editing and marketing
*Everyone knows this, and thinks it’s okay “because that’s how publishing is”…
*…but it’s not okay, and we all know that deep down…
*…so, do something about it before it’s too late.

Xelebes
11-17-2011, 09:13 PM
I have an auditing case in school about a company called S&S Inc. Could you please clarify as to which company S&S refers to?

regdog
11-17-2011, 09:15 PM
Simon & Schuester

Sydneyd
11-17-2011, 09:19 PM
Simon & Schuester

Correct.

Sorry, it becomes clear once you click the link but yeah, it is Simon and Schuester the author of the letter is Sebastion Marshall (name at the end of the letter)

Torgo
11-17-2011, 09:24 PM
I read about half way down and then became intensely irritated by his prose style.

Medievalist
11-17-2011, 09:38 PM
He's an idiot.

Sydneyd
11-17-2011, 09:40 PM
After reading and re-reading I can't help but think this was the result of a manic event. And he didn't think much about it. I almost would guess that he'll remove it pretty quickly.

Xelebes
11-17-2011, 09:45 PM
Sounds quite a bit egocentric of his marketing prowess. The numbers he coughs up are not that impressive and his tactics might only work for contracts of the size he mentions and of limited scope. The organisational structure he suggests are pretty much whimsical or maybe not fully cognisant of what controls there are in the company.

Also, payments can be delayed depending on the medium. I've had to experience that before, having to remit in many ways before payment could be made in a timely fashion - especially if electronic payments are considered to not be secure enough or not available.

rugcat
11-17-2011, 09:47 PM
It's hard for anyone to engender much sympathy for publishers, but this guy certainly does his best.

Romantic Heretic
11-17-2011, 09:49 PM
The man's bipolar and he's in a manic cycle. This does give him a gigantic amount of energy but his perception is screwed. The result of this isn't going to be pretty.

I just hope that no other people are damaged when he implodes.

Sheryl Nantus
11-17-2011, 10:06 PM
Definitely bad date material.

:D

Miss Plum
11-17-2011, 10:54 PM
I'd like to post that link in the AW Roundtable.

Miss Plum
11-17-2011, 10:56 PM
http://www.sebastianmarshall.com/an-open-letter-to-simon-and-schuester-ceo-carolyn-reidy

Phew.

The final passage:


*Your industry is fucking slow
*Your industry disrespects authors
*Your industry under-equips and disrespects editors
*Your industry is lacking basic modern technology
*Your industry uses draconian contracts with artists which destroy goodwill
*Your industry is conservative about trying new things despite being in a deathspiral (this is the most confusing one to me)
*Your industry doesn’t foster a good enough collaboration among basic functions like editing and marketing
*Everyone knows this, and thinks it’s okay “because that’s how publishing is”…
*…but it’s not okay, and we all know that deep down…
*…so, do something about it before it’s too late.

Sydneyd
11-17-2011, 10:56 PM
Go ahead, I wasn't sure of the best place for it.

Williebee
11-17-2011, 10:59 PM
Yeah, this probably needs to be somewhere other than P&CE. Prepare for a shift.

leahzero
11-17-2011, 11:05 PM
This guy is a total idiot. And he's shot himself in the foot. What editor would ever want to work with him after this tantrum?

It took six and a half weeks for his first check to get to him, so he flips out? ROFL.

gothicangel
11-17-2011, 11:08 PM
Open Letter to S&S:

Pay me a £65,000 advance for my novel, and I'll be your bitch any day of the week. :D

shakeysix
11-17-2011, 11:16 PM
the poor guy is manic. his pills are probably in the medicine cabinet covered with cobwebs--s6

quicklime
11-17-2011, 11:18 PM
http://www.sebastianmarshall.com/an-open-letter-to-simon-and-schuester-ceo-carolyn-reidy

Phew.

The final passage:


seriously?

"On 23rd December 2010, your publishing house agreed to sign me with a $65,000 advance."

then bitches about no check until March, bitches because S&S didn't want to offer a "money-back guarantee" on the book

then name-drops EVERYONE at S&S they worked with, with a micro-apology after dragging them into the fight

then blames a good deal of this in a fundamental misunderstanding of "artist-types" who apparently need validation and humoring

insists on saying they are being treated "like a bitch" (ideally, any time you want to make a solid point, the first thing to do is present yourself as a misogynistic prick)

then finally (after an entire "business letter" of bitching moaning, and swearing--wait, he's bitching about THEIR professionalism?) gets around to the fact they had a business offer worth far more money and so they were chasing that, leaving shortly after this:
"So you know what? I just told everyone in my life that they’ve got to do better to stay in my life. Not just be more professional or work harder or coordinate better.
But really do better, on a philosophical level."




I'd be fucking embarassed to even admit I know the guy.

leahzero
11-17-2011, 11:19 PM
Being manic isn't an excuse to be a douchebag. And I say this as a fellow sufferer.

Also, in his rant he rhapsodizes about his mania. I find it hard to sympathize with someone who romanticizes the disease.

Williebee
11-17-2011, 11:21 PM
MOD Note:

Where two stood, one remains.

merged.

Miss Plum
11-17-2011, 11:28 PM
What on earth does he mean by "three hour long design brief I wrote for the cover"? Did he spend three hours writing it, or did he god forbid write something that would take three hours to read? Or did he send them a three-hour podcast?

There are no good answers.

Miss Plum
11-17-2011, 11:32 PM
It's too bad he's such a nut, because there are grains of truth in there about the industry. Complaints about false deadlines, false demands, nonresponsiveness, and poor internal communication would ring a bell for many writers with big advances, big agents, and big publishers.

Sydneyd
11-17-2011, 11:53 PM
I think that is what a lot of people are saying. Buried in his rantings are real issues that (I am only guessing here since I have yet to get this far in my own career) authors and maybe even agents are thinking.

Torgo
11-17-2011, 11:56 PM
It's too bad he's such a nut, because there are grains of truth in there about the industry. Complaints about false deadlines, false demands, nonresponsiveness, and poor internal communication would ring a bell for many writers with big advances, big agents, and big publishers.

Yep. Usually because there aren't enough of us. If we're nonresponsive it's mostly because we are being responsive to someone else.

aadams73
11-18-2011, 12:01 AM
because there are grains of truth in there about the industry. Complaints about false deadlines, false demands, nonresponsiveness, and poor internal communication would ring a bell for many writers with big advances, big agents, and big publishers.


Yep. Usually because there aren't enough of us. If we're nonresponsive it's mostly because we are being responsive to someone else.

As an S&S author I have to say, some of us understand when things don't move as fast and smoothly as they should. It's worth it, to me, to work with amazing people whom I like and respect on a professional and a personal level.

Sydneyd
11-18-2011, 12:02 AM
A side note: I would love to have some of his problems.

Williebee
11-18-2011, 12:03 AM
If we're nonresponsive it's mostly because we are being responsive to someone else.

Wait.. you want a moment of perspective? sheesh. :)

rainsmom
11-18-2011, 12:06 AM
The part where he met his contracted deadline, and then his editor had the GALL to be on vacation cracked me up.

Any good points are lost in the ramblings. I lost any semblance of sympathy for him when he waxed rhapsodic about the wonders of a manic episode.

This also makes me want to avoid his book like the plague.

Sydneyd
11-18-2011, 12:10 AM
The part where he met his contracted deadline, and then his editor had the GALL to be on vacation cracked me up.

Any good points are lost in the ramblings. I lost any semblance of sympathy for him when he waxed rhapsodic about the wonders of a manic episode.

This also makes me want to avoid his book like the plague.

Looking back on his letter he does mention the tentative title. Do you think this could all be some sort of publicity stunt to get people to read his book if it ever gets published?

Kitty27
11-18-2011, 12:15 AM
Lordy.

You give me 65 stacks upfront and I will kindly be your do girl for as long as you want. Hell,I'll cook and I HATE that.

What de hell?

He is ALL in his feelings and this isn't something you post for the world to see. Bitch in private and smile in public is my motto.

Richard White
11-18-2011, 12:16 AM
Having been published by Pocket Books (a part of S&S), I have nothing but good things to say about my editors (good edits, good communication, willing to discuss "why"), my publisher (got me my money and my books on time, provided suplemental promotional material on request), and my overall experience.

And I'm a media tie-in author. If they treat the hired help good, I have a hard time believing they blow off the "real" authors.

(And yes, that's self-depricating humor.)

Christyp
11-18-2011, 12:37 AM
Others have said it; he's bipolar, in an unmedicated manic stage, and he'll come to regret this post. There's no way any publisher will be hot to work with him after this...I mean, if they read it.

Anaquana
11-18-2011, 12:39 AM
Others have said it; he's bipolar, in an unmedicated manic stage, and he'll come to regret this post. There's no way any publisher will be hot to work with him after this...I mean, if they read it. Based on what I've seen on Twitter, a number of them have read it and they aren't amused.

Susan Littlefield
11-18-2011, 12:45 AM
What is the purpose of the letter? Does this Sebastian Marshall thinks he's the almighty or someone? What a waste of time, energy, and productive writing time.

happywritermom
11-18-2011, 12:47 AM
Unfortunately, Twitter and Facebook are probably two of the worst developments ever for manic bipolars.

There is no point in trying to analyze or debate what he wrote.
There is no point in bashing the guy.

He doesn't know what he's doing.
He is sick.

Jess Haines
11-18-2011, 12:48 AM
He really should have taken this to his agent and editor first, not just aired the dirty laundry online.

I have the feeling, judging by the tone and things he's upset about, that he's going to be very surprised when S&S cancels the contract and demands he pony up that portion of the advance he was paid.

Just a guess, but I think it'll probably end up in litigation, with him going on about how unfair it all is and building up insane court costs, only to eventually settle and/or lose the case.

Jean Marie
11-18-2011, 12:55 AM
This guy is a total idiot. And he's shot himself in the foot. What editor would ever want to work with him after this tantrum?

It took six and a half weeks for his first check to get to him, so he flips out? ROFL.
6 weeks for a check? I'd be dancing w/ joy :D

Hell, when that happens, you're all invited to my house for a BBQ :)

Anninyn
11-18-2011, 01:03 AM
My dad has bipolar. He takes his medication and if he has an episode he accepts the consequences like a grown man.

Anyway.

He may indeed have valid points, but doing this- and forcing your career into a tailspin- is not a constructive thing to do. It won't change anything about the industry. It'll just make people avoid you and ruin your prospects.

Hiroko
11-18-2011, 01:10 AM
This can't be good at all for his book; whatever insight it has will probably be in the shadow of this rant...

To agree with pretty much everyone else, this was a poorly thought-out, hasty, unnecessary post.

Old Hack
11-18-2011, 01:18 AM
The man's bipolar and he's in a manic cycle. This does give him a gigantic amount of energy but his perception is screwed. The result of this isn't going to be pretty.

I just hope that no other people are damaged when he implodes.


the poor guy is manic. his pills are probably in the medicine cabinet covered with cobwebs--s6


Others have said it; he's bipolar, in an unmedicated manic stage, and he'll come to regret this post. There's no way any publisher will be hot to work with him after this...I mean, if they read it.


Unfortunately, Twitter and Facebook are probably two of the worst developments ever for manic bipolars.

There is no point in trying to analyze or debate what he wrote.
There is no point in bashing the guy.

He doesn't know what he's doing.
He is sick.


My dad has bipolar. He takes his medication and if he has an episode he accepts the consequences like a grown man.

Anyway.

He may indeed have valid points, but doing this- and forcing your career into a tailspin- is not a constructive thing to do. It won't change anything about the industry. It'll just make people avoid you and ruin your prospects.

All of the above.

The man's ill. Let's move along.

Mr Flibble
11-18-2011, 01:27 AM
After reading and re-reading I can't help but think this was the result of a manic event.

Sounds that way to me



Also, in his rant he rhapsodizes about his mania. I find it hard to sympathize with someone who romanticizes the disease.

But the manics are soo. Much. Fun!! Plus, I can get so much done. My husband enjoys the obvious *cough* perks. The only trouble is when it goes over the top....and then you crash. Best times of my life have been in the transition from 'normal' (okay, I'm never entirely normal) and getting hyper.

Sorry :(


Unfortunately, Twitter and Facebook are probably two of the worst developments ever for manic bipolars.

The internet in general tbh. There's some research my hubby keeps wanting me to read about bipolars being more likely to get obsessed about the internet. I tell him we're just more likely to get obsessed about something. Especially when manic.

He doesn't know what he's doing.
He is sick.

First sentence, yeah, maybe, maybe not. Second...there's an awful lot of connotations with the word 'sick'. He may be having an episode. He maybe manic. That doesn't mean he doesn't have a point (I have no idea whether he does or not tbh. But god-damn do you know how irritating it is to get legitimately pissed off at something only for it to be dismnissed because 'Oh, s/he's bipolar'. VERY. BLOODY. ANNOYING)

Putting on a blog - maybe not what should have happened. Then again, non-bipolar authors have done worse....and people say they are wrong, are silly or whatnot. Not sick.

Just because you're bipolar doesn't mean you can't get pissed off at stuff, same as everyone else. Whether his is a legitimate complaint....I'm not sure. But at least he's upfront about his condition.

scarletpeaches
11-18-2011, 01:33 AM
Lordy.

You give me 65 stacks upfront and I will kindly be your do girl for as long as you want. Hell,I'll cook and I HATE that.

What de hell?

He is ALL in his feelings and this isn't something you post for the world to see. Bitch in private and smile in public is my motto.Word.

Give me 65k and you can have my arse, my mortal soul and my Colin Farrell DVD collection.

The guy's a dick and he is going to wake up with one motherfucker of a career hangover.

ETA: Just caught up on the thread. Yes, the guy's ill, but how many manic depressives don't do something like this? Being ill is not his fault. How he behaves often isn't, either, but...that blog was a douche move.

And lest anyone think I'm picking on the poor, ill guy -- I was diagnosed as bipolar when I was in my late teens/early twenties after years of pulling douche moves on people.

Torgo
11-18-2011, 01:34 AM
As an S&S author I have to say, some of us understand when things don't move as fast and smoothly as they should. It's worth it, to me, to work with amazing people whom I like and respect on a professional and a personal level.

I'm glad to hear it! It goes both ways. The editor who sits next to me gave up three times the salary as a management consultant to work with creative people like you.

Kitty27
11-18-2011, 01:45 AM
6 weeks for a check? I'd be dancing w/ joy :D

Hell, when that happens, you're all invited to my house for a BBQ :)\\

*perks up*

Will there be liquor and strippers,too?:)

I understand that he has an illness. But this is seriously going to backfire on him. This is a cold world and people aren't going to cut him any slack.

Mr Flibble
11-18-2011, 01:47 AM
ETA: Just caught up on the thread. Yes, the guy's ill, but how many manic depressives don't do something like this? Being ill is not his fault. How he behaves often isn't, either, but...that blog was a douche move.


It probably was a silly move. (Is the industry on the slow side sometimes? Could it do with a bit more cohesion in places? Probably. Most businesses could. On a public blog is not teh way to make your irritation known)The 'oh dear' pat on the head for being ill kind of grates though.

I have my douchy moments, sure. I am human! But if anyone patted me on the head and said 'never mind, it's cos you're ill' I would probably bite their hand clean off.

Bipolar makes life a challenge, it means you aren't (or I'm not anyway) 100% in reality/control all the time. It doesn't mean you aren't responsible for what you say/do. Though is does necessitate some apologies fairly often....but I did the things I apologise for. Not the bipolar. Me.

scarletpeaches
11-18-2011, 01:51 AM
I've had problems with various publishers and editors before but I've had to make a rule for myself -- never email in anger or upset, so wait 24 hours. :D

Toothpaste
11-18-2011, 01:59 AM
Here's what I don't get. Yes, the publishing business has some serious flaws. My biggest gripe is the lack of transparency and communication, especially with authors. Also ebook royalty rates. However. I've been a temp for a while now, I've been in the heart of many many many businesses, and I gots to say . . . inefficiency is not just found in publishing. I can't tell you how much time is wasted doing . . . everything. How much red tape people have to deal with. How much money is wasted because of poor planning (I was just hired for a day the other day to stuff envelopes because they didn't realise they needed 1000 letters to go out the same day). I always find myself in trouble because I take half the time to do the job I'm hired for and so finish the gig a couple days early (meaning I lose out on that income). All business has its sticking points and inefficiencies. Quite frankly, I find it stunning anything gets done at all.

I guess the good thing is this guy does actually acknowledge his general distaste of all bad business practice, but still. Why does publishing get such a bad rap? Well I'll tell you why. As much as this guy goes off about not really being an artist, that's the crux of the issue. The things we write as authors matter more to us than the usual job stuff. It's very very personal, and very very emotional. It's not that publishing is a worse business than every other business out there, it's that the people involved take things far more personally. As well they should, I should add.

ios
11-18-2011, 03:04 AM
This is blazing through Twitter right now. What's your reaction?

Wow. Quite the letter. However, it was interesting and kept me reading until the end (long blog posts don't usually do that) despite the excessive use of the f-word.

Also, although it is easy to pick apart another's business model from the outside, it looks like his background is pretty business related and that he had some experience (from the author's side). Without knowing more, he might have some solid points. Then again, maybe he doesn't. But his background lends some weight to his opinions. But in general, I think all businesses/corporations have inefficiencies and issues that need to be addressed. Perhaps Sebastian Marshall might be on to some in this case.

Jodi

ios
11-18-2011, 03:12 AM
As an S&S author I have to say, some of us understand when things don't move as fast and smoothly as they should. It's worth it, to me, to work with amazing people whom I like and respect on a professional and a personal level.

Would you--and other S&S authors--say that in general the deadlines and dates S&S sets are met from its side? If they are not, then I can understand SM's point, in which case better dates need to be set from the get-go.

Jodi

The Lonely One
11-18-2011, 03:16 AM
My philosophy about putting your angry rantings into writing is

a.) It's GOING to get you into trouble with someone.

b.) It MAY get you into a lot of trouble with someone.

c.) If you can write it all out once, erase it, wait a week (although allegedly this guy waited a year before he spewed), and then still want to write all the angry shit you wrote in the heat of anger, then maybe there's something to it.

Chances are, though, that your second draft will look drastically subdued and more well thought out than the original, if you even find it worth writing to begin with. From personally writing stuff like this author wrote and then regretting it, I see this as very possibly a major blunder.

Also, I stopped reading about here:


Your company is stuck in the year 1850 or whatever, when ships came from England with books to sell to the New World.Cool story, bro. Shouldn't it be "or whenever"? Not nitpicking an artist or anything, just saying.

Plus all the "fucks" and "bitches" etc. kind of keyed me in that this wasn't going to be a clear-minded essay on the plights of publishing...

Filigree
11-18-2011, 03:22 AM
Sigh. Yet another 'artist' whining about how other people should count themselves lucky to work with artists. Bloody hell, I've *never* been in his
happy financial situation, and I probably never will. If someone gave me a 65K advance, I wouldn't be pitching fits about it taking six weeks to be paid. I'd be writing the next damned book. Most advances are paid out as partials, anyway.

I'm an artist. I know the cold, hard, competitive world in which I exist. I'm happy waiting six weeks for a tiny little $350 check from a major university, because it's worth the kudos to say on my CV 'work collected by X University Special Collections Library.'

I wouldn't be surprised to find out this was a publicity stunt that went horribly awry.

aadams73
11-18-2011, 03:57 AM
Would you--and other S&S authors--say that in general the deadlines and dates S&S sets are met from its side? If they are not, then I can understand SM's point, in which case better dates need to be set from the get-go.

Jodi

Honestly, I can't tell you. I'm in a unique position because my editor gained her own imprint (Emily Bestler Books) just after she acquired my book. So it's been an interesting, busy, surprise-filled year for all of us. I have no complaints whatsoever, though. These are exciting times!

This I can tell you: S&S have paid me in a very timely fashion, and the contract didn't take long to organize, either. If I have questions, they never leave me hanging.

ghost
11-18-2011, 04:07 AM
Would you--and other S&S authors--say that in general the deadlines and dates S&S sets are met from its side? If they are not, then I can understand SM's point, in which case better dates need to be set from the get-go.

Jodi

I'm an S&S author and they've met every single deadline on their side. They've also lived up to every marketing promise they made. My editors have been fantastic and let me know when they're going on holidays. haha

They've been nothing but professional to me.

leahzero
11-18-2011, 04:08 AM
The 'oh dear' pat on the head for being ill kind of grates though.

I have my douchy moments, sure. I am human! But if anyone patted me on the head and said 'never mind, it's cos you're ill' I would probably bite their hand clean off.

That's what's bothering me about the responses, too. Yes, he's ill. So what? So are lots of people. It's not carte blanche to be an asshole, and similarly, those of us who deal with this don't want special treatment.

It's not fair to forgive his rantings as mania any more than it is to marginalize his ideas as the products of a diseased brain. He's a person with a mood disorder, not someone suffering psychotic breaks.

I wish the bipolar issue was just left out of it.

happywritermom
11-18-2011, 04:22 AM
That's what's bothering me about the responses, too. Yes, he's ill. So what? So are lots of people. It's not carte blanche to be an asshole, and similarly, those of us who deal with this don't want special treatment.

It's not fair to forgive his rantings as mania any more than it is to marginalize his ideas as the products of a diseased brain. He's a person with a mood disorder, not someone suffering psychotic breaks.

I wish the bipolar issue was just left out of it.

Nobody is "forgiving" his rantings.
What I'm saying is that it's pointless to argue about whether he "should" or "should not" have posted this if he is, indeed, having a manic episode.

I assume from your post that you are bipolar.
Have you ever tried to argue with yourself when you're bipolar? If you are in a manic state, is it even possible to believe for one moment that you might be wrong?

I have a couple of bipolar siblings.
They can be absolutely brilliant in their manic states, but I wouldn't waste my time discussing any of their ideas with them in that state.

I also don't hold anything they did or said against them. If I did that, we'd have no relation left. I do, however, get awfully mad if they don't take their meds. There is NO excuse for that.

So no it not "carte blanche to be an asshole."

But, again, what is the point in arguing over whether the guy should have written it at all?

bettielee
11-18-2011, 05:11 AM
yeah... manics... don't write blog posts when you're on an upswing.

I could almost feel the head patting, toe-tapping, teeth chattering energy of this dude humming off the page.

I can't believe he thought the publisher would be over the moon about giving away a book. That is some seriously skewed thinking. He's not the one printing, proofing, storing and shipping the thing.

bettielee
11-18-2011, 05:15 AM
oh, and if S&S wanted to give me $65k and treat me like a bitch, I'd bend over and wait, oh, I don't know... 8 WEEKS to get paid.

We're talkin' big house publishing here, hello! You're going to get your book in STORES and stuff.

One of the most amazing things about learning about the publishing biz was you might publish a book and never see it anywhere. If he got a 65K advance, clearly they planned on marketing that baby and getting their monies back.

Fool.

The more I think about it, the more I wanna stomp on this guy's toes.

Susan Littlefield
11-18-2011, 05:59 AM
There is therapy in writing a letter to the person (or organization) that you are angry with. The caveat is that you are not supposed to send it (or make it public), you're supposed to tear it up, or burn it, or otherwise dispose of it.

Too bad this fellow did not do that.

Sounds like this dude needs help.

LindaJeanne
11-18-2011, 06:21 AM
There is therapy in writing a letter to the person (or organization) that you are angry with. The caveat is that you are not supposed to send it (or make it public), you're supposed to tear it up, or burn it, or otherwise dispose of it.

That was easier back in the olden days -- I remember a couple of occasions where I wrote a very angry letter, put it in an envelope with a stamp, set it out to mail the next day -- and by the next day thought better of it and tore it up.

The immediacy of the Internet prevents that enforced "lag time".

Shadow_Ferret
11-18-2011, 06:26 AM
I thought it was Simon and Schuster, not Simon and Schuester. I didn't even bother reading after that.

kaitie
11-18-2011, 07:54 AM
The immediacy of the Internet prevents that enforced "lag time".

I think this is one of the biggest problems. I'm discovering the more stories like this I hear, the more I hate the immediacy of the internet.

In any case, this was a really stupid thing to do, and it doesn't matter what his mental state. I've seen people without bipolar disorder make exactly the same sort of mistakes, and it comes from being emotional and impulsive.

Two things really bothered me. One, every person he mentions he worked with was great and awesome and not the problem. I'm sorry, but if everyone you worked with was great and wonderful, etc., then you really don't have much cause to bitch. Second, I couldn't help but cringe reading a lot of what he said and thinking you just don't understand how this works. I know a lot of authors get frustrated when their covers don't look the way they'd envisioned, but it's not that uncommon, either. Cover artists are much more informed than most artists, and while sometimes they might make mistakes, they're more likely to put together something useful than the writer is.

Similarly, he complains that marketing and editors should work together. Forgive me if I'm just completely naive here, but why? The editor's job is to edit and improve the quality of the book, right? How is that directly connected to marketing? Cover and marketing I could understand. Blurb, etc.? Yeah? But I just don't understand why it's so inefficient that the two aren't directly connected. Please feel free to let me know if I'm wrong here.

I feel like this is someone who, based on rather limited knowledge of a topic, has decided he has all the right answers and doesn't see why they don't just change things to his way and then gets pissed when the people who actually do get it fail to listen. I'm almost embarrassed for him, honestly. To make matters worse, his tone is so darn condescending that I can't take anything he says seriously, even if there are valid arguments in there.

I hope he takes this down and apologizes and the fallout isn't as bad as it could be. And that he learns something from all this.

Gravity
11-18-2011, 08:18 AM
Could it be (and I'm blue-skying here) that's he intentionally trying to get S&S to cut him loose, so he can then self-pub?

kaitie
11-18-2011, 08:23 AM
Some of the lines made me wonder the same thing, but I doubt it. I get the impression he really is pissed. I also don't think it's a publicity stunt.

The Lonely One
11-18-2011, 08:23 AM
Could it be (and I'm blue-skying here) that's he intentionally trying to get S&S to cut him loose, so he can then self-pub?

Hmmm seems like a rather large risk to his reputation, like he might be self-publishing for the rest of his career.

Susan Littlefield
11-18-2011, 08:52 AM
Hmmm seems like a rather large risk to his reputation, like he might be self-publishing for the rest of his career.

I don't understand. Why would someone want to be cute loose from a big publisher to self-publish? Often, there is no money in self publishing, unless you happen to get picked up by a big publisher.

KTC
11-18-2011, 04:04 PM
The man's bipolar and he's in a manic cycle. This does give him a gigantic amount of energy but his perception is screwed. The result of this isn't going to be pretty.

I just hope that no other people are damaged when he implodes.

This exactly.

bearilou
11-18-2011, 06:48 PM
*starts reading, ends up skimming*


Respectfully Yours,
Sebastian Marshall

respectfully.... :ROFL:

Anyone have the twitter hashtag to follow?

Irysangel
11-18-2011, 07:59 PM
Just wanted to echo what was above - I'm with S&S and my payments have always been prompt. Actually, I can pretty much time them from the day that I turn something in to the day when payment arrives.

BenPanced
11-18-2011, 08:03 PM
I don't understand. Why would someone want to be cute loose from a big publisher to self-publish? Often, there is no money in self publishing, unless you happen to get picked up by a big publisher.

If you've built up a fan base at one of the Big Six, they might follow you anywhere.

Dave Hardy
11-18-2011, 08:37 PM
Has anybody read Marshall's other posts? He has several stream-of-conciousness rants about business loaded with f-bombs, "dude", & general dude-speak. It appears he's peddling business motivational advice. "Strategy, philosophy, self-discipline, science. Victory."

I'm all for plain speaking, but why on your blog? It's a rather transparent come on. "Oh look at how successful I am because I lay it on the line." Really, I should have thought business success was measured in the money made on the project. Self-discipline is an odd bed-fellow with blistering rants in public.

One can do well in the self-help line I suppose. If he scored $65k from S&S, SM made out well. Personally, I'd be pretty wary of emulating any of the advice given by this guy. There's one born every minute I suppose.

shaldna
11-18-2011, 08:37 PM
Is it just me or are we seeing more and more author meltdowns lately? Well, I suppose it is a full moon.

In all seriousness though, from reading that dudes letter I realized several things:


1. He has no idea how publishing actually works, and should perhaps have done some research before he started bitching about it. There are a whole chain of people involved, which can cause problems. People get ill, people have problems, people get bogged down in other clients problems.

2. He thinks it's fine to gamble with other peoples money - see his idea for a 'money back' guarentee. That's cool in certain circumstances, but stands to loose a huge amount of money not just for him but also for the publisher. Gah!

3. He appears to lack the balls to actually discuss the issues with his publisher, instead he posts an 'open letter' which is really just a cry for free publicity. If he had wanted to then he would have dealt with these problems in a mature and professional way. Instead he freaks out in public. Not professional and also not showing me that he's anyone I want to listen to in terms of self-help business books. Just sayin' Seb.

4. He has no respect for anyone, including those people who pay him huge amounts of money, both in his day job and in his publishing career. He has no respect for himself and certainly no respect for all those people who have helped him get where he is. Look at the comments he made about his day job etc and how he treated people there. I suppose he thought that sounded impressive, personally I read it and made a mental not to never work with the guy, and anyone thinking of working with him will most certainly google him and this will come up. Clearly didn't think that through very well either. Not great marketing really, so not actually inspiring me to trust his marketing ability. Shot yourself in the foot there Seb.


I think that is what a lot of people are saying. Buried in his rantings are real issues that (I am only guessing here since I have yet to get this far in my own career) authors and maybe even agents are thinking.

There are a lot of reasons why publishing is the way it is. It's a slow beasty by nature and although things are changing it's going to take time.

Yes, it would be nice to get paid 'immediately' but I also am aware that I have to wait for bookstores to pay my publishers who THEN pay me. And sometimes people are late. My publishers can't pay me what they don't have. Delays happen and sometimes it's not the fault of the people you think it is.



Sigh. Yet another 'artist' whining about how other people should count themselves lucky to work with artists.

I don't work with anyone who calls themselves an 'artist' unless they are an actual paint and pencil artist. It's usually an alarm bell for occurences like these.


Most advances are paid out as partials, anyway.

Any contract I have signed has said clearly that the payments were due 'within 30 days of signing /delivery'. I've never had a contract that said 'immediately' but I would be willing to bet that where one did say 'immediately' that term would be clarified in the notes.


That's what's bothering me about the responses, too. Yes, he's ill. So what? So are lots of people. It's not carte blanche to be an asshole, and similarly, those of us who deal with this don't want special treatment.

Agreed.

Dave Hardy
11-18-2011, 08:54 PM
I just spotted the bit where SM says he's got cyclothemic mania & it's awesome. Is there much of a market for self-help advice from bi-polar people having an episode?

The Lonely One
11-18-2011, 09:05 PM
I
3. He appears to lack the balls to actually discuss the issues with his publisher, instead he posts an 'open letter' which is really just a cry for free publicity. If he had wanted to then he would have dealt with these problems in a mature and professional way. Instead he freaks out in public. Not professional and also not showing me that he's anyone I want to listen to in terms of self-help business books. Just sayin' Seb.



This is always a valid argument when it comes to these things. As it is a 'letter' to the publisher and doesn't address a public audience or attempt to inform, it has no business getting into our hands. I don't want to read it besides, so keep your letters to their respective inboxes and away from me.

Isabella Amaris
11-22-2011, 01:37 AM
Hmmmm, read that letter. I can't help wondering...

1. Why is it people are assuming he's bipolar? Is it because of the angry tone of the letter, and possibly figurative use of the term 'cychlothemic mania'?

2. Does being bipolar/having an angry tone = the points he raises are automatically of no value? I actually found some of what he said to be revealing of logistical aspects of the publishing business that could be frustrating to authors, though of course, perhaps impractical to improve any time soon as he seems to wish...

3. If he was having a manic episode (note, an actual manic episode) when writing the post, isn't it pointless to bash him for it? esp when (cychlothemic) mania can, I believe, manifest to different degrees in different people to begin with, though do correct me if I'm wrong there...

Just some thoughts...

Perks
11-22-2011, 01:54 AM
In manufacturing (which, at the contract and fabrication stage, publishing is) 60 to 90 days to pay an invoice in completely standard.

One has to wonder if Sebastian pays his electric bill four hours after he receives it.

Christyp
11-22-2011, 03:50 AM
My philosophy about putting your angry rantings into writing is

a.) It's GOING to get you into trouble with someone.

b.) It MAY get you into a lot of trouble with someone.

c.) If you can write it all out once, erase it, wait a week (although allegedly this guy waited a year before he spewed), and then still want to write all the angry shit you wrote in the heat of anger, then maybe there's something to it.

Chances are, though, that your second draft will look drastically subdued and more well thought out than the original, if you even find it worth writing to begin with. From personally writing stuff like this author wrote and then regretting it, I see this as very possibly a major blunder.

Also, I stopped reading about here:

Cool story, bro. Shouldn't it be "or whenever"? Not nitpicking an artist or anything, just saying.

Plus all the "fucks" and "bitches" etc. kind of keyed me in that this wasn't going to be a clear-minded essay on the plights of publishing...

I'm not one to generally care about someone cursing in their writing, but must say, this was so unbelievably unprofessional. I never get offended, and found myself frowning at his crass manner.

Snitchcat
11-22-2011, 04:27 AM
I did not bother to finish reading the letter. Got about a third of the way through and thought: Grow up already. There are more professional ways to throw a tantrum.

This letter will get the author into the kind of trouble he will not be able to fully live down.

adarkfox
11-22-2011, 07:26 AM
what a spoiled screaming brat.

I read it and all I heard was some one carrying on how everyone who doesn't listen to him is stupid because he's so smart.

Unless he has degrees/experience in marketing, design, editing, publishing, public relations.... then he has no right telling S&S they don't now what they're doing.

Rolling eyes and moving on.

Libbie
11-22-2011, 08:10 AM
After reading the whole thing, here are my thoughts, which somebody else has probably already articulated somewhere in this five-page thread:

He has some really good points about the industry moving too slowly to keep up with modern technology, coordination, meeting contractual deadlines, etc.

But I think he wrote and posted this on a manic mood swing, and when he inevitably crashes, he'll be staring into Hong Kong Bay again. As much money as he thinks his new contract with whatever business may bring him in this shitty world economy, as deathspirally as the publishing industry may be at present, before implementing the changes needed to survive, Simon & Schuester still has way more money than he has. I smell a contract cancellation coming his way, as well as being ditched by his agent.

It's appropriate to speak up strongly when one sees serious flaws in an industry and ways to fix them. But this was the wrong way to do it. It will not benefit him in the end, and so it will benefit nobody else, either. What a shame. He seems pretty insightful and seems to have some good ideas on how to turn things around. But now nobody will take him seriously.

Libbie
11-22-2011, 08:24 AM
I don't understand. Why would someone want to be cute loose from a big publisher to self-publish? Often, there is no money in self publishing, unless you happen to get picked up by a big publisher.

a lot of people THINK that traditional publishing will not adapt to technological advances and that self-publishing will soon be the only way anybody publishes, and they're hungry to be at the point of the spearhead.

I think those people are goobers. There is a lot of money and a lot of very creative brainpower collectively in the publishing industry, and that's a winning combination. Traditional publishing will change, but it's not going anywhere, and it will continue to hold more credence with readers than self-publishing. THUS PREDICTS LIBBIE.

Libbie
11-22-2011, 08:28 AM
In manufacturing (which, at the contract and fabrication stage, publishing is) 60 to 90 days to pay an invoice in completely standard.

One has to wonder if Sebastian pays his electric bill four hours after he receives it.


Good point. My job for five boring years was to pay all the bills for a popular cruise company. In the interest of working within my monthly budget, I often had to sort through each invoice's small print to determine how far I could put off paying each one back.

All contracts have fine print, Mr. Marshall.

benbradley
11-22-2011, 08:48 AM
I glanced at the page, but I think this thread is (mostly) more informative.

...
Just because you're bipolar doesn't mean you can't get pissed off at stuff, same as everyone else. Whether his is a legitimate complaint....I'm not sure. But at least he's upfront about his condition.
So he DID say something about being bipolar?

Okay, I looked he does use the word manic, bla bla bla ... I guess if he claims it himself, it's okay for armchair doctors on the Internet to comment on it. I was about to get all upset about such diagnoses, but I guess I can't do that now.

This guy is a total idiot. And he's shot himself in the foot. What editor would ever want to work with him after this tantrum?

It took six and a half weeks for his first check to get to him, so he flips out? ROFL.
Imagine the reaction he would have to being "published" by PublishAmerica.

Mr Flibble
11-22-2011, 09:45 AM
So he DID say something about being bipolar?

Okay, I looked he does use the word manic, bla bla bla ... I guess if he claims it himself, it's okay for armchair doctors on the Internet to comment on it. I was about to get all upset about such diagnoses, but I guess I can't do that now.

He says he's cyclothymic (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyclothymia), and what he describes seems pretty typical tbh, especially the hypomania stage. Who knows if he's been properly diagnosed? But if he says he's bipolar and describes his states very much as though he is, well then.

seun
11-22-2011, 02:50 PM
Just read his letter.

Laughed at him.

Laughed at the thought of his letter from S&S telling him to get stuffed.

Now drinking a fine cup of coffee.

shaldna
11-22-2011, 02:51 PM
He says he's cyclothymic (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyclothymia), and what he describes seems pretty typical tbh, especially the hypomania stage. Who knows if he's been properly diagnosed? But if he says he's bipolar and describes his states very much as though he is, well then.

He talks about it at length on his most recent blog posts.

Intersting, but still is not an excuse for his behaviour.

http://www.sebastianmarshall.com/

Mr Flibble
11-22-2011, 06:38 PM
Intersting, but still is not an excuse for his behaviour.



A reason perhaps. But no, not an excuse.

bearilou
11-22-2011, 07:24 PM
Good point. My job for five boring years was to pay all the bills for a popular cruise company. In the interest of working within my monthly budget, I often had to sort through each invoice's small print to determine how far I could put off paying each one back.

All contracts have fine print, Mr. Marshall.

Exactly. As was touched on above, I have to wonder if when his bills come due is he the kind of bill payer that turns it around and sends his payment right back out asap?

If he's not...

Phaeal
11-22-2011, 11:07 PM
Now, wait just a minute here. This guy is RIGHT! S & S was being totally unreasonable. Just look at THIS:



Title: for contract – How to Make a Self-Made Man; but final title subject to mutual approval of Author and Publisher
Length: 50,000 – 60,000 words
Delivery: July 1, 1011


HELLO? Doesn't S & S have any idea HOW MUCH TIME TRAVEL COSTS? Tech noobs. Sebastian would have needed at least a 65 MILLION DOLLAR ADVANCE to make it worthwhile for him to turn in an MS in 1011. Damn. They didn't even make decent lattes back then.

Bicyclefish
12-09-2011, 06:32 AM
Does anyone know if S&S is still publishing his book? I can't find him listed on their author's pages anymore.

amergina
12-09-2011, 11:30 PM
Does anyone know if S&S is still publishing his book? I can't find him listed on their author's pages anymore.

Funny you should ask...

The author in question recently posted a video letter to his agent. http://youtu.be/hhVJl-OBEY4

Warning--shirtless manic author with a whiteboard.

KTC
12-09-2011, 11:34 PM
I watched this video twice. It's 18 minutes long! He makes valid points...but they will all be missed in the manic haze. The poor guy.

ChaosTitan
12-09-2011, 11:51 PM
Oh my God. I managed about three minutes.

Publishing Cartel?

Openly sharing a private business email sent to him by his agent that explains his options based on the CONTRACT THAT HE WILLINGLY SIGNED is not only class-less, it's just....wow.

Since I couldn't make it past 3:07, Kevin, what were those valid points he made?

KTC
12-09-2011, 11:52 PM
Oh...the last 5 or so minutes are the best. He tears up money.

Perks
12-10-2011, 12:00 AM
Yeah. Ranting with no shirt on on YouTube is never going to work.

Poor baby. What a mess.

ChaosTitan
12-10-2011, 12:00 AM
Oh...the last 5 or so minutes are the best. He tears up money.

:Wha:

He couldn't have just sent it to me? I'd have provided an SASE and everything!

benbradley
12-10-2011, 12:01 AM
:popcorn: :popcorn: :popcorn:

:popcorn: :popcorn: :popcorn:

:popcorn: :popcorn: :popcorn:

:popcorn: :popcorn: :popcorn:

Old Hack
12-10-2011, 12:02 AM
I didn't even manage three minutes.

Awful, just awful.

ChaosTitan
12-10-2011, 12:04 AM
You know what he reminds me of in that video? A child throwing a tantrum because he willfully broke his new toy, had it taken away, and is upset that his parents won't buy him a new one.

And that's just from watching the prologue.

KTC
12-10-2011, 12:11 AM
But there ARE points worth hearing. He's going through a manic episode...that much is clear. But we just have to remember that mania is not the same as insanity.

Toothpaste
12-10-2011, 12:39 AM
Since I have no desire to watch the video, what are said points KTC?

Perks
12-10-2011, 12:42 AM
Oh...the last 5 or so minutes are the best. He tears up money.

He says he doesn't need money. He says that he can go eat dinner at a friend's house. Presumably the friend bought the groceries for said meal with seashells.

Devil Ledbetter
12-10-2011, 12:45 AM
But there ARE points worth hearing. He's going through a manic episode...that much is clear. But we just have to remember that mania is not the same as insanity.True. All the manics I know are quite sane. They just get excited and very busy at times.

Someone in the comments pointed out that his shirtlessness may be a response to overheating because of amphetine use.

Anyway, "problems with the publishing industry" aren't really problems for writers. They're opportunities. And I don't mean this in an annoying "look at the brightside" way. Anytime any industry get too mired in its own status quo they inadvertently leave open windows of opportunity that clever and creative people can exploit.

Look at Seth Godin. He built an empire for himself by giving his books away as free PDFs. He had something to say. He didn't wait until a publisher granted him permission before he said it. And he promoted his books the opposite of how a publisher would have handled it.

If the system doesn't work for you, find a way around it. If you have something worthy of attention you should be able to build a base.

Whining at the powers that be isn't going to get this guy anywhere, even if he has a point.

KTC
12-10-2011, 12:57 AM
Whining at the powers that be isn't going to get this guy anywhere, even if he has a point.

absolutely dead on. he's a travelling train wreck waiting for a bridge with dynamite to travel over. KABOOM!

escritora
12-10-2011, 01:02 AM
It's an odd way to make a point, but I think his shirtlessness (not a word, I know) is his way of demonstrating that the publisher is the emperor without clothes.

Alas, amphetamine use makes sense.

Perks
12-10-2011, 01:07 AM
I'm wondering about his claim that he negotiated Jim Levine's commission to 25%, up from 15%. I wonder if Levine agreed to the terms. "I'm going to take up a lot of your time, so I'll pay you extra for it."?

Seems like an agent would insist on standard terms, run away, or that it didn't happen the way this guys said it did. What professional would get roped into a legal obligation to babysit a grown man for 10% more money?

ChaosTitan
12-10-2011, 01:28 AM
I'm wondering about his claim that he negotiated Jim Levine's commission to 25%, up from 15%. I wonder if Levine agreed to the terms. "I'm going to take up a lot of your time, so I'll pay you extra for it."?

Seems like an agent would insist on standard terms, run away, or that it didn't happen the way this guys said it did. What professional would get roped into a legal obligation to babysit a grown man for 10% more money?

That does seem like an odd claim.

But regardless of whether Mr. Levine's commission was 15% or 50%, agents aren't miracle workers. Agent and author both need to work within the parameters of the contract that the author signed and agreed to adhere to.

So the author trying to say "I agreed to pay him more and now he's not doing the work he said he would," is kind of laughable.

escritora
12-10-2011, 01:36 AM
So the author trying to say "I agreed to pay him more and now he's not doing the work he said he would," is kind of laughable.

I think his point is that writers pay the agent but the agent "works" for the publishing house.

bearilou
12-10-2011, 01:56 AM
Funny you should ask...

The author in question recently posted a video letter to his agent. http://youtu.be/hhVJl-OBEY4

Warning--shirtless manic author with a whiteboard.

Wow. That hits my second-hand embarrassment squicks pretty hard.

Dude, put a shirt on. Really.

iRock
12-10-2011, 02:13 AM
Poor bastard. He's his own worst enemy right now.

But mental illness or not, he's a grown man, and, as such, is responsible and accountable for his actions.

cameron_chapman
12-10-2011, 02:25 AM
I've got to say that after reading the letter, I can sympathize with the guy. It sounds like his experience was a lot like my own experience working with a very large publisher on a non-fiction book. Would I have written an open letter like that? I'm still considering it (though mine would not be part of a manic episode and would contain considerably less swearing and considerably more facts). At the moment it's just not worth it.

As far as his video goes, do you guys really think he's on drugs? Do you not hang out with passionate people? He reminds me of half the people I'm friends with, none of whom are on amphetamines...maybe I just have really weird friends. :Shrug:

Honestly, I agree with most of the points he's made. I think he's on the mark with a lot of what he's saying, but unfortunately because he's passionate about it and because he's not pulling punches and he's not conforming to how we expect an intelligent and rational person should look and sound, he's not going to be taken seriously by a lot of people. Doesn't mean he isn't right.

bearilou
12-10-2011, 02:46 AM
Honestly, I agree with most of the points he's made. I think he's on the mark with a lot of what he's saying, but unfortunately because he's passionate about it and because he's not pulling punches and he's not conforming to how we expect an intelligent and rational person should look and sound, he's not going to be taken seriously by a lot of people. Doesn't mean he isn't right.

Frankly, I'd settle for coherent.

escritora
12-10-2011, 02:49 AM
Doesn't mean he isn't right. The US Census information confused me. Can you (or anyone) explain what he meant?

ETA: I understand his point: self-published ebooks are going to take over the world. I'm confused as to how he came to that conclusion using the Census information.

cameron_chapman
12-10-2011, 02:59 AM
The US Census information confused me. Can you (or anyone) explain what he meant?

ETA: I understand his point: ebooks are going to take over the world. I'm confused as to how he came to that conclusion using the Census information.

I believe it's the same information that's presented here (http://www.fonerbooks.com/booksale.htm) (last chart on the page), from Foner Books, regarding sales in millions. He wasn't clear on that in the video.

ChaosTitan
12-10-2011, 03:16 AM
I think his point is that writers pay the agent but the agent "works" for the publishing house.

In that case, it's still laughable. And wrong.

triceretops
12-10-2011, 04:52 AM
Isn't this guy an admitted debut author? Golden words, golden cover art design, golden NOW advance payment, unflinching, immediate communication as in drop everything you're fuckin' doing and listen to MY ideas, screw you, you selfish, vacationing bastard, and on and on and on.

He might know business, but he sure has no clue about how the publishing industry really works, with all its scheduling problems, missed emails, contract snafus, marketing and promo misses....what have you.

The publishing industry and all the crap that goes with it (things that don't go our way) is something real, experienced writers-authors are soberly aware of. Almost take for granted. It's irony and we understand it, albeit not without letting loose in purgatory, hell and pits, but that's part of the whole experience.

Wanna hear a real reason for a rant from a first-time author of a non-fiction book? Shit. I was offered a $5,500 advance--was told that more than once from my publisher ((22) years ago. Just before I signed on the dotted line, they brought Ralph Nader aboard to do the Forword. They explained that Ralph wanted/needed four grand to do the upfront work. They told me that his effort and name would bring in huge sales and that they would have to adjust my advance down to $1,500. I agreed to this, out of fear, since they could have told me to hit the highway if I didn't like it. So I thought, anyway.

I signed. A best-seller or even a good seller did not emerge from Ralph's godly name or influence. To this day, I have no idea how I got hosed so badly--didn't have an agent at the time, and was too impatient to sign lest they pulled the offer. I was a debut author then. I never felt ill or sickened toward my publisher, just a bit hurt and confused. I could've gone nuts and eaten my fingers, gouged my eyes and pulled my hair out.

So this guy is offered $65,000 and he splashes venom all over the internet because things (everything) just hasn't gone his way. His artistic sensibilities have been dinged, gouged, destroyed. Wasn't it Calligula who said, "What a terrible artist they are losing." I see some Calligula here.

WTF.

Tri

Bicyclefish
12-10-2011, 06:02 AM
He says he doesn't need money. He says that he can go eat dinner at a friend's house. Presumably the friend bought the groceries for said meal with seashells.
That's not what seashells are for! His friend doesn't know how to use the three seashells?!


Warning--shirtless manic author with a whiteboard.
I couldn't help but imagine he's doing the Pec Pop of Love (http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/pec-pop-of-love)... in his head. I only got about 2 minutes in before I gave up though. Don't suppose there's a transcript anywhere?

His apparent surprise and/or offense is odd though; I thought he'd be happy to get out of his contract with S&S and self pub, giving him the freedom to apply all his own ideas.

Alitriona
12-10-2011, 07:02 AM
He's an out and out idiot. I don't care how visionary he says his agent thinks he is.

While his friends have him over for dinner, they need to tell him to stop or they really aren't very good friends.

The shirtless thing, he's a joke. A pure joke and an insult to the artists he claims to represent. He ain't representing me for one.

In my country this week I saw services for disabled cut further. I saw people lose their jobs. Pensioners lost their fuel payments. There are people losing their homes and kids going to school hungry. To see someone rip up money that way, even to make a point, makes me sick to my stomach. If he cares so little for money, donate it to a homeless shelter for people who don't have a friend to feed them. This guy is not representing oppressed, hard done by artists. He's a spoiled brat and reminds me of a kid who throws a tantrum in the supermarket when he doesn't get to eat the chocolates he wants when he wants them. He's tossing his toys out of the pram and everyone around him is pretending to ignore it but really watching it while cringing with embarrassment for him.

Honestly his agent must have the patience of a saint. Did this guy seriously think there would be any other outcome than having to give his advance back and no one wanting to work with him? If he did, it just re-enforces that he is an idiot.

bettielee
12-10-2011, 07:36 AM
Since I have no desire to watch the video, what are said points KTC?

"Crazy writer shoots himself in the foot for the second time"

Of course, I only got through two minutes. It was painful.

Xelebes
12-10-2011, 11:03 AM
Who's holding the camera?

Old Hack
12-10-2011, 12:31 PM
Several of the points he made in his original letter relied on very flawed logic, and could easily have been explained away by his agent or his editor. It was all very one-sided, and showed a basic and almost entrenched misunderstanding of how publishing works.

I got the feeling that he wasn't prepared to help make things work more smoothly and that he expected everyone else to run around after him. I could be wrong. I often am. But while I agree that publishing isn't the most efficient beast, I don't think it should carry all the blame here.

Is the author doing himself any favours at all? No. Is he achieving anything, for himself or for other writers down the line? No. Should we be watching him do this? I don't think so.

shaldna
12-10-2011, 01:08 PM
So, S&S have, via his agent, offered him a get out - two options, both of which are much much more favorable then his contract stipulates - namely he can either have 24 months to repay his advance, or he can seek another publisher and repay his advance from the sale of the book. Both of which are much better than the contract clause which states he must repay his advance immediately.

But he's still bitching about that.

I think S&S are being much more reasonable here than they need to be.

ladyleeona
12-10-2011, 11:25 PM
I read about half way down and then became intensely irritated by his prose style.

Yeah, me too. I read until I got to his cover design rant, and then proceeded to skim. Don't feel like I missed much.



He's an idiot.

QFT.


Poor bastard. He's his own worst enemy right now.

But mental illness or not, he's a grown man, and, as such, is responsible and accountable for his actions.

Agreed.

What I hate--what really ticks me off--is, even unitentionally, he's dragged his agent through the muck with him. A 65k advance for a debut author? Whaaaaa? Tell me again why you're complaining?

That agent negotiated that pretty fantastic deal. I have no doubt that the author has a rockstart ms, but still. 65k?

Getting paid late is crap, I agree on that point. But it's not something you air out to to world. Some people.

escritora
12-10-2011, 11:31 PM
He didn't get paid late, tho. Receiving a check six weeks after the signing of a contract is on target.

ladyleeona
12-10-2011, 11:36 PM
He didn't get paid late, tho. Receiving a check six weeks after the signing of a contract is on target.

Is it? I guess, like him, I assumed immediate payment was, well, immediate. The difference between us being that he had the contract to read, which I'm sure specified these things (or an agent to explain), and I'm still learning about the pub industry.

Whoops.

Regardless, my reaction still stands: dude's a mouthy idiot.

Perks
12-10-2011, 11:40 PM
Getting paid late is crap, I agree on that point. But it's not something you air out to to world. Some people.I don't even know that he got paid late. In many industries, billing expectations run routinely in 60 - 90 day cycles.

It's not an ATM machine. Publishing houses are businesses, not too far afield of factories, run with procedures and bureaucratic (in the less cranky sense of the word) processes.

I'm at 47 days with Simon & Schuster. I haven't seen a dime yet. It's standard and nothing to be upset about. With the holidays and perhaps people out on leave who must sign off on certain aspects of my contract, it might be a little longer than the shortest sweep of the method.

Time-in-processing is something that every writer has to incorporate into his expectations. It's hard because we've already invested so much time developing our project. But the human beings who join our venture are working on many, many other things at the same time.

It's not just about the artiste wrestling with his muse. Nor should it be. Once we agree to work with a huge company, their workload must also be given its respect and due patience.

Now check back with me in the Spring. If I'm still just where I am now, expect a shirtless rant on YouTube.

Hey! I wonder how much I could get paid for that...

escritora
12-10-2011, 11:54 PM
Is it? I guess, like him, I assumed immediate payment was, well, immediate. The difference between us being that he had the contract to read, which I'm sure specified these things (or an agent to explain), and I'm still learning about the pub industry.

It's not just the pub industry. That's how things work. He runs a business. He knows.

If he received his check within six weeks that means his agent probably received the check weeks at least 10 days before. Then the agent mailed a check to the author and the author received the check two or three days later. So yeah, I would say that's immediate.

ETA for those who don't know how the process works: after the agent receives payment from the publisher, s/he sends the check to the client. The publisher does not send the check directly to authors. Unless the author is unagented or the parties made an agreement outside the norm. And none of those two options apply in this case.

MarkEsq
12-11-2011, 12:14 AM
My contract specifies payment will be made (to my agent) within 30 days of the contract being signed by all parties. I've signed, now waiting for them to.

aadams73
12-11-2011, 12:44 AM
If he received his check within six weeks that means his agent probably received the check weeks before. So yeah, I would say that's immediate.


Weeks before? I'd be very surprised if it was more than a few days to a week.

Just as a frame of reference:

My first check from S&S arrived at my agency about six weeks after I signed my contract--or thereabouts. My agency agreement then stipulates a maximum time frame (10 days, if I recall correctly) from their receiving the check to my receipt. It arrived well within that time frame.

All in all, S&S are very prompt with money. His whining is invalid and ridiculous.

Filigree
12-11-2011, 12:45 AM
My art agents regularly sell to museums and university special collections. The money's good, but often has to wait on the organizations' budgets. I've been paid up to 4 months after a sale. I put up with it because without those agents I couldn't reach those markets. And because of the prestige of having artwork actively collected in places like Ringling School of Art & Design and Yale, among others.

escritora
12-11-2011, 12:53 AM
My agency agreement then stipulates a maximum time frame (10 days, if I recall correctly)

Same here. Ten days is more than a week and less than two. I was rounding up.

willietheshakes
12-11-2011, 03:13 AM
Same here. Ten days is more than a week and less than two. I was rounding up.

FWIW, in business terms, ten days IS two weeks... (Weekends don't count.)

escritora
12-11-2011, 03:19 AM
FWIW, in business terms, ten days IS two weeks... (Weekends don't count.)

It's true. That's how I run my business. Though in my contracts I am specific and say "business days." With my agent (former) I asked whether she meant business and she said no.

atombaby
12-11-2011, 04:21 AM
He needs to stop taking his shirt off. And get off his high horse. Talk about being misguided. If he's so irked about it, then he ought to get his finances in order and make his own publishing company and implement his "suggestions" for his own company.

shaldna
12-11-2011, 01:49 PM
If he received his check within six weeks that means his agent probably received the check weeks at least 10 days before. Then the agent mailed a check to the author and the author received the check two or three days later. So yeah, I would say that's immediate.

Bear in mind also that, depending on your bank, it can take up to FIVE working days for a cheque to clear. Anyone with an ounce of business sense is not going to forward payment until that money has cleared in their own accounts. So I agree, waiting 10 working days, or more depending on teh circumstances is not unusual.



FWIW, in business terms, ten days IS two weeks... (Weekends don't count.)

This. Here it's called 'Working Days' and ten working days means two calender weeks. Also, bear in mind that 'working days' can fall over a weekend, so three working days can actually be five days, or 6 or 7 depending on various public holidays where the banks etc are closed.


He needs to stop taking his shirt off. And get off his high horse. .

I think he thinks he's Tom Cruise.

Bicyclefish
12-12-2011, 01:16 AM
To those who managed to watch the video, does the author have to pay back the full advance, including the agent's cut? Basically, his agent still gets something, correct? If so, is that part of what he's ranting about, that he must repay S&S and his agent?

Forgive my inability to get past the 2 minute mark. I tried three times. I really did.

Alitriona
12-12-2011, 02:07 AM
To those who managed to watch the video, does the author have to pay back the full advance, including the agent's cut? Basically, his agent still gets something, correct? If so, is that part of what he's ranting about, that he must repay S&S and his agent?

Forgive my inability to get past the 2 minute mark. I tried three times. I really did.

That's how I understand it. The agent deserves to be paid. He did his job. It's the author who has messed up the contract.

shaldna
12-12-2011, 02:18 PM
To those who managed to watch the video, does the author have to pay back the full advance, including the agent's cut? Basically, his agent still gets something, correct? If so, is that part of what he's ranting about, that he must repay S&S and his agent?

He has to pay S&S the whole amount, including his agents deduction.

Basically the agent has done his job, so he gets paid. Now, bear in mind that although agents get the cheques, they are actually paid out of the authors money, so the author is the one who is technically paying the agent.

Since S&S have cancelled his contract he has to pay the whole amount back, but since the agent did his job, the author still has to pay him.

Terie
12-12-2011, 02:57 PM
Is there any evidence that his contract has actually been cancelled? (I can't bring myself to watch any of the video.) Or are people making assumptions? I can't find anything about the contract being cancelled by googling. But I did find this (http://www.sebastianmarshall.com/announcing-the-one-week-book), wherein he states that he's breaching his contract.

I imagine that if the contract isn't already cancelled, it will be soon. But I'm curious to know if it already is.

Ryan David Jahn
12-12-2011, 06:57 PM
So he throws a tantrum when he isn't paid for six weeks after signing a contract, claiming S&S was supposed to pay him "immediately" according to said contract -- which I find hard to believe: I've signed contracts for six books, and seen other contracts besides, and in every case there's been a window for payment that extends beyond right this second -- but also thinks it's somehow "cool" to breach his contract after receiving payment and release the book himself to Kindle? That's one classy guy.

Bubastes
12-12-2011, 07:12 PM
So he throws a tantrum when he isn't paid for six weeks after signing a contract, claiming S&S was supposed to pay him "immediately" according to said contract -- which I find hard to believe: I've signed contracts for six books, and seen other contracts besides, and in every case there's been a window for payment that extends beyond right this second -- but also thinks it's somehow "cool" to breach his contract after receiving payment and release the book himself to Kindle? That's one classy guy.

And yet there are plenty of people out there on the interwebz, such as self-publishing cheerleaders, who think he's so cool for stickin' it to Da Man. :e2shrug:

A 60-day payment period should not be a surprise to anyone who's worked in a big company.

aruna
12-12-2011, 07:12 PM
I couldn't even finish reading that "open letter". It was not only ridiculous, it was boring.
Six weeks to wait for your payment is nothing. From the start I was aware, almost instinctively, that the mills of publishing grind slowly. Yes, I wish it were quicker. But really, patience is a part of professionalism.

I know I did get a bit pissed off with my French publisher, once I was earning good royalties. I would get the end of year accounts, and know that quite a large sum was waiting for me -- but the publisher gave itself till the end of March to pay; and obviously, I didn't see any money till April. Since those days (now long gone!) I've often wondered if there shouldn't be a clause in there saying that that money earns interest.
However, such matters are private, between you and your publisher. I really, really hate public hissy fits.

shaldna
12-12-2011, 07:27 PM
Is there any evidence that his contract has actually been cancelled? (I can't bring myself to watch any of the video.) Or are people making assumptions? I can't find anything about the contract being cancelled by googling. But I did find this (http://www.sebastianmarshall.com/announcing-the-one-week-book), wherein he states that he's breaching his contract.

I imagine that if the contract isn't already cancelled, it will be soon. But I'm curious to know if it already is.

He reads out an email from his agent, Jim Levine, where Levine advises him that he has two options now - to either pay back S&S from the sale of the book to another publisher, or to pay the whole amount, including his agents commision, back to s&s within a 24 month period.

It's about three minutes in.

Terie
12-12-2011, 07:32 PM
He reads out an email from his agent, Jim Levine, where Levine advises him that he has two options now - to either pay back S&S from the sale of the book to another publisher, or to pay the whole amount, including his agents commision, back to s&s within a 24 month period.

It's about three minutes in.

Thanks! Both for the info and for sparing me the need to watch the thing. :)

benbradley
12-12-2011, 10:11 PM
Is there any evidence that his contract has actually been cancelled? (I can't bring myself to watch any of the video.) Or are people making assumptions? I can't find anything about the contract being cancelled by googling. But I did find this (http://www.sebastianmarshall.com/announcing-the-one-week-book), wherein he states that he's breaching his contract.

I imagine that if the contract isn't already cancelled, it will be soon. But I'm curious to know if it already is.
For what it's worth, this video is plenty enough evidence that the contract SHOULD BE cancelled.

And yet there are plenty of people out there on the interwebz, such as self-publishing cheerleaders, who think he's so cool for stickin' it to Da Man. :e2shrug:
Oh I can just hear them: "He's doing the wrong thing, but he's doing it for the Right Reason!" :sarcasm

Thanks! Both for the info and for sparing me the need to watch the thing. :)
Is there a need for a transcript of this thing, as a public service? I'd do it, but I've got to clean my bathroom and do a few other things...

triceretops
12-13-2011, 01:51 AM
If I were his agent, I'd seriously consider activating a clause whereby I could drop this agitator from my roster, and then blackball him for further contact and submissions in my database. Honestly, what kind of deals would he sabotage in the future over piddling, almost nonsensical ramblings in regard to HIS interpretation of contract law and stipulations?

He's welcome to Kindle--they'll take him.

Tri

Bicyclefish
12-13-2011, 02:22 AM
But I did find this, wherein he states that he's breaching his contract.
Quoted from that link:


Announcing The One Week Book
Posted on 12 December 2011

We’re compiling, editing, formatting, promoting, and getting a book into the Amazon Kindle store in a few days.

This totally breaches my contract with S&S even harder. Let’s see if their measures can stand.

But enough about that, we’ll talk about it later. We started a couple days ago, we’ve got five more days to go. It was Aaron Tucker’s idea to do it in a week. I’m giving my share of all the profits to charity, I’m doing this for the coolness factor and to show a better path to authors.
A day earlier he posted an explanation (http://www.sebastianmarshall.com/why-i-told-cbs-corporation-to-sue-me-without-wearing-a-shirt) on his shirtless video.


1. The message would be taken less seriously shirtless. Obviously.
2. But, it’d be more like to get spread and be remembered and “sticky” if done so. These things have to be entertaining for people.
3. So we asked, “Is publishing going to listen? If so, put a shirt on, be more serious, etc.” But we thought about it, and decided they weren’t going to listen anyways – they’re huge and don’t care about complaints from their partners, employees, or writers (they just ignore complaints, and sue anyone who gets out of line too much).
4. It shows a little bit of craziness, which is good.
5. It was a lot of fun, and the whole thing sucks if it’s not fun. The person who is having more fun in a battle like this is more likely to win – I can keep going forever, I really get a kick out of this.
He claims Jim's letter was full of "fake politeness" and contains a "sneaky implicit threat of a lawsuit" because he has "to pay more money than I got from them (after doing a lot of work for them and getting jerked around) if I don’t shut up and agree to their terms right now." So he fired Jim and is planning to "take the fight to the wire". Apparently, publishers "don't know how to deal with this" (him), because he's so unpredictable and revolutionary and somethingwhateverithurtsmybrain.

Seems to me he's striving for the David Versus Goliath angle now.

He's right about one thing at least; he's getting a kick out of all this. He enjoys the attention. Don't know if he still will if S&S or his agent decide upon legal recourse.

Anaquana
12-13-2011, 02:27 AM
Seems to me he's striving for the David Versus Goliath angle now.

He's right about one thing at least; he's getting a kick out of all this. He enjoys the attention. Don't know if he still will if S&S or his agent decide upon legal recourse.

I'm sure he will. He can spin it as "Look! They're so threatened by me/self-publishing/being exposed that they have to resort to legal action." Everything about this screams drama queen/attention whore. He's going to milk this for all it's worth for as long as possible.

mlhernandez
12-13-2011, 04:03 AM
Eh, people keep saying he's having a manic episode but I'm not sure. He might just be really arrogant and passionate. I mean, I had classmates in my biochem courses who were like this 24/7 and were not affected by bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, etc. He may just have poor social skills and delusions of grandeur, you know?

Seriously, when I think of manic episodes by writers, I think of Kira Takenochi and Yaoi House (http://dearauthor.com/book-reviews/publishing-house-alert-yaoi-house-llc). Now THAT was a manic episode, complete with visions from God and all kinds of other awful, terrible things, including releasing all her authors from their contracts while in the grip of her mania. I still get all sad when I think about how that went down. :(

aruna
12-13-2011, 11:12 AM
Eh, people keep saying he's having a manic episode but I'm not sure. He might just be really arrogant and passionate. I mean, I had classmates in my biochem courses who were like this 24/7 and were not affected by bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, etc. He may just have poor social skills and delusions of grandeur, you know?



This is what I believe. The moment he used that word "artist" I caught the stench of arrogance. These are people who believe that by putting themselves in the centre of attention they actually become "somebody". It's not an illness. It's just plain ego gone into overdrive.

ETA: and who's to say he really did tear up money? We only have his word for it that those were real bank notes. Probably it was monopoly money.

Alitriona
12-13-2011, 01:32 PM
ETA: and who's to say he really did tear up money? We only have his word for it that those were real bank notes. Probably it was monopoly money.

I watched this video on a big screen with my brother, it sure didn't look like monopoly money to either of us.

He's doing a disservice to many young writers who will believe he is getting something over on big business. Free money. He gets paid and still gets to self-pub. I will be very disheartened to see him get away with it.

Terie
12-13-2011, 02:00 PM
I will be very disheartened to see him get away with it.

I can't imagine S&S writing off a $65,000 advance, especially not in a situation like this.

shaldna
12-13-2011, 02:21 PM
I would be very surprised if this was dropped without a court case from S&S.

I'd love to see if he's still as arrogant when he's bankrupt.

What he fails to see is that this is not helping his reputation in terms of his day job. Seriously, would you trust this guy with your money? Cause I sure as hell wouldn't.

Terie
12-13-2011, 02:38 PM
He might well sell enough copies of the book, self-published, to pay back S&S; maybe enough to make a profit. But I doubt he'll ever get another agent or commercial publishing contract, and it's hard to say whether his current shenanigans will parlay him into long-term self-publishing success.

Here's the rub: it might.

aruna
12-13-2011, 02:56 PM
I can't imagine S&S writing off a $65,000 advance, especially not in a situation like this.

Just the signature advance; a third of $65000. Still a lot of money.

triceretops
12-13-2011, 11:46 PM
Don't think a medical condition has anything to do with it. Just plain arrogance and self-righteousness.
Tri

Bubastes
12-13-2011, 11:55 PM
Don't think a medical condition has anything to do with it. Just plain arrogance and self-righteousness.
Tri

I agree. He reminds me of those smug, annoying "lifestyle design" bloggers who believe their own self-generated PR.

ETA: Oh gee, maybe it's because he is a lifestyle design blogger who believes his own PR. Judging from his list of posts (http://www.sebastianmarshall.com/new-start-here), it's the same bland follow-your-dreams-quit-your-job-and-be-cool-like-me stuff I've seen so many other places. I thought I recognized the smell of snake oil.

AlwaysJuly
12-13-2011, 11:57 PM
I couldn't believe his kvetching about having to pay back the entire advance, including "more money than I received" (i.e. his agent's portion). Well, that's how it works.

The whole thing fascinates me, but I'm stymied by the things that he cited as being treated "like a b---". Six weeks to getting paid, to me, is not a big deal. An email or two not being returned, to me, is not a big deal. Maybe I'm missing something. But it seems to me this really came down to him feeling ripped off by traditional publishing and what his take was going to be of the sales (in the video he did on The End of the Publishing Cartel -- shirtless - he mentioned artists only receiving 7.5% multiple times). Me thinks someone just heard of self-publishing and decided that was where the money was...

amergina
12-14-2011, 01:29 AM
I agree. He reminds me of those smug, annoying "lifestyle design" bloggers who believe their own self-generated PR.

ETA: Oh gee, maybe it's because he is a lifestyle design blogger who believes his own PR. Judging from his list of posts (http://www.sebastianmarshall.com/new-start-here), it's the same bland follow-your-dreams-quit-your-job-and-be-cool-like-me stuff I've seen so many other places. I thought I recognized the smell of snake oil.

Yeah, I got this vibe, too. The whole "You can make so much money like me by sending me money so I can tell you how to make money like me!" vibe.

It's all sale and no product. Vaporware.

triceretops
12-14-2011, 03:20 AM
I've waited 23 years for a NYC pub deal. What in the hell would six more weeks do to distract from that dream, I ask you?

Really, I'm agast, agog and atwitter at this persons attitude and demeanor.

Tri

aruna
12-14-2011, 10:50 AM
[QUOTE=AlwaysJuly;6818277. Me thinks someone just heard of self-publishing and decided that was where the money was...[/QUOTE]

This is the crux of the matter.

bearilou
12-14-2011, 09:35 PM
You know, there have been times where I really, really wanted to tear someone a new one verbally, when I didn't get desired customer satisfaction. I can imagine all the really good feelings that arise out of being able to just rip and tear until there's nothing left. 'Aren't I a clever girl being right and being verbally aggressive to get them to back down and admit fault?'

I'm always glad when I take a breath and realize that to be kind and considerate of the other person on the receiving end is not a crime and will almost, with very few exceptions, always get me better reception and service, than if I'd left them with bleeding stumps.

Something about not burning bridges...

missesdash
01-16-2012, 09:12 AM
Eh, people keep saying he's having a manic episode but I'm not sure. He might just be really arrogant and passionate. I mean, I had classmates in my biochem courses who were like this 24/7 and were not affected by bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, etc. He may just have poor social skills and delusions of grandeur, you know?

Seriously, when I think of manic episodes by writers, I think of Kira Takenochi and Yaoi House (http://dearauthor.com/book-reviews/publishing-house-alert-yaoi-house-llc). Now THAT was a manic episode, complete with visions from God and all kinds of other awful, terrible things, including releasing all her authors from their contracts while in the grip of her mania. I still get all sad when I think about how that went down. :(

I think it's worth mentioning that there is mania and there is hypomania. Depending on which type of bipolar he is, it could be either. I'm a type two, which means I get hypomania. And that's exactly what it looks like.

There are no hallucinations because hypomania is much more mild. To a lot of people it looks like a period of high energy and productivity. But then there's the lack of sleep, lack of eating and general agitation. Anyway, I'm sure anyone interested can look it up.

But I saw a lot of people saying "that's not a manic episode" when in fact there are different degrees of manic episodes.