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View Full Version : If you get an advance, you'd better deliver the goods . . .



JoeEkaitis
09-26-2012, 06:16 AM
. . . or else. (http://www.thesmokinggun.com/buster/penguin-group/book-publisher-sues-over-advances-657390)

Kitty Pryde
09-26-2012, 06:23 AM
That's wild. Do all the other big publishing houses have that many large-advance authors that took the money and ran?

Cliff Face
09-26-2012, 06:59 AM
I'll happily write their books for them. I mean, it'd be a shame to waste all that paper the contracts were printed on... ;)

jjdebenedictis
09-26-2012, 07:59 AM
Geez, yeah. If you can't put out, quietly hire a ghost writer.

WildScribe
09-26-2012, 08:28 AM
This is the one that kills me:


* Rebecca Mead, a staff writer at The New Yorker, owes $20,000 (and at least $2000 in interest), according to Penguin, which struck a $50,000 (http://i.cdn.turner.com/dr/teg/tsg/release/sites/default/files/assets/rebeccameadmoney.jpg) deal in 2003 for "a collection of the authorís journalism."

It doesn't even sound like she had to write anything NEW! Free money, and she couldn't be bothered to format it, or what?

leahzero
09-26-2012, 03:55 PM
This one is all kinds of skeezy:


Holocaust survivor Herman Rosenblat was signed for $40,000 in 2008 to describe how he "survived a concentration camp because of a young girl who snuck him food. 17 years later the two met on a blind date and have been together ever since, married 50 years." While Rosenblat’s story was hailed by Oprah Winfrey as the "single greatest love story" she had told on the air, it turned out to be a fabrication. Penguin wants him to repay a $30,000 advance (and at least $10,000 in interest).

Not the greatest track record with authors and amazing "true" stories, eh, Opes?

EMaree
09-27-2012, 01:38 AM
This story keeps escalating, with Trident Media posting a statement (http://www.mediabistro.com/galleycat/robert-gottlieb-responds-to-penguin-lawsuit-authors-beware_b58096) against Penguin and EdRants posting an extended list (http://www.edrants.com/penguin-sues-elizabeth-wurtzel-ana-marie-cox-and-other-authors-who-cant-deliver-books/) of authors being sued.

I'm very puzzled why Trident are supporting authors who don't deliver their contracted goods. They seem to be saying the manuscripts were delivered and then rejected by the publisher, but so far no other sources have said that's the case.

It makes me wonder how much of the story we're actually seeing.

jjdebenedictis
09-27-2012, 03:29 AM
How the crap do I get a $20,000 advance for a book on fishing lures?

Ahem. Not jealous or anything. Really.

With the exception of the made-up memoir, none of these books are fiction. Do fiction writers just not get big enough advances to go after?

The EdRants article implies this is unusual behaviour for a publisher, and Penguin is perhaps only doing it out of financial hardship.

This topic is interesting enough that perhaps this thread should be ported to the Roundtable for wider discussion.

DeaK
09-27-2012, 03:46 AM
ETA: Never mind; I read that wrong

Bubastes
09-27-2012, 03:52 AM
With the exception of the made-up memoir, none of these books are fiction. Do fiction writers just not get big enough advances to go after?


I noticed that too. I suspect that these books were sold on proposal, so it's not clear if the authors even delivered finished manuscripts.

JustinlDew
09-27-2012, 06:50 AM
This one is all kinds of skeezy:



Not the greatest track record with authors and amazing "true" stories, eh, Opes?

Umm has the idiot at large ever heard of "historical fiction"?

EMaree
09-27-2012, 12:44 PM
With the exception of the made-up memoir, none of these books are fiction. Do fiction writers just not get big enough advances to go after?

I agree with Bubastes that it's probably because the authors never delivered (or at least that's one Penguin seems to be implying).

Fiction contracts aren't sold on the basis of your reptuation, but a good completed manuscript or (for already popular authors) past completion of good manuscripts and a solid outline of more. So the work's already done by the time money appears, or at least the author already knows how to deliver a full manuscript within deadline. But most of these contracts seem to have been given based on their celebrity status.

JimmyB27
09-27-2012, 01:13 PM
You could always take Dave Gorman's (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dave_Gorman#Dave_Gorman.27s_Googlewhack_Adventure) approach and write a sell out comedy show based on the experiences you had while not writing the book. ;)


At 31 Gorman decided to give up his stupid ways, grow a beard and write a novel. As a result he believes people took him more seriously and a new novel was commissioned. While trying to write a novel for his publisher (Random House (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Random_House)), Gorman became obsessed with Googlewhacks (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Googlewhack) when someone notified him that his site had one (Francophile Namesakes), and caused him to travel across the world finding people who had authored them (one of whom turned out to be one of the Dave Gormans he had met in his first adventure). He eventually spent his publisher's advance on the quest, without writing any of the promised novel, and had to create the Dave Gorman's Googlewhack Adventure show to pay them back.