Friday, November 16, 2007

Judith Regan Lawsuit

You all have already heard by now that Judith Regan has filed suit against her former employer, HarperCollins (and parent company News Corp.). She's suing on a number of grounds (24 in all) and is asking for over $100 million in damages.

Just to recap, Regan is a very famous, high profile editor who specializes in sensational titles. She acquired both the OJ Simpson book IF I DID IT and Peter Golenbock's 7: THE MICKEY MANTLE NOVEL, and the controversies that resulted represent the bulk of her complaint.

I'll post my own restrained opinion and provide updates as things progress, but for now here is a link to the complaint (PDF) via Publisher's Marketplace, as well as a good summary from Galley Cat.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

WGA Strike - Who Do You Side With?

As the strike continues, there is a battle ongoing outside of the negotiation table - for the hearts and minds of the general public. I'm interested in hearing how you feel about all of this when you have a chance.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Term of the Week: Satisfactory Manuscript

All publishers require that a manuscript has to be "satisfactory" before it will be accepted. This allows them to terminate a contract if the manuscript delivered is not fit for publication. While it makes sense that the publisher should be allowed to reject a work if it is not fit for publication, it's important to define this term in more detail in order to ensure that the publisher cannot reject the work for arbitrary reasons.

First, make sure you describe in much detail as possible what you are supposed to be delivering. Next, add "in form and content" after "satisfactory", which prevents the publisher from rejecting a work simply because the subject matter is no longer popular at the time you deliver the it.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Soap Writers Cross the Line

Variety is reporting that several soap writers have crossed the picket line. So far these defections appear to be an exception, as the writers continue to display solidarity.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Norman Mailer

Norman Mailer passed away over the weekend. I was never a huge fan of his work (with the exception of THE EXECUTIONER'S SONG), but I was in awe of his brilliance and work ethic, not to mention his sheer pugnaciousness.

One of the most significant memories in my publishing life to date is at the National Book Awards in 2005, when Mailer accepted the award for distinguished contribution to American letters. In his speech he addressed the decline of the serious novel - hitting at the heart of the epidemic by noting that today people take too much pleasure in reading a nasty review of a serious novel instead of trying to appreciate what was involved in creating the work.

Gore Vidal said it best: "He is a man whose faults, though many, add to rather than subtract from the sum of his natural achievements.”