Business Musings: Writers, Scam Artists, Agents, And More (Sigh)

Just when I thought it was safe to get back into the water…

I’m editing a lot these days. I only edit short fiction projects. Anthologies, anthology series (Fiction River), the occasional nonfiction book, and some magazines. I’m also consulting with the fine folks at WMG Publishing, because they’ll be handling the contracts for the revival of Pulphouse next year. Dean’s vision for Pulphouse includes reprinting some of the older stories, which means we have to deal with estates.

Too often, estates mean agents.

But even some lazy-ass living writers give their agents control of everything. It took me one year—one year—to get my hands on a non-fiction reprint that I wanted for a project of mine. The centerpiece for that project was an editorial written more than 20 years ago by a writer who had forgotten they had even written it. This writer, a friend of mine, doesn’t do email, and mostly stays off-line. (I know, I know.) I didn’t know about their tech phobia when I started into this, and had sent five different emails before I asked another editor friend how to reach this writer.

The editor advised snail mail.

Before I resorted to that, though, I called. The author and I are friends, after all. On the phone, the author told me that their agent handles everything. I do mean everything. The author—one smart cookie otherwise—can’t be bothered to concern themselves with touching anything to do with business. I had no idea this author was an Artiste, but I guess I know that now.

I also know why most anthologists refuse to reprint this author’s work.

I was pretty excited about this non-fiction project when I started it. I missed the publication window because of this agent and this writer. Fortunately, my publisher pushed the deadline back. We’ve pushed it back again, and again, and again. And frankly, I’m not feeling it any more. I have completely soured on the project.

The big bad agent, by the way, negotiated a horseshit deal for the writer that essentially gave me more rights than I would ever need. I offered the usual fee, which the agent did not negotiate up (although he could have). By that point, I was too pissed to give a break to these people. The amount of money—on publication, if there’s a publication—to the agent and the author will be negligible.

It was just a bottleneck of insane proportions.

And not the only one caused by an agent this past year.

But this post really isn’t about the agent. It’s about the writer.

Who the hell gives over control of everything, I mean everything, to an agent?

Oh, most writers. Never mind.

Still, I expect better. And if a writer is going to give control of the business side of her work to an “expert” then the expert better be damn good at negotiating and taking care of the writer’s interests.

So far, all of the agents I’ve encountered who handle everything are the worst negotiators in the business. They let things slide, they don’t care about being paid, they don’t ask for the right kind of language in a contract, they license the wrong rights or sell those rights outright.

Oh, I could go on and on and on—and sometimes do.

Why do I go on and on and on?

Because I’m like those guys from the movie The Big Short.

(SPOILERS! {Just sayin’})

There’s a scene toward the end of the movie in which characters Charlie Geller and Jaime Shipley sneak into Lehman Brothers the day the company goes down. The young men stand on the now-empty trading floor of the corporation—the place they had dreamed of ending up—and one of them says, This isn’t how I imagined it.

And the other responds with the words the audience is thinking: What did you imagine?

Grown-ups, the first young man said.

Yeah. That’s what I expect. From long-term writers. From the people they hire to represent them. From anyone handling anything to do with money and business in publishing.

I expect grown-ups.

Instead, I run into breathtaking ignorance over and over and over again.

On one of the many projects I worked on recently, I contacted a writer to reprint one of their stories. I wrote a standard email letter, requesting permission to reprint, and the writer wrote back that they had no idea if the rights were available. The writer said I should contact the editor who originally published the story and ask.

I was taken aback. I had never had a writer say such a thing before in all of my years of editing. I knew the editor in question, and had worked with him many times. Never once did that editor, in all his various projects, try to control all the rights to a project. It wasn’t in his standard contract, the one he used for his anthology projects. It wasn’t in his special contracts, for other projects. It hadn’t ever happened, not in years of dealing with this man.

Honestly, this is where Writer Me and Editor Me had a conflict. Writer Me decided that Editor Me should get clarification from that writer before going to the writer’s editor. You see, Writer Me figured the editor in question would be confused at best or insulted at worst by the suggestion that he controlled the rights.

I did not want to offend him—as a person, not as an editor I might work with.

So I asked for clarification from the writer on the problem and added, as I do with many writers—bestsellers and nonbestsellers alike—that I would be happy to look at the clauses or contract in question (with the pertinent information like SSN and payment blacked out) to see what rights the author had actually sold. After all, the author clearly had no idea. Frankly, I figured the author didn’t know how to read a contract, and certainly didn’t know copyright law. I’ve seen that dozens of times before.

The next thing I know, I got an angry letter from a Big Name Agent, berating me for being inappropriate by asking to see that writer’s contract. I literally blushed as I read the email. Using vicious language, this guy had shamed me. He had essentially called me an idiot and a charlatan, and he copied the writer on the email.

Let’s back up a minute here. I had no idea that the writer had an agent on this project. The writer had not told me. Had the author told me, I would have gone to Big Name Agent to ask about the rights, through the normal procedures. None of this would have happened.

I had to walk away from my email before responding. I was humiliated (as the agent wanted). Then I got angry. Neither emotion was conducive to a professional email exchange.

Once I calmed down, I realized the mistake was the writer’s, not mine. I wanted to reprint a story and offer the writer money. If I needed to contact the agent, well, then the writer should have said so, and I would have done so.

So…I wrote back to the asshole—oh, beg pardon, agent—and said that I meant no harm; it was just the writer seemed confused about the rights they had sold and their suggestion to go to the editor was unusual at best.

The agent then told me that even though he had brokered the deal, he had no idea if the rights were available and I needed to go to the editor.

Okay. That was weird. If the agent brokered the deal, how come he had no idea which rights were available? That smacked of incompetence or sheer laziness. Either he really didn’t know what kind of deal he had made for his client or he was too lazy to look it up.

It took all of my personal strength not to shame him in front of his client, telling that writer that the agent should know what the hell kind of deal he had brokered.

But I didn’t. I didn’t really want to deal with that idiot writer ever again.

I almost backed out of buying the story. But it’s a powerful piece. I wanted it as a centerpiece to the project—although I was starting to question whether or not a story (any story) was worth the humiliation I had just gone through.

But I had already gone through the humiliation, so what the hell.

I wrote to the editor. It took half a day to compose the email because—remember—I didn’t want to offend him by suggesting he had done something wrong. I also considered the editor a colleague whom I could be honest with, and it took a lot of personal strength to write a neutral letter that didn’t say anything bad about the asshole—I mean agent—or the writer.

The editor wrote back and said he had no idea what rights were available. He sounded as perplexed as I had been about the writer—and the agent—saying he controlled those rights.

Color me very confused. This was so far past standard that I had no idea what was going on.

Then, the editor gave me the name of the publisher and suggested I contact someone there.

In that instant, all of my confusion vanished. Once I had the name of the publisher, I knew exactly what had gone wrong—and it made me mad all over again.

You see, Big Name Agent, working for Big Name Agency, had to keep his grubby little hands off this property because it was published by the pet ebook company that the agency had hired to publish ebooks for the agency’s clients only.

To avoid the appearance of conflict of interest, the agent couldn’t deal with any contract for the ebook publisher—not directly. The Big Name Agency was promoting a lie that it had nothing to do with that ebook service. (If the New York Attorney General knew about this arrangement, that agency would be subject to all kinds of investigations. And given I was still feeling pissed off and humiliated, I seriously thought about reporting them. I wish I had now.)

As an editor, I had worked with that ebook publisher before, and found their contracts to be draconian and ugly. Usually I couldn’t get any traction with this ebook publisher, at least for reprint rights, not without paying a ridiculous fortune, which I wouldn’t do.

However, in this case, the project carried some prestige, so the ebook company had no problem giving me permission to reprint the story— with payment to go to…wait for it…the ebook company.

The ebook company would (maybe) include this subsidiary rights sale in its royalty statement to the author.

Do I know if the company did include the sale? No. Do I think the company included the sale? No. Because there’s no one guarding the store. After all, in this kind of relationship, who is supposed to vet the royalty statements? The agent can’t. And the author—dimwit that they are—has no idea what rights were even sold, which meant the author had no clue what money would be owed on any subsidiary right.

If you’re not appalled by this little story, you should be. I’m rather inured to the idea that someone else gets paid for reprinting the work of many authors. I am, after all, dealing with estates a lot, and on the book side, traditional publishing companies often license subsidiary rights and pass through the payments (in theory) to the author in royalty statements.

That’s pretty normal.

What shouldn’t be normal are two things:

First, the agent should know who the rights licensor is, and did not. Or pretended not to, because of the scam—oh, beg pardon, I mean scheme—the agency and ebook company are pulling on their writers.

Second, the writer should know what rights they licensed, to whom, and whether or not those rights were available. They also should have been able to tell me which company to contact for the rights. If they’re one of those I can’t be soiled by silly business things writers, then they should have at least told me to contact their agent.

Good God.

I will tell you this. I will never buy an original story from this author. And I’ll think twice (or maybe three times) before I reprint the author’s work, no matter how good it is. Life is too short, and I don’t need the abuse.

And this was not an isolated case, just an extreme one. I’ve run into writers who have no idea who controls the rights to their work, writers who have no best copy of the work and don’t care if the copy that’s being reprinted is any good, and writers who won’t get involved past a simple permission.

What I mean by the last point is this: The writer gives me permission in writing because the writer, in theory, controls the rights to the story, but the agent refuses to negotiate the deal. Period. I’ve come across that several times now, each time the agent is objecting to 1) the publishing company I’m working with (not always WMG, and not limited to WMG); 2) the amount I’m paying, but the agent can’t negotiate the amount up because the writer has already agreed to the price; and/or 3) me.

The agent I’ve had the most trouble with so far is one I’ve known since his days as a baby agent. And he’s not the asshole—I mean agent—mentioned above. This other agent, the one I’ve had the most trouble with, is an unremitting asswipe, abusive and nasty and venal, and always has been. He and I have tangled for two decades in person. I hate him and he hates me, and so he does what he can to avoid contact with any project I’m associated with even if it’s in his client’s best interest to be part of that project.

There are agents whom I like a great deal personally, who are extremely easy to work with. There are agents whom I like a great deal personally, who are incompetent when it comes to business. There are agents whom I like a great deal personally, who are average business people, but do just fine when they need to.

And then there are the assholes. The writer’s Big Name agent, whom I mentioned above, moved from Random Agent in my book to flaming asshole with one extremely nasty email.

In the distant past, I made the mistake of telling a writer about their agent’s objection to working with me. The writer sniffed at me, and asked me what I had done to the agent. Nothing, I said. Well, it must have been something, the writer said, and refused to even consider any market I worked with from that moment on.

I mean, seriously.

I know, I know. You folks still want agents. Go ahead. Get one.

But realize there’s another lesson to be had here.

Know what you’re licensing, even if someone else negotiates the deal for you. Know what’s available and what isn’t. Monitor all of your licensing deals, your subright deals, and your contracts.

Because if you don’t, you might not just run into a predatory agent, like idiot writer did above. You might also run into some other predator.

What? You ask.

Well, let me give you one last example.

I was working on an anthology project and wanted to reprint a story from a Big Name Author I had never met. I did not know how to contact the author, and neither did any of my usual information sources. I even contacted various writers organizations that this writer might possibly have belonged to.

No one knew how to get in touch. That’s unusual for really big names. Usually, someone will offer to forward my contact information to the Big Name and then the Big Name will figure out how they want to contact me.

Since no one from my usual sources knew how to contact this person, I went to the original editor, someone I didn’t know.

That editor offered to go to the writer for a fee. The editor also wanted to know what I was offering the writer, which I did not say. The editor then told me that the writer would not take less than $1,000 for the story, which I could pay through the editor, who would see to it that the writer got the money.

Um…holy shit, dude. Really?

Instead, I went to a book editor who had worked with Big Name Author, got the contact information, and you know what? Big Name Author was easy to work with, and was happy with the usual fee that all the other authors got for that anthology.

Did I mention the short story editor to the author? Nope. I didn’t know the author well enough. I had no idea if the author and the scammy editor were friends.

I did, in a later discussion, mention this incident to another anthologist. That anthologist said, yeah, the editor was known for doing things like that and pocketing the extra cash. His sticky fingers were well known throughout the genre.

Only Big Name Author and I didn’t hang out with the right people in that genre. Neither of us knew about it, and I can guarantee that some other writers who published with that editor had no idea either.

I can go on, and often do, about the ways that writers can get scammed.

The key to the scamming almost always is the writer himself. I know I’m blaming the victim here, but the writer usually opens himself up to this kind of scam artist by refusing to learn the business.

I still feel a little humiliated by that damn agent, and angry at that damn writer, and astonished that a writer—any writer—would have no idea what rights were available to their work. I don’t know off the top of my head what rights are available on some of my short stories, but I know how to figure that out within the space of an hour.

And since I rarely sign contracts that take a lot of rights, I can usually guess which rights are available. Generally speaking, most of the rights are available, because I keep close control over everything.

My biggest problem, though, as a writer, an editor, a publisher, and a professional, is that I am like the guys in The Big Short. I expect to find grownups in the business world. Instead, I seem to find a plethora of thieves, scam artists, incompetents, and Artistes who simply can’t be bothered.

I write these blog posts out of my own disillusionment. Every time I have one of these experiences, I feel like those two characters in that movie. I’m looking around at a big important building, hoping for competence—and finding none.

***

One of the reasons I write these business posts is to vent, of course. It’s also to help writers find their way in this confusing industry. My husband Dean and I also teach some business courses that explain some of this stuff. We do so online.

If you want to test your abilities and see where you are as a business person (or in your craft), see the Strengths workshops that we’re doing for a limited time. We also have a number of workshops and lectures available on Teachable.

To support this blog on a regular basis, please go to Patreon.

For a one-time donation, please go to PayPal. (Include your email address when you do so, so that I can say thank you.)

Thanks!

Click paypal.me/kristinekathrynrusch to go to PayPal.

“Business Musings: Writers, Scam Artists, Agents, and More (Sigh),” copyright © 2017 by Kristine Kathryn Rusch. Image at the top of the blog copyright © Can Stock Photo / Colecanstock




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33 responses to “Business Musings: Writers, Scam Artists, Agents, And More (Sigh)”

  1. […] writerly links: how you should really really really stay away from agents and start learning some business. I’m not business-oriented either, but when I read those stories I just want to scream in […]

  2. There are NO REQUIREMENTS to being an agent. None. No licensing or qualifying or anything.

    Of course they are insecure! Which leads to all kinds of bad behavior, including being insulting, so no one will notice they are wearing NO clothes. None.

    The more you expose the system, the worse it looks. I’m so glad all the ones I approached back at the turn of the century turned me down.

  3. Kat Simons says:

    Wow, these stories… Mind boggling.

    I really appreciate when you write about this stuff though–even if reading about it gives me agita. Thank you for passing on the knowledge and the warnings.

    This all seems to dovetail nicely with Dean’s Magic Bakery posts too. Understand what you’re selling. And don’t hand over total control of running your bakery to the the guy who polishes the cabinet glass, while you stay in the back baking!

  4. LindaB says:

    Wow, you’re much nicer than I am. I thought I had seen the dregs of human behavior on facebook, but you’ve put up with a new low. I would hope that in the future, you think of yourself first and the anthology second. Nothing is worth going through all the garbage you put up with.

  5. Britni Patterson says:

    Honestly, I’m most shocked by the fact that the author didn’t tell his Big Name Agent to not talk to fellow authors that way. And also glad that I read your blog before I signed any contracts.

  6. Widdershins says:

    My favourite quote: ‘In the Age of Information, ignorance is a choice.’

  7. Sally says:

    You NEED to drop a dime on the extreme assholes to NY State. Before they go screwing over more people, ripping off and discouraging baby writers, etc. It’s like your civic duty. You’ve already made the case, some hungry assistant AG will grab it as a slam dunk.

    The problem with the world today — literally — is that assholes with power/money have never suffered the consequences of their actions. So they just escalate. If I have the power to keep any of them from getting away with it, I do it.

    Nevertheless, I persist.

    • So easy to say, so hard to do. I’ve investigated it. It would take a lot of time on my part and I would need to be one of many. I am building a case on another matter, but if I say much more, I will be tipping my hand. Suffice to say that in that matter I’m the aggrieved party, not a witness to it (as I would be with my editing tasks). So another document goes in the file, which will go to the AG when ready.

  8. A lot of this is sadly, exhaustingly familiar, of course. And, as always, puzzling–because, with a few exceptions, it’s simply NOT THAT HARD to keep track of one’s rights, for goodness sake.

    Even if a writer has a lot of properties licensed to a lot of different places, all that’s needed is a basic, competent filing system. Whether you print your contracts and keep them in a filing cabinet, or do everything electronically, all you need to do is have a very basic, common-sense folder/file system for contracts and licenses. Keeping track of where you rights are under contract, which rights you control, and which rights will revert to your control (or be eligible to revert to your control) this year (or next year, or in 60 days, etc.) isn’t rocket science, for chrissake. ALL it requires is organize your papers (or your e-files) in a sensible, methodical manner. If I can’t tell you off the top of my head what the current status is of the rights or subrights to one of my works is, then I know where to look for that information. In much the way that I know where to look if you ask me for my mom’s pot roast recipe, even though I don’t know the ingredients off the top of my head. Keeping one’s materials or information organized isn’t hard, for goodness sake! It’s not an esoteric skill.

    The only time I EVER had trouble understanding disposition of my own rights was, of COURSE, in a book contract that a bigshot literary agent negotiated for me. By the time I was trying to sort out those rights, I had ceased working with agents and had retained a lawyer for my contractual issues in publishing… and even my lawyer, very experienced with publishing contracts, couldn’t make head or tails of the rights clause, which was a fking MESS. That’s all behind me now, because I got those rights reverted…. but the process took about a year and was a MESS, involving legal departments at the publisher, the parent corporation, -and- Amazon because the rights clause the agent had negotiated was (did I mention?) such a fking MESS.

    But I digress.

    My point was… there’s no excuse for a writer (let alone an agent!!) not being able to answer an ordinary question about the rights to their work. It’s certainly understandable that they might not know the answer off the top of their head, but the only reason they shouldn’t be able to LOOK UP that info quickly is if their house has burned down, or they’re mid-move and all their stuff is in a storage unit for 2 months, or something like that.

    • Suzan Harden says:

      If I may, Laura, since a lot of my boxes are STILL in storage nearly three years after our move, scanned copies of your contracts and an external hard drive can save a few headaches.

      (And THANK YOU for all your business blog posts, too! You and Kris rock!)

      • Agreed. Essentially, whatever system works for the writer in question, so they can reference their own business whenever needed. (I went through an unexpected phase of no-access to my contracts for 2 months when what WAS supposed to be a same-day move from my apartment to the house I bought turned into a 2-month epic of couch-surfing as one closing date after another after another after another fell through while all my belongings sat in a hastily-rented storage unit.)

  9. Dafaolta says:

    Every time I read your posts about agents, I’m more and more grateful they are unnecessary now. I’m also more aware of how careful I will need to be about the instructions I leave behind for my eventual executors. And I don’t think you can really call it victim blaming when people volunteer to be stupid. There’s so many ways to learn what you know you don’t know, especially with so much available on the net, throwing up your hands and abdicating responsibility strikes me as childish.

  10. DeAnna says:

    Thanks for putting words to that. Five times this week so far (admittedly each was far less in scope that what you’re dealing with). But then I’m at the point where I’m a) just starting to have the experience to recognize the But-I’m-an-entrepreneur-with-no-follow-through attitude and b) the workload to have to start saying no.

  11. Laura Kirwan says:

    Two observations: First, you have once again made me wish I had a time machine so I could go back and thank my 27 year old self and tell her what a good thing she was doing by deciding to go to law school instead of getting an MFA. My sentences may not be as pretty as they might have been, but the finely tuned BS detector is way more useful. Second, you’re a much better person than I am. I’d have totally flamed that agent in front of his client, using all those big words I learned in law school.

  12. Wow. The number of times I have heard writers say that they just want to ‘write’ and not worry about the business is just astonishing. I come from an engineering background so I can’t understand why people would want to just focus on their craft and not worry about anything else. Why can’t people understand that knowledge is power?

  13. Whoa! I am stunned by these horror drabbles! Except they are not drabbles, are not fiction. I suppose, like you, that I expect competency to be present in the business world, and I don’t much like it that “thieves, scam artists, incompetents, and Artistes” inhabit that space instead. Ugh!

  14. Kate Pavelle says:

    Wow, Kris. Just, wow. I’d offer you a cup of valerian tea, and a pair of running shoes to work off the stress! As to your frustration regarding writers, I have a clue here, because I’m paperwork-challenged. It’s really hard for me to stay on top of deadlines, documentations, et cetera. It’s easy with just a few books out. Either a publisher has those rights and I sit tight until they revert, or I have indie books and they are mine to nurture or ruin. But then works accumulate, and before I know it, there is a lot in the catalog and I need to keep track of it all. Plus, how do you ORGANIZE all that short fiction? It comes with attachments: there are contracts. Deadlines. Exclusive period to keep track of. Schedules.
    I had never even considered submitting to a magazine before the Anthology Workshop, because I knew I’d have to deal with all that, and the paper tiger was just too fierce and overwhelming (a personal flaw, I know.) There is software out there for keeping track of submissions, but I haven’t found anything for keeping track of IP rights. Are you aware of a resource like that?
    I know I can set up a spread-sheet (and remember where I saved it, and back it up, and remember to use it), or I can use a paper ledger and use two pages per story and keep track by hand. And that’s okay, if I manage not to lose the ledger (Don’t ask.)
    I am not one of those adults you are looking for. For me, adulthood means hovering on a precipice of a disaster, yet still somehow making things work. I can totally see how some people would put their blinders on and “let an agent do it.” When it comes to writing professionally, I’d really love to have the logistical support that comes with an office, or a part-time PA who does house calls. That way, I’d retain control, yet somebody would help me remain more grounded.

    • LindaB says:

      Hire a PA. It will be cheaper in the long run to have everything organized for you, to say nothing of giving you peace of mind, which is priceless.

      • Kate Pavelle says:

        I just might have to 🙂 There just comes a time when one has too many balls in the air, and WIBBOW. It’s not just property rights. It’s everything relating to keeping track to communications, whether on paper or electronic. I know there are many commenters who will roll their eyes at this, but I’ve discovered that carrying a very small mortgage is worth the cost in interest, because the mortgage company pays all the local taxes on time. Stupid? No, strategic. Individual skill sets and propensities toward areas in which to f*uck up differ, the trick is naming the problem, and finding a comping mechanism or a solution. Paying a PA is most likely quite comparable. It’s not “childlike” to outsource certain things, and I refuse to feel shamed over it. If other writers rock at organization and time doesn’t randomly stretch and contract in their personal continuum, more power to them!

  15. Kris,

    Thanks for these posts.

    As a pro midlist nonfiction & small-scale fiction writer, I get at least one email a week offering help “managing my business.” Some of these are obvious scammers. Some of them have an Internet presence and apparent client base that makes them look like reputable companies. A few are reputable companies. I delete them all without responding, in no small part thanks to your warnings, so: thank you.

    Once in a while, though, at the end of a rough day at the end of a looooong week when I’ve been hanging out at the funeral home or dealing with a leaky roof or fighting with accounting, I consider the work of running a business and think that it’d be nice to have someone to take care of me. But what I really need then is someone to bring me a fluffy blanket and a mug of cocoa, not a comforting parasite that will get between me & my bank account.

    And there’s always that little voice that says, “I don’t have a business degree, what do I know about running a business?” I tell myself that running a business can’t be that hard, because a whole bunch of the business folks I know aren’t all that bright.

    These parasites will always be with us. Scammers gonna scam. If their scam dies, they’ll go looking for new opportunities. The world has an infinite supply of victims, sadly.

    Thanks for telling us about these new varieties. And reminding us of the old ones.

    • gordonrhorne says:

      Michael,

      I took a business development course that was required to qualify for funding assistance for a start up. Interestingly, the company contracted to provide the course was later indicted for fraud for double billing the government, but it was a useful course. I also took a small business course through the local university extension.

      I strongly recommend taking a small business course offered through a government program, chamber of commerce, or university extension. You will learn: a) you already have the skills, b) your responsibilities, and c) you don’t need to fulfill all the responsibilities yourself, just see that they are done. It makes business a whole lot less scary.

  16. Marsha says:

    Wow, Kris. Just wow. This makes me shudder. Writing is hard work. How can a writer not care about the business end? It’s like giving others the key to their bank vault and forgetting about it. It may be un-sympatheitc of me, but frankly they deserve what they get if they do that. I’m only sorry you find yourself in situations like the one you describe.

  17. J.R. Handley says:

    Another great article! Thank you for sharing!

  18. antarespress says:

    In Robert Heinlein’s work, the hero was always competent at what he is doing. So much so that any instance of incompetence jumped off the page. That assumption of competence may be the most fictional element in his stories.

    • That’s why it’s called fiction.

      I have pretty much worked one profession, but in many different fields of business. These things are certainly not restricted to the writing / publishing business – nor to the financial services business – they are found everywhere.

  19. Suzan Harden says:

    Day-um, Kris. I barely got half-way this post before I wanted to send you a case of Lindor truffles. Those kinds of behavior are total douche moves. Why act that way when someone wants to GIVE you MONEY? The only time I’ve said no to a reprint request was when they wanted the license for free. Sorry, the hardcover anthology may be the greatest thing since sliced bread, but I don’t need the exposure that bad.

  20. Martin L. Shoemaker says:

    I’m surprised these agents are even involved in short fiction sales — especially reprints. I thought the numbers were too small to interest them.

    • That’s usually the case. But some agents are control freaks. And some writers are so childlike, they implore the agent to take control of EVERYTHING, and if the writer is worth enough money to them, they agree–though they often then mishandle the short fiction rights (exactly as Kris has described in this example) because that’s still not worth real money to them.

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