Writer Posts Open Letter On Blog, Slams Simon & Schuster
Sebastian Marshall will be remembered as one of two things- a literary hero who stood up to "the man," or that guy who ran his mouth and torpedoed his career. Either way, we should see how this plays out for him over the next couple of days.
Marshall, who made a deal with Simon & Schuster for a single non-fiction book, just posted a lengthy diatribe to his blog, calling out the publisher's CEO, Carolyn Reidy. He says that, after signing a contract in December 2010, S&S proceeded to treat him like a "bitch."
Among his grievances:
- He worked his ass off to meet deadlines for editors who were then on vacation.
- It took him six-and-a-half weeks to get the "immediate" payment due to him for signing his contract.
- A lack of communication between different departments created constant logistical headaches.
- His marketing ideas were ignored, despite a track record of marketing experience and a promise of collaboration.
Marshall, a self-described "strategist, entrepreneur, technologist, avid reader and writer, casual historian [and] cowboy scientist," doesn't just call out Reidy. He also names his editor and agent, among others at Simon & Schuster, though he views them as mostly harmless (and even apologies for naming them).
You can read the entire blog post at this link, and it's worth a look, because it's a very rare insight into the monstrous clusterfuck that some of us refer to as the "publishing industry." A lot of these things have been said before, about late payments, a lack of communication, and the maddening, drawn-out nature of the process. But this is probably the first time a writer has put names, numbers, and dates to it.
Essentially, Marshall is saying what a lot of people are already thinking. Now we just have to wait and see what price he'll have to pay for saying it.
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