...or, Why I Have the Attitudes about Publishing That I Do.
I read the obituary of Robert Jordan in this month's Locus, which contained a brief mention of a story I'd heard before.
Seems's Jordan's first novel attempt was science fiction. He submitted it to Donald A. Wollheim, who offered to buy the book. Jordan, being new to the industry, asked for changes to the contract---and Wollheim withdrew the offer.
I bring this up 'cause I thought I've gotten a fair amount of heated response to comments I've made here and there about the boards about things like manuscript length guidelines and where and when and who I submit things to.
Over a lengthy time of my life, I've handled things, basically following said rules. Here and now, I might take account of their rules---but, so long as money is not being offered, and up front, I will not let myself be bound by them.
This might superficially look like arrogance and conceit on my part, but I figure I have nothing left to lose. As has been said elsewhere by others, "I won't play the sap for them."
(Jordan later edited the Conan line at Tor---wonder what he thought about contract terms then?)
According to the Locus obit, he wrote The Fallon Blood, The Fallon Pride, and The Fallon Legacy, all under the name "Regan O'Neal." (Oddly enough, I read the first of these, round the time it came out in 1980). He also wrote a Western, Cheyenne Raiders, under "Jackson O'Reilly." And he wrote a series of magazine articles, none named, under "Chang Lung." ("Robert Jordan" was a pseudonym, too.)
In fantasy, there's "The Wheel of Time" series, of course, and his set of Conan books (six plus the novelization of Conan the Destoyer). If his SF novel was ever published, it's not mentioned.
I have The Fallon Blood, The Wheel of Time, and his Conan books. I know Robert Jordan is a psuedonym for James Oliver Rigney Jr.--I'm not sure whether it's Chang Lung or not, but one of his psuedonyms is a woman.
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What I don't understand is why Robert Jordan having written sci-fi has to do with you not following editorial guidelines.
And personally I don't care whether you do or you don't. You are perfectly well aware that it might come to bite you on the ass if you get caught doing simsubs to publishers who say not to do them, for example. But I figure that's your lookout. The only time I'll argue the point is when you advise the same to others. Then I think that it should be pointed out that not following guidelines is probably at the least wasting postage.
I never enjoyed Jordan's style of writing, but there were plenty who did. So I have no problem with his having written in a number of genres.
As far as requesting a change in a contract, this is done all the time. And sometimes the publisher will agree. Sometimes they won't. There is no "rule" that Jordan was breaking by requesting a change and no "rule" that the publisher was breaking by refusing. It's called a negotiation. The chances are it wasn't the last time Jordan wanted such a thing.
Edit: I just received a novel contract yesterday. There is a part of it that I will not accept. I'll write to the publisher and request a change. If they don't agree, the negotiation will fall through because I won't sign it as is. That's life.
[This message has been edited by JeanneT (edited October 04, 2007).]
Actually the topic got kinda hijacked and I let it be hijacked.
quote:Edit: I just received a novel contract yesterday. There is a part of it that I will not accept. I'll write to the publisher and request a change. If they don't agree, the negotiation will fall through because I won't sign it as is. That's life.
When they're waving money in my face, then I will consider their conditions and precepts. So long as they don't contradict other things, like my own self-respect and artistic instincts, or whether they're trying to rip me off or somesuch. You are free to do so as well.
Somewhere, in an interview or article, Robert Jordan phrased this a little differently. As I recall it, he said he got a contract for this said SF novel from Wollheim, and not wanting to look like a patsy, he suggested a few changes. Wollheim's only response was to reject the novel.
I don't know what conclusion Jordan drew from this, but I know what I think---Wollheim rejected the novel because Jordan dared question the terms of the contract Wollheim was offering.
Who does business like that? I wouldn't sell a car or a house that way. And I sure wouldn't sell a book that way.
And if this is the way the SF book industry is run, self-publishing is starting to look better and better.