Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Word to the wise

Me to writer sending in revised full ms: Hey, you should get that YOUR TITLE (THE FIRST DRAFT) off Amazon.

Writer to me: Thanks for the notice. I printed some reading copies of that draft for close friends; I guess one of them sold me out. :P


Me, looking at Amazon listing again: Wow, you're right. This is offered by someone clearly not you.

Me, looking at Amazon listing an hour later and no copies are available: Aha, you bought the only copy.

It never occurred to me that friends would sell what is essentially a bound manuscript.

Which brings me to the point:  when you print up your book and hand it around to your friends for comments, or feedback, OR you just hand it out for giggles, you're giving someone an edition of your book and they can sell it on Amazon. If I'd been just skimming while researching a query, I would have assumed the book was published already and said no.  Obviously I should do more than skim, but you should also be aware this can happen.


PS I don't think this was done by a critique partner. The manuscript was printed and bound and sent to friends just as a "hey, look what I did" kind of thing.  I'm still quite confident your crit partners won't do this kind of underhanded thing.

12 comments:

Ardenwolfe said...

That's nuts. I never imagined someone would do that. But, then again, I never let anyone keep an unfinished copy either.

Anita Joy said...

Wow. That's scary. I send email copies of my wip to my CPs and trust they'll do right by me, but once it is out of your hands I guess you don't know what can happen.

For those of you who don't know, it happened to Stephenie Meyer with "Midnight Sun" (if you haven't heard you can read about it here: http://stepheniemeyer.com/midnightsun.html)

Ellipsis Flood said...

Well, sounds like those friends weren't as close as that writer thought.

But really, when did we come to the point when you have to make your friends sign NDAs before you show them your work?

Jane | @janelebak said...

The CP might not necessarily have been the one who listed the book: CPs do die, move, have friends who rifle through their stuff, etc. The CP's ex-husband might be going through a box of his books and not realize what this particular book was. But that's even more of a reason not to leave something like that with someone else.

Kitty said...

Great way to lose a friend, and for what -- a few bucks?

Btw, what's a CP?

Becky Langdon said...

This is the scariest thing to me ever. If you want to write a book that's any good, you pretty much have to get feedback.

So this isn't illegal? Is digital safer legally?

Janet Reid said...

Kitty, CP is critique partner.

Michael Seese said...

Along those lines...

On occasion, I have received an ARC. What do I do with it when I'm done? Selling it on Amazon never occurred to me. And donating to the library didn't seem right.

Recycle bin?

Janet Reid said...

Michael, yup, they get tossed. And yes it pains me to do it, but we do.

Jennifer R. Donohue said...

For better or for worse, some libraries do circulate ARCs. If we get them at my library, depending, we give 'em away as Summer Reading Program prizes.

Kalli said...

My god, if any of my crit partners, let alone 'closest friends,' did that to me, I would fricken eviscerate them - in my next crime novel, of course ;-) But yikes, you gotta be so careful who you trust with your MS. From now on I'm gonna be throwing suspicious glares at anyone who requests to see it and who is not my agent - including my mum.

Steve Stubbs said...

Stephenie Meyers sent out e-copies of one of her Twilight books to friends some years ago and one friend released it to the internet, compromising the commercial value of the book. Fortunately, she tagged each copy sent so she knew which friend was responsible. I think writers take their books much too seriously, but considering that a Stephenie Meyers book at that time could have been worth approximately four million dollars, she may have been right to take umbrage.