This whole situation with my publisher just keeps getting messier and uglier with each passing day.  I’m outraged!  So to keep myself from going ballistic and doing something stupid like driving out of state and performing an act that might make me feel better but would also see me spending time behind bars, I’m going to rant on this blog.  

Saturday morning, shortly after I posted my Friday Folly blog (a day late), the publisher’s site was suspended by their host.  The author’s loop, which I’m still a member of though I’m blocked from posting, erupted in a low rumble which quickly turned into a roar.  My inbox was flooded with messages, ranging from questions to pleas and finally, to demands.

There were a few rumors tucked in there too, but not many.  Mostly, it was authors who felt they’d been wronged, asking for clarification and reaching out for a comforting hand.  They’d adopted a sort of “circling the wagons” mentality to hold off the threat from an outside force, which I think is a good, healthy reaction to this type of situation.  It’s a scary thing for the authors involved when an epublisher goes down–and don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying this one is going down.  At this point, we just don’t know.  This particular blog entry isn’t about that anyway, it’s about honesty and integrity.  

The thing is, one of the owners of this publishing company is an author herself.  On top of that, she does the same thing in her day job as I do.  And that’s what’s really making me mad.  I mean, I can’t imagine doing the things she’s doing as an author to other authors and being able to hold my head up in public, much less in private, but as a teacher…I’m sorry, but that just blows my mind.

To be fair, it was her partner who wrote the scathing email in reply to mine asking for my rights back, and from all reports, has responded in the same tone to other authors who wrote him asking for their rights to be released.  But as far as I know, other than ignoring emails and posts on the author’s loop, I’d have to say she’s been professional…but she’s skating on very thin ice. 

I certainly wouldn’t want her teaching my child.  Especially if I ever caught wind of how she’d behaved in her business–and in today’s world, nothing is ever private.  So I’m afraid I would turn into one of those ravenous, overbearing parents and demand my child be taken out of her class.

You see, her partner’s actions–and the fact that she is his partner, makes her guilty by association in my mind–has pushed one of my buttons.   Well, okay, he hasn’t just pushed that button, he’s jumping all over it.  His behavior is one of my pet peeves and goes against something  I always tried very hard to teach my students; take responsibility for your actions and never blame someone else for your wrongdoings.

So I’m telling this publisher and her partner what I would tell one of my students; admit you’re wrong, take full responsibility for what you did, and don’t try to blame it on the authors who are only trying to protect their hard work.  

As a teacher, you should have known that.  And something else for you to keep in mind; you can try to cast the blame aside, but the shame will always be yours.  I hope you can live with that.

 Update:  the web site is back up and I’ve received another rights reversion letter from the publisher.  Professional, yes, but she ignored the fact that I’d asked for my rights to be returned effective immediately and said they would be released on October 24, 2007.  She also does not state in the email what rights she’s giving back to me. 

The thing is, if they do go under and file for bankruptcy, that rights reversion is about as valuable as a used tissue–no matter what date she gives me.

I have a bad feeling about this.  I think these people are playing games and stalling while they figure out what they’re going to do.

Arrgh!  Gotta go call my lawyer.

  

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