I listen to a lot of podcasts and audiobooks. Have done since….2005? There abouts. That’s for podcasts, anyway. Audiobooks, I came to later. The first I can think of that I listened to was “Playing for Pizza” by John Grisham. It’s MUCH different from his other lawyer novels, a great fun story about a pro football player who moves to Italy to play there. He spends an entire chapter describing the various courses of an italian dinner – holy cannoli!
My mom gave me and my wife that book on disc as a gift, and we listened to it in the car as we drove from Maine to DC back in early 2008.
I didn’t really look into audiobooks again until 2010 or so, when I was stationed in upstate New York. I was 8.5 miles from work, so I decided I would just ride my bicycle to and from work (when it was warm enough anyway). To pass the time on wheels, I listened to podcasts, but I quickly decided to try out audiobooks too. Fell in love.
I now listen to either an audiobook or a podcast any time I am driving, riding my bike, running, or working out. Other people run or lift to music – I listen to a book.
As I said, I’ve been doing podcasts for longer, and I listen to a lot of them. One that I’ve listened to consistently since about early 2011 when I was just getting into this writing gig is Mur Lafferty‘s “I Should Be Writing”. I’ve never met Mur in real life, and I’ve only read a little bit of her work. But I like her show and, from what I can tell of her from the show I think I’d like her in person. I’m pretty sure we have extremely different views on a number of matters, but she seems to genuinely be a good person and I certainly appreciate how open she is on her show about her own struggles as she goes forward. So I always “tune in” when she has a new show ready for the download.
That said, as I was listening to her latest show, #369, I would have choked from shock had I been eating or drinking something. At about minute 33:30 in the first interview, she asked the guy why he wasn’t putting out some of his older work. His answer, and I shit you not, was that he couldn’t because his contract forbids him from putting out any novels, anywhere, until the third book in his series is published. Furthermore, he cannot even submit a book to anyone until the 3rd book is submitted and accepted.
Seriously, listen to it for yourself.
Dude just, apparently cheerfully, signed away his career, completely, for at least three to four years. And I’ll guaran-damn-tee he got only a pittance for it.
I was utterly shocked. Literally shouting at my cell phone as I drove, saying something along the lines of, “What the fuck is wrong with you?”
Dude justified it by saying that MacMillian 100% would not negotiate that point. And Mur just said yep as though hey that’s how it is and what are you gonna do.
What are you gonna do? How about you get someone with some negotiation skills to act on your behalf to get that shit out of the contract! But if they really won’t budge on it (and I am extremely doubtful that is the case – more likely his agent couldn’t care enough to try, or wasn’t competent enough to know why it makes a difference), WALK THE HELL AWAY. And if no one else will offer a deal without that sort of jackassery in it, just publish the damn thing yourself.
I know I shouldn’t be flabbergasted, but I am. I mean, I’ve spent a lot of time over the last six years learning about the publishing business and how to not be a sucker. And I have a tendency to assume others are as, for lack of a better term, curious as I am. And I’ve been around so many savvy indie writers that it seems natural that others will follow suit.
Too late now, though. He’s screwed.
Don’t be that guy, folks.