Tuesday, February 14, 2012

She wrote it but it's not hers

I don't follow YA vampire stories much.  My sister was reading the Twilight series-possible for some school-based reason as she is a high school English teacher- and was embarrassed when I looked it over and began reading it.

Still, as I learned from my attempts at Nanowrimo, putting words to page is not easy, and writing any story creates a strong personal connection with that story.

L.J Smith - author of vampire Diaries, has been fired by Harper Collins and now a ghost writer will continue the series.  The blog post I read was unclear whether Smith's name will continue to be on the cover.  Either she will still be listed as the author or it will say something like, "Created by L.J. Smith".

On the one hand, the contractual details were there to find, if she knew how to read legalese and had some experience as a writer.  She was hired by Harper Collins to provide a series of stories, the titles and cover images of which had already been selected.  I guess the simplest way to look at it is that she was the surrogate mother...no, she actively provided more information to the 'baby' than the 'parents' did.

Two excerpts from the post:

She isn’t allowed to write another word of a series that belongs to her, a series that she has spent years writing and creating and putting her heart into because Harper suddenly decided they don’t want her to write anymore. And now a random ghostwriter (who’s skills and voice could never even remotely live up to L.J’s) is taking over.  
...[ this is a big ellipsis]  
I had no idea that these type of things can happen to a published author. So to those of you who are going to be published or hope to be published one day—read everything in the contract and beextra alert. Even if the publisher has a good name/reputation don’t let them fool you into thinking everything’s fine and dandy where legal terms are involved. Stay on top of things and make sure you are informed on everything that's going on. That means keeping close tabs and getting constant updates from your agent.

I've read some crappy self-published novels and much appreciate the editing at a publishing house provides.  Still, this is pretty grim news and I suspect that while it is bad news for Smith, it will also be so for Harper Collins and major publishing houses in general.  I sure hope all other options were explored before this one was chosen.
Via a post on Google+ by Wil Wheaton.  I don't know if I can link to it from here. Try it.

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