This writing life (con.)

The publisher e-mailed me that an anthology of critical works targeted for high school students wished to reprint a piece of mine. If I would agree, the publisher and I would divide the licensing fee between us.

I was thrilled. It had been a long time since anyone had wished to reprint one of my critical pieces. In fact, as Joe Garagiola said about the Phillies in 1980, “It’s been a long time since the Phillies won a World Series. They’ve never won one.”

But I had one question. My understanding, I told the publisher, was that his journal had the exclusive rights to pieces it published for six months; then all rights reverted to the author. I was happy to pay the journal, but why should I?

You’re right, Bob, the publisher said, if you want to negotiate yourself, but if…

Maybe the publisher, who had first hand evidence that I was a pussy cat when it came to negotiating rights to my literary efforts, wanted to save myself. On the other hand, 50% seemed a lot to pay someone to essentially be my agent.

I said I thought I could handle it myself. Then I accepted the anthology’s first offer.