I don’t normally talk business on my blog, but given how my email inbox has been pinging away overnight with regards to Leisure, I thought I’d take two minutes to state my opinion here. Before I start, I have to reiterate that this is just my opinion and is entirely unemotional and I have no problems at all with the opinions of others on this matter, and can fully understand them.
My viewpoint is thus. While I would advise all authors not to sell any more books to Leisure, I can’t advise readers not to buy them. I have a very practical view of business and the way I see it is that the issues are between the authors who are owed monies and the publisher who owes the monies and that should be settled by agents and lawyers if necessary.
The reader has no responsibility for failed payments and rights issues, they are simply interested in the end product, and that’s the way it should stay. Therefore, as much as I have a huge amount of sympathy for those authors wanting what they are owed, I can’t join in a warcry that calls for readers to boycott Leisure’s list.
In my past life, I worked for a while with an official receiver and I used to go into failed businesses and see how they could be turned around enough to then be sold on as a going concern. Nothing in the way Leisure has behaved, or is behaving, comes as a surprise. They are a failing business, desperately trying to stay afloat long enough to turn themselves around. They’re not paying authors, they’re fighting to keep rights and people are having to chase for royalties and royalty statements (although to be fair, that’s always been the case with Leisure and been a bone of contention for their authors for years – but again – that wasn’t the readers responsibility.) It’s got nasty at Leisure, as things always do when a business is hanging on to stop from going under.
The thing is this. Would I sell any more books to Leisure? Hell, no. Would I like my rights back if I could get them? Hell, yes. Do I support the way they’re currently treating their authors? Absolutely not. But should I pass any of that onto the reader? For me, it’s a no. I just don’t work that way. Business is business, and our business isn’t the reader’s business.
Yes, I’ve been lucky and Leisure don’t currently owe me any money. But even if they did, I would still say the above. On one message board a week or two ago, some poor sod happened to mention how happy he was that he picked up some cheap Leisure paperbacks in Wal-Mart and was looking forward to reading them, and then got shot down in flames for it. That left a sour taste in my mouth. None of this is the reader’s issue.
So, to those people emailing me and asking whether it’s okay to buy my books from Leisure, the answer is go right ahead. And that answer will remain the same, even if I end up in a bitter legal battle with them at any time in the future.
I know that this post goes against the general feeling, but I’m simply stating my personal opinion on this so that my inbox will stop pinging. And yes I know it’s only 6 in the morning…yes, I do have insomnia. Is that writing related? More than likely. Is it the reader’s responsibility? Absolutely not…