Not terribly much more to report on the publisher vs author issue, but a friend of mine, who has publishing house contract knowledge, offered up this tidbit of insight:
It’s for undelivered manuscripts, if you’re going to take tens of thousands of dollars from a company, you deliver the manuscript, or if you don’t, you pay back the advance, just as is stipulated in every single publishing contract.
Which leads me to my next question: why on earth wouldn’t you at least attempt to deliver a manuscript if you know damn well this is the endgame result for not doing so?
Not to mention that you’ve probably spent all of the advance money – blowing through it like Rick James in a cocaine deli.
I suppose we need to remember that many authors are going to be one and done – even those whose debuts sell at a torrid pace – and there seems to be a genre trend among those being sued: they’re all non-fiction related.
Obviously, the issue with paying an author for another piece of non-fiction is that they already told you their story, and, more often than not, there’s nothing much left in the creative tank.
Kathryn Stockett, for example, based her bestseller, The Help, on her grandmother’s black maid, thus creating a story that was partially fiction and partially fact. And now – after being paid an ungodly sum for her next book – the rumor mill suggests that she is having difficulty crafting a new story.
And my guesstimation would be that if she does come out with a new book, it will remain semi-autobiographical, yet fail to strike the same chord as The Help.
Which begs the question: why do publishing houses continue to shell out these contracts to writers who, based upon other sophomore failures, will most likely fail themselves?