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THE FIRST PRINCIPLES OF nominal success, or it may have an enormous suc
If a MS. has any literary value, a thing
which may be easily ascertained by having it
appear to some readers elementary. The always possible. And so often of late years has a
cases which constantly arise before the book unexpectedly taken the world by storm that
the author must always consider his MS. as a pos-
8. It must be remembered that publishers live
only thing he does consider.
9. Therefore the publisher must be paid. He
his servants, gives to the preparation of the work
10. It is self-evident that every book must stand
or fall by its own merits. That is to say, that it is
reason for giving the author of another book less
than his due.
accounts which were afterwards rendered to him,
5. What is the commercial value of a book ?
NOTES ON COPYRIGHT.
I. COPYRIGHT IN LECTURES.
Some fields are OES anybody ever take the trouble to secure
his copyright in a public lecture? It is a
curious and amusing process which the
There is, perhaps, nothing objectionable in his
7. The book which does succeed may have a if the notice were civilly worded, take tickets for, if
not attend, the lecture, it is not easy to understand notorious that more than one well-known firm of
There is no more reason why an author
Sermons, on the other hand, seem to be clearly American Copyright is a subject on which even
delphia publisher, declared that "the outcry for
those English writers who can conform to its
conditions. These require the books to be
printed from type set up in the States, and two
copies to be delivered to the Librarian of Con-
great practical difficulty. But in view of the multifarious exigencies which have compelled modifications innumerable, and hampered the efforts of the American (Authors) Copyright League, it is idle to criticise the measure as a final settlenient of the difficulty. It is enough, for the present, if it makes Anglo-American Copyright ultimately possible.
IV. THE SECURING OF AMERICAN Rights.
Since the above was written, the International Copyright Bill has been brought before the House of Representatives and has been defeated by 126 votes to 98. The conscience of the great Republic therefore remains unawakened, that is to say, five-ninths of the Anierican conscience is unmoved. The other four-ninths may be trusted to keep moving. Perhaps our grandchildren may reap the fruits of their agitation. What is now to be done?
There seems to be but one way for an English author to hold at bay the piratical publishers of the United States : it is to enter into collaboration with an American writer. By this arrangement a perfect copyright is obtainable ; one which will defy the devil—the printer's devil-and all his works.
One American member of the Incorporated Society of Authors has already written to offer an honourable partnership of this kind with British authors who desire to protect their literary property. Enquiries relating to the subject should be addressed to the Secretary of the Society of Authors, 4, Portugal-street, Lincoln's-inn-fields, W.C.
would seem to have been only duly modest. For three months the young lady received instruction in poetry from him, and then again applied to the advertising society to have her verses published. Apparently her tutor had proved of service, for the managing director now agreed to issue her book for her, on her advancing the sum of £50. For this sum he was prepared to produce the MS. in volume form and " to meet all demands for sales up to 3,000 copies.” The volume was to be published at 6s., Cr. 8vo., good toned paper, and to be bound in cloth boards, and gilt lettered. The payment was to be made in the following manner : £20 at once; £20 on seeing the last proofs; and the balance within three months.
The only agreement made between author and publisher was the interchange of letters ratifying the above proposition. The lady's friends lent her the money, evidently having no idea of the true commercial value of poetry, and the book went to press.
The phrase, “to meet all demands,” will receive full consideration in our next number.
Now it would seem that the publisher's first opinion as to the value of the author's work was nearly a correct one, when he recommended that she should learn verse, but that he rather over-rated the improvement that had been effected by his friend, the instructor in poesy. For there was no sale. But, on the other hand, there were, in addition to the £50, several small items to pay for.
There was advertisement in the publisher's own lists, £2 2s. There was the "time of the traveller” in offering the work to the trade, £1 175. There was £2 for warehousing, £2 2s. for the privilege of membership of the Literary Association, of which the publisher was managing director. These sums, with others for postage, &c., brought the author's account on the whole transaction into the following position.
(1) She had paid for three months' poetical instruction. (Exactly what she paid is not quite clear-over £10, however.)
(2) She had paid £ 50 for the production of her work.
(3) She still owed £9 odd to the publisher.
(4) There were no sales at all : so that she had received nothing.
Then the publisher began to write in a threatening way for this £9.
He expressed himself as not surprised at the illsuccess of her book (though on previous occasions he had spoken well of her work), and attributed this to the lack of advertisements. He badgered her to advertise through himself to the extent of £5 or £10, assuring her that she would then get good
A HARD CASE.
No. 1. IT is now some five years ago since a young lady
wrote a volume of poems and sent them to a
certain advertising society for publication. The so-called managing director told her in reply that, although her work was of indubitable merit, it required to be revised by some one who understood the "rules of Poetical Composition.” Such an article he had on hand, and he begged to recommend that she should apply to a person in Fleet Street, posing as the editor of a non-existent journal, for advice. This gentleman expressed himself willing to teach her poetry for the comparatively moderate fee of £4 145. 6d. As his grammar was not, however, without blemish he
reviews. But her means would not allow her to Yet he has never got into prison. His victims take his advice. Then he suggested that she were generally helpless, and generally sensitive to should contribute at the rate of is. a line to a ridicule, while it always seems an unsatisfactory column of advertisement that he proposed to insert thing to spend £50 in bringing a criminal action in the Standard of a good many other books he was against a person who has robbed you of £50. bringing out. Here, again, she was obdurate.
It should be observed that this case has nothing Then he sent her a lawyer's letter.
to do with the story on pp. 3-5. She applied to the Society of Authors, and escaped further payment; but it would have been
* useless to attempt to extract from the publisher the money he had already received on grossly false re
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS. presentation, for about this period he became a
1. Is it right for editors to keep a book sent bankrupt.
to them for review when they give no notice of the Of the numerous letters two are appended. book ?-It is right because it is impossible for
1. The first received by the author from the every book that is published to receive a review, “ Secretary.”
and every book is sent for review on the chance of 2. The second received by the author from the getting it. “ Editor."
2. How long should an editor be free to keep I.
a MS. without reply?-If the article is one of Date.—March 6th, 1884.
immediate interest he should return it at once if Name.—Miss C. D.
he cannot find time to consider it. A contributor Address.—16, High St.
in such a case should state the urgency of the subTitle and No.-Poems.
ject. Under ordinary circumstances no one who Length.—
knows the labours of an editor or the piles of Opinion.--"Requires revision by an expert, who MSS. into which he must look should grumble at understands the rules of poetical composition. waiting for three or four months.
“Author should write Mr. L., Street, London, for his instructions to poetical students.
3. How long should a contributor be expected Writer has ability, and if she only studied the
to wait before payment?--All the honourably rules of poetical composition she would do
conducted magazines pay on publication, or a few well.
days afterwards. It has, however, been proved to
the Society that there are certain journals“One poem could be set to music. Charge, happily only a few—who make a point of never including composition of music, would be
paying unless they are compelled by threats of law. £8 8s. for 250 copies."
It seems incredible that a magazine proprietor or A. B. C., Secretary. editor should thus make as many enemies as he has
contributors. It is unhappily, quite true. II.
4. What payment should be made for a magazine Re MSS. from the Metropolitan Publishing and
article?—This question is often asked. There is
no answer possible, because the practice necessarily Literary Society.
differs. A magazine of limited circulation obviously “We have received your MSS. and beg to say cannot afford to pay its contributors much. Then we cannot accept same, as they are unprepared for if payment is made by the page, that too varies; press. You write them as though poetry, but they some magazines, such as Blackwood's or Macare prose. If you write out the Penalty as though millan's, have a page double that of Longmans'
. prose, no capital letters, &c., you will find it reads The best advice to be given is this. In the highbetter. If you do this and send again we can class magazines contributors are paid by a regular finish revising for half a guinea, and print.
scale, unless special terms are made. Therefore, “Yours faithfully,
the contributor may rely on the usual treatment “ THE EDITOR."
according to the scale of that journal. In maga
zines of inferior kind the contributor would do It seems almost incredible that even an inex- well to ask beforehand what payment will be made perienced girl should not have guessed that these if the paper be accepted. Suppose the Editor people were common sharpers. But she did not. refuses to name his scale and sends back the MS.,
“The Managing Director" advertised largely and that will be better than to have it taken and pubthe number of his victims is proportionally large. lished, and then not paid for.
LEAFLET No. I.
for agency printing and postage. This may seem a large amount, but the trouble involved is very great, and there is no way of avoiding such charges
except by keeping a special clerk for the purpose ON SYNDICATING.
in the offices of the Society. The services of such T was in the Report issued at the beginning a clerk, properly qualified and experienced, would
of last year that we first made an announce- amount to quite as much as the commission
ment concerning our attempt at forming for of an agent. After a little there must be a further ourselves a syndicate of our own members. We charge for the work of editing, which hitherto guarded ourselves at that time by a warning which has been done for nothing. we hoped would be sufficient to prevent the raising Then comes, next, the question-Where to place of hopes doomed to disappointment.
these stories ? At first it was thought that the wrong. There has been a good deal of dis- provincial press would be the best medium. It appointment among some of our members who has, however, been found that, though the prothought that in this way their own work might be vincial press may sometimes be useful, it cannot disposed of.
always be depended upon, and that it may in some It was found at the outset, first, that the news- cases be best to sell the work to some one propapers among which we at first proposed to place prietor or editor. This has, in fact, been done in the works of our members were engaged to the the case of the first quarter's collection. One provarious syndicates in existence for a year, a year prietor has bought the right for Great Britain and and a half, or even longer. It was next found, what Ireland. They have also been sold in Americahad been expected, that no writers have
chance also to one man; in Australia and New Zealand at all of getting their work taken in country and to another; and in India to another. The amount colonial newspapers except those who have already to be divided among the writers of this batch will achieved a certain reputation. So that both the rule far higher than anything they could obtain time of commencing operations was postponed, and from ordinary syndicates. the writers for whom the syndicate was to work were The next quarter's batch is now in course of limited in number.
preparation. After a great deal of consideration and experi- If members think they already possess the kind menting, it has been found that the best and of name that popular journals desire to place in fairest way of working is, as regards short tales, to their columns, they may communicate with the arrange for one batch at a time covering a whole Editor at the Society's office. The Editor's busiquarter. Each writer of this batch takes, first of ness is very simple : it is merely to provide such all, his market value; that is to say, the price he a collection of stories as will be vouched for by can command in magazines, or that which other the names of their writers. He is not, in fact, the syndicates—trade syndicates—are willing to pay judge: he has only to record the judgment of him : he sells to our syndicate, not, as in all other purchasers, and to cater for them. It is not so syndicates, the story outright, but the right to its much the quality of his wares that he has to conappearance once, and only once, in a certain sider, as their fashion and popularity. Therefore, quarter. This done, the work becomes again his the Editor must not be blamed if he has to tell own property. Next, when all the writers have a member that he cannot offer to syndicate his been paid, the balance, if any, is equally divided work. among the writers in proportion to the length There is, however, another branch of syndicating of their work. That is to say, for a tale running work—that of longer stories. Here, again, though over three weeks, a writer would receive three names come first, there may be special reasons times that accorded to one of a single week. About why a work by a less known hand might be synditwenty-five per cent. of the whole is required cated with a certain measure of success.