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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
HE following considerations and maxims may examined at the Society of Authors, its success is

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
Society prove, however, that like the Ten Com-

the author must always consider his MS. as a pos-
mandments, it is wise to have them exposed to sible great success.
view, and to be frequently reminded of them.

8. It must be remembered that publishers live
1. Literary property is a very real thing. It is as by publishing. They therefore look to make
real as property in land, houses, mines, or any money by every book which they issue. It is a
other kind of property. Hundreds of people live great mistake to suppose, as some authors do, that
upon its proceeds in great luxury, plenty, and the publisher does not first consider the commer-
comfort. Thousands of people live upon it by cial prospects of a book. In many cases it is the
thrift and carefulness.

only thing he does consider.
2. When a man has made a book he has increased

9. Therefore the publisher must be paid. He
the wealth of the country, provided it be a book must be paid for the time and trouble he, through
serviceable to the community and saleable.

his servants, gives to the preparation of the work
3. He has created this wealth ; it is his own; he for the press; for the publicity which he gives to
must be as careful not to part with it, except for a it; and, in a very few cases, for the prestige of his
just consideration, as if it were a mine or a quarry,
or an estate:

10. It is self-evident that every book must stand
4. Literary property is subject to the laws which

or fall by its own merits. That is to say, that it is
protect all other property; the simplest and the idle to talk of the failure of one book being a
most comprehensive of these laws is the Eighth Com-

reason for giving the author of another book less
mandment, “ Thou shalt not steal."

than his due.
Applied to literature and to the persons whose
business it is to buy and sell various forms of With these considerations, which are indisput-
literature, the Commandment is thus to be inter- able and elementary, before him, let every author
preted, “Thou shalt not cheat the author in buying read carefully over any agreement offered to him,
his work from him; thou shalt not write or speak and before signing it, ascertain what it gives the
lies concerning the cost of preparing his work for the author, and what it gives or reserves for the pub-
press; thou shalt not agree with him on terms such lisher, (1) for the first edition, (2) for the second and
as will give to thyself the profits on his labour. The following editions.
work is his, not thine at all; his the design of it, Next let the same author take any of his
the invention, the fancy, the imagination, the learning, agreements in the past, and with the light of the
the brain and the hand of it-all is his. If it be-

accounts which were afterwards rendered to him,
comes thine, it must be by an equitable agreement, and the information which we now give him, let
which shall give thee a fair reward for labour done, him draw his own conclusions.
and leave to him all the rest.” In no other way
can the Eighth Commandment be interpreted by
those who deal with authors.

5. What is the commercial value of a book ?
Clearly it depends upon the number of copies

which the public will take. So the value of a
field depends upon its fertility; of a ship upon her

carrying power and seaworthy qualities; of a horse
upon his strength and youth.

Some fields are OES anybody ever take the trouble to secure
sterile—they are sold for a small sum-some are

his copyright in a public lecture? It is a
worthless. So with books. An author's income

curious and amusing process which the
from a book must depend upon the copies bought law in its wisdom requires him to go through.
by the public.

There is, perhaps, nothing objectionable in his
6. Most books published have no commercial having to give two days' notice of his intentions to
value at all—a very large number have no literary two justices of the peace, both of whom must live
value at all. How, then, do they get published? within five miles of the locus in quo. But, beyond
They are published at the expense of the author. the presumption that the aforesaid justices might,

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
the object of the interesting proviso. There is cer- musical publishers not only do not reserve their
tainly no necessity to make it public that on this rights in their songs, but announce to all whom it
occasion only “all rights are reserved.” It is no may concern that they can be sung anywhere. But
business either of the author's or ofthe magistrates to now that recitations are once more becoming popular,
warn reporters off the premises. Nevertheless, the there is no doubt whatever that the right of delivery
former would, on giving the statutory notice, be of favourite verse will become valuable, and the
entitled to confiscate any printed and published question of its protection acquires an added import-
reports (or, for that matter, the whole edition of

There is no more reason why an author
every newspaper in the Kingdom which published should have no control over and derive no profit
the lecture without leave), and, moreover, to re-

from the recitation of his work than that a novelist
cover a penny for every sheet in their custody. should have to submit to be dramatized whether
What a fortune Mark Twain would realise if he he likes it or not. The results of protection would,
went on tour in the silly season! But, to further of course, be that royalties would have to be paid if
illustrate the beautiful simplicity of the law, a the author chose to reserve and enforce his rights.
lecturer is powerless to protect himself against It would perhaps be necessary that some analogous
unauthorised re-delivery. It is only publication conditions to those required by the Copyright
that is prohibited by statute. Anybody who likes (Musical Compositions) Act, 1882, should be
is entitled to take down a lecture verbatim and can devised to prevent people being "Walled.”
re-deliver it with perfect impunity, or, in other
words, while there is copyright there is no such

thing as performing right in a species of literary
production in which this may be really valuable. It is always risky to prophesy, and Anglo-

Sermons, on the other hand, seem to be clearly American Copyright is a subject on which even
public property, that is, if delivered " by any a sporting prophet would hesitate to hazard a
person in virtue of or according to any gift, endow- forecast. It is, however, not impossible that the
ment, or foundation.” In other words, Noncon- Bill before Congress should, in the words of its
formist ministers, unless they, too, come within the sixth section, "go into effect ” on the ist July,
category, enjoy an advantage denied to the Clergy 1890. Committees of both Houses have reported
of the Established Church. For it would, we in favour of the measure: not that that counts for
imagine, be open to them to give the statutory much! We are not likely to forget that in 1889
notice of the intended delivery and so secure the it was thrown out at the last moment by a single
copyright, if not the performing right (if we may use member who had no views on the subject, and
the expression), in the production in question. The was really opposing another measure. But, still,
Clergy of the Church of England cannot, however, it is satisfactory to know that the tariff men,
under any circumstances reserve their rights. The the petty pirates, and the moneyed ignoramuses-
only reinedy open to them if their pulpit eloquence the three classes of which the opposition con-
is reproduced is, like the Bishop of Peterborough, sists—have so far made a very poor show.
to take a leaf out of the book of the “old Parlia- During the sittings of the House Committee on
mentary hand,” and deny that they have been Judiciary Mr. Roger Sherman, formerly a Phila-
“correctly reported.” In the same way, too, no delphia publisher, declared that "the outcry for
lecture delivered in any university, public school, the passage of the Bill was simply the clamour of
or college, or on any public foundation can under 200 authors against the interests of 50,000,000
any conditions be protected. But there is seldom people.” There is a truly delicious naïvete about
any very great demand for sermons, university or this confession of a preference for stealing litera-
college lectures, so that their authors enjoy rather ture instead of buying it. As for the Bill itself
more protection, independent of statute, than most it will undoubtedly confer valuable rights upon
of them desire.

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-
Should the recitation of popular pieces be pro- gress "on or before the day of publication.” If the
hibited by law? The relative advantage or disadvan- Bill becomes law in this form considerable diffi-
tage accruing to an author is, of course, wholly culty, it may be remarked, will arise in securing
beside the question. It is quite possible that in copyright in serial stories, for, as it now stands,
many cases an author might regard himself as quite each number would have to be delivered as an
sufficiently recompensed by probable sales. It is independent publication, a matter obviously of
great practical difficulty. But in view of the would seem to have been only duly modest. For multifarious exigencies which have compelled three months the young lady received instruction in modifications innumerable, and hampered the poetry from him, and then again applied to the efforts of the American (Authors) Copyright advertising society to have her verses published. League, it is idle to criticise the measure as a Apparently her tutor had proved of service, for the final settlement of the difficulty. It is enough,

It is enough, managing director now agreed to issue her book for for the present, if it makes Anglo-American Copy- her, on her advancing the sum of £50. For this right ultimately possible.

sum he was prepared to produce the MS. in volume

form and “ to meet all demands for sales up to IV. THE SECURING OF AMERICAN RIGHTS.

3,000 copies.” The volume was to be published

at 6s., Cr. 8vo., good toned paper, and to be bound Since the above was written, the International in cloth boards, and gilt lettered. The payment Copyright Bill has been brought before the House was to be made in the following manner: £ 20 at of Representatives and has been defeated by 126

once; £20 on seeing the last proofs; and the votes to 98. The conscience of the great Re- balance within three months. public therefore remains unawakened, that is to

The only agreement made between author and say, five-ninths of the American conscience is un- publisher was the interchange of letters ratifying moved. The other four-ninths may be trusted to the above proposition. The lady's friends lent her keep moving. Perhaps our grandchildren may the money, evidently having no idea of the true reap the fruits of their agitation.

What is now to commercial value of poetry, and the book went to be done?

press. There seems to be but one way for an English The phrase, "to meet all demands," will receive author to hold at bay the piratical publishers of the full consideration in our next number. United States : it is to enter intc collaboration Now it would seem that the publisher's first with an American writer. By this arrangement a opinion as to the value of the author's work was perfect copyright is obtainable; one which will defy nearly a correct one, when he recommended that the devil--the printer's devil--and all his works.

she should learn verse, but that he rather over-rated One American member of the Incorporated the improvement that had been effected by his Society of Authors has already written to offer an friend, the instructor in poesy. For there was no honourable partnership of this kind with British sale. But, on the other hand, there were, in authors who desire to protect their literary addition to the £50, several small items to pay property. Enquiries relating to the subject should

for. be addressed to the Secretary of the Society of There was advertisement in the publisher's own Authors, 4Portugal-street, Lincoln's-inn-fields, lists, £ 2 25. There was the “time of the traveller' W.C.

in offering the work to the trade, £1 17s. 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, A HARD CASE.

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 T is now some five years ago since a young lady clear-over £10, however.)

wrote a volume of poems and sent them to a (2) She had paid £ 50 for the production of her

certain advertising society for publication. work. The so-called managing director told her in reply (3) She still owed £9 odd to the publisher. that, although her work was of indubitable merit, (4) There were no sales at all: so that she had it required to be revised by someone who received nothing. understood the “rules of Poetical Composition." Then the publisher began to write in a threatening Such an article he had on hand, and he begged way for this £9. to recommend that she should apply to a per- He expressed himself as not surprised at the illson in Fleet Street, posing as the editor of a success of her book (though on previous occasions non-existent journal, for advice. This gentleman he had spoken well of her work), and attributed expressed himself willing to teach her poetry for this to the lack of advertisements. He badgered the comparatively moderate fee of £4 145. 6d. As her to advertise through himself to the extent of £5 his grammar was not, however, without blemish he or £10, assuring her that she would then get good

No. I.

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.


We were


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 any 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 busi quarter. 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.

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