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NEWS AND NOTES.
authors did pay for the printing and publishing of their first books, including Mr. Besant and his
clever partner, the late Mr. James Rice." T has always been our custom to publish the proceedings at the annual dinner of the
This is one of the little paragraphs which contrive Society as a pamphlet, and send it round to
to tell the truth and to suggest a falsehood. our members, in order that those unable to be
It is perfectly false to say that my late partner present on the occasion may benefit, equally with
and myself ever were such fools as to the guests, from the speeches, and may resolve not
production." to absent themselves on a future occasion.
It is perfectly true that with many of our novels --certainly the first three-we chose to print and
bind the work ourselves, and placed it ready for There is a dearth of matter for Literary Notes publication in the publisher's hands. He sold it on and News in the month of August. The Author commission, which, in honest hands, is a very good for this month has therefore been made to consist way of publishing a book though it involves some wholly of the proceedings at the dinner. We have knowledge of practical publishing and a good deal received communications, which in the natural of trouble. The way to work it iscourse of events would have been inserted in The Author this month, but have decided to delay their
(1) To arrange with a printer and bookbinder.
(2) Tofind a commission publisher and arrange appearance.
about terms. Several of these are so interesting, and so dis
(3) To make the time of payment to the printer tinctly have reference to our aims and objects that
fall at the time of receiving the first it would be the greatest pity to attempt to discuss
publisher's return. them now. It is not fair upon any question of interest to
The advance or prepayment of money is thus submit it to the public-especially to a public avoided. What the author risks is the difference largely made up of working littérateurs--at this between the sales and the printers' bills. season of the year.
As in the case of those persons who insist on publishing what all the respectable houses refuse,
it is perfectly easy to work in this way, I have PAYING FOR PRODUCTION.—The following cutting always been amazed to find that they still fall into from some unknown journal was sent to me :- the trap of so much down towards “cost of pro
duction.” “According to Mr. Besant's thinking, authors should not pay for the printing and publishing of their own books.
The Committee wish to impress upon members "I am loth to mention names, but I can assure Mr. of the Society, who are kind enough to interest Besant that a great many of our now most popular themselves in obtaining new members, that only
such persons are eligible for membership who have at any time published work which may fairly entitle them to be described as authors, or those who have been or are at present engaged in journalistic work.
In last month's issue of The Author by an oversight the names of Professor Max-Müller and Augustine Birrell, M.P., were unfortunately omitted from those who have consented to join our Council.
A document called a Memorandum, in reply to a certain pamphlet which is exercising the mind of the Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge by sweating Christian authors, has been received. It shall be published in the September number with a few remarks; meantime, it is sufficient to say here, that it does not answer a single point raised in that pamphlet, that it gives no figures, that it explains nothing, that it admits everything, and that it ends by denying everything.
THE ANNUAL DINNER
HERE were about two hundred members
and guests present at the dinner, amongst
whom were the following :-
Mrs. Holmes. Rev. J. Inches Hillocks. Fergus Hume. Rev. W. Hunt. A. James. Mrs. James. (“Florence Warden.”) C. T. C. James. Jerome K. Jerome. Rev. Prebendary Harry Jones. Major Jones, R.E. Mrs. Charles Jones. Mr. Jones. Miss Jones. C. F. Keary. H. G. Keene, C.I.E. Rudyard Kipling R. B. S. Knowles. James Stanley Little. Léon Little. Mrs. Long. E. J. Martyn. Campbell McKellar. Dr. McKinney. Mrs. Middleton-Wake. Rev. C. H. Middleton-Wake, F.L.S. Mme. Mijiatovich. C. Mitchell. B. Mitford. J. Fitzgerald Molloy. A. Montefiore. H. J. Montgomery. George Moore. Mrs. Chandler Moulton. H. Naidley. Professor Nicholson. Rev. W. Robertson Nicoll, LL.D. Mrs. Goddard Orpen. J. R. Osgood. Mrs. Louisa Parr. Dr. Parker. A. Paterson. Mrs. J. Pennell. Miss E. Pollock. Mrs. Walter Pollock. Walter Herries Pollock. Sir Frederick Pollock, Bart. H. Campbell Praed. Mrs. Campbell Praed. Geo. Haven Putnam. Mrs. Rohlf. (" Anna K. Green.") Mr. Rohlf. A. Galt Ross. R. B. Ross. Mrs. Mary Rowsell. Mrs. Sala. T. Bailey Saunders. W. Baptiste Scoones. VOL. I.
At the conclusion of dinner :- The Chairman (in proposing the toast of "The Queen ") said : Ladies and gentlemen, the toast which I have the honour now to propose to you is ever the first where British subjects are assembled, and is ever received with sincere loyalty and reverential attachment,-sentiments justly inspired by a reign which has given to this Empire, in the fullest measure, the blessings of constitutional freedom, and which, in every sphere of thought and action, has been auspi. cious for the fruitful rivalries of peace. (Cheers.) I ask you to drink to the health of our most gracious Sovereign, the Queen.
The toast having been duly honoured
The Chairman said : Ladies and gentlemen, the next toast which I have the honour to propose to you is that of the "Incorporated Society of Authors," and I rejoice that I can commence by offering congratulations. During the past year, as the
Report shows, the prosperity of this Society has that this Society has no quarrel whatsoever with not only been fully maintained, but has been any honourable publishing firm. (Hear, hear.) On increased in a marked degree. There has been a the contrary, the work which this Society is attemptvery large accession to the number of members; ing must be not less welcome to such firms than in every sphere of work which the Society has it is to the authors themselves, for that work tends entered, it has received fresh encouragement to to eliminate from the publishing vocation any persevere ; and amongst the new forms of activity persons who may be likely to discredit it. It also, which it has developed, there is one which is by securing the fruits of his labour to the labourer, especially deserving of mention. The Society now encourages the deserving, and so seeks to elevate possesses a monthly periodical of its own in a the standard of literary produce. journal entitled The Author, which was published It is fully and cordially recognised by the memfor the first time in the month of May, and the bers of this Society-recognised with a pride natural second number of which we have had in June. to Englishmen—that the general history of publishing It is an organ for the record and discussion of in this country has been marked by integrity, in everything that concerns the profession of letters; many cases by enterprise, and in very many cases it is also designed to be the medium by which by generosity. (Hear, hear.) On the other hand the Committee of the Society of Authors may keep it is undeniable that many authors are incapable the other members informed of their proceedings. of appreciating the merits of a bargain proposed to The inception and editing of this Journal is a new them by a trained man of business who regards the benefit which the Society owes to a member of its matter from a commercial point of view; and it is Council, to whom it has been indebted for so also undeniable that the details of the publishing much else—Mr. Walter Besant. (Cheers.) I trade have too often been surrounded with think one may say that the establishment of this needless amount of technical obscurity. (Hear, Journal is a formal expression of the fact that this hear, and laughter.) We fully recognize that Society is now the recognised guardian of great publishing is a useful, it may be a fine art, but we and constantly growing interests. (Hear, hear.) deny that it ought to be a mystery. (Hear, hear.) It is well known to all of you that on the list of Now what have been the principal causes of such this Society's members are found some of the mystery as has existed? The first cause concerns foremost names in every branch of literature, what is termed the cost of production, that is to say, science, and art; and therefore in its corporate of printing a book and introducing it to the public. capacity the Society may claim that representative The Society has contributed to the elucidation character which the appearance of this Journal of this subject, which is well within the range of the indicates. (Hear, hear.)
capacity conventionally described as “mean,” by Literary property is no inconsiderable element in publishing a little work for the use of its members, the wealth of the nation; and yet hitherto the called “The Cost of Production." producers of this wealth have, for various reasons, The other great cause of the haziness to which been too often careless of their rights, and some- I have alluded is of a subtler character: it is in times unable to defend them. This Society was fact the time-honoured doctrine of “risk,” which formed for the purpose of diffusing clearer know- might be described as the fundamental dogma of ledge regarding the nature and the value of literary bibliopolic orthodoxy. The classical adage that property, and also for the purpose of adopting all “ books have their fates" has been extended into possible means which may render such property the doctrine that the fate of most books is very
nearly a toss up, and that, if a publisher has the In pursuing these aims there are, broadly intrepidity to take his chance of heads or tails, such speaking, two principal provinces of endeavour heroism deserves a golden reward. (Laughter.) which such a Society as this is called upon to Well, we are very far from denying that, down at enter:-One is that of the relations which exist least to the early part of the eighteenth century, between authors and publishers; the other is the the business of the publisher was in fact very often Law of Copyright. As regards the relations which an extremely hazardous one. But why was it so ? exist between authors and publishers, the desire of Because the reading public for most books was this Society is simply to see those relations placed then comparatively small; because circulation was on a thoroughly intelligible and equitable footing not assisted by such agencies as Book Clubs or (hear, hear), a footing equitable for both the Literary Institutes; and because, for both those partners in the joint enterprise. The Society reasons, the publisher found it difficult to feel the wi-s to see literary business conducted on prin- pulse of the book-market. But before the end of
similar to those which regulate business in the eighteenth century a considerable change had Lther form. Simply to state this is to say already occurred in that respect; and at the present
day it is affirmed by competent persons, who have to know that everything that is soundest in American investigated the subject, that a publisher very opinion deplores that result (hear, hear), and seldom indeed brings out a book with the danger of anxiously desires a correction of a state of things losing much by it. A certain margin of uncertainty which is felt to be unworthy of a great country. must of course always exist; but the authors of these (Hear, hear.) The present situation has been original researches say that the amount of speculative clearly described in the current number of the element in the publishing trade has been greatly Fortnightly Review, by Mr. Edmund Gosse. (Apexaggerated. And yet how strange, how almost plause.) pathetic it is to reflect on the large part which this Among our guests this evening, the educated dreaded monster “risk ” has played in literary opinion of the United States on this subject is destinies! There was a time when the average represented by some gentlemen who have been author, after receiving from the publisher that strenuous supporters of that much-needed measure modest recompense which was appropriate to those of justice. One among them I may be permitted who ventured nothing, beheld almost with awe the to mention-one who for a long series of years
has publisher pass within the veil, bound for those been an indefatigable worker in that just causemysterious regions, "far in the unapparent," where, Mr. George Haven Putnam. (Applause.) We like Hercules or Sir Calidore, he was to meet single- greet him and them, not as the champions of a handed that appalling bogey “risk,” and to conquer defeated cause, but as the champions of a cause or to fall. It must be our best comfort to reflect which in our hope and belief is destined to no that by far the larger proportion of these daring uncertain and no distant victory. (Cheers.) The publishers have survived the ordeal. And surely in true interests of literature in the largest sense their turn they will permit us to say that writers are always international; and it is a source of desire a revelation of this monster • risk” which peculiar 'gratification to us that our meeting this shall be less in the manner of Milton and more in evening should be graced by the presence of a the manner of Dante. It it not enough for us to representative of the German Society of Letters, to know that he floats many a rood. We should like to whom we offer a respectful and cordial welcome. have some more exact measure of his dimensions. (Cheers.) (Laughter.) Before leaving this topic of the relations And now, ladies and gentlemen, before I sit between author and publisher, I would only add that down, it is my privilege to give you a message, when an author submits to the Committee of this which I know you will receive with deep interest Society a proposed but still unsigned agreement with and gratification. It is from the venerable and a publisher, the Committee does him a service if it illustrious President of this Society (general cheerpoints out a flaw, but it does him a service also if ing), whose recent restoration to health has caused it tells him that there is no flaw—that he has no rejoicing, not only throughout the British Empire, just grievance, and that he is getting as much as he but wherever the English language is spoken. can fairly expect. (Hear, hear.)
Lord Tennyson desires to assure you with what Now I will touch very briefly on the question of sincere pleasure he learns of the continued and copyright. As you are aware, the International increasing prosperity of this Society, and how glad Copyright Act of June, 1886, enables this country he is to know of the excellent work which it is to enter any International Copyright Union which doing, in trying to make literary property more may be established. But before this country can secure. (Hear, hear.) do so on equal terms it is desirable—it is even Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the toast of necessary—that the various existing Acts affecting "The Incorporated Society of Aùthors.” (Loud Domestic Copyright should be amended and con- and prolonged cheering.) solidated. (Hear, hear.) The draft of a Bill for Sir Frederick Pollock, in acknowledging the that purpose has been prepared by a Committee of toast, called attention to the practical' work of the this Society, of which the chairman is Sir Frederick Society in matters of foreign and colonial copyright, Pollock. (Applause.) As regards International and pointed out that the best and most certain way Copyright, the case of course in which it most to make the Society still more useful to its members directly affects British authors is that of protection and to the world of letters, was for the members to for their works in the United States. (Hear, hear.) exert themselves to procure recruits and diffuse It was naturally with a certain feeling of dis- knowledge of the Society and its operations. appointment that we lately learned that the House Mr. Alfred Austin (in proposing the toast of of Representatives in Congress had thrown out, by “ Literature, Science, and Art”) said : Professor a majority of 28—by 126 votes against 98—the Bill Jebb, ladies and gentlemen, when somewhat to my which would have afforded such protection. But surprise, and certainly very much above my deserts, under our disappointment it is no small alleviation I was invited by the brilliant and vigorous man of