Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Cranky heirs, pt. 2

I received a letter this morning from a widow of a Finnish author whose old story from the late sixties I wanted to reprint in Isku. She said, politely, no, I can't do that. No explanation, just a short note.

The lady must be in her eighties and I was beginning to wonder that maybe she didn't really realize what kind of business I'm running. In short: it's no business. The print runs are somewhere close to 100 and there's no huge publicity. But maybe she declined because there's no money involved for her - I've heard stories of writers' widows who say "no" to reprints, because they wouldn't get enough money out of the contracts. (I think Ed Gorman wrote in one of his late blogs that he tried to get a widow to allow reprint one of Geoffrey Homes's crime novels, but the widow refused saying: "He got better money writing for movies!" Hence, no Homes reprints.)

Or maybe she knew that her late husband wouldn't accept it, maybe thinking that it was something out of his youth and shouldn't see the light of day anymore. But then again, he wrote it with his real name, not under a pseudonym. (And then again, there would be only hundred people reading it, all aficionados and willing to forget that this was written only for the quick money. And then again, they might notice that the piece was really worth the effort, as would've been the case with this particular author.)

Oh well. There's nothing I can do about this. (Except wait for the widow to die and hope that the sons or daughters think different. Which is a bit morbid.)

The title refers to this. As for that case, everything turned out fine. The "evil and greedy brother" phoned me in the end and turned out not to be greedy and evil at all. The two brothers and their sister had made a deal about reprinting and everything was okay. It's just that the book isn't out and it's been delayed for over 1½ years now, and it seems like the publisher wants to cut the curiosities out. If that happens, I'll deal with the heirs again and ask for the reprint rights for Isku. That's at least something.

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