You Don’t Always Get the Cardboard Sled

A long time ago, back in the 1960’s, my mom read an Irma Bombeck column about poor kids being disappointed. The prize in question came in Cracker Jack and it was a cardboard sled you assembled and it was cool. Cool for the 1930s. Irma Bombeck wrote about they were too poor to have even the Cracker Jack, let alone fight over the prize. After that, if one of us was disappointed, mom would just say, “You don’t always get the cardboard sled.”
So tonight I didn’t get the cardboard sled. Instead, I got this email from the company who was going to publish The Brothers Path.
“I am writing to the 3 of you together because you are all in the same boat.
After months of wrestling with the best way to get Bygone Era Book out of debt, I have only managed to sink deeper. Therefore, I have had to make the painful decision to close the company.
Therefore I am notifying you that I am terminating your contracts on your forthcoming books effective immediately (John Cahill, I’ll address Primitive Passions in a separate email). While that may sound rather harsh at first, it is actually the best way to preserve your rights to your books for you and for your to move forward. By cancelling your book releases, you will be able to present them to other publishers.
In the next day or so, I send you all of the files I have for your books including cover artwork, which you may use or not.
I am sorry it has come to this, but I cannot continue forward any further with new releases. Over the course of the next several months, I will be divesting the company of its existing titles as well.”
I’m very disappointed and angry because I had to choose between two publishers and I chose Bygone Era Books. Why? An earlier publication date, mostly. By a year. I told him, too, that I couldn’t agree without hearing from the other publisher. At that point he should have been upfront with me and said, “You know, I’m a guy who works in a bookstore and runs a POD publishing company on the side. We’re not making any money, in fact, the publishing company is on shaky financial ground. You should know that before you decide.”

10 thoughts on “You Don’t Always Get the Cardboard Sled

  1. Well dang and rats. I have to agree with you that the guy should have been very honest about his publishing situation. But maybe it is for a reason and the best outcome for you at this time. Better days await you- just around the corner, I’m sure.

    • I think you’re right. And one thing I decided some time back about writing is that my doing it can’t depend on anything outside myself, like people liking it or publishing it or anything. It has to be OK for me just in itself or I can’t do it. And now that I know what this guy IS, I just want my book back.

  2. Well, I don’t like this, Martha, and I am really sorry for the email. Why in the heck did he take on three of you if he didn’t think he could make it? Crap.

    • That was unscrupulous and irresponsible of him. And in his email he has the tone of a boss firing employees which is weird, like he was doing US a favor by “publishing” our work? It’s just wrong…

  3. Sorry to hear this, never good when you are let down like this. I know a number of people this sort of thing has happened to. Hope you can go back to another publisher and your book can eventually be available in print.

    • Thank you. I haven’t heard back yet from the other publisher, but it’s fine. I was so disappointed and angry, but yesterday I was walking the dogs and I met really nice man who’s lived in Monte Vista all his life. We started talking and before long I learned he lost his son in Iraq and at that point I decided I didn’t have any problems. I’m still disappointed, and angry, but I figure one way or another the book will see the light of day even if I end up publishing it myself. One thing I learned in this process is that I really care a lot about how my book ends up looking and what the blurbs say and I wasn’t happy with the cover this guy picked out (because it was free) or the blurb he wrote. 🙂

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