Shredded Pages

by Channie Greenberg


Dear Owen Brownstone,

Thank you for filling out the Invertebrates Are Us questionnaire. We have received your response and will be issuing you a contract for the publication of your work, Deep Water Creature Delights. Congratulations! Your contract will be sent after Labor Day. Please confirm your mailing address.

To answer your question, our office is located in New Orleans, but our distribution of books reaches many countries. Your idea of a release during the week of National Fishing Day could work.

Once again, congratulations from the Invertebrates Are Us family of publications.

Sincerely,

Carolyn DeSilva
Publisher
Invertebrates Are Us

* * *

Carolyn De Silva:

Lo and Behold! The contract actually arrived safely via snail mail. Looks good (fairly standard for small presses), except for one thing; the clause about first right of refusal for my next book or next series of books.

Specifically, I work with different publishers for different genres. I’d be happy to amend that clause to read “first right of refusal for nonfiction anthologies about sea creatures” but not for all of my works. Crustaceans Never End became an eBook through Paws Press, and Hedgehogs and Lobsters, a poetry collection, has been shortlisted by Scales and Fins Ltd.

Per the genre about which we are communicating, I have other manuscripts available (currently shopping them around) as well as one in progress. So my offer’s not lame. Please let me know if it suits you.

Meanwhile, should I ink in my changes on the contract, and then scan and resend? Alternatively, should I wait for a redo of the paperwork from you?

I look forward to hearing from you. Have a nice Veterans’ Day. I am glad to be welcomed into the Invertebrates Are Us family of publications.

Warm Wishes,

Owmapow
(Owen Brownstone)
P.O. Box 1248
Yellow Tide Road
Santa Barbara, CA 93160

* * *

Dear Owen, I mean, Owmapow:

Per the publishing contract, just hand-write the change in the First Right of Refusal clause, initial it, make a copy, and include the copied page with your signature page when you send it back to me. The first right of refusals was not intended for every book, only for books in a series.

After you sign and send back the signature page and the page with the change on it, please prepare a short bio and your author photo and send them by e-mail. We will then post your photo and bio on the Invertebrates Are Us website.

I look forward to working with you. Happy Wintertime Holidays!

Sincerely,

Carolyn De Silva

* * *

Carolyn:

Your specifics on how to amend the contract arrived the same day as did my local animal rescue sanctuary’s request for help with two orphaned dugongs, so I’m only now getting back to a semblance of sanity (semblance, for sure, given it’s nearly 3 a.m. here and I am still awake) and to you. I am sincerely sorry this response (along with the rest of my professional life) got delayed.

I rewrote the clause as giving you First Right of Refusal for six months only, and only for Estuary Creature Delights, my next work on important California fauna. Although not a series in the regular sense, my books make for a hearty, contiguous read.

Others of my collections are under consideration at other houses. ECD, too, was submitted to someone else, before I received your contract but I’m willing to pull it from consideration, from elsewhere, for half of a year. Should I do so?

There’s likely a possibility of other offers for me, but let’s take these contracts one book at a time. My record is grand; I’m beginning talks for a third book with one of my publishers and with a different publisher for a second book.

Also, on my website, I made mention of our project forthcoming :) I have a LinkedIn page. I have a Facebook page, too (working with you will motivate me to actually use it). Shall I feature this book on those places, too?

Additionally, I have cover ideas when you’re ready for such things. Speaking of which, please email to me a rough schedule for initial revised manuscript galley proofs, final proofs before printing, anticipated release date, etc. I have two other guppies lined up for a swim during the next few months and I am hoping to spend part of the summer teaching writing, so it’s helpful to me to know your deadline expectations.

Anyway, my bio is below. It will be updated when I have received countersigned contracts from a few other book publishers. Perhaps, I will also have more writing awards to add. In addition, if a certain teaching appointment comes through, I will also be able to amend my bio with “Distinguished Visiting Professor of Creative Writing.” So, consider my bio a work in progress.

Four choices of photos are also below. I did a shoot of about 200 pix this summer. Note the oceanic backgrounds!

I will try to get to the post office today with the revised clause and signature pages. I will consider the contract valid when I receive your countersigned copy, especially your initials on the revised clause.

Hopefully, we will be able to create a few books together. I’m glad to join the Invertebrates Are Us family :)

Warmly,

Owmapow

Current Bio:

Faithful in his devotion to the critters of the Santa Barbra Coast, Dr. Owen Brownstone both researches Decapoda, specifically, and writes about ocean dwellers, in general. A biologist as well as a creative writer, his work can be found in: Smarmy Friends; Under the Sea; Crazed Critters; Squeaks and Roars; Astral Flora and Fauna; Ocean Scavengers; Shellfish and Their Landlocked Buddies, and Waving at Biology! Dr. Brownstone spends his summers teaching science writing and creative nonfiction at SBCC Center for Lifelong Learning.

* * *

Carolyn:

The contract was mailed yesterday. Sigh. A friend, who was helping me during my newest crisis with the dugongs, brought the papers to the post office for me, but inadvertently mailed the original to you and returned the photocopies to me. Please let me know when you receive the mailing. Once I receive your countersignatures on the specified pages, we will be legit.

Did my other email (author photos, etc.) make it to you? I look forward to working with you and Invertebrates Are Us Publishing.

Owen Brownstone

PS: when my book’s production schedule becomes available, please send it to me.

* * *

Owen:

I need the original signature, not the copy. I received your photos and bio. They are great. When I receive the contract, the bio and photo will be posted on the Invertebrates Are Us website. We have a Yahoo group for our authors, too. As soon as I receive your contract, I will send you the link. Happy Presidents’ Day!

Sincerely,

Carolyn

* * *

Carolyn:

I was going to email you this week and ask if you had received the contract with its amendments. Not only was the original emailed to you, but a copy of the amended version was emailed, too. Can you work with electronic copies? Sigh. The local snail mail service is sometimes problem-ridden.

Meanwhile, my friend keeps trying to calm me down. She claims that all of the copies will soon show up in your snail-mailbox. I don’t trust the Post Office as much as she does. Like me, she’s a biologist. Her specialty, though, is Theraphosinae; few things bother her.

Many things, however, bother me, including the items I have permanently lost via snail mail. Never before have I had this problem when sending things to publishers. Then, again, the rest of the presses were fine with electronic mail.

I would like to get to this book’s galley proofs. I await your reply.

Owmapow

* * *

Owmapow:

Thank you for getting back to me. I have not had mail problems with other authors, but I have had personal issues with the post (even though, unlike your friend, I am not hardened by the study of tarantulas).

If you sent multiple copies of the signed and amended contracts, one of them should show up. Let’s give it a bit more time. I need an original signature, not an electronic one. I know that you are anxious about your work and your galleys, but we have a number of manuscripts ahead of yours, so the delay in my receiving your signature page will not have any impact on Invertebrates Are Us’ release of your work.

Sincerely,

Carolyn

* * *

Carolyn:

Next month, I am due to present at the Aquaculture and Fisheries Conference in Baton Rouge. When the conference concludes, if my revised version of the contract has not yet arrived to you, I will personally deliver a fresh, signed copy to your office.

Owmapow

* * *

Dear Dr. Brownstone,

I have not, as of yet, received your signed contract. The policy of my company is to have an original signature with the contract, in order to countersign and put the publishing agreement into force. We do not send our contracts electronically. Unfortunately, your delay has caused some bad news for you.

We have made a final decision. Since we don’t believe such an extensive delay would be fair to you, as it will create a missed opportunity with another publisher, we withdraw our offer to publish your work. We suggest you submit Deep Water Creature Delights to one of the other publishers with whom you work, as the manuscript is well written and it’s likely to find a home. We wish you the best of luck. Happy Memorial Day

Sincerely,

Carolyn De Silva
Publisher
Invertebrates Are Us

* * *

Ms. De Silva:

Couldn’t you wait a week until I arrive in Louisiana?

Owen Brownstone

* * *

Dear Owen,

As luck would have it, your paperwork in fact arrived the day after I had withdrawn Invertebrates Are Us’ offer of a contract. Nonetheless, I won’t be countersigning your papers. I wish you luck with your book.

Sincerely,

Carolyn

* * *

Ink Loss by Dennis Marshall

Ink of Loss by Denny Marshall

Carolyn:

I hold no grudges, except against the postal service. I would still like to work on Deep Water Creature Delights with Invertebrates Are Us.

I’m glad the letter arrived. Thank you for letting me know. I was very frustrated with the local mail authority.

Owmapow

PS: My other book, Estuary Creature Delights, too, is still available.

* * *

Dear Owmapow:

I’m sorry but as per my prior e-mail, I have withdrawn my contract and shredded the pages that you had sent. I don’t keep or save contracts that I won’t countersign. I care about protecting authors. I wish you luck with Deep Water Creature Delights and with Estuary Creature Delights. Have a nice Columbus Day!

Sincerely,

Carolyn De Silva
Publisher
Invertebrates Are Us


Copyright © 2016 by Channie Greenberg

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