... Not that I can recall with Wiley. Another publisher asked me to spend many, many months working on umpteen outline revisions until they were happy. AndMessage 1 of 8 , Jul 1, 2006View Source
> Have any of you been treated this way?Not that I can recall with Wiley. Another publisher asked me to spend
many, many months working on umpteen outline revisions until they were
happy. And they've asked for a sample chapter even though I've written
dozens of books. They want to see my raw, unedited copy so they know
how much editing work will be required, how well I know their book's
style guidelines, and which project editor would be a good fit for my
particular writing style.
> Is this a new approach that Wiley is taking?Not that I've noticed. These types of disagreements turn up
occasionally with any publisher.
> Would any of you put up with this?No, but going on the warpath isn't an effective solution, as it leaves
animosity on both sides.
This is one of those times when an agent really comes in handy. When
the author and the project editor have differences of opinion, it's
time to call the agent and let them sort out the mess. Since they're
dealing with things strictly on a business level, they can work more
effectively as a mediator between the publisher and author. There's no
emotion or pride involved.
The agent can either make the publisher kick the project editor into
line, or tell the author that he or she has unrealistic expectations.
But more frequently, the agent arrives at some common ground that
works for everybody.
Sure, agents scoop their money off the top, but I consider that
insurance against times like this when business dealings turn sour.
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "BJOERN HARTSFVANG"
> Hi folks,
> I've just started writing my new "for Dummies" title: "Numerology for
> Dummies." Now I'm not a new Dummies author; I first filled in as a
> on my first book in 1995, so I'm definitely not a stranger to thewriting or
> the editorial processes.Editor
> But I've encountered a dynamic with the Ack Editor and the Project
> that, frankly has me puzzled and I'm wondering if this is a newparadigm of
> Wiley's and if anyone else has experienced it.Bjoern,"
> At the start, they said "we don't need a writing sample from you
> which is OK--what should I do, say "go to the warehouse and pick up mymonths
> latest book you published" if they need a writing sample? It took 4
> of negotiations and seven rounds of resubmitting my TOC before the bookthat my
> finally got approved. The Ack Ed said that there were "concerns"
> information would be "too technical" and advanced for the targetaudience.
> OK, fine. I've never had this problem before, but I slogged my waythrough
> it. Then, suddenly, they *demand* a sample chapter before they'llaccept the
> contract. I've NEVER had to submit a sample chapter before, and itsagainst
> my religion to write on a project until I have a contract in place.like he
> Now the book has gotten handed off to the Project Editor, who feels
> has the right and authority to dictate to me which chapters I'mgoing to
> write, and when. He has ignored me when I have repeatedly explainedthat my
> writing process on a topic that a Dummies book can barely scratchthe top 2%
> of the surface of (or thereabouts) required me to write what I callEditor just
> "foundational chapters" first. I use these chapters to guide me in
> determining what data set I'll use.
> As far as I can tell, when we've been on the phone, this Project
> tunes me out--I call it the "gadfly response" when someone treatsyou like
> you're an annoying buzz that they have to put up with, but are free tothen I
> ignore if they can. At least half (or more) of my queries in e-mail are
> ignored, and I'm constantly lectured "you're the expert Bjoern"--and
> have to get permission for any change to the outline, and he's goneso far
> as to tell me that my steps for one of the calculations innumerology were
> too complex and I had to simplify it. Excuse me?found,
> The Project Editor has also tried to completely rearrange my TOC, even
> inserting chapters--without consulting me first--on topics that I
> frankly, insulting and offensive (using numerology to buy a car, ordecide
> on where to go for vacation, or how to win the lottery). And he'sstated to
> me that his vision of the book is that it be something that "teenagegirls
> could buy to take to a slumber party and use to entertain themselves."pronounced
> It seems that they don't want "Numerology for Dummies," they want
> "Numerology for the Vapid and the Tawdry." And I told them so.
> And this is with the TOC that got *approved* still having a very
> spiritual focus. the title of chapter three is "Divine by any otherName"
> for crying out loud.editors
> I'm on the warpath, and spent the morning writing e-mails to both
> (and the Project Ed's manager) with a long list of "concerns," so Iexpect
> I'll be blackballed as a "difficult author" and doubt that I'll getany more
> "For Dummies" titles in the near future, which I don't really careabout if
> this is the way the wind is blowing.
> But my questions are:
> Have any of you been treated this way?
> Is this a new approach that Wiley is taking?
> Would any of you put up with this?
> Thanks, folks. It is great to have a resource where I can vent to an
> audience that can *relate.*
> Bjoern-Erik Hartsfvang
> Fr. Alfstjarne, 4th° Master Astrologer, A.C.L.
> ElvenStar Studios, Ltd.
> "Mystical Guidance for the Real World"
Here s my thoughts. 1) On the sample chapter request, Wiley asked for one for Estate Planning For Dummies even though I had done 2 previous Dummies books (DataMessage 1 of 8 , Jul 1, 2006View SourceHere's my thoughts.
1) On the sample chapter request, Wiley asked for one
for Estate Planning For Dummies even though I had done
2 previous Dummies books (Data Warehousing, Stock
Options) plus all of my other books. I didn't have any
problems with that request because this particular
book was going to be a collaborative project with 2
named authors and me as the behind-the-scenes,
uncredited author, so the acquisition editor at the
time wanted to see how we'd work together in terms of
my being able to edit/Dummy-ize my co-authors'
content. I also wanted to see how the three-way
collaboration would work and wanted to put the effort
in on one sample chapter, pre-contract, rather than
4-5 chapters for the first batch and *then* find out
there were problems with the process; fortunately
things worked out fine for this chapter, and for all
the other ones we did.
And, in fact, the sample chapter we chose which was
the first of the chapters about wills came in a bit
long for the writing guidelines so that was actually
good feedback to have at that time for my one
co-author (my brother) to shorten his content and
chapter plan, plus to get less technical in the
writing; kept family peace having him hear that from
the editor rather than me...
I did have to do a sample chapter for Data
Warehousing, but since that was the first Dummies
title I did and it was a pickup project from someone
who was having problems writing Dummies style but who
was otherwise a pretty good writer, I was OK with that
request. Can't remember about Stock Options, maybe
there also given that it was a departure from
technical books for me.
2) On the question about the angle and audience of the
book, I did have this issue come up with a Dummies
title that I *didn't* wind up doing, sometime in 1999
or 2000. My agent contacted me about doing Project
Management For Dummies and the outline and TOC I did
dealt with a comprehensive approach to project
management, i.e., more than just the mechanics. My
reasoning was that HungryMinds (I think this was
before the Wiley acquisition) already had their titles
on Microsoft Project Manager For Dummies that dealt
with the mechanics of the discipline: how GANTT
charts, resource loading, etc. were done in Microsoft
Project. I wanted to do a complementary book, one that
dealt with risk management, getting projects out of
trouble, etc., but the acquisition editor at the time
and I were at a stalemate on the direction despite 2
or 3 rounds at the outline and TOC. Essentially, she
wanted the same book as the Microsoft Project Manager
titles, just "generic" and without all of the software
package examples. I finally withdrew and they
simultaneously decided to go with someone else for
that title, which was a good thing all around.
So you will find different opinions, perspectives,
etc. on topics for which you are the subject matter
expert and the editor(s) have some passing knowledge.
My advice is to try and get the book the way you want
it but if you can't, consider withdrawing rather than
go through a horrendous writing and editing cycle,
which like others on this list I had previously
commented about on an earlier e-mail thread for one
(but only one) of the Dummies titles I did: project
editor overstepping normal bounds, copy editor running
Think about it this way: Wiley has a large group of
acquisition editors, project editors, copy editors,
marketing people, etc. Just going by normal
statistical distribution some will be better than
others, and sometimes it's luck of the draw whom you
get at the various stages.
Hope this helps;
Do You Yahoo!?
Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around
Dear Bjoern-Erik, Sorry to hear that you¹ve had a difficult time. I¹m wondering what sort of recourse you might have? You are probably stuck with theMessage 1 of 8 , Jul 1, 2006View Source
Re: A question about Wiley EdsDear Bjoern-Erik,
Sorry to hear that you’ve had a difficult time. I’m wondering what sort of recourse you might have? You are probably stuck with the acquisitions editor but might be able to switch project editors. On my book, Genetics for Dummies, my project editor was extremely flexible about what chapters were written and when. I was never told what to write and was always treated with respect. In fact, I started in the middle of the book and wrote chapters 2 through 5 much later on. I would certainly not put with being treated as you describe. Writing a Dummies book is extremely demanding because of the tight time schedules, which is hard enough without all the BS.
Peace be with you,
Hi folks, With much egg on my face, I d like to just have my previous email deleted from the collective memory. Chalk it up to the rantings of aMessage 1 of 8 , Jul 2, 2006View SourceHi folks,
With much egg on my face, I'd like to just have my previous email deleted
from the collective memory. <yeah, right> Chalk it up to the rantings of a
sleep-deprived lunatic. Yeah I had some concerns about several issues, but
nothing as bad as all that--it was mostly "they assumed and I assumed"
and--ugh. I had a phone conference with a couple of the Eds and got the air
(mostly) cleared (I hope), and I'm back on track.
Thanks for your responses.
Fr. Alfstjarne, 4th� Master Astrologer, A.C.L.
ElvenStar Studios, Ltd.
"Mystical Guidance for the Real World"
>From: Tara Robinson <robinson@...>
>Subject: [dummies_authors] Re: A question about Wiley Eds
>Date: Sat, 01 Jul 2006 17:00:00 -0700
>Sorry to hear that you�ve had a difficult time. I�m wondering what sort of
>recourse you might have? You are probably stuck with the acquisitions
>but might be able to switch project editors. On my book, Genetics for
>Dummies, my project editor was extremely flexible about what chapters were
>written and when. I was never told what to write and was always treated
>respect. In fact, I started in the middle of the book and wrote chapters 2
>through 5 much later on. I would certainly not put with being treated as
>describe. Writing a Dummies book is extremely demanding because of the
>time schedules, which is hard enough without all the BS.
>Peace be with you,