- Posted by Johanna on February 21, 2012 at 4:48 pm
- Category: LinkBlogging
This teenage fan of The Vampire Diaries is very upset that the author, L.J. Smith, was fired from the series by publisher HarperCollins. I don’t blame her. (Note: this apparently happened a year ago, but the fan just found out about it.) From a public letter from the author:
… both these series [Vampire Diaries and Secret Circle] were written “for hire” which means that the book packager owns the books the author produces. Although I didn’t even understand what “for hire” meant back in 1990, when I agreed to write books for them, I found out eventually, to my horror and dismay. It means that even though I have written the entire series, I don’t own anything about The Vampire Diaries. And from now on, the books will be written by an anonymous ghostwriter.
One can speculate why a company might disagree with an author, especially since the show based on the books is a hot one. (That’s a pun. The show’s stars recently got near-naked on the cover of Entertainment Weekly, as shown here.) Here’s a followup interview with author L.J. Smith with more details.
It’s understandable why a young author would take a deal like that — many can’t break in or get published any other way. And the reality is that once a packager has an idea they think will succeed, they’ll hire anyone to pump it out, and if you won’t do it, someone else will. I do regret that book publishing is following comics in that way, to a perception that the characters and brands are what matters, not the people who create the stories.
I appreciate this fan’s passion. It’s that kind of outrage that might keep authors from signing deals like this and companies from offering them. It seems that the process of educating her on how perfectly legal (and even common) this practice is was hard for her, and that’s a shame. Most readers want to keep seeing the vision they enjoy from the author who brought it to them. I hope all those disappointed readers stop buying the books by people other than the original author.