Read it here.
I’m surprised it took this long. I’ve been reading this stuff on Silver’s forum for a few weeks now, and I’ve been amazed at how sweetly most of Silver’s writers have responded to this series of events. They weren’t getting their royalties and weren’t raising a ruckus? What’s more, the publisher tells them there’s no money and they offer him their loyalty? What?
What authors need to remember is that a publisher is not “family.” It’s a business. It’s great if you like the people you work with but remember to put your own interests first: they make a living off your writing! They can’t exist without you. If they’re not paying you what you’ve earned, that signifies a huge problem. Take your hard work elsewhere.
I can verify most of the information presented by Mercy, as I edited for Silver for about six months this year. This news became public at Silver in the last month. It was interesting to see the letter to authors, because I’d only heard about it previously.
I suspected they were courting trouble early on, based on the quality of manuscripts they were accepting. I mean, 90% of it was garbage I would never have accepted (and me being the mouthy ass I am, I said so; I’m surprised they didn’t fire me then). The first manuscript they offered me was so badly written, I was appalled.
I was told this writer had a following at Silver and she was getting better. I looked the author’s name up at Silver. They’d published several of her titles. In the end, I rejected the edit. I simply couldn’t fix it without totally rewriting it (something I did for another author a few weeks later; it went on to get good reviews. Thanks! That was my writing you loved, not the author’s.). That author has gone on to publish several more titles at Silver. I told AJ Silver couldn’t possibly stay in business putting out this kind of crap.
I emailed back and forth about it with my boss, who’s a really terrific person, so I’m keeping her name to myself. I hope she’s smart enough to find another berth fast because this ship is sinking.
I was told Silver liked working with new authors, helping them improve. Editors were expected to teach these people how to write. Uh, what? I was getting paid to edit, not teach. Kudos to a terrific editing staff because they made some really bad writing into much better work.
Mercy talks about the bad editing at Silver. Please don’t blame the editors; we did the best we could with what we were given. I mean, what editor is expected to rewrite someone’s manuscript in order to make it good? What editor has that much time? I did it a couple of times and then stopped. It’s not like we were doing it for fun. We were there for the money. I was so discouraged and upset by the lousy manuscripts, I quit. My friends applauded. They’d gotten really tired of me ranting and raving about how awful Silver’s manuscripts were. Good timing on my part.
My boss told me writers at Silver were bitching about me in one of the forums, calling me harsh. *snort* Well, if you couldn’t write, I guess you might consider me harsh. A couple authors refused my edits. Hey, their loss. I’m sure their next editor(s) went more gently on them… and their stories suffered because of it. And then the readers who bought their stuff suffered.
Some authors recognized their shortcomings and loved me, even requested I edit future work. Most thought I was an asshole, but that was because I cared. I wanted the writing to be good badly enough to make myself miserable in that job. It’s always about the writing. If you call yourself a writer, then learn how to WRITE, damn it. Otherwise, you have no business being published, and Silver learned that the hard way.
Why did Silver accept bad writing? My theory is they wanted to push titles as fast as possible. I guess they thought readers would overlook the awful story telling and simply keep buying. And I think that worked for a while, but readers hate getting cheated. When they lay that money down, they expect to read something good.
I’m currently editing for the most professional publisher I’ve yet found. Without fail, I’m paid on time and the manuscripts they give me are of good quality. Silver consistently paid me late and never gave me an explanation. I consider myself fortunate that I received all money owed me before this shit hit the fan. I only wish Silver’s authors could say the same. Many of them are still awaiting payment from second quarter.
I wish Silver luck. They’re gonna need it.
I decided to add additional info to my post. I do not wish Silver ill. I hope they pull out of this death spiral and come back stronger than ever. But it cannot be denied the publisher behaved recklessly, spending royalty money to enlarge his business instead of giving it to the authors who earned it. By not establishing a line of credit to pay those authors immediately, he’s making yet another bad decision. In the letter posted at Mercy’s site, the publisher said there was adverse reaction to him doing this. Authors are not in a position to have an opinion on how a publisher runs his business, and while their concerns can be noted, the final decision must be that of the publisher; only that person knows what’s really going on financially.
If Silver fails now, the publisher can blame his authors for making a bad decision by persuading him not to get a loan. This would be wrong, of course, as the final decision was his, but he could say it.
I had limited dealings with the publisher while I freelanced there. My impression was, he was easily distracted and lacked follow through. Yes, there is a valid reason behind this but no point in going into it here. Further, I don’t know him well enough to have an opinion on his character. I can only speak based on observation regarding our direct interaction. It’s OPINION and should be taken as such. He was always responsive when I emailed him, but he dropped the ball on a decision that never got made.
I stand behind my statements regarding their exemplary editing staff and the bad choices Acquisitions made in the manuscripts they accepted. Other editors may have enjoyed a different experience. My remark about 90% of the manuscripts being badly written is based on the ones I was given to edit, not ALL manuscripts accepted. I’m a hell of a good editor, so maybe they gave me the worst of it, knowing I could fix it up. (That’s speculation, btw, and should not be taken as fact.)
I never bought a single book from Silver. I didn’t know what I’d be getting. While it’s a noble idea to nurture young writers, it’s not practical if you run a publishing business. You want the best quality work you can find. It makes everything so much easier! I mean, why stress your staff to that degree? I never worked so hard as I did at Silver. I put in extraordinarily long hours editing for them. I was cranky, I was tired, I was frustrated, and in the end, I was driving myself crazy trying to do a good job for them.
I’m so much happier where I am now. *sigh*