Sunday, July 19, 2009

What goes around comes around

Back about 15 years ago, I conceived the idea to write a book on hunting for women. It was to be a look at hunting from a woman's point of view, and look at everything from history to how to.

I had a contract from CountrySport Press--the old CountrySport Press--and was really going to town on the manuscript. Then the company changed hands. I don't remember exactly what the issue was, but the new owner wanted some things that were not in the original contract and it turned into a pissing contest. I ended up giving back half the advance to get out of the contract. However, it was a long and protracted legal issue that dragged on for about a year.

Meanwhile, I had talked to another, very well known and well respected book publisher in the industry. I have mercifully forgotten the particular editor's name (probably blocked it out), but he was very interested in the book and said when I got free of the deal with CountrySport to come on over. He had a copy of the outline, which turns out to have been a serious mistake on my part.

As the thing with CountrySport was winding up, I got an e-mail from another woman writer--whose credentials were (and are) not nearly as good as mine. She indicated that she was doing a book on hunting for women for this same publisher, and asked some questions about my experience, etc.

I responded with a fairly puzzled note to the effect that I thought I was doing this book for them and could she please clarify? I also wrote a nice note to the editor, not indicating that I'd been in touch with her, but just telling him that things were almost done and I'd be his way in short order.

Next thing I got was a very nasty, hostile note from the editor saying he wasn't about to deal with me on any book on hunting for women and basically just go away and don't bother him again.

When this other book came out, it was very similar to the one I had proposed--albeit with a stronger slant toward shotgunning than mine.

My supposition was that the editor liked the topic but didn't want to wait for me, so he found someone else to do it and didn't tell her he had "lifted" the idea and basic outline for the book from someone else.

It is the only time in my career that I can truly say an editor "stole" one of my ideas and gave it to someone else. But the trail was pretty clear on this one.

All of that really took the heart out of me on that book and I put it away. It's too bad, because I have some really neat historical information in it that nobody else has.

Now it may be that the book's time has come around again. We've been discussing it on the Outdoor Writers Forum, and I'm getting a lot of encouragement to pull it out and dust it off and think about self publishing it.

Ironically, I'm just putting the finishing touches on a manuscript for a client who's self publishing a book, so I have an idea of what goes into that.

I'm really going to have to think about it. With all the younger women who are coming into hunting, and what they don't know about our heritage and history--or herstory, if you will--it may finally be time to do the book.

I pulled all the files out of my archive this morning.......the trouble is, they're all in Word Perfect, and the whole world is working in Word now. So I have some file conversions to do.

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