When Authors Turn Against Authors, Or: Storytelling Folks Should Stick Together

Image - iStockphoto: MLiberra
Image – iStockphoto: MLiberra

“The Corn Is As High As An Elephant’s Eye”

I started by asking James Scott Bell about Casablanca. Bell is an attorney, a fellow former Equity actor, and both an indie author and one published with Hachette. And I told him that last week’s dueling open-letters between independent and traditionally publishing authors reminded me of the scene in which the Germans’ chorus of Wacht am Rhein is sung down by the others singing La Marseillaise. 

I then mentioned a dance number in the second act of Oklahoma! 

In Richard Rodgers & Oscar Hammerstein II’s first musical, the Oklahoma Territory farmers (who build fences) and cattle ranchers (whose herds dislike fences) are fighting. Over those fences.

Bell and I were soon dickering over a new round of lyrics to R&H’s song from the show, “The Farmer and the Cowman.”

So before we get on to our own fence-mending, let me offer you this new version. If you know the tune, you’ll find that these lyrics scan quite well. Here it is, suitable for choreography:

The Indie And The Trad Scribe Should Be Friends
Copyright © 2014 by James Scott Bell. All Rights Reserved. Except the right to re-post with full author credit!

Oh the indie and the trad scribe should be friends!
Oh the indie and the trad scribe should be friends!
The Indie likes to pub himself,
The other likes a bookstore shelf.
But that’s no reason why they can’t be friends.

Storytelling folks should stick together,
Storytelling folks should not be mean.
Some will go with direct-to-Kindle,
Others dance with the trad machine.

I’d like to say a word for the indie.
The road she trods is difficult and lonely.
She pubs for months on end
Without a download for a friend.
And some trad writers think that she’s a phony.

And what about the writer for the trad pubs?
His contract terms are dicier than ever.
If his books do not earn out
It puts his livelihood in doubt.
And the publisher will hold his rights forever.

Storytelling folks should stick together,
Storytelling folks should not be mean.
Some will go with direct-to-Kindle,
Others dance with the trad machine.

Keep humming…

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By Porter Ander­son | @Porter_Anderson

Writing on the Ether: When Authors Turn Against Authors, Or: Storytelling Folks Should Stick Together

Originally published by Thought Catalog at www.ThoughtCatalog.com

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3 thoughts on “When Authors Turn Against Authors, Or: Storytelling Folks Should Stick Together

      1. Yes, I suppose I should have stated, “… and not be called back-stabbers or turncoats.” We’re really very harmless, but both sides like to vent on the people in the middle.

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