FROM MIKE BIEHL, author of "Doctored Evidence" and "Lawyered to Death": My thoughts on the issue of author financial participation with the publisher (of the title): if the author and publisher are consenting adults, why not? Some might suggest it carries the taint of vanity press for the author, but I think that would only be a problem if the publisher didn't have a track record. If an established publisher of good reputation varies the usual contract in this manner for an unagented author, I don't see why that arrangement can't result in a meritorious and successful book. It's harder to see it working with an agented author.
Okay, another voice heard from. I wonder if there are any agents out there who would care to comment. Could this idea work?
In the meantime, this week brought news that Tina Brown, trend editor extraordinaire, has announced that her online journalism website, The Daily Beast, will partner with Perseus Books Group to speed up the conventional book publishing schedule. In that world right now, an author comes up with an idea, spends at least a year researching and writing and when the publisher takes over, another eight months to a year elapses for editing and the production process. Tina plans to turn out a title in less than six months from genesis to revelations. This approach is intended (at the moment) to be used for political subjects that can change completely by the time they are conventionally scheduled for publication or for celebrity memoirs before the fickle public transfers its mourning to a later overdose succumbant. Makes me wonder if those get-'em-while-they're-hot-titles need to be published at all.
Comment at firstname.lastname@example.org. Barbara Phillips