I was poking around Writer Beware, and as often happens, one thing led to another, and I found this little gem on the excellent Making Light site, regarding PublishAmerica’s attempt to dump tons of unwanted books from its suckers writers on Random House and the NYT Review of Books:
Good thing I leap-frogged PA and went straight to Random House. I’m not sure I could afford to submit my book through them.
Also: “darfing” is an error of some kind, yes? Google doesn’t seem to be able to cough up a simple definition. Therefore, I propose we make up a definition for it. Something suitable. For instance:
“Darf” v. to claim to be engaged in and winning a non-existent fight or contest against a more powerful opponent.
That’s comment #21 from Harry Connolly, whose name rang a bell. Turns out that John Scalzi devoted an entry to Mr. Connolly’s debut novel from Del Rey. It’s from last Fall, but explains why I recognized the name.
To put this all in context for those of you who choose not to read the whole entry on Making Light, PA’s been sending out letters, asking its writers to buy a minimum of 10 or 12 (depending on which letter) of their own books at a discount. The come-on is that PA will in turn “donate up to five” copies of the book to either RH or the NYT Review of Books. The wording of these letters is nebulous where the nitty-gritty of what will happen to all the copies people order is concerned. “Donate” books the author has paid for? Acting as mailing service is more like it. And “up to five” could mean anything from zero through five. The writer pays for 10 or 12 books, only five of which can actually be sent to the writer. What a deal! It’s typical slimy PA sales tactics, to be sure.
What’s hilarious in one of the PA letters is the blatant typo “darfing” where dwarfing was meant. Jokes about delivery to random houses ensue in the comments, but I got the biggest kick out of Mr. Connolly’s comment proposing a definition for “darf.” Doesn’t it sound like the perfect description of one or more of the Nitwits?
What a great way to start a beautiful, warm, sunny day. I have loads on my plate for today: repot a few orchids; photograph a couple of others that decided to rebloom for me right on schedule this year, including a Ceologyne ochracea that smells heavenly; water the fruit trees, dwarf Alberta Spruces, and mock oranges that we recently planted; get the dry rub on those bison sirloins so we can smoke them for dinner, and get cracking again on “Insect.”
After a couple of false starts, I know where I’m going with “Insect.” As of last night, it just wasn’t funny enough for Annoyed Chupacabra Press. *sigh*