Anthologists and Their Headaches

Over at SFWA.org, Jeff VanderMeer stresses the importance of writers establishing clear instructions for their literary estates and the obstacles, as an anthology editor, he sees too often:

To a least some extent, the ease with which an anthologist can contact a writer’s representative and obtain rights to a story speaks to how often that writer will be reprinted. A nonresponsive agent, publisher, or literary estate is just one of an anthologist’s worries. Another is, believe it or not, active hostility toward the request. A third is a misunderstanding of the marketplace wherein a writer’s representative asks for such an exorbitant fee that the anthologist cannot reprint the story, or a desire to treat the rights as if they were shares in a company, and to not allow any reprinting, hoping the value goes up.

Hmm. Numbers two and three sound familiar…

Meantime, Donald M. Grant Publisher, Inc. has announced their 17-year-old Averoigne collection has “an expected release in the Spring of 2012”:

We are not taking orders at this time, do not have prices and have not set a release date. Please do not call or email us asking for more information than is posted here.

Oh boy! Sounds like it will be available any day now! Considering such excellent customer relations and Grant’s clearly rock-solid business model, I’m sure this news is trustworthy and sincere.

Averoigne on the Internets

First The Cimmerian and then the Los Angeles Times picked up my tale of woe regarding my intent to put together an Averoigne collection. It’s an instructive case of the kicking and screaming that occurs when literature enters the public domain, yes, but it’s also a demonstration of the perils of the same agent representing both an author’s shade and the publisher who prints his work.

If I were an outsider reading these posts, not to mention the memorials uploaded back in January, I might be curious enough to give Clark Ashton Smith a try. Problem is, as a fan, it’s hard to tell newcomers where to go — which is my whole argument. But if you want to get started, try Out of Space and Time and Lost Worlds. Together they offer 44 stories that were hand-selected by Smith for their original publication in the 1940s, and since they’re paperbacks, they won’t break the bank.

Also, Eldritch Dark has all of Smith’s writing online — though, if you’re like me, that’s no substitute for an old-fashioned book.

Incidentally, Ron Hilger, who edited the Averoigne collection that Donald M. Grant, Publisher has been promising to print for fifteen years, posted in December on the Eldritch Dark forums that the project may have legs again. On the other hand, Grant has been teasing this volume for fifteen years. From what I’ve read, if it does appear, it will be hardback with full-color plates within. So not cheap.

Illo by the inimitable Jim Roslof for the Averoigne-inspired D&D adventure, Castle Amber.