Monday News: Harlequin settlement disbursed, China’s growing film industry, who deserves a spin-off, and best tampon convo ever
Harlequin Lawsuit’s Happy Ending – Thanks to a DA reader for seeing this blog post from former Harlequin author Patricia McLinn on the disbursement of the $4.1M settlement in Keller v. Harlequin, which the court approved in July. McLinn was involved in organizing authors six or so years ago, which makes her investment in the case both long-term and first-hand, and her blog post comprehensive and detailed. I’m surprised we haven’t seen more of these posts, actually, although she’s gotten quite a few comments. And it’s interesting to witness the ways the ebook royalty landscape has — and has not — changed over the years.
In the spring of 2011 a group of authors, shepherded by Ginger Chambers and Barbara McMahon and with me part of the flock, hired Elaine English for a legal assessment of clauses governing ebook rights in various Harlequin contracts. Under contracts that spanned several years, ebook rights were lumped under “All Other Rights.” These contracts were written and signed before ebooks became truly commercially viable, but because of the length of Harlequin contracts they were still in force. The “All Other Rights” clause said Harlequin and the author split whatever monies came in from the exercise of these rights 50-50.
However, when books under those contracts eventually were digitized, it became quite clear the authors were getting way, way, way less than 50%.
What Harlequin did was say that our contracts were signed with Harlequin Switzerland, but the ebooks were published by Harlequin Toronto, and golly, gee, Harlequin Switzerland sold the rights to Harlequin Toronto for 6% of cover price. So Harlequin Toronto sent Switzerland 6%, Switzerland kept 3%, the author received 3% … and Harlequin Toronto kept all the rest. (BTW, this agreement between these Harlequins was created well after the contracts were signed. Authors were never informed about it.) – Patricia McLinn
Rising in the East – A fascinating story on the rise of China’s film industry, which has become both more open and more competitive with Hollywood. It’s clear that China and the US are changing and influencing each other, becoming more interdependent as collaborators and competitors. For example, Hollywood is becoming more adept at knowing what content will likely be censored in the Chinese market and simply not including it in films (rather than cutting it out for Chinese distribution, as they have done before), thus allowing the Chinese censors to determine content of globally distributed films. These decisions are economically driven, of course, because the Chinese market is so valuable, especially as Chinese filmmaking comes of age, with many talented young creators gaining massive popularity and capital.
The Chinese economy is struggling, plagued by slowing growth and uncertainty in the stock markets. But there is one industry that is not suffering: the movie business. For China and its 1.3 billion people, going to the movies has become a national pastime, and China is expected to become the biggest movie market in the world in the next two years. Well, unsurprisingly, Hollywood has taken notice, partnering with Chinese studios and making blockbusters as much for Chinese audience as the American one. But, as Holly Williams first reported last April, the U.S. film industry is also facing competition from a new generation of Chinese moguls and movie stars with big ambitions. Tonight, a journey to a new Hollywood, rising in the East. – CBS 60 Minutes
Why these female literary heroines also deserve their own spin-off novels – The never-ending industry of Pride and Prejudice sequels and spin-offs is now focused on bookworm Mary Bennet, who, “[i]nstead of fawning over strapping young soldiers like her sisters Lydia and Kitty . . . preferred her own company or the comfort of a book.” A secondary character as heroine is hardly new to genres like Romance and communities of fan fiction writers and readers, but here are some actual arguments for a handful of spin-off novels for the likes of Hermione Granger, Teresa Agnes, Daisy Buchanan, and Sam Dutton.
Orion recently purchased the novel Perception by Terri Fletcher, which will chronicle the third Bennet sister’s life after Jane, Elizabeth and Lydia leave Longbourn. Meanwhile, Mantle’s The Other Bennet Girl by Janice Hadlow is hitting shelves in 2018, and promises to give Mary’s character a feminist twist.
In Austen’s original masterpiece, Mary didn’t get the best treatment and was considered the least “handsome” of the Bennet girls. Although Lydia and Kitty Bennet were called “silly” and frivolous by Elizabeth and Mr. Bennet, Mary was described in much harsher terms. – Hello Giggles
This is the best mother-daughter chat about the tampon aisle ever. Period. – Jayne sent this story to me, and the text exchange between mother and daughter is both hilarious and touching. I’m sure there are copy writers who wish they had come up with something like this for a tampon ad. Make sure you read it all the way to the end.