Saturday, September 06, 2008

What’s Your Opinion?

My guess is that most of you have heard the story of Stephenie Meyer, author of The Twilight Series, putting the last book in the series on indefinite hold because someone posted a huge chunk of the manuscript online. Apparently the person who did it was a trusted reader.

The story’s been all over the Internet – on FaceBook, blogs, the news media, even Meyer’s own site.

The Wall Street Journal had some interesting stats:
Her first three books -- "Twilight," "New Moon" and "Eclipse" -- have sold more than 7.5 million copies in the U.S. Her much-anticipated "Breaking Dawn," published Aug. 2, has nearly four million copies in print in the U.S., according to her publisher, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Lagardère SCA's Hachette Livre.

Although all of Mrs. Meyer's books, including "The Host," a science-fiction title issued in May, have been published by Little, Brown in the U.S., the author had fulfilled her contractual obligations, which means she could have sold "Midnight Sun" to the highest bidder if she so chose. One literary agent estimates that Mrs. Meyer could have sold the domestic rights for that title alone for more than $5 million.

Since the leaked manuscript first was posted to the Web, more than 154 copies of the excerpt have appeared on 42 different Web sites, according to an initial scan of the Web by Attributor, a Redwood City, Calif.-based start-up that tracks and analyzes where content appears on the Web. On the Web pages where the excerpt appeared, 82% had ads.
The majority of her fans seem to be sympathetic over what has happened, despite that it may mean they won’t get the “final” installment of the series. Some fans are mad that she’s letting her “bruised ego” get in-between them and their vampire fix.

The writers I know are sympathetic to her. I don’t know of any author who would not be devastated that someone, especially a friend, posted their work online, in draft form, without permission, after the author had worked for months on it. It was a huge betrayal.

Publishers Weekly quoted Meyer’s publisher as saying:
“While no decisions have been made at this time regarding the publication of Midnight Sun, Stephenie Meyer is currently at work on other writing projects."
eFluxMedia seemed to have sympathy for Meyer, saying:
It must take a lot for an artist to have their work pretty much stolen from them and still be able to say they understand the incident.
But then we come to Horror Yearbook.
All I have to say is “OMG RELAX” there is no way, with the cash cow that Twilight books are, that they won’t release the last in the series, leak or no leak. Maybe this is why Meyer is so good at writing young adult fiction, because she knows how to throw a hissy fit like one.
S/he doesn’t have a way to leave a comment on the blog. S/he only has a “Share and Enjoy” button to go with the ads on the site.

I say the blogger at Horror Yearbook is (keeping it G-rated) an idiot. What do you think?


  1. Helen,
    I can't imagine how an author would feel having her work stolen — by someone she trusted. That must be devastating.

  2. I agree, Lillian. That's certainly how I would feel -- and angry. But Meyer doesn't seem angry (or if she did, she's forgiven the person). If she can do that, then maybe after time she'll be able to finish the book or completely re-write it.

  3. I have sympathy in a broad sense. I don't imagine there are many authors out there who would feel fine with having their work-in-progress published without their permission, especially by a trusted reader. No doubt she feels betrayed.

    But that said, I agree with Horror Yearbook too. Get over it and finish the book. To let THIS derail a multi-book story arc with jerbillions of fans is, at best, childish. She's an allegedly professional writer, so she should buckle down and act like one.

    Her feelings are justified, but her action is not. Furthermore, I suspect she has a contract, possibly some cash in her pocket already, based on the delivery of this book. So deliver it. Yes, it hurts. Maybe even a delay is warranted, but an indefinite delay? No.

    Suck it up, lady, and write the book already.

  4. She needs to get over it. It absolutely bites that someone did it to her, but she needs to vent then get on with the last book.

  5. Actually, she's not under contract for this book.

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  7. Hi Helen - I hadn't heard about this but it sucks. If someone did that to me, I'd want to throttle them.

    I hope she finished the book. But you have to ask what kind of people she's trusting her manuscript with.

  8. Cath, From what little I have read, she gave it to several readers and one, for reasons I don't know, put it online and then it went viral. I haven't read anything that said the person meant to do harm. According to Meyer, she knows who it was because she gave each reader a slightly different version.

  9. First of all, it sounds like "Horror Yearbook" is not an author, so they can't understand how it feels to be so betrayed by a reader.
    Secondly, it is her work. She is not under contract to deliver it. If she doesn't want to continue the story, if the joy has left because of this incident, it's her decision to make.
    Her readers will have to get over it.

  10. Even if she's not under a specific publishing contract, the expectations she's set for her readers through her work to date creates a measure of obligation that she should honor.

    Once again, I agree she has every reason to feel hurt and betrayed, but she needs to move past that.

  11. While authors may feel an obligation to their readers, they are not required to write what the readers want. If she decided to move into another series or genre, that's her right and it's the right of the readers to buy or not buy those books.

    She may decide to do the final book in the series -- I rather hope she will -- but that's up to her.

  12. I would hope she'll finish the series for her readers. I sympathize with her and think she's entitled to her feelings on this; I also think it would be a shame to let down her readers as they've helped make her career. I don't, however, think she's obligated to get over it. This has got to hurt.

  13. It's something we authors fear - someone stealing our manuscript, but you expect that from someone you don't know, not someone you trust.

    Morgan Mandel

  14. Not familiar with the series or the author, but the cynic in me can't help but wonder if this is a publicity stunt. There's just something about the story that doesn't ring true to me and look at the attention this is getting.

    I could be all wet, and if so, I will just go off and find a towel somewhere. :-)

  15. I'm straddling the fence here. She should throw a hissy fit and sulk and make readers wait. Maybe then everyone can consider the ramifications of bad actions. We live in a society in which punishment for wrong behaviors just doesn't seem to happen, especially on the internet. This was a crime, after all. Maybe if the fans get mad enough, they'll get involved and call for some justice. This sort of thing happens all too often because we don't dig in our heels and take a stand, in this case against stealing. We just "write it off". Oh, well. Ho-hum.

    That said, after a period of time has passed, she should finish the book. There is a responsibility to readers... something which publishers seem to forget all too often these days when they simply cut a series for bottom-line reasons.

    As for The Idiot, I suspect, he would be more sensitive to the writer if he'd ever put that much effort into any project.


  16. PS Maryann.... Meyer nor Little Brown need that kind of publicity stunt. Go grab a towel.;) She's just too big a name in YA.



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