Feeling Ranty

A couple of weeks ago I got a royalty statement for Darkscapes. The statement was for the period beginning in January and ending in July of this year. No copes were sold. That’s good and bad. It’s good because, well, the rights were returned to me in June 2004. It’s bad because, well, the rights were returned to me in June 2004.

Here’s the deal. I got a contract-type thing from PublishAmerica when they granted my “request” to return the rights and stop printing the book. They’d give back the rights five years early if I promised not to disparage them in public forums. There were two copies of this agreement that I signed and sent back to them for an official signature. One was supposed to be returned to me, with that official signature. It never was, but the book was taken off their Web site, isn’t available new at Amazon.com or anything, so I let it go. Now I get this royalty statement. I sent them a polite e-mail last Monday asking what was up with that, explaining I never got my signed copy of the agreement returning my rights, didn’t understand why I was getting a royalty statement for a book that’s supposed to out of print, yadda yadda.

No response. Nothing. Not even a, “We’ll look into it.” Probably the royalty statement is a mistake generated by a computer glitch. But with this company, you can’t just assume that.

How long is this mistake going to haunt me?

In other news, I finally began looking over the test prep material for my Oklahoma alternative teaching certification test that is this Saturday. There’s math on the test. Not basic math, either. Algebra and geometry. Okay, when I was in high school, algebra was not required. I tried taking it in 9th grade, was failing the second 9-week period, and got myself transferred to basic math. After that I didn’t take another math course until college, more than 20 years later. This stuff is a foreign language to me. No, it’s worse, because I’d actually care enough to translate a foreign language. Ugh. Out of 100 questions covering everything from punctuation usage to politics to art history, I’m wondering how much math will be on the test.

And then there’s the issue of whether or not the test will do any good. I’ve heard from two people who went through the alt certification program and neither of them are working as teachers. One said administrators refused to hire her because they wanted people with traditional degrees (read: 22-year-old kids fresh out of college who don’t know how the real world operates) and the other guy passed his tests last year but can’t get a date to go before the review panel, which is the final step in this process. He can’t get the certificate without the panel, can’t get a job without the certificate, and so all his effort and money was basically wasted at this point. A friend who is a teacher in the district where I live says he doesn’t think that district would discriminate against alt certification … but he’s not an administrator, so I’m not sure how much hope I can have in his assessment.

To get unemployment in Oklahoma you have to do two job searches each week. Not a biggie since I was doing that many, anyway. But it still sucks to think of all the resumes I’ve sent out since that piece of shit Art Cotton fired me for his friend and I still can’t even get an interview. The public relations and writing-type jobs are drying up, too. There’s not much left that I haven’t applied for. This teaching thing was my best hope, and now even that’s looking pretty bleak. If I hadn’t been fired I’d be taking additional graduate-level classes now so I could be considered for college teaching jobs, which is what I really wanted. But, I’m forgetting the important part — Art Cotton was able to give yet another job to yet another of his buddies. Yes, as long as that happened, all is right with the world.

0 responses to “Feeling Ranty”

    • Oh yeah. I’ve read that story of yours. At least you were smart enough to only get burned once.
      Someday I’ll relate the full details of my experience with 3F Publications and my novel Shara. That publisher never paid my advance and never paid royalties, even when I pointed out the sales numbers I got through Ingram. Like I cared that she owed Lightning Source money for the printing bill.
      Anyway, I’m looking forward to your book. I was going to buy one of the Marietta copies until I read that blog entry a while back. Now I’m impatiently waiting for the Tor version.

  1. Dude, I feel for you.
    So, you’re working towards Alt. Certification… that’s good. I’ve been considering that myself.
    The job market in Oklahoma is very bleak. I used to work for Workforce OK helping people with resumes and stuff to find work (until funding forced them to let me go… ironic, huh?) and I saw a lot of good people lose their job simply because the economy moves slower here. While business may be picking up in New York or California, it could be another couple of years before we see any effects here.
    Do you live around Norman? Were you taking grad classes at OU? There’s worse things than being a GTA… I did it. It only pays around 200 bucks a month (I went to Northeastern State University in Tahlequah — heard of it?), but it usually also means a tuition waver and great experience. Also, there’s a chance you could get hired on as an instructor when you finish your degree.
    Man. I hate to hear about your woes. Wish there was something — anything — I could do to help.
    I guess I could jump in and help kick this dude’s ass that you and Badronald are talking about. Least I could do…

    • I live in Moore. I earned a master of liberal studies degree from OU late last year and was hoping to teach at the college level. But … even the community colleges want you to have 18 graduate credit hours in the field you’re teaching. My MLS doesn’t have that. But I thought having a graduate degree and several book-length publications, a long history of newspaper, corporate and PR writing would make up for it. But … it doesn’t. I was in the process of enrolling in an 18-hour writing program at OCU when they fired me. I would have gotten a 75 percent tuition waver as an employee.
      At the moment, I can’t really afford to enroll in any more classes. Not until I get a full-time job.
      Oh yeah, I’ve heard of NEOSU. I was an undergrad at UCO when W. Roger Webb left your school for mine. There’s a long nasty story behind my relationship with Webb and UCO after that, too.
      Art Cotton is the VP of institutional advancement at OCU. He was hired a few months after me and began to systematically fire everyone under him, replacing them with friends. My turn came when the supervisor between us became deathly ill at the end of last year. I should have been promoted, but instead the job went to another of Cotton’s friends, someone I actually knew and who pretended to like me, but then she had Cotton fire me and my job was given to the law school’s PR person. Whatever. I was glad to get out, get away from Cotton’s unethical behavior … I just didn’t realize I’d still be virtually unemployed almost four months later.
      Don’t worry about it, man. Something will turn up. My wife is working full time and I’m working part-time and getting some unemployment. Things aren’t desperate yet. Thanks for the concern, though. I really appreciate it.

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