F̶I̶R̶S̶T̶ E̶D̶I̶T̶I̶O̶N̶:̶ F̶L̶O̶W̶E̶R̶S̶ F̶O̶R̶ A̶L̶G̶E̶R̶N̶O̶N̶
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Congratulations to the proposer, dlphcoracl, and to all who have participated in this experiment so far.
Because the membership has elected a proposal which includes content under copyright, the next step is simply to obtain permission from the copyright holder. As the Advisory Board made clear from the beginning, this is a potentially long process. Further, the proposal is ambiguous on some points. Per our rules:
Major decisions will be made by vote of the membership, if not already specified in the adopted proposal.
Therefore, we may request further member input.
We will keep members updated on this thread.
Congratulations to the proposer, glacierman.
There has been discussion of how the runner-up is tabulated. If Flowers for Algernon is eliminated from the outset, The Tale of Sinuhe wins. It is therefore the runner-up whatever tabulation method is used.
Per our rules:
If the selected proposal proves impossible, then the runner-up will be pursued instead.
1. The permissions department of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, which has recently published the story.
2. The current editor of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, which originally published the story.
3. The current publisher of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. (A big thanks to ambyrglow for providing this contact.)
We have yet to receive any responses, but it hasn't been very long.
If any members have any ideas or connections which could help us secure the rights, don't be shy!
I think this is just a matter of waiting – and, also, how long the membership will stomach waiting. If anything it will be a good reality check of what "negotiating for and securing rights," which sounds so glamorous, is really like. I met a man named Jim Bishop in Burley, Idaho a few years ago, who was stationed in Madrid as the navigator for a long-range nuclear bomber in the 1950s. Basically, at all time he had to be ready to jump in his plane and fly off on a suicide mission (only enough fuel for one way) to the USSR to potentially kill countless people. When I asked him what it was like, he said, "Well, we played cards... we listened to a lot of radio... sometimes we made up games to occupy ourselves..." Unless we get get lucky (hopefully so!), my advice to the membership is to forget about Consensus Press until further notice.
Since the 2nd choice (runner-up) of The Tale of Sinuhe does not have copyright issues, one possible solution would be to proceed with this as the first CP edition in 2023 while continuing to work on obtaining copyright clearance for Flowers for Algernon. If copyright permission does indeed take 12-18 months to obtain, it could then be issued as the second Consensus Press edition in 2024.
Ah the awakening when the membership realizes what voting for a copyrighted works means...(See what I did there? ;) )
I think the deadline should be the latest date that allows the press to feasibly publish the book in 2023.
except that contracts with craftspeople usually have to be worked out well in advance of the actual work. A lead time of ~6 months for printers is typical. So practically speaking, this might leave us turning away from Algernon pretty quickly.
Because the content on Sinuhe is all held by Oxford University Press, I'm pretty confident it could be secured quickly — probably just a matter of filling out a form.
The three leads Management have pursued so far are solid. I don't think we should start contemplating abandoning ship until at least a month or two has passed.
With Saul Goodman as the lawyer.
FWIW, I totally agree. Do it once, do it right.
I'm not in favor of changing the title in favor of a swift turn-around, it will set a bad precedence and will severely limit what books Consensus Press can do. If we make that decision now, then it will be required for future choices as well, do we really want to limit our options for the press to only out of copyright books or books that can be quickly turned around? Surely that will severely limit both the choices and in some cases the quality of options available to us. I'm not for a second suggesting that there are not worthy out of copyright options, I'm just not particular keen for those books to be the only choice
No, but at least personally I don't want to have random gaps of 2-3 years if some book can't be turned around in a reasonable amount of time. Macy was able to juggle multiple projects at the same time to consistently deliver a new Private Press book of high limitation once a MONTH. We should be able to do one a year, otherwise I'm afraid enthusiasm for the press will wane.
I'll let Griffin and the board express their opinion, but I don't think we should be afraid of staggering projects and having 2 or 3 going at the various stages. E.g. start soliciting first round proposals from the members while the sheets for one book are at the binders, possibly with another book waiting on rights. Of course, I'm not in the industry and don't have a good idea about typical timelines for various stages, this was just an example.
Now, I have a question for Griffin. Right now we seem to be operating with timeframes randomly thrown by the members - 2024, 2025, etc. No, I don't want to wait until 2025, but I don't think we actually have any time ranges from the pros. Griffin, after the rights are secured - if they are secured successfully - what is the approximate timeframe we're looking at to produce a book like Flowers for Algernon or Sinuhe?
I personally disagree about books needing to be annual, or about a 2-3 turnaround being particularly "unreasonable." I'm personally in the "give it all the time it needs" camp, as long as we know when to stop when it comes to chasing rights.
That said, I do think you've raised a good point - if members and management alike are confident enough in the progress come next September / October, I don't see a problem beginning the proposal process for the second edition before this one ships, and having them continue to be staggered if needed.
Well stated and my feelings as well.
Putting this in perspective, the editions from many small private presses often take far more time than avid collectors would like. St. James Park Press (James Freemantle) is the poster child for this, with An Albion in the Antarctic taking more than a year longer than planned and '1984' possibly not being shipped in 2022. However, this poses no problem for me and I am prepared to wait as long as it takes James to fully realize his ambitious goals. Same can be said with regard to waiting for planned editions from the Foolscap Press, the Barbarian Press, the Salvage Press, etc.
If it promises to be an exceptional private press edition it is worth the wait, unless something happens to interrupt the slow, steady work flow toward completion.
But if we have 2 books, whether Algernon and Sinuhe or Alegernon and the winner of the next title selection, we could submit requests for rights for both books at the same time. We'd give priority to the book selected earlier, of course, and give some reasonable time to negotiate rights for it (perhaps we could vote/agree on what timeframe would be considered reasonable), but if something goes wrong or simply gets dragged for too long, we'd already have another book ready to go. That can potentially save us months and even years down the road. And if everything goes well with the rights for the first book - great, and by the time it's produced we'll have an advantage of having the next book in the pipeline all ready to go.
Agree that a reasonable time line should be established by the Consensus Press board for acquiring copyright permission.
Basically by the time Algernon is in production - assuming rights will be secured without any problems - I think we should select the next title AND start negotiating rights for it, so by the time Algernon is produced we don't need to wait many more months to even get to the point of producing the next book (presenting and evaluating proposals, going through the uncertain stage of securing rights). Basically like any successful business/endeavor, we should do some work to have the next product in the pipeline.
And I think we should start thinking about the next book in the pipeline now. Personally, I'd be very happy with Sinuhe being the next book, and I think it would be a good idea to inquire about Sinuhe's rights now, so that we'll have a back up if something goes wrong with Algernon, or simply have the next book ready to go without having to wait on rights again once Algernon is done.
Griffin, after the rights are secured - if they are secured successfully - what is the approximate timeframe we're looking at to produce a book like Flowers for Algernon or Sinuhe?
It depends on the craftspeople who are hired and their schedules. The bindery work will be easier to hire and quicker than the printer. Printers are much more variable. In short: We'll know how long it will take when the craftspeople we commission tell us. It's possible that a relatively short text like this could be popped into a Heidelberg and printed in a week, but also it's possible that no Heidelberg printer in the world has a week to spare until six months from now.
Everybody suggesting that CP simply pursue two projects (or more!) at once are right that this is typical for a fine press to do. Even a private press! I currently have two editions shipping, three in production, and five in the pipeline, in my one-man workshop. But you're overlooking the fact that CP is made possible by an all-volunteer team who did not sign up for full- or even part-time management of a profitless press.
Patience: It will take however long it takes. If members lose interest, then this process isn't for them.
Or, the membership can vote on a deadline for hearing about copyright from Algernon. So long as a process change doesn't contradict the rules, I think that any member can propose one using the format that Management established in: https://www.librarything.com/topic/344030#n7924676
If we're going to put a second book in process in parallel, it should be through submission of new proposals going through the two-tiered voting process. Of course, members can continue to propose the same book they proposed last time, although I'd personally like to see new proposals. And maybe if the winner of "Consensus Press Book #2 (CP2)" proves to have no copyright issues and can be started on at once while Flowers for Algernon(CP1) is still awaiting rights, we can vote on whether to proceed with CP2 as the first book that actually comes off the press. And then come back to CP1, which will hopefully be ready to go by then.
Maybe if CP2 is a book I'm wildly enthusiastic about, I'd purchase the CP1 that I'm not at all enthusiastic about just to stay in the club.
That is precisely my concern, too, and the gist of of my comment above >29 ultrarightist:. I too, do not want a gap of 2-3 years between publications.
Mark is an avid fine press collector (plus, occasional designer and publisher of such though his own Chestnut Press imprint) and also a graphic designer of over twenty years experience. The mix of the two worlds, bridged by his obsession with fine classical typography, has had him work on several fine press projects over the years with various printers and publishers. Most recently he has worked on editions with Nomad Letterpress and St James Park Press, with a new piece for The Florin Press about to be started. Other recent work has included book settings for Dana Gioia and David Burnett; both renowned poets and writers heavily involved in the world of fine press.
Mark has the expertise to do the job well, and, as a member of our Advisory Board, our process is no mystery to him. He has agreed to answer questions members may have about book design, layout, and typography.
Mark is an old-school graphic designer and typographer (which means he knows what the heck he's doing). Unfortunately, the quality of digital typesetting has noticeably plummeted in publishing over the past twenty years as the old guard of book design have retired. With the widespread availability of InDesign, many books are being designed by well-intentioned amateurs (the sort who might refer to a "typeface" as a "font"!). Mark, on the other hand, knows what he's doing. His agreeing to design the first book is a huge win for Consensus Press – and a relief. The book is in highly capable hands. In short, WE'RE LUCKY TO HAVE HIM.
Everyone is on holidays at this time of year. Patience will be necessary.
I could see whether or not Sinuhe seems promising being a big factor in voting for an "Algernon" deadline, especially if it's an easy yes or a hard no.
>76 Shadekeep: "Delays" isn't the right characterization. The copyright process can be slow, and members were made aware of this fact at every step of the process.
Our best lead, HarperCollins, has given a 16 week estimate for when we can expect to hear back. That is early April.
True, a delay implies a goal is forthcoming but held up. It's quite possible this will merely fail to pan out at all.
Still, chin up, glass half full, may not rain and all that. A chance for a positive outcome is better than nothing.
However, if any members want to try their hand at some detective work, here's the mission: Who at the William Morris Agency represents the Daniel Keyes estate?
It appears that another fine press currently has an edition of Flowers for Algernon planned. They have told us that it took roughly nine months to obtain permission.
A fine press proprietor reached out to me saying that they had just signed a contract to print a limited edition of the novel Flowers for Algernon. Remember that the membership of Consensus Press elected the novella, which is fairly different. The proprietor asked that the press' identity be kept strictly under wraps.
The key information is this:
1. Another Flowers for Algernon is going to be printed by a fine press, albeit the novel rather than the novella.
2. Securing permission to do so took this other fine press roughly nine months.
I don't know if this affects the membership's commitment to the first pick, but I suggest a vote might be in order. We have a runner-up, The Tale of Sinuhe, lined up in any case.
With regards to Consensus, I'd say have a general vote/poll to see if there needs to be a revote on the title. Some folks may see the two works as sufficiently different, others may want to offer something different for the flagship release.
The final decision, of course, is up to the members.
The private press that has obtained permission to publish it is top-tier and I have little doubt it will receive a handsome treatment. In my opinion, the differences between the original novella and the subsequent novel are not sufficient to warrant two near-simultaneous private press treatments. I strongly recommend proceeding on to >88 Glacierman: - Glacierman's submission of The Tale of Sinuhe for the first Consensus Press edition. It will result in two splendid private press editions of very different works of literature and the hassle with obtaining rights will be entirely circumvented.
Who says you can't have your cake and eat it, too?? 😃
I think the writing is on the wall on this one (and Sinuhe will be on the page).
Does anyone object to switching our elected proposal from Flowers for Algernon to The Tale of Sinuhe?
If nobody objects by this time tomorrow, we'll proceed with The Tale of Sinuhe.
(A) Continue to pursue "Flowers for Algernon".
(B) Change our elected proposal to the runner-up, "The Tale of Sinuhe".
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