- by Laura Resnick
And, lo, it came to pass that a Ninc blogger—a lowly novelist named Resnick—cried out for justice from publishers.
“Yea, if I were paid timely advances,” wailed Resnick, wandering in the wilderness and shivering as the cold December wind whipped through her cheap raiment, “the bitter chill of publishing would not grieve me so!”
Then came a voice from on high: “Don’t you have a deadline, Resnick? Stop wandering in the wilderness and get back to work.”
“The manuscript is practically finished,” the weary novelist lied to the Editor On High. “I have merely some tweaking left to do.”
A bolt of lightning struck Resnick where she stood.
“That’s what you get for lying,” said Charlotte Hubbard.
“Hey, where did you come from?” asked Resnick, patting at her smoldering clothing, which now looked worse than ever.
“You always did have trouble writing transitions,” Hubbard said. “How goes your quest?”
“I cannot find a publisher who will write timely advance checks or issue comprehensive royalty statements. I am wracked with despair!”
“Yes, I heard,” spake Hubbard. “Everyone heard.”
“What are you doing here, anyhow? Hast thou been sent to give me a sign?”
“Funny you should ask.” Hubbard pointed into the Publishing Abyss. “Behold, a sign!”
“Hey, where did that frightening and terrible abyss come from all of a sudden?”
“It was added during revisions.” Hubbard pointed again. “Now go ye forth into the Abyss in search of justice for writers.”
Resnick peered down into its fiery depths. “Are you nuts? I’m not going down there!”
“You have to. It’s part of the story.”
“But, lo, I have a deadline. I should probably be getting back to w—“
And Hubbard pushed Resnick into the Abyss, crying out as the novelist fell, “Sorry! Patricia Rosemoor told me to do that.”
“She is a harsh blogmistress!” wailed Resnick as she plummeted to the fires below.
As Resnick fell through the Abyss, she saw publishers who withheld monies for years, as well as publishers who rewarded plagiarism. She encountered agents whose clients were suing them for many sins, and agents who just weren’t returning their clients’ calls. Still descending, Resnick came upon editors who refused to accept good books once they were delivered, and thus left writers hungry and wondering how to pay the mortgage while marketing those manuscripts elsewhere. She also saw publishers who couldn’t seem to issue a check in less time than it took Rome to rise, conquer the world, fall, and start attracting archaeologists.
“Help!” she called out. “Is there no one who can rescue me from this terrible fate?”
“Perhaps I can help,” said Patricia McLinn—whom scholars in later centuries would call “McPat”—as she materialized from the fires of the Abyss.
“Merciful reams of recycled paper! Get me out of here!” As they departed the Abyss, Resnick asked, “Where are we going now?”
“Lo, we are following that bright light in the night sky,” quoth McPat, “for it will lead us to the founding of a new publishing house such as this industry has never known before.”
“What light?” spake Resnick. “I don’t see any light.”
“I see it!” cried Joe Nassise.
“So do I!” exclaimed Pati Nagle.
“Where did all these writers come from?” said Resnick. “This is my fable!”
“Behold!” proclaimed McPat. “A new publisher has announced it is acquiring manuscripts up on the summit.”
“Oh, wait! Wait!” Resnick cried, looking to the summit upon which the light was shining. “I think… Yes, I think I see it now! I see it! A new publisher has come to us this cold night!”
“And it promises comprehensive quarterly royalty statements actually listing everything a writer needs to know!” cried Barbara Keiler.
“Can it truly be so?” asked Elaine Isaak.
Resnick fell to her cheaply-clad knees. “I hear it now! I hear the voice! It promises all writers will receive timely advance checks upon delivering a manuscript!”
And, lo, the writers came to the summit, eager to know this new publishing house. Thus it came to pass that many talented and hardworking writers competed for the right to write for this noble and just publisher. Seeing this, the other publishers gnashed their teeth, tore their garments, poured ashes on their heads, and wailed their protests—until, finally, they all had no choice but to offer writers justice, too. And, yea, the publishing world was a much better place than it had ever been before.
And so Resnick, who could finally buy a decent coat, now spake thus to the Ninc blog readers who had followed her quest and stuck around until the very end of the story: “Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy New Year to all, and to all a goodnight!”