The publishing hogs ate him

“He Went to Sleep and the Hogs Ate Him,” the Stanley Brothers used to sing.

Richard Lee Fulgham’s novel, The Hogs of Cold Harbor has fallen asleep in the barn of Whitmore Books, where it may stay for the next few years, according to an email circular sent by Fulgham on 10/10/2005.

Whitmore, a print-on-demand mark affiliated with old-line vanity house Dorrance, has locked up the rights to the novel as if it were a full-out trade press with sizeable investment in the title. This is the poisoned Macmillan model for print-on-demand (POD) publishing, warned of previously in this blog.

Fulgham notes double trouble for POD publishers: a “vanity” aroma that scares off reviewers coupled with a no-returns policy that keeps bookstores from ordering the title.

Where the writer successfully markets or agents his own material, the POD publisher can actually get in the way. Fulgham says,

Al Zuckerman, the famous movie producer, called me about acquiring the movie rights. When I told him he would have to deal with Whitmore, he said "It would be a nightmare getting rights from them" and told he he'd pass.
Fulgham has taken the odd step of extracting a nonfiction book from his novel and shopping it to another publisher.

My anger, frustration and disappointment has melted away now and I am prepared for the long wait [i.e., rights reverting from the publisher’s control]. […]All I can think of to do is give away enough free copies to create a kind of underground legend about this weird book that deals with the wild hogs stalking wounded Civil War soldiers. Then, when the Whitmore contract expires, I can try to place it with a real press.
Beware the Macmillan model.

(You can plead your case for a free copy by emailing rlfulgham at earthling dot net.)