Lapas attēli


[blocks in formation]
[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

The Authors' League of America (Incorporated) is the result of a preliminary meeting held at the home of Owen Johnson a year or more ago, when a number of active literary workers to whom the matter had been suggested gathered to take some action on a plan for protecting authors' rights. At that meeting several committees were appointed and plans of organization were discussed, the possible scope of such a league receiving the greatest attention. A proposed plan of organization was later printed and circulated among those already interested, but summer took a number of the most

No. 3.

active believers in the plan abroad, and in their absence little progress was made.

In November, 1912, some of the original proposers of the League still being abroad, and delay seeming unnecessary, Arthur Train called a meeting, which was well attended, and the proper steps were taken for the organization and incorporation of the league and the compilation of a constitution and by-laws and a prospectus that should set forth the intent of the league. A charter of incorporation under the Membership Association Law was granted by the state of New York December 18, 1912, and the first regular meeting was held December 27.

The objects of the league, as stated in the constitution, are to procure adequate copyright legislation, both international and domestic, to protect the rights and property of all authors of literary, dramatic, artistic, and musical compositions; to advise and assist authors in the disposal of their productions, and to obtain for them prompt remuneration therefor, and to disseminate information among authors as to their legal rights and remedies. In no sense is the league a profit-making scheme. It is an association of authors for their own protection.

The membership comprises three classes, and males and females are equally eligible for membership and office. The newspapers have had some joy in joking about the three classes of membership, merrily proclaiming that the league would now separate all authors into three grades - good, bad, and indifferent. This is good fun, but not good fact. The three classes are: Life members, regular members, and associate members. Regular members must be persons actually engaged in literary, dramatic, artistic, or

musical composition, must pay annual dues of ten dollars, and they have a vote at all league meetings, and are entitled to all the privileges of the league. Life members are regular members paying one hundred dollars, this payment exempting the life member from any further dues or assessments. Associate members may be persons engaged in active literary, dramatic, artistic, or musical work, or they may be editors, or publishers, or lawyers, or any other persons wishing to take part in making the league a success. They are entitled to the same legal services and advice as regular members, and, in the discretion of the executive committee of the league, to the use of any other bureaus the league may establish, but they have no vote in the affairs of the league. This is in order that the management of the league may remain in the hands of the authors themselves, for whom it was primarily intended. Associate members pay dues of five dollars a year. There is no initiation fee in any class.

The officers of the league are the usual president, vice-president, honorary honorary vicepresident, secretary, treasurer, and a council. Until the duties become too large the offices of secretary and treasurer will be vested in one person. The council is the governing body of the league, and is composed of thirty members (all regular or life members), who are elected by the voting members of the league at an annual meeting, ten councilors retiring at each annual meeting. This council has the general control of all the affairs, funds, and property of the league, and it elects the other officers. On account of the difficulty of securing a quorum of thirty councilors - particularly in the summer months, and also because the council may be composed of authors from all parts of America it has the privilege of delegating its powers, between its meetings, to an executive committee of seven. This is done because, if the league is to be of value to its members, some official body must be frequently in session to consider claims and complaints, and to carry on the work proposed by the league. At present the executive committee consists of Rex Beach,

[ocr errors][merged small]
[ocr errors]

The need for such an organization must be apparent to every author. The beginner, anxious to sell his productions, and in most cases absolutely unacquainted with the business he is entering, goes it blind." He lets his manuscripts slip from him to any one that will send him a letter of acceptance. He knows nothing of the responsibility of the publisher until he learns by experience. He does not know that he has any rights. The fact that the big majority of publishers are equal to, and superior to, the average business man in honesty, only makes the game of the dishonest publisher the easier. The reputable publishers, we believe, will be the heartiest supporters of the league.

The average author does not know what rights he has under the copyright law, and if his rights are infringed he cannot afford a suit to recover, when he may first have to establish a general right under the law. The league means to establish the rights of the author under the law in such a way that it cannot be mistaken, and if the decision is against authorship in general it will attempt to have the law altered so that it may properly protect the author. It will advise the author against dishonest publishers, if there are any such. It will maintain a periodical bulletin or other publication to advise the author of his rights, to warn him against his dangers, and to keep him posted on the work of the league. It will suggest proper forms of letters in submitting manuscripts for sale, and proper contract forms with book publishers, looking toward the adoption of a uniform style of contract that will protect author and publisher alike. It will try to discover all the fakes and frauds, and let their work be known. It will try to establish uniformity of

rights in second serialization, moving picture rights, and foreign rights, and tell the author of them.

The league means to establish definite business principles in the dealings of author with publisher, and we know the best publishers will welcome this. We hope to have nearly all the reputable editors and publishers as associate members before long - each day we receive accessions - and we believe they will find in the league a solution of many of their annoyances, for the quarrels between author and publisher almost invariably arise through misunderstandings of contracts and rights. We shall be in close touch with the Society of Authors of England and "La Société des Gens de Lettres " in France (similar organizations), and we expect to form agreeable relations with the various publishers' and magazine associations already existing in the United States. A legal department will be maintained, an

official organ of the league will be supplied to members, an English agent has been appointed (he will handle members' manuscripts in England), a reliable reading bureau has been established, a bureau of information will be conducted, and the league will, in short, supply that central business office of advice and action that has been so long needed. The inexperienced author needs the league because of his inexperience, and the experienced author cannot well afford to do without it, because his literary product is of such great value that the loss of one short manuscript, which might be prevented by the league, would pay his dues for a lifetime.

The offices of the league are now at 30 Broad street, New York, and the secretary, Ellis Parker Butler, will be pleased to mail to any one interested a prospectus, in which the plans of the league are set forth more at length. Ellis Parker Butler.



I can not entirely agree with the statement made in the December WRITER that "a legible pen-written manuscript is acceptable to any editor," especially if it implies that it is as acceptable as typewriting. I recall the remark of an editor of long experience, "a poem never shows its best nor its worst qualities until it is in print." That was before the use of typewriters had become common, but typewriting comes much nearer to having the print" quality than the best pen work, and though the editor's statement had reference to poetry, yet the same must to some extent be true of prose also.


Every writer should by all means own a typewriter, and when excellent machines may be bought new at from twenty-five to fifty dollars it should not be difficult to acquire one. Its use in making copy brings a great relief to the pen-fatigued and cramped muscles of the hand and arm, and it makes

errors so visible that it is of real assistance to the writer in improving his technique. Aside from its quality as a labor saver, the machine has a psychological interest in connection with its influence on composition and style. There is doubtless a measure of mystery about the thoughts and processes of the mind in their transformation into language, and finally into the particular form in which they find expression on paper, but it can not be denied that the ease or difficulty of the manual labor of putting the thoughts on paper has an influence on the form of expression, or "style," as we usually term it. I know a clergyman who says his typewriter expresses his thoughts in so different a style that it is often his custom to write part of each sermon with the machine, and part of it with the pen, thus adding to its literary quality.

[blocks in formation]
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

THE WRITER is published the first day of every month. It will be sent, postpaid, ONE YEAR for ONE DOLLAR.

All drafts and money orders should be made payable to The Writer Publishing Co. Stamps, or local checks, should not be sent in payment for subscriptions.

ine American News Company, of New York, and the New England News Company, of Boston, and their branches, are wholesale agents for THE WRITER. It may be ordered from any newsdealer, or direct, by mail, from the publishers.

Not one line of paid advertisement will be printed in THE WRITER outside of the advertising pages.

Advertising in THE WRITER costs fifteen cents a line, or $2.10 an inch; seven dollars a quarter page; twelve dollars a half page; or twenty dollars a page, for one insertion, remittance with the order. Discounts are five, ten, and fifteen per cent. for three, six, and twelve months. For continued advertising payments must be made quarterly in


[blocks in formation]

therefore, are asked to look at the address label on the wrapper of the magazine. If the date on the label is earlier than March, 1912, it is necessary for them to send a remittance, or a request to continue sending the magazine, with a definite promise of payment. Will subscribers kindly give this matter their immediate attention?

[merged small][ocr errors]

"The expression in rhythmic form of an intellectual man's deepest aspirations, perfect artistry only being attained when verse is divorced from all attempt to further this or that faith or conviction."

"This definition," says Mr. Shorter, "at once proclaims Dante and Shakspere as Our two greatest poets and rules out all poets who preach, all versifiers whose rhymes disclose an absence of abnormal mental power." According to Mr. Shorter, therefore, Kipling's "Recessional" is barred out of the realm of poetry, along with Milton's "Paradise Lost," Holmes's "Old Ironsides," and Hood's Song of the Shirt," not to mention other classics.

[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

poem by Alfred Noyes - who, by the way, is coming to America this month. The poem reads:

"When that I loved a maiden,

My Heaven was in her eyes,
And when they went above me,
I knew no deeper skies,

But when her heart forsook me.
My spirit broke its bars,
For grief beyond the sunset,
And love beyond the stars.

"When that I loved a maiden, She seemed the world to me; Now is my soul the universe,

My dream the sky and sea. There is no Heaven above me, No glory binds or bars My grief beyond the sunset, My love behind the stars.

"When that I loved a maiden,

I worshiped where she trod,
But when she clove my heart, the cleft
Set free the imprisoned god,
Then I was king of all the world,
My soul had burst its bars,
For grief beyond the sunset,
And love beyond the stars."

Criticised as an example, par excellence, of obscurity in verse, the poem has been defended by four or five admirers of Mr. Noyes, each of whom tells precisely what it means and each in a different way. No prize is offered for the solution of the puzzle.

Does poetry pay? The statement is made that during the last fifteen years more than 1,500,000 copies of various books of poems by James Whitcomb Riley have been sold, or, on an average, more than 100,000 a year. If that is so, Mr. Riley's royalties at fifteen cents a copy, or ten per cent. of the retail price, would amount to more than $225,000, or more than $15,000 a year.

W. H. H.


Irvin S. Cobb, whose horror story, "Fishhead," after being rejected by about every editor in the country, was finally published in the Cavalier for January 16, was born in Paducah, Kentucky, in June, 1876. He was first drawn to newspaper work because he

yearned to be an illustrator. He became a reporter on the Paducah Daily News, wrote local humorous stories which he illustrated himself, and at the age of nineteen was hailed as the "youngest managing editor of a daily paper in the United States." Removing to Louisville, he became staff correspondent for the Evening Post of that city, reporting among other events the Goebel murder and the subsequent trials. He then married and returned to Paducah, where he became managing editor of the Democrat. Later his ambitions took him to New York, where he visited every newspaper office in the city without satisfactory result. Being resourceful he returned to his rooms and wrote a personal letter to every city editor in New York offering his services. The next morning's mail brought him offers from five editors, and he accepted the offer from the Evening Sun. This was at the time of the Portsmouth Peace Conference, and Mr. Cobb was sent to report it. On his arrival at Portsmouth he found the story well covered by a large force of reporters, and he went to work writing joyous columns on subjects having no bearing whatever on the conference. There was n't a fact in the entire series, and yet the Sun syndicated these stories throughout the United States, so attractive was their individuality. At the end of three weeks Mr. Cobb returned to New York and found that he could have a job on any newspaper in the city. He joined the staff of the Evening World, and for four years supplied the evening edition and the Sunday World with a comic feature, to say nothing of a comic opera, written to order in five days. He did serious work besides. For instance, he reported the Thaw trial in longhand, writing more than 500,000 words of testimony and observation. Mr. Cobb's first short story appeared in the Saturday Evening Post, and since then he has written plays, musical comedies, and books, besides contributing to magazines and syndicates. Mr. Cobb says that he never failed to sell any manuscript until he wrote "Fishhead," a horror story, told with extreme vividness, which all the editors to whom he sent it said they admired as a work of art, but

« iepriekšējāTurpināt »