If you haven't been following the saga, I wrote an Open Letter to Simon and Schuster CEO Carolyn Ready saying that they fundamentally mistreat their authors and editors, and their industry sucks.
They first tell me to delete this immediately, then ignore it, and then I get a very politely worded threat delivered via my agent, Jim Levine.
So I made the video, "The End of the Publishing Cartel - Jim Levine, Are You With The Artists Or The Cartel?"
I made a lot of important points, but I wasn't wearing a shirt.
Now, why do that? Am I just crazy?
Well, perhaps. But there's a method to the madness.
Here's what I came up with after discussing with a friend who works in publishing -
1. The message would be taken less seriously shirtless. Obviously.
2. But, it'd be more like to get spread and be remembered and "sticky" if done so. These things have to be entertaining for people.
3. So we asked, "Is publishing going to listen? If so, put a shirt on, be more serious, etc." But we thought about it, and decided they weren't going to listen anyways - they're huge and don't care about complaints from their partners, employees, or writers (they just ignore complaints, and sue anyone who gets out of line too much).
4. It shows a little bit of craziness, which is good.
5. It was a lot of fun, and the whole thing sucks if it's not fun. The person who is having more fun in a battle like this is more likely to win - I can keep going forever, I really get a kick out of this.
The thing some people missed is the sneaky implicit threat of a lawsuit in Jim's letter. It's subtle, he wrapped a knife in a bouquet of roses.
After the fake politeness, Jim's letter boils down to, "the contract calls for immediate repayment including you paying more money than you even got if you don't immediately agree to our terms and shut up."
I'm not joking. They're saying I have to pay more money than I got from them (after doing a lot of work for them and getting jerked around) if I don't shut up and agree to their terms right now.
That's what they do - threaten people via the legal system. You could miss it if you weren't a businessman, but anyone who does business or legal sees right through Jim and Simon and Schuster's garbage here. They're trying to muscle me into silence and going away.
So, I fired back. I'm disappointed in Jim. Shame on him.
And I need to show the CBS Corporation legal team that I'll take the fight to the wire.
Lawyers destroy rational self-interested people, but they're afraid of people who will go all the way down swinging. If you seem calm and rational, they'll bury your under paperwork and lawsuits. They know how to fight people who get out of line who are normal.
Remember, they have literally billions of dollars, and they use it to muscle people into silence. You have no chance if you fight their way - you have to fight smarter and crazier.
So... no shirt? Tearing up money? Telling them to sue me? They don't know how to deal with this, there's literally no precedent for this.
And besides - maybe I can actually force these dinosaurs to stop being bad to people, and do better.
Previously in the series -