"I was sitting there at this coffee shop in Chelsea trying to write some damn fantasy story that I could sell to "Clarkesworld" or something when this guy comes up and taps me on the shoulder," said Jones. "He asked about my haircut, and then asked if I was me. I said yes, and then he pulled out this briefcase."
The man then proceeded to ask Jones if the rights to his book were still available, and if he would be willing to explore all the possible ebook publishing options. The Random House representative said they were desperate and would do anything to make ebooks profitable. The representative claimed that the huge advance was half-publicity stunt, half-weapon.
"But it's already online for free," said Jones. "There's literally no way you will ever make any money from my book. Giving me this advance money is the dumbest thing you could possibly do for yourselves."
But the representative was insistent and had the paperwork ready. Jones brought the barista over and deputized him as an acting witness, and the contract was signed that day.
When the representative asked Jones what he would do with his new money, Jones smiled and borrowed the man's cell phone. He proceeded to place several lengthy phone calls to accountants and lawyers.
"Since they were leveraged all to hell as a result of their advance to me, I went ahead and bought them out from under Bertelsmann for four million and ten dollars," said Jones. "That means I'm broke again, but on the plus side, now I own Random House."
When asked what he would do with the famous publishing company, Jones was clear and succinct, like he'd been thinking about it for a long time.
"First thing," he said, "I'm going to cut back on the advances. Next, I'm going to fill one whole floor of the Random House Building with plastic balls from Chuck E. Cheese and stick my office somewhere in the back behind the festive plastic jamboree."
According to Jones, prospective writers would have to swim through the balls to make a pitch, and many would be lost forever due to starvation, disease, and suffocation.
"We will publish those writers who survive and who have a good novel idea," said Jones. "I got the idea from this girl I knocked up."
Posted by miracle on Wed, 01 Apr 2009 17:42:51 -0400 -- permanent link