There were a lot of books that I HAD to read in high school and college that I really didn’t like. I once read an article that supposed that the only reason that some books stay in print is because they are embraced by academia who then make their students purchase and read them. I believe it. So when my high school English teacher had us read To Kill a Mockingbird, I was less than enthusiastic. However, I loved it and then I saw the movie and loved it, too.
So I was very dismayed to read that Harper Lee is suing her agent, who she said tricked her into signing away her rights to her story. Though there are two sides to every story, the fact that an agent would even propose such an agreement smells of sleaze.
Though the incident took place 7 years ago, the lawsuit was only filed in past few weeks. The jist of the suit is that Samuel Pinkus, the son-in-law of her long-time literary agent, took advantage of Lee’s poor hearing and bad eyesight seven to get her to assign the book’s copyright to him. This means that the money that Lee earns from this classic novel now goes to Pinkus rather than Lee.
I think what disturbs me the most is that I know, as a writer, how much blood, sweat and tears go into writing a novel. On top of that, the author only gets a small percentage of the sales price of the book already. The rest goes to the publisher, agent and publicity. So then for an unscrupulous agent to come along and take even that small percentage away from the person who created the work just irks me.
I hope Lee gets back all of the money she lost and then some!
Read about the lawsuit here.