We’re happy to hear from Voice colleague Michael Musto that Alyson Books and Musto’s editor have apologized to him regarding their holding his book hostage, and have opened up a discussion with him on either finally publishing the presciently titled Fork on the Left, Knife in the Back or at least giving it back to him.
Musto wrote last week about his travails with the book. It was originally supposed to be published on February 1 of this year. But the date came and passed without notice, and ever since, gay communications conglomerate Regent Media (the owner of Alyson) has barely acknowledged Musto or his book.
Having once had a paycheck from Regent held hostage for months (although it was only for an article, not an entire manuscript), we felt especially sympathetic. Getting money from them, once you’ve turned in your writing, is about as much fun as running into an ex on a walk of shame.
After his column ran, Publishers Weekly subsequently reported on Alyson’s financial troubles. Stories of unpaid advances and never-published books had circulated on blogs and in publishing circles, but that quiet was officially broken by Musto. Freelancers for other Regent Media outlets like Out and the Advocate, who have been complaining loudly all over the place, rejoiced that a writer of Musto’s stature outed the publisher for its practices.
Of course, screwing your freelancers is certainly not limited to gay publishers. But getting screwed hurts most to when you’re stiffed by one of your own. Maybe Alyson will do fully right by Musto long before Joan Rivers throws him a 50th anniversary party.