Last February a certain Michele Caccamo, Seme Bianco's head editor, loudly and earthshakingly defined Castelvecchi’s partner, big publishing and so on, contacted and told me my book, “Mu’s Black Star”, had been selected for issuing, I would receive a regular contract within 10 days and for February’s end get my book published. Well! I started waiting for the contract. Meanwhile in a press conference Caccamo announced his publisher’s first titles and among them mine, without a signed contract. He was so self-confident!
February was through, but I saw neither my book nor the contract so that, being no trustful in that guy, I told even my friends nothing. Then Caccamo together with Luisella Pescatori, his partner in publisher’s managing, contacted and told me they had already made my book’s cover (very workaday indeed, musty-cream coloured, standard, made in the same way for all the novels of the collection). I told him I did not like it. They both answered the cover would be in that way, would not be changed and I should:
in my blog;
advertise the book;
tag my friends.
It looked to me strange a publisher invited an author to advertise a book’s cover before showing the contract, taking for granted he would accept and sign it without discussing politely its terms. As that worthy director kept on insisting, I posted that workaday cover, tagged my friends and made known my Seme Bianco’s book was about to be issued.
March was through as well, bulbs started pushing their coloured flowers, but I did not see the slightest shadow of the contract. On the other hand Luisella Pescatori acquainted me they were not used to correcting misprints which would be an author’s task. Well! I corrected my misprints. I left on purpose a note in proof-reading’s brackets. They did not notice it! It was still in the layout they sent me, as evidence they had not worked at all on the text: confirmed, they had neither corrected the misprints, nor given a swift look to them, otherwise they would see and remove the bracketed notes. And instead they were still there, even bold face typed, so that it would not be right speaking about an oversight.
Let us go on. In April some friends of mine, who had been drawn by my book’s plot and title and ordered it, wrote me: “Then, your book?” I passed on their questions to Luisella Pescatori who became bad-tempered, almost impolite: “Time is a great healer, sweetheart, be good!” I pointed out to her that “Friendship is stark if night is not dark”, but she, pretending not to understand, answered me they were not my friends, but only my publishers....Exactly, she used just that sentence: “We have only issued your book”...issued, past participle of the verb to issue, as I had accepted and signed a contract. She made me known they would neither correct misprints nor organize productions: the author should have to think of that!
Surely an author who is waiting since February, ignores book’s cover’s price, when his book will be printed, sees no contract, faces some organizing hardship. What can he tell the bookshops, the galleries, the associations where his book is going to be produced? “I ignore when it is issued, have not seen the contract, ignore how much it will cost, know nothing: can you organize a production?” It seems to be a joke!
And it is fanciful the fact that when I ask the publisher, that is the Guru Caccamo, he answers me: “Pinna (yes, he calls me by my surname, to reaffirm his unquestionable leading role), you put too many questions, let us work at our ease! Your Facebook’s posts are disturbing for us!” Practically he tells me that, as he is so kind as he publishes my book, I must hold my tongue and ignore everything about it and not express my own opinions in social networks so that I can avoid to look unpleasant.
Luisella Pescatori does even more: she underscores there are behaviour’s rules which should be respected to pursue my business relationship with them. She uses just these words, “behaviour’s rules”, underlining that Miky, the nickname she uses to mention Caccamo, is going to define as soon as possible to Pinna, that is me, the rules she means.
Then Miky Caccamo rewrites and tells me synthesizing Pinna cannot make questions at Caccamo’s and one must not have any doubt since doubt is not a good thing. I do have a doubt at this point. How come? He is issuing a doubt based novel and is telling me I must not have any doubt: did he read it with accuracy? Did he understand what I wrote? Evidently not!
At last the layout arrives! I notice the beautiful Luisella, paging the text up, made some mistakes, oh, yes, mistakes which were not in the original one, for instance a few cut words which were unbroken in the file I gave her. Then, forgetting she wrote me (I saved all the messages) the text contained very few misprints, she tells me in a fine way I made a lot of them. I point out to her the misprints were miraculously born after her word-cutter layout and they do not answer anymore regarding that, they say simply: “You must check it again and send it correct to us!” Oh dear! Well! Let us correct again! After correcting again they send me layout and contract.
At last I manage to understand the magic little formula of this amazing, fanciful and innovating publishing trade: get to 100 and go to the bookshops, yes, get to 100. You must sell 100 copies you will not cash a copyright’s penny, since you will be paid only starting from the 101st copy, which will be printed provided you sell 100 copies that will not be in workshops’ catalogues, but only in on-line circuits, moreover you will not have right to get a presentation copy either before selling 100 copies, in practice, you must wander just like a perfect fool at your expense, obviously, to produce a book without cashing a penny. And they get you bound for a good 5 years by this unacceptable and shameful noose-contract which becomes far more ridiculous considering I have a very worthy issuing curriculum, while lots of nonentities without any issue were included in Castelvecchi’s “Emersioni” collection whose publisher is just Caccamo. I asked him furthermore: “How come I must get to 100 to enter a bookshop, while other writers, come up from nothing, without a real curriculum, appear straight in the bookshops without problems and without getting to 100?” He answered me he is not Castelvecchi’s owner, in short, in a word: “If you have helping hands, you go everywhere, even though you have never issued anything, if instead you are a poor luckless writer, who has issued a good 20 books, including essays, but nobody puts in a good word for you, you enter “Simpleton” Collection, you get to 100 and enter the bookshop!”, or rather “Try to sell 100 books for glory so that you allow Caccamo to perform “revolutionary” publishing.” It goes without saying that those 100 copies printed in “White Seed” collection will not appear in any bookshops’ catalogues . In practice a bookseller will not be invited to order your book, as it does not appear in any catalogue. Maybe do they hope a writer, if only he could appear in a bookshop, be only too willing to buy 100 copies?
The extending everywhere supply Caccamo highly praises with parcels offices all over Italy is set aside only for his friends’ friends, whose books obviously are in catalogue starting from their first copy, as in Italy talent (Caccamo himself judged me good at writing) is not worth a bean.
Well, I will not sign Seme Bianco's contract, I say “No!”, since I need a true publisher who pays my copyrights beginning from my book’s first copy and sets up a respectful and polite communication, devoid of supermanliness, a publisher who does not say to you: “Sweetheart, be good, too many questions!”, since good guys at 90% are simple-minded people who never ask themselves any questions, with downcast eyes before their bosses’ arrogance. No, Caccamo, I am not into it! My Black Star does not need you, will find another firmament where it will be able to shine wisely and even though it is doomed to darkness, never mind: it is better to be a Nobody rather than to pretend to be Somebody, one of your ordinary people.
And as for your childish objection according to which in your web-site it was clearly understandable you would not pay anything to the author with reference to the first 100 copies you could sell, I invite you to screen and blow up this small picture I took to your web-site, just as a memorandum, since it lets understand you state simply that, once sold 100 copies, a book is supplied to the bookshops. You do not state copyrights for those 100 copies one sells will not be paid:
And eventually I remind you, Caccamo, I have never forgotten to ban you, I did ban you at first and afterwards unban in order I could write what you can see in the picture above, which is clear enough about your mind processes. Indeed everybody knows that one writes an item in a public blog just like “Destrutturalismo” in order you do not notice what was written there. Do you actually believe I wanted you would not notice it?