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Re: ProseWorks Media and Screenwriters Seminar

From: M. David B.
Sent on: Sunday, December 2, 2012 6:09 PM
In the interest of supporting impartial discussion, I am — with his blessing — copying Tim Hubbard's response to the group as a whole. (Tim Hubbard's e-mail indicates that he also sent the same content to Victoria Strauss/Writer Beware.)

M. David Blake

c. Victoria Strauss, Writer Beware

On 12/2/2012 5:38 PM, Tim Hubbard wrote:
Thanks for your response. You obviously put some energy into it. Your writing group members are being well served.

We are a start up that aims to be a resource for writers. Our agreement, our deal, our prices, and what services we might provide a writer will vary from author to author and from project to project. If what we offer is not something a writer wants, if our prices are not attractive, if our people are not comfortable or professional to work with then presumably that writer or author won't choose to work with us. We do not have a static slate of prices or of deal structures and, of the people we are working with, no two deals or proposals have yet been alike.

We will evolve. But if you ask me in a year whether "your business structure meant that you would be paying advances and/or royalties to your writers, or whether the structure indicated that money would instead flow from the writer toward your business, I imagine I will respond to you as I tried to do initially. It depends. All such structures are possible. As a company intent on providing editing and related services to authors, I would expect authors would generally pay for that.  On the publishing side, that's a different story and an agreement re expenses and royalties would likely vary between your two extremes. (In a current project we are working on, all royalties go to the author and he is covering most of the costs.)

As to our viewing you "as a captive audience for a market spiel", I don't think that is the case. But it is a fact that we wanted the members of the Durham Writers Group to know about the Scriptwriters Seminar we have organized to begin in January. For anyone interested in writing a serious screenplay, it is an opportunity to work with an accomplished professional at a price that is quite reasonable for that experience.  Perhaps our method of announcement was off base and did not accord with your DWG protocol, and for that I apologize.

Okay. Done. 


PS: Feel free to post this - I am not a member so presumably I can't reply to the list.

On Dec 2, 2012, at 3:35 PM, M. David Blake wrote:

Tim, while I understand your need to respond, I hope that you will likewise understand my inclination to answer publicly, lest there be any confusion about the intent of my previous post, or the response herein provided.

When you and Martin Love originally visited our Science Fiction and Fantasy group in July of this year, during the period in which we were still meeting at the Barnes & Noble in New Hope Commons, you presented ProseWorks Media as a startup publisher, and an editing service.

At that time I asked you, in clear terms, whether your business structure meant that you would be paying advances and/or royalties to your writers, or whether the structure indicated that money would instead flow from the writer toward your business. The answer you gave was one that might charitably be termed "evasive." While you did not explicitly state that writers approaching ProseWorks Media would be charged fees, the strong impression you managed to convey to our group was that, at best, you intended to serve as a "publishing service," rather than an actual publishing house.

It was your own evasiveness that led me to request an evaluation from Victoria Strauss, via Writer Beware. And to be clear, neither she nor I have accused you of impropriety, save for the suspicion (again, reinforced by your own representation) that as a whole, your business practices are not sufficiently clear for any writer to make an informed decision about your reliability, nor the actual prospects you offer.

My simple closing statement from the prior missive ("Might this still be a good seminar? Hard to say; make your own evaluation of how best to proceed. Should you elect to do so however, I'd suggest an abundance of caution.") was simply what it appeared: an admonition for each writer considering the expense to weigh the perceived pros and cons, relative to their own perception of the aforementioned reliability and prospects. Should anyone choose to attend, I'll certainly not fault them for doing so... but I'll still question the manner in which you have chosen to approach us.

You see, since our original encounter, the Science Fiction and Fantasy group has shifted from Barnes & Noble to the Straw Valley Cafe and Wine Bar. Recently, Martin Love has begun attending our group, and has again spoken favorably of ProseWorks Media. He has, however, notably declined to participate in any other substantial fashion, including the provision of feedback, which is a general expectation of attendance. To be clear, you would both be welcome to attend, should you be inclined to become active participants; the notion that either of you would view us as a captive audience for a market spiel is, regrettably, offensive.

Please forgive my unavailability for coffee. Scheduling any interruption during the already eventful holidays is, as I am sure you comprehend, difficult.


M. David Blake

c. Victoria Strauss, Writer Beware

On 12/2/2012 2:05 PM, Tim Hubbard wrote:

I saw copies of Victoria Stauss' comments as well as your response about ProseWorks Media.

As President of ProseWorks Media, I feel the need to respond.

Would you be able meet and give me the opportunity to discuss your somewhat surprising (to me) statement suggesting "an abundance of caution" with regard to the Scriptwriters Seminar we have organized. (We have several others in the works, as well.) If it was a general caveat about all seminars, I get it. But to single us out, I don't quite understand. I would really like to know the basis for your making that comment targeting us alone. I truly don't know why you would say something with such a negative connotation without trying to find out a bit about the program. (We are in Chapel Hill...not far and we get email.)

For all you know, this may well be the best opportunity screenplay-interested writers have ever had around here to plan and write a screenplay with guidance from a very experienced industry veteran. I just don't get it.

In any case, we are all here trying to promote good writing, efficient publishing, helping writers get their works out - if that's what they want, and generally putting our experiences and talents to some good use.

I look forward to hearing if you would be available. I can come to Hillsborough, perhaps we can have a quick coffee somewhere early this week.


Tim Hubbard

Tim Hubbard, Pres.
ProseWorks Media
Chapel Hill, NC

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