Why Varric's Publisher Is The Literal Worst (Or, Publishing Contracts 101)

Either Varric has the worst publisher in Kirkwall (and possibly in Thedas), or he picked the best of a bad lot and is trying to make the best of it now.

I am a writer myself. I know what publishing is like. And there are a couple things a publisher is supposed to do that Varric’s publisher just is not doing.

1) He’s not getting a proper editor.

We’ve all laughed at some of the howlers in Varric’s work, especially that ‘metaphor’ about the boat. (You know the one, it’s in one of the Hard in Hightown books.) But what that means is that he’s not getting professionally edited, at all. And I don’t think this is a case of Varric-is-too-famous-to-get-edited, he’s shown a pretty… mature? … grasp of what’s wrong with some of his books, and he doesn’t have Dorian’s ego. I think that they’re assuming they can cut corners by not editing his work, because wtf, even a crappy editor could have caught that one.

2) His publishersold his foreign rights without telling him.

Like, okay, I’m assuming the state of contract law in Thedas is not as good as it is in 21st-century America, I get it. But this is beyond unethical.

For reference, for those of you who don’t understand how writing contracts work: a writer’s work is their property. When a book gets published, the author is not selling their work; they’re selling a publisher the right to print their work, for a limited amount of time.

Most magazine contracts, for example, are for first-time publication in the country the magazine is based in, and you can resell your work or print it on your website after a certain amount of time has passed. Book contracts are for a longer amount of time, but are still limited, usually, to the country in which the book was first published.

If the book is going to be translated and/or published in a different country, the author gets to sell their right to do so, and can make a significantly greater amount of money from this. If, for example, an author lives, works, and publishes in Germany, and then is suddenly selling a highly popular book in the United States, they are going to be making a good deal more money than they were previously.

So Varric’s publisher selling his right to publish in Orlais out from under his nose- that’s theft. They’re stealing his intellectual property.

3) Having done that, his publisher did not give him any of the money they received from said sales.

I don’t think I need to tell you why this is bad, especially not in conjunction with #2. To steal his shit, and then to steal all the money they got from selling his shit? That’s refuge in fucking audacity, man. That’s a level of bullshit that’s so high even Varric is stunned by it. That’s ‘call in the Red Jennies, these people deserve bees in their trousers’ levels of bullshit.

So yeah, Varric’s publisher is the literal worst.

okay, about the recent drama involving nalu, what aya hirano said, and mashima’s recent tweet… i have a lot to say. i don’t usually speak up about these things, but here i go.

you may think that i don’t have the right to say something like this, considering i’m not as involved in the fandom as i used to be, but i do have a few thoughts about the possibility of them not becoming canon and how some of the fans (nalu fans or not) have been acting.

recently, aya hirano (lucy’s voice actor) stated in an interview that lucy and natsu will not be written romantically (according to what she heard mashima say), and when the translation was better clarified, she might have been referring to a kiss only. from what i’ve seen, she might have only been talking about the tartarus arc, because it was relevant at the time of the interview.

anyhow, many nalu fans erputed at the thought their pairing won’t become canon. people who spoke up and said that this might be best (especially to prevent ship wars) got bashed and called “nalu-haters,” too. plus, adding to that, mashima has actually been getting hate for not writing a pairing canon.

my thoughts? as a writer and creator myself, i know what it’s like to have the pressing demand of readers/viewers, but what they want isn’t what i want. hiro mashima is the writer for fairy tail and he writes what he does for a reason. it isn’t his job to write up some romance because the audience demands it, especially when it’s not in his agenda.

please remember that nalu is a fandom product. it’s not mashima’s job to make them canon. it’s his job to write a story. fairy tail is not a romance series, it’s an action/fantasy. mashima is doing his bst to write a story that many can enjoy, and if nalu is part of his endgame plan, then it is, and if it isn’t, then it’s not.

earlier today, mashima made a tweet in repy to the hate he’s been recieving and the demands of his fandom:

in english, the first says this says: “i always see requests for paitings even authors who don’t use social media (social networking) will see it on FL. however, authors cannot meet all the demands of the fans. this is because we write with conviction. it makes us happy to see our fans excited over pairings, but no author wants to see their fans fight over pairings.”

the second says: “the topic shifts a little, but i don’t really care if you send controversial/rude comments/opinions to me, but i think it’s unreasonable to send it to the anime staff or the people that like those characters/pairings. it’s kind of sad to demean someone’s favorite, right? it’s fun to have a wild imagination regarding your pairings. let’s get along, guys!”

(special thanks to @tiredmorningglory for the translation!!)

how did any fans reply to this?

there were so many reples to this exact tweet that were demanding nalu, which is the exact thing that mashima just replied about. plus, it’s so cruel that some of you are sending hate to mashima for writing his own story the way he wants to, and even the anime staff, who has little to no power over the story.

if you take anything away from this, please let it be this:

  • mashima is the writer of fairy tail, not you
  • if nalu is endgame, then it is. if it isn’t, then it’s not.
  • a pairing becoming canon or not should not determine if the entire storyline was good/enjoyable
  • you are the fan, and mashima doesn’t need to meet your demands. your job is to enjoy, his is to write.
  • nalu is a fandom product. even if mashima likes it, that doesn’t mean he needs to make it canon or that it will
  • don’t force your wants on him or other people
  • ship wars are dumb, so accept that other people are going to like other things
  • mashima wants everyone to get along and accept one another