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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Appearing and Disappearing Articles at DDJ

The article I mentioned in my last post ("Appearing and Disappearing consts in C++") is no longer available at the URLs I provided.  In fact, it's not available at the Dr. Dobb's web site at all.  However, the PDF I submitted to DDJ is available through this link, where it will remain. The rest of this post explains why the article briefly flickered to life at DDJ and then vanished. Unless your interest in C++ extends to the process of getting something about it published, you can skip the information that follows.

I can't speak for other authors, but the way I've always worked with publishers on articles can be summarized this way:
  1. I send the prospective publisher an idea for an article, a rough draft of an article, or an essentially complete article, and I ask if they are interested in publishing it. If so, we move to step 2.
  2. We negotiate a contract for the article.  Generally speaking, I grant them certain publication rights, and they agree to pay me something for them.
  3. I deliver a final version of the article, which they then convert into whatever format will be published.
  4. They ask me to review the converted article to ensure that no errors were introduced during conversion.
  5. The article is published.
In this case, DDJ went directly from step 1 to step 5 after agreeing to publish the article, something they were able to do, because I'd submitted an essentially final manuscript, thus eliminating the need to wait for me to deliver the final copy in step 3. I found out about the publication from a friend of mine some hours after the bits went live.

I contacted DDJ and expressed my concern that they had published without our agreeing on a contract or my being given a chance to review the article for errors.  They sent a proposed contract, and I requested changes.  We went back and forth a couple of times.  They eventually decided that we would be unable to come to agreement, so they removed the article from their site.  I found out about this when somebody posted a comment to that effect to my blog, although DDJ sent official notice some time later.

As an aside, the contract negotiations didn't get hung up on money.  It was more about the kinds of rights DDJ would acquire and who'd have control over the content of the article.

 I'm sorry about the confusion about the article's location, but at least we can enjoy the irony of an article about appearing and disappearing consts itself appearing, disappearing, and now reappearing.  I still  hope you find the article interesting and useful.

Scott

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Seriously?

DDJ don't understand the significance of having Scott Meyers writing for them?

I am GOBSMACKED! I can only assume that there is a new person on the staff who doesn't quite understand their business yet.

Thank you Scott for your generosity in presenting an enduring version.

Scott Meyers said...

I suspect that the people at DDJ would be quick to remark that there are two sides to every story, but thanks very much for your support. The main thing is the technical content of the article, which I hope you find up to snuff.

Bruce Eckel said...

You gotcher rules and the publisher is in the position of power so if you are too difficult about wanting to change things, well then we don't need you. I happily don't mess much with the publishing industry anymore. Too much crazy there. Even if one works with sane folks, the business makes em crazy.

Alexa Weber Morales said...

Hmmm would this have happened at Software Development? It helps to have a staff as well.