Publishing Deal Gone Wrong

October 16, 2006

Once again in curious cat mode, I couldn’t rest after I read JG’s comment and was able to pull this up on the web. Not sure how reputable the source is, but it sure sounded good! Hail to MediaBistro!

Thursday, Oct 12

Dooced Again: Blogger Settles w/Jilted Publisher

Heather B. Armstrong became a household word a few years back when she got fired from her job after employers discovered her blog, Dooce. The notoriety gave her a huge audience, making her a natural candidate for one of those blogger book deals you hear about—in fact, back in January, when mediabistro.com interviewed Jeremie Ruby-Strauss, he gave us the impression that she would be writing a book for Kensington’s Rebel Base Books line. That’s because, according a court complaint Kensington filed in June (PDF courtesy of Trainwrecks.net), publisher and author were busy hammering out the details of a two-book contract while that interview was being conducted.

But if there’s a court complaint, you know there’s a twist: Armstrong’s agent sent an email to Kensington in late April stating that all the terms had been successfully negotiated and requesting signature copies for Armstrong to sign, then told the publisher a month later that, because Ruby-Strauss was no longer working there, Armstrong refused to sign the contract. But then, Kensington’s attorneys claimed, Armstrong herself told the publisher a different story; she was upset at the lengthy negotiations and the “nerve-wracking” lack of contact, and now she wanted out. Kensington maintained it already had a valid and binding contract with her, so they sued to get her to uphold it.

Armstrong has announced a settlement on Dooce, “officially ending what has been the most traumatic, agonizing, demoralizing experience of my life.” In case there’s any other doubt as to the outcome, she adds:

“I have no faith in our legal system, one that guarantees victory only for the party who can afford to pay for it, one that would allow a large company to bully a private citizen because it knows that she has no money with which to defend herself. I am angry and bitter and feeling all sorts of unbecoming emotions. More than that, though, I am afraid that these people are watching everything I say here, ready to pounce on a single word, twist it, manipulate it, and then sue me again.”

More info on the actual settlement terms as our queries get responses…


p.s. I still love Heather, even if she doesn’t love/like clogs. Her loss.



  1. This tale sounds saucy and intriguing. Thanks for sharing.

  2. A good warning to be careful what you say and to whom you say it! Thanks, Orhan!

  3. Crap. Now you tell me. Tomorrow is my last day at my crappy job. If I had known I could get massive publicity out of getting fired for saying the wrong things on my blog, I’d have done it for sure.

  4. I know! Silly Diesel. That’s how she got famous. Don’t miss your chance. There’s still time to piss people off and get sued for it! ;o)

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