Not on the same page.
I wasn’t going to write about this. I thought it was none of my business, and just a boring argument about money between people I barely know (I’ve met Josh Hooten and Lauren Ulm exactly once, and at the same time; they were both nice to me) over a book deal. And it is. But all the kerfuffle surrounding it is just too damn compelling not to share. Some of you already know all about this. Others are probably thinking “who?” or even “who cares?” Sure, it’s a big vegan world, and this is just one little corner of it. But if I read all this stuff, maybe you’ll want to also.
The background: You may recall that vegan conglomerate Herbivore is moving into the cookbook business. Last week, just days before going to press, author Lauren “Lolo” Ulm of Vegan Yum Yum pulled out of her deal, citing “some disagreements we could not work out.” Basically she wasn’t OK with her (unusually high $5 per book) royalties only starting after production costs were covered. Yes, this is fairly standard publishing procedure, but she didn’t know it and wasn’t OK with it.
Now, if her book ever gets published, it won’t be by Herbivore, and it probably won’t look as good as if it had been (unless her new publisher buys Herbivore’s layout, which would actually be a pretty good thing, at least from the customer’s perspective!). Herbivore had invested heavily in promotion and production, and all that time and money is down the drain. Various people are pissed off on their respective behalves. (If you’re like me, the first question that pops into your head is “didn’t they have a contract?” No, they didn’t. Remember kids, contracts aren’t excusively tools for exploiting the talent. A good contract helps all parties.) Anyway, your required reading for all the gossip:
- Lolo announces the deal is off, without really saying why. (The public assumes they know why anyway.)
- Josh at Herbivore responds, but carefully dances around the actual source of the disagreement.
- The author of Herbivore’s other book, which is still happening, Joanna from Yellow Rose Recipes chimes in.
- Katie at Don’t Eat Off the Sidewalk provides compelling analogies.
- All is eventually revealed deep in the bowels of the Post Punk Kitchen forums. This thread is kind of a slog, but the real dirt is all here, mostly from the mouths of Lolo and her husband.
In the end, Herbivore still produces awesome magazines and clothing (and, ahem, art galleries) and will almost surely go on to produce amazing books. Lolo still blogs great recipes and shoots amazing photos of food, and may well go on to produce amazing books. It sucks that this happened. I’m not sure if all the publicity helps or hurts, but if you love the gossip like I do, you want it anyway. Did I miss any exciting coverage or reactions? Leave a comment.