PDA

View Full Version : Neil Gaiman's speaking fee is $45,000?



Rod Nunley
05-10-2010, 02:37 PM
http://blogs.citypages.com/blotter/2010/05/neil_gaimans_sp.php

Sandman author Neil Gaiman is under attack by the Minneapolis Star Tribune for charging $45,000 for a recent speaking engagement at a Stillwater public library.

Under the headline, "One author: $45,000 for an afternoon," the newspaper questioned the hefty fee for the "fantasy and science fiction writer," claiming that "some tongues in the library community are wagging in astonishment."

Wait, librarians are wagging their tongues? This must be a scandal!

The story was originally broken by Politics in Minnesota, which quoted one angry librarian wagging his or her tongue, but only after demanding anonymity.

"I am a librarian and on the library side, supposedly, but this makes my blood boil," the librarian said. "This is ridiculous. There are people who need food and who have lost their homes, and this is just plain disgusting."

In response, Gaiman explained his admittedly high fees on the Library Journal website:

Obviously I do a lot of speaking for free. The night before I'd done a pro bono 3 hour reading/Q&A as a benefit for the CBLDF in Chicago, in front of 1600 people, who had paid up to $250 a ticket to attend.

Four days before I'd done "An Evening With Neil Gaiman" internet talk with the Jessamine Public Library for nothing, because they asked me to, and because it was National Library Week (although they sent me a wonderful Kentucky nibbles gift basket as a thank you).

In fact most of the talks and appearances I do are for free.

But if you want to hire me to come in and talk, it's expensive.

My speaking fees are high. I keep them that way intentionally. Here's what it says on my website's Frequently asked questions. (http://www.neilgaiman.com/p/FAQs/Contacting,_Contracting,_Inviting,_Interviewing,_o r_Mailing_Neil)

Gaiman was paid with money from the state and cultural Legacy Fund, which is raised through sales and use tax as approved by voters in 2008.

​This isn't the first time the Star Tribune has questioned the use of Legacy Fund money. Indeed, it has become almost as much of a crusade for the daily as their Epic Series on Drunk Driving (Spoiler: they're against it). The Strib has been especially critical of money given to its competitor, Minnesota Public Radio.

Sure, $45,000 sounds like a lot of money for an author, even one as acclaimed as Gaiman. But that's pennies compared to the $791 million Vikings stadium the Star Tribune wants taxpayers to help build.

And apparently, not all the librarians are wagging their tongues. One who was in the audience that day has Gaiman's back:

Pat the Librarian commented:

I deeply apologize to Mr. Gaiman that he should be put in the position to have to defend his fee. The afternoon was magical. He stayed far longer than planned and spoke privately with a large number of people. This funding is meant to preserve our cultural and artistic heritage. Indeed it is experiences like these that create the next generation of artists and writers. No price can be put on such an experience. I have been to many a book talk that had an audience of 20 people and authors received $2,000...the per capita cost is easily comparable when you consider the large and very grateful audience.

Thank you, Mr. Gaiman, for an inspiring afternoon. It was indeed well worth it. And, again, I apologize that you have been put in this position.

bartleby
05-10-2010, 02:41 PM
It doesn't seem like an unreasonable amount for Gaiman to charge, especially if he wants to limit the number of these he ends up having to do. But I do question the decision of the library to pay that much. Surely, whatever they gained by having him speak wasn't of that value.

Rod Nunley
05-10-2010, 02:43 PM
Q. How can I get Neil Gaiman to make an appearance at my school/convention/event?
A. Contact Lisa Bransdorf at the Greater Talent Network. Tell her you want Neil to appear somewhere. Have her tell you how much it costs. Have her say it again in case you misheard it the first time. Tell her you could get Bill Clinton for that money. Have her tell you that you couldn't even get ten minutes of Bill Clinton for that money but it's true, he's not cheap.

On the other hand, I'm really busy, and I ought to be writing, so pricing appearances somewhere between ridiculously high and obscenely high helps to discourage most of the people who want me to come and talk to them. Which I could make a full time profession, if I didn't say 'no' a lot.

:)

R0cketFr0g
05-10-2010, 02:57 PM
Popular famous people command high speaking fees. In other news, orgasms feel good.

Jason California
05-10-2010, 02:58 PM
No problem with this.

R0cketFr0g
05-10-2010, 03:01 PM
I think the question that needs to be asked is "what would he do for that 45 grand?"

Lets just say hypothetically we got 100 Bendis Boarders to kick in $450 each to lure...er attract Gaiman to an undisclosed location. Would he give us all massages? Would there be happy endings?

Jef UK
05-10-2010, 03:05 PM
That angy librarian is stupid and naive.

The Zevad
05-10-2010, 03:08 PM
I think the question that needs to be asked is "what would he do for that 45 grand?"

Lets just say hypothetically we got 100 Bendis Boarders to kick in $450 each to lure...er attract Gaiman to an undisclosed location. Would he give us all massages? Would there be happy endings?

For the last time RocketFrog..the Bendis Board will not rape Neil Gaiman! GOSH!


:lol:

Kurt Russell Crowe
05-10-2010, 03:08 PM
In a world where MTV reality show rejects can get that much for going to a club, good for Gaiman, who I'm not even particularly a fan of.

Mylazycat
05-10-2010, 03:10 PM
To compare:

A few years ago, former President Bill Clinton was raking in $150,000 an appearance at the low end. Clinton traveled far and wide for his appearances, according to this nifty map by the Washington Post. He earned as much as $350,000 to keynote a motivational speaking conference in Toronto, in front of 8,500 business executives.

George W. Bush also reportedly pulled in $150,000 for a trip to Canada last year, along with the use of a private jet for him and three colleagues.

Even two-time presidential candidate John Edwards commanded $55,000 for a 2006 appearance at UC Davis.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/04/20/palins-csu-speaking-fees_n_544454.html

R0cketFr0g
05-10-2010, 03:11 PM
For the last time RocketFrog..the Bendis Board will not rape Neil Gaiman! GOSH!


:lol:

Fine.

I wonder what Warren Ellis gets per appearance...

Dreaded Anomaly
05-10-2010, 03:13 PM
That angy librarian is stupid and naive.

Yeah, that's what stuck out the most to me.

"This is ridiculous. There are people who need food and who have lost their homes, and this is just plain disgusting."

Really? She felt it necessary to pull out the "hungry and homeless people" line to protest a (not unreasonable) speaking fee? :nonono2:

SeanC
05-10-2010, 03:15 PM
They paid it. Neil Gaiman's supposed to feel bad and be outted as a horrible person because they decided to pay him? He placed an amount out there. They paid it. That's the end of it. If anyone on 'their' side was truly outraged or thought this was a bad idea they wouldn't of cut the cheque.

Treacle
05-10-2010, 03:22 PM
Popular famous people command high speaking fees. In other news, orgasms feel good.

Basically.

BENDIS!
05-10-2010, 03:23 PM
mine is a chik fil a party tray

Bedlam66
05-10-2010, 03:29 PM
mine is a chik fil a party tray
:lol:

Foolish Mortal
05-10-2010, 03:30 PM
mine is a chik fil a party tray
So you don't do speaking gigs on Sundays?

Bill Nolan
05-10-2010, 03:32 PM
So you don't do speaking gigs on Sundays?

"plus access to a microwave on Sundays"

mario
05-10-2010, 03:33 PM
Fine.

I wonder what Warren Ellis gets per appearance...

a botlle of whiskey, a carton of Red BUll, some fags (the english type!) and some nerds to cane to death by a Suicide Girl.

Thudpucker
05-10-2010, 03:34 PM
That angy librarian is stupid and naive.

Yep. If they thought the fee was too high they shouldn't have hired him.

DAVE
05-10-2010, 03:41 PM
I saw Gaiman speak at a library in Stuart, FL a few years ago, and it was phenomenal. He's a terrific and engaging speaker. Also, super friendly.

Dood Lee
05-10-2010, 03:49 PM
Yeah, that's what stuck out the most to me.

"This is ridiculous. There are people who need food and who have lost their homes, and this is just plain disgusting."

Really? She felt it necessary to pull out the "hungry and homeless people" line to protest a (not unreasonable) speaking fee? :nonono2:

What makes it more insane is that the fee was paid from a fund appropriated for the arts. The money couldn't have gone to help homeless/hungry people anyway.

I'll bet that if someone asked the anonymous librarian what he/she did to help the homeless/hungry, the answer would be "nothing".

justjeffery
05-10-2010, 03:51 PM
mine is a chik fil a party tray

Ill get two!

Jef UK
05-10-2010, 03:58 PM
So you don't do speaking gigs on Sundays?

"We've replaced Bendis' normal Chik-Fil-A Chicken Sandwich with a McDonald's Southern Style Chicken Sandwich. Let's see if he notices!"

Mister Mets
05-10-2010, 04:04 PM
I don't have a problem with Gaiman charging that much.

I do have a problem with sales and use taxes paying for it.

The Funketeer
05-10-2010, 04:05 PM
It doesn't seem like an unreasonable amount for Gaiman to charge, especially if he wants to limit the number of these he ends up having to do. But I do question the decision of the library to pay that much. Surely, whatever they gained by having him speak wasn't of that value.

I'm pretty sure we don't get to judge the value of the event if you weren't there. If some kid in the audience was inspired to write and try to publish his/her work and went on to create great works of literature, then I'd say they got their money's worth.

Buk Was Right
05-10-2010, 04:05 PM
I saw Gaiman speak at a library in Stuart, FL a few years ago, and it was phenomenal. He's a terrific and engaging speaker. Also, super friendly.

America Dave hates poor people and wants to deprive starving children of food!

You heard it here first!

Ryan Elliott
05-10-2010, 04:10 PM
mine is a chik fil a party tray


:rofl: :heart:

DAVE
05-10-2010, 04:10 PM
"We've replaced Bendis' normal Chik-Fil-A Chicken Sandwich with a McDonald's Southern Style Chicken Sandwich. Let's see if he notices!"

It tastes the same, but less money from it goes to fighting abortion!

bartleby
05-10-2010, 04:13 PM
I think the real issue the librarian probably had was with who made the decision and how it was made. There's a lot the library could have done with $45,000. If they brought in Neil Gaiman to speak just because someone with the authority to make that call is a Neil Gaiman fan, it seems like a misuse of power and misappropriation of the funds. If there was a committee with community input that decided Neil Gaiman speaking was something of great interest to many of the library's patrons, then it shouldn't be an issue.

DAVE
05-10-2010, 04:16 PM
America Dave hates poor people and wants to deprive starving children of food!

You heard it here first!
First, my ass. I've saying that for years.

mike black
05-10-2010, 04:19 PM
Popular famous people command high speaking fees. In other news, orgasms feel good.

http://i654.photobucket.com/albums/uu267/princess_kell/omg.jpg

Buk Was Right
05-10-2010, 04:22 PM
First, my ass.

I don't take orders from you pal!

DAVE
05-10-2010, 04:32 PM
I don't take orders from you pal!

Pretty please?

R0cketFr0g
05-10-2010, 04:35 PM
mine is a chik fil a party tray

And do we get happy endings?

TIP
05-10-2010, 04:42 PM
:jackoff:

Stark Raving
05-10-2010, 04:46 PM
That angy librarian is stupid and naive.
Indeed. That's like spending $5K on a hooker, getting busted by the wife, and then blaming the whole thing on the hooker.
Why are people so retarded? :confused:

R0cketFr0g
05-10-2010, 04:49 PM
Indeed. That's like spending $5K on a hooker, getting busted by the wife, and then blaming the whole thing on the hooker.
Why are people so retarded? :confused:

It's ALWAYS the hooker's fault. You have much to learn from Snoop Dogg, young Padawan.

Mister Mets
05-10-2010, 04:49 PM
It doesn't seem like an unreasonable amount for Gaiman to charge, especially if he wants to limit the number of these he ends up having to do. But I do question the decision of the library to pay that much. Surely, whatever they gained by having him speak wasn't of that value.That's essentially what I ended up saying, but better put.


I'm pretty sure we don't get to judge the value of the event if you weren't there. If some kid in the audience was inspired to write and try to publish his/her work and went on to create great works of literature, then I'd say they got their money's worth.Unless the $45,000 could have been spent on books that would have inspired two writers of great works of literature.

R0cketFr0g
05-10-2010, 04:50 PM
:jackoff:

TIP knows how to earn.

TIP
05-10-2010, 04:52 PM
TIP knows how to earn.

You want the gross or net on the forthcoming money shot?

Jason California
05-10-2010, 04:53 PM
It's ALWAYS the hooker's fault. You have much to learn from Snoop Dogg, young Padawan.


LT has to be hoping for this.

R0cketFr0g
05-10-2010, 04:53 PM
Unless the $45,000 could have been spent on books that would have inspired two writers of great works of literature.

But it wasn't your money to spend. Obviously those with oversight thought it was a worthwhile activity. I'm sure they will remember to check with Bartleby and Mister Mets before holding their next cultural event.

Buk Was Right
05-10-2010, 04:58 PM
Mostly I guess that I'm just disappointed that this story about an angry librarian didn't end with her letting her hair down, removing her glasses, and popping open her top button to reveal a heretofore unseen boobaliciousness and saucy attitude.

Yeah... pretty much everything I know about librarians I learned from Penthouse Letters.

R0cketFr0g
05-10-2010, 05:00 PM
Mostly I guess that I'm just disappointed that this story about an angry librarian didn't end with her letting her hair down, removing her glasses, and popping open her top button to reveal a heretofore unseen boobaliciousness and saucy attitude.

Yeah... pretty much everything I know about librarians I learned from Penthouse Letters.

$45,000 could buy a metric assload of Penthouse Forum. FUCK YOU GAIMAN!

Artie Pink
05-10-2010, 05:07 PM
Poor Neil. He doesn't want to do all that speaking. He's tried to say no, but they just keep asking. He has no other recourse but to charge an outrageous fee.

It's like he's trying to protect these guys, but some are still so hell-bent on dragging him to their conference halls and making him speak even though he doesn't want to. What more can he do? Maybe he should force the townspeople to bring unto him their most nubile daughters. Maybe that would get them to think twice.

Other authors can get away with just saying, "no, I can't" or "no, I'm not available" or "no, ask other Nebula and/or Hugo award winners!", but dammit - not Neil.

That, my friends, is why his books are so melancholy. Imagine, if you can, a world where you tried to do the right thing and just price yourself out of reason... but some people were actually willing to pay! My god, it must be like living in a nightmare.

R0cketFr0g
05-10-2010, 05:09 PM
Poor Neil. He doesn't want to do all that speaking. He's tried to say no, but they just keep asking. He has no other recourse but to charge an outrageous fee.

It's like he's trying to protect these guys, but some are still so hell-bent on dragging him to their conference halls and making him speak even though he doesn't want to. What more can he do? Maybe he should force the townspeople to bring unto him their most nubile daughters. Maybe that would get them to think twice.

Other authors can get away with just saying, "no, I can't" or "no, I'm not available" or "no, ask other Nebula and/or Hugo award winners!", but dammit - not Neil.

That, my friends, is why his books are so melancholy. Imagine, if you can, a world where you tried to do the right thing and just price yourself out of reason... but some people were actually willing to pay! My god, it must be like living in a nightmare.

Your sarcasm makes baby Jesus cry Jim.

Rob Helmerichs
05-10-2010, 05:21 PM
What makes it more insane is that the fee was paid from a fund appropriated for the arts. The money couldn't have gone to help homeless/hungry people anyway.
In fact, if it hadn't gone to Gaiman, it would have gone to other authors. He was paid out of funds specifically designated for a series of author appearances. They chose to spend a lot of the fund on Gaiman (I believe it was something like 1/3 of the budget for something like 6 authors in the series) because he is local, famous, a great speaker, and the national spokesman for Nation Library Week.

Mylazycat
05-10-2010, 05:23 PM
Poor Neil. He doesn't want to do all that speaking. He's tried to say no, but they just keep asking. He has no other recourse but to charge an outrageous fee.

It's like he's trying to protect these guys, but some are still so hell-bent on dragging him to their conference halls and making him speak even though he doesn't want to. What more can he do? Maybe he should force the townspeople to bring unto him their most nubile daughters. Maybe that would get them to think twice.

Other authors can get away with just saying, "no, I can't" or "no, I'm not available" or "no, ask other Nebula and/or Hugo award winners!", but dammit - not Neil.

That, my friends, is why his books are so melancholy. Imagine, if you can, a world where you tried to do the right thing and just price yourself out of reason... but some people were actually willing to pay! My god, it must be like living in a nightmare.

Yeah, and you'd turn down $45,000 for one evening's light work, too, if someone offered it to you, I'm sure.

:roll:

Artie Pink
05-10-2010, 05:30 PM
Yeah, and you'd turn down $45,000 for one evening's light work, too, if someone offered it to you, I'm sure.

:roll:

Conan rules!

Buk Was Right
05-10-2010, 05:33 PM
Conan rules!

Yeah!

:rock:

R0cketFr0g
05-10-2010, 05:34 PM
Conan rules!

Crom!!!

Jason California
05-10-2010, 05:35 PM
Conan rules!


:lol:

sharp1
05-10-2010, 05:47 PM
mine is a chik fil a party tray

I counter with a value combo. Regular sandwich only. Nothing grilled. Smallest available size of waffle fries and soda only.

Your move, Bendis!

;-)

R0cketFr0g
05-10-2010, 05:52 PM
I counter with a value combo. Regular sandwich only. Nothing grilled. Smallest available size of waffle fries and soda only.

Your move, Bendis!

;-)

Small Fries and Soda? Truly fascinating. What are your thoughts on the BK Chicken Fries?

Patch
05-10-2010, 06:00 PM
I lectured at the University of Arizona (about 8 years ago). I was paid $600.

About 120 people showed up. That's $5 a head. The per capita argument that Pat the Librarian made doesn't really hold up. :)

Mylazycat
05-10-2010, 06:03 PM
Conan rules!

:roll: X 1,000

The Zevad
05-10-2010, 06:04 PM
Small Fries and Soda? Truly fascinating. What are your thoughts on the BK Chicken Fries?

Now you want to rape Bendis? Make up your mind. Though Bendis has bragged about the blow job skills he learned from Howard Chaykin.


Fine.

I wonder what Warren Ellis gets per appearance...

That's just promises your doom. You won't get a chance. To dangerous. He'll rape YOUR SOUL!!!!!!!!!!! :scared::scared::scared:

R0cketFr0g
05-10-2010, 06:04 PM
I lectured at the University of Arizona. I was paid $600.

About 100 people showed up. That's $6 a head. The per capita argument that Pat the Librarian made doesn't really hold up. :)

This is ridiculous. There are people who need food and who have lost their homes, and this is just plain disgusting.

Patch
05-10-2010, 06:06 PM
This is ridiculous. There are people who need food and who have lost their homes, and this is just plain disgusting.

It was more like 120 people, so that's better... right? :)

Mylazycat
05-10-2010, 06:13 PM
I lectured at the University of Arizona (about 8 years ago). I was paid $600.

You are an awful, awful man. A bastard! $60 should have done you just fine!

Patch
05-10-2010, 06:17 PM
You are an awful, awful man. A bastard! $60 should have done you just fine!

I was just thinking, bet I could of got $650!!


Or at least dinner.

Supreme Convoy
05-10-2010, 06:38 PM
I have seen Neil speak for free and I've also paid $75 for a ticket as well. It is well worth it to see him speak live.

I don't think it's a problem he charges that much for speaking if he's trying to limit the events he can attend. If the event was well attended and people enjoyed it, then the community got its money worth.

Magnum V.I.
05-10-2010, 06:55 PM
"We've replaced Bendis' normal Chik-Fil-A Chicken Sandwich with a McDonald's Southern Style Chicken Sandwich. Let's see if he notices!"

Bald Writer Murder's Practical Jokers with Plastic Serving Tray.



Small Fries and Soda? Truly fascinating. What are your thoughts on the BK Chicken Fries?

Personally I would offer a slice of pizza and a small coke. It's a truly intense fee.

Shawn_Kehoe
05-10-2010, 07:18 PM
My first instinct on hearing a story like this would be that the protesting librarian fought against this decision, but was overruled, and now they are letting off steam.

But the article says that he or she demanded anonymity. What use would that be if he or she had already spoken up within the library? It wouldn't be hard to put two and two together.

Combined with the fallacious "feed the poor" argument, and this certainly sounds like a character assassination attempt from somebody too cowardly to express their discontent to the involved parties.

Jason California
05-10-2010, 07:23 PM
:roll: X 1,000


Oh c'mon, it was funny and you know it.

Kedd
05-10-2010, 08:52 PM
For the last time RocketFrog..the Bendis Board will not rape Neil Gaiman! GOSH!


:lol:
What the hell are we all here for then?:-x

mine is a chik fil a party tray
Done and done.

leafinsectman
05-10-2010, 08:57 PM
Don't people like Paris Hilton and other not talented peoples get paid six figures just for showing up?

Kedd
05-10-2010, 09:00 PM
Don't people like Paris Hilton and other not talented peoples get paid six figures just for showing up?

I'd be surprised if public libraries were jockeying to get Paris Hilton in for a speaking engagement.

Lotuz
05-11-2010, 01:58 AM
To compare:

A few years ago, former President Bill Clinton was raking in $150,000 an appearance at the low end. Clinton traveled far and wide for his appearances, according to this nifty map by the Washington Post. He earned as much as $350,000 to keynote a motivational speaking conference in Toronto, in front of 8,500 business executives.

George W. Bush also reportedly pulled in $150,000 for a trip to Canada last year, along with the use of a private jet for him and three colleagues.

Even two-time presidential candidate John Edwards commanded $55,000 for a 2006 appearance at UC Davis.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/04/20/palins-csu-speaking-fees_n_544454.html

what the hell do you do with that kind of money? Thats Bendis Rich!!

Greygor
05-11-2010, 02:17 AM
$150,000 for George Bush or $45,000 for Neil, Neil looks like a bargain.

But seriously people set their rates and they're either hired or not.

Greygor
05-11-2010, 02:19 AM
what the hell do you do with that kind of money? Thats Bendis Rich!!

Naw, he's so rich people have to pay for him to listen to them

Ashwin Pande
05-11-2010, 02:48 AM
For $45,000 I'd stick a live duck up my ass and do a jig. I think they should hire me instead of that intelligent writer fella.

Greygor
05-11-2010, 05:03 AM
For $45,000 I'd stick a live duck up my ass and do a jig. I think they should hire me instead of that intelligent writer fella.

For that money I'd happily stick a live duck up your ass, mind you I'd do the jig myself

thatguyfromsyracuse
05-11-2010, 05:51 AM
I show up at libraries and other places and just start talking about stuff all of the time. And I don't ask for a dime! Neil Gaiman is a pretty selfish bastard.

Gregory
05-11-2010, 05:54 AM
Amanda Palmer goes through A LOT of glitter.

Buk Was Right
05-11-2010, 07:31 AM
what the hell do you do with that kind of money? Thats Bendis Rich!!

What? You think those jean shorts grow on trees?

Shwicaz
05-11-2010, 07:49 AM
Yeah, that's what stuck out the most to me.

"This is ridiculous. There are people who need food and who have lost their homes, and this is just plain disgusting."

Really? She felt it necessary to pull out the "hungry and homeless people" line to protest a (not unreasonable) speaking fee? :nonono2:


Her comment makes even less sense when you realize that the fund that this was paid out of this:


Gaiman was paid with money from the state and cultural Legacy Fund, which is raised through sales and use tax as approved by voters in 2008.

and then there is this:


Library officials say the money came from a budget item that could only be use for library programming so it couldn’t be shifted to, say, buy books or staffing.

So, since that money can't be used for people who need food and lost their homes ANYWAY, I don't see what that dumb librarian is screaming about.

The money would have been spent on library programs regardless of whether or not Neil Gaiman was there to take up a chunk of it.


Total non-issue.

Artie Pink
05-11-2010, 08:13 AM
So, since that money can't be used for people who need food and lost their homes ANYWAY, I don't see what that dumb librarian is screaming about.

The money would have been spent on library programs regardless of whether or not Neil Gaiman was there to take up a chunk of it.


Total non-issue.


Yeah, but I think there's much better ways to spend $45K. For $45K you could easily fund a YEAR's worth of weekend programs at a Library. Our Library has had Dr. Seuss plays on one Saturday, and then Iditarod sled dogs the next. They pack the house full of families on a WEEKLY basis. They would kill to have this kind of money to fund year-round programming, let alone one night's programming.

Taxpayers don't want to see that kind of money being pissed away on some author talking for a few hours on one night. I love Gaiman, and I've seen him speak at the Library before - it was great. But it didn't provide $45K worth of entertainment. C'mon.

Libraries typically have grants and funding that have special rules - can't use it for staffing or materials, etc. But in 2010 when Libraries are closing and taxes are watchdogged, some Libraries - including my own - have rewritten these rules for a few years as a temporary measure. It's better to keep the Library open and efficient during a crisis than to piss away $45K on a niche author.

They apparently have a surplus of funding in order to justify this. So I hope their funding is reevaluated to serve the whole community better. I'm a Gaiman fan, but if I found out my taxes went to this I'd be disappointed. And as a Gaiman fan, I'm disappointed he would charge this much and not feel shitty about it.

Heroic Age Moe
05-11-2010, 08:16 AM
That is way to much money to spend for something like that.

Especially given the current economic climate.

Yorick Brown
05-11-2010, 08:23 AM
Poor Neil. He doesn't want to do all that speaking. He's tried to say no, but they just keep asking. He has no other recourse but to charge an outrageous fee.

It's like he's trying to protect these guys, but some are still so hell-bent on dragging him to their conference halls and making him speak even though he doesn't want to. What more can he do? Maybe he should force the townspeople to bring unto him their most nubile daughters. Maybe that would get them to think twice.

Other authors can get away with just saying, "no, I can't" or "no, I'm not available" or "no, ask other Nebula and/or Hugo award winners!", but dammit - not Neil.

That, my friends, is why his books are so melancholy. Imagine, if you can, a world where you tried to do the right thing and just price yourself out of reason... but some people were actually willing to pay! My god, it must be like living in a nightmare.

Apparently Jim is not a pal of Neil's.


In fact, if it hadn't gone to Gaiman, it would have gone to other authors. He was paid out of funds specifically designated for a series of author appearances. They chose to spend a lot of the fund on Gaiman (I believe it was something like 1/3 of the budget for something like 6 authors in the series) because he is local, famous, a great speaker, and the national spokesman for Nation Library Week.

I was just pissed I couldn't go. Missed Chabon when he was here as well.


what the hell do you do with that kind of money? Thats Bendis Rich!!

John Edwards has a complicated answer to that question.

gaspar
05-11-2010, 08:27 AM
Yeah, but I think there's much better ways to spend $45K. For $45K you could easily fund a YEAR's worth of weekend programs at a Library. Our Library has had Dr. Seuss plays on one Saturday, and then Iditarod sled dogs the next. They pack the house full of families on a WEEKLY basis. They would kill to have this kind of money to fund year-round programming, let alone one night's programming.

Taxpayers don't want to see that kind of money being pissed away on some author talking for a few hours on one night. I love Gaiman, and I've seen him speak at the Library before - it was great. But it didn't provide $45K worth of entertainment. C'mon.

Libraries typically have grants and funding that have special rules - can't use it for staffing or materials, etc. But in 2010 when Libraries are closing and taxes are watchdogged, some Libraries - including my own - have rewritten these rules for a few years as a temporary measure. It's better to keep the Library open and efficient during a crisis than to piss away $45K on a niche author.

They apparently have a surplus of funding in order to justify this. So I hope their funding is reevaluated to serve the whole community better. I'm a Gaiman fan, but if I found out my taxes went to this I'd be disappointed. And as a Gaiman fan, I'm disappointed he would charge this much and not feel shitty about it.

Yeah, but if you do a year's worth of events like that you might draw 20 people each time (not saying that's all your library drew, but I've seen it locally). Or you can do one BIG event like this and draw several hundred that might never have come out otherwise, you build interest and gain notoriety as a place willing to put on good shows. You'll get people to sign up for your mailing lists, hopefully make a donation, etc. and possibly be back when you run a much less expensive show the next week or month.

And really...niche author? Comics, fantasy novels, children's books, films made from his books, etc. Almost any author you bring in will be in some sort of genre, but Gaiman at least crosses over to cover many potential fan bases that you could want to bring in...especially the younger crowd.

Ashwin Pande
05-11-2010, 08:34 AM
Yeah... he's not a niche author. He's a pretty big name. And not just for Sandman. Even if you take that away from his credits he's written very popular and critically well received books.

Jacques Toochay
05-11-2010, 08:36 AM
And as a Gaiman fan, I'm disappointed he would charge this much and not feel shitty about it.


Why? His fee is not unreasonable given his fame.

It seems that you are trying to hold him to a higher standard than is fair.

Ab4dd0n
05-11-2010, 08:47 AM
That seems like a reasonable enough fee considering he wasn't specifically there to sell something (ie book tour)
Though the list of places he spoke for free kind of skews everything a bit

Artie Pink
05-11-2010, 08:47 AM
Yeah, but if you do a year's worth of events like that you might draw 20 people each time (not saying that's all your library drew, but I've seen it locally). Or you can do one BIG event like this and draw several hundred that might never have come out otherwise, you build interest and gain notoriety as a place willing to put on good shows. You'll get people to sign up for your mailing lists, hopefully make a donation, etc. and possibly be back when you run a much less expensive show the next week or month.

And really...niche author? Comics, fantasy novels, children's books, films made from his books, etc. Almost any author you bring in will be in some sort of genre, but Gaiman at least crosses over to cover many potential fan bases that you could want to bring in...especially the younger crowd.


What you say is correct, but that's why you have to have Librarians who know their community and know what they'll respond to.

I know we're geared to love Gaiman, but the taxpayers of this community are more likely to respond to family authors and activities, like every single other Library in the country. It may not appeal to you or me, but remember it's the Stillwater Public Library, not the You Library or the Me Library. By definition the Library must consider all its community's wants and needs.

This ate up a disproportionate amount. 500 people showed up for Gaiman.

The article says Gaiman's fee ate up 1/3 of the amount used to have nine authors speak through the summer. Some of the other authors will be appearing multiple times, and at multiple locations.

If you're a Librarian and your Library is in the news because it's struggling with staffing and buying materials, but you have this surplus that is earmarked for non-staffing and non-materials, you can do one of three things:


Have a board meeting to temporarily allocate some of these funds towards staffing and materials, with the understanding that this is a once-in-a-century economic crisis;


Spend the money very wisely and fund programs throughout the year that will appeal to the entire community;


Have a fucking party starring Pat Conley's favorite author!

I think we should follow this story for a year and see how it shakes out for Pat. I'm thinking she'll be quietly retired.

Artie Pink
05-11-2010, 08:54 AM
Yeah... he's not a niche author. He's a pretty big name. And not just for Sandman. Even if you take that away from his credits he's written very popular and critically well received books.


There is "popular" amongst our crowd. There is "popular" amongst well-read Amazon buyers.

And then there's "popular" amongst a community of families who paid the Stillwater taxes. At that level, "popular" means Dr. Seuss programs and Ralph Nader and Prairie Home Companion and John Grisham and Sue Grafton and the Wiggles and needlecraft-for-Senior-Citizens. Amongst this community, Gaiman is some author in the Science Fiction section most have never heard of.

You have to accept that the Library is paid for and is meant for the community. And the community has different needs than you and I individually. Sucks but it's true.

Dreaded Anomaly
05-11-2010, 09:08 AM
That angy librarian is stupid and naive.


Yeah, that's what stuck out the most to me.

"This is ridiculous. There are people who need food and who have lost their homes, and this is just plain disgusting."

Really? She felt it necessary to pull out the "hungry and homeless people" line to protest a (not unreasonable) speaking fee? :nonono2:


Yep. If they thought the fee was too high they shouldn't have hired him.


What makes it more insane is that the fee was paid from a fund appropriated for the arts. The money couldn't have gone to help homeless/hungry people anyway.

I'll bet that if someone asked the anonymous librarian what he/she did to help the homeless/hungry, the answer would be "nothing".


In fact, if it hadn't gone to Gaiman, it would have gone to other authors. He was paid out of funds specifically designated for a series of author appearances. They chose to spend a lot of the fund on Gaiman (I believe it was something like 1/3 of the budget for something like 6 authors in the series) because he is local, famous, a great speaker, and the national spokesman for Nation Library Week.


Her comment makes even less sense when you realize that the fund that this was paid out of this:



and then there is this:



So, since that money can't be used for people who need food and lost their homes ANYWAY, I don't see what that dumb librarian is screaming about.

The money would have been spent on library programs regardless of whether or not Neil Gaiman was there to take up a chunk of it.


Total non-issue.

And then...


That is way to much money to spend for something like that.

Especially given the current economic climate.

http://www.rpi.edu/~pedrok/giant-facepalm.gif

Mylazycat
05-11-2010, 09:09 AM
You have to accept that the Library is paid for and is meant for the community. And the community has different needs than you and I individually. Sucks but it's true.

And the Library decided the community needed Neil Gaiman. Case closed.

bartleby
05-11-2010, 09:09 AM
And the Library decided the community needed Neil Gaiman. Case closed.

Who at the library made that decision though?

Artie Pink
05-11-2010, 09:10 AM
And the Library decided the community needed Neil Gaiman. Case closed.


And now some of the community is saying the Library made a mistake, and hopefully the entire process will be rewritten.

Patch
05-11-2010, 09:15 AM
Whatever Gaiman gets, he gets. More power to him.

That said, I think the library (fund, whatever) threw money away if the draw was 500 people.

Artie Pink
05-11-2010, 09:17 AM
I think the Library should and must have controversial guests and materials.

Some Librarians have said that League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen is inappropriate for their community. But again, if some the community wants LOEG, then that group must be represented.

And yes - some of the community wanted to see Gaiman. He's an excellent choice.

However... the fee is disproportionate to the community that is interested in Gaiman. "Wanting" and "reasonably affording" are two different things. The Library should have found a similar author (yes, I know he's a singluar talent) at a more reasonable price. We all want steak; sometimes we can only afford spaghetti.

If the Library had paid that much to have Fran Tarkenton talk about football or Paul Molitor talk about baseball, it would divert money away from community members who don't give a shit about sports. If the Library had paid $45K to have Bill O'Reilly come and talk, it would take money away from people who don't give a shit about political talking heads. (Incidentally, I promise you more people WOULD have shown up for Tarkinton or O'Reilly. More still would have shown up for the Easter Bunny and an egg hunt.)

It was not money wisely spent. It was selfishly spent on an author Pat Conlon likes. It means the community's other interests will not share a proportionate amount of money this year.

Mylazycat
05-11-2010, 09:40 AM
Who at the library made that decision though?

This guy!

http://www.blogcdn.com/www.engadget.com/media/2008/04/4-10-08-zune-guy.jpg

Mister Mets
05-11-2010, 10:11 AM
But it wasn't your money to spend. Obviously those with oversight thought it was a worthwhile activity. I'm sure they will remember to check with Bartleby and Mister Mets before holding their next cultural event.

It was still taxpayer money, and if it legally couldn't have been put into better use, that's an indication something's a bit wrong with the system.

Martin J
05-11-2010, 10:14 AM
Whatever Gaiman gets, he gets. More power to him.

That said, I think the library (fund, whatever) threw money away if the draw was 500 people.

What was the capacity of the place where Gaiman was speaking probably would be 500.

I think $45000 for him is very reasonably priced. A multiple international best-selling and award winning author who in the last few years has had a pair of movies made in differing mediums and has started to go behind the camera might have something interesting to say. That is all aside from his comic work which just adds another medium from which he can talk about.

Also when Gaiman talks its quite something, he may be the best public speaker i've ever heard. Gaiman's google talk (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7LmfCGy_ZLg) which might be one of his many free talks given his son works for them, but i'm sure they could pay.

bartleby
05-11-2010, 10:19 AM
What was the capacity of the place where Gaiman was speaking probably would be 500.

That seems to make it even worse. Why spend $45,000 on an event that a maximum of 500 people are going to be able to benefit from?

Stark Raving
05-11-2010, 10:34 AM
http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2010/05/political-football-in-teacup.html

Patch
05-11-2010, 10:53 AM
http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2010/05/political-football-in-teacup.html

What this is starting to seem like is a fund spending all it can in time to gain equal funding the following year.

bartleby
05-11-2010, 10:56 AM
What this is starting to seem like is a fund spending all it can in time to gain equal funding the following year.

Still, seems like they could find three speakers who'd each bring in 500 different people for $15,000 rather than one guy who could bring in 500 for $45,000.

Kedd
05-11-2010, 11:05 AM
Still, seems like they could find three speakers who'd each bring in 500 different people for $15,000 rather than one guy who could bring in 500 for $45,000.

You have to consider scheduling issues as well. It stands to reason (from what Gaiman says at least) that since the library was on a short time schedule to use the funds and that they had already scheduled several other writers, that getting additional speakers that could fit into the time frame they needed might not have been completely doable. It's often a bit harder than saying "Hey come speak on Tuesday from 6 to 7 pm".

Patch
05-11-2010, 11:10 AM
Still, seems like they could find three speakers who'd each bring in 500 different people for $15,000 rather than one guy who could bring in 500 for $45,000.


You have to consider scheduling issues as well. It stands to reason (from what Gaiman says at least) that since the library was on a short time schedule to use the funds and that they had already scheduled several other writers, that getting additional speakers that could fit into the time frame they needed might not have been completely doable. It's often a bit harder than saying "Hey come speak on Tuesday from 6 to 7 pm".

Scheduling shouldn't have been a problem with better management of the fund. When has anyone ever managed someone else's money (in this case the taxpayers) well? :)

But, I don't blame Gaiman. He was given an opportunity and took it.

Artie Pink
05-11-2010, 11:11 AM
Still, seems like they could find three speakers who'd each bring in 500 different people for $15,000 rather than one guy who could bring in 500 for $45,000.

Yep, or book a local theater troupe to do shows for kids for four months of Saturdays at the Library's multiple locations.

The Library's really painting this as their hands were tied, but I promise you this is not the case.

Magnum V.I.
05-11-2010, 11:16 AM
Yep, or book a local theater troupe to do shows for kids for four months of Saturdays at the Library's multiple locations.

The Library's really painting this as their hands were tied, but I promise you this is not the case.

Then why is Gaiman the bad guy? Or is he not and it's the libraries fault.

Kedd
05-11-2010, 11:19 AM
Scheduling shouldn't have been a problem with better management of the fund. When has anyone ever managed someone else's money (in this case the taxpayers) well? :)

But, I don't blame Gaiman. He was given an opportunity and took it.

Agreed. I was just offering a counterpoint to Bart. But if the library is alike many other public institutions, they try to hold onto their funding for as long as possible in order to ensure that they don't over spend before the end of the year and then start throwing money hand over fist in order to keep their funding level at roughly the same level for the next year.

Kedd
05-11-2010, 11:19 AM
Then why is Gaiman the bad guy? Or is he not and it's the libraries fault.

Gaiman's the bad guy because he's foreign.

Jacques Toochay
05-11-2010, 11:20 AM
Then why is Gaiman the bad guy? Or is he not and it's the libraries fault.

Yup.

I'm totally on board with the idea that the library made a questionable decision.

I just don't see why Gaiman is on the hook at all.

Magnum V.I.
05-11-2010, 11:20 AM
Gaiman's the bad guy because he's foreign.

Fucking Terrorists! :mad:

Kedd
05-11-2010, 11:21 AM
Fucking Terrorists! :mad:
Horrible, wretched people. :-x

Kedd
05-11-2010, 11:23 AM
Yep, or book a local theater troupe to do shows for kids for four months of Saturdays at the Library's multiple locations.

The Library's really painting this as their hands were tied, but I promise you this is not the case.

I do wonder if a month of theater troupe shows would come close to bringing in 500 people per show in the suburbs.

Magnum V.I.
05-11-2010, 11:24 AM
I do wonder if a month of theater troupe shows would come close to bringing in 500 people per show in the suburbs.

What the fuck is a Theater Troupe?

Kedd
05-11-2010, 11:27 AM
What the fuck is a Theater Troupe?

It's where you go to buy pot if you're culturally inclined.

Treacle
05-11-2010, 11:39 AM
Agreed. I was just offering a counterpoint to Bart. But if the library is alike many other public institutions, they try to hold onto their funding for as long as possible in order to ensure that they don't over spend before the end of the year and then start throwing money hand over fist in order to keep their funding level at roughly the same level for the next year.

I think this is a really good point, and I'm glad you brought it up.

Also, how is it Neil Gaiman's fault that people are willing to pay his speaking fee?

Mylazycat
05-11-2010, 11:39 AM
What the fuck is a Theater Troupe?

There you go - the raction of the average person.

So, my guess, about 25-35 people a week, or 100-140 for the month. Even 50 a week only gets them at 200.

Mylazycat
05-11-2010, 11:41 AM
Also, how is it Neil Gaiman's fault that people are willing to pay his speaking fee?

Magically, it just is, for some people. He should he said no or told them to hire 4 or 5 more people instead.

He ended up giving it to a couple charaities, so even better, though he'd be in the right to spend it on himself as he gave them what they paid for. (Several hours more, actually.)

Artie Pink
05-11-2010, 11:41 AM
Then why is Gaiman the bad guy? Or is he not and it's the libraries fault.

I don't blame Gaiman.


Yup.

I'm totally on board with the idea that the library made a questionable decision.

I just don't see why Gaiman is on the hook at all.

I don't think he's necessarily on the hook, but this has shined a light on him and his fees.

I think he can laugh off his "warnings" all he wants, but at the end of the day he charges a ridiculous fee. And when it's a comic show or a Barnes And Noble or a corporation paying that fee, well more power to him.

But when he's charging this much to a Library, in a time when Libraries are closing and their roles in society are being reevaluated, it's kind of disappointing. Neil's been a friend to Libraries throughout his career... but this is not a friendly deal that Neil gave to this particular Library. It's surprising.

Back to the Library's role here - Neil's fee was taken from a taxpayer pool. Not every taxpayer appreciates their funding being spent like this, and they weren't given a choice. Now the taxpayers have to raise their voice and hold someone accountable.


I do wonder if a month of theater troupe shows would come close to bringing in 500 people per show in the suburbs.

I worked at a Library for 10 years. I am here to tell you that parents show up in mass quantities for free family events, and especially on a Saturday.


What the fuck is a Theater Troupe?

You don't have local theaters - groups of actors and the other people that work to put on plays?

Our Library has these local groups come and stage plays for the kids. It could be a current production that they'll put on for free, or they'll act out some Dr. Seuss stories. Kids love it, the theater gets paid better than normal, it gives everybody publicity, and it brings people to the Library.

bartleby
05-11-2010, 11:45 AM
There you go - the raction of the average person.

So, my guess, about 25-35 people a week, or 100-140 for the month. Even 50 a week only gets them at 200.

I think you're selling that way short just to prove your point. But regardless, the point wouldn't be to bring the same group back for four weeks in a row. One week you bring in a theatre group, the next you bring in a local chef who had written a cookbook, and so on. Provide a wide variety of speakers and events to so that you might offer at least one thing that everybody in the community is interested in rather than spend one huge lump sum on one author that attracts only a segment of the population.

Ab4dd0n
05-11-2010, 11:49 AM
He says in his blog about all this that he lives pretty close by, makes me wonder if it is in the same county. I'm pretty sure the man pays a pretty fair amount in taxes every year (though I have no idea if the state takes an income tax or not)

bartleby
05-11-2010, 11:52 AM
He says in his blog about all this that he lives pretty close by, makes me wonder if it is in the same county. I'm pretty sure the man pays a pretty fair amount in taxes every year (though I have no idea if the state takes an income tax or not)

They should have invited the richest man in the county to speak since he pays the most taxes.

Treacle
05-11-2010, 11:56 AM
I don't blame Gaiman.

I don't think he's necessarily on the hook, but this has shined a light on him and his fees.

I think he can laugh off his "warnings" all he wants, but at the end of the day he charges a ridiculous fee. And when it's a comic show or a Barnes And Noble or a corporation paying that fee, well more power to him.

But when he's charging this much to a Library, in a time when Libraries are closing and their roles in society are being reevaluated, it's kind of disappointing. Neil's been a friend to Libraries throughout his career... but this is not a friendly deal that Neil gave to this particular Library. It's surprising.


Everyone is suffering. My non-profit just held a series of fundraisers in the Seattle area where we brought in several prominent speakers, among them Gloria Steinem.

And you know what? They were paid their standard speaking fee. He doesn't owe libraries anything, and it's disingenuous to suggest he does.

Magnum V.I.
05-11-2010, 11:57 AM
It's where you go to buy pot if you're culturally inclined.

Sweet.


There you go - the raction of the average person.

So, my guess, about 25-35 people a week, or 100-140 for the month. Even 50 a week only gets them at 200.

I know what a Theater Troupe is. I am being obtuse for (un)comedic purposes.



I don't blame Gaiman.



I don't think he's necessarily on the hook, but this has shined a light on him and his fees.

I think he can laugh off his "warnings" all he wants, but at the end of the day he charges a ridiculous fee. And when it's a comic show or a Barnes And Noble or a corporation paying that fee, well more power to him.

But when he's charging this much to a Library, in a time when Libraries are closing and their roles in society are being reevaluated, it's kind of disappointing. Neil's been a friend to Libraries throughout his career... but this is not a friendly deal that Neil gave to this particular Library. It's surprising.

Back to the Library's role here - Neil's fee was taken from a taxpayer pool. Not every taxpayer appreciates their funding being spent like this, and they weren't given a choice. Now the taxpayers have to raise their voice and hold someone accountable.


Ok I gotcha.



I think this is unfair to blame Neil for how much he charges. My company charges higher rates when we don't want to do something in hopes that no one will ask us to do this. I knew another guy who owned his own company and didn't want to take a huge contract because he just didn't want to deal with the hassle so he charged 10 times the going rate and they PAID him for it.


As stated in his blog entry, he gives discounts to local libraries all the time if they ask. This Minnesota library did not. I have no problem with him charging a ridiculous fee if he feels that he would rather write and the fee would hinder lots of speaking engagements.

And he also did not even accept the fee. He will not see one penny of this fee anyway because he donated it to local charities.

I'm sure you are aware of lots of other speakers who charge as much for public speaking engagements. Neil even admits his is in the top tier of a person of his caliber (acclaimed author).

So I just don't understand why his fee or how he conducts his speaking engagements should be under scrutiny especially if he took the fee and turned around donating it to local library charities among other things.

capntightpants
05-11-2010, 11:57 AM
I tried doing an independent movie on my own which would benefit the kids in Africa. I called up Will Smith's agent because I figure he'd be able to motivate everyone to give.

BUT HE REFUSES TO GO BELOW $25 MILLION!!! WHAT THE HELL! That seems pretty ridiculous. It's for a good cause!

Ab4dd0n
05-11-2010, 11:57 AM
They should have invited the richest man in the county to speak since he pays the most taxes.

It is quite possible they are one and the same

Kedd
05-11-2010, 12:01 PM
I think this is a really good point, and I'm glad you brought it up.

Also, how is it Neil Gaiman's fault that people are willing to pay his speaking fee?
You are so in love with me :heybaby:



I worked at a Library for 10 years. I am here to tell you that parents show up in mass quantities for free family events, and especially on a Saturday.

I have no doubt that some places could pull a large and continued audience for theater troupes performing once a week at the library. But I also have no doubt that each location is different and the likelyhood of drawing a crowd diminishes as one leaves the city center and enters the suburbs.


I think you're selling that way short just to prove your point. But regardless, the point wouldn't be to bring the same group back for four weeks in a row. One week you bring in a theatre group, the next you bring in a local chef who had written a cookbook, and so on. Provide a wide variety of speakers and events to so that you might offer at least one thing that everybody in the community is interested in rather than spend one huge lump sum on one author that attracts only a segment of the population.
Gaiman was part of a larger program and other authors had been brought it for speaking engagments on different dates. That being said: who says they ddn't have a local cook book author come in? Or a lady that wrote a book on training dogs? Gaiman is one piece of what they did. Not the whoole she-bang.

Mylazycat
05-11-2010, 12:02 PM
But when he's charging this much to a Library, in a time when Libraries are closing and their roles in society are being reevaluated, it's kind of disappointing. Neil's been a friend to Libraries throughout his career... but this is not a friendly deal that Neil gave to this particular Library. It's surprising.

I suppose you didn't read the article where Neil stated:


I figure money like that, sort of out-of-the-blue windfall money, is best used for Good Deeds, so I let a couple of small and needy charities (one doing social work, the other library/book based) know that I would be passing the money on to them, after agents had taken their commission, and did not think twice about it.

In the end, the money went to good use. One even a library based charity. Isn't that all that matters?

Kedd
05-11-2010, 12:04 PM
I suppose you didn't read the article where Neil stated:



In the end, the money went to good use. One even a library based charity. Isn't that all that matters?

No.

Mylazycat
05-11-2010, 12:06 PM
No.

I thought the two points were:

1 - The money was wasted.

2 - Neil shouldn't have lined his pockets with the money.

Well, it wasn't wasted and and none of it went to Neil's pockets.

Kedd
05-11-2010, 12:09 PM
I thought the two points were:

1 - The money was wasted.

2 - Neil shouldn't have lined his pockets with the money.

Well, it wasn't wasted and and none of it went to Neil's pockets.

Stop being logical.


Also, for everyone going about how they should have had different people come and speak:
http://www.clubbook.org/byauthor.html

Heroic Age Moe
05-11-2010, 12:26 PM
Also, how is it Neil Gaiman's fault that people are willing to pay his speaking fee?

This statement goes across the board of a lot of situations.

Why do we yell and scream when other people make more money, when they get bonuses when they get fat contracts. Well how much is too much? That's alot of money for a few hours work, for anyone, and very hard to justify imho.

Artie Pink
05-11-2010, 12:30 PM
I suppose you didn't read the article where Neil stated:



In the end, the money went to good use. One even a library based charity. Isn't that all that matters?


Don't "suppose" what I did or didn't read.

Gaiman's (unverified) donation doesn't do the Stillwater taxpayers any good.

If Gaiman had wanted, he could have had Stillwater make the donation themselves in exchange for his appearance. Then Stillwater could have possibly taken the tax deduction instead of Gaiman.

So the bottom line remains: Library officials spent a lot of taxpayer money on Gaiman; whether this use of the community's money fairly met the community's needs/wants is up in the air.

Buk Was Right
05-11-2010, 12:32 PM
This statement goes across the board of a lot of situations.

Why do we yell and scream when other people make more money, when they get bonuses when they get fat contracts. Well how much is too much? That's alot of money for a few hours work, for anyone, and very hard to justify imho.

We should set up a government agency that establishes how much various people should make at their jobs to make sure that no one is overpaid.

Artie Pink
05-11-2010, 12:32 PM
Also, how is it Neil Gaiman's fault that people are willing to pay his speaking fee?


To be clear: Librarian Pat Conlon was willing to pay his fee... just not with her own money. She was willing to pay it with taxpayer money, and these taxpayers had no choice in how their money was spent.

bartleby
05-11-2010, 12:32 PM
This statement goes across the board of a lot of situations.

Why do we yell and scream when other people make more money, when they get bonuses when they get fat contracts. Well how much is too much? That's alot of money for a few hours work, for anyone, and very hard to justify imho.

Aren't you supposed to be outraged about taxpayer money being spent frivolously?

Treacle
05-11-2010, 12:32 PM
This statement goes across the board of a lot of situations.

Why do we yell and scream when other people make more money, when they get bonuses when they get fat contracts. Well how much is too much? That's alot of money for a few hours work, for anyone, and very hard to justify imho.

Meh.

Treacle
05-11-2010, 12:34 PM
To be clear: Librarian Pat Conlon was willing to pay his fee... just not with her own money. She was willing to pay it with taxpayer money, and these taxpayers had no choice in how their money was spent.

So you think libraries should get approval from the taxpayers for all of their actions? From what books to buy to what programs to host to what speakers to bring in? Because that seems to be the logical conclusion to what you're suggesting.

Artie Pink
05-11-2010, 12:37 PM
So you think libraries should get approval from the taxpayers for all of their actions? From what books to buy to what programs to host to what speakers to bring in? Because that seems to be the logical conclusion to what you're suggesting.

I think spending $45K on one afternoon should maybe be given additional consideration, yes.

That's different from whether they should spend $45 bucks on a box of LOEG or Captain Underpants.

I think the speakers and programs and books should represent all of the community, and I think Gaiman is a wonderful choice (I've seen him speak at the Library before). But I think $45K is an amount that could have been more fairly and widely dispensed.

Magnum V.I.
05-11-2010, 12:37 PM
To be clear: Librarian Pat Conlon was willing to pay his fee... just not with her own money. She was willing to pay it with taxpayer money, and these taxpayers had no choice in how their money was spent.

Taxpayers NEVER have a say in how there money is spent.

Mylazycat
05-11-2010, 12:39 PM
To be clear: Librarian Pat Conlon was willing to pay his fee... just not with her own money. She was willing to pay it with taxpayer money, and these taxpayers had no choice in how their money was spent.

Money, again as the article stated, was set up for the sole purpose that it was actually used for and was going to expire in June if not used.

This money was not going to magically fly off and fufill the community's needs in other ways if it had not be used in this fashion. That's the part a lot of people just don't seem to grasp.

Also, no, taxpayers have no choice in how any of their money is spent, period. I have yet to see anywhere, any daily voting polls where the public gets to choose each and every time a decision on how taxpayer money is spent about to be made.

bartleby
05-11-2010, 12:42 PM
Aren't you supposed to be outraged about taxpayer money being spent frivolously?

And to line the pockets of a immigrant who's taking away the jobs of Americans at that.

Kedd
05-11-2010, 12:45 PM
Taxpayers NEVER have a say in how there money is spent.

I think my taxes should only go to fund events the library close to my flat. And then they should only be events that I want. Who cares if it draws a large crowd and garners loads of attention.

Kedd
05-11-2010, 12:46 PM
And to line the pockets of a immigrant who's taking away the jobs of Americans at that.

He took'r jerbs!!!

Artie Pink
05-11-2010, 12:46 PM
Money, again as the article stated, was set up for the sole purpose that it was actually used for and was going to expire in June if not used.

This money was not going to magically fly off and fufill the community's needs in other ways if it had not be used in this fashion. That's the part a lot of people just don't seem to grasp.


And again, I've worked in a Library with similar rules. There were grants and funds that we couldn't touch. We would pay to have have authors appear to do readings for hundreds of patrons, but we couldn't afford more than a half dozen of his books for our shelves.

As the economy worsened, though, these grants and funds were revisited. It was agreed that this money was better spent elsewhere on a temporary basis.

For example, our main Library has a marble rotunda. There is a fund that is specifically meant to maintain that rotunda. However, if the Library can't afford computers or the new Stephen King novel, what good is a shiny marble floor? If no one comes there, does the floor still shine?

So effort was made to change these rules for the betterment of the community. It's not impossible to do the right thing.

When you're dealing with taxpayer money, as Libraries do, it's important to spend it conscientiously. It's actually in the charter. And I think this is gonna get a lot of calls to the city hall, and put a lot of heat on the Library to think these things through better than to just piss it away because a deadline is approaching. Those days are over.

R0cketFr0g
05-11-2010, 12:49 PM
It was still taxpayer money, and if it legally couldn't have been put into better use, that's an indication something's a bit wrong with the system.

So the taxpayer money that was specifically designated to pay for authors to speak was used to pay an author to speak.

You're clearly right, there is chaos in the system. Bring me my rifle Mildred.

R0cketFr0g
05-11-2010, 12:51 PM
And again, I've worked in a Library with similar rules. There were grants However, if the Library can't afford computers or the new Stephen King novel, what good is a shiny marble floor? If no one comes there, does the floor still shine?

Yes, it sure does.

Kedd
05-11-2010, 12:51 PM
And again, I've worked in a Library with similar rules. There were grants and funds that we couldn't touch. We would pay to have have authors appear to do readings for hundreds of patrons, but we couldn't afford more than a half dozen of his books for our shelves.

As the economy worsened, though, these grants and funds were revisited. It was agreed that this money was better spent elsewhere on a temporary basis.

For example, our main Library has a marble rotunda. There is a fund that is specifically meant to maintain that rotunda. However, if the Library can't afford computers or the new Stephen King novel, what good is a shiny marble floor? If no one comes there, does the floor still shine?

So effort was made to change these rules for the betterment of the community. It's not impossible to do the right thing.

When you're dealing with taxpayer money, as Libraries do, it's important to spend it conscientiously. It's actually in the charter. And I think this is gonna get a lot of calls to the city hall, and put a lot of heat on the Library to think these things through better than to just piss it away because a deadline is approaching. Those days are over.
Serious question: So if a library diverts funds for more pressing physical matters, do they (during the next fiscal year) have to repay that money to the fund from which it was diverted or are those funds now a part of the general money available for odds and ends and only a second adjustment would result in the money being redirected to its point of origin? I'll take my answer off air.

Albert
05-11-2010, 12:51 PM
How much could they have gotten Caitlin R. Kiernan for?

Treacle
05-11-2010, 12:52 PM
When you're dealing with taxpayer money, as Libraries do, it's important to spend it conscientiously. It's actually in the charter. And I think this is gonna get a lot of calls to the city hall, and put a lot of heat on the Library to think these things through better than to just piss it away because a deadline is approaching. Those days are over.

If the end of your funding year is approaching, you don't get to reserve those funds until the next year. You have to spend the money right now or risk getting less money for the next year.

In terms of least harm, bringing in a high-profile speaker at the last minute is much less harmful than having your grant reduced by 45k because you couldn't think of anything to do with the money.

Now...I don't know exactly if that's what happened here. But if the issue was related to funding and grant applications, the library's decision makes perfect sense to me.

Kedd
05-11-2010, 12:52 PM
So the taxpayer money that was specifically designated to pay for authors to speak was used to pay an author to speak.

You're clearly right, there is chaos in the system. Bring me my rifle Mildred.

I do think the system is flawed in that the money can't roll over a bit. Not eternally of course. But maybe over a quarter or so.

Kedd
05-11-2010, 12:54 PM
How much could they have gotten Caitlin R. Kiernan for?

75 bucks and some nail polish.

edwardmblake
05-11-2010, 12:56 PM
To be clear: Librarian Pat Conlon was willing to pay his fee... just not with her own money. She was willing to pay it with taxpayer money, and these taxpayers had no choice in how their money was spent.

Who's Pat Conlon? You've used that name twice. Do you mean Pat Conley? Do you know this person? You really seem to have a beef with her. What else has she done? Just asking.

Kedd
05-11-2010, 12:58 PM
Who's Pat Conlon? You've used that name twice. Do you mean Pat Conley? Do you know this person? You really seem to have a beef with her. What else has she done? Just asking.

For one thing, she murdered Batman's parents.

Mylazycat
05-11-2010, 12:59 PM
And I think this is gonna get a lot of calls to the city hall, and put a lot of heat on the Library to think these things through better than to just piss it away because a deadline is approaching. Those days are over.

There are lots of organizations and departments that have these "use by date X or it's gone" rules. Heck, the call center where I used to work, the client gave the center a yearly budget to hold contests to boost morale and increase employee performance. If the full amount wasn't used by the end of the year it didn't carry over, it vanished and they got a lower amount the following year. So, hence, it was spent to the last penny.

I've seen my own town do a ton of last minute road repairs, paving anything with barely a nick, out of the alloted budget from the federal gov. Where this is tricky here is the snow removal budget. Have a mild winter, don't use as much, it doesn't carry over, it vanishes, get less next year - and next year you get winter storms every few days and you're fucked.

It's a system that has to stop, on that point I'll agree.

R0cketFr0g
05-11-2010, 01:02 PM
I do think the system is flawed in that the money can't roll over a bit. Not eternally of course. But maybe over a quarter or so.

I can agree with that. I just don't feel that Gaiman should be pilloried for accepting a hefty speaking fee for doing his job. At least the money went to someone people actually wanted to see and and hear. My guess is that Stephen King or JK Rowling have gotten similar or higher fees for speaking engagements. And clearly people who earmarked the money felt that cultural events were worth paying for.

Artie Pink
05-11-2010, 01:07 PM
Serious question: So if a library diverts funds for more pressing physical matters, do they (during the next fiscal year) have to repay that money to the fund from which it was diverted or are those funds now a part of the general money available for odds and ends and only a second adjustment would result in the money being redirected to its point of origin? I'll take my answer off air.

I honestly can't remember what our Library's particular bargain ended up being. I want to say that the funds would be repaid over several years.

It is a very serious and ethical issue to divert grants and funds from their intended destination. But the Library was in the situation where we were closing branches, not able to buy books... but we had massive scaffolding and a dozen outside workers replacing ornate marble tiles over the entire summer. The Library was mocked in blogs, questioned in editorials, and finally the choice was made to revisit these grants.

Someone may have died in 1962 and left the Library a perpetual, yearly grant to buy census records on microfilm. In 2010, does it still make sense to buy this microfilm when it's available for free digitally? Or would it be better to have the Library Board review this grant and decide that the donor, if she were making her donation in modern times, would rather this grant go to another aspect of the Library? It's a very serious call, but I promise you it's made on a daily basis.

Artie Pink
05-11-2010, 01:12 PM
There are lots of organizations and departments that have these "use by date X or it's gone" rules. Heck, the call center where I used to work, the client gave the center a yearly budget to hold contests to boost morale and increase employee performance. If the full amount wasn't used by the end of the year it didn't carry over, it vanished and they got a lower amount the following year. So, hence, it was spent to the last penny.

I've seen my own town do a ton of last minute road repairs, paving anything with barely a nick, out of the alloted budget from the federal gov. Where this is tricky here is the snow removal budget. Have a mild winter, don't use as much, it doesn't carry over, it vanishes, get less next year - and next year you get winter storms every few days and you're fucked.

It's a system that has to stop, on that point I'll agree.

:thumb: Right on.

I've been that guy during my city job years. I had to buy a $495 office chair on the last day. I felt so guilty, I didn't unwrap it for five years.

But I can also tell you that those days are over. If you're not budgeting well enough to not be in that situation, then your finance guy will be (and should be) fired.

And the rules are being rewritten to divert any such surplus. It's a different world. Maybe it hasn't hit Stillwater yet, but I bet it's about to.

Magnum V.I.
05-11-2010, 01:22 PM
I think the real solution being missed here is they could have had Bendis for the entire month of May with 45 grand worth of Chik Fil A.

Kedd
05-11-2010, 01:23 PM
I honestly can't remember what our Library's particular bargain ended up being. I want to say that the funds would be repaid over several years.

It is a very serious and ethical issue to divert grants and funds from their intended destination. But the Library was in the situation where we were closing branches, not able to buy books... but we had massive scaffolding and a dozen outside workers replacing ornate marble tiles over the entire summer. The Library was mocked in blogs, questioned in editorials, and finally the choice was made to revisit these grants.

Someone may have died in 1962 and left the Library a perpetual, yearly grant to buy census records on microfilm. In 2010, does it still make sense to buy this microfilm when it's available for free digitally? Or would it be better to have the Library Board review this grant and decide that the donor, if she were making her donation in modern times, would rather this grant go to another aspect of the Library? It's a very serious call, but I promise you it's made on a daily basis.

I see. But from what you said, even though it seems like these decisions to redirect funds is relatively common, it also seems rather time consuming. In your experience did the "use by date" ever get passed over because officials were debating how/if to redirect funds meant for one thing towards another? And if so, were those unused funds "lost" for year? I imagine it would be easier to redirect money from a fund that is more clearly outdated than a more current one that can't easily be explained away (microfilm purchases vs. guest speakers).

Mylazycat
05-11-2010, 01:26 PM
:thumb: Right on.

I've been that guy during my city job years. I had to buy a $495 office chair on the last day. I felt so guilty, I didn't unwrap it for five years.

:shock:

Artie Pink
05-11-2010, 01:36 PM
I see. But from what you said, even though it seems like these decisions to redirect funds is relatively common, it also seems rather time consuming. In your experience did the "use by date" ever get passed over because officials were debating how/if to redirect funds meant for one thing towards another? And if so, were those unused funds "lost" for year? I imagine it would be easier to redirect money from a fund that is more clearly outdated than a more current one that can't easily be explained away (microfilm purchases vs. guest speakers).

Well, the funds went from being untouchable for years to suddenly being revisited after the media embarassed us for not considering it. Much like the media is embarassing Stillwater. Once these grants and funds had media light on them, they were revisited and changed. It did take a huge change in attitudes and a legal opinion to do so. I can tell you, though, if it hadn't happened, the community would have been outraged, and dragged through a class action lawsuit (which the Library would have won, but still had to pay to defend themselves).

I can also guarantee you that if someone at my Library had allocated $45K in funds for a single appearance by a single author, that person would have been reprimanded, relieved of this decision-making in the future, transferred to an undesirable position, and had a lot of pressure put on them to retire. (And honestly, they would have just found a reason to fire them. When they want to fire somebody, all they have to do is look at their e-mail and Internet use. Everyone breaks those rules once in a while, and it's a fireable offense. They did this all the time, and for much less.)

The microfilm example is only one example, and I used it because it's easy to see. Another would be the marble tile. A third would be the grant that is used to pay part-time employees who are also students. All of these and more have been revisited.

If there is a grant that has $45K in the kicker for author appearances, the entire Library better be in excellent shape. There better not be any delay from receiving a shipment of new books and putting them on the shelves. There better not be one customer complaint in the coffer. And there better not be any taxpayer from this community who reads this story and says "what about what I want from the Library?" because if there is, the Library needs to rethink this grant. And I'm positive that's what's going to happen.

Kedd
05-11-2010, 01:56 PM
Well, the funds went from being untouchable for years to suddenly being revisited after the media embarassed us for not considering it. Much like the media is embarassing Stillwater. Once these grants and funds had media light on them, they were revisited and changed. It did take a huge change in attitudes and a legal opinion to do so. I can tell you, though, if it hadn't happened, the community would have been outraged, and dragged through a class action lawsuit (which the Library would have won, but still had to pay to defend themselves).

I can also guarantee you that if someone at my Library had allocated $45K in funds for a single appearance by a single author, that person would have been reprimanded, relieved of this decision-making in the future, transferred to an undesirable position, and had a lot of pressure put on them to retire. (And honestly, they would have just found a reason to fire them. When they want to fire somebody, all they have to do is look at their e-mail and Internet use. Everyone breaks those rules once in a while, and it's a fireable offense. They did this all the time, and for much less.)

The microfilm example is only one example, and I used it because it's easy to see. Another would be the marble tile. A third would be the grant that is used to pay part-time employees who are also students. All of these and more have been revisited.

If there is a grant that has $45K in the kicker for author appearances, the entire Library better be in excellent shape. There better not be any delay from receiving a shipment of new books and putting them on the shelves. There better not be one customer complaint in the coffer. And there better not be any taxpayer from this community who reads this story and says "what about what I want from the Library?" because if there is, the Library needs to rethink this grant. And I'm positive that's what's going to happen.

In defense of the library I will say this: It seems like the grant was not just for one appearance, but for the program as a whole. I posted a link somewhere in here where it mentions other regional authors that have participated. I'll have to do some more digging, but it seems that the money is used for a lot of programs during the year.

Treacle
05-11-2010, 02:13 PM
If there is a grant that has $45K in the kicker for author appearances, the entire Library better be in excellent shape. There better not be any delay from receiving a shipment of new books and putting them on the shelves. There better not be one customer complaint in the coffer. And there better not be any taxpayer from this community who reads this story and says "what about what I want from the Library?" because if there is, the Library needs to rethink this grant. And I'm positive that's what's going to happen.

So the library should turn down grants which may have specific purposes for their usage until everything else is perfect?

DAVE
05-11-2010, 02:15 PM
Why does anyone give a shit what Neil Gaiman's speaking fee is?

Arion
05-11-2010, 02:19 PM
I have no problem with Gaiman's fees.

Boris the Blade
05-11-2010, 02:33 PM
mine is a chik fil a party tray
Is there a Canadian equivalent? Or are you just never coming back again?

Buk Was Right
05-11-2010, 02:38 PM
Why does anyone give a shit what Neil Gaiman's speaking fee is?

This is something that I feel strongly about!

R0cketFr0g
05-11-2010, 02:39 PM
Why does anyone give a shit what Neil Gaiman's speaking fee is?

Other than the future Mrs. Gaiman you mean?

Artie Pink
05-11-2010, 04:09 PM
So the library should turn down grants which may have specific purposes for their usage until everything else is perfect?

Not what I said. But if a Librarian is saying she has a surplus budget from an existing grant - in this economy - she better be prepared to have her budget reviewed and to have those "surplus" funds allocated to better use.

That's the new reality. When you're spending taxpayer money in an environment that is closing/changing/dying like the Library, there's no such thing as "surplus".

Patch
05-11-2010, 04:17 PM
Mr. Neil Gaiman donated the money to charity.

That's a stand-up guy, comic fans.

Stark Raving
05-11-2010, 04:23 PM
Mr. Neil Gaiman donated the money to charity.

That's a stand-up guy, comic fans.
He has to stand up, what with all of that dirty taxpayer money filling his pockets.

WillieLee
05-11-2010, 11:46 PM
Why does anyone give a shit what Neil Gaiman's speaking fee is?

There's been a big anti-Gaiman movement in the last couple of years. He made the mistake of having a personality and now he must pay! :mad:

Mylazycat
05-12-2010, 03:46 AM
Meanwhile, Councillors in the city of Glendale voted 7-0 Tuesday night to fund losses for the Phoenix Coyotes NHL team in the 2010-11 season to the tune of $25 million (U.S.) in the event the team cannot be sold.

Basically, the team is expected to not only not make a profit staying in the city but lose money by the bucketful as well, so the city think it's smart to cover up to $25 million of those loses. How's that for tax payer money well spent?

DAVE
05-12-2010, 05:15 AM
Meanwhile, Councillors in the city of Glendale voted 7-0 Tuesday night to fund losses for the Phoenix Coyotes NHL team in the 2010-11 season to the tune of $25 million (U.S.) in the event the team cannot be sold.

Basically, the team is expected to not only not make a profit staying in the city but lose money by the bucketful as well, so the city think it's smart to cover up to $25 million of those loses. How's that for tax payer money well spent?

damn you, Neil Gaiman!@!!!!!

bartleby
05-12-2010, 05:16 AM
Meanwhile, Councillors in the city of Glendale voted 7-0 Tuesday night to fund losses for the Phoenix Coyotes NHL team in the 2010-11 season to the tune of $25 million (U.S.) in the event the team cannot be sold.

Basically, the team is expected to not only not make a profit staying in the city but lose money by the bucketful as well, so the city think it's smart to cover up to $25 million of those loses. How's that for tax payer money well spent?

Just think how many times they could have gotten Neil Gaiman to speak with all that money.

Mylazycat
05-12-2010, 05:44 AM
Just think how many times they could have gotten Neil Gaiman to speak with all that money.

That's the real tragedy here.

The answer is 555 times

Arion
05-12-2010, 02:39 PM
That's the real tragedy here.

The answer is 555 times

You would spend weeks or months just listening to him.

Mylazycat
05-12-2010, 04:35 PM
This makes me wonder when there's, say, an American Idol season finale and they have big name band X on to perform, how much does that band get paid?

Kedd
05-12-2010, 07:11 PM
This makes me wonder when there's, say, an American Idol season finale and they have big name band X on to perform, how much does that band get paid?

The technical term is "gobs". They get paid gobs of money.

dEnny!
05-12-2010, 09:24 PM
Four days before I'd done "An Evening With Neil Gaiman" internet talk with the Jessamine Public Library for nothing, because they asked me to, and because it was National Library Week (although they sent me a wonderful Kentucky nibbles gift basket as a thank you).

How did I not hear about this?!?!?

I'm sure part of the conversation dealt with the whole LoEG thing.

Ashwin Pande
05-12-2010, 09:25 PM
My fees for posting this are 7 albino legs.

Gimme.

Greygor
05-13-2010, 12:31 AM
People wanting to say where their Tax Dollars go, what the hell gave them the idea that they were living in a Democracy

Arion
05-13-2010, 04:20 PM
How did I not hear about this?!?!?

I'm sure part of the conversation dealt with the whole LoEG thing.

I'm intrigued. Why would they talk about LoEG?

Darthdaw37
05-13-2010, 11:48 PM
In response, Gaiman explained his admittedly high fees on the Library Journal website:

Obviously I do a lot of speaking for free. The night before I'd done a pro bono 3 hour reading/Q&A as a benefit for the CBLDF in Chicago, in front of 1600 people, who had paid up to $250 a ticket to attend.


I was at that show, It has been the most memorable event I've had the pleasure of seeing like it. I see that price as totally reasonable. The man is brilliant and worth the money.