In the days and weeks ahead, you might see a book out there in stores with my name on it, and I want you to know it is NOT a new book by “John Grogan, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller MARLEY & ME” — though those words appear prominently on the cover. The book, titled “Bad Dogs Have More Fun,” is actually a collection of my previously published newspaper columns from The Philadelphia Inquirer, very few of which had anything to do with dogs. And it was published by the newspaper and Vanguard Press without my consent or involvement — not even my prior knowledge. I only found about this collection through a third party after the Inquirer and Vanguard (with whom I have no association) had already signed the contract.
If I sound disappointed and upset by this, it is because I am.
The Philadelphia Inquirer owns the copyright to the work I produced during my four years as a staff columnist there. I was what is known as “a writer for hire.” This is the customary work arrangement at newspapers, but the decision to collect a columnist’s works in book form (Anna Quindlen, Dave Barry, Lewis Grizzard, etc.) is typically initiated by the writer and becomes a cooperative endeavor between the writer and the newspaper. Not this time.
Vanguard and The Inquirer struck their deal without telling me, then chose the title, the cover image and all of the content without my input. They never even informed me of the columns they had selected. Therefore I cannot and will not endorse this unauthorized collection in any way. This is particularly painful for me because I am proud of the work I produced while at The Philadelphia Inquirer and always looked forward to someday working collegially with my editors there to put out a collection of my work we could all be proud of.
If you choose to buy this collection, just please know that it is a book I was given no creative control over and for which I will receive no compensation.
Thank you all for your kindness and support.