by Taylor Nix
It has been almost one year since Tobias Ariel Fox and Wahida Clark ended their business relationship. As reported in our previous story, according to Clark, in August 2009 Tobias deleted several files and documents from her office computer, stole manuscripts, publishing contracts and a Rolodex. “Tobias left with the office key and didn't return it. He didn't answer or return any of my phone calls, so I sent him a text message and still nothing. I had to call him from someone else’s phone to reach him. It was obvious he was trying to avoid me,” Clark explained. “He started calling up my employees stating that ‘he made me.’ He also called up my authors and tried to get them to basically leave my company and follow him. He even went up to a few prisons to visit and talk it up with authors who were in the mix of signing with me. All this, along with emails he sent to my other authors as well.”
At the time Tobias issued a brief statement in his defense but never got the chance to share his side of the story in full until recently. [ Read the initial story ]
The two met during the summer of 2008, “After discussing with her my credentials, knowledge, and experience of the publishing business she decided to contract me as a freelance editor for the two novels Thug Lovin’ by Wahida Clark and Trust No Man by Cash at a freelance pay rate of $2.50 per page. I later became employed by Mrs. Clark in October 2008 as an editor and publishing consultant to assist with the launching of her publishing company," Tobias explained.
Other claims by Tobias include: the developing and writing of a business plan at Clark's request in hopes of placing Wahida Clark Publishing in a prime position that would attract investors. He also stated that he agreed to do freelance editing at the rate of $2.50 per page as a way to be compensated for such a small hourly salary of $10.00 for 35 hours per week.
Tobias has gone on record to say that Clark made attempts to prevent him from receiving unemployment benefits. “Her former assistant Kenya Mosses faxed a fictitious resignation letter to the unemployment office and also informed them that I was wanted by the East Orange Police Department. Fortunately for me, the person at the unemployment office was not as foolish as Mrs. Clark would have hoped.”
Tobias’ message to Wahida Clark:
"You became a national bestselling author prior to meeting me and you will continue to be a national bestselling author and, I believe, become a successful publisher. I have worked in the publishing business for eight years as an author, editor, and publisher, and will continue to do so, God willing. I’ve taught you nearly all that I know about book publishing at a very small expense on your part. I will never sell myself again so cheap.
However, in return, you gave me an opportunity to freely run an independent publishing company. In doing so, I built up my confidence and eliminated all self-doubt that I previously had about being a publisher, and for that I thank you.
I’ve tried to understand your concerns and worries and, for the life of me, I can’t come up with a reasonable answer as to why you feel threatened by me. Even when I passed you by in East Orange and Newark after all of this has happened and I looked in your direction you avoid eye contact with me. The only explanation I could come up with is fear.
I am not your enemy. Our relationship seemed to have run its course and I understand that not all breakups end peacefully, but unfortunately, ours had to come to an end nonetheless. I’m sorry this is our end result and hope that one day in the near future we can reconcile our differences and, at the very least, be on speaking terms, but until then we must move on and live our lives.
Peace and blessings."
Tobias has released a full version of why he and Wahida Clark ended their business relationship. Read here: [ My Version of The Truth ]
Tobias A. Fox has been in the publishing business for nearly ten years. He is the co-author of Dirty Justice, Dancer’s Paradise, At Midnight and a short story collection titled, The E Collection: A New Collection of Erotica with Terry W. Benjamin, all written under the penname Terry B. He has also coached authors Toni Staton Harris, Sammie Ward, Meisha Camm, national bestselling author Wahida Clark, and editor of Trust No Man and Trust No Man 2 by Cash, The Ruthless Dictator by Rumont TeKay, and Thirsty by Mike Sanders.
In addition to book publishing, for nearly ten years Fox has been a mentor to youth offenders through the nonprofit community arts organization Creative Spirits of the State of New Jersey and received numerous awards including proclamations from the Townships of Irvington and East Orange for overcoming tremendous odds.
In an exclusive interview, Tobias shares his commentary on other industry concerns:
If given the chance what would you do differently next time around?
I’m thankful for my experiences. Every failed attempt has brought me one step closer towards success. I’m teachable and my past has proven such. So my “next time around” has come and I’m doing the things that I failed to do in the past. I’m just taking things in its rightful step. I’m not rushing or allowing others to lead me in a direction that could take me down a dead-end street. I bring eight years of experience to the publishing business from both a main stream and independent perspective, but I also rely on others who have mastered their craft to help bring the best product possible to the market place.
What have you been doing since everything transpired and why did you decide to speak out now?
I’m laughing at this question because last year was truly a trying year. I saw the ugliness in some and the beauty in others. People really stood by me and were willing to fight my battle with Wahida Clark for me. There were people, however, who I thought would be in my corner but showed their true colors. They quietly and quickly took the nearest exit they could find. I’m not mad at them. I figured they didn’t want to get Caught In The Middle of the Corruption. Years ago, I lived a completely different lifestyle. I was living the fast life, nickel and dimin’, hustlin’ and grindin’. And I had a temper. I would often react before analyzing a situation and it almost all the times caused me more problems. So, as I matured I realized that sometimes it’s best to sit back and analyze a situation before speaking or reacting. I didn’t want to react out of emotions. I wanted my reaction to be productive and positive so I decided to recreate nHouse Publishing (NHP) and it took me a year to do so. I’m now working with some talented and understanding authors. I’m blessed and thankful.
What advice do you have for someone trying to land a job as an editor with a publishing company?
First, if anyone wants to land a job as an editor with a publishing company they may want to consider doing a few interns at different publishing houses to make sure that this is what they truly want to do. The editorial department is actually one of the more boring departments. You have to be a bookworm, a lover of a specific or various genres. I attended a Publishing Certificate Program (PCP) at the City College of New York and this was very rewarding for me. It allowed me to study and learn more about mainstream publishing from leaders in their field of publishing. It put me in direct contact with major publishing houses and trade shows. Part of completing the program is that you have to intern at a major publishing house. When I did my internship at Kensington Publishing I asked if I could be a floater, meaning I was allowed to work in all departments, sales, marketing, publicity and promotion, subsidiary, and editorial. I was also allowed to sit in all of the editorial and some of the sales meetings so I could get a better understanding of how publishing is handled from a mainstream perspective. I learned that most acquisition editors, those who acquire the manuscripts, rely heavily on their assistants. Becoming an editorial assistant is the next step to becoming an acquisitions editor. Becoming a copyeditor is a skill one acquires from having an interest in a specific or various genres. They must have excellent language skills, and a full understanding of grammar usage, punctuation, story structure, and character and dialogue development.
What is your personal opinion on street literature? If any, do you feel the quality of work has improved or got worse?
I’m laughing at this question as well because I clearly remember Wahida Clark asking me to help her answer this same question given from a different media source. I can’t quite remember what I said to her, but I honestly believe street lit/urban literature is excellent. This genre has grabbed the attention of a worldwide audience who normally wouldn’t read any form of literature. My only concern is that many authors of this genre are confusing literature with their reality. They actually believe they have to live the stories they write. They do not fully understand that fiction is the world that the author creates, whether it’s created based on someone’s reality or not, the beauty of it is that you’re able to create characters that are memorable and stories that are compelling. I mean, as far as I know, it could be a Harvard graduate writing some of these urban books. No seriously. I just hope that authors of this genre begin to elevate themselves by challenging themselves by writing stories other than the same novel. It’s like a rapper on repeat, constantly rapping about the same thing over and over again, until they eventually lose their audience. If I receive another letter from an author telling me their list of charges and that they are the “realist” as a means to legitimize themselves I’m going to scream! This is not the rap game. It’s art, literary art. Publishers and acquisition editors don’t sit in meetings discussing how “real” an author is.
What have you learned throughout everything that has happened?
Trust No Man 1 and 2 and every other that follows. But to be honest, the Wahida Clark experience, as I like to call it, has helped me build the confidence that I lacked in regards to running a publishing company. She was my test and I got through it. So for that, I thank her for the experience.
How important is the job of an editor to an author? What are some crucial elements that an author should look for in an editor?
The job of an editor to an author is important and their relationship is extremely important. The editor is the author’s copilot. The editor is the author’s doorway to the publishing company. The editor is the author’s eyes and ears as to what’s going on with her literary work. The funny thing is that editors and authors develop relationships without ever having to see one another. Today’s technology has it whereas the author never has to visit the publishing company. I like to tell authors that editing is a shared experience. We learn from each other in the process. A crucial element that an author should look for in an editor is to make sure that they know the skill of the editor. The author should know if the editor is a copyeditor and/or acquisitions editor. The two editors aren’t always the same. I explain this in more detail in a free downloadable publishing booklet that I offer on our website. Also, make sure that the editor specializes in your genre. Most editors don’t mind answering questions so please ask as many questions as you can come up with, but don’t become a stalker.
You’ve stated the following, “by us displaying such public buffoonery and hatred towards one another we will always be looked upon as slaves.” Why do you feel this way? What do you think needs to happen in order for this to change?
It seems that some people confuse street business tactics with fair business ethics. Book publishing is in fact the dealings of intellectual property. You don’t read about a publisher at Simon & Schuster verbally or physically attacking a publisher at Penguin. Every major print media has agreed that African-American publications have been historically far and between, outselling other genres without much advertisement or promotion. African American authors and publishing houses are finding a bigger market due to the growing affluence and education of the African-American population. In recent years, a growing number of giants like Doubleday, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster have acknowledged that African-American books are big business and have created imprints to handle this market. Instead of us coming together collectively and developing new technology and ways of how we could continue to prosper in this industry we try to knock one another down like crabs in a bucket. But we at NHP are hoping to change this attitude by bringing independent publishers together so that we can strengthen our economical and distribution power within the publishing business.
Tobias has released a full version of why he and Wahida Clark ended their business relationship. Read here: [ My Version of The Truth ]
For more information on Tobias A. Fox, visit: www.nhousepublishing.com
Read the initial story:
[ Wahida Clark and Editor Depart ]
Wahida Clark and Editor Depart
Wahida Clark: Video Exclusive
Copyright Infringement: Keisha Ervin vs. Wahida Clark
Wahida Clark Interview with Jarold Imes
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