Martin Edwards has posted a nice tribute to Peter Haining, the anthologist who seemed to be everywhere from the 70s well into this decade. I had one direct experience with Haining. He bought an original story of mine. He was professional in every respect and not afraid of flattery. I appreciated the breadth of his anthologies. I probably own twenty or more of them. His pulp books are especially fine.
In the course of his post, Martin remarks on a dilemma I've mentioned here before. He talks about trying to secure permission for certain stories:
"The co-operation I received from the families of such writers as John Creasey and Leslie Charteris was generous indeed. Sadly, the agents of one deceased writer - popular in the past, but now out of print - demanded such a high reprint fee that it wasn't possible to include the story. This struck me as short-sighted, for there was a chance to introduce a new generation of readers to a gifted practitioner of classic detection. And it's salutary how quickly even very popular writers slip out of the public eye within a few years of their death."
I know there are some people who think the process of reprinting old stories is easy. Most of the time, yes. But there are always pieces you have to do battle for, usually, in my experience, with descendents rather than agents, though I did have an agent ask fifteen thousand dollars for a novel that had been out of print for nearly forty years.
My most unpleasant experience came with the sharp-tongued widow of a once-prominent writer who said that I was trying to "steal" her husband's story. A 1936 story, never reprinted, for which I offered one hundred dollars. The story was three thousand words long. She told me how how much he used to get for novels; and she told me at great length how much he made writing for the studios. I wanted to point out that nothing of his had been in print for more than twenty years but by then I was too tired of the whole thing to argue anymore.