Here’s an extract from a must-read article on HuffPo:
“One of the things I learned is that publishers often change their contracts to give themselves more favorable terms. Agents who are paying attention pick up on the differences and understand the ramifications. Agents who aren’t, don’t.”
“… … a few year ago, Simon & Schuster removed four sentences from the end of the rights reversion clause. These sentences defined the sales threshold, which states that rights will revert to the author if the number of sales drops under a specified amount. Removing these sentences meant that if the publisher also bought digital rights, the book would in effect never go out of print, and the publisher would own the rights to the work in perpetuity.”
The article states that you can’t necessarily depend on your literary agent to catch these for you, so be vigilant about what you’re signing away.
Click here for the rest of the article.
Lately I’ve been getting lots of invites from “Traditional Publishers” offering to publish my books for me. I’m always leery of such ‘offers’ because many of these outfits are self-publishing scams dressed in traditional publisher clothing.
Some quick and easy ways of checking if the traditional publisher is legitimate (though they are getting smarter by the year):
* Is the publisher’s website geared to the reader (as it should be), or are they in the business of selling you, the writer, services or ‘packages?’
* Is it a digital-only publisher? Frankly, I don’t see how this is beneficial to the author. Instead of a one-time payment to your editor / book cover designer / ebook formatter, you’re now paying a lifetime of royalties. If you have also been asked to pay for these services (in addition to the royalties) definitely stay away. Self-publishing is so easy – create an account on Amazon, smashwords etc and upload your book. Why would you hand over your rights to someone else for this effort?
* Are they asking you to pay for publishing your book? Stay away.
* Typically, traditional publishers have provided the author access to in-store distribution, which was what authors wanted / needed. But things are in such a flux now that it is hard to know whom to trust.
I wish I could say only scummy self-publishing outfits are demanding payment for publishing a book, but I find that (in India, at least) traditional publishers – the big established-for-decades ones – are also selling services on the sly. I’ve heard of a few of them offering to publish a book and provide in-store distribution for these books, provided the author ponies up hundreds of thousands of rupees. Not only that, these established traditional publishers are then pressuring the author to buy up the entire print run so the publisher can declare the book a success. If this isn’t smarmy, I don’t know what is.
Jane Friedman also deal with this on her own blog. Click here for her take on it.
The title of this could also be: Literary Agents, and What to Watch Out For
If you haven’t read Joe Konrath’s post before, you should be reading it. It is almost mandatory for those considering publishing their book. Something’s messed up. Unable to insert link into post today, so I’m having to give you the entire link: http://jakonrath.blogspot.in/2014/02/fisking-donald-maas.html
David Vinjamuri has a terrific article in The Forbes on this. Worth a read whether you’re traditionally published or chose to go the self-publishing route.
A direct quote from the article. (I picked this because a lot of writers seem to think being published traditionally will free them from promoting their work):
“An entire generation of traditionally published authors has come of age learning to self-promote. Particularly for mid-list authors the burden of writing and marketing a book a year without much assistance can be crushing. Some publishing houses have trimmed back even further, limiting editorial assistance to new writers to proofreading and line editing rather than structural editing.
These authors feel less beholden to publishers and more independent. They have been forced to become entrepreneurs, but are not rewarded commensurate with their contributions.”
Here’s another quote:
“One thing that mainstream and Indie authors seem united on is contempt for is the royalty structure that mainstream publishing houses apply to eBooks which is much less favorable than for printed books. This is foolish and counterproductive for publishing houses. Indeed, authors like Edgar-winning mystery author Lawrence Block and Margaret Muir have already embraced indie publishing for the obvious economic benefits. There are also many authors who started as self-publishers and are making a solid living in Indie-land. Many of them would be considered midlist or even minor celebrities if they had more visibility to the existing publishing world – I’m thinking of people like Robert Kroese and Rachel Thompson here.”
Click here for the entire article.
Joe Konrath, kind of self-publishing, has a blog post on why self-publishing is beneficial for authors. Of course, this model might not work for everyone, but he makes an interesting case for it. Click here for details.
Amazon’s gone and done it – it has announced that its New York imprint has bought print and digital rights to bestselling self-help author Timothy Ferriss’s next book. This is good news for authors because it moves them a step closer to the retail end by cutting out the middleman.
Click here for the entire article from The Guardian.