Sharing the Wealth: 3/21/2014

This ridiculous post details how an author/publisher is requesting people help fund the royalties she, frankly, embezzled from her authors. It seems to have since been shut down, but I can’t get over the gall of it in the first place. Embezzle isn’t usually the term I see, but that’s what it really is when your publisher or agent takes money out of the organization they’re not entitle to.

Dean Wesley Smith has a great Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing. A quick caveat on his series. They are pure, unadulterated, self publishing support. There is no illusion of balance here, there’s no attempt at apologetics for New York. If you’re new at all this, definitely read this, but balance it with some of Chuck Wendig or Rachelle Gardner or any number of other trad pub sources. That said, this is a great post on how the book industry works and why a publisher isn’t required to get your books into bookstores. Booksellers were getting Hugh Howey’s books before he went to a trad publisher, even before Amazon’s Extended Distribution System. Bookstores, like any other business, will stock what their customers ask for. That’s an outlier, but it’s not impossible. On the inverse side, it is much more likely for your book to flop even though it’s being sold at Barnes & Noble, especially if its spine out, tucked in between other author’s works, and the first title of your series is missing…

On that same train of thought, IndieReader discusses whether or not segregation is the answer. You know, whether or not those filthy self pub books belong in the same store, or site, as the approved books.

Staffer’s Book Review has a very approving message of agents being publishers for authors. I can’t help but be shocked by this. At the end of the day, all agent’s are doing in this case is loading the book to KDP and the other markets. Some add formatting, book cover design/acquisition, formatting, etc. as part of that, but what’s the charge? If this is an author’s backlist, which in this is is exactly what it is, are these agent’s charging extra from books they already earn 15% on? Or are they just expanding the distribution, for free, of books they have a stake in?

The Author’s Guild has a new President. Let’s hope this one is better than the last one. He wrote some damn good books, but as as a leader he was a coward. He has misunderstood this industry and failed its authors. Anyway, now that I’m off my pedestal, CJ Lyons has been added to the board as well. I don’t know her work, but I know she’s a hybrid author who has been a steadfast supporter of authors pursuing what is best for their career.

This is kind of surprising, but Kobo has said ending ending agency pricing will kill them in Canada. Not only that, they cited the decline of agency pricing for their loss of market share in the U.S. I have to criticize this. Agency pricing was not good for consumers. Maybe it was better for publishers and booksellers and even authors, but at the end of the day, you can bet that what isn’t good for the consumer is bad for everyone.

Publishing Perspectives has an article on why publishers need to think more like Amazon. Part of the problem here is that authors don’t have a brand. And I don’t mean they’re failing to put their logo on their books. I mean, a publisher is an amalgamation of books. There are few, if any, publishers that don’t publish everything. A few have been Harlequin or Tor (both genre fiction, by the way) and even they have failed to capitalize on their selection, to show readers that if you buy a Tor book, if you buy a Harlequin book, you will get a hand selected story of high quality. Passive Guy has a reply himself, pointing out the attitude of New York doesn’t cater to the rest of the country, let alone the rest of the world. (When I say New York, I’m referring to NY Publishing, not the city itself.)

Years ago, the courts ruled that Random House didn’t have the rights to ebooks simply because the author had signed their print over. They separated the rights out, creating a precedent that helped protect authors, and created a frenzy as publishers set out to nab up ebook rights. Now the courts have ruled the other way in a case for HarperCollins. This sets a precedent for publishers to fight for the idea that they had rights for mediums that didn’t exist when the contract was signed. No one one knows what forms will come up, no one knows what the next big thing will be. TeleRead points out some of the dangers of this.

Mike Shatzkin says the publishing industry isn’t surprised by the state its in. I don’t really know what to make of his insistence that they really do know what they’re doing. I don’t buy that they’re biding their time, waiting for everything to get in place so they can strike. This is, frankly, an group of businesses that are out of touch, or if they’re in touch, don’t know how to apply the solutions they know are required. He talks about Penguin Random House doing all it can to increase its scale, while continuously pointing out its failure to leverage said scale. Others are agreeing that the biggest player is failing to see the opportunities so many others are taking advantage of.

They’re also failing to realize they are the man behind the curtains, not the performer themselves. There are very few entertainers where the publisher, label, agent, etc. is as popular as the star. Passive Guy points out some of their barriers in trying to be the cool guys in town.

Copyright law in the U.S. has its benefits and disadvantages. And apparently none of that will be changing this year.

Simon and Schuster CEO Carolyn Reidy states that publishers need to change the conversation from “will publishing survive” to “how are publishers taking the industry forward”. I just got home from work and I don’t have the energy to answer this. Go though my archives, go through Passive Guy’s or Konrath’s. They haven’t done a damn thing. I’ll add this, those on the losing end of the argument are the quickest to change the subject.

Have a great weekend, folks!

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About enathansisk

My name is Nathan Sisk, and I am a writer and aspiring author.
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