Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

So, What The Hell Is Wrong With Traditional Publishers?


David Gaughran has written a fascinating post on his blog—Publishers Behaving Badly, Part I’ve Lost Count.

Right after he indicates that the two essential players in the book-world are writers and readers and that retailers are at least acting somewhat rational about justifying their cut of the money (leaving agents, publishers, and distributors in a somewhat suspicious position), he says:

“Publishers seem determined to move in the opposite direction: making the proposition of publishing with them less attractive rather than more attractive, reducing advances, worsening contract terms, and treating writers as marks rather than partners – despite whatever guff accompanies the launch of their latest initiatives.”

He then goes on to indict Random House about the scandalous terms they offered authors with their new digital-first imprints—Hydra, Alibi, Flirt & Loveswept.

But Gaughran certainly isn’t alone.

Here are just a few other opinions (and, a bit of news) about this outrage:

Authors Warned Away from eBook-Only Imprints

Second-Class Contracts? Deal Terms at Random House’s Hydra Imprint

Hydra Changes Contract Terms in Response to Pressure From Writers Groups

Random House Revises Contract for Digital-First SF Imprint Hydra – Promises to Exploit Authors Less

Random House Announces New Terms at Digital Imprints Hydra, Alibi, Loveswept, and Flirt

It will be interesting to see what actually falls out from this dramatic turn of events

Back at Gaughran’s post, he also has something to say on these topics:

Author Solutions Class Action?

Simon & Schuster Offers Bribes To Pimp Author Solutions

Dymocks-owned D Publishing is Toast

I can only imagine future headlines, future escapades, future fails for a dinosaur industry that needs massive transformation just to stay alive………
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13 responses to “So, What The Hell Is Wrong With Traditional Publishers?

  1. William Neumann March 14, 2013 at 4:24 am

    There is nothing wrong, actually i think. But your theme and thinking is best from anything.

    Like

    • Alexander M Zoltai March 14, 2013 at 10:19 am

      Interesting comment, William

      Like

  2. Jane Watson March 14, 2013 at 5:59 am

    ‘What the Hell is *right* with Traditional Publishers?’ They offer contracts with clauses which are ‘grotesque’ as one copyright lawyer said about my traditional publishing contract. And this is not just about money, folks, (although writers do need to eat)… what do you imagine happens to a writer’s soul if they have to continually suppress the knowledge that the company they want to love, is actually intent, not on suckling them, but on feeding off their liver? What happens in abusive relationships to the abused? They lose hope, stop flourishing (writing) and become morose and withdrawn (stop writing)…Does anyone have a right to do this to the purveyors of our culture, let alone to any human being… and not be charged?
    The Dymocks contract fiasco in Australia fell through because a ground swell of Australian writers threatened to boycott their bookshops…and those writers were big readers :-)

    Like

    • Alexander M Zoltai March 14, 2013 at 10:24 am

      You should definitely know, Jane, having been traditionally published

      Two of your statements leapt out at me:

      “…what do you imagine happens to a writer’s soul if they have to continually suppress the knowledge that the company they want to love, is actually intent, not on suckling them, but on feeding off their liver?”

      and:

      “…those writers were big readers…”

      Like

  3. Barbara Blackcinder March 14, 2013 at 8:51 am

    I am in fear of dealing with any traditional publisher no matter what they offer. The changes they offer are a response to being called out by Writer’s protection organizations. In other words, Traditionalists are still corporations and will only bend over as far as someone demands and no further. Thus you can be assured that you will unlikely come out with a fair deal, and as soon as it is possible, their contracts will revert to giving the author as little as is corporately possible.

    Like

    • Alexander M Zoltai March 14, 2013 at 10:25 am

      Agreed, Barb

      Like

  4. Barbara Blackcinder March 14, 2013 at 8:55 am

    Jane or Alex, sometime I’d like to know about this ‘Dymocks contract fiasco’ if possible. Did they attempt to assume American Traditions in Publishing?

    Like

    • Alexander M Zoltai March 14, 2013 at 10:25 am

      Best to ask Jane on that one, Barbara.

      Like

  5. Barbara Blackcinder March 14, 2013 at 8:58 am

    Oops, nevermind, I missed the end of David Gaughran’s blogpost.

    Like

    • Alexander M Zoltai March 14, 2013 at 10:26 am

      Oops, me, too :-)

      Like

  6. Karla Telega March 15, 2013 at 5:03 am

    Thanks for passing this along. I’m definitely going to be more wary of “too good to be true.”

    Like

    • Alexander M Zoltai March 15, 2013 at 8:47 am

      Ah, Karla, ’tis good, these days to be wary—more opportunities to publish, more shysters

      Like

  7. Pingback: Financial “Entitlement” Morphs Into “Legal” Outrage ~ Amazon & Hachette | Notes from An Alien

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