Slowly, traditional publishers have realized that backlist titles are worth a lot of money. As I wrote recently, traditional publishers are slowly figuring out that they are no longer in the manufacturing business, they’re in the rights business.
So they’re buying—and holding—rights. Years ago, when I got angry at a publisher for their misbehavior, I offered to buy back the rights to one of my books. It caught that publisher flat-footed. No writer had ever done that, and the publisher had no idea how to estimate the books’ value to the company.
Now, I’m hearing from more and more writers that their publishers insist on the writers paying to get rights reverted.
As I’m revising the old Dealbreakers book, I am finding a lot of material that no longer applies. 2011-2013 was a transitional period in the ebook revolution. Traditional publishers didn’t know anything about ebooks, and writers had a lot more leeway in what they could do.
Now, things are so different that some of the contracts I’m touching feel toxic to me. I want to wash my hands after holding them.
As many of you know, I’m revising the book Dealbreakers, which I published in 2013. This piece is the second revision of this topic that I’ve done. Please remember as you read this that I am not an attorney, and nothing in this post should be considered legal advice. I probably should have called this post Short- and Long-term Thinking, or maybe just Thinking. Because […]
Last week, I posted a blog on Prince’s lack of a will, and talked a little about estates. Of course, some people (who apparently never read my blog) asked me if agents should handle a writer’s estate. No, agents should not. Before I even get to the issues below, let me tell you this: Many literary agencies are small businesses, just like your writing business […]
I have come to the point where I can’t ignore the contractual changes in the industry any longer. The topic has become so large that I will probably end up with two books out of it: The revised Dealbreakers, and a book on contracts. When I start discussing contracts, most indie writers tune out. But they shouldn’t. Indie writers sign contracts all the time. Some are for foreign editions. Some are for short fiction. Some are with their cover designer. Some disguise themselves as terms of service.
Not everything I write here will apply to the indie writer, but much of it will.
Remember: the more you understand about this business, the better off you will be. And the harder it will be to take you off-guard….
As I wrote earlier this year, the changes in the publishing industry continue to smack me in the head. I learned the old publishing industry very well—the one that existed from the mid-1970s to the late 1990s. I survived the early 2000s, and then indie publishing came along. I started this blog—in a different form and under a different blog title—in April of 2009. All […]
This poor-poor-pitiful-me attitude has become the norm in the publishing industry right now, and I’m really tired of it.
I want to support what the Authors Guild is doing here. I really do. I believe this “conversation” needs to commence. Writers—particularly writers of the Take Care of Me school—need to understand that their publishers and their agents are not their friends. Those two entities are in business for themselves and will devise contract terms to benefit them. But…
This morning, I found out through the magic of Facebook that four of my sf novellas, translated into Italian, are four of the five bestselling titles in my Italian publisher’s bookstore. As I mentioned in my blog on translation a few weeks ago, that’s not due to me. That’s because I have an excellent translator. It’s a good marriage of translator and story, because books […]
One of my writerly email groups opened a thread on translations this week. In particular, the group wanted to know about Babelcube, a website where writers and translators can meet and, with luck, work on a project together. On one of my panels at MileHiCon, I had discussed having your books available in other languages. I had mentioned that publishing your own translation was an […]