Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

The Conversation Continues ~ the Issues with Traditional Publishing . . .

Recently, our Conversation here has had a focus on Publishing, in the post on March 14th—The Conversation Is Still Fizzling . . .—and the post on March 19th—Back to Our Conversations ~ What the Heck Is Privishing?… Traditional Publishing

And, a regular reader (and poet) had this comment on the post of the 19th:

“Does it ever make sense for a book publishing company to suppress a book, not to mention that it is contrary to their very reason for existence? It speaks to the arrogance of such companies and individuals who think that they know what will sell, and more importantly, what the public wants to read. They have been proven to be completely wrong in many cases and will continue to practice their arrogance despite this fact.”

Very strong words, yet easy to back up…

For instance, from the post here in November 2017—Why Traditional Publishing Is Not for Serious Writers . . .—excerpts from author Erica Verrillo, critiquing a senior literary editor at Random House:

“We think editors at publishing houses edit. The truth is they spend most of their time responding to memos, developing profit-and-loss statements, figuring out advances, supplementing publicity efforts, fielding calls from agents, attending meetings, and so on. They edit on weekends and evenings, and on the train as they are commuting.”

“Privishing (where the publisher quietly suppresses books, whether intentionally or not) has become the norm for publishers for various reasons, the first of which is that there are limitations on budgets. The second is that editors compete for those budgets.”

“The negative attitude that editors develop about manuscripts and proposals is in part because budgets are limited, and is in part driven by competition. But mindless rejection is also an inherent feature of publishing….Editors are not only competing for budgets, they are engaged in what may be described as a pissing contest in snark.”

“…publishers identify writers as ‘outsiders’, as ‘them’, even though their income depends on the people they publish. This, I believe, is a significant component of the attitude that is shared almost universally among publishers…”

Then, in a post here from March 2016—How Close to Insanity Is the Traditional Publishing Industry?—I excerpted Gene Doucette (who’s been traditionally and self-published); but, rather than include those excerpts here, I’ll share the link to the article my post excerpted—The Collective Insanity of the Publishing Industry

And, finally, I present to the jury information from a post here in August of 2015—Another Good Reason to Avoid Traditional Publishing—and, this time, I’ll first share this info from that post:

“…there’s an author named Dean Wesley Smith who spent 40 years with traditional publishers, then did it all himself, then helped start a mid-sized publishing company. He’s written the article, The New World of Publishing: The Real Price of Traditional Publishing.”

Here are a few excerpts:

“In the last two years I have seen a couple dozen author contracts from various traditional houses. ‘Life of Copyright’ is always a non-negotiable contract term in the United States if you are a normal-level writer.”

“The ‘life of a copyright’ at the moment in the US is the life of the author plus 70 years.

“An example: I finish the book I am working on. I am 65 years of age. Say I live another 30 years to 95. Then add 70 years and the life of the copyright for the novel I just finished will be 100 years.

“That’s what the ‘Life of Copyright’ term in a contract means.

“That’s right, your great-grandkids might be able to get your book back that you sold for a few thousand in one hundred years or so. But at that point the book will drop into the public domain and not be worth anything to them.”

“The real price of traditional publishing is total loss of control over your work.”

Now, I’ll give you a link to the archive of posts on this blog about Self-Publishing

If you want to keep this Conversation going, just share your thoughts and/or feelings in the Comments… :-)
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3 responses to “The Conversation Continues ~ the Issues with Traditional Publishing . . .

  1. Jane Watson March 24, 2018 at 6:05 am

    ‘Life of Copyright’ is an iniquitous contract term that, I believe, seeks to disadvantage the writer completely and gives the Traditional Publisher an unpaid advantage they should not have for the next generation or so. Some writers I know in Australia have taken a stand against this and refused to offer the publisher more than a ‘Licence to Publish’ for a fixed period of time, after which the book’s rights revert to them. This makes more sense to me. At the bottom of all this is FEAR. Many writers who are not wealthy or famous are just frightened that if they push back they will be dropped by the publisher. If EVERY writer in the world refused to sign contracts that were unfair they would have more power than the publishers. So PUSH back.


  2. Pingback: The Conversation Continues ~ More on Publishing . . . | Notes from An Alien

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