Tuesday, June 29, 2010

How Many Publishing Blogs Do You Follow?

Richard Nash was recommended in one of followed blogs today and I like his ideas.

Especially when a lot of other people are suggesting charging writers for the privilege of being read.

I like his discussion on limited time rights instead of the publisher getting lifetime rights for whatever they publish. Considering that.. Twilight isn't my favorite, but I can't deny her popularity... but with this in mind, I'd assume she is still paid the beginning writer contract for her first book no matter how well it sells and is probably making more money on books 5 and 6 than she is the first few. Intriguing thought.

I like the idea of renegotiations on occasion - and particularly being able to sell elsewhere if the publisher makes a mess of your book during their time with it. It gives the writer some small measure of power instead of making us into desperate begging things just hoping someone with money or power will read our words.

The agents, of course, are looking out for themselves -- and they should because they need to be able to eat too -- but it's my opinion that reading fees won't help anyone. It's just one more barrier and one more way to make us feel like supplicants needing their approval to succeed. And about that discussion that agents are being asked to do more now than ever -- well, so are writers. We're being asked to do all that too. (Well, not me in particular, but others -- published others.)

And we're being asked to get paid less to do it all rather than more.

And be happy about it.

I'm not sure Richard Nash right on everything. I would like more choice in my reading materials than ebook or work of art. I absolutely love mass market paperbacks. The prices are the most reasonable, the format is the easiest to hold in my hand for the several hours of reading. And I don't need to buy an expensive device to get access to it. Personally, I don't care which other forms it's published in as long as I get my mass market. I am one of the truly sad when my favorite authors get popular enough to go hardcover and I then have to wait two years to read them instead of one. But I'm getting distracted.

My point is that taking the publishing problems out on the poor unpublished writer is not the way, should not be the way, and really should have been the last thing to come to mind. It should have started with which books are earning out and which ones aren't. It should have started with figuring out where the money loss is going.  If it's an issue of certain editors buying crap books for too much money, get rid of them. Having competent employees is a good first step toward solvency -- if only the banks would figure that out too, because those CEO's they're clinging to and paying out the nose for aren't that great, having led them into bankruptcy.  If it's an issue of advances, then get rid of that.No one gets paid until the book has made some money. I can see that as a reasonable solution. It leaves the starving author starving a little longer, but it does not require them to pay people to glance at their years of hard work. It doesn't reduce the beginning writer even further than they are now, not only begging for a scrap of attention but paying for it.

And it doesn't turn publishing into nothing more than another hobby for the rich.

Because, let me tell you -- when that happens -- that's when I'll stop buying books. I couldn't care less what the Kardashians or Speidi is doing -- except in the form of The Soup where I get to laugh at them once a week.

But if publishing is broken -- there are people making money in that field, and I am not yet. I am on the lowest of the low rings, barely understanding my own step on the ladder let alone the steps above me, but one thing I do know -- on those steps above me, there are people making money -- those people need to earn their salaries, look at the world the way it is and try to figure out how to make it work with the way they want to be.


Fix it.

Try something new.

But don't ask me to pay you for the privilege of working for you. Don't ask me to pay you to be allowed to submit an application to work for you.

For free. 

In hopes that I may someday make less money.


  1. I read more writer blogs than publishing blogs. I think I currently read 3 blogs by people in publishing houses, 6 agent blogs, and 14 blogs by writers. Sometimes, the industry blogs depress me to the point where I have to stop reading. That's where writer blogs do me good. Most of us are usually optimistic. ^_^

  2. I think I'm backward. I follow only a few writers (found mostly because they followed me and commented on my posts and whom I liked reading when I followed the link back to their blog) and the few published writers that I want to know when their next book happens. Then I follow nearly thirty in the agent/editor/bookseller fields. Sometimes it's hard to really separate them out when Editorial Ass occasionally touches on the same topics as The Rejectionist or Behler Blog. Some are good for information and some are just fun, like Barbara Poelle and Janet Reid (oh, how I wish I wrote mysteries to tempt them with).

    But you are certainly correct, that many of them get depressing and sometimes make the idea of publishing seem beyond hope. Sorry to have joined them in that task for the day. I'll try to be more cheerful later in the week. :)