Kindle Forum banner

1 - 20 of 46 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,361 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·

·
Administrator
Joined
·
10,097 Posts
A good time to read Touching the Void, if you haven't. (Though ouch ... he's priced it rather high! ;))

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,361 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
JRHenderson said:
Isn't this cool? It reminds me of what Charlie Chaplin and Douglas Fairbanks did in 1919 to take control of their own work...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Artists
Or what Prince did. People made fun of him for changing his name to a symbol, but I thought it was brilliant.

I will add this: Joe is wrong to take this out on Random House. It's a problem created by all the major publishers, their agents, and big-name authors. A ton of lucrative contracts out there have these automatic clauses in them that go into effect if anyone at the same publishing house is offered a higher digital royalty rate. Some include provisions for rates at other houses. That means if Random House gave Dave Adams 50% royalty rates for his next book (which he totally deserves, btw), they would have to then give 50% to every author who had one of these clauses in their contracts!

It's a huge problem that agents and authors have helped create. If I were to sell my digital rights, I would ask that this clause NOT be put in there, simply on principle. Publishers should have the freedom to move their pay scale up and down as they see fit. Right now, they can't. Not because they don't want to, but because it would have a much larger effect than anyone realizes.

Solutions are possible, I'm sure, but only after a steady stream of losses. That's when contracts will be renegotiated en masse. (or something like that).
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
63,461 Posts
Becca Mills said:
A good time to read Touching the Void, if you haven't. (Though ouch ... he's priced it rather high! ;))

I read that (not on Kindle)--it's amazing! I highly recommend it...

Betsy
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
472 Posts
Since I'm not in any of the traditional publishing gigs, maybe someone can explain to me why they think they NEED 75% of the revenues from his books if they are electronic? What possible costs could amount to that level of vampirism?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
841 Posts
Seems to me like it's all or nothing right now, right? 25% or nothing at all.

Trailblazers like you, Hugh, have been able to keep your ebook rights but you're one of the rare few who have been able to do so. How do we smaller potatoes do the same if our product is not as successful as Wool?

(I'm not being facetious or bitter. This is a genuine question. I really want to know! lol)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
258 Posts
This indeed is big. In the next few years the Big Six will have to adapt, or they could easily become the Big 4, and then the Big 2, and the...

Although Ebooks do have a cost to them, it's just not that big. Publishers do not deserve such a big cut, they simply don't.

Matthew Turner
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,361 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
ShortySmalls said:
Seems to me like it's all or nothing right now, right? 25% or nothing at all.

Trailblazers like you, Hugh, have been able to keep your ebook rights but you're one of the rare few who have been able to do so. How do we smaller potatoes do the same if our product is not as successful as Wool?

(I'm not being facetious or bitter. This is a genuine question. I really want to know! lol)
It may be a moot point. Wool was showing up in bookstores as a Createspace POD book, even in Barnes and Noble. You may not want a print-only deal at all. (Did you see the thread about B&N closing a ton of stores?)

My hope is that we'll see a different revolution other than print-only deals. The real solution is terms of license, which is the holy grail of book deals. This is what foreign publishers already offer in their contracts (for everyone, not just blockbusters). US and UK publishers will need to adopt this when they realize that it isn't fair to authors (and no one will sign) now that books are in print (digitally and physically) FOREVER. The 6-month window of old is gone. Terms of licensing for 5-7 years is a fair deal, and my bet is that most authors will have these contracts 10 years from now (hopefully sooner).

Contracts also work on precedence. What John Locke did years ago broke a wall down. Bella Andre did the same. My deal is just a progression. Simon and Schuster has a reputation for breaking the mold, so while people will tout my deal as the first Big 6 print-only deal, it'll be an even bigger deal when the next person signs one with Harper Collins or Penguin/Random House. (For all we know, one of these other publishers offered a print-only deal to Bella but was declined).

My point is that progress is being made. I'm the lucky recipient of steps taken by others. More will follow. Eventually, the absurd will be commonplace. But then, I've always dared to hope.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,085 Posts
I expect to see more of it happening. Why would a bestselling author give away their earnings? Makes sense for them to publish independently.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,279 Posts
Jennifer turned down a 6-figure deal in Nov 2011 to go primarily indie. This after she had a new 3-book series released from Mira in quick succession in July/Aug/September.

In 2010/2011, she sold print rights only to Sourcebooks (to their Casablanca reprint line) for a handful of titles. The last one came out in print in Dec 2011 and was still being sold when we released the new ebook version in July 2012.

We mainly have backlist of hers up right now, but one brand-new book of hers, released in late October 2012 hung in the Top 100 for most of November. A box set of backlist titles has been in the Top 100 the last few weeks.

In the 80s and 90s she was a huge name in romance, with 60+ books and over 30 million copies in print. Audible just put out 37 of her titles. I think she'd be open to a print-only deal for her new series, but no one is touching her ebook rights.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
56 Posts
Thanks for the update! This video is very encouraging. His courage and balls-itude should inspire us all to hunker down and get our titles out there for the ebook world audience. The revolution is heating up. I'm going clip off 2,000 words today!
 
G

·
It's fascinating and encouraging to see how things are changing.  I'm so glad to be starting my career just now, as opposed to having deals I signed before ebooks really took off.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
841 Posts
Hugh Howey said:
My hope is that we'll see a different revolution other than print-only deals. The real solution is terms of license, which is the holy grail of book deals. This is what foreign publishers already offer in their contracts (for everyone, not just blockbusters). US and UK publishers will need to adopt this when they realize that it isn't fair to authors (and no one will sign) now that books are in print (digitally and physically) FOREVER. The 6-month window of old is gone. Terms of licensing for 5-7 years is a fair deal, and my bet is that most authors will have these contracts 10 years from now (hopefully sooner).
Would you mind elaborating on this, please? I don't know enough to make sense of it.

And yes, I did see the articles about B&N closing down brick and mortar stores. My hope is that they will now focus the money to improving their nook store.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,412 Posts
Hugh Howey said:
Or what Prince did. People made fun of him for changing his name to a symbol, but I thought it was brilliant.

I will add this: Joe is wrong to take this out on Random House. It's a problem created by all the major publishers, their agents, and big-name authors. A ton of lucrative contracts out there have these automatic clauses in them that go into effect if anyone at the same publishing house is offered a higher digital royalty rate. Some include provisions for rates at other houses. That means if Random House gave Dave Adams 50% royalty rates for his next book (which he totally deserves, btw), they would have to then give 50% to every author who had one of these clauses in their contracts!

It's a huge problem that agents and authors have helped create. If I were to sell my digital rights, I would ask that this clause NOT be put in there, simply on principle. Publishers should have the freedom to move their pay scale up and down as they see fit. Right now, they can't. Not because they don't want to, but because it would have a much larger effect than anyone realizes.

Solutions are possible, I'm sure, but only after a steady stream of losses. That's when contracts will be renegotiated en masse. (or something like that).
Wow. I had no idea that clauses worked like that. I'm glad you explained it as I had seen the video yesterday, but wasn't exactly sure of the importance.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
162 Posts
Huge additional step.
Remember reading some of the legacy contracts
for print at some point.
Indentured servitude.
Publisher contempt for talent, absolute.
Very soon, they will have nothing to offer.
Nothing at all.
How long before 'name' authors like Hugh begin
their own imprint for ebooks?  Cull the Amazon
high flyers?
And start a co-op?
Sign me up.
 
G

·
Soothesayer said:
Since I'm not in any of the traditional publishing gigs, maybe someone can explain to me why they think they NEED 75% of the revenues from his books if they are electronic? What possible costs could amount to that level of vampirism?
I can't speak to this specific author because obviously he isn't mine and I don't know the particulars of his contracts. In general, companies view all variants of a product as the same product. If a toothpaste company puts out a new line of toothpaste in peppermint, ocean blast, arctic cool, and orange (same formula, but different flavors) they treat all of those flavors as a single product when determining their price structure. They aren't going to say "Well, we already made all of our money back on the peppermint, so since all we did was change the flavoring in the others we'll sell those cheaper." They will track the different flavors to make sure that the cost/benefit of having the separate flavor is profitable, but they aren't going to apply different pricing to each flavor simply because the main flavor earned out.

Compound this with the fact that not all products earn out. As a business, you don't turn a profit on every single product produced. There is a reason why the manufacturers of consumer commodities are always changing product lines. Some product lines don't make money. It's the same with books. For every million seller, you have ten that never earn out the advances paid, and another two dozen that either just break even or lose money overall.

For an individual author, you don't have these concerns. Sure, you have your own mortgage and bills. but those are your personal bills and not business expenses. But you don't have the overhead that a publisher does. You don't have a lease on a building that has to be paid whether you sell books or not. You don't have office staff. You don't have liability insurance. You don't have all of the expenses that come with maintaining a physical presence and having employees. You don't get surprise visits from the state health department wanting to do an inspection of your entire building just because you have vending machines in your building (like what happened to us recently.) You don't have to pay a $500 license fee to the FCC simply because you use walkie-talkies in your warehouse (like we just found out we have to do). To be blunt, as an indie author, if you don't pay your editor because your sales are down, the worst that happens is the editor tries to sue you in small claims court. Maybe you get bad mouthed in a forum. If Simon & Schuster stops paying its employees their earned wages, they get a visit from Uncle Sam and multi-million dollar fines.

So it isn't "vampiric." It is the nature of running a large company. The cost of any product, whether it is a book or a bottle of shampoo, includes more than just the cost of the materials to make it. There is a whole host of expenses that have to be factored in as overhead.

I'm not arguing whether or not this particular author's royalty is fair. I don't know what was in his contract. I'm just addressing the issue of "vampirism."
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,973 Posts
Soothesayer said:
Since I'm not in any of the traditional publishing gigs, maybe someone can explain to me why they think they NEED 75% of the revenues from his books if they are electronic? What possible costs could amount to that level of vampirism?
Publishers take 75% of their authors' royalties because that's the way they have always operated. As Julie explained, they operate with a lot of overhead.

From reading Joe Konrath's blog and Katherine Rusch's blog and some others, I gather that publishers are pretty much obsolete. They know it. We indies know it. In an attempt to survive, publishers are trying their best to string along all the authors who don't yet realize that publishers are obsolete.

I bet when the automobile was invented, many traditionalists had a hard time giving up their horses. I imagine authors feel loyalty to their publishers, much as horse owners get attached to their horses. Those kinds of emotions are at play, here.

Still, no amount of loyalty is worth giving up 75% of money that these authors could be earning if they went indie. Also from various blogs I know that many of them are bound by contracts which demand they never publish except through their publisher. In that case, they're screwed unless they ghost write for someone else and don't get caught.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,698 Posts
Isn't Amazon doing this right now?  Taking 65% of royalties unless you sign up with the Select program in every new market since India.  Doesn't this hurt everyone?  You can get 70% through amazon by giving up 100% everywhere else.  There have been plenty of authors who break out on other venues other than Amazon, then as word of mouth kicks in, pick up on Amazon.

Can't gripe too much though.  If it wasn't for Amazon, this opportunity wouldn't even exist.
 
1 - 20 of 46 Posts
Top