The blogs have been burning up this week with writer’s organizations taking a stand against Random House’s Hydra, Alibi, Flirt, and Loveswept imprints. It’s no news that large publishers have been exploring alternate business models in an attempt to remain financially solvent and survive the rocky times they’re experiencing. I don’t have a problem with that, but when companies target inexperienced and unwary individuals with very one-sided contracts, it’s unethical.
Remember the stink over predatory lending practices during the housing boom? Average Joe and Jane signed high risk mortgage notes out of simple ignorance, entrusting that huge institutions, their agent, etc., were acting in their interests. There is pressure – all the hoops the buyers have gone through to get to the closing table, the time, money, energy they’ve invested. That home is tantalizingly within reach. Just sign here.
It’s the same with writers. Many, many writers long for a contract with the big six, even if they’re currently self-publishing. It’s a badge of achievement, a sign of having “made it
Good stuff here, Debra. On the one hand, I figure most authors have more than one book in them, and I wonder if there’d be a benefit to “sacrificing” one, just to have the cachet of a Big 6 publisher on your resume. Then again, this calls out one of the main reasons I’d love to be working with an agent. It’s a jungle out there, and while I’m a smart girl and can take care of babies who weigh less than two pounds, I don’t know sh!t about contracts…
Thanks Liv! As much as I love self-publishing, I’d never rule out selling a book or two (or one series) in the future to a traditional publisher. There’s a lot of value in the hybrid approach for us authors right now. I still would caution everyone to be careful even with an agent. Although they represent the writer, they have a vested interest in closing the deal and getting paid – kind of like in real estate. Personally, even with an agent I trusted, I’d take any contract to an appropriate lawyer for review.
I need to find and link in a blog post i read yesterday about a self-pubbed author who with their agent managed to negotiate very favorable copyright licensing terms, foreign and movie rights while retaining e-version rights. Now, he had quite a lot of clout, but the hope is that successful self-pubbed authors will pave the way in contract negotiations to more flexible contract terms. Fingers crossed!
Here it is! Well worth the read: http://www.thepassivevoice.com/03/2013/how-wool-got-a-unique-publishing-deal/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ThePassiveVoice+%28The+Passive+Voice%29
Thanks for the follow-up. I’ll check it out.