New authors may be the losers as publishing titans clash via Al Jazeera America for Android

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The Declaration of Independence for Writers

When in the Course of publishing events, it becomes necessary for writers to sever their ties with the industry that is supposed to have “nurtured” them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that we should declare the causes which impel those writers to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all writers should have an equal chance to find readers. That their successes or failures should be dependent upon their own actions and their own choices. That they should be paid fairly for their work. That they should have control over the works they produce. That they should have immediate and accurate access to their sales data. That they should be paid promptly. That they should not be restricted from reaching those who may enjoy their work. That whenever a publisher becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of Authors to abolish all connections with the offending parties.

The history of the legacy publishing industry is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over writers. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

They have given us take-it-or-leave-it, one-sided, unconscionable contracts.
They have failed to adequately market works they have acquired.
They have artificially inflated the price of ebooks.
They have refused to negotiate better ebook royalties for authors.
They have forced unnecessary editing changes on authors.
They have forced unnecessary title changes on authors.
They have forced crappy covers on authors.
They have refused to exploit rights they own.
They have refused to return rights they aren’t properly exploiting.
They take far too long to bring acquired works to market.
They take far too long to pay writers advances and royalties.
Their royalty statements are opaque, out-of-date, and inaccurate.
They orphan authors.
They orphan books.
They refuse to treat authors as equals, let alone with a reasonable measure of fairness.
They make mistakes and take no responsibility for those mistakes.
For every hope they nurture, they unnecessarily neglect and destroy countless others.
They have made accessories of the authors’ ostensible representative organization, the quisling Authors Guild, and are served, too, by the misleadingly named Association of Authors’ Representatives.
They have failed to honor promises made.
They have failed to honor their own onerous contract terms.
They’ve failed the vast majority of authors, period.

This blog has documented nearly every stage of these Oppressions, and in many cases offered solutions to publishers, and has been answered with only silence and derision.

But that’s okay. Because now authors have a choice.

I don’t need legacy publishing, and I will never be taken advantage of again. I declare myself independent of the entire archaic, broken, corrupt system.

And I won’t be the last to do so.

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— Joe Konrath

(Source: jakonrath.blogspot.com)

The shit has really hit the fan now. I feel bad for all the authors who have been hurt by HQ’s business practices. They deserve much better than that.

bibliofeminista:

Publishers’ willingness to experiment makes a change from the insistence that price be determined by the effort that goes into producing something, and no doubt they’re enjoying the roaring sales. But by letting their ebooks practically be given away, they are complicit in eroding the value of their product. Macmillan’s CEO, John Sargent, recently warned that books are “in danger of becoming roadkill” in a digital war. It will be hard to tell who ran them over.


Hmm, smells like a bit of hand-wringing going on. I seriously doubt books are going to be devalued that much. Look at the market for music. People are willing to pay more for quality work or contribute to a Kickstarter campaign if they know what they are getting is quality work. Sure there are a lot of cheap books out there but readers aren’t stupid. They know the difference between crap and good writing. Freebies (or low-cost titles) are a good way to get people’s attention. Why do certain artists release free mixtapes periodically, along with full length albums? Because if someone is really into your mixtape or EP, they are more than likely to buy your full length work when it becomes available. I know I’ve become fans of particular artists because of free releases and have gone on to buy their work because I want to support their efforts. Many others have done the same thing.


Just my 2.5 cents.

I don’t care for the overly-dramatic headline but this is a very important piece of news. I can’t say I know much about Waterstones but I could see why they would do something like this. The publishing world is changing so rapidly that many bookstores are being forced to make tough decisions for the sake of their business. Hopefully for them, it will be the right choice for them

Guest post by author Ann Voss Peterson about having to choose between writing for Harlequin and getting on 2.4% in royalties or getting her son braces. You will never look at romance writers the same again.

Another great article from TechDirt. Although I wouldn’t go so far as to say that publishing is as simple as pushing a button (at least not when you are writing novel-length e-books), in a general kind of way, it really is that simple. Mike Masnick does address this in the article though. What do you all think about this? Is it really that easy or is it something more?