Friday, November 4, 2011

Publishers Are Not Out To Screw Authors

I find it interesting that as soon as an author has something not go their way with their books or their sales, it becomes an authomatic response that the publisher is out to "screw the author." Sorry to say this people, but with the exception of those "scam" publishers (you know the ones I am talking about) everyone is in this for the common good.

Part of the reason for contract negotiation prior to getting your book published is to make sure you are sure this is the deal you want to take. There is no one out there putting a gun to your head saying you have to sign that contract or say yes. If you sign that contract, you are saying that you agree with everything that is in the contract. You cannot just "hope that issue doesn't come up." You have to plan ahead and preempt any situation that might come up.

Yesterday, I discussed the issue that came up from Amazon. I had a comment that I think is relevant here: I've seen about how predatory Amazon can be to writers. Unless we get some minimal regulations around their activities in this country, the stories are going to keep on coming. People have to think very carefully about whether they want to make Amazon THE channel they sell through.

I am not so sure how "Predatory" Amazon really is since the authors have signed a contract to work with them. The last comment this person made is really the right approach. People have to think about whether or not they want to take that approach. But this also means that they need to be proactive and discuss potential contract issues.

As agents, most of us work really hard to modify and work with contracts to insure things are in the best shape for our authors. This isn't just the amount of the advance, but also issues with cover designs, options on next books, release dates and what not.

I would just encourage authors to think before they sign anything. This is common knowledge. But, with that said, if something goes wrong, before you start placing blame, see if there was something you could have done before hand that would have prevented it.


P.S. I would also note this is one more of those cases where the role of the agent is becoming even more of a necessity.


  1. Excellent points and yet another reason why I'm so bloody glad I have a literary agent.

  2. I would think that before you sign something you should have an agent fighting for you, an author thinking it through, and a lawyer reading the contract through to make sure that there are no loopholes for any party to do something they shouldn't. That's just me though. Seems like common sense that all parties are responsible to checks and balances.

  3. I just want to clarify: my comment on yesterday's post was in no way "publishers be damned". My criticism was specific to Amazon, the most popular retailer in the world, the default sales channel for most independent authors AND a publisher.

  4. Fine if you have an agent.The other 99% of us have to take our chances

  5. Oh yeah? How about a magazine publisher who suddenly hasn't made enough advertising money to pay you for your hard work you've done for the past month? The one who says "oh, I can pay you part of your invoice now but I have to wait to pay you the rest," even though you have a contract with them? But still they expect you to be patient and write? How about that guy? I'd tell you who it is but frankly, I'm afraid they'll screw me out of my WHOLE paycheck. Publishers suck.