Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Contracts, Publishers, Royalties and Professionalism @KarynGerrard #Opinion

I'm at the end of my rope with a certain publisher. And I am so glad my gut alarm told me to turn down the second contract offer before everything turned foul. No, I am not going to call them out. I try not to give them much thought at all.

 I'm not the type to sharpen my claws, but I will share my experience with the now defunct Silver Publishing. The red flags that pop up with publishers usually all have a common thread. Luckily, when the Silver owner briefly offered people their rights back, I jumped at the offer.

I did not get everything owed to me. Never saw third party sales. This hot mess dragged on for close to two years until at last the owner fled the country leaving many people high and dry with broken promises in his wake.

Publishers in trouble follow a pattern. Software issues. Hardware issues. We have to downsize. Hang in there, we love loyal authors. Amazon screwed up our payment. Delay tactics on rights requests. Sales reports that make no sense. Or no reports at all. Nasty replies. And all the while courting new authors and treating the old (and in their mind, disloyal) authors like the plague. Us against them. You stabbed us in the back.

It has turned me off submitting to any mid-size to small publishers owned by individuals. And it doesn't matter if you do the due diligence, (as I did at the time of signing the contracts) because in this unsteady and volatile publishing business things can change on a dime. Also when dealing with smallish pubs, you are dealing up close with personalities, cliques, and favouritism. Not to say this doesn't happen at bigger pubs, because it does. Now, I am talking generalities, what I've seen other people comment on, this is not my experience as a whole. Unfortunately, thanks to the actions of a couple of pubs, its turned me off a bunch of others. Which is too bad.

One sign things are rotten in Denmark is how a publisher responds to you. Snark? Accusations? Completely ignores you? This is no way to run a business, no matter how big or small.

Does the publisher stop communicating with its authors as a group? Do you have no idea what's going on? This is also a red flag. If a publisher was professional, they would keep authors in the loop no matter how much relations had deteriorated. Also before signing with a publisher owned by individuals, find the owners on social media and see how they present themselves. If they are friendly but professional, chances are their business will be run the same way.

Also this is for newbies: I know the euphoria being offered a contract can bring, especially your first one. But don't let the stardust blind you to what other authors are saying. Heed the warnings. For where there is smoke, there is fire. Don't drink the Koolaid for any publisher. They are not your family. It's a business. So be professional and polite.

Quite a few smaller pubs have shut down this year, most of them did it the right way, bowing out before they got in too much debt, graciously offering back the rights to authors. I am glad the majority of pubs ARE professional. But it always takes one or two to sour the barrel. Be cautious. Watch for red flags. And always listen to your gut alarm.

And now a not so polite clip from GOODFELLAS. Excuse the language.


Due to the amount of spam comments I am turning moderation and word verification on~KG

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