Publishers: You Still Don’t Get It!

I know I said I wasn’t going to do a blog post today.  But then there was big news, something I’m passionate about.  So, here goes.

^Publishing Houses^

^Publishing Houses are Clueless ^

If you’re a publisher, and want to skip the generalized bashing of the idiotic publishing industry, scroll to the bottom, where I offer advice about what authors want from you.  I’d LOVE to sign a deal with a publisher.  But you have to understand that I’m making a good living without you.  If you want me to pay you, you’re going to have to earn your money.

There’s news all over the interwebs about Random House backing off on it’s contract points. Writers everywhere are celebrating a win.  If you call the addition of lube to your anal raping a win, then yes, it’s a win.

Here’s the rundown:

The original terms offered by Random House were

  • No advance.
  • Assignment of all rights and subsidiary rights for the lifetime of the copyright.
  • No meaningful reversion clause, meaning you’ll never get any of these rights back – even the ones they don’t use – unless Random House deign to return them.
  • A 50% net royalty rate.

NET royalty rate equals the “profits” after Random House has paid for all marketing, publication, storage, shipping, editing, branding, printing, and whatever other costs they can come up with.

Under the old agreement, Authors don’t earn a dime until ALL of the publisher’s costs have been paid.

But wait!  Here are the new terms, now with lube!

The new terms offered by Random House are:

  • No Advance and 50/50 sharing of *net profit from each book.


  • Advance, but 25% of  *net profit from each book.


  • (Random House subsidiaries)  acquire rights to every book for the term of copyright, subject to an “out-of-print” clause, which provides for the author to request reversion of his or her rights three years after publication if the title fails to sell 300 copies in the 12 months immediately preceding the request.
  • (Random House subsidiaries) seek to acquire rights throughout the world and in all languages.
  • If we see opportunities with select manuscripts for performance or transformative digital editions (such as video games or movies), we will seek to acquire additional rights, subject to negotiation with the author.
  • Each title will be given an individual marketing plan.

* net profit is defined as net sales  revenue minus deductions as follows: For print editions, deductions will include actual costs directly attributable to production and shipping of the book; for digital editions, (Random House subsidiaries)will cover the cost of production. For both print and digital editions,(Random House subsidiaries) will cover all marketing costs connected with general, category- or imprint-wide marketing  programs. (Random House subsidiaries) will also cover costs of marketing activities undertaken  specifically on behalf of the book up to $10,000. Title-specific marketing costs above $10,000 will be proposed in advance to the author. If the author agrees, the incremental costs of such title-specific marketing activities over 10,000 will be deducted from sales revenue before profits are split. Cash payments owed to authors will be made quarterly

So they can STILL claim that no profit has been made.

At least they aren’t claiming the movie and video game rights without further negotiation.

Someone tell me, why, for the love of all things good, *ANYONE* would sign that contact?

  • I can, on my own, publish an e-book.  Pay for the marketing and promotional costs, and keep 100% of the profits.


  • I can publish an e-book, pay for the marketing and promotional costs, and give 50% of my money to Random House.


It’s so simple.  I’ve been screaming it for years.

  • Authors have the power to bypass you.  We don’t NEED you.
  • In 2013, if there were no more publishers, would there still be authors making a living?  YES.
  • If there were no authors, would publishers be in business?  NO.
  • That means YOU (publishers) need US (writers).  That means your contracts have to be favorable to US.

If you would like to stay in business, it’s very simple.  Here’s how it works.

  • Edit my book.  Currently I pay about $400 per book for editing.  Your editors are better than mine, AND full time employees.  So I’ll double it.  Charge me $800 for editing.
  • Design a cover.  My cover guy is FANTASTIC, provides original art and understands that the cover needs to look good as a thumbnail.  He charges $100.
  • Promote my book.  This is REALLY what I want from you.  This is your strength, and is your bread and butter.  Put my book in front of people.  Get the word out.  For this, I’m willing to pay you 25% of all royalties over and above the first 500 copies per month.  (Number of copies per month negotiable)

Let me write and interact with the readers.  That’s what I love to do.  That’s why I do what I do.  You do the parts you’re good at, I’ll do what I’m good at, and together we can both profit.


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