Friday, June 21, 2013

[Link] The New World of Publishing: Stop Submitting Manuscripts to Traditional Publishers

by Dean Wesley Smith

David Farland did a balanced post on the question of when to be an indie writer or when to sell to traditional publishing. And as usual, I agree with much of what Dave said, although I could quibble on the thrillers. But I don’t feel he went far enough by a long ways. And he didn’t take into account modern publishing contracts for beginning writers. So read his post first and then read on here.

Dave broke apart the idea that some genres are better than others for indie publishing. He’s right, sort of. But the other genres are not bad for it either. I want to make that clear. He sort of left the opinion that indie publishing in some genres is bad. Some genres just have more electronic sales than others is all.

And if you are at the level of David Farland or any of the other writers he mentioned (all friends of mine as well), you have clout to negotiate a novel contract to get out of some of the horrid stuff publishers are putting in smaller-book contracts.

But most writers these days don’t have that kind of clout. I don’t.

And almost no new writer does. So it comes down to a choice of 1) Saying no to a contract with horrid terms or 2) taking a contract and losing all rights to your book forever for $5,000.00 or less. Without clout, you can’t negotiate anything of value.

Just to be clear…

Your clout is basically measured by the desire of the publisher for the project (or you as an author).

If the publisher really wants the project and you have other choices, (either indie or other publishers who want you or the project) you have the “clout” or ability to get terms in contracts changed.

The problem is that for most writers, the myth of being published by a traditional publisher is very strong, and agents are so bad, that a new writer with a first offer will sign just about any contract, giving the publisher basically all rights forever to their work. And worse, the new writer often signs a contract that restricts what they can write going into the future.

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