Unpaid/Royalty-only Writing Markets

“Give me your stories,” they said.soitbegins
“We’ll give you exposure,” they said.
What I say is crap on that.

Who else works for exposure?
Tradespeople don’t. Doctors don’t.
Plumbers sure as hell don’t work on the premise of free labour if you show your pipes to all your friends, do they?
Doctors getting you to share your scars all over the Internet in exchange for free surgery?
I don’t think so.

Unpaid markets benefit one side of the equation, and only one side.
The publisher.

I hear all the time about the wonderful gift of exposure, but let’s face it, unless you have some name authors in the anthology, the only exposure you’re likely to get is to the other writers and their friends and family.  There are a million for-the-love (FTL) markets out there, with more springing up every single day. These days, anyone can publish through Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) and Createspace (CS). You don’t even need to register as a business, although many of these fly-by-night outfits do so to try and make themselves appear more legitimate.

Fuck that shit. Just fuck it. nope

Yeah, many of these LLCs and sole-operators are decent people who really believe in what they are trying to do. Sure, they are giving upcoming and emerging authors a chance to get their work out there.

Sure, the world of publishing is hard to get a foot in.
Sure, FTL markets seem the way to start off. A way to get your work out and to build up a fan base. A way to validate all your hard work, and to be able to say “Hey look! I’m a published author.”

Well, guess what? Anyone can do that.
I’m not saying that all FTL markets are shite. Just that most of the ones I’ve seen are shite.
And you know why they’re shite?

Because anyone can create them, trained and experienced or totally new to the publishing world.
ANYONE can start up a Blogspot or WordPress or Wix site (all free, of course) and call themselves a publisher.
And they don’t have to risk a goddamn cent to do so.

Let’s break them down, economically, shall we?

10406557_699987173407352_4173397671221668235_nWebsite/blog = no cost
Facebook page/Twitter account = no cost
Microsoft paint/online graphic design tool (to create ugly logo/banner) = no cost
Authors willing to work for exposure or royalty shares = no cost
No editing/editing by founder (no experience or training) = no cost
No proofing/proofing by founder (no experience or training) = no cost
Cover design by founder or their sibling/partner (no training or experience) = no cost
Upload badly-designed Word document interior to KDP/Smashwords/CS = no cost
Spam all the social media book groups = no cost
TOTAL = NOTHING/NO COST/ZILCH

Risk = nothing

See the problem here?
Well, that’s not all, folks.
You might say that it’s worth it for the exposure writers get.

WRONG!

Let’s look at what a writer DOES get from this.

All their hard work gets no reward except being published, most likely in ebook form, and maybe in print.
That’s good, right?
Nope.

no

All of a sudden that story is no longer an original. It’s only valid for reprint markets.
Many of the better anthologies (paid ones) don’t want reprints, and even if they do, they pay MUCH less for them.

So… the publisher gets free stuff, and the writer gets exposed to about twenty or thirty people.

So, what else is in it for the publisher? Surely there’s more, isn’t there?

Yep. There’s more.

Remember what writers are like. We all love to see our shit in print.
We love to have a few copies of anything we appear in on our shelves.
Boasting material.
Bragging rights.
“Yeah… that book there? I’m IN that.” Struts over to the shelves and pulls it out.

So, the usual crap deal with FTL and royalty-only anthologies is that the writer gets a free e-book copy of the volume.
“Wow!” you say. “That’s cool.”

Well, the truth is, no it’s not. They cost the publisher nothing to send out. Another layer of no-cost for the publisher.
Another layer of false legitimacy for the publisher.

Print copies is where it’s really at. Writers want hardcopies. And they usually buy them.
From the publisher.
The same publisher who isn’t paying the writers.

So, the writers are now, instead of getting paid, actually PAYING the publisher to get their stories published.
Likely at least two or three copies.

mathI could do the maths, but I hate numbers, so suffice it to say that 20-30 writers, each buying at least two books, means the publisher has now sold 40-60 books. At likely $15-$20 each.
They may have made five bucks a book, so there’s $200-$300 right there.
From the WRITERS.
The people who should have been paid, but instead are paying.

If you say “well, the publisher is giving each writer one print book,” then that’s something, but I betcha that most, if not all, of the writers will still go on and buy two or three books on top of that. Presents for family and friends.

So… let’s look at this so far.
Writers = out of pocket around $50-60 to have their story published.
Publishers = average profit of $250 AND the beginning of a company. If they do this often enough, they have a bit of an income stream.
I’ve seen publishers like this put out 100 anthos a year. They get authors to move in and act as editors, putting together the antho and having their name on the cover as editor.
All for free, of course, because God forbid anyone but the publisher making a cent out of the whole thing.

In the end, the writer gets little to no promotion, somewhat out of pocket, and a few badly-edited books with crappy cover art.stop
I think I’d rather die of exposure than be subjected to this type of exposure.

To me, it seems way too much like vanity publishing.
Writers PAYING to be published.
I guess that’s because it’s exactly what it is, thinly disguised as some crap where the publisher says “You should be doing it for the love of writing.”
Yeah, fuck that.
What about the love of building a reputation instead of tearing it down in crappy anthologies.

What about that?

Next post, I take a look at royalty-only stuff, which is just as bad.
For now, check out my mate Alan Baxter’s take on that shit:
http://www.alanbaxteronline.com/royalty-anthologies-writer-exploitation/
arseholes

 

Amazon, Hachette, and flaming bullshit | Jay Kristoff – Literary Giant

Beautiful people, a moment of your time, if you will.

I won’t bang on at length about this (there are many who will), but there’s some important stuff you should be made aware of.

If you are a book lover, THIS SHIT AFFECTS YOU.

If you are a reader, THIS SHIT AFFECTS YOU.

I presume you’re one of these, because you’re on my blog. So please take 5 minutes of your day, and read on.

 

In short:

* There is a big French publisher called Hachette. They publish many amazing authors (not me, har har, ego joke) and many incredible books. If you look at your shelves, you’ll find books from Hachette or its imprints.

* Amazon.com is currently engaged in “business negotiations” with Hachette, and is seeking “more favourable terms” in their new contract. In short, Amazon want Hachette to lower their prices, so Amazon can buy Hachette books cheaper, and thus, make more money when they sell them to you (for the same price they were selling them before – you will not save a CENT from this).

* Hachette do not want to sell Amazon their books cheaper. They sell them plenty cheap already.

* As a result, Amazon have begun listing Hachette books as “unavailable” for order on Amazon.com. They have begun delaying the shipment of Hachette books, citing a 3-5 week delivery time (note, the books are IN Amazon’s warehouses, Amazon just aren’t shipping them).

READ MORE AT:  Amazon, Hachette, and flaming bullshit | Jay Kristoff – Literary Giant.

Amazon notifying Kindle book purchasers of upcoming refunds from class action suit | ZDNet

Several major publishers were sued in a class action by the Attorneys General of a number of states due to collusion resulting in price fixing. The court has approved a settlement granting refunds to buyers of ebooks from those publishers. Amazon is sending notifications to purchasers of qualifying ebooks that two other publishers have now joined the settlement, which should result in bigger refunds for its customers.According to the Amazon notification, customers dont need to do anything to qualify for or receive the refund. The court will conduct a hearing on December 6 of this year to approve or reject the two new pubishers joining the settlement. If approved, Amazon customers should expect an estimated $0.73 to $3.06 for every qualifying ebook purchased between April 1, 2010 and May 21, 2012. The refund can be used to purchase ebooks or print books. In lieu of a credit to the Amazon account a paper check can be requested as detailed in the Amazon notification.The publishers joining in the settlement are Hachette, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Penguin and Macmillan. The refunds are being paid out of a $162.25 million pool the publishers have established for the refunds.

via Amazon notifying Kindle book purchasers of upcoming refunds from class action suit | ZDNet.

Publishers Have Paid $166 Million to Settle E-book Claims

“According to a recent filing, publishers have paid a total of $166,158,426 to settle state and consumer e-book price fixing charges, including an additional $3,909,000 to settle consumer claims in Minnesota. The figures come from a letter filed with Judge Denise Cote earlier this month by Texas attorney general Greg Abbott, and do not include legal fees and other court costs. Minnesota was not part of the original state suit and pursued its own litigation.

Notably, the letter includes the total damage awards calculated by the states and lists the amount publishers agreed to pay as a percentage of those damages. In that regard, the deals look pretty good for the initial three settling publishers (Hachette, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster). Hachette was calculated to be on the hook for a total of $62,280,000, but has paid $32,686,165, roughly 52% of what it was liable for. HarperCollins paid $20,168,710, about 65% of $31,140,000 it was assessed for. And Simon & Schuster was on the hook for $42,920,000, and paid $18,303,551 or 42% of assessed damages.”

via Publishers Have Paid $166 Million to Settle E-book Claims.

The Millions : The Apple Antitrust Case and the Widgetification of Books

“For the past year, to the rising horror of publishing-industry insiders, the federal government has been on a campaign to stamp out price fixing in the e-book trade between the last remaining major publishing houses and Apple, which sells e-books for its iPads and other devices. On Wednesday, Denise Cote, a federal judge in Manhattan, ruled that Apple had indeed colluded with publishers to raise prices of e-books — in the process giving aid and comfort to Amazon, the single strongest monopolistic force in the book business.The case is far from over. Apple is one of the world’s largest corporations, and it is in a knife fight with Amazon and others over the future of digital content, so you can count on it to carry on its appeals as long as it can. But Wednesday’s ruling follows an earlier decision by the major publishers to settle with the government rather than fight the case, so in some ways we are already living in the economic environment Justice Department lawyers believe is best for the book business. It isn’t pretty. Borders is gone, Barnes & Noble is on the ropes, and with the recently approved merger of Random House and Penguin Books, the already absurdly conglomerated Big Six publishers have become the Big Five.”

via The Millions : The Apple Antitrust Case and the Widgetification of Books.

Open letter to the Big Six publishers: Have you learned anything? « TeleRead: News and views on e-books, libraries, publishing and related topics

“The publishing industry is all screwed up, and whose fault is that? Perhaps the fault of all the publishing execs who are stepping down right around now, blogger Agent Orange suggests in a post on FutureBook entitled “The Elephant in the Graveyard.” While they did great things in their time, they were too inculcated in the culture of bricks and mortar to be able to adapt to the potential of an electronic world.When the paradigm shifted, which significantly predates the global recession – Amazon first turned a profit way back in 2002 – they comprehensively and continuously failed to understand the challenges of the new world. Why should they – they were schooled in the old and had already presided over one paradigm shift – the end of the net book agreement. Is anyone capable of presiding over two?”

via Open letter to the Big Six publishers: Have you learned anything? « TeleRead: News and views on e-books, libraries, publishing and related topics.