Saturday, June 20, 2009
Normally, I love posting about the shifters and all their problems and how difficult it is to get a happily ever after, even when you're different. This morning, the shapeshifters I'll be discussing are electronically published authors.
Yeah, you know them, toothy babes, fang and claw at the ready, defending themselves because no one knows enough about what they do to make an informed decision as to how to protect them. And why would they need protection, anyway?
E-publishing has come a very long way in the past ten years and it's still evolving. Some companies are bigger successes than others, some are still folding or being bought by other electronic publishers--that's business. The same thing has been happening in New York. The bigger houses bought up smaller houses and the competition became an asset as soon as the papers were signed.
As the places to sell our work became fewer and the mid-list, where new authors were allowed to acquire a following dissolved, new authors had fewer opportunities. Electronic publishers offer really nice royalties. Really nice royalties, we're talking 35-40%.
New York publishers are starting to issue e-formats of their author's work. I think you can even get a major publisher's series titles in digital a full month before they come out. What royalties are they paying? Since it will be a secondary right, because print is their medium at this time, my guess is that it will be well below your print royalty. So what happens in ten or fifteen years, when we've presumably gotten used to the "green" movement and many more people are reading digitally?
What happens if no one is paying attention to the concerns of e-published authors now and lets this contract model standard become the standard? If print is still your first right, the print runs could dwindle and your digital copies could become your main source of income. The publishing house would have a lot of money flowing toward them and less flowing toward you.
Digital rights are something every author should be concerned with because whether they want to admit or it not, it is the future. What kind of future is being decided right now so I urge you to make your voices heard and push for some education and understanding among those who might not understand how important this is.
Start the ball rolling, talk to people, write letters, sign proxies, whatever you think will get this subject in front of those decision makers who don't seem to think this is important.