On a site called speculations.com you will find many many resources and opinions for and about writing.  The section that caught my eye is titled Caveat Scrivener.  I have been carrying on a discussion about the lopsided profit model in the publishing industry that gives most if not all the profits from a book to those who own distribution, manufacturing and representation…the author gets what’s left.   However, I seem to be the only one that’s outraged by this. 

My experience with this first book has led me to a half dozen Agents, each with a story to tell and each with an eye on my check book.  I’ve heard stories of small commercial publishers going bankrupt in this cut throat business and locking up the authors right to publish for months.  Larger commercial publishers have a very high “break even point” and much of any advance you receive on your book(IF you are lucky enough to get one) may well have to be returned if break even sales are not attained.  IF Bookstores buy your book they get a 55% discount and have the right to return unsold copies for a full refund.  Agents have implored me to pursue publication under this model and I can see how it benefits them.   What I can’t understand is why authors would sing the praises of this model.  

Take the real world example of Stephen King who was caught up in a Double Day annuity type payment arrangement after providing them with 3 best sellers and becoming their #1 author.  Perhaps if he had an agent to protect him, things might have been different or perhaps he never would have been given a chance if he hadn’t had a mentor editor/friend at Double Day who told him to clean up Carrie and resubmit.

For any author there are many ways to get published and make no mistake about it, unless you bring celebrity to the table, they are all a crap shoot.  Some games require years to get in, some have a very high table limit, and some don’t even pay enough to make it worth your while.

The odds for a new writer are 1 in 250,000…if you are that one any game will pay the odds…but how much of that ends up in your pocket depends on how wary you were at the start.

It’s a shame we can’t just write and let someone else take care of the “business” for no more than a 25% cut…but to hear them tell it “ALL YOU DID WAS WRITE A BOOK, we have to do all the real work”.

Perhaps they can convince you, but I remain committed to finding a better way.  And so far, funding the editing and formatting of my book for publication on demand through the services of Dog Ear and Lightning Press, still seems like a pretty good deal to me!