An idle soul shall suffer hunger
It’s been said that volume, volume, volume is the key to success in publishing – both number of books and numbers of a book. The latter has been the publishing industry’s touchstone. If you’re a darling they put a lot copies on a lot retail shelves (a bit of bribery and arm-twisting goes on – on both sides, and this has little or nothing to do with readers liking or disliking the genre/book/author). However Traditional Publishing as often been actively restrictive in contracts to prevent authors selling to anyone else, or in the volume that they could produce – I am quite slow, but Sarah is very fast for example, and has I believe had restrictive contracts offered to her. It’s a sort of control freak thing, I can only think because as this author proves there really is no gain in it.
That seems a goal I could never reach, but I can see that that level of saturation can lead to success. So what is your take?
On another tack I was hearing several authors saying (very privately) ‘I love my publisher to bits but their boilerplate contract really is exploitative.’ And yes, almost universally (in fact I have yet to come across one that wasn’t. I’d be delighted to be wrong, so do point out if you think one exists. That’ll be the Publishing House that has a chance of surviving the 21st century)they are. Their reaction to the ability of authors to go Indy seems to have been a completely illogical and non-competitive one of ‘Oh, they’re leaving us because we’re not competitive… so let’s pay less and add a bunch of stupid rights grabs we have no intention of actively trying to sell, but can make a fast buck on if by pure hard work on their part or luck, we can snatch a profit on.’ It makes perfect sense, only eclipsed by the author who still loves them to bits. The logic employed by said authors is if you’re a name or have a powerful agent this won’t happen to you… yes, a real forward looking policy, on the same level of genius as not actually bothering to find out what people want to read.
So your turn -what would you like to see in a contract? What would make you choose a traditional publisher instead of Indy? And what is a reasonable volume to you, as a reader, and as a writer?