Not Publishing, but Content Creation

An illustration from a book by Maximilian II Habsburg. Author photo.

That’s the basis of Kris Rusch’s piece Rethinking the Writing Business: Part 1 over at Kris Writes. We authors are looking at ourselves as publishers, or working with publishers and trying to match their take.

Nope. Wrong. Too limited.

We create stories. Content. Like other entertainers do. And that’s how we need to be approaching things like licensing (what inspired her post), rights, and other income-generating activities.

There’s a lot more to unpack in Kris’s post. It’s going to be one for the Mad Genii to chew on and think hard about, because it is rather different from how most of us think about our businesses.

We create content. How do we market and license that content?

For more discussion:



  1. A concept anathema to our trad pub betters I’m sure.
    They will tell you, assuming that they even deign to speak to a lowly author, that they take your raw clay and lovingly form it into a product that is worthy of purchase.
    But truth is that it is and always has been the writer, the consumate storyteller, that creates content, and all publishers ever did was wrap it in a pretty package, and occasionally do a bit of marketing.

    1. “Carefully curated content, which rises above the tsunami of swill,” to mash together phrases from several different publishers.

      Kris’s paragraphs about the enormous difference between the expectations of people starting to negotiate licensing vs. publishing are probably the core of the article, at least for those still interested in trad-pub, or even those looking at small-press contracts. Totally different expectations on both sides, with quite different results.

  2. ehh, for most of us, licensing is something we’ll never have to worry about and the book *is* the finished product. For a lot of licensed SF stuff, the rules are slgithly different than Kris was talking about… sometimes its just a flat fee, sometimes its flat fee + per item, sometimes the flat fee represents an advance, sometimes it does not.

  3. In other words, the publishing world has been exploiting writers for a very long time.
    It’s the open contempt that’s relatively recent.

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