Penguin Random House–AKA Randy Penguin–is whining about the DOJ. Now, I whine about the DOJ a lot, especially these days as it works with the White House to expand the government’s reach into our every day life. But Randy Penguin is busy wringing its hands (flippers?) in anguish as the Feds try to block its takeover of Simon & Schuster. You see, according to the randy one, the Feds don’t understand how publishing works and there’s absolutely no change that will happen if the takeover goes through. In fact, it will do more harm to stop the takeover than to let it go forth.
Believe it or not, but Randy Penguin says it will be a “boon” for the industry if the merger goes through. Forget about the fact it means the Big 5 will become the Fantastic Four. Things won’t change. Oh, and don’t forget, Simon & Schuster really doesn’t have that much power in the industry so no biggie. Really. Trust us.
Here’s how their lead attorney puts it:
“Penguin Random House’s acquisition of Simon & Schuster is procompetitive in every respect. It will benefit authors, booksellers, and readers for generations to come,” said Dan Petrocelli of ‘Melveny & Myers and lead attorney for PRH and Bertelsmann. “DOJ wants to block the merger on the misguided theory it will diminish compensation to the highest paid authors. This is not only legally, factually, and economically wrong, but it also ignores the vast majority of authors who indisputably will benefit from the transaction. We are fully confident that this merger will only enhance competition across the entire spectrum of the publishing industry.”
Now, don’t laugh too hard as you read the above. Remember, they want you to forget how previous mergers and takeovers have shuttered imprints and left authors stranded without a place for their books in the new “house”. Not, as you read the linked articles that the emphasis printed books with little to no mention of e-books. Note also they refer to their highest paid authors, not mid-listers who are always shoved out the door when things get tough even though they are the ones publishers can rely upon for a set number of sales–in other words, guaranteed income.
I think what made me laugh the most as I read the two articles is this:
“The publishing industry does not divide the market for book rights into distinct categories based on the author’s compensation for the book,” PRH’s lawyers said.” “The royalty advance for a proposed book is driven mainly by the reader demand a particular editor anticipates for that particular book.”
Technically, this is an accurate statement. But it leaves so much out. It omits the fact that those high advances to a Clinton or an Obama or other publishing darling means another author (or authors) won’t be offered a deal or will get substantially lower amount. Nor does it cover the fact that publishers are often more interested in pushing an idea than they are in actually selling books. What else explains signing Hillary Clinton to a deal with Louise Penny to “write” a novel that is little more than a thinly veiled description of how HRC sees herself and her role as SecState?
There are any number of problems with the proposed takeover of S&S by Randy Penguin. At the heart of them all are the dangers to readers and writers. No matter what Randy Penguin says, there will be changes and those changes will impact the number of books published. Hell, if I repped S&S, I’d be pissed with the way PRH is characterizing the house. Talk about insulting.
But here’s the thing–and I really wish DOJ would look at this while looking at the takeover. This is an argument of no harm to writers being put forth by a company that willingly, happily subscribes to the hand-wavium that is publishing accounting. They don’t use a solid Point of Sales accounting method. Instead, they subscribe to BookScan which extrapolates sales based on POS numbers from certain stores. I guess it is too difficult for publishers to ask their printers and distributors to tell them solid numbers and follow them up.
Naw, the reality is they don’t want the actual numbers. If they had them, they would owe more to authors in royalty payments. But we’re supposed to believe them when they say shrinking the number of major publishers will only strengthen the business and will be good for authors.
Pull the other one, why don’t you?
Now for some publishing news from my front. I’m probably proving I need some serious help of the mental kind, but I put my next four books up for pre-order. They are currently available on Amazon for pre-order and will show up on the other major online outlets shortly. That gives me five books up for pre-order. Here they are:
Release Date: January 4, 2022
Some say monsters aren’t real. Others say the only monsters are those people who aren’t fully human: the witches and shapeshifters, elves and dwarves, and all the others who one day stepped out of the realm of fairy tales and into “real life”. Morgan Walsh knows the truth. Monsters come in all shapes and sizes, and some of the worst are human.
She didn’t start out life as Morgan Walsh. Once upon a time, her name was Adriana Grace Hensen. Everything, including her name, changed the day she turned thirteen. That day she learned several lessons she’d never forget. The first was that monsters were real. The second was that her parents were two of the worst “monsters” alive. The third was that those you trust the most can and will turn on you.
Morgan’s parents betrayed her because she wasn’t “human”. Now she’s back with one goal in mind: vengeance.
Never, ever conspire against a Fire Elemental, especially one with other “talents” as well. When you do, you’d best be prepared to get burned.
Foil of the Gods (Sword of the Gods #3)
Release Date: March 16, 2022
Evil has taken root in the Adrean Imperium. Soon it will rise up, destroying everything in its wake. If Balaar wins, the world will fall to a darkness the like of which it has never before seen.
Aimsir, to the west of the Imperium, is the birthplace of the Order of Arelion, enemy of Balaar. Cait Falconer—Knight-Cleric and heir to Queen Maeve Porgisl, ruler of Aimsir—knows danger draws near. Aimsir’s borders have been safeguarded but at a great cost. Now Cait and the Order work with the Queen and her military to make sure Aimsir never falls to the coming evil.
Then the unthinkable happens. Allies fall. Others become enemies. The followers of Balaar march inexplicably toward Aimsir. If it falls, all will be lost.
Jaguar Bound (Nocturnal Awakenings #2)
Release Date: May 17, 2022
Twenty years ago, the world first learned of the existence of shapeshifters and other paranormals. It hasn’t always been easy but now Normals and Paras live in relative peace. Mackenzie Santos played a large role in making that happen. Mac has spent most of her adult life enforcing the law. Once she started turning furry, that law included Shifter law. Because of her and those like her, the world is a safer place.
Or is it?
A new threat appears on the horizon, one that puts both Paras and Normals in danger. Will Mac be able to meet and defeat this new challenge or will it turn into her greatest fear: war between Paras and Normals?
Destiny from Ashes (Honor & Duty #8)
Release Date: July 14, 2022
Colonel Ashlyn Shaw is on a collision course with an enemy determined to destroy her and all she holds dear. Honor demands she not turn away from the upcoming battle. Duty requires her to do whatever is necessary to protect her command and her home system. The Corps and her family stand with her, ready and willing to do whatever it takes to finally bring this war to an end.
But when the enemy turns out to be closer than she thinks, how will Ashlyn react? Will this finally be what breaks her or will it see the might of the Fuerconese Marine Corps raining death and destruction down on all who would stand against Fuercon and her enemies?
Honor and duty. Corps and family. These are the hills upon which Ash and every Marine in her command will live and possibly die as they fight to protect Fuercon and her allies.
Designation: Frejya (Augment Wars #1)
Release Date: September 20, 2022
I was five when they came for my brother. I was thirteen when they came for me. At twenty, they sent me to war, an AI embedded in my brain make sure I didn’t remember my past or question my orders. Not that they told me that part.
And that was their mistake. They might have enhanced me, trained me, but they didn’t break me and, with Menhit in my head, I am about to become their worst nightmare. . .if they don’t kill me first.
The Ter’anzils have invaded and enslaved innumerable star systems over the centuries. Have they finally met their match in one of their own creations?
And, to prove I’ve lost my mind, I’m also planning the final book in the Eerie Side of the Tracks series before the end of 2022. The only reason it isn’t listed yet is I haven’t figured out the title or drafted a cover mock-up. But that, too, shall come. In case you haven’t figured it out, my name is Amanda and I’m a writer.