Sunday, January 07, 2007

The Nightmare of Publishing

Publishing has undergone a sea change since 1983 when my first book came out; and the waters are murky and polluted. All of the medium and big houses are now owned by giant corporations. With unceasing effort, they continue to come up with new ways to screw the writer out of what is already the smallest piece of the profit pie: deep discounting, special sales, dotcom sales, and now small reprints at half the royalty rate. It just doesn't stop. Writers' unions and associations appear to be powerless against this trend. Except for the blockbuster authors, the days of the full-time writer are at an end. Writing is a heart-breaking profession in which one is ground underfoot by the hobnailed boots of a heartless industry. Will they kill the golden goose? (PS Had to get that off my chest.)

9 comments:

Mary said...

So sorry to see your having to deal with the "Horah for me, screw you " big corporation ideas that most of the small to middle income families live with daily.

The ONLY thing the corporations' care about NOW adays is seeing whom they can squash next.

I am in TOTAL agreence with you O.R. the only way the best writers will get their great works out to the world, will be by selling their souls to the devils of the big corps, and get little to nothing for it.
Sorry for ranting.
Good luck on your prblems, I hope you get them worked out.

Bookmark said...

Ah yes, an oul rant does the heart good once in a while, doesn't it? I am hoping writers in the future, perhaps using the Web, can skip the publishing industry altogether. Go straight to their readers and be paid directly by them. The big bookstore chains are monsters too, as they demand deep discounts which rob both author and small bookstores. Some US publishers now send their manuscripts to the big chains to ask, "should I publish this? Do you think it will sell?" What a nightmare. Flogging the soul in the marketplace, as Patrick Kavanagh would say.

Pomona said...

I too am disturbed by the chain bookstore style of cramming books down our throats. It seems like the same fifty books are everywhere and everyone is reading them. It completely takes away from the joy of discovering new authors with something fresh and interesting to say. Movies and television shows are becoming like this too, with big profits being the bottom line. Oh, for the days of the independent...

Bookmark said...

There are still independent bookstores out there and it is vital that we support them. They are not granted the same deep discounting deals which publishers give the chains (and which leads to the author getting 10% of small net sums instead of a proper royalty rate based on the price of the book)hence the chains can undersell the independents. But in the end we all lose - only blockbusters survive, impoverished authors stop writing (usually the more literary or quirky or unusual types writing for a smaller audience) and more and more mediocrity and common denominator pap is churned out for mass consumption. Lordy, I am ranting again ...

Sabrina said...

But there will always be those of us who love the charm and beauty in the older, smaller, one of a kind bookstores--those of us who have always, and will always, love books. And I agree, I love finding the book on the shelf that only has one copy, and being the first person I know to read it. Chain stores sometimes ruin the appeal of a good book by selling it to everyone. Have you also noticed that every popular book these days is being turned into a movie? And usually people will watch the movie (which doesn't do justice to the book) rather than read the book.

Pomona said...

I know just what you mean, Sabrina! I almost cried when I heard about the Dark is Rising movie. Some books should never be made into film, because this takes away the sacredness of our imagination.

Bookmark said...

Lordy, guys, have to admit I would love to see my books made into films! Even if I were disappointed by them - because movies by their very nature will always contain less of the story - I would love to see the beauty of the Irish and Canadian countrysides up there on the big screen and hear the music that belongs with the tales.

Mary said...

I personally would LOVE to see Ireland, and to see it through the eyes of the characters in the books, would be spectacular.

Pomona said...

I don't think I'd mind so much if they actually did it right. But you just know if they made THM into a movie they would cast some big-name starlets who don't know the difference between a faerie and a fell. And then Brad Pitt signs on to play Finvarra and it's doomed! Doomed I tells ya!

I'd rather watch it if you made it yourself on a minicamera.