“So, hot on the news that 15% of the ebook bestseller lists are self published authors comes this piece about Touching the Void author Joe Simpson leaving his publisher (and agent) over the issue of e-book royalty rates.
“I have spent years warning publishers that they are doing a brilliant job of conspiring with themselves to fail by pursuing the short term maintenance of margins in a period of transition over and above longer term repositioning of their business for the future.
“Of course if publishers are in trouble then so are agents, or at least the ones that don’t adapt their business model.”
“This isn’t about any particular publisher; it is about a seemingly endemic desire to alienate authors, damage the publishing brand and do as much as is possible to create the impression that they just don’t get it.
“All of the predictions about further consolidation after last year’s news about the Random Penguin merger are confirmation of this.
“On the face of it how do you fight a titanic enemy like Amazon? You mass your forces right? No, not if you are still heavily outnumbered, that way you merely present a bigger target. The classic answer is to take a leaf out of the Vietcong’s book – split into small units and snipe from the hills: tie the enemy down in a protracted battle they ultimately cannot win because it is not their territory and they do not understand it or care about it as much as you do”.
“The only way to make that work in the resource shy cottage industry that is publishing is to be an expert. Know your market sector. And the simple fact of the matter is that publishers do not because publishers still expect to shift between celeb auto’s, swords and sandals, chick lit, reading group fiction etc. etc. in any given month. A few averagely paid marketing people cannot possibly make that work.”
Read the rest here: Futurebook
Super interesting article. Julia Barrett