From author Renee Bernard:
Recently, I’ve begun drafting my next semi-annual requests to my previous NY based publishers for the rights to revert back to me for dustier tomes that I would love to welcome back onto my shelves. It’s become a bit of a ritual and repeated rite of supplication and rejection for me. For a lot of Indie authors, it’s just part of the landsacpe–a nearly hopeless quest to recover your creative offspring and reunite them with their newer siblings.
I ask. They say, no. It isn’t fun.
They say something about the book still being available for sale…and with the veils of secrecy that they’ve perfected over a century, it’s tough to argue that it is NOT “in print” if one box is rotting in a warehouse, or if they’ve jobbed out copies for pennies on the dollar and it’s clear they aren’t making any print runs anytime soon (aka never). Prove it. Even if I buy the few remaining copies at a fire sale, they refuse to let go. They use the same electronic copies that have become the stuff of dreams against you because those books never go out of print, right? Sorry.
As NY publishing continues to stumble in the dark, the fallback position is to hold onto everything they have, either for fear of losing the tiniest revenue stream from past books or out of the hope that one of those long-neglected and dropped authors will become quite the lottery win if the writer goes on to do great things outside of their hold. For them, they think retaining every scrap of rights is a win-win.
. . . .
If an author has stepped away from traditional publishing, they probably had reasons. By refusing to play nice and yield publication rights when it is reasonable to do so–you step firmly into the role of greedy villain. Which while probably an awesome thing to be in a captitalist profit-driven scenario in a Hollywood film, won’t sustain an industry in the real world for long. As talent flees in droves and the publishing world changes, what hope do they have of luring back any of those Big Fish if things do take a turn for the better?
What author would look back and say, “Yes! Oh, please! You’ve been so reasonable and pleasant to deal with! Where do I sign?”
They lock the door on any future contracts with incredible writers because let’s face it, those creative types tend to remember every bruise and insult. The business model becomes dependent on new, naive, uninformed talent to sign on the dotted line… And we all know how that’s going! Because writers are talking to each other! We communicate. We share stories of our experiences, numbers, names, details. That’s right–it’s quite the forum out there! In other words, I believe that the pool of talent they say is shrinking is in fact the pool of willing newbies they can attract with the diminishing prestige of hardcovers and shiny marketing.
Link to the rest at Renee Bernard
Here’s a link to Renee Bernard’s books