From Kristine Kathryn Rusch:
Last week, I wrote a blog about the Authors Guild letter of 2016. I explored a number of things about the letter, but avoided the one thing that annoys me the most.
The letter’s tone.
It begs. It whines. It pleads.
Don’t believe me? Read it.
For those of you too lazy to click on the link, here are three examples of what I mean from the letter itself:
•It is time for publishers to give authors the respect, compensation and fair play they deserve.
•And authors should be able to get a fair shake even if they don’t have powerful agents or lawyers…Why not do the right thing by all authors and eliminate those provisions for everyone?
•Without serious contract reform, the professional author will become an endangered species and publishers—as well as society at large—will be left with less and less quality content. Publishers need to treat their authors equitably so they can keep writing the kinds of books that have enabled the publishing industry to achieve the financial and cultural status it enjoys today.
Note the repetition of the word “fair” and “equitable.” Yeah, all well and good, folks. But the Authors Guild is writing a letter to large corporations begging those corporations to give up profit and advantage because it’s “the right thing” to do.
How nice, and sweet, and naïve of these people. In a perfect world, maybe, some Powerful Publisher will grant its Poor Little Writers a few more crumbs from the Big Kids table.
But a friend of mine, who started and ran a multimillion-dollar business (not publishing) for decades, has a saying. Whenever he hears or sees something like this, he gets an impish little grin, and says, “Fair is in August.”
For those of you outside of the United States, he’s referring to county and state fairs that show up every summer, with carnival rides and cotton candy and all sorts of circus-like entertainment.
. . . .
The tone of the Authors Guild letter reminds me of children begging their parents for one more piece of candy, one more movie, one more toy from the toy store. “It’s not fair!” the child whines. “Suzy gets one! Why can’t all the kids have the same toys?”
It’s not fair. Nothing in life is fair.
And no large for-profit business, which is answerable to shareholders, is ever going to lose a profitable advantage because it’s somehow fair.
Here’s the truth of publishing, folks. Those terms the Authors Guild is fighting for, the thing they want all authors to have? Some authors already get them. It’s not that the industry refuses to grant the terms to allauthors. It’s that the industry gives those who have some kind of clout in a negotiation more respect—and better terms—than someone who rolls over and whines.
That clout doesn’t have to be multimillion dollar book sales. That clout might simply be backbone. From my early days as a beginning writer, I asked for good contract terms. And because I asked, I often got them. It wasn’t like the publishers refused everyone, but they certainly aren’t going to give good terms to someone who is too dumb to ask for them.
Link to the rest at Kristine Kathryn Rusch
Here’s a link to Krist Rusch’s books. If you like an author’s post, you can show your appreciation by checking out their books.