Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue


Are Book Awards and Book Sales Related? How Representative is the Authors Guild?

           The Book Publishing Landscape

The publishing landscape has changed so much that past things of importance and impact are no longer – fizzled out like a spent firecracker sparkler.

Examples are the Man Booker award in the U.K. and the National Book Awards in the U.S. – Oh, these awards still have a sentimental value to some, but, apparently, do not generate any large increase in book sales, notoriety or the economic bottom line for authors as they may have done in the past. And what about authors who don’t receive awards?

Recent surveys by the Authors Guild have exposed a 30% loss in author income since 2009 – But, these losses represent authors under the umbrella of traditional publishing. Most (not all) are not even making a living wage.

So, how do we explain the thousands of self-published authors (again, not all) who are making quite a good living wage? Let’s find out.

Tonights research article comes from WUWM Public Radio in Milwaukee, WI., written by

Key excerpts:

Washington Post critic Ron Charles reviews the kinds of books that get nominated for literary awards. These are not the blockbusters, the books written by the likes of Stephen King and Nora Roberts that make millions.”

“Robinson says the landscape for writers has changed in many ways. They have to do more self-promotion, sometimes even offering their work for free online. The Authors Guild blames the decline in writers’ income on a combination of factors: online piracy of digital material, consolidation within the publishing industry, which has led to more focus on the bottom line, the dominance of Amazon and the rise of self-publishing which has cut into the market for traditional publishers.”

“Eisler is a self-publishing advocate who says the Authors Guild doesn’t represent all writers. Its membership skews older and it is mostly interested in maintaining the status quo of traditional publishing. Self-publishing may not be for everyone, he says. There is no question writers have to be more entrepreneurial. But he says it also offers them a choice when it comes to money and control — and the end result isn’t really all that different from traditional publishing.”

” “Yes, it’s absolutely true that most self-published authors aren’t able — at least not yet — to make a living from their writing,” he says. “But that’s also absolutely true of legacy publishing. It’s always been true.” ”

Read the entire article titled: “When It Comes To Book Sales, What Counts As Success Might Surprise You


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Is Wylie Agency’s Foray into Publishing a Conflict of Interest?

If you think Shakespeare, pictured below, is confused trying to use a computer in the modern world, how about the confusion of publishers, authors, agents and booksellers in the new digital publishing world!

The debut of digital publishing has sparked an atmosphere in which authors, publishers, agents and booksellers are fighting amongst themselves, blurring their old-core missions and scrambling around looking for the best future bottomline after losing the old bottomline!

Case in point: Literary agent Wylie becoming a publisher through Amazon…

But, is Wylie in conflict of interest with their author clients? Could be, so authors be forewarned! If Wylie is dealing as a publisher will they be looking out for their interests or those of the author clients?

Now this is a conundrum that can be worked out, I believe, but it hasn’t yet…Presents an interesting problem to be solved, no?

HILLEL ITALIE, AP National Writer, wrote a great article addressing this point for ABC News/Entertainment at


Is John Wiley Wily?…No He’s Just C&G (Cheap & Greedy)!

Filed under: Authors Guild,book contracts,John Wiley,publishers contracts — gator1965 @ 9:39 pm

Good ole Author’s Guild is on the job! They have uncovered what I consider fraud in the way John Wiley has restructured and presented changes in publishers contracts in it’s new acquisition Bloomberg Press.

Jim Milliot of Publishers Weekly reports it this way:

The Authors Guild has sent an alert to its membership advising former Bloomberg Press authors not to sign a letter sent to them by John Wiley. Wiley took over the Bloomberg book publishing program earlier this year. According to the Guild, the letter is actually a contract amendment that changes the way royalties are paid from a rate based on list price to a rate based on net receipts. The result of the change, the Guild said, will reduce author royalties by as much as 50%.

In addition to the changes in terms, the Guild found Wiley’s presentation of the changes misleading in that the letter begins by stating that Wiley wants to inform authors “about a few differences in the accounting systems of Bloomberg and Wiley that it will be helpful for you to know about.” The Guild said that a review of a number of Bloomberg contracts found all royalties based on a discount off the retail list price, although they acknowledged that there may be other contracts based on net receipts. By using the phrase “we are pleased to inform you that we will be paying royalties on the net amount received” Wiley gives the impression that the change is beneficial to authors, the Guild said.

In addition to switch in royalty structure, the new terms also allow Wiley to keep a book in print “with a lowball print on demand royalty of 5% of net receipts” the Guild alert states. “The contract amendment, which provides no threshold level of sales for a work to be considered in print, essentially grants Wiley a perpetual right in an author’s book for a pittance. The 5% of net receipts royalty rate for print on demand editions is as low as we’ve seen.

The change in terms and the manner in which it is presented “is no way to do business.” the alert concludes, and urges Wiley to tear up any signed letters it may have received and “forthrightly explain to its new authors the contractual changes it is seeking and how this may affect their income and their right to terminate their publishing contracts.”

No one from Wiley was available to comment at press time.


Scott Turow, New President of The Authors Guild, Ponders the Future of Publishing

Scott Turow (pictured on left), bestselling author of Presumed Innocent and numerous other mystery suspense novels, just became the president of The Authors Guild…Good pick, indeed, him being a lawyer and all. He seems well equipped to handle the ponderous problems facing authors in today’s devastated, topsy-turvy publishing industry.

This excerpt is taken from Jason Boog’s interview with Scott Turow on Media Bistro dot com:

Earlier this month, novelist Scott Turow became the new president of the Authors Guild–taking charge of the group during a tumultuous time for the publishing industry.

In today’s installment of Media Beat, the bestselling novelist and attorney advised writers about the biggest problems facing the publishing industry. In previous segments, Turow talked about his new novel, Innocent, and offered advice for aspiring writers.

Here’s an excerpt: “Right now frankly royalty rates for eBooks are too low. The Book royalty rates don’t represent the same kind of division of profits that traditional hardcover royalties have represented. So that will be a meat and potatoes issue for us. But the larger problems for us is the pirating of books. It has killed large parts of the music industry. Musicians make up for the copies of their songs that get pirated by performing live. I don’t think there will be as many people showing up to hear me read as to hear Beyonce sing. We need to make sure piracy is dealt with effectively.”

Video of interview can be viewed here:

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