- December 7, 2020
- Posted by: samdenis
Before giving up rights, an author wants to know that a publishing house is capable of fully exploiting digital rights. Increasingly, the know-how of digital publishing is a prerequisite for print book rights. Most authors do not have this leverage with their traditional printing. Even if they do, they often prefer to see the rights to print editions and e-books owned by the same publishing house in order to maximize the publicity, promotion and overall success of their publishing partnership. Edit-less Publishing is okay if you write correctly or if you need an electronic socket for a previously published book. But it is not normal for you to be an ordinary writer who tries to publish a new book: no insult, but few authors do without serious work. On the other hand, most of the above publishers claim that they are only vehicles for self-publishing. This is what the treaty says MightyWords.com: “All copies… faithfully reproduce content, layouts, paginations and covers provided by the content provider.” Similarly, 1stBooks is proudly misleading: “No one is editing your manuscript and you retain all rights and control of the content.” Many authors avoid e-editing for fear that once digital copies of their works are released, thousands of pirated copies will soon follow. What is the purpose of a 70% fee if 90% of your readers receive their free copy of your book from a friend on the Internet? As a general rule, traditional publishers retain publishing rights only as long as the book remains “printed.” This usually means that when the book is no longer available from a source, the author can notify the publisher and if the publisher does not make the book available within 3-6 months, the book is officially sold out and the author recovers the rights.
Publishers generally leave little room for varying their standard agreements, arguing that too many variations or complex exceptions can complicate their management. Here are a few areas that publishers and authors could check if they are negotiating a new contract or coping with it: many publishers have revised their standard publishing contracts to include e-books more broadly. Royalties are generally between 20 and 25% of net revenues, slightly higher than printing expenses, but lower than the royalties paid for most subsidiary fees. Another problem with the emergence of new publishing channels is the emergence of authors: should authors transfer their digital rights to the same publishing house that owns the printing rights? J K Rowling is a famous example of an author who was not. Rowling founded an entire publishing house, Pottermore, to use her digital rights for the works of Harry Potter. There is good news for authors on the money page of e-publishing. To understand how well, consider the traditional book agreement: the author pays nothing; can receive an advance ranging from a sorzessic to $20,000, $40,000 or more; earns royalties ranging from 5% (low pocket book range) to 15% (high hard cover); and is usually paid twice a year. (Warning: the rate must be a percentage of the list price; but some publishers pay on the price or the “net” amount, which can reduce the amount paid to the author by 40-60.