Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Hello, again. This once-a-week stuff I'm putting out really needs more comments. Otherwise, I think I'm talking to myself. Anyway, my idea to create a publisher-writer arrangement got some reaction. Here is a comment from Martin Shepard, co-publisher of Permanent Press, the great indie press that has taught Bridge Works a lot.

Just read your complete blogs and find them juicy, provocative, and a fair assessment of what's going on in the business. And I suspect that you will even get authors who are willing to share costs and profits with you. Why not? Authors go to vanity presses often enough and spend far more that way.

But I have a problem with that: it's not a system we are ready for. I think a modest advance (like the $1,000 advance to give every author we sign up) is in order. And, contrary to one of your commentators, the costs of converting a manuscript into a printed hardcover edition comes out to about $10,000 by the time you do typesetting, cover design, proof reading, printing 150 galley copies, mailing costs to get them out, paying a $1,000 advance, and ordering a modest printing of anywhere between 1,000 and 2,000 copies to start with... and this doesn't include our own editing time. To me, some advance simply indicates good faith on the part of the publisher and a belief that the book will sell at least enough copies to cover these costs (in our case, 1,000 copies). Of course, if a book is hugely successful the writer will earn a bigger dividend from book sales under your proposed contractual terms than he or she would from a standard advance and contract like ours. But huge sales are the rare exception to the rule.... for all the reasons you and your commentators have given. Otherwise sharing subsidiary rights on a 50:50 basis has always made sense to me.. Without that share, no small press (nor many larger ones) would survive. Marty


Enough, already. Barbara Phillips

Comment, please at and thanks.

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