I have read a lot of very interesting articles in the last few weeks about Ellora's Cave, and many of them remind me of the kinds of things said when Silver were struggling. There are a thousand reasons why things can go wrong. Pricing. Market Share. Covers. Amazon and other third parties. Algorithms. Software. Expansion. Staff. Editors. Cover Art. The owners. The weather.

You name it and the excuse will be used, I could probably create a tick list for authors on what to watch out for. I even have the name of a good lawyer.

Seriously. Whatever the reason, lets be honest here. This is how it works.

STAGE 1

Authors write books and publishers polish and publish.

STAGE 2

Books are sold.

STAGE 3

Publishers keep a percentage of money made on sales (after sellers take a bit, Amazon etc) as a way to cover costs and hopefully make a profit. Authors get whatever is left over.

IN SUMMARY

The money that is the author percentage is for the author. However great or small that amount is, it is NOT PUBLISHER'S MONEY, it is author's money. They are merely holding on to it for us. If the publisher needs two months to sort out reports and holds on to the authors money in that time, if they only pay quarterly, hell if they only pay annually, whatever they do, they've had their bit and the remaining author money is NOT THEIRS.

The publisher should not pay for events, tax bills, the hairdressers, retreats, cars, houses, editors, trips abroad, cover artists, a cup of coffee, or anything else out of the AUTHOR MONEY.

Not one single author should ever have to say, "Bloody hell, I sold X number of books six months ago and I haven't been paid yet."

All author income should be held in separate accounts and every penny should be able to be accounted for with external audit if necessary. 

End of.


4 comments:

  1. It just shocks me that now, when there are SO MANY options for authors, and publishers are becoming more and more unnecessary, that a publisher would act this way. I would think they would be falling over themselves to make themselves look better, more stable, more trustworthy. Instead, it seems to be either silence or scandal from most publishers.
    I hope all the authors involved in this EC thing come out okay, and are paid what they are owed. And I hope that this, and the Silver scandal, and the rise of self-publishing, all come together to encourage publishers to be more transparent with their finances.

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  2. Well said. There really is no other viewpoint except for this, no other principle to be kept in mind by a publisher! They all have to start somewhere, however small, but the priciples are the same, whatever your size. And that's what marks out a publisher's success and respect.

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  3. And EC is another publisher, like Silver, which has passed - WAY PASSED - the mythical two years to prove themselves line.

    There is absolutely no excuse for spending money that is not yours. It is just a shame it all falls under contract law and not criminal law because at the end of the day it is THEFT - pure and simple. If publishers doing this thought for one minute they might end up prosecuted and jailed over it they would think twice before they put their hands in the till.

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  4. The way I see it, authors end up right at the bottom of the list, because they are easiest to string along and fob off with lies and excuses for months. The IRS/HMRC won't be interested in excuses. Nor will the electricity company, they'll cut the power off. Mortgage or rent arrears will get them evicted. Real world consequences, that will happen within weeks, so those creditors get the money. Editors and artists will refuse to work for the publisher again if they aren't paid what's owed, and in a way, they are harder to get than writers. Because there is always plenty more in the slush pile. So they get paid before authors. Unless they can afford to sue, authors come right at the bottom of the list.

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