This is why.

Lesbian short story and novel publishers.

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This is why.

Postby FranW » 03 Aug 2013, 08:48

I often see authors asking, "Why should I go with a big-name publisher who will choose my book's title and cover, who will give me low-to-moderate royalties, and who will think of me as one of their hundreds of newbie-midlist authors? Why shouldn't I choose a new, small press, where I can design my own cover, where I can write my own back-cover copy, where I'll get a higher royalty rate, and where I'll be a lauded rising star?

Because of this, which happens over and over and over again. I've seen this story a hundred times or more. And here it is again, in my very own little New Zealand.

Twenty months ago Jill Marshall was a local hero, albeit an adopted one. In 2011, Next magazine chose her as its Woman of the Year (arts and culture), an honour still listed on her profile on internet site LinkedIn. The accomplished author of 14 books, including the "girl-spy" series Jane Blonde, which sold in 22 countries and was translated into 10 languages.

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/artic ... d=10907411

You know what's coming, right? Author assumes accomplished should translate to rich. When it doesn't, it means the publishing company must be doing things wrong (despite selling her books in 22 countries in 10 languages).

Surely, she figured, those who created the books - the authors and illustrators - should be those who were most connected and supported. "Poor communication, poverty, lack of promotion, feeling unloved and unwanted, and having no control over many rights issues were just some of the topics that fuelled my fever," she wrote in an article in February 2012 promoting her own fledgling publishing company. "I began to recognise that many areas of the traditional publishing chain were just not working - or if they were, it was for the wrong people."


So, who are these wrong people it's working for, if not the authors and illustrators? Well, not the editors. They're paid shit. Not the publishers. They're all going out of business. Not the bricks-and-mortar bookstores. They're all going out of business, too. Not the e-presses. They're on the same knife-edge of barely-breaking-even that the big publishers are. Not the e-book sellers. Look what happened to StarCrossed. Even BooksOnBoard has closed down.

Amazon? Yeah. I'll grant you Amazon. Because they have become so big they can tell Random House what to do. So you're going to start a small press and, what? Throw your nonexistent weight around and refuse to play Amazon's game. Yeah. Sure. There's a winning business plan.....

"I'm hoping to give (authors) what I missed out on: creative input and control, regular communication, a support network ... Oh, and proper payment and recognition," Marshall wrote in February last year. "This is a long-term relationship and it's important to get it right."


You do not want to be part of a press's "family". You do not want to work with a press with a staff of One. You do not want to be anyone's guinea pig.

"But she's a lesbian!"
"But she's so ni-i-i-i-i-ce!"
"She really cares!"

Uh-huh. Then marry her. But don't go into business with her. Publishing is a business. Being an author means being a business-person.

In its first year, Pear Jam Books delivered quality books that were well-edited and produced to a high standard. One of its authors, who did not want to be named, told the Herald that the structure then was similar to a traditional publisher. Several of Pear Jam's authors had been published before, some had won awards, and none were asked to pay Marshall any money.

The books were stocked by several shops, including Whitcoulls. The author is not aware of any royalties being paid, something she put down to Marshall not covering costs until she learned of unpaid production bills.

"Unfortunately, I have no real idea how well any of the books have done because of the lack of accountability. Given Jill's initial promise that the author would be the most important part of the company, that has been particularly disappointing.

"Jill is an extremely persuasive woman and her ideas were often good. The problems came in follow-through."


You know what they say: If you want to make a million dollars in publishing, you have to put in (and lose) five million. So, we know what happens next in this story, right?

Problems began to appear later, with a second group made up mostly of first-time authors, who each paid $10,000 for a "partner-publishing programme", whereby Marshall's company contracted to provide coaching, marketing materials and book production in various formats including a printed book "to industry standard".

There seems to be no quibbles about Marshall's ability to coach writers or appraise manuscripts; the complaints boil down to what they consider to be poor production, lack of accountability and inadequate communication. Problems included an instance of a key connecting sentence missing, blurred type, words running to the edge of the page, spelling and grammatical errors and what some who spoke to the Herald considered amateurish covers.

Marshall is now back in England, having left behind a posse of irate and disillusioned authors, a trail of debt and no forwarding address. A "desperately-seeking-Jill" message by one of the authors on Marshall's Facebook page has gone unanswered, attempts to contact her by email and via the two vice-presidents appointed to her company have proved equally fruitless.

Two authors have won Disputes Tribunal claims, another has hired a copyright lawyer to stop what he claims are "unauthorised" sales of his book by England-based companies, and a complaint has been made to British police about what became of the proceeds of a charity book.


That is why.
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Re: This is why.

Postby Baker » 03 Aug 2013, 08:55

Oh, god. Train wreck all the way through. At the point you're asked to pay...
Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities ~ Voltaire
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Re: This is why.

Postby FranW » 05 Aug 2013, 11:25

This is why it's important to keep on top of piracy. This is why I buy books that are published by reputable houses, or books by indie authors I know, or books that I feel I can in some way trace accountability with. This is why I don't shop at Amazon.

A few months ago, NPR and Fast Company covered a breaking story about a bestselling “author” -- a plagiarist who’d been scraping stories off of the free erotica site, literotica.com, and selling them as his own....A few weeks ago, Dear Author uncovered an instance where an indie debut writer named Jordin Williams was plagiarising the work of bestselling indie authors...And just yesterday Liz Burns reported on an instance of another Amazon author, Jessica Beckwith, was outed in the midst of her highly publicized blog tour as having stolen all her work from yet another free-fiction site, Fictionpress.

Do you see a pattern here? Each “author” was in fact merely a cover name and identity (sometimes several) for a person who was making money on Amazon by duping unsuspecting readers into reading fanfiction or other stories they could find on the net for free — stories that do not belong to them.

These are not people who so desperately want to be writers that they are stealing other people’s words. These are not writers at all....This is an organized, promoted attempt by unscrupulous moneymakers to game the self-publishing system and make some quick cash. They are formatting works they find online and making money off them, with little or no oversight by the publishing platforms (like Amazon/Kindle) and just as little ability for wronged parties to get justice.

http://www.dianapeterfreund.com/an-epid ... die-world/
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Re: This is why.

Postby Baker » 06 Aug 2013, 07:27

Inevitable.

When it comes to Amazon, they're making money from this--from both the 'author' and the customer. Surely they ought to bear some responsibility for the crime they're enabling and profiting from?
Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities ~ Voltaire
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Re: This is why.

Postby Proofrdr » 21 Aug 2013, 23:49

If an author who had a solvent publisher behind her were plagiarized, there might be a viable suit against Amazon. Otherwise, this is just going to continue unabated.

Plagiarism drove me nuts as a teacher. I was relentless with my students about it. I'd rather they gave me their own writing, even if it was crap, than to try to fool me with someone else's work. First, it was total dishonesty and theft; and second, it was an insult to me. Did they think so little of me that they thought I couldn't tell the difference? And I have the same feeling about these "authors" who are doing the same thing via Amazon. Do they really believe that no one, not anyone in the entire world, will notice this? What kind of megalomaniacs are they?
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