Sunday, October 9, 2011

My Writing Week: Issue 41, year 4

Hi from slightly agitated Graham,

Yahoo’s brainless menu system.

I don’t have the patience for inane and illogical website navigation systems. I never liked Yahoo’s busy look and cumbersome navigation system, and only use Yahoo when I need to access an online writing group to download a file. I was trying to access that group today, but Yahoo told me I had to create a profile first. WTF: I already had a profile. I closed the box and tried again, but it repeated its demand, so I clicked on create a new profile.

A new box opened, telling me to add a new email address. Why, so Yahoo could spam me twice? I added a new email address. It then wanted me to add a new alias for using yahoo groups. When fuckyouyahoo was rejected, I tried grahamclements. It said someone already used that, probably me, and I should choose another alias between 2 and 16 letters. I typed gjc, but it said choose a longer alias, it seems their system can’t count.  

I eventually found an appropriate length alias. And then it asked me to choose which profile I wanted to use. The reason it seems for wanting me to create a new profile was so I could choose between them. Unbelievable.

Writer's Contract Terminated After She Self-Publishes.

Hawaiian author Kiana Davenport had her contract for a novel with a traditional publisher cancelled after they discovered she had recently self-published two short story collections. The publisher also demanded she return her $20,000 advance.

Kiana has written a well read blog post about what happened with lots of comments. Most of the comments condemn the publisher. A lot complain about the Big 6 publishers treating authors like serfs.

Even though Kiana’s short story collections had been rejected by her publisher and others, if I had been in Kiana’s situation I would have done the courteous thing and told the publisher I was going to self-publish.

Why couldn’t the publisher have just told Kiana they were upset and asked her not to do it again? According to the author the publisher had a fear and loathing of Amazon. Perhaps the discussion between the publisher and the author/agent was too bitter for them to continue working together. Or perhaps the publisher really was just use to treating authors like serfs.

I couldn’t help thinking the publisher might have had other reasons, legitimate or otherwise, for terminating the contract.

The Big 6 US Publishers.

As I don’t have a novel manuscript of publishable quality yet, I am have done little research about publishers. I had not heard of the Big 6 publishers before reading Kiana’s blog post. I have since done some research and the Big 6 are:

Random House
Simon & Schuster

Most of the Big 6 have dozens of publishing imprints. Macmillan owns science fiction publishers Tor and Orb. Penguin similarly owns Ace and Simon & Schuster distribute for Baen. As far as I could tell, the evil overlord Rupert Murdoch only owns HarperCollins.

At the moment most of my interest and research in relation to publishing concerns the ebook revolution and self-publishing versus traditional publishing. 

My Writing.

Once more, I wrote every day last week, but as in previous weeks, I did not write that much. I have just about finished rewriting a short story, which I will hopefully finish this week while starting research for my next couple of DiVine articles.


Karen Tyrrell said...

Hi Graham,
I read your Blog with interest, especially Kiana's horrific story.
About the BIG 6 publishers, I'm sure that list is a world stat list. Allen & Unwin is one of Australia's biggest publishers.

Graham Clements said...

Hi Karen,

They are the big 6 publishers in the US. Surprised the independent Allen and Unwin aren't owned by one of them though. I am sure the evil overlord must have tried.


Anthony J. Langford said...

Cheers for the informative post Graham.

That's terribly sad for that author. I agree she should have told them, but this is the reason why I have not self-published, despite my years of having been rejected. Many do frown upon it. Sounds like she was too eager, but I totally understand why she should we do it. you slave over your work, only to have it unread and in the 'drawer.' It's incredibly frustrating.

Most big publishers don't even take submissions, unless through an agent.

Hope you continue with your writing.