Book publishers are incentivizing midlist authors to abandon them for Amazon
So when you’re a company that’s dealing with revenues in the billions (with a B), suddenly a product that can only sell a few thousand units and is ultimately “unscalable,” isn’t worthy of investment. So instead they invest in products that have the potential to not only sell millions of units, but also spawn spin-off merchandise and movie deals.
This has been happening for quite some time. It was evident way back in the early 1980s. Alarms were sounded back in the 1970s.
And here’s something the publishers haven’t taken into account. Even books that can grow into the kind of scale they seek don’t need them.
Exhibit A, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles first appeared in an American comic book published by Mirage Studios in 1984 in Dover, New Hampshire. The concept arose from a humorous drawing sketched out by Eastman during a casual evening of brainstorming and bad television with Laird. Using money from a tax refund, together with a loan from Eastman’s uncle, the young artists self-published a single-issue comic intended to parody four of the most popular comics of the early 1980s: Marvel Comics’ Daredevil and New Mutants, Dave Sim’s Cerebus, and Frank Miller’s Ronin. The TMNT comic series has been published in various incarnations by various comic book companies since 1984.
The Turtles started their rise to mainstream success when a licensing agent, Mark Freedman, sought out Eastman and Laird to propose wider merchandising opportunities for the franchise. In 1986, Dark Horse Miniatures produced a set of 15 mm lead figurines. In January 1987, Eastman and Laird visited the offices of Playmates Toys Inc, a small California toy company that wanted to expand into the action figure market. Development was undertaken by a creative team of companies and individuals: Jerry Sachs, ad man of Sachs-Finley Agency, brought together the animators at Murakami-Wolf-Swenson headed by Fred Wolf. Wolf and his team combined concepts and ideas with the Playmates marketing crew, headed by Karl Aaronian, VP of sales Richard Sallis and VP of Playmates Bill Carlson.
The established publishers can never, ever be as hungry as an individual who can see an opportunity and pounce on it.
Just ask — and here’s Exhibit B for the win — the McDonald brothers who met Ray Kroc!
This is important and will remain a Sticky post for three days. Scroll down one for new posts.
Ellora’s Cave Sues Dear Author
Basically, a pioneer in eBooks for women let the money go to her head and she has been screwing her writers out of their earnings. The publisher is suing the blogger — Jane Litte of Dear Author — because her site is prominent in the field. The suit is intended to intimidate everyone.
(Sidebar to that publisher: HA! HA! HA! Fuck you. Discovery will bury you.)
There’s a formal term for this kind of lawsuit: SLAPP.
I would like everyone reading this to slap back.
Marvel and Jack Kirby estate settle their disputes
The smartest bit is in the Comments:
The people who say “this is just people fighting about money” always then seem to follow it up by spitting on Kirby’s heirs by saying “they didn’t have anything to do with it”. Well, the execs and investors in Disney didn’t have anything to do with Kirby’s success either, yet they’ve made a ton of money on his ideas.
Jack Kirby and his heirs are flesh and blood people with names and faces attached to them.
All the Suits who have fed — and are now feeding — on the trough that Kirby built are nameless and invisible.
Previously at a prior blog:
Quote: Matt Fraction
Filed under Rights, Writers
A Writerly Chill at Jeff Bezos’ Fire
When Jeff Bezos tells writers to keep quiet, they obey.
Let me get my stance on this out the way first: Fuck you, Jeff Bezos. Fuck you.
So for four years, unknown writers have supped and danced and played and took graft from Bezos and shut the fuck up about it.
To all those writers: Fuck you too. And out yourselves.
I’d be very curious to know if a certain whore who railed against self-publishing, then changed his mind, then changed his mind again and went with Amazon as his publisher ever attended. Yes, I mean you, Konrath. This is a question that will likely never be answered by him. He hasn’t the fucking guts to stand up like a man. Except as a pose to fleece his sheep.
Fuck all of you. Fuck you and your pro-Amazon posts that you wrote while Amazon freebies sat beside your keyboard. Fuck you for presenting yourselves as professional and detached observers of digital publishing while you weren’t. Fuck you for not having the backbone to stand up to The New Digital Man.
I knew that book publishing was filled with unprincipled underhanded double-dealing scum. But writers? Writers are supposed to be above that kind of shit.
Out yourselves, you fucking pig cowards. Cleanse what little is left of your soul.
Filed under Fraud, Writers
Scarlett Johansson sues author of novel that ‘stole her image’
Scarlett Johansson is suing for €50,000 (£41,000) in damages the author and publisher of a novel that features a character who closely resembles her.
The American actress claims that La Première Chose qu’On Regarde (The First Thing We Look At) violates her privacy and constitutes a “fraudulent and illicit use of her name, her fame and her image” for commercial gain – allegations the book’s publisher has dismissed as “crazy”.
According to Vincent Toledano, the 28-year old actress’s lawyer, the bestselling work by Grégoire Delacourt, published in March last year, also contains “defamatory claims about her private life”.
I really like the work that Scarlett Johansson does. Just her voice alone in the movie Her was brilliant.
But this lawsuit shows that she has zero understanding of creative rights, a greed beyond bounds, and is destined to be a transient footnote in what could have otherwise been a lasting career.
Because she is a rank amateur at heart.
What’s the difference between a shitty little child amateur and an adult professional who lasts?
Writer’s Cafe Kboards, Unethical Marketing Practices and Authors Behaving Badly, Part 1
If you are a bad writer — and most of these people are — then, the only way you can get anyone to read your work is through aggressive self-promotion.
Writer’s Cafe Kboards, Unethical Marketing Practices and Authors Behaving Badly, Part 2
And there are other names that come up, again and again, with similar tales of making it to the top simply by “word of mouth,” or entirely on their work’s own merit, for example, but when you do a little tiny bit of investigation you find this is the furthest thing from the truth.
A lot of words spilled in two posts:
Slushy Glut Slog: Why The Self-Publishing Shit Volcano Is A Problem — which the people who are the problem will never think they’re the problem.
Why the self-publishing shit volcano isn’t going to stop erupting any time soon — which the people who are the problem will never read to the end because they can’t understand it.
The glut is something I’ve raised in past posts that I am now too damn lazy to look up because fuck it.
But I do want to go on record — again, because I’ve done it before but only on Twitter — about how I see the “shit volcano” ending.
Saving Mr. Banks Is a Corporate, Borderline-Sexist Spoonful of Lies
In reality, Travers was a feisty, stereotype-breaking bisexual — a single mom who adopted a baby in her 40s, studied Zen meditation in Kyoto, and was publishing erotica about her silky underwear 10 years before Walt had sketched his mouse. Now that’s a character worth slapping on-screen, instead of this stiff British stereotype determined to steal joy from future generations of children. With her longtime girlfriend and then-adult son erased, this frigid Travers seems like she may not even know how babies are made. Maybe Mary Poppins could sing her a song about it.
Why does it matter that Saving Mr. Banks sabotages its supposed heroine? Because in a Hollywood where men still pen 85 percent of all films, there’s something sour in a movie that roots against a woman who asserted her artistic control by asking to be a co-screenwriter.
And if you think that’s just sour grapes, I’ve got news for you.
After the break, Harlan Ellison.
This bad news just in via @sarahw on Twitter: Quercus to publish fourth book in Larsson’s Millennium series
Quercus will publish a fourth book in Stieg Larsson’s Millennium series, to be written by Swedish author David Lagercrantz, in August 2015.
Larsson’s original Swedish publisher Norstedts Förlag announced today (17th December) they had signed a fourth book in the series, with Quercus following suit to say it had world English language rights, acquired from Norstedts and Moggliden, the Stieg Larsson estate.
It can never be the Lisbeth Salander. It will always be a simulacrum, a grave-robbing zombie.
Filed under Writers, Writing