Fellow Authors and Publishing Professionals,
Another publishing group has announced it is closing as of May 31st. Booktrope had a different business model where the cover designers, editors and marketing folks worked for a portion of the future profits. In that way the authors didn’t have upfront costs. Booktrope is giving back the rights to the authors, but the looming questions are about the team’s payment. All the book covers will have to be re-done because of the Booktrope logo. Lots going on there. There are a lot of fellow authors and professionals in our industry that are in emotional pain and stress right now over this. They have lots of questions and are not getting answers very quickly.
So I have some thoughts that have come to mind…
- If you have a prayer list, put these artists involved on it.
- I know we are artists, but we really need to start thinking and protecting ourselves like business owners do. How surprised were you that Prince didn’t have a will? I encourage all of you to really, really evaluate contracts. Even traditional publishers have been sneaking extra clauses that are NOT to the benefit of the author. If dealing with friends and family members, put something in writing. Protect your publishing career by everyone knowing exactly where they stand. What is the deadline for an editor to return the book, what do I get in return for X marketing dollars, how many changes are included in the cover creation price tag, do I get the art files? Don’t make assumptions.
- Make backup copies of your novels, pre and post edit. Record your book reviews. The folks you deal with (have a financial transaction with for services) through Facebook or a publisher’s forum or some other thing, get a phone number or email to be able to contact them if that group, page, or publisher interface, disappears one day. Seriously, some of the Booktrope people were scrambling this a.m. when their analytics pages were gone at the website. Keep screenshots where you paid for a piece of art or a photo and what rights you got for that price.
- Rethink the benefits to self-publishing. I know there’s a lot involved. You can still hire folks to do certain tasks that you are not skilled in. You are the general contractor and can negotiate price, quality of work and timelines for all the work you do sub-contract out.
I know all of this may sound depressing, like you are looking for things to go wrong. Who wants to live like a pessimist? But don’t you take a lifejacket boating? You are going to have fun, but it is the responsible thing to do. You don’t expect to get in a car accident every day, but you wear your seat belt. In Girl Scouts one of the adages was “Be Prepared.” Due to this, I always have a napkin handy when eating salsa. Somehow all of my shirts are magnets for salsa.
My sincere prayer is that we can all wrangle how to enjoy our love of writing, and create a little or a lot of prosperity for ourselves without getting hurt financially or otherwise in the process.