Mark Terry

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Kate Wilhelm Jumps Off The Cliff With The Rest Of Us

July 14, 2012
Rather well-known, perhaps even iconic writer Kate Wilhelm recently wrote a blog post about how after getting offered a ridiculous book contract she decided to open her own publishing company to self-publish, as well as to publish her extensive backlist of out-of-print books. She says:

In the fall of 2011 I was offered a contract that was so egregious that the publishing house that sent it should have been ashamed, and if I had signed it I would have been shamed. I proposed additional changes to those my agent had already managed to have incorporated and each suggested change was refused. I rejected the contract and withdrew the novel. At that point, I could have tried a different publisher but I knew it would have been a repeat performance, because the major publishers are tightening ranks and the contract I had rejected was more or less the new standard. It wasn't about the advance, I might add. It was about rights, especially electronic rights, not only those in existence today, but anything that might be developed in the future in any form: who owned them, duration of ownership, how they would be exploited, how and if they would ever revert, and so on. I refused to submit it to anyone else.

To read the whole piece, click here.


Blogger Eric said...

Wow. It really makes me wonder.

3:50 PM  
Blogger Eric said...

Wow. I don't know what to say except I really do begin to wonder if it's worth monkeying with publishers.

3:52 PM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

I wasn't completely surprised when Lawrence Block embraced it. It seems like over the years he's tried just about everything once or twice. But I was surprised by this a little bit.

As for publishers, I think everyone's mileage may vary. I liked my publisher reasonably well, but the books just weren't selling well enough to make it worth their while financially and it was questionable for me, but with the control, low overhead and much higher royalty structure, it's definitely worth my while to do it myself now.

Does that mean I'll never go looking for a publisher again?

Never say never. The right project, the right contract, the right period in time... who knows?

4:40 PM  

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