Tag Archive: rules

Nov 19

Rules for Authors — Number Four

What follows is one of my Rules for Authors.

These rules are things that all real authors should make a part of their mentality and are words to live by. Trust me…

After more than twenty-five years in this crazy business, I have learned these things well and they do make a difference!

No. 4 – If your “publisher” wants money, they are a printer, not a publisher.

See also Rules 1, 2, and 3 as they are closely related to this Rule.

This Rule summarizes the previous three rather nicely.

Honestly, this is just common sense, and needs very little in the way of expansion. But that has never stopped me from doing it anyway.

Look closely at your publisher. Do they want money to edit your story? Do they want you to pay for or provide cover art? Do they want to charge you a fee to read your story? Does your publisher charge you to have your story listed for sale in their catalog?

In other words, are you, as the writer, going to have to pay the publisher any money at all? What about paying for things that are a part of the publisher’s costs of doing business?

If so, you are not dealing with a publisher…you are dealing with a printer.

If you are dealing with a printer, that’s just fine as long as your goal is to be a printed writer. But let me give you a little tip here…save some money and go down to The UPS Store or maybe the FedEx/Kinko’s and just have them print your story. They can do a nice book-like layout and even put a cover on it (if you provide the art) and make you as many copies as you like.

Yes, it really is just that simple.

Here are seven things that are common to real publishers:

(1) They do not charge for editing.

(2) They do not charge for cover art.

(3) They do not charge to read your story.

(4) They do not charge to have your story in their catalog.

(5) They pay royalties. (The printers do this, too.)

(6) They pay an advance. (All decent print houses, anyway.)

(7) After you are established—and if you’re any good at all—they will contact you (or your agent) asking for new stories.

Again, if the operation you are dealing with doesn’t do all of these things, you are—at best—dealing with a printer. At worst, you are being conned.

Keep Loving!

 

Permanent link to this article: http://melodeeaaron.com/blog/2012/11/19/rules-for-authors-number-four/

Nov 05

Rules for Authors – Number Two

 

What follows is one of my Rules for Authors.

These rules are things that all real authors should make a part of their mentality and are words to live by. Trust me…

After more than twenty-five years in this crazy business, I have learned these things well and they do make a difference!

No. 2 – Never pay to have your book edited.

See also Rules 1, 3, and 4 as they are closely related to this Rule.

As outlined in Rule Number 1, editing is a part of the cost of doing business, but that cost belongs to the publisher, NOT the author. The biggest reason is Rule Number 1 itself, that money flows TO the author, but there are other more subtle reasons.

The biggest of these has to do with the attitude and approach to the editing task.

A contracted editor working for (and being paid by) the writer makes their money by getting writers to come to them to edit their work. A huge percentage of that income is from repeat business where a writer keeps coming back to have books edited. There is also the word-of-mouth advertising where a writer tells their friends how great John Doe edits their books. This all means that the editor has a vested interest in getting the writers to like them.

As a group, writers have pretty big and fragile egos. We sweat blood, laugh, cry, pull our hair out in clumps, fall in love with our characters, learn to hate some other characters, and in general see our stories as our children. Just like a momma bear, we will defend our stories to the death. If someone attacks our story, we will come to hate that person. In business, we will look for someone who treats us—and our stories—better and likes them just the way we write them.

See the problem here?

The contracted editor will tend to tell us what we want to hear. This may or may not be intentional, but the tendency is to say what the writer wants to hear so we like the editor and will come back to them and tell our friends how great they are.

In other words, for a contracted editor, they have no interest in if the book sells or not. Their income is based on how much the writer likes them. The contracted editor must have the writers like them in order to make a living.

Now let’s look at an editor that works for the publisher…

The publisher’s editors are paid by the publisher. They might be paid on salary (or hourly), or they might be paid per book that they edit. Some publishers even pay a royalty to their editors. It varies, but the bottom line is that the publisher pays the editor, not the writer.

This boils down to the fact that the editor (and publisher) doesn’t care if the writer likes the editor or not. The editor’s job is to massage the story into something that will sell. If they fail to do so, they won’t work for the publisher for very long.

Both of these editors are motivated by money, but the source of the money is the difference…

Contracted editors only make money if the writers like them.

Publisher’s editors only make money if the story sells.

See the difference?

Keep Loving!

 

Permanent link to this article: http://melodeeaaron.com/blog/2012/11/05/rules-for-authors-number-two/

Oct 29

Rules for Authors – Number One

What follows is one of my Rules for Authors.

These Rules are things that all real authors should make a part of their mentality and are words to live by. Trust me…

After more than twenty-five years in this crazy business, I have learned these things well and they do make a difference!

No. 1 – Money flows TO the author.

While most of the Rules for Authors are not in any particular order of importance, this is number one for a reason: It is THE most important Rule and actually summarizes many of the other Rules into one easy to understand concept.

So, what does it mean?

Simply stated, the author should always be paid for their work and should never pay someone else in order to create their work. See Rules 2, 3, and 4 in particular.

As stated in Rule Number 4, if an author pays a “publisher” for editing, cover art, or anything else, you don’t have a publisher at all…you have a printer.

Think about it…

If you need some business cards, you go to a printer. They will, if you desire, create the artwork, layout, and other technical details for you, and then they will print, cut, and package your cards and ship them to you. You pay the printer for these services, and the printer deserves to be paid for these services. The only place they make any money is by providing those services to you.

A publisher makes their money by selling books. Editing (from acquisitions, to line, to content, and every other stage) is simply getting that product ready for market. The cover art is just marketing. These things are a normal part of the costs of doing business—just like the electric bill—for the publisher.

In other words, these costs are NOT the direct responsibility of the author.

Yes, I know…

The higher the costs of the publisher, the less they can afford to pay the author in terms of royalties, but this is another problem most writers (as opposed to authors) have in their thought processes…an editor (or artist) working for a publisher can process more books for less money than can an independent contractor.

They also do a better job.

If you hire an editor to work on your book, they have a vested interest in saying everything is perfect. Why? Because you are paying them. The more you like them and the more they stroke your ego, the more likely you are to bring them more work in the future.

The publisher’s editors get paid no matter if you like them or not. They keep their job by editing books into something that will sell for the publisher, so they don’t care about your feelings.

And never lose sight of the fact that this is a business. We are all—authors, publishers, editors, artists, etc.—here to make money.

Oh, don’t give me that crap that you write for the joy of writing or that you want to change the world.

You’re going to starve to death with that attitude. Get over it.

Remember that writing is a lot like sex…

At first you do it because it’s fun.

Then you do it for a few close friends.

But if you’re any good at all, you end up doing it for money.

Keep Loving!

Permanent link to this article: http://melodeeaaron.com/blog/2012/10/29/rules-for-authors-number-one/