The Morning After the Night Before: Some more thoughts…
Having had an evening to think about this, and read through some other blogs on the subject, I’ve had a few further thoughts.
First of all, I strongly recommend that you read Gabrielle Faust’s blog. http://www.gabriellefaust.com/archives/7079
Then take a look at R Thomas Riley’s Post. http://rthomasriley.blogspot.nl/2014/10/permuted-press-changes-tactics-and-says.html
Also worthwhile checking out Jack Hanson’s Facebook post. Click Here to Read It.
And finally, for the sake of balance, read Jessica Mieg’s response to Gabrielle’s blog post on Absolute Write. Click Here to Read It.
All done? OK, then I’ll continue.
First of all, I kinda understand what Permuted are saying with regards to this (even if I disagree). POD paperbacks, even reasonably priced ones, do not tend to sell very well. Certainly when compared to the ebooks. I produce them for my own press with little to no expectation of making back the small investment on them. That, however is not the point. I produce the paperbacks because SOME readers want them. Often the readers who buy the paperbacks are those who have bought electronic copies first anyway, but want a copy for their shelves. Other times it’s friends and family members who have not yet bought an e-reader and want a physical copy of the book. Some of the bigger review sites do not accept electronic copies either, so having a paperback to send out helps with those all important early reviews. And it certainly helps a book’s credibility when there are multiple versions – paperback, audiobook, hardback etc on the Amazon product page, rather than just an ebook. I do giveaways on Goodreads for every new release which has so far proven to be invaluable in generating early buzz and demand, and they do not accept ebooks for this sort of promo.
However, there is another reason I produce the paperbacks. Author copies.
Yeah, now the contract from Permuted that I have seen states that they will provide ten copies for “promotion”. It does not specify what format but I am willing to be that up till now it has been paperback. No paperback = no physical author copies.
I’ll let you read that last sentence again.
One of those defining moments for us as a writer is that moment when we get a physical copy of our book in our hands for the first time. Hell, even the second or third time. Probably every time. By taking that away from the author, Permuted have committed something of a cardinal sin, which I believe is very much why there has been such an outcry over this, when people were not too bothered about the shitty contracts. Although I think more than a few of those authors wish that they had negotiated a little harder over their contract terms today. Worse, because they have the rights to the paperback, the author can’t even sell those somewhere else, or even put out their own POD version of the book. The message is clear – make sure your book achieves bestseller status or it will never see print.
Sure, they are saving four hours work on the production of a paperback, and they are saving some money on having to produce those pesky author copies. On paper, from an accounting perspective, it makes perfect sense. However it shows either a complete misunderstanding or a total lack of regard for what is important to both authors and their readers. Publishers are the middle man. At this point, ANYONE can do what Permuted are doing. They bring nothing to the table apart from an enormous rights grab, terrible contract terms and an increasingly large pool of dissatisfied authors.
Considering that their backers came from a Traditional Publishing background, you would think that they would have applied the best of the Big 5 mindset to Permuted, instead of the worst.