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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Stop the Maddness

The term, writers are a dime a dozen is a coin that holds some truth. That being said, I have been involved in the publishing industry as either a wannabe writer, an amateur writer and a published writer for about three years now. Over the course of those years, I have noticed several things.
The first thing I learned was that there is A LOT of talent out there. Amazing writers with voices that make me giddy when I learn they have a new book coming out.

That being said, it seems to me that there are many issues in the industry that most writers are afraid to talk about for fear of being deemed "unreasonable or difficult to work with," which is one of the worst things that can happen to a writer.

Recently in a post on Mandy DeGeit's blog, she states that the publishing company took complete creative control of her manuscript. When she asked why, they said it was not fit to be published as it was and that they had to "save" it. According to Mandy, her contract allowed for editing but not creative control of her manuscript.

On FaceBook, another writer states, "I am a victim of xxxxxxxx, my first novel was played with in the same manner as Mandy DeGeit and others who have been hurt by AG and his press. My treatment when I found out what had happened after reading the published copy was also the same." 

The sad thing is the list goes on. Many other writers have been the victim of small press not paying the writers royalties, changing the story from the original and so on and so forth. There are some that have even taken it to the point of holding onto rights when the original creator of the story, (the writer) has wanted out of a contract for whatever reason. 

Other things that are happening in the business. The following headline was taken from The New York Times on January 31, 2012,

Barnes & Noble Won’t Sell Books From Amazon Publishing

The article states, "The ban includes books released by New Harvest, a new imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt that recently struck a deal to publish and distribute books released by Amazon Publishing’s unit based in New York."

Ok so what do all these have in common? It's simple, the writers are being put in the middle of games they didn't want to play in the first place. Guys wake up...without the writer, the entertainment and even web industries would fall. Without us, there would be no small press, brick and mortar stores, video games, blogs, newspapers, websites, music, movies, tv shoes and commercials. Think about this for a minute. Who creates all those? Who provides the written word the actors learn? Who provides the lyrics to our favorite songs? Who provides the paragraphs for all the websites? A writer! 

I have been lucky when it comes to the publisher who took a risk on me. World Castle Publishing is a company that doesn't try to change a story, and she works with you on the cover. I'm sure there are many small press companies out there who fall under the same category as World Castle Publishing.

The question still remains, how do we keep writers from being attacked when they are the victim? Would a painter allow a museum curator to pick up a brush and begin adding his or her masterpiece? There is a difference between editing and creative control. When a contract states editing, it doesn't mean change the entire story. There is not a fine line between editing and a company doing an entire rewrite and changing the story. Just like there's a line being crossed when it comes to writers being used as pawns for other companies to bully others.

As writers, we often forget we have rights because we want that ever important golden ticket. So what if we make that ticket seem less important? What if we all decided to take our destinies into our own hands? What if every writer in the world said the word, "No" ? What would happen? When the writers went on strike a few years back, favorite tv shows were canceled. What happens if all the writers in America pulled their books? The brick and mortar stores would close and the publishing companies would no longer have the power.

Let's be realistic though, that would never happen. We writers need to be heard. We have a need to make money just like everyone else in the world. Writers need to eat too and have families and well the list goes on. Still even if it happened for a day, wouldn't that show the world we are serious about the business of being taken serious. Many people are happy with the companies they are at, just like tons of people are happy with being self published. It takes all kind to make this industry turn...but still, what would happen if--

Yeah I know I ranted on enough, and believe it or not, I really am happy where I am at the moment. I just am so tired of seeing friends getting scammed or becoming victims because they don't have the money to hire a good attorney. I'm tired of watching us climb through the hoops to get on the shelves and I'm more than tired of big businesses feeling they have a right to mess with our creative endeavors and our income.

Oh what if--just for a day...yeah.


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