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Publishing Industry is Broken For Authors

A shattered mirror

Many authors write because it is their passion. They take deals from publishers because they want their dreams realized of having their own book in the world. However, the publishing house exists as a business to make money and to pay the machine that it is, they tend to take advantage of the creators because many creators don’t approach it like a business.

In general, artists are paid less because the artist enjoys creating. People rarely want to pay them what they are worth. The same is true for authors in the publishing industry. To compare situations, would you pay a dentist less because they enjoyed it? Significant time, research, practice, and money go into developing one’s writing skills. It is time that creators are fairly compensated for their efforts. Perhaps it is time for an industry-wide structural update.

The Legacy Publishing Industry

If you aren’t familiar with the legacy publishing industry, here is the process in a nutshell. Authors submit their book ideas to publishers to be considered for publication. To be considered at the larger, well-known publishing houses, authors typically need a literary agent who take roughly 15% of the book royalties. The author will sign a contract, selling their manuscript to the publisher. By doing this, they sell their intellectual property rights and are paid pennies per book with possible advances if they are lucky.

The Shift In Mindset

Let us realize this industry for what it is—broken. Publishers would not stand a chance against the outcry from authors refusing the raw deals they are dealt. Requiring higher compensation per book sold could be a start. However, the publisher may not be able to cover their own overhead costs under the current model without significant price increases for consumers. No, perhaps the entire publishing industry should be revolutionized. It seems the dinosaur of legacy publishing should be left in the dust.

Authors should consider their work as a legitimate career. It is important for them to realize that they are entitled to fair compensation just like any other profession. Their moonlighting and passion for the art needs to shift to a business mindset. It could even be said that it is one of the most important professions. What else is a civilization without the arts? Let us drive that message home and demand a new model that respects the creators.

Stay tuned as we explore the possibilities in future articles.

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