For those who have the same warped sense of humour this Letter can also be had in French.
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Saturday, July 9, 2011
Sour Grapes - paper book publishers be damned
Dear Book Publishers,
The book worm is turning. It looks as though you guys are at last getting what you deserve.
For years you have treated the average first time author like dirt. You set all kinds of ridiculous conditions for the submission of manuscripts and often you don’t even bother to send out rejection slips.
In many cases the big publishing houses have been too lazy to sift through submissions themselves so authors were forced to send their books to literary agents. They had the job of weeding out therubbish before passing on the gems to the people, who hopefully, would decide to put them into print.
Only then the author’s miserable slice of the cake was further reduced by the agent’s commission of up to 20%. And to compound the crime the agents were often as offhand as the publishers; doing such things as issuing a standard rejection letter when it was clear that nobody had even read the manuscript. Some of them even charged a hefty reading fee.
The rotten job you guys have done over the years is illustrated by the fact that numerous best selling authors have had to put up with being rejected before they finally hit the jackpot. Perhaps the best example of this was J.K Rowling.
Her first Harry Potter book was hawked around by a literary agent and was dismissed by 12 publishing houses before being accepted. The Harry Potter series of books sold a handy 400-millioncopies and made Rowling a billionaire.
That just shows the lack of expertise that you publishers have. You are in the hit and miss game; playing darts at the expense of authors without whom you would not be in business at all.
So how many other Harry Potter stories are languishing in a garage somewhere because you publishers don’t know a good story when you see one?
I hope you have put away a huge nest egg for the bad times because they are here right now. The paper trail is coming to an end. The decimated forests can get back to where they were. And the whole world should then be able to breathe a lot easier.
Agents, you old style publishers and bookshop owners had better start thinking seriously about your next career move because your present one is doomed. It looks as though Amazon is sellingyou all down the river.
At last writers are able to put their stories directly before the world and not have highhanded publishers or agents deciding for them, whether their narrative is good or bad.
Amazon is now selling nearly as many computer books, as I like to call them, than all hardcover and paperbacks put together. People can browse for their Kindle books for from just about anywhere and received their purchases almost instantly.
What’s better still is that authors can get 70% for their trouble right from the start. So they certainly won’t be mourning your demise.
You are getting exactly what you deserve, if you ask me.
P.S. This letter has nothing to do with the fact that I have had at least 50 novels and other books, all of which I know would have been best sellers, rejected by your kind. So now we’ll see what Amazonmakes of them.
Buy my book 'Where have all the children gone?' on Amazon.com It's a thriller with an underlying love story that defied generations of prejudice.