Hostile Edits – One More Reason to Love Self-Publishing

Some things make you shake your head in disbelief while privately vowing never to work with the outfit in question. Or more accurately, some things are icing on the nailhead trim decorating the coffin of traditional publishing. Granted, this story involves a small press, not one of the big New York publishers, but it’s still a lesson in why self-publishing is rolling along like a boulder after Indiana Jones.

First, there are the cack-handed copy edits that insert grammar and spelling errors into text that was correct when submitted. Case in point: someone added an apostrophe to the verb in the title of Mandy DeGeit’s story in an Undead Press anthology. “She Make’s Me Smile.” Ouch.

Then there are the content revisions that include changing the gender of a character, giving him animal abuse memories the author’s never heard of and adding the suggestion of rape near the end of the story.  But that’s not the kicker as far as I’m concerned.

The kicker is the petulant, legally threatening, unmitigated snarkfest of a response Mandy received when she wrote to the publisher in question. The publisher’s response started out like this (below, and multiply-sic-worthy) and got worse:

“lets see.
on the contract, it clearly says publisher has the right to EDIT work. you signed it. are you saying you are a dishonest and immoral person and will now try to deny you signed the contract? well i have a copy right here”

Yeah.

Wow.

Kind of reminds you of a similar snarkfest from that editor who told Monica Gaudino that the web was public domain and she should be happy they’d stolen her work and not given her credit, doesn’t it?

And for this we writers get paid what, maybe $.05 a word if we’re lucky (and nothing at all if we’re not)? Not me, thanks. I’ll write my stories in my own blood on the sidewalk outside my house before I put up with that nonsense.

Here’s the original post on Mandy’s blog, the resulting entry on Writer Beware, and the post from Passive Guy that alerted me to the whole thing. And just for good measure, here’s the venerable Mr. Konrath on the exploitation of writers.

 

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A Tale of Two Ebooks

A Tale of Two Ebooks

Ok, maybe three, but who’s counting?

Last night, I found myself at loose ends and wanting a new book to WOTF read. I cheap nfl jerseys was willing Dear to spend up Ulangan to $10, maybe a bit more.

The first book I considered was Throne of the Crescent Moon, by Saladin Ahmed. It’s gotten good reviews, and Arab worlds are one of my favorite alternate-history settings. CAPER Ahmed’s book is new, still in hardcover, and the $11.99 Kindle price is more than I wanted to pay. Gritting my teeth in frustration, I decided to see if other books I’d been watching might be cheaper.

Melanie Rawn is another favorite of mine, and I heard she had a new book out. Even better, the book is set in alternate-England and deals with a theatrical troupe. Score! Alas, no, Touchstone (The Glass Thorns) was a dollar more than Ahmed’s book at $12.99. Thank you, next?

Then I remembered Robin Hobb. I’d been waiting well over a year for a Refer new dragon book, so maybe hers was out in paperback and the ebook might be cheaper? No such luck. City of Dragons: Volume Three of the Rain Wilds Chronicles was released in February, and the Kindle version is a scream-inducing $14.99.

Here’s the thing. I like hardcovers, and I’ll happily pay hardcover prices for a book I really cheap mlb jerseys want. In ar fact, I’ll even buy two formats, hard and e-, if it’s something I like to have with me while traveling. But therein lies the rub. I’m traveling at the moment and specifically needed an ebook.

When one knows, as I wholesale nfl jerseys do, that the publisher gave up higher royalties for the ‘privilege’ of sticking me with a $15 price tag, the buying experience leaves one feeling a bit raw. In fact, it drives one to quips about sodomy, buggery and being bent over a fence rail without benefit of lube.

Even more ludicrous is knowing that insane price points on ebooks are throwing double or triple money at Amazon compared to what Amazon would get if the books were priced more reasonably. Using round numbers, Amazon gets nearly $10 out of a $15 sale wholesale mlb jerseys but only $3.50 out of $9.99.

So, yeah. Way to go Big 6. Pouring buckets of money into your competitor’s coffers looks like an *awesome* business strategy. Bet it took lots of MBAs to come up with that one.

If any one of the books above had been priced at $9.99, I’d have bought it. And I did buy an ebook last night, just not one of those three. I’ll wait for paper, get them used or wait for the ebook price to fall.

The Alchemist Of Souls, by Anne LyleInstead, I checked out this book, by Anne Lyle:  The Alchemist of Souls: Night's Masque, Volume 1.  Great cover, 4.5 stars, alternate Elizabethan England with a troupe of actors, editorial reviews by Publishers Weekly and Aliette de Bodard. Sold!

And of assuming this is a trilogy, I can buy all three books for the price of the least expensive New York offering above. At first I thought this was an indie book, and for fairly transparent reasons, I’m indie friendly. Instead, this looks like a small press book, and more power to ’em for offering the courtship equivalent of wine, dinner and roses instead of the back-alley manhandling I’ve come to expect out of New York.

Final note: I still want the books by Ahmed, Rawn and Hobb – just not at those prices. My ire lies with the publishers, not the authors.