Friday, February 19, 2010

Tactics of a winning game

You don’t change the tactics of a winning game’, is a sporting metaphor that authors should bear in mind because minor irritants always crop up with publishers even when the going is good. Hence the question — should authors change their publishers, especially after years of collaboration? And what are the differences that compel authors to change tack.

Basically, there are three areas where differences show up in some form or the other. First, money; second, the author-editor relationship; third, the authors’ belief that other publishers would do a better job with their books. If you look closely at these points of dispute, you will find that they arise because of a misunderstanding on the part of the author regarding what returns to expect from his book. Or, because the publisher has not explained the implications of the clauses of the contract, the vagaries of the market and the average life-span of a book, especially to a first-time author.

Take money first because that is the bottomline of success or failure for both author and publisher. Money means the advances paid to the author on receipt of the finished book, and the royalties that would accrue to the author on the sales of the book. Indian publishers are wary of giving advances, although a modest beginning has been made by some publishers. But these advances are deducted as the first charge from the royalties. Royalties are now fixed at not more than 10 per cent of the published price though many publishers now calculate them on net returns, that is, on the amount the publisher receives after allowing for discounts to wholesaler.

Full report here Telegraph

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