Traditional Publishing takes time!!!


It’s not a matter of good verses bad, it’s small press verses big-five. EVERY big-five contract is for life of copyright (and even a fair number of ones from smaller presses).

[quote=“XimeraGrey, post:73, topic:41311”]The WORST contract I’ve seen pays annually. Most pay quarterly.

Small presses may pay quarterly – but the big-five pay twice a year.


I already explained which items you listed were true and not - and that goes for first-time published authors as well – in other words I didn’t have what you mentioned in my first contract.

And yes, there are a lot of bad contract language and the Passive Voice is good at pointing them out. That doesn’t change that some of the things you said in your post isn’t accurate in today’s publishing environment.

“Good” is relative. Don’t get me wrong, I think there are a lot of TERRIBLE, TERRIBLE things in contracts. And I’m the first to say they are HIGHLY weighted toward the publishers. But I signed 3 big-five contracts, and 2 small-press contracts, and doing so was not a bad decision (and I also self-publish as well). What I received in return was worth what I gave up…so while not “good” they gave me what I needed.

Nothing wrong with that. I won’t be signing ANY MORE traditional contracts. I’ve gotten what I needed out of them, and now I’ll be self from here on out, but again they helped build my career and when I signed them they were definitely the right thing to do.


Very true…but the industry isn’t blameless in the way contracts are. I suspect there is a fair amount of collusion that keeps them all walking in lock-step. They know if one gives on a given point, it’ll be a domino effect that can bring down their strangle hold on power.

The “industry standard” is pretty atrocious, and I call it “institutional exploitation.” And yes you can walk away (and I have) and there other times that I signed because for all the “bad” in the contract the “good” outweighed.

Now why is it that way? Well pretty simple - supply and demand. There are only so many “slots” each release cycle and way too many people vying for those slots. So if author (a) walks away there are authors (b), ©, (d), and so on that would be more than willing to take those crappy deals. As long as that dynamic exists, there is no reason for publishers to NOT take advantage. So, yeah, I do think there are faults in the industry, but it comes from the fact that they have no “reason” to be better because so many are willing to accept worse.


On this we totally agree.


Would you mind starting a new thread about whether a manuscript is ready for prime time? At least from a layman’s perspective, this quality is ambiguous. You may have a sense of whether a manuscript could be a bestseller, but you’ve also had a bestseller! The rest of us may appreciate a list of objective criteria.


Er, I don’t know. I do see quite a few abusive romance stories on Wattpad. Women literally kidnapped and enslaved by the male love interested, often physically assaulted by him, AT LEAST threatened and verbally abused, sometimes sexually assaulted or raped.

Then there are the published books that made millions, (Twilight, Fifty Shades of Gray) which featured female characters in obsessive relationships with borderline abusive male leads. I just don’t see how that “domestic abuse is romantic” trope ever really went away.


Since you used me as an example, your points are wrong with regard to me and that book. People pursue trad for a number of reasons. With that manuscript in particular, it’s YA which is a very hard sell for self publishing. I was entirely happy to wait for a pub date with StrangeChemistry as (at the time) they were a well respected publisher of YA SFF and not only did I want to work with them because of their reputation but I knew the book needed their bookstore distribution to reach it’s market. StrangeChem also had close relationships with a number of high profile blogs that are closed to indie published books.

With regard to the rest of your points, I’m quite comfortable negotiating contracts or making business decisions based on what is best suited for a project and my long term plan. Yes trad pays a smaller percentage but what many unpublished writers fail to realise is that the volume can make a huge difference depending on target audience. Indie is a larger percentage of a smaller number of sales, trad is often (and particularly with YA) is a smaller percentage of a larger volume.


I stand corrected.


Unfortunately, a lot of it is “I know it when I see it.” But yes, I started a thread and I put down some of the things I see most often that make a work NOT ready for primetime.


Thank you! I saw that thread and you make some great points.