I'd like to thank you for posting this discussion. I went to Joe Conrad's site, as you recommended, and read his article, which was very interesting and informative. Thanks for the heads up!
You're welcome. I can see why it would be very tempting to an aspiring author to get a foot inside the Penguin door in hopes of getting a traditional contract in time. Unfortunately, it seems as though they merely want to milk electronic royalties and up-front fees.
Thanks for the post. I guess it is inevitable that the scammers show up in force. It is disheartening that a major publisher would do something like this. It is further proof that publishing is a minefield. Thanks again.
This seems to be a growing trend with traditional publishers, particularly the major ones. Author really need to understand what they are getting into before jumping with both feet. Does anyone know of any study or data that might reflect the ratio between authors, who tried out Penquin-style self-publishing, and those auhors who actually get a contract from their efforts?
Well, this is apparently brand new. I haven't read their promises. Relying on Konrath.
I don't consider this a scam. At the same time, I don't consider this the best self-publishing option.
They key is buyer beware. Konrath has issued a strong warning, but the question comes - will an aspiring writer, who has decided to self-publish, take the time to read the contract, understand what all the implications are, run a cost vs return analysis, etc.? I'd say the answer is not always - and that is the writer's own fault. I've known writers who honestly didn't even know what was in their traditional publishing contracts.
It's an option. Doesn't seem like the best option for self-publishing, but its out there. Konrath issued a valid warning, but someone may have a perfectly good reason for going this route, though I can't think of what that might be. If they do so for a reason, and are informed, are they really scammed?
What's more, as legacy publishers seek to shore up sagging revenues, you'll see more programs such as this, I suspect.
We shouldn't assume that contracts are easy to read, or that would-be authors are well-informed about their options. From what I've seen, most are afraid to handle this by themselves. It isn't really very nice to take advantage of this ignorance. We've had many instances in the past when people were willing to pay "editors" who made vague promises about possible book deals.
Contracts may not be easy to read, and authors may not be well informed, but if you are undertaking self-publishing, should you, as the author, make darned sure you understand the agreement and that you know your options?
I don't know...maybe I'm being callous, but I have little patience for someone who has done no homework, legwork, or due diligence and then screams they were taken.
Well, the point isn't that people shouldn't inform themselves. I'm really more aghast at Penguin offering such terms when they (of all people) know precisely how easily and how much more cheaply authors can do this themselves. They also know that Amazon offers 70 %. There are any number of tricks being played on the unwary. For example, I'm being told that 50 % is the most any publisher pays and that they only pay that to best selling authors. That 50 % is not 50 % of the book's price. It's 50 % of what is left after Amazon collects 30 %. In other words, 35 %. It's this sort of double-talk that fools the unwary. It's dishonest and meant to deceive.
Note that at the same time, some of these authors have agents who push them in that direction, or in the direction of other e-publishers who pretty much also like to take a part of your percentages. I know that happens.
What I'd really like to see is what all those folks do for the money they collect. How many sales do they add that the author wouldn't have otherwise?
50/50 was Col. Parker's deal with Elvis and look where the King ended up. Worth more dead than alive.
Like you, I want to see what all those folks do for the $, too.
Aghast--my feelings exactly.
As some comments on Mr Konrath's blog inferred, perhaps publishers now recognize that they must revise their basic business models?