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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Supreme Court Authorizes Stealing Books From Authors!

Stolen Books
On Monday, 18 April 2016, the Supreme Court (SC) let stand a lower court's ruling that allowed Google to mass copy/scan millions of authors' books without their permission or granting them any remuneration.

By legitimizing Google's mass digital scanning of authors' books without their permission or remuneration, the Supreme Court believes that authors' work, created from their own imaginations, is NOT their own property! I guess then Google owns our very imaginations?

Hogwash! What a bunch of rubbish. What is the sense or purpose of copyright laws, if the SC won't even recognize or uphold them?

Books no longer under copyright are excluded. But, books still under copyright law should not be copied, in part or in whole, without the permission of and some kind of remuneration to the authors (or their estates), especially when the use of the scanned/copied books results in profits.

Something is rotten in the state of supreme law (if there is such a thing on this earth). Could it be that the SC is overly influenced by the wealth of some corporations and not enough by fairness in law and true ownership?

What say you?

Read more about this topic in the research article for this post:

US Supreme Court Rules in Google’s Favor After Decade+ Legal Fight With Authors 

The Writers Welcome Blog is available on Kindle here

Sunday, March 20, 2016

It's All About Freedom and Creative Control

Breaking Publishing Chains of the Past
How many books have been written, songs composed and sang, plays performed and movies produced about breaking some kind of boundaries and rushing into new found freedoms?

Literally thousands and thousands, I suspect. In stories from history, in present time and in futuristic presentations. 

Well, one such present time occurrence has and is taking place in the publishing/writing industry. 

Some refer to it as the changing state of affairs in the legacy and the indie publishing arena --- Some even are calling it a revolution!

I, for one, say the revolution part has already beckoned and been fought - and what is advancing now is the resulting growth and evolution of the new order, so to speak.

Both newbie and established authors are now self-publishing books for various reasons - such as a newbie not finding a traditional publisher for his/her new masterpiece or an established/published author who wants to shift more of the financial, risk and creative control to his/her side of the equation.

After the initial exit from traditional publishing (TP), due to the ever growing realization that TP's were really not manned to process and market the writing supply nor were they structured (interested) to develop new talent as much as they were geared for immediate profit margin AND the introduction of slick, new technologies, writers (the product producers) started to don entrepreneurship clothing and became more knowledgeable Re the business side of the publishing/writing industry as a whole - especially the new tech allowing more professional self-publishing and distribution avenues.

Even independent publishing has evolved into something new today. Fifteen to twenty years ago it referred to small presses that were not associated with the big corporate publishing houses. Today it refers to indie authors who are okaying, processing and publishing their own work.

Indie authors today have truly broken through the old boundaries and burst out upon a new landscape scattered with more level playing fields.

There are some land minds to be aware of, however.

As publisher of She Writes Press and SparkPress, president of Warner Coaching Inc., and author of Green-light Your Book, says "Self-publishing still carries some stigma, largely for two reasons: (1) because anyone can publish a book, and people who don’t care about standards do—and often; and (2) because the industry itself—steeped in tradition and invested in retaining the status quo—actively resists implementing changes that might truly level the playing field for indie authors."

It is also important for the indie authors/publishers to learn and maintain the highest standards of writing/editing, publishing and professionalism. If not, the real gatekeepers of worthwhile books, the reading public, will simply not buy - Talk about a 'self-correcting' feature!

I have said many times that a self-published book today is like the query letter of old - with benefits! If your self-published effort is somewhat successful a big publishing house may offer you a traditional deal, also. In fact, many authors have chosen to be so-called 'hybrid' authors; those who publish both traditionally and non-traditionally.

Yes, I would say that the freedom and creative control now enjoyed by successful indie authors will guarantee their continued growth.    

Monday, December 14, 2015

A Certain Level of Wisdom

Yesterday When I Was Young
Tonight's topic goes outside of the publishing industry block and concerns itself with 'other life stuff' - although it is related to published words (delightfully crafted) that can only come with age and experience.
"Hier Encore", whose original French title translates as "Only Yesterday", is a song written by Charles Aznavour and released in September 1964. [1] It was subsequently released in English as "Yesterday, When I Was Young", in Italian as "Ieri Si", in Danish as "Hvor tiden går", in Japanese 帰り来ぬ青春, and in Spanish as "Ayer Aún". It is considered one of Aznavour's greatest hits.
The English-language lyrics, were written by Herbert Kretzmer. 
This post is taken from a recent Facebook posting of mine.
The words to this thoughtful poem and song about life hit me especially hard today:

Yesterday when I was young,
The taste of life was sweet as rain upon my tongue,
I teased at life as if it were a foolish game,
The way the evening breeze may tease a candle flame;
The thousand dreams I dreamed,
The splendid things I planned
I always built, alas,
On weak and shifting sand;
I lived by night and shunned the naked light of day
And only now I see how the years ran away.
Yesterday, when I was young,
So many happy songs were waiting to be sung,
So many wayward pleasures lay in store for me
And so much pain my dazzled eyes refused to see,
I ran so fast that time and youth at last ran out,
I never stopped to think what life was all about
And every conversation I can now recall concerned itself with me, and nothing else at all.
Yesterday the moon was blue,
And every crazy day brought something new to do,
I used my magic age as if it were a wand,
And never saw the waste and emptiness beyond;
The game of love I played with arrogance and pride
And every flame I lit too quickly, quickly died;
The friends I made all seemed somehow to drift away
And only I am left on stage to end the play.
There are so many songs in me that won't be sung,
I feel the bitter taste of tears upon my tongue,
The time has come for me to pay for Yesterday
When I was Young.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

2015 Digital Publishing Trends

The Data Conversion Laboratory (DCL) and Bowker have teamed up for their second annual survey on digital publishing trends and stats. Some cool data.

The results will be shown in colorful charts and graphs indicating statistics Re just who in the industry has published digitally, what genres were published more frequently digitally, the quality of digital works compared to print, etc.

Useful info that delves into some actual numbers. An interesting look-see into the digital publishing landscape.    

This news from E-ContentXtra: "The “2015 Digital Publishing Survey” shows that about 73% of respondents have published digitally (up from about 64% in 2014) and that about 45% have self-published. About 13% of respondents feel that ebooks are held to a lower standard than print books, but about 53% believe that the quality of digitally published content is improving.
Publishers are including quality assurance (QA) measures in their workflows: About 36% are performing self-checks, 36% are hiring editors, and 23% are performing QA before conversion." 

Excerpts from tonight's research article:

Many more categories of 2015 digital publishing data are presented in the 2015 Digital Publishing Survey

Please go read, ingest and enjoy :)

The Writers Welcome Blog is available on your mobile device here

Sunday, October 4, 2015

'Predatory Scholarly Publishing Practices' are Contaminating the STM Publishing Industry

For those of us who forgot, the STM publishing industry refers to the Scientific, Technical and Medical publishing field; generally encompassed within the academic journal genre.

I have long had an interest in the internal workings of the academic publishing field, due mainly to the enormous money making capabilities of the academic journal publishers and their shabby treatment of the researcher-authors (from whom they make their livelihood). Even to requiring the authors to pay an APC (article processing charge)! 

AND, mind you, the authors of academic research never receive a percentage of compensation based on article usage (for further research) or overall journal profit - even for a specified time. Talk about corralling intellectual knowledge into academic slave labor!

At any rate, tonights research article comes from Knowledge Speak, the daily intelligence resource for the STM Publishing industry and discusses 'a study conducted by researchers from Hanken School of Economics and published in the open access journal BMC Medicine, which sheds new light on the volume and market characteristics of so-called ‘predatory’ scholarly journal publishing.'

Key excerpts:

"The study shows the number of articles published in journals defined as such that have increased nearly eightfold since 2010. However, it concludes that the problem of ‘predatory journals’ is limited to a few countries where researchers are known to be placed under pressure to publish in international journals."

"The success of open access publishing, which has seen enormous growth in the last 15 years, has also seen the unwelcome development of what has become known as ‘predatory’ journals. These are APC-charging journals, which publish articles rapidly without proper peer review."

"In the past few years, there have been investigations or journalistic stings into ‘predatory’ publishing but very few systematic research studies. To address this, an empirical investigation was undertaken, which took as its starting point Beall’s List. Beall’s List is a blacklist of over 600 ‘predatory’ publishers and 400 individual journals compiled by the librarian Jeffery Beall based on a number of criteria that he believes reveal the true nature of such journals, for instance obscuring where the journal is operating from, faked editorial boards, and marketing unrealistically low delays from submission to publishing. The researchers utilized this list as the basis for their study, as it is currently the most widely known list available."

Read the rest of this insightful article: New study reveals characteristics of the ‘predatory’ scholarly publishing market 

The Writers Welcome Blog is available on your Kindle HERE :) 


Sunday, August 16, 2015

Corporate Publishing Booming on the Backs of Slave Wage Authors

Corporate Publishing Profiting
On Authors' Slave Wages
Sad to say, but, the corporatized publishing industry has no heart left! It apparently donated it to make room for balance sheets, algorithms, marketing deception and other faceless, detached, formulaic 'analysis-crunchers' to determine the probable success of an author's work. These so-called new tech 'advances' have replaced human, heartfelt, intuitive relationships between authors, agents, editors and other blood and flesh homo sapiens that actually considered little things like writing style, grammar, flair, character development, intuition, plot creativity and twists, etc., etc., etc. NOT TO MENTION the nurturing of newbie talent that can only take place between two humans who breathe and understand raw talent, creativity and their fulfillment through guidance, learning and experience.

I hate to say this, but it would be neat if ALL writers (from all fields) took a stand and ONLY self-published from now on!

Or, at least, until the true creators (product producers) get their rightful share of the profits! 

Tonight we will investigate the heartless, robotic state of modern corporate publishing and how its success is tied to the slave wages of authors. 

Tonight's research article “A Lament for Modern Publishing” was published in The Irish Times and written by Fiona O’Connor, a former Hennessy Short Story Prize winner. She lectures at the University of Westminster and is artistic director of St John’s Mill Theatre Company, Beaufort, Co Kerry

Key excerpts:

‘Publishing is a corporatised, market-driven, bottom-line privileging of the blockbuster, maintained by writers’ low-wage drudgery; in this case it is writers who toil for poverty-line rates with no security and few rights. Marketing is king, and critics absorb the advertising code: do not offend.’

‘In 2014-15 the British and Irish publishing industry turnover was £4.6 billion, up from £3 billion in 2013. Against this apparent boom the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society warns that authors’ incomes have collapsed. The median income of established professional authors is £11,000, down 29 percent since 2005. But the typical median income of all writers is less than £4,000 and declining yearly. Output of books is rising steadily: 185,000 releases this year in the UK and Ireland. The writer’s share of this Benison is about 2.8 per cent – that’s 28 cents on a €10 book.’

‘The Big Five publishing giants – Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin/Random House and Simon & Schuster – point to the techno revolution, evidencing their struggle with even bigger monoliths such as Amazon as the problem, rather than their own exploitative tendencies. But it is in the nature of corporatism to externalise costs wherever possible. The costs of living as a writer get passed on – writers teach, edit, review, ghost-write, cab-drive, put out in myriad ways so that they may write the books that support the global corporate entity that is modern-day publishing.’

Read the rest of the research article and learn more about the vast difference between a seemingly buoyant industry and third-world income-streams for those generating the product – this is deeply appalling, actually.

Get The Writers Welcome Blog here

Research article: http://www.irishtimes.com/culture/books/a-lament-for-modern-publishing-1.2292101

Friday, July 3, 2015

The Scant Economics in Book Publishing

So few bucks!
First of all tonight, I want to wish all my readers a very happy and safe Fourth of July celebration. Happy Birthday, USA!

In this post I want to discuss a topic that we all probably know a little about - at least in part: The cash flow (or lack of it) in the current publishing landscape.

I just LOVE IT when I hear someones first person experience in publishing their first book. Especially from an experienced journalist or writer.

This scenario allows us to relate and learn from another's first-hand endeavors and will, hopefully, encourage questions and/or recommendations from others depending on their own past experience and position in the publishing food chain.

This from Thomas Lee, a San Francisco Chronicle Business Columnist:

Are there brutal economics in book publishing? Let me tell you...

Writing a book was like disappointing my parents all over again.

Like many Chinese immigrants, they wanted their only son to be a high-earning doctor or lawyer. Instead, he became a newspaper journalist who valued career satisfaction over dollars and cents. (Don’t worry, Mom and Dad, I sometimes wonder if I’m related to you, too).

So to my surprise, my mom was unusually excited when I told her two years ago that I was taking some time off to pen a book.

“Oh!” she exclaimed. “You make lots of money!”

I suspected she was confusing my project — a niche business book about retail and technology called “Rebuilding Empires” — with the work of J.K. Rowling: “Harry Potter and the Resurrection of the Big Box Store.”

Little did she know, there are some brutal economics underpinning the book publishing industry. As I would soon discover firsthand, most books — even those published by major houses like Random House, Hachette and Simon & Schuster — don’t make much money or any at all.

Blame it on a number of factors: the low-cost dominance of Amazon; competition with other entertainment venues like Netflix, cable TV and cineplexes; or the fact that I picked a niche topic in the business world.

In any case, an unknown first-time author like myself pretty much assumes nearly all of the financial risk.

I was actually one of the luckier ones — at least my publisher offered a modest advance. Many authors don’t even get that.

Not surprisingly, that advance disappeared quickly when I took a three-month unpaid leave to research the book. How else would I find the time to work on it?

Unless you’re independently wealthy, the choice comes down to begging your employer for a leave or not sleeping for the next 12 months. (Which happened anyway).

The publisher agreed to print about 5,000 copies, which it distributed to Barnes & Noble, Amazon and various independent bookstores and wholesalers. In order for the publisher to recoup its advance, “Rebuilding Empires” needs to sell 2,000 copies. After that, I get paid a percentage of the list price of each book sold, a royalty rate that gradually goes up the higher the sales.

That doesn’t seem so bad. But here’s the thing that most people don’t really know: Publishers have near-zero marketing budgets to promote your book.

It seems counterintuitive. To make money, you must spend money. Yet the author is ultimately responsible for spreading the word.

But maybe the book will build some momentum after positive reviews, right?

Think again. Outside major names like the New York Times and Los Angeles Times, the media hardly reviews any kind of book these days — never mind nonfiction business books like “Rebuilding Empires.”

The publisher recently sent me some sales data: since December, net sales for “Rebuilding Empires” (that is, sales minus the number of copies retailers ultimately shipped back to the publisher) totaled about 1,500 units and 100 e-books. Those figures also include international sales, from Great Britain, France, Canada, New Zealand (of all places) and Japan.

I’m actually pretty pleased with the results. Despite the lack of marketing muscle, “Rebuilding Empires” is considered something of a success, selling about a third of its printed run in just seven months and about 80 percent of the target set by the publisher to recoup the advance.

All in all, “Rebuilding Empires” will probably turn a profit, though I really can’t say when.
Until then, my mom will have to temper her expectations.

Read Thomas Lee's original article (with comments) in the San Francisco Chronicle.

The Writers Welcome Blog is available on your Kindle here :)


Research/Resource article: http://www.sfchronicle.com/business/article/Are-there-brutal-economics-in-book-publishing-6363578.php