First, re: yesterday’s post. In the interest of fairness, Publishers Weekly now has a response up from Random House. The argument they’re making is that this is a pure profit-sharing arrangement, so therefore many of the issues Scalzi had with the contracts are irrelevant because it’s profit-sharing.
Personally, I’d want to see some hard and fast numbers before I felt comfortable with their argument that a profit-sharing arrangement is better for authors.
RH is a large, established entity. That means they have substantial overhead with offices, salaries, benefits, etc. And, I don’t know this for a fact, but I would think that their business model traditionally worked a lot like venture capital does.
No, I’m not a venture capitalist either…But my understanding is that for every ten start-ups a VC funds, two or three are dismal failures, four or five don’t do good or bad, and one or two are breakout successes. It’s a numbers game. And the only way someone wins at it is by spreading their bets, because you can’t really tell going in who is going to be the breakout success.
Authors can’t distribute their risk the same way. Publishers can. They can give ten novels a $5,000 advance, develop them through the process, and start putting more effort into the one that at release time looks most likely to succeed.
So, to ask an author to split the costs 50/50 seems a bit cruel to me. I’m willing to be proven wrong. Show me numbers that for all authors this is a better deal. But, what I suspect is that this is a better deal for the one or two breakout authors and a really crappy deal for the bottom end.
We’d all like to believe we’re at the top, but the reality is that nine out of ten of us are not.
It’ll be interesting to see how this continues to play out.
Second, I’m updating the Grammar and Word Usage Round-Up Post.
New entries:– fair vs. fare – cite vs. site vs. sight – birth vs. berth – vein vs. vane vs. vain – born vs. borne – lessen vs. lesson – pray vs. prey – dyed vs. died
Amazing I had so many new ones that weren’t already on the list…