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Old 01-19-2014, 05:49 AM   #1
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Debut author turned down $120,000, 3 books New York publishing deal to self-publish

All thanks to the popularity of ebook. This is now possible for a debut author. This would be unimaginable a few years.

http://brennaaubrey.net/2013/12/08/i...-self-publish/





As for whether this was a good decision, see her follow-up (first month royalties)
http://brennaaubrey.net/2014/01/12/t...n-a-reckoning/

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Old 01-19-2014, 06:04 AM   #2
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Well done to the author!

One thing strikes me as a little curious in the linked post. She says:

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The above would be my royalty rate for the life of the copyright (about 35 years)...
I wonder why she thinks that her copyright will only exist for 35 years?
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Old 01-19-2014, 07:08 AM   #3
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All thanks to the popularity of ebook.
Or just the genre?
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Old 01-19-2014, 07:38 AM   #4
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New Adult seems to be the current Big Thing, with publishers all hoping for a mega-hit before the market gets too glutted. So she probably got there at the right time with a decent-enough manuscript - well done and good luck for her. If she manages to market the book well, I have no doubt she might do better on her own than with a traditional publisher deal.

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I wonder why she thinks that her copyright will only exist for 35 years?
I assumed she meant a contract with a publisher would mean signing her rights away for 35 years (i.e. a period during which the copyright, in essence, is something her publisher would have full control over), and just didn't word it quite right.
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Old 01-19-2014, 09:11 AM   #5
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I hope it works for her, and that she knows how to promote herself well enough that she gets noticed amongst the huge number of slush-titles that are sadly prevalent in self-publishing. I also hope that the amount of self-promotion she will need to do does not detract from her writing. Charles Stross wrote an article about why he doesn't self-publish, which I found rather interesting and informative.http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog...f-publish.html
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Old 01-19-2014, 09:28 AM   #6
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I assumed she meant a contract with a publisher would mean signing her rights away for 35 years (i.e. a period during which the copyright, in essence, is something her publisher would have full control over), and just didn't word it quite right.
A contract with a publisher last for exactly as long as the contract states. One would have to be rather foolish to sign a contract which assigns all rights for 35 years with no escape clause, I think!
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Old 01-19-2014, 09:54 AM   #7
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A contract with a publisher last for exactly as long as the contract states. One would have to be rather foolish to sign a contract which assigns all rights for 35 years with no escape clause, I think!
Obviously - but I've heard of very long-lasting contracts before. I assume this is what the contracts she was offered may have specified, and this might well have been one of the reasons why she decided against a publisher contract.

Either way, that's just what I assumed she meant, as that's what made sense in context to me.
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Old 01-19-2014, 09:55 AM   #8
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A contract with a publisher last for exactly as long as the contract states. One would have to be rather foolish to sign a contract which assigns all rights for 35 years with no escape clause, I think!
The current baseline contracts offered by the BPHs are life of copyright contracts.
(Remember the Helix flap?)

One of many reasons why indie publishing is on the upsurge: the supply of fools willing to sign on those terms isn't that large.
But alas it might be large enough to support the practice.
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Old 01-19-2014, 10:32 AM   #9
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The current baseline contracts offered by the BPHs are life of copyright contracts.
(Remember the Helix flap?)
Absolutely. That's why you should never sign anything without having it explained to you by a lawyer, first. If you don't like something in the contract, cross it out.
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Old 01-19-2014, 10:43 AM   #10
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Absolutely. That's why you should never sign anything without having it explained to you by a lawyer, first. If you don't like something in the contract, cross it out.
Uh-huh.
Writers relying on agents at contract vetting time are just asking for heartache.
They need an ip lawyer on their side, somebody paid by them, not the publisher. And they need to be willing and prepared to walk away, because they most likely will have to.
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Old 01-19-2014, 10:53 AM   #11
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I think she's nuts.
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Old 01-19-2014, 11:07 AM   #12
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I think she's nuts.
I think it's the opposite.

I have a feeling that she will earn at least $100,000 from this novel in the next few years.

Total expenses: $1,827.00

First month royalties: $18,415.79
Second month royalties: I'll be VERY surprised if she doesn't earn at least $10,000 in her second month. The book is still selling very well.
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Old 01-19-2014, 11:53 AM   #13
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I think it's the opposite.

I have a feeling that she will earn at least $100,000 from this novel in the next few years.

Total expenses: $1,827.00

First month royalties: $18,415.79
Second month royalties: I'll be VERY surprised if she doesn't earn at least $10,000 in her second month. The book is still selling very well.
Correct.

First of all, $120k is for three books. So it is $40k per book.
Second, the money gets split into (at least) two payments per book; on acceptance and on publishing. Some current contracts split the per-book payments 4 ways and the last three aren't guaranteed. They can choose not to print with no penalty if they change their mind.
Third, it takes 18 months for the first book to reach market.
Fourth, the agent gets 15%. That brings the first book income to $34k of which she would only see $17k this year.

Going indie means she makes at least as much money, quicker, and retains full control of the copyright.

Even if sales decrease dramatically she's already ahead of the tradpub game.
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Old 01-19-2014, 01:55 PM   #14
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If you follow through the author's article to a link from an article by Courtney Milan, Aubrey is referring to a statutory right for an author to terminate a grant of rights after 35 years. I don't know what the reversion terms were in the contracts by the publishing houses were, but for a print book, it's usually has something to do with being out of print, but for ebooks, it's probably a number of sales per some unit of time. It's possible that all of the publishing houses were setting the bar too high to be for her to get the rights back.

I think her biggest concern was not the copyright reversion, but the non-compete clauses. If she is a fast writer and has more than 3 books in the queue, a 3 book contract will limit the number of books she can get published to that of the publisher's schedule. I think she's atypical for a new author, but if self-publishing works for her, more power to her.
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Old 01-19-2014, 02:12 PM   #15
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She got some flak, including name-calling, for her decision from people who weren't privvy to the occult side of trad publishing. Thankfully, she received a lot of support from others who were... Time will tell how things pan out but I think she was very wise about it and wish her the best.
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