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Comment from the book world in October 2011

October 2011

'Too much stress on authors'

31 October 2011

'There's just too much stress on authors. The business model seems to be that publishers want a book a year. I wanted to spend time on my novels, but that isn't economically viable...

Publishers seem to want to compete with faster forms of media, but the fast turnover leads to poorer books, and publishers shoot themselves in the foot. And it's as if authors have to be celebrities these days. It's expected that authors do loads of self-publicity - Facebook, Twitter, blogs, forum discussions - but it's an author's job to write a book, not to do the marketing. Just like celebrities don't make good authors, authors don't really make good celebrities.'

Steph Swainston, fantasy author, who is abandoning writing to become a chemistry teacher, in the Independent on Sunday.

Money for writing

24 October 2011

'Peter (Kravitz - her editor) said to me, I'll give you money for this. It had never occurred to me that anyone would give you money for writing: I thought writers were wealthy people who just wrote things out of the goodness of their heart and gave them as gifts. It takes an outsider to shift things, especially in Scottish culture. We go elsewhere and make monumental changes in other countries and rely on other people to come here and make enormous changes back. Peter was like the telly - he put ideas into your head. He couldn't see why I shouldn't be a writer and I nearly said 'because I'm Scottish'. It was the nearest he came to losing patience with me.'

Janice Galloway, author of All Made Up, in the Guardian

'Instinct, not planning'

17 October 2011

'I didn't know how many Dickens biographies there had been, how many books on London, it doesn't bother me. I just want to tell a story...

I was never an expert on Shakespeare or Oscar Wilde or Blake or Moore or Dickens or Turner before I started work on them. And then they're gone. None of my books has ever been in my head; after they're finished they go. It's like being a sort of medium; you just grab it when it's there then just release it when it's time to go. There's a lot of instinct, not planning.'

Peter Ackroyd, writer extraordinaire, in the Observer

'A traditional publishing contract'

10 October 2011

'Here's the flat truth of it, my friends: If you are a midlist writer and you sign a traditional publishing contract with most modern terms, and you do so with an agent...and not an IP attorney...negotiating for you, you will not make any more than your advance on that book. And the advance is not enough to live on. You will not be able to reserve e-book rights to you. Those rights will be a percentage of net, which in most contracts is undefined. And you will have to sell world rights so that the publishing industry can adequately exercise those e-book rights, making any money you would receive on foreign rights vanish.

If you have what I'm now beginning to believe is the standard agency rider in your contract, you will also lose a percentage of any auxiliary rights sale to that agent even if you fired that agentin the meantime and someone else negotiated the deal. Plus that agent will be entitled to a percentage of any work you write using that series, those characters, that world, or anything resembling that.'

Kristine Kathryn Rusch, author of many novels,