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Sunday, 10 July 2011

Don't worship the gate-keepers - they are idols with feet of clay.

Reposted from my comments at Mark Williams international
As a successful erotica author I have watched my publisher pay me peanuts while reaping 100 or 200 times the income from my work over the past 11 years. I also strongly suspect that tens of thousands of my books have been sold secretly at wholesale price without my knowledge, but I have absolutely no way of proving it. They make endless careless mistakes with their accounting for my sales and royalties. They cannot account for my entire earnings and sales with them because they regularly change their accounting system and I have no rights in my contracts to request an independent audit of their records.
This subterfuge and unfairness broke my will to write. What is the point of being a writer whose books people love to read and I don't get paid for that good work? What is the remedy if the gatekeepers not only pay you hardly anything but they steal and lie as well? The average author is too poor to sue one of the big six.

Not only that, but despite having had three books published in three years, after that they didn't want any more of my books. They are a comfortably earning backlist for them. Why make any more effort to use me or my work? Or to find out if my genera work or biographical works are equally popular, as one might imagine they could be. No.

I bless the fact that I got my digital rights back from them 6 years ago before they thought they needed them. When they requested the rights back, as belatedly, they were publishing 100 NZ authors in ebook format early this year. I asked my editor for information on their marketing plan, and how much of their profit was I to receive?
There was no marketing plan, and I was to get 10-25%.

Having heard the news about ebooks I found smashwords and others online. I said thanks but no thanks to my publishers, as I think anyone would have.

I have now set up my own publishing company. My old books are being re-edited and going on-stream online steadily with many etailers, not just Amazon. Additionally I have found a very talented author, A J Burton, a retired policeman who writes gripping, realistic, very funny detective mystery fiction.
My choosing to publish him, recognising his talent and acknowledging his ability as a writer has transformed him into a real person, not a loser, as he had been, when trying to sell his book to agents and editors around the world. From being depressed and almost giving up, he is in heaven now, busily producing the sequel to Demon's Coven, and learning about how to edit his work.

The ebook revolution, fuelled by the manufacturers of ebook readers and app writers, etailers, Amazon.com and many authors has set millions of people free - we are merely two of them!

For all of us as human beings, the ebook revolution is simply the beginning of true freedom to write what we wish, publish for the enjoyment and enlightenment of others and to read what we wish. Gutenberg, Caxton and all those who wished humans to have access to the written word will be applauding from their graves.