Michele Scott

Do the Big 6 Want to Make Money on Their Backlists, or just F… with the Authors?

Do the Big 6 Want to Make Money on Their Backlists, or just F… with the Authors?

First off, I want to thank everyone for their condolences and thoughtfulness in regards to my Dad’s passing. It has been difficult, but your kindness has helped ease some of the pain.

 The positive is that I am back writing–and writing a ton! My Dad taught me work ethic and to reach for your dreams. I am also coming out punching a bit these days. He taught me tat fighter spirit as well.

 I have on occasion expressed my dismay with the Big 6, but I have typically tried to be as diplomatic as possible. I am done being a diplomat.

 Here is where I am at. I started out in publishing with THE WINE LOVER’S MYSTERIES. MURDER UNCORKED was my first book and it did quite well. It wound up with 9 printings, some foreign rights sales, etc. Now, you can’t find the book anywhere in print, or the second book in that series MURDER BY THE GLASS. They are officially out of print and have been for over a year! And, for a year now, I have requested reversion of rights. I receive e-mails from readers asking me where they can buy the books on a regular basis. Not everyone has an e-reader. I was offered to buy the books back at a 35% reduction off of list price when they took the books of print. That is standard.

 I’ve asked nicely. I’ve been a good author. Now, I am pissed. The responses I get basically tell me that the process takes 2-3 months (mind you I have been asking for a year with no response), but they can take up to 6 months to respond. The e-mail intimated they would be taking the full 6 months.

 This makes no sense to me. I have had books make it into top 10 bestseller lists on amazon, Wall Street Journal, etc. I know this series is one readers enjoy and want to read more of. The publisher would still own the rights to 4 of the other books in the series. Wouldn’t it make good business sense for them to give me back my rights, allow me to publish indie and do what I know how to do to get books into the hands of readers? In turn, the 4 books they own rights to would start selling again. It would be a win/win. They don’t do anything to sell the books. They’ve moved onto the next thing. If these guys would pull their heads out they could start making some money on the back list they own and stop seeing tried and true authors go indie, or sign with Amazon (which I have recently done and am very, very happy because THEY GET IT). Amazon gets it!

 I think this is a game with the Big 6. They clearly don’t care about making money on the extensive back list they own. They seem to enjoy keeping writers hostage. Come on! Get smart! You’re going to need cash flow, Big 6, for all of the huge advances being plunked down for  the successful indie authors that are being cherry picked after they have done all the work themselves to get to the top.  I suppose the publishers pockets are so deep that they don’t care. To me, that is arrogant. All I want are my rights back, and so do a ton of authors (yes–WE TALK and there are many of us who are grumbling). If I get my rights back, Big 6 publisher and I can make readers happy, and make a little money together. Novel idea, huh?

 I realize that this is a battle I will not likely win, so writing this may be a waste of my time and just a rant. However, maybe it will wake someone up.

 Rant over. I am now going back to writing.

 Have a wonderful day!

 Michele

 

One Response to Do the Big 6 Want to Make Money on Their Backlists, or just F… with the Authors?

  1. Yug says:

    The position in the UK is that we have the PACT/Writers’ Guild aeeremgnt (currently in urgent need of updating). This gives a minimum terms baseline for writers or their agents to negotiate up from. The fact is though (as Peter has stated) that the producer usually takes ownership of the script and the writer is asked to waive their moral rights; refusal to do so usually means no deal!

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