I am one of those writers who subscribe to the view that publishers are rather unfair to writers. When I make this assertion, I am referring to publishers as a class. I am not referring to certain individual publishers whom I have dealt with (and maybe had negative experiences with). On the contrary, I am making reference to the entire publisher class. In today’s blog post, I will provide some insights, on the specific ways in which I think publishers are unfair to writers.
Firstly, I think publishers are unfair to writers to the extent that they tend to exploit the writers financially. So you have a scheme where a writer often earns only 10 percent of the revenues made from the sale of his or her work. This money comes in the form of royalties. And therefore you have the publishers remaining with 90% of the revenues. Granted, you may say that there are other costs to be catered for: including the actual printing costs, the costs associated with distribution, the costs associated with get publicity for a book… and so on. But even after those costs are catered for, I still think that the 10% that is given to the writer is often too little.
Secondly, I think publishers are unfair to writers to the extent that they tend to expect writers to be perfectionists. So this is where they usually reject manuscripts from the writers on the most frivolous of excuses. And this is how you actually end up with lots of frustrated writers, who simply give up when their works keep on being rejected.
Thirdly, I think publishers are unfair to writers to the extent that they often don’t care about the writers’ long term well-being. And it is due to this fact that you end up with so many writers who become destitute in their old age. This is especially true for those who are not lucky enough to get other jobs through which they can earn pensions.