Saturday, 5 April 2008

Stand back and wait for the outcry in the USA

Remember the screams when Macmillan New Writing was announced?

HarperCollins in the US has announced something rather similar. According to MediaBistro, their new, yet unnamed imprint "will offer minimal advances and instead split a much higher percentage of royalties with the authors."

These folks are serious about it, too. The new imprint will be headed by Robert Miller, the founder of and President of Hyperion, a legendarily successful small publisher. But the scheme as related by GalleyCat won't be based on royalties but rather profit-sharing. (!) Can you imagine how that would have been greeted if Macmillan had announced it that way? Profit-sharing is what Hollywoof offers you if they have no intention of paying you anything at all.

In any case, I'm glad to see we're wising up over here. And if HarperCollins were really smart, they'd fly to London, buy lunch for Mike, Will, and Sophie, and have a chat.

8 comments:

Tim Stretton said...

There is a piece on this development in Friday's Guardian.

It retails the usual canards about "no frills" MNW, including the rather strange claim that Macmillan "advise authors to use their own freelance copyeditors".

If the rest of the story is researched to such exacting standards we will all learn much...

Eliza Graham said...

Oh. No.

David Isaak said...

The Guardian never quite gets it right, do they?

In later announcements, the most interesting part comes out: the new imprint hopes to make books nonreturnable.

Now that's going to result in an outcry...

Faye L. said...

Ah, The Guardian, I really want to like you, I really do, but with shoddy researching skills like the ones displayed in the article already mentioned by Tim, it's getting harder and harder. Sort yourselves out.

Eliza Graham said...

Perhaps we should all write a joint letter explaining about the editing...

Alis said...

The whole non-returnable thing is interesting, isn't it? It could mean that booksellers will work harder at shifting stock. But it could also (more likely) mean that they won't take risks with people nobody's ever heard of. Like all of us...

Eliza Graham said...

I'm afraid you're probably right, Alis.

David Isaak said...

The issue of returnability is the reason the whole print-on-demand thing never made much headway in the bookstores; almost no POD publishers will allow returns.

I think the imprint will probably drop the whole non-returnability concept. Because no one will stock their books.

It's interesting to speculate on what effect non-returnability would have on the industry--but it would take a massive push by the whole industry to get there. One little imprint will simply be ignored.