Great post by Joe Konrath about the horrendous contracts forced upon writers by the thugs of the big traditional publishing world. I'm not saying all the big companies are bad, but companies that would force authors to sign contracts like these are people who should-- and will-- be out of business. It's sweatshop labor, taking advantage of people that had little choice.
Up until a very short time ago, these gatekeepers forced everyone who wanted to get any kind of readership to come crawling on their knees in supplication, offering up their work-- for pennies in return, and a bond of servitude. Not a livelihood, mind you, just a treadmill of sweaty cheap labor for the privilege of seeing their name on a "legitimate" book by "a big house." Sure, there were some who profited from this system-- mostly the middlemen.
Thank goodness for the revolution, when the barriers to finding readers are down, and these fat-cats are no longer needed. So long, expensive offices and bloated staffs of New York. Would love to see you all have to get a real job-- especially one where someone else treats you like you treated others.
Wah, some wail. We'll lose the arbiters of quality! Really? It's there in the Indie world of publishing if you take the trouble to find it. New York was not the best judge of quality. When it switched to the profit-above-all methodology, they threw away whatever claim to that they held. And that was years ago. Now they shovel Snookie-memoirs and poorly written bilge, but claim that anyone who publishes outside their system is a heretic.
Yes, there are some good ones. But read the language and terms of these contracts, and then say that what is offered is fair.
From now on, writers-- the ones who produce the actual stuff that readers want-- are the ones to profit from their labor. Viva la revolution!