On Writing & Publishing by Robin D. Owens

Personal notes on writing techniques, writing a novel, my writing career and threading your way through publishing a book.

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Location: Denver, United States

RITA Award Winning Author -- that's like the Oscar, folks! Futuristic/Fantasy Romance and Fantasy with Romantic Subplots.

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Friday, October 21, 2005

Publishing Rights - Reissues

Now, this is my understanding. Contracts are different at different
publishing houses, and things may work differently than I understand.
This will be a brief bit just to answer Michele's question...because it
could probably fill a month worth of blogs.

As an author I sell my book to ONE publisher which has the right to
publish it. That means I can't sell it anywhere else for more. ;)
Among other things, the contract says the publisher has the rights to
publish the book for a certain amount of time after they put it into
print for the first time...say 6 years.

Publishing a book means it's "in print," and "in print" is usually
defined as a certain amount of copies being sold per year - say 500.
So, the publisher prints the book the first time and we all see how it
will do. If, after the end of 6 years, the book isn't selling 500
copies a year and a publisher doesn't want to reissue the book, I get my
rights back and can sell it again somewhere else.

That's why bestselling books are re-issued, not only because they
continue to sell well, but if the publisher DOESN'T reissue it, the
author can get the rights back and do with it whatever the author

So, Author is waiting for 6 years to go by. Publisher decides to
"publish" the book electronically (and Author has signed over these
rights)...E-book publishing has very low overhead. Every year,
publisher sells at least 500 books and Author doesn't get the rights
back. PRINTING AND DISTRIBUTING 500 books a year can be a pain, so
ebooks have made it easier for publishers to hold onto the rights of
authors' books.

I hope I explained it well.

May all thoughts of the business of publishing flee and inspiration strike!




Blogger Michele said...

Yes you did explain it; quite well in fact.
Thank you.
I had to re-read it twice to fully appreciate the insidiousness of the arrangement when ebooks are included.
It is amazing how computers and technology create not just benefits for mankind, but many unforeseen headaches.
This is one of them.

I did a blurb on my blog about Guardian of Honor. I think I may have convinced someone to read it....I also mentioned it on a romance community site that I belong to.
No such thing as too much endorsement :-)

I liked your story that much.

1:55 PM  
Blogger Michele said...

Um, Robin,
5 !?! comment spam in a row?
I think that's a record.

What a pain in the patootie.

6:57 AM  
Blogger FantasyAuthor RobinDOwens said...

Thanks Michele, I appreciate all the word of mouth I can get. Sorry not to reply sooner, or take care of the spam, but I was at Mile Hi Con yesterday. My 3 panels are done and my reading will be tomorrow.

Thanks again,

8:07 AM  

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