Posts Tagged 'fiction'



An Off-Cycle Post RE: An Exchange with Romance Writers of America Regarding Shifts in Publishing

Being a wheel that simply cannot keep itself from squeaking, I decided to ask RWA to clarify its stance on “published.”

RWA has very justifiable qualifications in place before they will consider an author legitimately published. These guidelines are intended to protect authors from mills and vanity presses whose main source of income is the author’s own pocket. They prey on the hopes and dreams of new writers and are despicable in my view. No author published through this route is adequately vetted, can recoup their investment, nor will their book sell in any numbers.

That said, new avenues in independent publishing (e-publishing on Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords with no-minimum-purchase, print-on-demand options for paperback copies) have opened up which are NOT the same sort of thing at all. So I went to the RWA site, copied out their criteria, added my own observations, and sent it off. Here is that email:

From: Kristin Tualla
Sent: Thursday, June 03, 2010 7:08 PM
Subject: Question about Vanity Presses & PAN

My question specifically targets CreateSpace, Kindle, Smashwords & Nook. Here is what the RWA website says about qualifying for Pan (Published Authors Network) with my questions/comments in CAPS:

Eligible Novel: A work of Romance Fiction of at least 40,000 words (as determined by computer word count) that is offered for sale in a readable or audio format to the general public by a publisher, for which the author receives payment as stipulated in a written contract from a publisher WOULDN’T THIS BE THE ROYALTY AGREEMENT?

and for which the author does not participate in the costs of production in any manner including but not limited to publisher assessment of a fee or other costs for editing, preparation, and/or distribution. NONE OF THE PUBLISHERS I LISTED CHARGES THE AUTHOR ANY FEES TO PUBLISH THEIR MANUSCRIPTS. ZERO. ZIP. NADA.

A novel does not qualify if the publisher withholds or seeks full or partial payment or reimbursement of publication or distribution costs before paying royalties including payment of paper, printing, binding, production, sales or marketing costs. NONE OF THE PUBLISHERS LISTED CHARGE ANY FEES, NOR DO THEY WITHHOLD PAYMENT. IN FACT, THEY PAY FASTER THAN TRADITIONAL PUBLISHERS DO, AND SALES NUMBERS ARE IMMEDIATELY AVAILABLE TO THE AUTHOR AT ANY TIME.

The work must not be exclusively promoted and/or sold by the author or have distribution that is primarily directed toward sales to the author, his/her relatives and/or associates. MY NON-FICTION CRAFT BOOK HAS SOLD 99% TO COMPLETE STRANGERS AND I EXPECT MY NOVEL TO DO THE SAME. THE BOOK IS PROMOTED ON MULTIPLE WEBSITES. THE PAPERBACK IS ON SALE IN INDEPENDENT BOOKSTORES, AMAZON.COM AND B&N.COM, AND THE E-BOOK IS ON THE PUBLISHER SITES LISTED ABOVE, PLUS GOODNIGHT PUBLISHING AS THE FIRST OFFERING FROM THIS LABEL.

So, can authors qualify for PAN using these publishers if they make $1000.00 in royalties a 12-month period? It seems to me that they should be able to, based on the criteria listed. Thank you for your time!

Their prompt and encouraging reply:

From: Carol Ritter
Sent: Friday, June 04, 2010 9:26 AM
Subject: Re: Question about Vanity Presses & PAN

Hi Kris,
Your email sent to RWA’s info@ email address was forwarded to me. Staff does not create policy, we merely follow the policies approved by RWA’s Board of Directors.  I will forward your email to RWA’s BoD today so that they may discuss your questions regarding Eligible Novel, Vanity Presses and PAN membership. Their next scheduled meeting is on July 26, 2010.
(Kris says: this meeting will be held at RWA’s Annual National Conference.)

Sincerely,
Carol Ritter
Professional Relations Manager
Romance Writers of America

And my reply to her, sent today:

Thank you, Carol!

There are – admittedly – some horrible presses that feed on the uneducated and charge authors $500-$4500 to “publish” them. These predatory Vanity Presses must remain excluded in the category created for them by RWA.

But with the rise of Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords (with CreateSpace or Lulu as the printer of POD paper copies) where the author is not charged any fees, publishing has shifted yet again. If an author uploads a manuscript – and makes $1000 or more in a year with royalties – it would seem that they should be considered legitimately published by RWA’s standards. After all, the public considers them published, and has spoken with their wallet.

I await the decision with an active blog’s worth of readers behind me. We are all curious as to what the ruling will be!

~~~~

So, readers, I will give you the response as soon as I received it. If you don’t already subscribe to this blog, please do so  – you don’t want to miss it!

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