Friday, September 21, 2007

NEWS: File under 'a really bad idea'.

From Newsweek

"Chronicle Books plans to unveil what it says is a pioneering "mutual referral" deal with the Silicon Valley self-publisher Blurb, known for its print-on-demand online bookstore and glossy photography books. Chronicle will refer unwanted authors to Blurb, who will return an undisclosed cut of the earnings generated from the new accounts. Blurb says that while it's not uncommon for self-publishers to sell promising manuscripts up the chain to larger publishers, this is the first deal to send submissions in the other direction: from the discard pile of a traditional publishing house to an online bookstore where authors pay to have their books printed and sent off into the real world.

It looks to be a win-win arrangement."

...Much like 'journalists' writing stories based on new releases without making any attempt at a serious analysis. If a writer submits to a traditional press, they should get a yes or a no, period. If and when they decide to self-publish they should choose the best printer and distributor for their purpose. A traditional press taking kick-backs for referrals to a self-publishing service is not a win-win situations. It is, in fact, a win-win-lose situation for Chronicle, Blurb and the writer, respectively.


Erik said...

Rock on!

I've written about the terrible dysfunction of the publishing industry, and had the great pleasure of gaining a response from an agent and someone who works from a publisher.

Needless to say, they were displeased that a peon like myself would dare to criticize their noble work.

But they did deign to respond, so it was a lot of fun. Gave me added faith in the POD as a potential revolution that's long overdue. Hasta la Victoria Siempre!

L.K. Campbell said...

And who are they to say that an author wouldn't be able to sub the book to another traditional publisher and get an acceptance? File this under "Publishers to avoid".

Emily Veinglory said...

Quite. It rather assumes Chroncile is the very last and lower third-party publisher anyone would try. And that self-publishing exists only to be a second teir for mainstream material.

Joseph Ternes said...

The information in the Newsweek article was incorrect. Chronicle Books will not receive a referral fee for recommending to aspiring authors or artists.

Just as from time to time our editors refer authors or artists to other trade houses, presents another option if they consider it an appropriate choice. This option will not be part of our response to every author submissions. There are many self-publishing options in the marketplace, though far fewer for illustrated book authors and artists. As an independent illustrated book publisher in San Francisco, Chronicle Books felt an affinity for the locally based and the quality of the product it is offering the public.

Chronicle Books

Emily Veinglory said...

I can only assume someone sent out a really bad press release to have so many of the details wrong and somehow throw E Lynne Harris into the mix--who doesn't exactly write illustrated books.

The lack of a financial kick-back makes this simply a very dubious choice not an utter lack of ethical judgement. Publishing and self-publishing are still different creatures. The author should be credited with the ability to seek out their own options rather than being passed along according to behind the scenes relationships between presses.

Anonymous said...

Joseph, I don't get it. Why would Chronicle make a point of referring writers to Blurb-- just because you like them? Are you saying there is no financial incentive here whatsoever?

Joseph Ternes said...

There is no financial incentive. We make a point of recommending because we do appreciate their work, specifically because we are an illustrated book publisher and the quality options for authors or artists to self-publish are far fewer than for text-only titles. Our illustrated book editors now have a high-quality self-publishing option to recommend to an author if they deem to be the appropriate choice.

Emily Veinglory said...

1) If an author submits to a third party publisher, raising the issue of self-publishing is presumptuous and leading.
2) If you consider it appropriate to actively promote self-publishing to disappointed authors it should be in a fair and balanced manner either specifying no particular provider or covering a representative selection of the many alternatives.

I really don't understand how you do not see the concerns of the many commentators on this issue. Many of whom, like me, a very much supporters of self-publishing as an proactive and carefully researched choice by the author--not a provider-specific impulse choice in the wake of rejection by the third-party press.