The status quo sucks. Publishing companies are not in business to
nurture authors and foster dreams. They're out there to make money.
don't have a choice- profit margins in distribution channels are
notoriously slim. Most books lose money. So how do these companies
They sign prospective new writers,
hastily publish their work to the four winds, (careful in-house
editorial polish is largely a relic of the past) and then roll on
to a new batch. Anyone that happens to be the next John Grisham
is kept and taken care of. Rock stars fuel these companies. Good
for them, but for everyone else, it's sink or swim. You're largely
responsible for promoting your own work- you, the author, by hand.
Help is not forthcoming from some mystical marketing team. Decent
placement in a distribution catalog or representation at a trade
show? You can expect to pay for that.
Some companies are shadier, and secretly make their living not from
selling books to readers- but from selling 'services' to aspiring
authors and creators, consuming hope.
Then there's the Predatory Publisher. They find high-profile webcomic
creators, court them into a publishing contract, and then print
their webcomic. Bear in mind, most publishing contracts give 90%
of the sales to... Guess who? The publisher.
So the creator works their tail
off to make every page of the content, attracts readers through
their own efforts and social media, and then when readers happily
pay for what they love, 90% of the money goes to someone else. And,
hint- they don't spend that money advertising to new readers. It
goes into 'overhead.' Flock fleeced, on to the next.
And let's not forget- tucked
away in most contracts, publishers will also lay claim to the licensing
rights that once belonged to the creator. So they may be less interested
in how the actual books do, and more interested in farming intellectual
Of course, not all publishers
are unscrupulous. If you work hard at networking and struggle to
make a traditional publishing relationship work, you probably can.
But there is a reason self publishing is booming.
If you're going to do all the
work yourself anyways, why not keep the proceeds? Authors can print
their own books on demand and sell directly to customers, or through
services like IndyPlanet and Lulu.
But now we have a new problem.
Millions and millions of books. Hundreds of thousands of new titles
every year. Much of them are dreck. When anybody can print a book,
well, anybody does. How are readers supposed to know what merits
a first glance?
Breaking clear of the crowd
will only get more challenging as the world endlessly fills with
So where does Vivid fit in?