Note: The publishing world in NYC continues to believe that they are the center point of the universe when it comes to publishing. Because of this concept, I sadly see too many businesses and organizations cater to the top five publishing companies in a way that hurts Indie Authors.
My trip to NYC last week will result in a wide range of benefits for Texas Authors and Indie Authors collectively. One of my meetings was with the Authors Guild, which is an organization that supports authors of all types. They handle mostly the legal aspect of writing; contracts, infringement on rights, etc., they are a great organization to belong too. It so happened that while in NYC, one of the board members released an open letter to their membership that also applies to our membership and is something that I have been speaking on for a few years now. My new book due out in 2020 "Authors Revolution" is about this and other aspects of publishing. I hope you will take the time to read the full letter that is posted on our blog and check out this organization for membership.
‘We’re Still Getting Our Asses Kicked’
In an open letter this month addressed to members of the Authors Guild, the organization’s vice president, the American author Richard Russo, has warned that tech companies’ operations in the content space may increasingly threaten writers’ livelihoods and recognition.
“Traditional publishers may have underpaid us,” Russo writes, “but at least to them we were poets and painters and songwriters, terms that implied both respect and ownership of what we made, at least until we’ve sold it to them.
“The tech ethos is different. To them, we’re often seen as mere hirelings. And since those who hire us are in the business of business, they have a fiduciary responsibility to their stockholders to pay us as little as they can get away with and to make certain we understand that we’re mere workers, not partners in the enterprise.”
The commentary is a follow-up to Russo’s 2013 letter to the membership. In this message, he touches on favorite points of criticism, including “the scorched-earth capitalism of companies like Google and Amazon, by spineless publishers who won’t stand up to them, by the ‘information wants to be free’ crowd who believe that art should be cheap or free and treated as a commodity, by Internet search engines who are all too happy to direct people to online sites that sell pirated (read ‘stolen’) books.”
Clearly, there are many with whom to take umbrage.
Five years later, Russo writes to an author-advocacy trade organization that has grown past the 10,000-member mark and has become the lead response group in many issues authors are encountering, from inappropriate trademark efforts to contractual conflicts with publishers.
Most recently, for example, the guild has written letters in support of the writers of Slate and Thrillist, arguing that they should be allow to unionize. There’s probably a clue to the direction the guild itself is going in representing authors in its posting about the new letters: “Few individual writers have any true bargaining power, but collective bargaining gives writers greater leverage to negotiate the terms of their employment. “The Authors Guild supports collective bargaining for all staff writers and hopes to one day attain similar benefits for freelance journalists and authors.”
Read the full letter on our blog
A note from a TxAuthor Member:
I've been a member of the Authors Guild since 2000, wish I would have known of them earlier, been a member, for they could helped review a book contract I had no idea what I was signing. I lost/unknowingly complete control of the manuscript, received nothing for the purchase of it, didn't even recognize my manuscript after they published the book they "bought", which they (the Publisher) actually stole because they did not pay me one dollar for the manuscript.
The book was published in the US and other countries; I never received one cent in royalties, never did a book signing, nothing, and that happened in 1997.
This type of "crime" still happens today to other writers without knowledge and without legal help to review a contract; which the Authors Guild does for its members.
Since that horrible experience I have used the Authors Guild for legal advice. They are the best there is.
I urge every writer/author of ANYTHING, song writer, script writer, poet, speech writer, etc. to join the Authors Guild.