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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Mailvox: a brief lesson in mainstream publishing

Dave doesn't understand how publishing works:
Why didn't those same gatekeepers that kept your books from being published disallow the contract offer from the start? How dysfunctional are these publishers that one entity signs you to a book contract but another doesn't allow anything to be published. Did they sign you with the intention to convince you to write something that would be acceptable to the gatekeepers?
  1. Because they didn't know about it.
  2. More dysfunctional than you would believe. 
  3. No.
It's pretty simple. Editors have a good deal of leeway. The vice-presidents, vice-publishers, and marketing executives very seldom know much about the books that are being signed. They won't have seen the book because it hasn't been written yet, so all they know is what the editor, who is the internal champion of the author and the book, tells them.

The usual process was this:
  • Editor runs across one of my books or the blog.
  • Editor reads the book, reads a little of the blog, and contacts me.
  • At editor's request, I come up with a book concept.
  • Editor likes concept, offers book deal.
  • Book deal proceeds, up to and including contract signing.
  • Female director of marketing is asked for input, googles me, throws hissy fit and insists that the project be canceled due to my being "too controversial".
After this happened for the third time in a row, I stopped talking to mainstream publishers. When I am approached by an editor - which has mostly stopped now that they are all familiar with Castalia House - I just tell them that I am not interested in mainstream publication. For me, at any rate, it's a complete waste of time, especially since the rising percentage of SJWs at the editorial level means that the number of left-wing gatekeepers is increasing.

And I suspect most authors who lean to the right are gradually going to come to reach the same conclusion that Mr. Cole and I have, especially as the bookstores continue to die off.

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29 Comments:

Blogger Phillip George February 10, 2016 5:04 AM  

Like the vast majority of people with a laptop, kindle, and busy week, I don't buy books. Or very very seldom. The last one was at an airport kiosk, a paperback best seller. Bear Grylls bio, I have kids in the boy scouts.

But like a lot of conservatives I suspect the books I'd like most to read haven't been written because the left killed newspapers and publishing a complete generation ago. Yamamoto is credited with saying his people didn't understand the awakening of the US industrial leviathan in a shooting war. If the real conservatives wake up, not the CINO's, I'd guess there are libraries of books waiting to be written. Revisions of the revisions. Correcting the course deviation of the last 100 years.

Blogger VD February 10, 2016 6:06 AM  

1. "I don't buy books"
2. "I suspect the books I'd like most to read haven't been written because the left killed newspapers and publishing a complete generation ago."

Do you seriously not understand the connection there? No one is ever going to write books for you because you don't buy books. There are plenty of good books that appeal to those with a right-of-center perspective. But if you don't buy books, while the left-wingers and SJWs do, then the right-wing publishers will not survive and there will be nothing but left-wing books being published.

In an even partly capitalist society, your dollar is your vote. You talk about "real conservatives" waking up, but based on your own words, it appears you are the one who needs to wake up.

And that is part of the problem with conservatives. They are always talking about what someone else should do, while blithely refusing to do it themselves.

Blogger Durandel Almiras February 10, 2016 6:34 AM  

Yep, vote with your wallet. That's why every purchase I make from Castalia and other Indy or non-SJW publishing houses puts a smile on my face and gives me warm fuzzie inside. Because each purchase supports people who aren't Progressive message fiction twits and allows me to give a big middle finger to the ideological gatekeepers in publishing. My hatred for the Left is so great, that each purchase feels better than sex while eating a perfectly cooked filet mignon. So good.

Blogger Phillip George February 10, 2016 6:36 AM  

That's exactly the point. Of the five most recent purchases, it was more a donation to the cause for people on their lecture circuits. I didn't buy so much to read the author as much as support the author.

Mark Steyn even makes this point. Buying is like a donation to the big cause. Think about that. It's like calling for charity with a product thrown in.
Robert Cornuke was the exception, I bought him to read.
ie. Fly the flag and throw in a product

Anonymous Gedrin February 10, 2016 7:14 AM  

Related, any idea when the Tor boycott will end? Steven Brust is a Writer over there and his book "Jhereg" is the reason I started reading books as a teenager. I'm at least 2 books behind now on releases but I'm not buying them while that SJW Bitch is still there.

Any idea when she's on the way out?

Anonymous worldskipper February 10, 2016 7:23 AM  

VD, how does Kindle Unlimited work for the Publishers/Authors? Do y'all still get paid when someone 'checks a book out' from them or is it a flat fee? I can be a voracious reader at times but my budget won't allow it.

Anonymous NorthernHamlet February 10, 2016 7:26 AM  

And I suspect most authors who lean to the right are gradually going to come to reach the same conclusion that Mr. Cole and I have

With the SJW purges, I also suspect that pool of authors that lean to the right will also grow.

Anonymous That Would Be Telling February 10, 2016 7:41 AM  

Speaking of buying or not buying books, normally I wouldn't buy this book because I don't feel like reading this sort of thing nowadays.

However, his pricing the Kindle edition at 99 cents is clever, for at that low, low price it's worth it as a combined FU Gate Keepers, low enough for a book I don't really own a copy of (evidently DRMed), I might someday want to read such a book, and it puts a little money in the author's pocket.

The very low friction and cost for all parties of a 1-Click™ ebook sale makes every aspect of this practical, and in aggregate I'm sure it will be highly profitable to the author.

Of course, to do a low friction 1-Click™ purchase you have to be the sort of person who already buys books and has an Amazon.com account....

Blogger Elmo Shangnaster February 10, 2016 7:57 AM  

This causes me to suspect that there could be those book projects which writers would otherwise eagerly see published, but are locked into a dead end contract with a publisher who has effectively torpedoed the idea by this means.

Anonymous VFM #6306 February 10, 2016 8:10 AM  

Gedrin...it ends when Tor is a smoking crater and Brust is at Castalia House. That won't be for a while, maybe not even this month.

Patience.

Blogger Red Jack February 10, 2016 8:39 AM  

I read. A lot. Enough that my wife has requested I give up buying books for Lent (no problem, I have 40 or so to plow through).

The ebook movement has opened up all sorts of doors. For instance, I first read some of the "There will be war" books as a kid. Now I get to buy them in eprint for a fraction of the cost. I have also bought several older works that I would never be able to afford otherwise.

A friend of mine in marketing says he sees the market splitting into many smaller niches. Which isn't a bad thing for the consumer, but horrible if your goal is to create a national narrative.

Anonymous elmer t. jones February 10, 2016 8:51 AM  

Well that's a funny anecdote. In my book I caution that if a woman shows up to your sales meeting that you have probably already lost as they love to say "no". I advise to go through with the meeting anyway to practice your presentation.

Blogger Dave February 10, 2016 8:56 AM  

"too controversial"

Bwahahaha. Isn't that what sells? SJWs always lie.

So editors are somewhat like major league scouts but with the authority to hand out contracts. Surely they must know what will or will not get pass the gatekeepers. I suppose if you believe you've found the next Tom Brady or Hank Aaron then you engage in battle with the gatekeepers. Otherwise seems very counterproductive.

Blogger Dexter February 10, 2016 9:09 AM  

Steven Brust is a Writer over there and his book "Jhereg" is the reason I started reading books as a teenager.

(eyeroll) I read Brust when I was a teenager, and I stopped reading Brust when I was a teenager. The hip anti-hero shtick quickly got boring. The final straw for me was when the ruthless assassin couldn't control his wife when she turned into a social justice warrior striving to help the peasants. I threw that one against the wall and never read another.

Later, when I discovered Brust is a Trotskyite or some other form of degenerate pinko, I was all the more glad I hadn't sent any money his way.

Anonymous LurkingPuppy February 10, 2016 9:30 AM  

@8: for a book [‘CTRL ALT Revolt!’] I don't really own a copy of (evidently DRMed)

It's not DRMed. Amazon might make it inconvenient for you to download the file unless you have one of their devices, but once you get the file, it isn't DRMed.

Anonymous GenXGal February 10, 2016 9:35 AM  

@worldskipper. VD, how does Kindle Unlimited work for the Publishers/Authors? Do y'all still get paid when someone 'checks a book out' from them or is it a flat fee?

I know you posed this to VD, but since he doesn't appear to have any books in Kindle Unlimited, I figured I'd jump in here. I'm an indie author with several books in Kindle unlimited, and here's how it works:

When a KU subscriber borrows a book, the book gets a bump in rank (similar to a sale), but no money.

When a KU subscriber reads a book, the author/publisher gets approximately .5 cents per page. If, and only if, you're an engaging writer, this can add up surprisingly fast. (For example, if a subscriber reads two pages, the author earns one penny. If a subscriber reads 200 pages, the author earns a dollar.)

As an author/publisher, the primary downside to being in Kindle Unlimited is that your ebooks must be exclusive to Amazon, meaning they can't be offered for sale on Barnes & Noble, iBooks, etc.

Anonymous GenXGal February 10, 2016 9:49 AM  

I just saw that Vox DOES have books enrolled in KU. (I just did a quick search earlier, obviously not good enough.) Sorry for my mistake.

Anonymous That Would Be Telling February 10, 2016 9:53 AM  

@15 LurkingPuppy:

@8: for a book [‘CTRL ALT Revolt!’] I don't really own a copy of (evidently DRMed)

It's not DRMed. Amazon might make it inconvenient for you to download the file unless you have one of their devices, but once you get the file, it isn't DRMed.


Could be, the Amazon page is silent on that, whereas I've noticed other book's Kindle pages mentioning they were DRM free. And as you might guess from the below, I don't own any of their devices.

In the context of the snippet you commented on, the nice thing about the clever 99 cent price is that it's at the "I don't care" level, didn't even bother to try to see if it was DRMed until I was composing my message after I'd bought a copy. I'll do this for the occasional 99 cent book, I haven't paid more for anything Kindle other than the special case of Wright's Transhuman and Subhuman when it was on sale at $2.99.

Blogger Dave February 10, 2016 10:16 AM  

Vox recently posted KU had reduced payout rates and CH consequently might not be as willing to put books on KU.

Blogger praetorian February 10, 2016 10:36 AM  

Is Mr. Cole going to be publishing through Castalia House soon?

Blogger VD February 10, 2016 10:36 AM  

Sorry for my mistake.

NP. Saved me the trouble of explaining it myself. Due to the reduced payout rates, we've removed some of the shorter works from KU and added TWBW Vols II-IV. For some reason, it's not letting us add Vol. I.

Blogger VD February 10, 2016 10:37 AM  

Is Mr. Cole going to be publishing through Castalia House soon?

He indicated that he might be interested on his blog, but I have not yet heard from him. We would be pleased to work with him, as he is obviously a man of principle.

Anonymous BGKB February 10, 2016 12:23 PM  

Why didn't those same gatekeepers that kept your books from being published disallow the contract offer from the start?

That would require actual work, picture a woman as wide around as she is tall slowly waddling down a hallway while complaining men earn more than women in healthcare.

Blogger Were-Puppy February 10, 2016 12:38 PM  

Shhh.... The Dark Ninja of Mockery might appear and put a link to an actual pic of that QQ

Anonymous patrick kelly February 10, 2016 12:38 PM  

@2 VD: "In an even partly capitalist society, your dollar is your vote. You talk about "real conservatives" waking up, but based on your own words, it appears you are the one who needs to wake up."

I buy these books mostly to vote with $$ and leave laying around for family and friends to pick up. I read enough of this blog to already be familiar with most of the content, and I'm in the choir. I did manage to read all of TIA and skimmed most of SJWAL, which are next to a pile of unfinished books.

Anonymous BGKB February 10, 2016 1:00 PM  

The Dark Ninja of Mockery might appear and put a link to an actual pic of that QQ

I have actually had such a person complain that I "run" at work. I had to explain to a supervisor that I have walked through woods with no light faster than she would respond to a code.

Blogger David-2 February 10, 2016 1:07 PM  

I read Ctrl-Alt-Revolt! last night when I should have been doing something else. It was enjoyable: light, fast paced, and entertaining.

But when it comes down to it, it turns out it is nearly "message fiction". I mean, the message is front-and-center hit-you-on-the-head-with-a-hammer, no doubt about it, though I suppose those who are familiar with "true" SJW message fiction (I've never read any) would be able to distinguish it by fact that it has a plot and action and so forth.

And also, because the message promoted is more in line with my beliefs. Which is probably why the blatant message-pushing was, to me, humorous rather than annoying.

Still, if that editor of Cole's couldn't read past chapter one because bad-think that did her a favor: Her brain would probably have exploded later on.

Blogger Gaiseric February 10, 2016 1:28 PM  

Larry picked this story up too: http://monsterhunternation.com/2016/02/10/left-wing-bias-in-publishing-your-wrongthink-will-be-punished/

Blogger Akulkis February 10, 2016 11:39 PM  

Any chance that their spiking the book violates their contract with the author.. or are all industry contracts of the form "you do what we like...but we are under no obligation to accept anything, no matter how good it is -- our only obligation is to pay you money for the things that we decide we want to publish." ?

It seems that even rock bands have more artistic freedom than authors.

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