Sunday, 30 June 2013

Beware, The Ides of M

I now have 73 titles out in varying forms and editions, and I have been very lucky in always having the cream of the crop when it comes to publishers.
Seven of my books have hit the six-figure sales bracket, two--Garbo and Valentino--are optioned for films. My team walks on water!
In a change from biographies and novels, I am publishing a book about The Wars of The Roses, and because my regular publishers don't do history--long works of 400 pages or more very rarely make any money for publishers, no matter the subject, because they are too expensive to produce, therefore publishers avoid them if they can, like the plague--I have been searching other avenues.
I self-published my recent tome about Edith Piaf because my second biography of her is still selling, and the publisher said I would be in competition with myself! It's not a biography, per se, as it contains interviews I had with numerous celebrity friends, and a play, so only die-hard fans who already know a lot about her may be interested. I self-published Valentino for the same reason--even after fifteen years, "Valentino: A Dream of Desire" is still on the Amazon best-sellers list.
I've had a number of offers for "The Wars of The Roses", and to be honest I am not impressed. One--their name begins with M, and that's all I am saying--is what I would say to be bordering on the unethical. They do not pay an advance--bad news for any author. Additionally, they expect the author to foot the bill for the photographs--more bad news. They claim that their system will only print out 20-30 pages of any one work at any one time, which suggests that they are still employing methods used by Caxton. Therefore, the author has to send a copy of the script--the paper script--via mail, along with a copy of the disc which of course proves that they are little more than a band of shysters. NO respectable publisher in this day and age would expect the author so send a heavy parcel several thousand miles, THEN pay for their own pictures--ADDITIONALLY, with NO advance upon signature of the contract! I cannot think of a single major publisher who does not accept scripts electronically!
Then I check this publisher's list, and see that it is not exactly eclectic: mostly a collection of books about film stars that even Barry Norman many not have heard of. It's the same old story. Some people are so eager to see their work in print that they will permit themselves to be taken for  ride.
I guess that I have the advantage in that, if I self-publish, these works appear on the same pages as everything else I have done. But I do find it amusing--also sad--that when I study the lists of some of these shyster houses, I very rarely see more than one book by the same author.
Once bitten, twice shy, I should say.
I mean, you wouldn't stick your tongue inside someone's mouth if you knew they were suffering from the bubonic plague, would you?

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