Two Memos To Book Publishing

360 Deals

Under the terms of a typical 360 deal (which the record company representatives would prefer to call by the more innocuous phrase “multiple rights deal”), labels are demanding a portion of an artist’s income from touring, publishing, endorsements, and sale of merchandise, in addition to the vast majority of the record sale income that labels have always enjoyed. And when you read the fine print, you’ll also discover that the labels want to make money from the books that artists write, the Hollywood movies in which they act, and the fan clubs they create. In fact the labels want to share in absolutely everything.

Out there, right now, is some slack-jawed idiot tasked with wringing more shekels out of the existing — and dying — system of book publishing. Let me warn you now: Don’t even think of pulling that shit with writers.


Richard Nash on Publishing Past, Present and Future

The publishers are saying, “We can’t make money if e-books are ten bucks.” And I’m thinking, a) we have to figure out a way, and b) if you think it’s gonna stay at ten bucks you’ve got another thing coming; it’s going to be cheaper than ten bucks.

Yeah, here comes a transfer of wealth I look forward to witnessing in my lifetime: from fat-salaried Suits back to writers.

And the words that made my day today I quoted earlier:

Apple agreed to the agency model for just one year

Steve Jobs thinks he was a friend of publishing doing that, the agency model.

Hey, Steve. Wake up. Writers do the books, not publishers.


6 responses to “Two Memos To Book Publishing

  1. Well, the 360 degree model does works if the writer makes more money than the status quo ante. My instinct is that whether it’s managers or publishers or labels or whatever the intermediary is called, some intermediaries are going to kick ass enough that they can make money themselves AND make more money for the writer than if the writer managed the entire process of rights exploitation him/herself.

  2. The 360 model is a metastasis of the subrights and option clauses of current book contracts: more indentured servitude that hobbles and chains nimble writers and drains them of their ability to create wealth.

    Yes, there could be some intermediaries, but so far no one has proposed anything other than submitting to sites like Smashwords and BiblioCore and such. I’m beginning to wonder just how much faith the current architecture of agenting has in its ability to survive in the years ahead.

    And let’s not forget what happened to the “innovation” (cough) that was tried at HarperCollins. It’s now dead.

  3. Isn’t the publishing equivalent of the 360 model called an agent?

  4. Oh, you mean that “innovation” that was pretty much what indie digital presses have been doing for a decade–and have been sneered at by both writers’ organizations and the mainstream industry for that same length of time?

  5. No. Look again carefully. An agent only has control of what a writer allows. Even though an agent could have negotiated a book contract, that same agent might not be the best when it comes to specific subrights that are in that contract, such as dealing with Hollywood or even certain international rights. And there have been lucky writers who have been able to exclude electronic rights from their contracts and therefore an agent would not necessarily have a cut of that.

  6. It was this:

    I don’t even recall the imprint’s name now because I kept it off my radar as something that would fail. That HC pulled the plug on it immediately after the guy who was in charge of it left, tells me the entire scheme was created for that one guy’s benefit, to keep him on board. Once he left, it was exterminated and brought into the Borg Hive.