Bliss found a home in New York… until she didn’t.
I'm guessing you think I'm super excited to tell you this news.
When the email came through this week, my instant reaction was to screen shot the front page of the contract and share it with everyone. My social media sites were primed and ready to go before I took a moment and thought ... "Hang on; pause a sec’ Wend. This is public announcement stuff and you haven't accepted the offer yet!" First, let me show you what the Senior Editor said ...
There it was. The two words that this newbie author fears the most - “Contributory Contract”. In a previous post titled Two Years Later, I shared that I have become protective of my talent and learnt to be cynical… “Third-party distributors, book fairs, hybrid publishers, promises of exposure in catalogues or online services - anything that costs me substantial money to ‘buy-into’ makes me nervous.”
Yet here I was once again, pondering the idea of a potential co-contribution arrangement.
how did this happen?
I thought I was smarter than that! How is it possible that I submitted my manuscript to a vanity publisher in the first place? I’m not vain!
I’m not searching for external validation by approaching any publisher that will take my work. I THOUGHT I was being selective. Yes, Austin Macauley were upfront about their background, but I believed in their model. Why? Two key phrases:
1) “Accepting Submissions”. This implied that Austin Macauley were selective in the manuscripts they accepted. It added validity to their request; and
2) “We look to offer one of two types of contracts: a traditional, non-contributory publishing contract or a partnership agreement.” I believed them. I honestly believed in the idea that Hybrid Publishers must exist and such agreements could work for the author.
It makes sense doesn’t it. I (the author) either pay upfront or agree to make a loss in return for access to industry while building my profile. You (the Publisher) receive a financial upfront gain and the lions share of my profit. I guess it’s another form of paid advertising - right? Wrong.
Like all advertising, once the money is spent the return on investment is difficult to judge unless you have a clear and direct call to action. So I hit up my online writers community and asked - “Hey, what do you think of Austin Macauley?” I received this and this and this. The general consensus was to expect little to no marketing or distribution support once Austin Macauley had received my contribution.
Hello and welcome to the complexity of navigating the Publishing Industry solo.
in the end, I simply SAID NO thanks.
As I read the fine print, one clause made my answer clear:
“The Author shall, in consideration of the undertakings, services and expenditures made on the part of the publisher contribute USD $3,500.” Hang on - wait? $3,500 US Dollars! That’s almost $5,000 Australian and the same amount as my last self-published effort. Surely, a publisher this size would offer a financial benefit over self-publishing due to scale. This cost didn’t make sense.
I’m protective of my talent and choose to believe that my work has financial worth. This offer did not represent a validation of that self-belief and so I declined their offer on that basis. I sent it Wombat Books instead; fingers crossed!