Sunday, June 10, 2007

What About Loyalty?

Mark Terry’s post reminded me of the Simon & Schuster contract thing. All this talk about negotiating and publishers and agents and authors leaves me ... thoughtful.

What happened to loyalty?

I feel indebted to my publisher, and I feel like it’s part of my job not just to promote my books, but to promote my publishers. If they need something that I can easily provide, I figure it’s in my best interest to help. It’s in my best interest for them to succeed, so that they can continue to pay me.

Y’all know I’m a peon, published by a tiny-pub. I like it, especially since I’m learning that they sometimes pay more than some big pubs. (I don’t make that much; I’m just saying that some big pubs only give out $1,000 - $2,000 advances for over 80,000 words!)

But I’ve always felt very loyal to my employers. Essentially, they feed and house me. I’ve always felt that it’s part of my job to promote my employers. Just the same, it’s in their best interest to take care of their employees.

It’s not just in the publishing world, that there’s not much talk of loyalty. In corporate America, it’s the same way. You can see the evidence in the massive lay-offs, etc.

I’m just saying.

When I write, I don’t just feel the pressure of my bills, of my family, of my readers. I also feel that I need to make money for my publisher. If I had an agent, you can believe that I would be sitting on my manuscript, worrying about whether or not it would pay for my agent’s daughter’s ballet shoes.

Insane? Maybe. True? Yep.

No matter which way you turn the problem, publishers, authors, and readers all need each other. We all need to take some responsibility for each other’s successes, because we are all an important part of each other’s success.

Why does it seem that American society has forgotten to factor loyalty into their profit margin?

3 bonus scribbles:

Jennifer McK 6/11/2007 11:14:00 AM  

OMG! I completely agree with you. I struggle with this all the time. Do I do what's best for me? Do I stick to the same publisher who gave me my first break but never move out of epublishing?
I've done more ruminating about this than I need to and it cuts into my writing time.
My conclusion? I have to do what's best for the story.
If I write something that doesn't fit at my current publisher, I need to be okay to sub it elsewhere.
But I'm a huge loyalty junkie
I want to find a place that I can call home. And most publishers want authors they can count on to produce.....for them.

Tempest Knight 6/11/2007 11:45:00 AM  

I understand what you're going through. I had to battle those same questions for almost a year.

Writing is a business. It's all about $$$. And this applies to both publishers and authors. You do what's best for you. If you want to be a working writer, one can pay bills by writing, then you go with whoever offers you the be$t deal.

I've concluded that I don't want to be a working writer. I want to write for the pleasure of it, not the business side. So whatever I do with my stories, whether I have them epublished or posted for free on my website, I do just what I feel is right for my story. I just want to know that someone read something I wrote and for whatever amount of time that person enjoyed it.

spyscribbler 6/11/2007 12:57:00 PM  

Well, at some point you have to put yourself, the story, or your money first.

But I'm referring to both sides of the equation. SS should be a little more loyal to its writers, and writers should be a little more loyal to the publishers.

Not that they should stay with one publisher, but that they should do their best to support the publisher/s that they do have.

But who knows, LOL? It was more a remark on society in general, than a remark about the publishing world.

I don't know. You two gave excellent examples of when loyalty comes first, and when it doesn't. You both, however, factored loyalty into your decision.

With so many in our society, loyalty isn't factored in at all.