I read an article today about published author Kiana Davenport and her woes with self-publishing after breaking contract with her publisher, Penguin Books. You may have read something about this yourself.
Basically, Davenport a published and well recieved author had a collection of award winning short stories in her drawer that she asked Penguin Books to publish, but they rejected them, saying that they wouldn’t be very marketable.
Davenport then went to Amazon and published them to Kindle and soon found herself in the middle of a legal battle over her contract. She writes in her blog: “[T]hey went ballistic,” “The editor shouted at me repeatedly on the phone. I was accused of breaching my contract (which I did not) but worse, of ‘blatantly betraying them with Amazon,’ their biggest and most intimidating competitor. I was not trustworthy. I was sleeping with the enemy.” She was told that she must sit on her “Cannibal Nights” stories until after her next novel published in two years time.
Eventually, Penguin released her from her contract, and she sought other publishers, but “Several other NY publishers stepped forward to ‘rescue my novel, and my reputation,’ but they were offering the same old royalties for print books and digital books that have been unfair to authors for years. Their contracts have not changed for decades.” This shows that the publishers have not caught up with the times and are still trying to control the market and keep writers in their “stable”.
She eventually signed a deal with Amazon, who offered her much better royalties than what any of the traditional New York publishers were offering. This is an example of the difference between intellectual property and business acumen which are two things that the traditional publishing industry have not yet figured out how to best balance in the face of the e-book self-publishing industry.
My best wishes to Kiana Davenport, and last I checked, her books are selling quite well on Amazon. I don’t think she cares much about the $20,000 she had to fork over to Penguin for the breach of contract. Her books are well recieved, and critics love her.