Pub Rants

A Very Nice Literary Agent Indulges in Polite Rants About Queries, Writers, and the Publishing Industry

The Amazon – Hachette Spat

Status:

Catching up on email after a day of marketing meetings in the Big Apple.

Listening To:

ALWAYS ON MY MIND by Willie Nelson

This just hit the newswire in the last week but I’ve informally known about this since late fall 2013 (as early as November). The problem? My Hachette authors and I noticed this “shipping issue” multiple times and brought it to our Hachette Editors’ attention. 

Multiple times. Repeated emails. We were assured that all was fine. (Which we, of course, did not believe since it kept happening….)

This is yet another moment where big publishing could have chosen to partner with authors and agents by explaining the truth behind Amazon’s muscle flexing.

Instead, Hachette choose to go with “we don’t discuss contract negotiations” tactic, which leaves their authors in the dark, agents like me fuming, and fosters a general atmosphere of distrust that the publisher is not being forthright.

Not the end goal here! What we need is more communication, not less.

Let agents and authors help you take a stand–which is actually what’s going on now and is detailed in this New York Times Article.

As happens time and time again, the truth does emerge and leaves those of us who have been asking about it for the last six months with exasperated hands in air, the desire to bang head against desk, and authors who now won’t believe the publisher when the response is “all is fine” in the future.

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One Response

  1. Michael J Sullivan said:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you, for this post. I caught on Februrary 7th, when virtually all the discounts from Orbit books vanished overnight. And like you, I’ve been having repeated emails with the same kind of runaround indicating that everything is going along in a “business as usual” fashion. Such tactics break the bonds of trust between authors and publishers. Frustrating doesn’t begin to describe the situation, and it makes me wonder if publisher’s are ever going to treat authors the way they should. Maybe that’s the worst part that “business as usual” is to keep author’s and their agents in the dark and to do all they can NOT to foster trust.

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