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Rebuttal from a PDF publisher

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RE: Thanks for interest

Post originally by Dana Jorgensen at 2005-07-09 11:28:14
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Lloyd Brown wrote:
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I'm leaving it alone for now, but the concept of exposure will come up in the next article.


Lloyd, allow us to thank you in advance for contradicting yourself with the next article.
 
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Post originally by Steven Trustrum at 2005-07-09 13:13:39
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Paul King said:
>> Well it is quite clear that you don't disagree with anything I've really been saying. Most of what you are complaining about is the product of your imagination.

Actually, Paul, what I'm arguing with you in particular about is the fact that your opinion is refined from a narrow scope. I've pointed this out several times and directed you as to how it relates to your point. You've ignored this and continue to go on about your point is being missed. Rest assured, I know what you are saying. You can also rest assured that I'm aware of how incomplete your conclusion is.

Paul King said:
>> I suggested that one publisher seemed selfish for arguing that writers should accept the rates he offered simply because they were the best he could afford. How does that suggest that publishers in general are selfish ? After all you yourself said that considering only one side - which is exactly what that argument did - was selfish.

I answered this point earlier while clearly stating I was answering as someone who is still working as a freelancer for others AND as a small press publisher. Now, if I agree more with the other person than with you, you may want to consider that I am indeed speaking from both sides, that publisher is speaking form the side of the publisher and your own opinion comes from neither side. It is drawn from the information available to a complete outsider to either perspective. Perhaps you should consider that when you start telling people they can't see your opinion or that they are wrong.

Paul King said:
>> I suggested that IF pro writers went looking for the better rates then lower rate work would be left to semi-pros or amateurs. That doesn't judge the status of current writers at all.

Sigh.

Let me say this again for the cheap seats: those "better rate" jobs are VERY rare in the industry. VERY. Most people get them for being at the right place at the right time. So, if these jobs are very rare, what good does that do the pool of "professional," let alone "amateur" or "semi-pro" writers (your cliassifications, not mine), are going to do in between? Wait for the next job or actually bring some money in during the time between, even if it's not for that higher rate? Personally, I prefer to fill the time in between to bring some cash in, hone my skills, expand my contacts, and increase my credits rather than waiting for the next "big shot." Why would I do that? Because THAT is professionalism: recognizing that if you want to get paid for doing the work, you DO THE WORK, where you can get it if you can't currently find something better. THAT is the mentality needed to be a serious creative talent.

Paul King said:
>> If you are going to argue against what I say, at least do me the courtesy of arguing against what I actually said.

Paul, when you start listening to the people who actually live in the situation and realize what you're saying but recognize it as wrong, and also realize that disagreeing with you isn't the same as not hearing you, then we can chat. Until then ...
 
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Post originally by Paul King at 2005-07-09 13:30:57
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The fundamental issue under dispute right now is not the nature of the industry or even the claims of the article. It is whether or not I made the claims you attribute to me. On that point my view holds greater weight than yours. Yet you absolutely refuse to accept my authority on that issue and persist in your misrepresentations.
 
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Post originally by Paul King at 2005-07-09 13:36:09
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You're wrong. I'm not demanding change. Nor am I demanding that publishers should pay rates which would make their products uneconomic.

What I am saying is that professional writers should not be expected to sacrifice their interests to those of the publisher. Thus it is not valid to argue that writers should accept the rates you can afford to pay simply because you cannot afford to pay more.

If you have better arguments then you should use them - instead of complaining when the argument you did use is shown to be wanting.
 
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Post originally by Steven Trustrum at 2005-07-09 13:45:19
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Paul King said:
>> The fundamental issue under dispute right now is not the nature of the industry or even the claims of the article. It is whether or not I made the claims you attribute to me. On that point my view holds greater weight than yours. Yet you absolutely refuse to accept my authority on that issue and persist in your misrepresentations.

Paul, let me see if I can make this clear one last time before I leave you alone: your point, whether you see it or not, speaks very much to the nature of the industry because your opinion is made under several assumptions that those of us in the industry actually know the truth of. As Dana pointed out, although you believe you are directing your comment at one company, you are in fact directing it at far more than that because that company is not the only one to operate under those conditions. If you wish your view to hold greater weight than mine or anyone else who works under those conditions instead of just sits back and looks through the window, I suggest you start writing in the industry so that you can deal with publishers and see how often your opinion holds true. Better yet, try being a publisher dealing with writers and see how your belief holds up. Until then, your "greater weight" is white noise railing against white noise.
 
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Post originally by Steven Trustrum at 2005-07-09 13:50:22
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Paul King said:
>> What I am saying is that professional writers should not be expected to sacrifice their interests to those of the publisher. Thus it is not valid to argue that writers should accept the rates you can afford to pay simply because you cannot afford to pay more.

Except one thing you still miss: if writers consider their "interests" to exist purely under the terms you've defined them as, they'll find themselves unemployed a lot because it isn't a publisher's will that those conditions exist, but rather the unavoidable reality of finances. Saying it is the writer who defines the rates and not the very real and tight budgets of most companies in the industry is wholly naive, foolish and ignores quite a bit of rudimentary economics. Unless the majority of the industry can support the rates the writers demand (which, if the rates in the article are used as the standard, it can't), there's nothing to be done unless companies are perfectly okay with going bankrupt.
 
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Post originally by Lloyd Brown at 2005-07-09 14:05:23
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<<Unfortunately, thanks to Lloyd, we now have a heap of less experienced authors who think everyone is holding out on them if they aren't offering .05 per word. >>

At no point did I suggest that every publisher can afford to pay that much. I suggested avoiding working for the ones that do. Again, next month, the column discusses the exceptions.
 
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Post originally by Lloyd Brown at 2005-07-09 14:12:07
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<<Are they open to newbies or do they go first to the publisher's preferred freelancers? Are they offered in a public search or are they farmed mainly or solely through contacts? >>

Actually, yes. I've never been contacted by a publisher directly for work. All work I've done has been in response to getting a job by writing a well-worded query letter or by developing a relationship with a publisher and then making a less formal proposal. The clear and professional query came first. Always.

I can assure you that if a publisher receives a well-written query/proposal from a new writer, and that writer follows it up with a grammatically clean manuscript that is interesting and that complies with the publisher's guidelines, then it deserves serious consideration, regardless of who was there first. It might not bump a project the publisher is committed to already, but he'll work hard to get it on the schedule as soon as possible if he thinks he can sell it.
 
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RE: Thanks for interest

Post originally by Lloyd Brown at 2005-07-09 14:21:48
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<<Lloyd, allow us to thank you in advance for contradicting yourself with the next article.>>

I suppose that's one way to look at it. Since I identified the next article at the bottom of the page (for the first and probably only time), it's not like it's a surprise to anyone.

I'm simply presenting two angles in two different columns so that we can discuss each issue individually. What if the topic were different: "Why you should not get married", followed by "Why you should get married"? I doubt I'd be accused of contradicting myself. Fortunately, I think most people got it.
 
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Post originally by Lloyd Brown at 2005-07-09 14:39:43
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<<If every publisher could consistently rely on generating over $1 million in retail sales each month like Dragon, or even the $100K per month of Kenzer & Co, everyone would enjoy a higher per word pay rate, but the fact of the matter is, we don't. >>

Your numbers are vastly off base. Kenzer might be bringing that in, but it isn't off the Kalamar line. WotC's beating that number, but as for Dragon, they publish an annual statement of distribution that shows the error in that math (even through it doesn't include ad revenue).

However, I can't argue with the overall conclusion that some publishers are larger than others.

<<I imagine there are going to be numerous neophytes who see this advice as a license to commit extortion; do the work, then hold out on delivery until the publisher gives in and pays more. There is actually precedent in the last 25 years for this sort of behavior.>>

I would disagree, but you never can tell what a new guy will do until he does it, so I'll add something I continue to stress throughout the column: writers should always present themselves as professionals in both presentation and behavior. You fulfill your agreements. In that situation, I would certainly recommend that the publisher not pay any further payment and refuse to work with that writer from then on.

<<How you earn it can be considered wrong or immoral.>>

I do hope you're not implying that working for a self-imposed minimum wage is wrong or immoral.

<<Get out there and work the consumers. ...and then no matter who you're writing for, you can look forward to seeing better pay. >>

Really? About 60 of the posts ahead of you state that some publishers simply can't afford to pay more. You did say, and I quote again "no matter who you're writing for."

And I never said that you can't promote yourself directly to consumers. In fact, I've been staying very strongly on a single topic and haven't discussed that. I *did* say that consumer recognition was a rare quality. I never said you shouldn't attempt to gain it.

I will point out that 99% of the people who know Ed Greenwood don't know him from the local game store or from a game he ran at a con. They know him because he wrote good material.
 
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