READER FRIDAY: Soapbox Time – Does the publishing industry have unethical practices to shed light on?

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What do you see as an unethical practice in the publishing industry? Are there any? Too many for one blog post? The soapbox is yours.

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About Jordan Dane

Bestselling, critically-acclaimed author Jordan Dane’s gritty thrillers are ripped from the headlines with vivid settings, intrigue, and dark humor. Publishers Weekly compared her intense novels to Lisa Jackson, Lisa Gardner, and Tami Hoag, naming her debut novel NO ONE HEARD HER SCREAM as Best Books of 2008. She also pens young-adult novels for Harlequin Teen. Formerly an energy sales manager, she now writes full time. Jordan shares her Texas residence with two lucky rescue dogs.

7 thoughts on “READER FRIDAY: Soapbox Time – Does the publishing industry have unethical practices to shed light on?

  1. First thing I thought of when I read ‘unethical practices” wasn’t the publishing industry but that of rental real estate (apartments), which is a subject for some other time, some other website.

    No field is immune to unethical practice, but I’m not experienced enough to speak to it. I’ll be curious to hear what others have to say.

    • I’m curious about input & discussion on this topic too, BK.

      I’ve had issues with getting my copyrights back from HarperCollins. Their definition of “inventory” when it comes to ebooks has been a terror to deal with. I would like to get a good attorney to advise me & help get my long overdue rights back.

      Anyone have recommendations?

  2. Humans, being flawed, populate the publishing business, so I have no doubt that corruption and unethical practices abound. I am definitely not an expert on the publishing business, but here are a few thoughts.

    1. Inequality in bargaining power: the lowly author, David, against Goliath leads to unfair contracts with authors. Copyright provisions are not the only evidence of this unfairness. Solution? Maybe unionization, but I haven’t seen much effort put into unionization, the reasons for which would occupy an 80,000-word non-fiction book proposal.

    2. Cronyism: A friend worked as a publicity manager in a major publishing house in New York for 15 years, and saw some of the ways that publishing decisions (i.e., which authors/projects to take on) were made. Obviously, marketability plays a major role, but if you’re a Publishing Somebody’s niece/nephew/spouse, etc., you have a better chance. In more than one of those 15 years, the house took on only one project from a previously unpublished author, and that author was connected to a Somebody in the publishing house. A second element of cronyism is the relationship of the agent representing the author with people at the publishing house.

    I suspect others may have specific information on unethical practices, and I do hope they come forward here.

    To be fair, the publishing business is a challenging one, filled with good people who truly want to help talented authors find their audiences, “talent” being defined subjectively, of course, and not evidence of unethical conduct.

  3. From my point of view, getting a book published is like the PoDunk High School Roaming Rodents football team taking on the Dallas Cowboys. It’s possible to score a few points, but win. Never.

  4. I’d root for the rodents, Brian. Who doesn’t like an underdog story. Keep the faith.

    Before I sold, everyone told me to try a more realistic goal & lower my standards. I would tell them that I had a day job that kept me financially happy, so why shouldn’t I shoot for what I wanted. Writing has been a lifetime passion for me. Why not dream big?

    I sold not long after that in a big way through an auction. It exceeded my wildest dreams. So dream big, Brian, and keep honing your craft. You never know.

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