Publishing: the hedge fund approach

June 3, 2018



A hedge fund (De Montfort Capital) is offering new writers a salary of £24K a year and support to develop their careers.  Part of me thinks this approach to publishing is quite laudable - but part of me thinks it's slightly mad.  The bits I liked were the upfront commitment, the 50% royalty on sales and the support  - which is a striking contrast to most publishers, whose usual model involves a paltry royalty rate, limited help with editing, promotion etc and only committing themselves once the book is written (although to be fair, there have been cases of authors having been given an advance on the basis of sample chapters and a synopsis).  I also largely agreed with the hedge fund manager's critique of traditional publishers.

The bit I felt was possibly slightly mad was that by applying some mathematical wizardry, they reckon they can spot successful writers before they've even written a book.  I'm sceptical about that because I think it's very difficult to predict what will succeed, as demonstrated by the fact that publishers put out loads of books every year and most of them do not make their money back - even though many of them probably ticked all or most of the boxes in terms of the supposed criteria for success.  Personally, I think they need to be prepared for some of the writers that they back to fail - although they will obviously hope to back enough successful ones to make money.

In that respect, I didn't think this new initiative represented much of a break with the established publishing model - because both are based on what you might call a "stock picking" approach i.e. the publisher, like a fund manager, reckons he/she knows what the market is going to do and can select the books most likely to succeed.  As I say, the track record of that approach in identifying winners is very poor.  A few years ago, I suggested an alternative approach that would largely abandon the stock picking approach and work more like a low cost tracker fund which just passively tracks the market, based around ebooks.  Sadly, hedge fund managers have not been queuing up to back my exciting new venture. But I remain open to offers.....

 

Obooko revamped

May 28, 2018



Free ebooks platform Obooko has just undergone a (much delayed) revamp, with a much cleaner look and some improvements to the way you can browse/filter titles.  My experience with Obooko has been good in terms of the upload process etc, but less so in terms of downloads (click here for more details, including tips on how to create different types of ebook files for uploading to Obooko).  I've been on there since 2013 but my downloads remain stuck in the low hundreds - although others have don...
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Micro-reviews (May 2018)

May 14, 2018
Theory of Bastards, Munich and The People's House

I've tended to write longish reviews on this blog and I'll probably carry on with that for some books - especially self-published ones.  But I thought I'd have a go at doing some shorter reviews alongside these.  Let's see if I manage to keep it up.  At any rate, it's got to be better than just feeding star ratings into the hungry maw of Big Data (aka Goodreads/Amazon in this case).  Here goes:



Theory of Bastards by Audrey Schulman

Set a few year...

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Bad Faith by Jesse Tandler

April 30, 2018


We seem to be living through an age that puts an unhealthy premium on “authenticity”.  Politicians who are said to have this characteristic are excused any number of glaring faults - just look at Donald Trump or, closer to home, Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage and (at the opposite end of the spectrum) Jeremy Corbyn. They can say or do things that would be career-ending for other politicians – but they are tolerated, even praised for this, because they are regarded as being “true to themse...

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Me Blackberry Fool, You Apple Tart

March 12, 2018



"Me Blackberry Fool, You Apple Tart" by Amelia Slocombe is chick lit, which is not usually my genre of choice - but it caught my eye because one of the characters is a lawyer in a London law firm, which happens to be what I do for a living too.  I have also made a bit of a thing of trying to be a bit more open-minded when it comes to books which I have a tendency to dismiss as "not my thing", especially when it comes to free fiction by self-published authors (as in this case).

Having said that...
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To Kill the President: a (non) review

January 14, 2018



Just finished "To Kill the President" by Sam Bourne.  It wasn't bad - and although we never meet the President, I'm fairly sure I know who the author had in mind.  But who cares what I thought about it?  Here's what the Leader of the Free World made of it (allegedly), when it was drawn to his attention:

@realDonaldTrump tweeted:

Sam Bourne is a total loser and hater who made up a story to write this really boring and untruthful novel. More FAKE NEWS!

@realDonaldTrump tweeted:

Great reporting from...

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Jon Evans and the techno-travelogue thriller

December 4, 2017




Jon Evans is that rare beast – an author who has had a fair amount of commercial success but appears to be entirely happy to make most of his work available for free online.  Many of his novels have been conventionally published in a number of territories and have attracted impressive reviews from the likes of The Times, The Economist and The Washington Post (although as will be apparent from this timeline, his path to publication was far from smooth and resulted in the usu...


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Copyright registration: is it worth it?

September 2, 2017



On author sites like youwriteon.com (which I reviewed here), you sometimes see adverts for services like this one:
http://www.copyrightprotectionservice.com 

These companies typically charge a fee for "registering" your copyright for a period of years.  Some of the sites even look a bit like official agencies (they are not - they are businesses who are in it for a profit).

So is there any value in registering your copyright with them?  I dare say some authors are tempted to part with their hard ...
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All Out War

August 12, 2017


All Out War” by Tim Shipman seeks to answer the question “why did the UK vote to leave the EU?”  As you might expect, there were many reasons – but what the book conveys quite well is that there was no inevitability about the outcome (there were, after all, only about 700,000 votes in it, on a turnout of 33.5 million).  If even a relatively small number of things had played out differently, Brexit might not be happening.  Here are just a few examples:
  • 16 year olds:  Had 16 year olds...

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Moderators: engage brain before applying rules!

July 16, 2017


Just over a week ago I posted a comment on an interesting article in The Bookseller entitled "When does a writer become a professional?".  My aim was to provide some evidence to back up what the author of the article was suggesting about how you don't necessarily need to be earning a living from your writing in order to feel OK about taking it seriously - for me, it all depends what your criteria for success are.  

I explained that I had decided to offer my work for free (because getting reade...
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About Me


Paul Samael Welcome to my blog, "Publishing Waste" which will either (a) chronicle my heroic efforts to self-publish my own fiction; or (b) demonstrate beyond a scintilla of doubt the utter futility of (a). And along the way, I will also be doing some reviews of other people's books and occasionally blogging about other stuff.
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