Nathan Bransford, one of TVWriter™’s favorite writers and writing consultants is here to talk about the state of publishing and the truth about the advances writers get. In other words, yep, we’re talking about payment inequities, pure and simple. Sigh…
#Publishing Paid Me is Just the Tip of the Iceberg
by Nathan Bransford
[Recently] many authors bravely shared their book advances using the #PublishingPaidMe hashtag started by L.L. McKinney, exposing racial disparities in book advances and, as author Justina Ireland noted, showing that many authors aren’t making as much money as you think they’re making.
It’s important for people to recognize that these disparities are still happening in the publishing industry to this day. It’s equally important to recognize that advances are just the tip of the iceberg.
#PublishingPaidMe by definition only sheds light on the books that were published in the first place.
Until books like The Hate U Give and Between the World and Me became massive bestsellers, there was long a pernicious and self-fulfilling notion that books by and featuring Black people and other people of color “don’t sell.” Even right now, some publishing people talk about diverse books as if they’re a fad.
Everyone connected to the publishing industry has heard about publishers passing on a book by or featuring someone from an under-represented group because “we already have one of those.”
And even for the books that did make it across the finish line to publication, as author N. K. Jemisin notes, because of the way publishers craft offers by anchoring to comparable titles, those past self-fulfilling prophesies about books not selling ooze into the present in very harmful ways.
It affects marketing decisions. It affects the way books are packaged and the covers they receive. It affects expectations about what the authors will write about….
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