I’ve been working on the Royalty Reminder software for almost two years. I imagine keeping track of book publishing contracts and figuring out ways for Authors to protect and maximize their income may not grab the attention of that many people but for me it’s been consistently fascinating.
The SF writers of the classic age foresaw an economy dominated by massive corporations and to a striking degree, this has all come true. On one hand some gates are down, and many Authors have access to their audiences through the miracle of the internet. But the converse is also true, distribution is concentrated into just a few hands.
How will that affect the working book author as the marketplace continues to evolve?
Here are a few of my ideas to empower authors and perhaps, all creatives. You’ll see there is a connection to Royalty Reminder and any other enterprise software that aggregates the power of creatives.
Data is power. If Authors have real time, actionable knowledge of all their publishing agreements, and that data has the potential to be organized in a way that it can be deployed to enhance their bargaining power in negotiating the terms of its sale and distribution, than they will have greater say over their incomes and potential.
Many author’s works are published by traditional publishers, and the traditional copyright based license mitigates against that, but it doesn’t foreclose it. The out of print clause returns many books to authors every year. The traditional publishers desire for new works from those authors will also influence their negotiations with them. Many authors are also publishing under short term or at will agreements and this means a great many books are free at any time to negotiate the terms of their exploitation.
So it is possible that authors will be able to aggregate their power in a way that appeals to their inherently freedom loving dispositions. They can keep careful track of all their publishing agreements. They can match those inventories with a digital version of their book that can be almost instantly transferred to a distributor that offers better opportunities. They can participate in communities of authors that support, monitor and market those books. The power of the one can be aggregated into the power of the many.
Creatives have always created the books that audiences want and have always struggled to realize their share among their partners that provide capital, production, marketing and distribution. In the digital age, for the independent author, capital, production and marketing are in reach. By aggregating their power and fostering competition among distributors, authors can improve their share of the proceeds.
Science fiction or science fact?
It will be fun to find out.