The HarperCollins Strike: Part 2
What does this mean for authors? Why should you care?
Welcome back to another post about the ongoing HarperCollins strike!
Yesterday, I gave some background on why the strike is happening, what the workers are asking for, and the most recent developments.
You may have spent that post thinking: okay, sure, it's a bummer that editorial and marketing staff is paid so low, but why should I care? I don't see how this affects *me*.
Au contraire, mes amis!
Publishing is a highly exploitative industry across the board, and that includes exploitation of authors!Beyond that, the exploitation of other workers in this industry does directly affect authors.
Let's look at how.
First of all, a common justification for the low wages in publishing is, "Well, you should be doing it for the passion, not the money."Spoiler! :
Wait, what is an advance?Spoiler! :
Not only are advances generally low, but they're also paid late and split into three, four, or even five payments.Spoiler! :
That's one way authors are directly exploited by the industry. But authors are also more affected by the low wages of full-time industry workers. The most prominent issue is that the team who acquired your book probably won't be the same team you publish with.Spoiler! :
So not only does the exploitation of full-time industry workers allow for similar exploitation of authors, but it affects actual book publication, which of course also affects authors!
Who knows what will come of it, but mediation is happening right now. The union posted a video asking workers what they hope will come of it, which you can watch here. If you'd like to know more, your can also read this summary thread of the timeline from expiry of contract to mediation.
And if you're on Twitter or can donate to the strike fund, be sure to leave striking HarperCollins workers a message of support!
Snoink UGH. This is actually making me want to self-publish now. >.> This sounds icky.
Wed Feb 01, 2023 5:55 pm
BluesClues ngl I thought of you as I wrote this like "I'm just gonna scare Snoink right away from trad pub huh :,)"
Self-pub definitely has its own issues and can be harder in different ways, BUT you can at least control aspects like offering freelance editors fair payment, knowing when you'll get royalties because there's no publisher taking a cut first, etc.
My goal is to push through trad pub out of sheer spite and do everything I can to make it better from the inside. I mentioned author Laekan Zea Kemp in this post. She runs an online "boot camp" for debut authors, and one thing I love about it is that she is *always* focused on what you, the author, can do from the inside - not only to make sure you get treated more fairly, but that everyone does!
For example, while she says you should expect to receive payment 4-6 months after the supposed due date, she advocates for you (or your agent) emailing your publisher *weekly* until you get paid. She advocates for telling your editor - who may not have control over it, but is likely to listen to your concerns and bring things up to the higher-ups - that many authors rely on on-time payments to make ends meet, and that a policy that prevents on-time pay can hurt marginalized authors the most and be discriminatory toward different groups such as low-income authors. She advocates for NOT turning in revisions early, even if you're done early, because you don't want to set a precedent that tells the publisher that they can pay you whenever they want while you will turn things in ahead of schedule.
Basically she's not afraid to tell you about the bad things you'll likely deal with (especially as a marginalized author), BUT she always makes sure you know you can do something about it AND she makes sure you know you can advocate for and protect yourself and others <3
Wed Feb 01, 2023 7:00 pm
The HarperCollins Strike: Part 1
Why is the union striking? What do they want? And why am I talking about this today?
Bad news out of the publishing industry today, and I am distraught.
I thought I had posted about this before, but apparently not. So some backstory, with spoilers for length, and this is going to be a multi-part, multi-day post so as not to overwhelm you.
Buckle up, because if you read these posts over the next several days...you're going to learn some pretty dismal truths about the publishing industry.
Just keep in mind that I don't tell you any of this to discourage you, if you dream of trad pub. But it's important for you to know what's going on in your own industry, and it's better for you to be emotionally prepared for it than to go in without this knowledge.HarperCollins workers went on strike in November.
For those of you who don't know, publishing is a very exploitative industry.Spoiler! :
Now, this is obviously bad for publishing staff.Spoiler! :
This is also bad for diversity.Spoiler! :
It's also bad for authors. We'll talk about this more tomorrow, but keep it in mind.
For now, focusing on publishing staff, here's an illustrative example.
An ex-editor who had left the industry for greener pastures posted a Twitter thread about her time in the industry. What really staggered me was this:Spoiler! :
What is the union asking for?Spoiler! :
Why am I so angry and hurt today?Spoiler! :
Tomorrow, Part 2: How does this affect authors? Why should you care? (Because it does affect authors, and you should care! We are also exploited by the industry!)
In the meantime, if you'd like more information about the strike, follow HCPU on Twitter and check out their Linktree.
Que <3Spoiler! :
Wed Feb 01, 2023 8:08 am
BluesClues <3Spoiler! :
Wed Feb 01, 2023 2:44 pm
Oops, @Carlito beat me to posting this <3 Probably bc I. simply forgot. to post in here at all yesterday XDCarlito wrote:If you live in a place with barnes & noble, there's a preorder sale going on right now!
You can preorder the E-Book of THE REMARKABLE RETIREMENT OF EDNA FISHER (aka Chosen Grandma) by OUR VERY OWN @BluesClues right now for 25% off!
All preorders are 25% off! (online only)
All hardcovers are 50% off! (online and in stores)
Link to original comment
i finished blessing myself with some more preorders and thought i should let the people know that they too could choose to bless themselves with preorders and then i was like wait. is blue's book at b&n?? (genuinely didn't know because i smashed that hanson house preorder button 7000 years ago) and i obviously had to spread the news!
Thu Jan 26, 2023 10:29 pm
BluesClues listen I definitely had to go check myself because while I know the e-book is at B&N I was like "does that count for purposes of this sale, or--" XD
Thu Jan 26, 2023 10:48 pm
After much debate, I posted a how I got my agent post, kind of. It's less about my actual time in the trenches and more a bit of perspective, but I hope it will help people!
Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaand it's official! I have an agent! I am an agented author!
Mageheart YOOOO CONGRATS
Wed Jan 18, 2023 2:52 am
BluesClues thank you I am so excited and happy and relieved!!
Wed Jan 18, 2023 3:10 am
Snoink Did you... not have an agent before???
Mon Jan 09, 2023 1:03 pm
Mon Jan 09, 2023 4:59 pm
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A literary agent recently wrote a Twitter thread of publishing industry predictions for 2023, which got the 2023 debut authors talking in Slack. We ended up talking about how publishers are less and less likely to pick up an author's next book and more and more likely to want authors to use pen names if writing in different genres.
But the funny thing is, your pen name can be really similar to your other pen name. Like if I were writing fantasy as BluesClues, I could write mystery as B.L. Clues and romance as B. Lues Clues.
Everyone misreads my Twitter handle, which is a shortened version of my first name, middle initial, and last name, so I jokingly said I'd use the misread Twitter handle as a pen name.
A friend said that must be my hardboiled crime fiction name, so I said this...oh, of course! I'm writing an old lady detective who's like a hardbitten Edna but she's named Nettie and she grumpily solves murders because she's tired of police incompetence, as she never fails to remind the reluctant but resigned detective who keeps running into her at crime scenes (she also always reminds him that she's a taxpayer and she pays his salary)
...and I didn't want or need a new idea, but this is a shocking amount of detail for something that didn't exist until that exact moment in time, and Nettie compels me.
I'm not saying this is my next project, but. Nettie compels me.
Mageheart i love her
also that's legit what happened with #SkeletonWIP back in may. i was driving home from school and was thinking about how much i liked archeology stories, and then my brain just was like "oh the main character of this novel is a nineteen year old who goes on a trip-"
and i didn't even have a novel in mind then xD
Thu Jan 05, 2023 5:20 pm
BluesClues why do brains do this to us!!! like how am I supposed to write a murder mystery even if it does involve elderly lesbians and magic???
and y e t
I am literally in my story ideas doc rn writing down every single thought I'm having, which is astonishingly many considering this stupid story didn't EXIST two hours ago
Thu Jan 05, 2023 5:26 pm
We're finishing up the year with over 1,500 GoodReads adds, over 1,000 entries into the Remarkable Retirement StoryGraph giveaway, two short stories published, two more short stories accepted for publication, a complete synopsis for an eventual middle-grades project, and planning well under way for ForestVibesWIP!
I'm having weird and complex feelings about the end of the year this year, but I'm glad to be able to say that writing stuff went really well this year <3
lliyah <333 woohoo! You're pretty awesome Blue! Cheers to a successful, happy, and blessed 2023!!
Sun Jan 01, 2023 12:07 am
BluesClues thank you so much!! here's hoping the hype continues up to debut day <333
Sun Jan 01, 2023 12:25 am
Oh my gosh! My sister posted about my book on Tumblr, and Tumblr RAN with it. In two days, it's gotten over 8,000 notes, I've had more preorders, and my GoodReads adds spiked so high that in just one day I had new adds amounting to 10% of the existing adds that it took me seven months to get.
Mageheart That's amazing !!! I saw the post on Tumblr and was like :eyes: when I saw the number of notes! That's what you and your book deserve <333
Sat Dec 24, 2022 6:51 pm
lliyah ohohoho! Well that's awesome, but very deserved! Happy for you Blue! <3
Sat Dec 24, 2022 6:52 pm
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Okay StoryGraph is clearly where it's at, because I literally posted this giveaway YESTERDAY and I already have 455 entries??? Oh my god
I haven't been writing much, which is okay because I think the break will do me good, but whoa am I glad I don't have a two-book deal and a second book to worry about because...I feel like I'm spending SO MUCH TIME worrying about book marketing things. Not even marketing marketing, just like. awareness.
"Hi everyone! I wrote a book and it exists!" <<< basically what I'm spending all my time doing right now
It's baby's first giveaway! 5 digital advanced review copies (ARCs) of The Remarkable Retirement of Edna Fisher are up for grabs on StoryGraph, a British-based, Black-owned alternative to GoodReads!
The giveaway is open internationally. The format is digital, and again these are ARCs - so while they're close to the final version, they're not quite actually the final version!
You can enter (or share) the giveaway here: Giveaway for The Remarkable Retirement of Edna Fisher on StoryGraph
Thanks to a friend, I am now the proud owner of a lil knitted Edna <3
This just in, turns out doing copy edits is super annoying!
In case you don't know, here are the general types of editing:Spoiler! :
Anyway, I'm finding copy edits very frustrating because...sometimes the copy editor introduces grammatical errors. Often, the copy editor rewrites sentences rather than suggesting rewrites, and the results are out of tune with the voice of the rest of the manuscript. For other authors, copy editors have even made racist or transphobic suggestions.
The good news is, with my publisher, I can simply accept or reject every suggestion made by my copy editor without explanation. I can rewrite their rewrites without explaining why I didn't go with their version.
(Not so authors with bigger publishers: one fellow debut told me she has to comment on every single change explaining why she rejected it.)
The bad news is, apparently this way of operating is common amongst copy editors, so I'll get to repeat this joyful experience in the future no matter who I publish with