Why don't authors make more money?

Status
Not open for further replies.
Thanks @AnnieSummerlee — informative video. Megan Greenwell wrote a feature in The New York Times (13 Jan 2023) about the romance writer who faked her own death. Whatever we think of that is beside the point. The most interesting part of the feature, for me, was this:

"At HarperCollins — where I am under contract for my first book — about 250 New York-based unionized employees have been on strike for two months. The core issue is that the union wants to raise entry-level salaries by $5,000, to $50,000. The increase would cost HarperCollins, whose annual revenue is over $2 billion, less than $1 million a year; editors have told heart-wrenching stories about being unable to afford rent and food, taking on second jobs, leaving the industry altogether because, in one of the world’s most expensive cities, $45,000 is not enough to live on.

Yet the union says the company’s senior leaders have informed members that they will not return to the bargaining table. In the meantime, HarperCollins has begun hiring scab workers. The publishing industry's work force remains far, far whiter than it should be, which has obvious ramifications for what books we get to read, yet executives seem to have no interest in making the industry more accessible to brilliant young minds who don’t come from generational wealth.
"

$2 billion in annual revenue. And they won't (not can't) pay writers a decent amount for work which is keeping the high-paid greedy executives who run the company in business. But they know how to play on writers who don't mind being shafted by them, just so they can tell their friends a "traditional publisher" wants to publish their book. Of course there are decent publishers out there, as this post mentions, but finding them is getting harder.
 
Thanks @AnnieSummerlee — informative video. Megan Greenwell wrote a feature in The New York Times (13 Jan 2023) about the romance writer who faked her own death. Whatever we think of that is beside the point. The most interesting part of the feature, for me, was this:

"At HarperCollins — where I am under contract for my first book — about 250 New York-based unionized employees have been on strike for two months. The core issue is that the union wants to raise entry-level salaries by $5,000, to $50,000. The increase would cost HarperCollins, whose annual revenue is over $2 billion, less than $1 million a year; editors have told heart-wrenching stories about being unable to afford rent and food, taking on second jobs, leaving the industry altogether because, in one of the world’s most expensive cities, $45,000 is not enough to live on.

Yet the union says the company’s senior leaders have informed members that they will not return to the bargaining table. In the meantime, HarperCollins has begun hiring scab workers. The publishing industry's work force remains far, far whiter than it should be, which has obvious ramifications for what books we get to read, yet executives seem to have no interest in making the industry more accessible to brilliant young minds who don’t come from generational wealth.
"

$2 billion in annual revenue. And they won't (not can't) pay writers a decent amount for work which is keeping the high-paid greedy executives who run the company in business. But they know how to play on writers who don't mind being shafted by them, just so they can tell their friends a "traditional publisher" wants to publish their book. Of course there are decent publishers out there, as this post mentions, but finding them is getting harder.
This goes to an arbitrary Larry Summers led Harvard business school decision that profits must be at least 20 percent. Not the 10 to 12 percent that were considered good up to the 1990's. Certain economists decided the only reason for a company to exist is to please shareholder's. This created quite a stir first in project finance, building big projects like coal plants and water mains. When Americans demanded this be written into contracts it broadsided deals. Mitsubishi got reamed by the company my husband was working for at the time. As he was part of negotiating the deal he was nonplussed. But international business picked it up quickly to the extent their government regulation allowed them. This new decisions as to when a business is profitable is what eventually and deliberately killed investigative journalism in the US under Bush II. Investigative papers in the US making perfectly decent profits were taken over by shareholders saying they weren't profitable because the profits weren't 23 percent. They forced sales. This is the real worm at the heart of capitalism. That extra profit always comes at the expense of labor and goes to controlling shareholders who happen to be CEO's voting on each other's companies. Adam Smith warns that without regulation there can be no free market because the most unscrupulous and greedy will simply take everything. The US and the UK deregulated in the 80's and 90's. And here we are. If climate change is going to be dealt with, if democracy is going to stand, then the maxim that - the only rule in business is that shareholders rule - must change.
 
Completely agree, @Pamela Jo I'm not one for religion, but Paul got it right when he said the love of money is the root of all evil (often misquoted as money being evil, which it isn't). Sadly, I see nothing changing any time soon. Not now the billionaires and sociopaths are in charge.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Back
Top