Live from St. Pete Beach!

- by Barbara Meyers

From Friday’s Brainstorming on the Beach “The Future of Publishing” panels, below are the highlights from my notes.  (I missed the first panel discussion, I was at helping at the registration desk.)

The major publishers:

1) Want to grab as many rights as they can

2) Are running scared

3) Digital publishing moved fast and with lots of unexpected force so they want to embed rights clauses in contracts so you can’t get them back.

4) 15% -25% is their e-Book standard royalty rate

5) Get a 3-year look-back in your contract so you can re-negotiate the rate at that time

6) Harlequin pays royalties off the cover price not the net sale price

Book sales are back to where they were in 2008 after a 2009 drop.

We had a buffet lunch in the sunny courtyard and during the first afternoon session my attention began to wander and I started another of my Dr. Seuss-like poems.  I’ve condensed it here for you:

I’m at the Ninc conference

It’s just after lunch

My eyelids are drooping

I had too much to munch

Ten years from now to buy a paper book

Visit an antique store to give them a look

But seriously…

Publishers promote 1-2 books per month.  It’s probably not yours so do it yourself.

If you can’t promote we don’t want you.

An agent won’t help and TV’s no good.

Set a novel around a social issue.

Readers want interactions with writers.

Make your publisher your partner.

Distinguish yourself from the pack.

Consumers care about reviews and about what their friends think.

The way to fight piracy is with cost and convenience.

E-book publishers publish the “rejected” books.

Great books don’t get published because:

1) They don’t fit “the model.” OR

2) They don’t have a platform

If you don’t have a built-in audience booksellers don’t want your books.

Attention spans are decreasing…write shorter paragraphs.

Reversion of rights clauses should be based on unit sales over a certain period of time (two royalty statement periods for example) instead of the hard-to-define clause “out of print.”

Windowing means you have to market the book twice — you work harder because you lose momentum.

(Windowing is when the harcover or paperback version is released and the e-Book or other version isn’t released until a month or so later.)

More than one panelist advised you to write the best book you possibly can, and as we’ve heard before, this is what will keep us viable and keep us published.

Authors CREATE.  What’s between the pages is what’s within their control.

Now get back to work and I’ll try to hit some more of today’s workshop highlights for you tomorrow!


  1. I loved your brief insights–it’s a nice way to encapuslate the experience!

  2. Thanks Elaine. I’m married to a banker. He taught me to bullet point!