I see the following things happen too often in the publishing industry:
- Too many writers are asked to produce content for free (or below any reasonable standards of minimum pay) because publishers (legitimate businesses) don’t have budgets for freelance writers. They get away with this because so many people want to be writers and are stupid enough to do it for free. Don’t do it — it’s killing your (our) career.
- Too many manuscripts go unread because in the publishing world, it’s not the quality of the work you submit but the people you know that gets you places.
- Too many great books are denied shelf space in the major retailers in favour of throwaway celebrity biographies or television/movie tie-ins.
- Too many books fail to sell because publishers’ marketing departments haven’t got the resources (or even the basic marketing know-how) to successfully market their writers. I learned very early on in my career that the best marketer for my books (in fact the only one I could rely on to get my book noticed) was myself.
- Too many writers are asked to appear or speak at festivals, tradeshows and other industry events for free, believing the exposure will help them sell books. Believe me, you have to sell a lot of books to cover a cross-country train fare or a night in a hotel just to attend an event and because of this, I never speak for free.
- Too many writers lose control of their work to publishers and their watertight book deals. As a result, they never see their work advance beyond the initial print run. A book that is allowed to fall out-of-print is a lost opportunity and (particularly in this digital age) should never be allowed to happen.
- Too many writers are unable to earn a living from their craft because (largely due to all the points above) the odds are simply too stacked against them.