Authors Say #DisneyMustPay Bewares Publishing

Disney is accused of refusing to pay royalties to Alan Dean Foster in a move that could ultimately affect all published authors, prompting widespread calls that #DisneyMustPay.

Foster wrote the first ever Star Wars novelization, released six months before the initial movie. Star Wars: From the Adventures of Luke Skywalker was based on a screenplay written by George Lucas and its his name that graced the front cover. But Alan Dean Foster wrote the book, which is still in print, and he received royalty checks for it right up until the point that Disney acquired Lucasfilm. Then the checks stopped coming.

Back in the 1970s, Foster was contracted to write a sequel to that first tie-in, working from far less material this time. George Lucas wasn’t entirely sure at that point how successful Star Wars would be and, crucially, how much of a budget he would have to play with – which placed limitations on the kind of story Foster could write. For example, Lucas instructed Foster to keep Han Solo out of the story, because Harrison Ford had not signed on for a sequel yet.

Further writers were hired as the Star Wars franchise grew in popularity and scope, and Alan Dean Foster continued to establish his name. He worked on numerous media tie-ins for franchises like Star Trek, Alien, Transformers, Alien Nation, and Terminator, a whole plethora of standalone novelizations for movies like Krull, The Thing, Clash of the Titans, and The Last Starfighter, and also his own original novels like the Spellsinger series and the many Humanx Commonwealth books. More recently, he returned to the Star Wars universe to write the novelization of The Force Awakens.

In other words, this isn’t some unknown or inexperienced author that Disney is pushing around. But what is Disney playing at? Read More…

Publishers Behaving Badly, Part… I've Lost Count Bewares Publishing

There seems to be a view in certain self-congratulatory circles that publishers have finally got to grips with the digital revolution, that they have weathered the fiercest part of the storm, and that they are well-placed now not just to survive, but to thrive. There are innumerable problems with that view, of course, but today I’d like to focus on one core truth of this brave new world that publishers have failed to grasp. Namely, there are only two essential components to publishing in the digital era: the writer and the reader. All of the old middlemen – agents, publishers, distributors, retailers – have to justify their cut, as the writer can now bypass them and go direct to readers. Read More…