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…

Can You Self-Publish Your Way to a Big Deal?

Self-published author Lindsay Buroker was approached recently by 47North, Amazon’s SF/F/H imprint. Today Lindsay is here to explain how you can best position yourself to attract an offer. And, despite what you may think, it’s not all about sales. Self-publishing offers a lot of advantages over the traditional path: freedom to write whatever you choose and price however you like; real-time sales figures; direct connection with readers; complete creative control over things like covers; and, of course, the famous 70% royalty rate (and more again if you sell direct). Despite all these advantages, many self-publishers are keen to leverage their success into a publishing deal. For some, it’s a nice advance, access to bookstores, and the potential increased marketability of subsidiary rights Read More…

Why The Digital Revolution Threatens Large Publishers

I think I’ve made a robust case for a digital future, but I’m less sure I’ve convincingly explained why the digital revolution threatens large publishers. In Thursday’s post, we looked at the recent BookStats survey of the American publishing industry. Some are touting its results as evidence that publishing is in rude health. I argued that the report only covers the very beginning of the e-book explosion that began late last year which has radically changed the marketplace, and which will adversely affect the fortunes of the larger publishers. That sparked a vigorous discussion in the comments, and one person (correctly) pointed out that lots of those big-selling e-books are being sold by the large publishers, that they have huge Read More…