Thursday, July 21, 2016

It's not everyday I find myself siding with the RWA

But in the case of "Rosy Press Vs Romance Writers Of America" I do. Not so much on the matter of their dismissive tone in relation to romance comics, but on the matter of substance. Specifically RWA does not admit publishers that recoup all of their costs before paying any royalties. And Rosy Press defines net as "the total amount of money generated from sales of the Magazine and Book minus any fees or costs directly associated with formatting, editing, printing, distributing, and storing the publication, including Talent’s page rate and any attorney’s fees Publisher may incur."

This is not especially unusual in comics.  But it is still wrong.  There is no innate connection between how common a practice is and whether it is predatory to authors. Academic journals in some fields charge authors a page rate to publish. Market behemoth Harlequin has always paid a well-obfuscated and very  low royalty rate. It is not at all unusual for literary journals to charge reading fees. But all of these practices unfairly exploit authors as a source of financial gain.

Call me a zealot if you like, but for me--when it comes to commercial publishing--Yog's Law is absolute.  Author and publisher embark on a journey hand-in-hand, each risking the time and effort they have put on the line, and each sharing--according to some equitable ratio--any profits that are made.  When the publisher takes all profit until they are made whole this is indeed "predatory publishing"--and instead of asking RWA to accept it, the world of comicbook publishing should damn well stop accepting it too.

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