Saturday, April 30, 2005

Macmillan New Writing

Macmillan have launched a New Writing list. It looks like a sort of middle ground between conventional publishing and self-publishing.
Macmillan New Writing is an imprint within the Macmillan group, designed to give an opportunity for new authors to achieve publication. The books are published at the company's expense, no contribution costs will be sought from authors, and royalties on sales will be paid. The books are sold in the market by Macmillan and will be carried in the company's catalogues, but to keep costs to a minimum to allow the maximum number of new writers to get a chance at publication, all arrangements for publication and contracts with authors are standard and there is a minimum of communication between publisher and author.
The Guardian reports that writers will receive 20% of royalties from sales but Macmillan will get all rights to the work.
[literary agent, Natasha] Fairweather described the deal as "shocking". Giles Foden, the author of several novels including The Last King of Scotland (and the Guardian's deputy literary editor), described it as "preying on the unwary", and "publishers trying to pull a fast one over impressionable young authors".

"It seems to be putting more risk on to the shoulders of the writer," [novelist, Hari] Kunzru said. "For writers the important thing is having the publishing control and retaining your rights. I'd publish on the net or think about a writer-led co-operative before going down this road."

Macmillan denies sharp practice. "I have been through over a thousand manuscripts, and, hand on heart, I haven't had a single author who has said it's unfair ... We are doing this with great integrity," Barnard said.

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