Life's not fair


Matt Paust

Matt Paust
Gloucester, Virginia,
December 31
Sorry - writer's block... BTW the "birthday" listed above is false. I prefer to keep that day private, but am not permitted to do so here, so I'm forced to lie.


APRIL 27, 2012 2:53PM

Authors Guild opens door to self-published writers

Rate: 36 Flag


The once exclusive Authors Guild has agreed to accept as members authors whose books are published by other than the traditional method.

Guild spokesman Terrence King confirmed Friday the organization's members voted at its annual meeting in March to open its membership to self-published authors.

"All of the rules aren't in place yet, but self-published authors who earn at least $500 in writing income in the 18 months prior to applying do qualify for associate membership," King said in a statement.  He explained that associate members would receive all the benefits of regular members, except for voting in Guild elections.  

King added, "Self-published authors will also be able to qualify for regular membership, but our board has to establish the income threshold for that category."

Previously only authors with traditional publishing contracts were eligible.

Requirements included that a contract with an American book publisher include a "significant" cash advance, confer copyright ownsership to the author and provide for a mechanism by which royalties are calculated and paid.

As many companies that offer self-publishing services meet the copyright and royalty distribution provisions, the cash advance has been the main barrier to acceptance.

"Advances are standard among established American publishers, and therefore are among the most important criteria we use to determine eligibility," King had said previously.

As stated on the group's website:  "Members of the Authors Guild receive free book contract reviews from experienced legal staff, discounted health insurance rates in some states, low-cost website services including website-building, e-mail, and domain name registration, access to our free Back in Print service, our quarterly print Bulletin, and invitations to panels and programs throughout the year."

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Hmm....perhaps your email with this guy is what helped to change things? I think so.....
Sorry - "email to" - d'oh - I will never be a member of the Authors Guild!
Maybe they weren't quite ready to release it yet, or maybe Terrence hadn't gotten the word. I rewrote this hoping maybe Emily would put it on the cover, as it is a legitimate breaking news story of special interest to many OSers.
Wow... you're denting the AG walls, hope you qualify soon... how's teaching gym??
A step forward towards democracy; was it an offer he could not refuse? Good news, Matt. R
The details still have to be hammered out. Will "associate" members be allowed to wear shoes and carry more than $2 in cash? Will they have to go about in public chained to two other associate members? Will they be subject to gender-changing surgery at the whim of the guild's directors?
Smooth sailing, Mac. I updated the other post, with the news story in a comment. I'm thinking now it might be a family affair of some kind.
Great. But $500 income is still a high bar for most self-published authors. And if I did earn $500, would I want to blow $90 on a membership?
It's an ever-changing world. I think this is great news and would like to see it on the cover, even the main salon cover.
So............anyone with 590 bucks to burn can be a member?
Leepin, I'm thinkin' they will want to see proof the $500 came in royalties, at least if they stick to the two other requirements. My royalties come thru Booklocker, which set me up for the print-on-demand and ebook distribution.
I nominate Matt, Arthur, and Larry to a committee to advise the Guild on how it should proceed.
Matt,can you believe it?
Are you "denting the AG walls"?
You certainly set a sign.
Rated...for your membership,if you want it.
money! money money money.
you have changed hearts and minds in this ridiculous venue of ours,
this os,

i dont give a damn if i am ever an author. in fact, just to be
contrary, i might decide never to be one!
this would nicely dovetail
with my utter ignorance about
1. literary world
2. money
3. economics in general.

i do not care. i give freely of my brain's brainstorms,

i thought you were in jail,by the way.

did you write this from your cell, and use your charm to get
officer zena oblong
a gal who looks smashing in blue,
to smuggle it out to the internet?
The curious timing of the announcement seems to suggest that someone must have sent off a well reasoned email or something. My only questions is, can associate members wear the badge?
I might say good for them but, the first thought that came to mind was "fuck 'em" . By the way, the rough draft of my first book is available for order now on DVD, only $500.00 per copy (okay, if someone really wants it I'll give it to them)
But will associate members be able to pay $125.99 for the lapel pin too? :D
Times are changing, and in this case that's a good thing. Thanks for shining a spotlight on this.
Good to hear of such progress. Thanks for the story.
So...they're gonna let you be a second-class member?
You could start a guild for non-traditional authors.
Very cool indeed!!!
Well. This is promising, especially after your experience with this group earlier. Amazing, that this old dog got around to learning a few new tricks. Got to change with the times and roll with the market...trending self publishing could have put them way out in the cold in a few years. Kudos to you Matt for asking for entrance, expressing your opinion about rejection and posting this new information. Good work.
Seriously?! Fuck em Matt. had other stuff to say but it really boils down to that
Thanks, all. I'd like to take credit for goosing them into doing the right thing, but it's more likely they wanted to work out the details before announcing it. If so, you'd think Terrence would have had the courtesy to say that the first time. He could be one of those front office guys who does only what he's told. Whatever, it's official now.

I emailed Emily this afternoon suggesting this would be a good cover story as it is breaking news that's of interest to many of us on OS. No word back. I think somehow I must have pissed somebody off in the OS front office and now I'm in the penalty box with Tink and a few others who use the wrong deodorant.
I read your previous article yesterday and thought it funny that since I didn't get a cash advance, modest or otherwise, I need not apply. I don't even know if cash advances are the norm and they are not even a signal of a work of literary merit.

I sincerely think your absolutely logical response to their previous communication must have caused quite a stir. Do not be so shy. I really think you had a lot to do with this happening.

So, really, I think congratulations are in other.
I think what really did the trick, Vanessa, was the "finger" Cranky sent them, inadvertently I'm sure, when he replied "to all" recipients of my email to Terrence. "All" included Terrence. I posted the "finger" on Facebook with a link to the story. But more realistically my note might have nudged them to jump the gun making their decision public. If the membership voted the changes last month then they were effectively in place. All that was left was to come up with a dollar figure for "regular" membership. I agree that those dollar thresholds are demeaning in that they equate commercial success with literary merit.
I guess if this route is of interest then this is great news for many Matt.
Self publishing is the venue for many now. Hopefully, the times they are a changing...
Another reason to take the self-pubishing plunge.
They are a'changing, Suzy, and I'm glad the Guild has seen fit to adapt. The way I see it Guild membership can help all writers get noticed. It might help get them thru the door of an agent's office or a publisher's screeners. If they write schlock they'll fall on their own whether or not they are members, but there are so many who can't get read by anybody in a position to determine merit and do something about it - even if commercial potential is the only merit sought. The writer today needs to be his own promoter just to get published, and then do his own market promoting. We're on our own so much of the way. Nice to have an association of other writers for support if nothing else. If even a drooling wannabe is willing to pay the dues to be a member, how does that hurt the group? Just don't let him give the keynote address at Guild dinners.
Lea, unless you have a Max Perkins eager to edit your manuscript and a marketing team inflamed with enthusiasm to push your book, you're better off doing it yourself. As Caitlin noted when announcing the release of her latest book, Malled, authors today have to do most of the hustling themselves anyway. Of course it helps to have a recognized name on the spine, such as Random House, Putnam or Doubleday, but with ebooks and print on demand paperbacks the wave the future, the only trademark readers will notice and remember is Amazon.
It is always nice that a door is opened, even if you choose not to walk through it. Thank you sir
I think this can only be viewed in the most positive of lights. Thank you for sharing this and for any work you did behind the scenes. R
Could the editorial powers that be please FP this and the accompanying post? This is good FP posting.
You're welcome, Texas. Maybe some of us can walk thru that door one day soon.

I'm happy with the outcome, Rita. I did nothing behind the scenes. Just applied, got rejected and then sent a note questioning their policy. Evidently they'd come to the same conclusion a month ago. All's well that ends well.

I did put it on Facebook, V. Thanks. I'm disappointed OS didn't put it on the cover. Guess they have different priorities.
Thanks to Helen Smith's blog, I found a fascinating column and comment thread discussing the Amazon v. traditional publishing debate that's now likely to end up in federal court.

I've also learned a new term for traditional publishers in this debate: "legacy" publishers. Sounds more venerable, doesn't it.
Matt, If I am ever ready, I will hire you to guide me through the process. I have a feeling that my potential as a best selling author is not. I can't imagine driving around with a trunk full of books to sell. Would have to go the print on demand route. Am thinking about it.
Ande, the print-on-demand (POD) route plus ebook alternative is really the only way to go these days unless your uncle is with the Scott Meredith Literary Agency or an executive at Doubleday. I used for the formatting and ISBN registration as well as getting to Amazon, Barnes & Noble and making it available to bookstores. I scouted around and they seemed to offer the best deal. I've done two books with them now and am completely satisfied with their services.
After reading of your recent experience with them, this was a very surprising and welcome turnaround, Matt. If they were about to make the changes, you'd think Mr Wotshisname would have worded a much nicer reply to you so-o-o-o perhaps you did have something to do with this! If not, well then Mr Wotshisname is just a pompous A...!!!!
Hmm. I was going to wait until my second non-self published book came out next month but darn it, I think I can scrape up proof of $500 in income. Now the question is: what's it do for me?

Good work, Matt.
I am pleased to announce the launch of SPAG
. . . Self-Published Author's Guild. $45 membership fee get you your choice of mouse pad, mini-retractable umbrella or tote bag.