Sunday, August 1, 2010

Wylie Throws Down the Gauntlet!

I saw this on the Financial Times website. Mr Andrew Wylie, agent for some 700 of the literary genre's top names, told Kenneth Li and John Gapper of the Financial Times -

"If we do not reach an accord, Odyssey will grow. It will not publish 20 books, it will publish 2,000 and have outside investors and make itself available to other agents." 
"I am only trying to make a point in order to underscore the importance of getting the right terms with a view to uniting the two [print and digital] revenue streams," Mr Wylie said.
This is after 9 months of discussions with Big Six publisher Random House. It appears that Mr. Wylie has given up on combining digital and print rights for his stable of 20th century authors and author's estates. Instead he formed Odyssey Editions to e-publish his writers and get them an ever-increasing share of the 21th century action. You can find the story here.

I couldn't find the link to the best seller's list - but the word is that the twenty books released by Odyessy Editions are some of the best selling books on Amazon.cm - after only a few days.

Mr. Wylie (e-Coyote) threatens to publish 2000 books total unless the Big Six agree to 'combine revenue streams' publishing these e-book editions 'with an acceptable royalty rate.'

Meanwhile, they've priced the books at the magical $9.99 price that will give Odyssey the 70% royalty. Which yields a whopping $6.99 per book with a possible gross (at a 1000 books a week) of $27,972 per title. Times 20 titles is a whopping $559,440 PER MONTH.

Does Random House know that they are bleeding money? Most of those writers would settle for a fraction of that monthly gross. A 50/50 split wouldn't be so bad, not for Random House or Odyssey Editions.

Of course, I have to ask the obvious question. What's the writer's share of Odyssey's $28k per month? Can't be too bad - nobody has squawked, yet. But you know what the kicker is, don't you?

Every one of those 2k writers could publish via Kindle themselves. They own the e-rights to those books, not Wylie (e-Coyote), not Random House. It sucks to be a Luddite in a digital world.

Wylie (e-Coyote) my hat is off to you.

If any of those 2k literary writers wants help e-publishing a book - let me know. I'd like a piece of the action myself.

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