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View Full Version : Catherine Cookson's agent self-pubs her ebooks



Torgo
05-13-2011, 06:15 PM
Sonia Land's gone direct to Amazon (http://futurebook.net/content/publishers-should-improve-their-royalty-rates) with the Cookson backlist. You can check out the alluring new cover treatment here (http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=catherine+cookson).

gothicangel
05-13-2011, 06:25 PM
Sonia Land's gone direct to Amazon (http://futurebook.net/content/publishers-should-improve-their-royalty-rates) with the Cookson backlist. You can check out the alluring new cover treatment here (http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=catherine+cookson).

I think the major caveat here is that the agent is publishing Cookson's back catalogue of books that sold millions worldwide.

It will be interesting to see how well they do on Kindle. I grew up in Cookson Country, but I wonder how popular ebooks are with Cooksons market.

And yes, the jacket is awful.

veinglory
05-13-2011, 06:37 PM
I wonder what the agent's cut for direct publishing is. Apparently not enough to get some decent cover art made?

Medievalist
05-13-2011, 06:38 PM
These aren't so much ebooks as text dumps.

Cookson deserves better.

KevinMcLaughlin
05-13-2011, 07:11 PM
Timely article I read the other day, regarding some agents who are running what basically amounts to scam-publishing. Really, really, REALLY watch out for this sort of stuff. Good article:
http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/?p=4096

The Grump
05-14-2011, 12:46 AM
Thanks for the heads up on so many of her books being available again. But ... I think I'll stick to my hard copies.

Alessandra Kelley
05-14-2011, 12:53 AM
I wonder what the agent's cut for direct publishing is. Apparently not enough to get some decent cover art made?

Good grief. That cover art is really, really unworthy.

CheG
05-14-2011, 01:53 AM
I actually don't have a problem with agents as publishers. From what I have read agents themselves are now getting more and more of the editing work and I think from that perspective it makes sense. If both agent and author can make more money with the agent as editor/publisher and the author of course providing content then it may be a good deal for all involved.

There is more to putting up a Kindle book than just slapping it on Amazon. Formatting, copy editing, and a good cover are all important.

That said it will depend on the execution. There is potential for scamming to be sure, but there is also the potential to make more money direct from buyers than a 5% royalty.

veinglory
05-14-2011, 01:58 AM
Actually I see the publisher is her estate, not her agent.

And anyone who dumps 100 books on kindle with the same cover doesn't know what they are doing. It's a pity. They will make money but it is not being done in a way that respects her legacy.

Alessandra Kelley
05-14-2011, 02:13 AM
That cover totally says "we don't care." I don't mean to be rude, but everything about it is wrong. And you say they're using it on all her books?

Torgo
05-14-2011, 02:15 AM
That cover totally says "we don't care." I don't mean to be rude, but everything about it is wrong. And you say they're using it on all her books?

Seriously. (http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/images/B004TO5URG/ref=dp_image_z_0?ie=UTF8&m=A3TVV12T0I6NSM&n=341677031&s=digital-text)

dgaughran
05-14-2011, 04:46 AM
I've checked a few of them.

It's not just the covers. The formatting is awful too. It really looks like it was slapped together. I wonder what the revenue split between Catherine Cookson's Estate and Sonia Land's imprint is.

This is a great counterpoint to people who automatically think that agents will make great publishers.

IceCreamEmpress
05-14-2011, 04:54 AM
This seems really exploitative of, and disrespectful to, Cookson's decades of hard work. As others have said, her work deserves more careful curation than this!

Also, big sloppy reissue dumps like this are going to put some people off the backlist reissues that many authors are working super-hard to get right. Shoddy products can alienate people from whole market sectors.

Alessandra Kelley
05-14-2011, 05:57 AM
Even if it were just one plain, solid color, say a nice deep blue, with her name amd the title in a classic font, like Palatino or something, in white or light grey. Even that would be better.

Even that would look more suitable if they needed 100(!) covers on a budget.

dolores haze
05-14-2011, 06:00 AM
Ugh. What a rotten greedy thing to do.

Alessandra Kelley
05-14-2011, 06:34 AM
I heard they've done a similar thing with Ian Fleming's works, but you can see a real diffference in quality between their covers and the Cookson ones. If you look up Fleming's works on the Kindle store on Amazon, they all have the same cover: a vintage photograph of a gentleman (Fleming himself?). Each book (see http://www.amazon.com/Goldfinger-ebook/dp/B001A5W8ZE) has the same photo tinted differently and the title and Fleming's name in a classic font.

It's definitely a budget cover, but gracefully done.

It can always be gracefully done.

dgaughran
05-14-2011, 12:26 PM
I'm sorry but, while that Fleming book is certainly better than the Cookson ones (which are as bad as anything I have seen, self-published or otherwise), it's still pretty awful.

The lettering is cheap and the shadow looks like it was done by someone who's never used Photoshop before.

Ian Fleming Publications Ltd is the "publisher" - is Simon Trewin still representing the rights there?

I checked the sample. At least its not as bad as the Cookson ones.

On sale for $11.12. I think they could afford a cover designer.

dgaughran
05-14-2011, 12:29 PM
I think the major caveat here is that the agent is publishing Cookson's back catalogue of books that sold millions worldwide.

It will be interesting to see how well they do on Kindle. I grew up in Cookson Country, but I wonder how popular ebooks are with Cooksons market.

And yes, the jacket is awful.

In the US at least, the e-reader boom hasn't been led by the usual suspects - hipsters and gadget freaks, but by Boomers. The lack of variety and extra expense of Large Print Books meant they were a ready market.

I have no idea if this is happening in the UK.

shaldna
05-14-2011, 12:31 PM
I'm really not sure about this to be honest. I mean, on one hand the covers are awful and shoddy, but people will still buy them because it's CC. And, at the end of the day, this is something that those in control of the estate have agreed to, so they are as much to blame for the bad presentation.

I agree though that CC deserves better.

gothicangel
05-14-2011, 12:37 PM
In the US at least, the e-reader boom hasn't been led by the usual suspects - hipsters and gadget freaks, but by Boomers. The lack of variety and extra expense of Large Print Books meant they were a ready market.

I have no idea if this is happening in the UK.

Not sure. I believe the biggest market is 35-45 yr old men. Could be wrong, I'm just emerging from six months of dissertation writing so I'm not up to scratch like I was in December. ;)

dgaughran
05-14-2011, 03:31 PM
I'm really not sure about this to be honest. I mean, on one hand the covers are awful and shoddy, but people will still buy them because it's CC. And, at the end of the day, this is something that those in control of the estate have agreed to, so they are as much to blame for the bad presentation.

I agree though that CC deserves better.

She deserves a lot better - they look no better on the inside.

Some agents moving into publishing are doing things a little differently. I saw Peter Buckman said that he will only sign three-year renewable contracts. That way, you haven't signed your rights away forever, and if you are unhappy with the production or promotion, after time, you can always walk and take your titles with you.

Alessandra Kelley
05-14-2011, 09:25 PM
I'm sorry but, while that Fleming book is certainly better than the Cookson ones (which are as bad as anything I have seen, self-published or otherwise), it's still pretty awful.

The lettering is cheap and the shadow looks like it was done by someone who's never used Photoshop before.

You're right, of course. I think I was carried away by the contrast. Perhaps the best you can say about the Fleming covers is that they are better than the Cookson ones.

Anything is an improvement on the Cookson ones.

James D. Macdonald
05-14-2011, 09:32 PM
When agent-turns-publisher, that person still has to act as a publisher (as has been exhaustively discussed elsewhere), and "publisher" still isn't an entry-level position.

The publisher still has to see to editing, to formatting, to proofreading, to covers, to publicity and marketing, and all the rest.

Publisher and agent are such different roles that any combination of the two has to be a red flag for potential conflict of interest.