Thursday, 28 March 2013


I've had an email from Simon Mayott, co-founder and CEO of Autharium, letting me know about major changes made to the contracts offered to writers who publish with them - and this new contract will also apply to existing Autharium writers.

The main change is that the contract no longer lasts for the life of the copyright of the book (the author's lifetime plus seventy years) but for ten years:

"By submitting your Work to Autharium and accepting these Terms & Conditions, you grant to Autharium the exclusive right and licence to produce, publish, promote, market and sell your Work in any Digital Book Form (as defined in paragraph 1.4 below) in all languages throughout the world for ten (10) years. After ten years, this Agreement will continue to roll until you email to revert your rights and end this Agreement with 30 days notice."

The rights granted by the author include all digital forms, including those not yet invented, worldwide - but nothing else:

"For avoidance of doubt this does not include physical or audio book forms, videos, film, television, merchandise or game forms."

Provision is made for the site going bust or ceasing to function:

"This Agreement shall automatically terminate if and when:

(a)  a manager, receiver, or other encumbrancer takes possession of, or is appointed over the whole or any substantial part of, Autharium’s assets;

(b)  Autharium enters into any arrangement or composition with or for the benefit of its creditors (including any voluntary arrangement under the Insolvency Act 1986); or

(c)  a petition is presented or a meeting is convened for the purpose of considering a resolution for the making of an administrative order, the winding up or dissolution of Autharium (otherwise than by way of a voluntary liquidation for the purpose of reconstruction)."

This is much, much better than the original deal offered. Simon Mayott says "this is the first UK publisher contract to step outside of the standard terms". But since Autharium is a new type of publisher, digital only and not paying advances, I'm not sure the comparison is valid - nor for that matter would I sign a boilerplate publishing contract.

Also, ten years is quite a long time, and I wouldn't want to hand over my rights for that term without the certain knowledge that the publisher would do a better job than I on my own (or any other publisher I might hope to interest) could. That said, credit to them for responding to criticism in such a positive way. I'm no longer calling them a scam, and hope they sell many books for their authors.


  1. This ain't fair. If Lexi's using the wrong deodorant, somebody should tell her.

  2. Egads! Did Sir Ian dare to impugn my Ladies Honor?
    I throw down my gauntlet.
    Pistols at dawn on Hampstead Heath!

    Err ... the new Autharium deal doesn't sound so bad to me. Especially if they do a good job with covers and marketing.Though I think I would bide my time and see how it goes!

  3. Gadzooks, Sir Quantum, I shall meet you on the field of honour!

    You should be aware that I am an expert marksman, having twice used a firearm. On the first occasion, I aimed at a ridge some hundred metres away, and although it was no more than ten feet in height, I almost hit it; on the second occasion, the rifle jammed... Still looking forward to our little encounter?

    As it happens, I was considering having another go at your "lady" anyway. I suggest, Sir Quantum, that you google up some of Autharium's offerings. I'm prepared to accept that they are not scamsters, but they are one of many incompetent epublishers, who really shouldn't be encouraged.

    P.S. I can guess how scared you now are, but the old bat's not going to think much of you if you back out at this stage, is she?

  4. Ooh, can I come and watch?

  5. Of course you must come Lexi ..... Please bring some sticking plaster if you remember ..... it may not be pretty!

    I shall of course be using my new (pat pending) pistol with heat seeking bullets and deadly time lock which ensures that the pistol fires at the target, even if I am hit.

    I've been wanting to use it in anger to defend a maiden's honour! LOL

    I'm off on my travels now so will let Sir Ian ponder the deadly foolproof futuristic pistol for a while *grin*

    If you need any gadget ideas for your next novel just let me know *wink*

  6. Clearly with your heat-seeking pistol you are going to win, Q. So I shall, in the best tradition of Morte D'Arthur, give you my sleeve instead of that loser Sir Iain.

    (Google informs me that in Renaissance times ladies' sleeves were detachable. This must have made it a lot easier to give to a knight, no unpicking etc., but the lady would still be walking around with one bare arm. Chilly. People might joke about it, too. Would a handkerchief, scrub that, I've only got Kleenex. One of my biking gloves, perhaps? Will ponder. I've got till dawn.)

  7. Bang. (I spent three hours taking aim.)


  8. Damn. The heat seeking bullet hit a blackbird.

    Back to the drawing board! LOL

    Ian, there is a splendid pub in Hampstead village. Fancy a pint mate?

  9. No! Poor blackbird...


  10. Q, I have to point out that you are now dead. Get over it.

    Hampstead village? Way off my beat, I'm afraid. But if you name the pub in question, and I ever get there, I'll drink to your memory.

  11. Boys, boys! Go out and defend the indie publishing realm, your lady can then be proud of you instead of weeping with her Kleenex over the blackbird.

    An empire! That's where you two are needed. An empire to defend, bearing the arms (or sleeves) of Lexi (one each).

    Indie publishing empire, of course.

  12. P.S. Ah yes, Autharium, well done, Lexi, a dragon challenged and tamed.

  13. Alas, Sir Ian must be befuddled to blunder into such a parallel Universe.
    Having downed TWO tankards of delicious foaming Ale, I feel very much alive in this world!

    Lexi, as your champion I would be proud to wear your sleeve (or glove!) and pledge thee my troth to defend your honour throughout the multiverse,including the glorious Indie Empire, against all blaggards and villains.

    All good writers know when/how to end a story. I aimed for a HEA in the pub but Anna's suggestion is just as good! LOL

    The bug in the pistol is now rectified. It will not fail again! *menacing grin*

  14. This all seems to have ended well. These days HFN (happy for now) is as acceptable as HEA.

    Thank you , Q - one never knows when one will need a champion :o)

  15. Good work, Lexi! Your earlier blog on the same subject must have made them rethink their policies! I remember reading it and was shocked, as self-publishing usually means you retain rights, not give them up for live. But the service they're offering is an interesting alternative, nonetheless.

  16. I don't know, Fiona, one is still giving up seeing sales in almost real time on Amazon, and Autharium's covers are poor, and they don't seem any better at marketing than your average indie.

    I can see self-publishing appears daunting at first, but most of the short cuts on offer don't represent good value for money.