The boy who knew too much: a child prodigy

This is the true story of scientific child prodigy, and former baby genius, Ainan Celeste Cawley, written by his father. It is the true story, too, of his gifted brothers and of all the Cawley family. I write also of child prodigy and genius in general: what it is, and how it is so often neglected in the modern world. As a society, we so often fail those we should most hope to see succeed: our gifted children and the gifted adults they become. Site Copyright: Valentine Cawley, 2006 +

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Are traditional publishers honest?

This may seem like an odd and unexpected question, but it is one that must be answered. Do you think that traditional publishers are honest with their writers? Can traditional publishers be relied upon to pay their authors what they are due? I would like you to consider the question and answer it, for yourself, before reading on.

Kristine Kathryn Rusch has written an astonishing blog post, that shook up my outlook on the matter. The link is here:

Kristine writes of her own experience with royalty statements from a traditional publisher. She discovered through comparing the sales of her personally published ebooks, and those published by her traditional Big 6 publisher that her publisher was UNDERDECLARING her sales by at least a factor of 10. Basically, her publisher was not paying her over 90% of the royalties due on her ebooks. Curious and alarmed, she began to contact other writers and told them of her experience. They, too, on checking, discovered the very same thing. Shockingly, many of these authors had the SAME number of sales declared on their ebooks by their publishers. This is, actually, statistically impossible, essentially.

Further checks by authors have also uncovered underreporting of print book sales too. Book sales figures from Bookscan are greater for many authors of the Big 6, than the figures their publishers are declaring to them. This, again, is impossible, since Bookscan only monitors a fraction of the book market (50 to 70%), so, of course, the publishers’ figures should be higher than the Bookscan ones.

Now, Kristine Kathryn Rusch is very kind. She proposes that this may just be an innocent mistake, a product of archaic accounting systems. In so doing, she is being cautious with regards to possible lawsuits. My own view is not so forgiving. To my mind, it does look like a consistent tendency to deprive the author of earnings, by some of the Big 6 publishers.

For me, this revelation is decisive. There seems to be no point in seeking a traditional publishing deal when such a deal is likely to be with a publisher that would, for whatever reasons, not pay me what I am due, in royalties. I don’t have to state what is really going on here, but the fact that it is means that only a foolish author would seek a traditional publishing deal, anymore. From the behaviour of traditional publishers, in this regard, it is clear that no author should ever expect to see any royalties over and above their advance. So, when being offered a deal by a traditional publisher: think of it this way: the ONLY money you will probably see, will be the advance – for the figures the publisher will declare to you, for sales, may be so low, that you never “earn out” that advance – at least, ostensibly, anyway.

I had begun to look for a traditional publishing deal, for one of my books. I shall now cease to do so, anymore. There is simply no attraction to traditional publishing anymore. Such publishing involves the loss of control over your work, it involves giving up, as much as 94% of all the earnings on the book, even if you are actually paid. Furthermore, publishing for yourself can allow you to secure 30 to 70% of the revenues from Amazon, for ebooks. Why would anyone give up to 70% of revenues, for not being paid almost all of what one is due?

Traditional publishing has lost my trust. Without trust, I don’t have the confidence to place any of my books, with any of them. Yet that does not mean I should go unpublished. There are many tools now for the independent publisher (or “Indie”). As of yesterday, I decided that that was the route I would take. Thus, I hope to be able to begin to bring you my books, as an Indie publisher, in the coming year or so.

I have quite a bit of work to do, to get my books out in the world – but I am confident of this: it will be worth it, just not to face fictional royalty statements from a traditional publisher.

Of course, some might point out that the ebook retailers like Amazon, could also under declare sales to authors – but the thing is, I don’t think they would do that. Amazon is going to win the publishing war, of Indie vs Traditional publishing and all it has to do, to do that, is to be fair and honest with authors. I believe they will do just that. They have got too much to lose otherwise.

I do hope that some of you will be curious enough to buy my books, when I release them. If you do, please take the time to write a review, on Amazon – or a review on your blog. I have an introductory book based on my blog, up there already: “The Boy Who Knew Too Much: A Child Prodigy”. Perhaps you might like to post a review, if you enjoy my blog. Thanks.

(If you would like to support my continued writing of this blog and my ongoing campaign to raise awareness about giftedness and all issues pertaining to it, please donate, by clicking on the gold button to the left of the page.

To read about my fundraising campaign, please go to: and here:

If you would like to read any of our scientific research papers, there are links to some of them, here:

If you would like to see an online summary of my academic achievements to date, please go here:

To learn more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, 10, or his gifted brothers, Fintan, 7 and Tiarnan, 5, please go to:

I also write of gifted education, child prodigy, child genius, adult genius, savant, megasavant, HELP University College, the Irish, the Malays, Singapore, Malaysia, IQ, intelligence and creativity.

There is a review of my blog, on the respected The Kindle Report here:

Please have a read, if you would like a critic's view of this blog. Thanks. You can get my blog on your Kindle, for easy reading, wherever you are, by going to:

Please let all your fellow Kindlers know about my blog availability - and if you know my blog well enough, please be so kind as to write a thoughtful review of what you like about it. Thanks.

My Internet Movie Database listing is at:

Ainan's IMDB listing is at

Syahidah's IMDB listing is at

Our editing, proofreading and copywriting company, Genghis Can, is at

This blog is copyright Valentine Cawley. Unauthorized duplication is prohibited. Use only with permission. Thank you.)

Labels: , , , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button
posted by Valentine Cawley @ 2:36 PM 


Blogger Melissa Douthit said...

I read her blogs too and couldn't believe it. I hope something is done soon to stop these thieves from stealing authors' money!

9:02 AM  
Blogger Syahidah and Valentine said...

You are right Melissa, something should be done...but I doubt anything will, unless someone takes a class action lawsuit against them.

What would be a more powerful intervention, is if authors start to turn their backs on the Big 6. Then they would have to reform if they are to survive.

9:36 PM  
Blogger Melissa Douthit said...

That's a great thought and I wish I could say that I believe that will happen but there are too many authors out there who want publishers to take care of them. All they want to do is write and not have to worry about publishing. So these writer's will always be traditionally published writers.

One point that Kris did make in her Changing Times blogs was that these types of writers may not survive into the future basically because publishers won't be able to survive. With the advent of e-books and cheap .99 to 2.99 prices, publishers will have a hard time competing due to their overhead costs. Add that to the fact that as e-books take hold, paper books will become a small portion of the market and brick and mortar bookstores will start to go out of business bringing even more financial trouble for them. I think she is right but I guess we will see what happens ...

1:11 AM  
Blogger Syahidah and Valentine said...

Yes, Melissa, Kris is probably right but sadly so, I think. Should the "real" book disappear, I think it will be a loss.

The other worry for me is the ebooks are a lot less stable than physical books: if the only copies of our books are on ebooks,it is a lot easier for them to end up lost forever. That should be a worry to us all.

Thanks for your comment.

11:03 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape