Who’s really taking liberties in Ireland? Part II

Several days have passed … the debate has rumbled on – a lot of it on Twitter, under the hashtag #libertiespress.

A tweet from writer David Gaughran gave me pause to reconsider my earlier post on this subject.

And it was such a good, succinct point, that I’ve since been pulled the other way a bit. While I’d still in principle defend the right of a business to run its business the way it chooses, I think I would now more strongly recommend against using this service – and suggest that if a new writer did want to receive a critique, an independent and experienced editor or MS critic would be the far better way to go. Is it against the spirit of publishing? I’m leaning towards yes, but I’m still uncertain.

Anyway, The Irish Times have reported on the brouhaha that has followed, including in their report the tweet from the Irish Writers Union criticising the Liberties Press move which I pasted into my previous post.

However, The Irish Writers Union also criticised The Irish Times for their rights-demanding writing competition which I also blogged on several days ago.

… and I doubt we’ll be seeing coverage of that in the paper, will we?

Why is nobody making a fuss over the Irish Times, but plenty over Liberties Press? I’ll leave you with the thoughts of Gaughran again, which I’m inclined to agree with.
Depressing, isn’t it?

Comments 2

  • It is a difficult one this, isn't it? I understand David Gaughran's point, but surely traditional publishers have always made money from authors. If an author gets a 10% royalty rate, then the publisher is getting 90%. And they claim that's their reward for taking the risk in the first place.

    A lot will depend upon the quality of the critique that Liberties Press provides for the fee they charge. At the end of the day, a publisher is not a critiquing service. It's not their job to teach writers.

    Then again, if this is the start of a slippery slope, when everyone follows suit, perhaps it is a bad thing. Although, if you're an unagented writer in the UK, you have no access to any of the big four UK publishers, when it comes to fiction, because non of them accepted unagented unsolicited novel submissions. So at least with Liberties Press this 'critique' option buys you some access.

    But I would encourage any writer to be clear of what they're getting for their money, with any service they have to pay for.

  • Yes, difficult. Well, at least, I'm finding it difficult, but many others aren't. But in the meanwhile, the advice to be absolutely clear what you're getting yourself into is key for new writers – although that, in itself, can be intimidating, I imagine. I wouldn't want us to reach a place where publishing is scary – or scarier than it is now! – for aspiring writers. That is no environment for encouraging creativity … Think bodies such as the Society of Authors have a strong role to help here – eg with their contract vetting service, which is exceptional.

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