I've just found a blog called Working with an Editor - it's quite a good and informative post - I liked it so I decided to look up 'reblogging' and have a go at that.
I read it and as it usually does, my mind went off at a tangent and started on its own path of thought. Here's where it took me:
Publishers - the 'Big Six' I suppose, are wanting writers to do more and more with their manuscripts before they send them in to be rejected - ooops, sorry, I mean dropped into the marshland called 'Land of Slushpile'. Publishers want polished covering/query letters, sublime story lines, well rounded and established characters and now they want the writer to hire an editor before sending the manuscript in. OK, that's fine I suppose, it makes the process that much more efficient and faster. It gets the books onto the shelves quicker, with less fuss... what do you mean no, not necessarily?
So, editing, which was once something that happened after you got your story accepted by a publisher, now has to be done before it goes to the publisher? Why is that I wonder?
The cynic in me would say that perhaps the publishers are having such a hard time lately - what with it being easier than ever for self-publishers, Indie and small press to chip, chip, chip away at their profits (here's a little info on that) they now need to cut costs here, there and everywhere in order to earn a crust? Bearing in mind, of course, that at BEST, EL James will have earned 20% on her sales to get that $95 MILLION - leaving an estimated $400 MILLION just for that series - yes, that's right - JUST for that series. If her cut was 10%, it would mean an estimated $850 MILLION went elsewhere.
Perhaps... times are tough for everyone, especially the smaller fish in the pond.
Perhaps it's yet another way of clawing revenue in without putting investment out. Did E L James' books get run over by an editor before they went to press? From a lot of the reviews, it would seem that they went nowhere near an editor but that's by-the-by.
No, what it looks like to me, (still the cynic, I can't help it) is that less investment put in means more chance of a profit on the other end. Not only does the Publishing house still get the full whack of royalties, they also get to cut loose their editing staff - no wages for them now - plus the fact that a writer is expected to market their own work far more than ever they had to in the past, 'glory days' and then, here's another kicker - any advance paid can also be clawed back if the book isn't the massive best seller the writer hopes and prays for. If the book doesn't pay for itself in as little as two weeks (yes, really!) then the Publisher can ask for their advance payment back and refuse to print any more if there was a deal on a series.
Is there NO risk in this business for the Publisher any more? It would seem perhaps not - it would seem that there are scammers on both sides of the self-publishing fence.