News & Updates - April 2022

The Policy Advisory Committee is launching a new monthly column, "News & Updates," rounding up news and articles of importance to writers.

Distribution Issues

Global supply chain distribution issues continue to create long lasting effects on the publishing industry and will negatively impact book sales. Higher prices for books are expected in the near future. COVID is the main culprit, and the shipping industry is taking advantage of the situation by hiking port charges to load books onto a ship. A $2,500 fee is now $25,000; they reduced this fee to $17,000.  Other culprits contributing to this issue are paper shortages, inflation, glue, ink, etc.

Our advice: Think small press and DIY methods when you’re ready to publish. But beware of hybrid and other publishing services who expect you to share in the expense of publishing your books. These expenses can eat into your profits and cause heartburn and frustration.


Authors, along with The Authors Guild, National Writers Union, Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, RWA, and other organizations teamed together to persuade Disney to pay outstanding royalties. This all began with Dean Fosters’ open letter claiming he was owed royalties for Alien and Star Wars. They finally settled the lawsuit and Disney was ordered to “pay-up.”

If you are due royalties from Disney, click here for more information.

New Kentucky Law Hands Control of Libraries to Local Politicians

"In a move that has alarmed library supporters, a new law in Kentucky will give politicians control over local library boards in the state. According to a report in the Lexington Herald Leader, SB 167—which came back from the dead last week with a dramatic veto override—will empower local politicians to 'appoint whomever they want to library boards and block major library spending.'
Last week, the bill appeared to be killed after Kentucky governor Andy Beshear vetoed it, and the Kentucky House of Representatives fell short of the necessary votes to override. But in a surprise maneuver, supporters of the bill were able to revive the bill for another override vote—and this time, four representatives who had not voted in the previous effort voted to override Beshear’s veto, carrying the measure into law. The law is scheduled to take effect in January 2023."

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Copyright Infringement

"The Authors Guild is pleased to report several thousand freelance writers are receiving more than $9 million in compensation for copyright infringement by electronic database, newspaper, and magazine publishers, including Dow Jones, The New York Times, and Knight Ridder. These payments close the final chapter in a saga that began 17 years ago, when the Authors Guild initiated a class-action suit on behalf of freelancers who had been paid for only one-time use of their articles and saw their work swept into electronic databases without further compensation."

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Editors - A Mass Exodus

Due to a host of labor issues, slow advancement (promotions) being of particular importance, big names like Angeline Rodriguez and Hillary Sames at Orbit, Erin Siu at Macmillan Children’s, and Molly McGhee at Tor all announced their resignations on Friday, March 11, 2022. COVID and heavy workloads have intensified an already overbearing job and many feel management is becoming increasingly insensitive about compensating assistants who are the backbone of the industry. This issue was brought to light by Molly McGhee who posted her resignation online, outlining her grievance and disappointment with management’s decision to deny her a promotion.

Sales / Acquisitions

"The AAP announced January’s total sales across the industry was $1.3 billion. Though adult book sales were flat, children and YA’s sales increased to $194 million, a 12 percent gain. Children’s hardcovers were up 11.5 percent; paperbacks, up by 23.6 percent; while ebooks fell 17.8 percent."


"Draft2Digital has acquired Smashwords for an undisclosed amount. The sale is effective March 1, 2022."

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Crypto Currency

What is it and how does it work?

Cryptocurrency (or “crypto”) is a digital asset that can circulate without the need for a central monetary authority such as a government or bank. Instead, cryptocurrencies are created using cryptographic techniques that enable people to buy, sell or trade them securely. To continue reading, go to:


"SFWA recently received guidance from the Authors Guild, one of our sister organizations, on a significant United States tax-reporting change that many independent authors have shared concerns about since January 1. That’s when Audible/ACX changed their tax-reporting practices for royalties from audiobook productions, by including royalties for both authors and their audiobook narrators on the same form delivered to authors. This move created a lot of confusion about how to file taxes for independent authors; its effects are explained more fully below."

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"Google’s Jigsaw unit is releasing the code for an open-source anti-harassment tool called Harassment Manager. The tool, intended for journalists and other public figures, employs Jigsaw’s Perspective API to let users sort through potentially abusive comments on social media platforms starting with Twitter. It’s debuting as source code for developers to build on, then being launched as a functional application for Thomson Reuters Foundation journalists in June."

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Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs): NFTs are a hot item these days. Just what is this latest phenomenon? Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) are a digital finger pointing to a work of art (music, video, etc). There is no way to exhibit an NFT per se. However, they offer the new possibility to preserve digital artwork/digital files in their native form on the blockchain.

They are also proof of authenticity.

They track distribution of specific registered IP rights and facilitate royalty payments in real-time.

Blockchains can validate IP rights by extension and detect IP infringement.

    Blockchains eliminate third parties because it guarantees security of recorded data.

    Reference/Resource:  NFTs, IP, & Art: An Overview in Three Parts, The Angle – IP Matters –

    Blockchain Explained: What is a Blockchain -

Are You Interested?

New Imprint

Scribner Canada’s First Releases in September

"In Toronto on February 22nd, Simon & Schuster Canada has announced the creation of a Scribner Canada imprint, devised to “highlight unique contemporary authors, celebrate the art of storytelling, and feature works in translation by both Canadian and international authors.”

The new imprint will be activated in the fall, with Iain Reid’s We Spread set for release on September 27, described as a philosophical thriller involving aging and things “more unsettling.”
Deborah Thompson’s The Long Road Home will also be featured. Deborah Thompson is the first Black woman to be tenured in the political science department at Montreal’s McGill University. Publishing Perspectives readers know McGill as the seat of the U.S. $75,000 Cundill History Prize."


A Fun Fact

How Is Paper Made? See for yourself:

Did You Know?

Did you know RWA has a mentorship program?

Romance Author Mentorship Program (RAMP) connects experienced self-published and traditional author mentors with mentees who are unpublished as well as self-published or traditional authors whose careers need a boost. Mentors and mentees will work closely together to revise the mentee's full manuscript over a five-month period.

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If you would like to volunteer to be part of the Policy & Advisory Committee (PAC), please contact