Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Google makes me a paid author.

I've only been paid money once for something I wrote. The Miami Herald (newspaper) gave me $50 for about a dozen words sent in for a contest. And even then, AND EVEN THEN, I used a fake name. So when I got my check in the mail made out to "Elmo Lincoln," I had to go back to the Herald building and ask them to make out a new check in my real name.

But thanks to Google's defeat in a class action lawsuit, Google now has the opportunity to digitize every book that's ever been, or ever will be published, for about $75 per title (more or less, I'm bad with math, even addition). Wait, did I say "defeat"? Without this class action case, each publisher or author could negotiate for more money.

My book (Oh, did you know I have a book? Here's a copy right here.), F-words, is priced at $1,000. Based on that, I could have asked Google for $200 to digitize my book. And they would likely have counter-offered $0, which I would have gratefully accepted.

But now we are all stuck with the settlement. Even you, if you ever publish a book in your life, will be bound to this same settlement.

But the good thing is, that I never expect to sell any copies of anything I write. Did you buy a copy of my book? No. Would you ever buy anything I put up for sale? Of course not; neither would I. Why do you think I'm getting rid of it? I didn't want it in the first place.

But Google will pay me for it. Regardless of what I write, Google will pay me to digitize it. Sight unseen. I just have to fill out this six-page form. And I have to find my way to Minneapolis, MN and get them to change the name on the check from the.effing.librarian to Elmo Lincoln.