I’ll respond to this question the same way Steve Laube responds to many publishing questions: “It depends.”
First of all, it depends on what offers you’re receiving. In choosing between several or even two offers, look at the overall offers to decide which course to take. This is where a savvy agent, who sees many authors, publishers, and contracts, can discuss your options.
The second consideration is your situation. If money is your primary goal, going with the top-dollar offer may be your best alternative, even if those dollars come with a few more headaches. Agents can and do provide plenty of aspirin.
If creative fulfillment is your top priority and money is secondary, choosing a publisher with a lesser advance but a more “we’re a family here” approach may appeal more to you.
Scheduling is another factor. If you’re a slow writer, signing a contract with a quick turnaround time for your books might cause more stress than you need. Again, talk to your agent about how to schedule your work. On the other hand, if you’re a quick writer thriving on the energy and demand of multiple deadlines, a schedule of a book a year may sound like a form of slow torture. This is where you need to talk strategy with your agent.
Do you love to market? Let your agent know about your enthusiasm or lack thereof before you hit the road with your books.
Do what you feel is the Lord’s will for your life and ministry.
First and foremost, even before your agent presents your books to publishers, be honest with your agent about your career goals. We all know you want to be published. Beyond that, what are your priorities? What is your situation? How will this career make your situation better? We can partner with you to help your career work for you.
A goldfish lonely in a glass
next to shining crowded bowl
and thought, “Prithee, Lord, let me pass
to there, that in the school I’m whole!”
And Lo!, he summoned speed and strength
into a frenzied circle-dash,
spread his fins to fullest length
to make the leap, and Splash!
Success was claimed, a fishly win,
but sadness was within it wrapped,
for as with other fish he’d swim,
he found himself now bound and trapped
to a common life in which he’d yearn
for solitude which’d nae return.
And after all that work…
The second line should have read, “swam next to shining crowded bowl,”
And I had thought it was going swimmingly.
Kristen Joy Wilks
Wow! Thank you, Tamela. Reading this made me realize that creativity definitely drives me more than finances. That is so good to know.
Damon J. Gray
Tremendous insight and wisdom here, Tamela. Thank you for all you do to serve your people.
Thanks Tamela. Your words of wisdom come just 14 days out from pitching my new book to publishers. I appreciate your thought process so nicely laid out. In prayer, for me and so many others that have the dream of serving the Lord through our writing.
Sheri Dean Parmelee, Ph.D.
Thanks so much for the great information, Tamela!
Praying for the right publisher is first on my list. I want the books I write to make a spiritual impact on the readers. To possibly pull them closer to God.
I’m interested in the monetary benefits but only in the premise that if my books are successful enough, it will give me the opportunity to retire from my thirty year trucking career and be home full time with my family.
Great advice to contemplate! Thank you fit your insights
Great advice to contemplate! Thank you for your insights