Tag s | Contracts

Why I’m Not Mysterious

I don’t believe in being mysterious, especially as an agent. Since I used to write books for publication, I know what it’s like to put your career in the hands of others. As a writer, I wouldn’t want to send off my precious work and then hear no updates or any word from my agent. I realize any agent will update a client when a contract offer is made. And I realize that, technically, that’s all the writer needs to know. After all, who wants to live through many, many rejections?

No one.

But keeping the author up to date on rejections does give her a perspective of what’s happening with her work. The project is being reviewed and considered, even if, ultimately, it is rejected.

When authors don’t know about rejections, they are missing out on valuable feedback. Granted, feedback from editors can be quite confusing. One editor may say the characters lack depth; another may say the plot isn’t plausible; still another may say the writing itself isn’t up to snuff. Do all these opinions matter when a different editor comes to the agent with, “I love this! Here’s a contract!” Ultimately, maybe not. But the rejections are part of the journey; and whether we like it or not, we all learn from rejections in any part of life.

So far, I haven’t met an author who said, “Submit the manuscript, and I never want to hear from you again until we get an offer.” If an author said that to me, I’d comply. But I’ve found that most authors want to know what’s happening with their work in a timely manner. So I let authors know when rejections come in, at the time they come in.

Then acceptance is all the sweeter!

 

Your turn:

Do you want to hear from your agent with any and all rejections?

Would you rather hear as responses come in, or would you prefer a quarterly report?

How often do you want to hear from your agent?

 

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Many Happy (?) Returns!

by Steve Laube

Every first-time author is confronted by the reality of “Reserves Against Returns” as part of publishing economics. It is usually a shock and elicits a phone call to their agent crying “What happened to my money?”

Did you realize that book publishing is the only “hard goods” industry where the product sold by the supplier to a vendor can be returned? This does not happen with electronics, clothing, shoes, handbags, cars, tires…you name it. If it is a durable good the vendor who buys it, owns it (which is why there are Outlet Malls – to sell the remaining inventory). Except for books. Somewhere along the line the publishers agreed to allow stores to return unsold inventory for credit. In one sense, publishers are selling their books on consignment. Bargain books are actually resold by the publisher (after getting returns or to reduce overprinted inventory) to a new specialty bargain bookseller or division of a chain (which buys the bargain books non-returnable).

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Writers Beware! Protect Yourself

The writing profession starts off as a private venture. Creating ideas and stories in the privacy of your own home. But those of you who become serious about the work and slowly become more visible the issue of personal protection needs to be addressed.

I cannot emphasize this enough.

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A Request for a Full Manuscript! Now What?

Katie sent the following question: What should an author do if they receive a full manuscript request from an editor as a result of a contest, but the editor works for a small publisher and the author wants to explore other options first (e.g. getting an agent, finding a bigger house, …

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Your Money is Your Business or Keep a Lid on How Much Money You Make

How much should author friends reveal to each other about contracts or other business dealings when they have business with the same publisher?

I think it is a huge mistake to reveal the amount of your advances to other authors. This is similar to finding out the salary of the co-worker in the office cubicle next to yours. When I was a retail store manager we had major problems when salaries were revealed, a near fist-fight between two people who had been friends.

Money is viewed as a measure of worth; i.e. a measure of the worthiness of your work.

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Morality and the Book Contract

Seven years ago I wrote a post about the morality clause in book contracts. It was met with a collective yawn. Today the landscape is a little different and I hope you will take the time to read this carefully. From Hollywood suddenly trying to find a moral compass to …

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Deadlines Are Friends, Not Nemeses

When is your next deadline? What? You don’t have one? Why not? Aren’t you a writer? I know some writers create fine prose or poetry without deadlines—I just don’t know how they do it. “But,” you may protest, “I don’t have a contract yet. How can I have a deadline?” …

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Writers Learn to Wait

Ours is a process industry. Good publishing takes time. Unfortunately time is another word for “waiting.” No one really likes to wait for anything. Our instant society (everything from Twitter to a drive-thru burger) is training us to want things to happen faster. Awhile ago I wrote about how long it takes to get published which gave an honest appraisal of the time involved. Below are some of the things for which a writer must learn to wait.

Waiting for the Agent

We try our best to reply to submissions within 6-8 weeks and are relatively good about that. But if your project passes the first review stage and we are now reviewing your entire manuscript remember that reading a full manuscript is much more demanding than reading a few short proposals.

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