Monday, October 22, 2007

Mind Your Business

I hope to hear from my editor soon regarding the proposal for the second book in my Fire trilogy. The first book of the trilogy, On Fire, is available now. The second book, tentatively titled Through the Fire, brings back two of the characters readers meet in On Fire.

Because of the anticipated call from my editor, contractual terms have been in the forefront of my mind. Each contract should help advance an author's career. That's why, in addition to studying the craft of writing, we owe it to ourselves to learn the business of writing.

Contracts are more than advances and royalties. There are subsidiary, reprint and film rights, for example. There are payment terms and copyright ownership.

I read an anecdote about an editor who'd offered a judge a publishing contract. This editor waited with nervous anticipation regarding changes the judge would demand. After all, the author was a judge. Surely, he would have changes to the legal terminology. Instead, the judge signed the contract and sent it back with a Post-It Note stating he hadn't even read the contract.

What a shame.

Even if you have the best representation in the industry, it's important to understand the terms of your contract. After all, it's your signature on the contract. You'll feel the influence of that contract on your career for years. Make sure it's a positive influence.



Gwyneth Bolton said...

Great advice, Patricia! That anecdote about the judge just shows how badly folks want to "be published." And it shows why a lot of publishers are able to get away with shady antics for so long...


patricia sargeant said...

Thanks so much for stopping by, Gwyneth. I agree with you wholeheartedly. There are some shady publishers out there who are eager to take advantage of unsuspecting authors. Knowledge is power. We have to protect ourselves.

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