Always make sure any book contract is checked over my an agent or a legal professional before you sign it, and remember — no legitimate book deal should ever ask you to pay any money in order for your book to be published! Some publishers might say you need to cover your own travel costs to events or similar, but no respected house will ever ask you for money in return for them publishing your book — that is NOT how it works! There are some vanity presses out there who try to con writers in this way so please do be careful. So that is the essentials of a contract.
In terms of what happens before you sign on the dotted line, the process is as follows. Yourself or your literary agent will send in a submission your manuscript to an editor or editors at a publishing house. Different editors like different things, but you can look at what an editor has published in the past to give you an idea and your agent should have a good idea of who to target already.
Submissions will often be with several publishing houses at once, and the agent will be awaiting emails or calls from editors to express interest or reject the book. When the manuscript is submitted to an editor, the editor will read it as quickly as possible, although bear in mind this can take a little while as editors receive a great deal of manuscripts per week.
If the editor likes the book, it will usually be passed around the other editors in the team for second and third opinions, and it might be shown to the sales team to get their take as to whether it is commercial or is likely to do well with their retailers. If everyone or the majority are in agreement, the book will be taken to an acquisitions meeting.
If our managing director and several other people in the business agree with me that the book would be a good addition to our list, I will go back to the agent and make a formal offer. The agent will then either accept, decline, or negotiate and hopefully, we will reach a deal. Another quick thing to add about the publishing process is that it can be s-l-o-w. It can take time for a book to reach an acquisitions meeting, and I know how difficult it can be when you are sitting refreshing your emails wondering what on earth can be taking so long — but there are lots of factors that do slow things down and silence is not always bad news.
Sometimes, a key person from the acquisitions meeting could be on holiday and the meeting might be postponed, or an editor might be waiting for someone else to finish reading the novel before taking things forward.
Try to remain calm while you wait, and remember, you only need one publisher to give you a yes. Many of my traditionally published author friends do not have that luxury. As and indy author, I have control over my covers, pricing, promotion, marketing, placement. The list goes on. And I wanted that control. So in the end, I swallowed that cold ball of fear in the back of my throat and walked away. There were no middle fingers involved as much as that badass image of me appeals on some level.
Just my own. Some readers will fall in love. I hope the readers who love Adam and Mia as much as I do will stick with them until the end. Just like with the publishing journey of this book, their story will be a heck of a ride. On getting the offers so many authors dream of. And for being bold enough to know yourself well enough to walk away. Thank you for your good wishes, Carol, I really appreciate it.
Love the article, thank you! Am I misunderstanding? If so, did you agent hit a brick wall when trying to negotiate those terms? Monique, thanks for your question about the NC. I was talking about the houses standard NC clauses as they were presented to me by my agent. We never made it to the negotiation phase because it was made clear to me that going without an NC would not be an option. Wow, what a difficult decision though the euphoria of so many offers must have been nice. A few months ago I had to make a choice between a small publisher and an agent for my debut novel.
I ended up going with the small publisher for a variety of reasons. They had a loose NC clause that I liked and the royalties were decent, as well as the release time-table.
I mean how much longer will there even be physical shelves to house books? Congratulations on your release! The euphoria was amazing. It felt good to be wanted after having gone through the rejection mill with the other manuscript. Congrats on your decision to make the right publishing decision for you. Self-publishing might not be the only wave of the future but it definitely a growing wave and it is my believe that traditional publishers will have to change their approach to how they handle their authors and what control they afford them or else they will lose many more potential and already-signed authors before many years have passed.
Thanks for being a host on my book blitz! I hope you enjoy the book. All best, Bren. It amazes me how the traditional publishing companies still hold the hard line with their outdated rules, let alone their sluggish publishing pace. I mean, if my rights were tied up in a company that will go bankrupt, that would be another bunch of headaches to deal with in just getting the rights returned.
I think you thought this through well, and I wish you the best of success with your books! They strongly hold to their traditions. I pray that they do. We need traditional publishing. We still need the NY establishment. We just need for them to move in the direction that we are moving in.
It will happen eventually, I have no doubt. I hope you have great success. If you think someone you know will enjoy the book, then by all means, I appreciate your gifting it to them. Your good wishes are more than enough. Thank you.
Oh, what a great story! Seriously, thanks for sharing. I have my manuscript to a couple of publishers who have requested a full. Even if it means harder work on my end. Your story confirms just that. It really is a tough call. Nothing about the choice is easy. You just need to educate yourself in the best way you can. This is what made me decide to share my own, to that someone might read about my journey and it might help them. I wish you the best of luck on your journey! Bren, The Passive guy picked up this post.
Lots of great comments. Thought you should know. Hi Claire, thanks for letting me know but I figured it out from my stats. Also, Hugh Howey blogged about me today as well. It seems this little post of mine is well on its way to going viral. Great story. Thank you, Libbie! I really appreciate your kind comments. It really is true, that mindset that we as authors have had for so long that a publisher needs to accept us in order to be a legitimate author.
We have more choices and are more empowered than ever before, as long as we can see past that old mindset. There is much to learn from it. A rockstar? Hardly glamorous enough. I hope the writers in your group find something useful in my blog post. First, I want to tell you congratulations and how impressed I am by your business savvy. I love hearing stories like this from other authors, because this is a tough business and sometimes there is frustration, heartbreak, and tears.
Everything you said in your post was spot on. I encourage it. This is business, and smart business people look at every avenue before making a well-informed decision. Thank you SO much for stopping by my blog. Thank you so much for being so open about your journey and willing to share the keys to your immense success with newbies like me. I was inspired to write about my journey because of the frankness and honesty that you have shown, along with other indie authors. One thing you said during your workshop that REALLY stuck with me is how we have to view our fellow authors as allies and support rather than competition, that we should reach out and support each other.
Thank you SO much for reaching out to me on my blog. I would be beyond thrilled if you do. I love your books! Not because I have a burning desire to read it though it does sound good! Thanks Slytherpuff, for your words of support and the compliments! I appreciate the warmth of this indie community we are a part of. Everyone has been so wonderful and supportive. I wish you all the best!
So many writers see a NY Deal is the be all and end all, not realizing it can be a career killer. You evaluated your options and made a decision. Most people react. The better the author does, the better everyone does. You become an indentured servant. Maybe a well paid one. And if a writer is happy with that, great. But they have to be aware of it. And they have to think long term— five to ten years down the line, where will publishing be and where will their career be?
I have no doubt that traditional publishing houses will wise up soon. Limiting the output of the author can only be harmful. Beverly, thank you for the kind words and for taking the time to tell me you loved the book. I really appreciate it! All best, Brenna. It was very encouraging to learn about your journey. Just wanted to let you know that I plan to buy your book to support your courageous decision. I think the smugness of the Big 5 and many of the literary agents that support this soul crushing system need a wake-up call.
I would love to see you succeed at your gamble. You go girl! Eleanor, thank you so much for your comment and your good wishes.
Things for the book are looking very good so far… top for New Adult Romance since release week. Have a wonderful New Year and good luck to you on your publishing journey! Thanks for sharing, Brenna! I love the step by step approach that you narrated about your dealings with the NY publishers. I have recently Sept. I also had the dream of being published by some big NYC publisher, but in the end, I went straight to self pub.
After months of research, I felt self pub was best for my future, based on a lot of what you experienced here. Great inspiration! Thanks for the comment, Paul. Hooray for you doing your homework and knowing what you wanted from the start! In many ways I wish I had done that but my journey was a bit more roundabout.
I wish you tons of luck with your indie published book. Keep writing! I made a similar decision from a very different position, Brenna. But scheduling was certainly a part of it. The idea of waiting a year and a half to see my book on sale did not sit well with me. I wrote it on a five-week cruise during July and August, and it went on sale Christmas Day after a two-month pre-order period at Amazon. E-rights were certainly an issue for me. I was not about to let some publisher have them forever through the illusion of keeping the printed book in stock; HarperCollins maintains a deathgrip on my strongest backlist titles in this fashion.
I wanted to be able to adjust the retail price as I see fit, and I wanted the high royalty rate self-publishing gives me. I wanted, too, to forego a hardcover trade edition and instead bring out a deluxe hardcover limited edition. And I did, and most of the several hundred people who ordered copies got them in time for Christmas, and the book itself is just gorgeous. The results underwhelmed. Are these reviews worth crying over?
Certainly not. Indeed, from the perspective of an online writer any reader feedback short of a death threat is considered a win. Knox was made famous as the American exchange student whose roommate was found brutally murdered in their Italian apartment. Arrested and accused of the crime, Knox stood trial and was convicted in what most outsiders considered a travesty of procedure and justice. Attacked by a prosecutor who introduced innuendo, the victim of gross allegations regarding her sex life and held in prison for years while Italian justice made its slow way through the courts , Knox was eventually released and sent home upon appeal.
She certainly suffered enough for it. Like Schumer, it should also come as little surprise that Dunham was offered a substantial amount for her memoir. The year-old writer comes with a built-in fan base that a publisher can relatively easily convert into readership. Her work as a screenwriter makes her a known commodity, if not necessarily as an author, and one that "Girls" demonstrates can speak to different demographics than a more traditional white, male writer. As, indeed, it was. The moral of the story? TheStreet Courses offers dedicated classes designed to improve your investing skills, stock market knowledge and money management capabilities.
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