The Business of Writing

Making a Living Writing

14 October 2016

From author Elizabeth Spann Craig:

I used to feel like the sole, income-focused writer in any group I was in.  I was  the one on any panel hesitantly bringing up ways that writers could make money with their writing.

I’ve noticed now that there are more writers like me out there and I’m more relaxed about being a commercial fiction writer.

I’ve been asked by parents, college students, and high school students about what degree is needed for becoming a writer.

But that’s one of the wonderful things about being a writer. You don’t have to have a degree in anything.  I was an English major, but that’s as far as I went with it.  When asked for my advice, I ask what type of writing they’re wanting to do and what their end-goal/their child’s end-goal is.  If the goal is “a career in writing,” then I’ll go as far as to suggest that they don’t go the MFA (Master in Fine Arts) route. They should instead read as much and as widely as they can and start writing.

. . . .

Writers at the start of their careers should ask themselves: am I writing to please myself or am I writing to appeal to a broader market? My kids are older and if I didn’t make a living at this, I’d be getting a day-job.  Writing  is my full-time job.  I’m not making a ton, but I’m making more than if I taught school and more than I’d make at any other job; I’ve been out of the traditional workforce since my first child was born in 1997.

. . . .

It’s better, in the current environment, to self-pub instead of trad-pub (most of the time).  I experienced first-hand  cutbacks that publishers are employing to save costs.  When I started out, 3-book deals were the norm at Penguin.  That unfortunately changed.  The merger between Penguin and Random House meant a layoff for my editor. Now there are many stories about how difficult it is getting to break into the industry and the market. It’s obviously still possible to do so…but at what cost?  I made and make a good deal more from my self-published books than my traditionally published books.

Write for the market–modified. I got lucky in this sense because cozy mysteries became popular with the public around the time that I became interested in writing them.  I love cozy mysteries and I love the books that I write.  What’s selling well in a genre that you enjoy reading?  I can’t recommend that you write in a genre you’re not very familiar with or that you wouldn’t enjoy writing. There are standards/norms/tropes in genres that readers expect and are looking for.  They provide a blueprint for your book and for a better chance at success.  Writers should read as much as possible in their chosen genre and absorb as much as they can to learn about pacing, character development, action, dialogue,  and story arc.

Link to the rest at Elizabeth Spann Craig and thanks to Deb for the tip.

Here’s a link to Elizabeth Spann Craig’s books. If you like an author’s post, you can show your appreciation by checking out their books.

How to Become a Novelist in Ten Easy Steps

13 October 2016

From Literary Hub:

1. Examine your motives. Are you drawn to fiction writing because it can be performed cheaply at home? Are you an alcoholic looking for an excuse to sleep late? Writing is for compulsive storytellers. So are a lot of things—police work, diplomacy, counseling the needy, etc. Before you commit to writing as a career, make sure you’re not simply agoraphobic or depressed.

2. Arrange financing. If you’re in school, don’t waste time in English courses. Learn skills not everybody knows, like court reporting or Japanese, so you can get part-time work at a decent wage. Don’t write short stories and poems unless you have a trust fund. No matter how perfect they are, no matter what prestigious magazine publishes them, each one will be 200 pages too short to pay the rent.

. . . .

8. Get an agent. When you have 200 pages, start querying. See for instructions. A hint in re plot: If you struggle to write the synopsis, you fucked up. Getting an agent will take forever. It took Jonathan Franzen a year to find me one. The publishing industry runs on geologic time, and this will be your first chance to start getting used to it. Agents want to be persuaded of three things: (a) You can write five non-boring pages in a row. (b) You are a hard worker with the stamina to get to 200 pages. (c) You would rewrite all 200 if an editor asked you to.

9. Sell it. This is the easy part. Do whatever the agent says, and don’t laugh or cry. Poor editors pay in compliments, and rich editors pay so slowly you start to wonder whether they pay at all. I would never say you should relax—that’s impossible—but don’t act out.

Link to the rest at Literary Hub

The Case for ISBNs

10 October 2016

From Digital Book World The Digital Reader:

Just about everyone agrees that indie authors generally don’t use ISBNs on their ebooks. I’ve been pointing that out for almost four years, and it’s not hard to find a dozen posts why authors shouldn’t bother with ISBNs.

But have you ever considered the case_for_ ISBNs?

An ISBN is effectively a serial number for a book. A print book must have an ISBN or it can’t be sold in most bookstores (nor even on the bookstore’s website), but Amazon and the other major ebook retailers don’t require that an ebook have an ISBN, and so some indie authors think an ISBN has no value.

. . . .

Author Karen Myers presented a business case in favor of ISBNs a few weeks back in the comment section at The Passive Voice. She bought a thousand ISBNs from Bowker for $1,000, and has so far used 80 of them.

Myers has argued that one should buy an ISBN as a way of future-proofing, but also that there is a business case to justify the expense.

Here’s what Myers wrote about future-proofing in 2014. It’s all about controlling one’s identity because otherwise Amazon, Kobo, et al will control you:

Consider the following situation:

  • I publish a book, digital only. I don’t bother with an ISBN number.
  • I distribute it on Amazon, which assigns it an ASIN number, an Amazon product code.
  • I distribute it on Barnes & Noble, which assigns it an EAN number, a B&N product code.
  • I distribute it on Kobo, which assigns it an ISBN number owned by Kobo, so my book will appear to be published by Kobo, not me.
  • I distribute it on Smashwords, which assigns it an ISBN number owned by Smashwords, so my book will appear to be published by Smashwords, not me.

With the exception of Smashwords, none of these identifiers appear within the eBook itself.

And now, let twenty years go by… Barnes & Noble and Smashwords are out of business. Amazon changes its product code conventions and no longer uses ASIN numbers. There is no searchable database made available by Amazon for the old ASIN numbers. Kobo, which owns the ISBN it provided, controls what the Bowker Books In Print or successor database contains and updates the information about your book in ways you would not approve of, and since you have no ISBN number of your own that’s the only record of your book in Books In Print. Someone who chanced across a reference to your book based on an old copy from Barnes & Noble can’t find it because the B&N identifier is no longer alive, and may or may not connect it with a Kobo record in Books In Print which has a completely different identifier.

That is a cogent argument, and so is Myers’ point on the cost-benefit of buying ISBNs.

Link to the rest at Digital Book World The Digital Reader

PG apologizes to Nate and The Digital Reader for the error.

Lessons and Ideas from NINC

26 September 2016

PG is jammed up with work for clients and will share some thoughts and insights he picked up at the NINC conference when the smoke clears.

However, in the meantime, anyone else who attended the conference is welcome to share.

You can drop a comment into this blog post or, if you’ve written up your thoughts on your own blog, you can send PG a link and he’ll get it up here.

False Dichotomies of Publishing

21 September 2016

From Ryk E. Spoor:

Often, both those published in the traditional fashion and those who are self-published present their approaches as though they were equal choices which need simply be chosen between (and naturally extol the virtues of their chosen approach while pointing out all the deficiencies of the other method).

But this is, put simply, wrong. The two approaches are, first of all, not mutually exclusive, and there’s considerable evidence that many of the most successful authors are those who takeboth routes. But more importantly there are areas of contrast and separation which are implied – by one side or the other – to be simple dichotomies when they are not.

The most important of these is the often-unspoken implication that you can choose either path. Well, no, you can’t, not that simply. “In Soviet Union, publishing choose you!” You can choose to submit your manuscript to a traditional publisher, but that does not in any way obligate the publisher to accept and publish your work, and in fact they reject vastly more manuscripts than they will ever accept.

The acceptance of a manuscript also isn’t just a matter of “this is a better story”, although naturally that’s going to be a large part of it. It’s also “does this story fit with the kind of stories we publish”. Certain types of stories, therefore, will have a much harder time making it past that kind of evaluation, because they don’t fit well into any regular publishing category for one reason or another.

. . . .

Another common false dichotomy is “have no control over your manuscript, or have complete freedom with self-publishing”. While there have been, and probably still are, some publishers with really, really bad editors that will take apart manuscripts for their own entertainment, for the most part publishers aren’t there to dictate how you should write your stuff; after all, if they dictate it all to you, why not just write it themselves? As I have discussed before, the purpose of having editors is to make your work better but still in essence yours.

This points to the falsity on the flip side as well. Sure, you can have complete control of your work, write it and throw it right up on Amazon without anyone saying a word against it. But that’s almost certainly doing your work a terrible disservice. There may, possibly, be a few people who are so very good at separating themselves from their own work that they can honestly and dispassionately examine and edit that work. But I have never met someone like that. You need exterior views, and preferably a viewpoint that doesn’t have a vested interest in agreeing with you that your work is perfect. You need people to tell you what needs to beimproved, so that you can do so. So “having complete freedom” is not an unalloyed good, any more than giving up that control in traditional publishing is of necessity evil.

The third common dichotomy has to do directly with money. “Keep most of the money” versus “be paid a pittance by the publisher” is a common refrain – and one that’s pretty much, not to put too fine a point on it, twaddle.

Yes, on pure percentage basis, it does look like the trad publishers give you a raw deal; on paperbacks, royalties are around 7%, sometimes a bit higher for good sellers, and they can go to 10 or 12%, sometimes a bit higher, for hardcovers, and up to 20-25% for eBooks. But that certainly sounds rather puny compared to Amazon’s typical 70% cut.


Every expense of publishing in self-publishing rests squarely on the shoulders of the self-publishing author. Paying for the editors. Paying for the proofreaders. Paying for the cover artist and layout people. Paying for printing, if they’re making a physical book. Paying for any advertising/marketing.

Link to the rest at Ryk E. Spoor and thanks to Patrick for the tip.



I Published My Debut Novel to Critical Acclaim—and Then I Promptly Went Broke

18 September 2016

From Marie Claire:

Forbes’ list of the world’s highest-paid authors came out last month. My name’s not on it and it probably never will be. My name is, however, on a $786 utility bill that just arrived in the mail. Summer in Texas is expensive, even when you set the thermostat at 85 degrees and tell your husband and three kids there are ice packs in the freezer if they can’t deal.

My name is on the phone bill. The student loan bills, medical bills, internet service provider bills, car insurance bills, the lease. My name is on three bank accounts, the present combined balances of which are insufficient to pay any one of the aforementioned bills. My name is also on a book, my first novel, Love Me Back, which was published by Doubleday two years ago to what they call “wide acclaim.”

. . . .

I had an astonishingly good first run.

Which is, for the most part, over.

Publishing has moved on to Sweetbitter and The Girls and more Harry Potter. Publishing is always moving on. Foolish poet that I am, I didn’t realize how hollow that would make me feel. But of course publishing is moving on. Because publishing is also an industry, employing people who need to pay their own utility bills.

I used to be able to do that. Before my book was released, I worked as the executive director of a small nonprofit, which sounds impressive unless you’ve been the executive director of a small nonprofit, and then you know it just means you’re the one who does everything and still feels guilty all the time. Although I was intensely dedicated to the organization’s mission of funding abortion access, I never felt like I was an ideal executive director and that’s not just imposter syndrome, or my being too hard on myself: I can’t delegate, overthink everything, and generally dread interacting with people.

. . . .

So, two weeks before my book was published, I quit my day job. I was relieved to pass the mantle to someone I thought far more suited to the gig. And I was excited to ride the momentum of the first book—to do the tour and the interviews and then keep it all going forever somehow. I had also recently remarried, following a decade of being single. My new husband had a decent job, and we thought we’d try living on one income (his) while I worked on my next book. So when I said I quit my day job, it wasn’t because I could live on the publisher’s advance indefinitely. It was because I opted to become a financial dependent for the first time in my adult life, which has proven stressful for my relatively young marriage and even more stressful for my writing. I haven’t been able to write since the moment I started thinking I could or should be making money as a writer. I haven’t produced a Second Book.

. . . .

Perhaps you’re thinking: But wait—if your first book was so well-received, don’t you get royalties? Aren’t people still buying it, and don’t you get a piece of each sale?

Back to the Forbes list: Basically John Grisham and Stephen King and JK Rowling are bankrolling the entire publishing industry, and deals for debut authors like me are slot-machine pulls. My book has sold over 12,000 copies, but that’s nowhere close to earning back my advance (which is when you can start earning royalties). In fact, I wonder if my publisher considers 12,000 a failure, commercially, and won’t want to pull the slot machine handle on me again.

Link to the rest at Marie Claire and thanks to Barb for the tip.

Fail Safe

31 July 2016

From author Steve Hockensmith:

There are certain moments a writer dreads. Reading an email that begins “Thank you for your submission, but….” Seeing a one-star review pop up on Amazon. Finding one of your own books in the remainder bin — or, even worse, realizing you’re not in the damn Barnes & Noble in any way whatsoever.

I’ve been through them all. More than once. More than twice. More than…well, lots. And for a long, long time, I let each experience mark me. I’d see the rejection, the bad review, the nothing where my books ought to be, and I’d feel the rubber stamp smacking into my forehead.

. . . .

It got really bad a while back when I found myself, for the first time in years, without a book contract. Money got tight. Mickey Rourke’s cheeks after his fourth facelift tight. So tight my wife started to give me a running countdown to doom.

Her: “We have six months before we run out of money.”

Her: “We have five months before we run out of money.”

Her: “We have four months before we run out of money.”

Her: “You got a royalty check today.”

Me: “Huzzah!”

Her: “Yeah. Yippee. We have five months before we run out of money.”

. . . .

Eventually, I reached the moment every professional writer really dreads. The moment you realize you can’t be a professional writer any more. Not of the “make up fun crap in your pajamas all day” variety, anyway. It was time to go back to a day job.

Of course, Fate being the perverted biyatch she is, the second I landed a 9-to-5 gig, contracts started flying at me. Suddenly I had three series to write…and no time to write them. So a “Tarot Mystery” was a little late. Then a “Nick and Tesla” book was really late. Then another “Tarot Mystery” was reeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaalllllllllllly late. I was a pro again, as I’d defined it, but I was stressed out and burned out and disappointed in myself for letting my editors down. And you know what?

I’d reached the ultimate FAIL, in fact: Writing was making me unhappy. It had been for a long time, I realized. Because how can you be happy with that FAIL FAIL FAIL constantly whacking you in the face?

And who was doing the whacking? Not editors, not agents, not snarky reviewers, not even Fate.

It was me.

Link to the rest at Steve Hockensmith

Here’s a link to Steve Hockensmith’s books. If you like an author’s post, you can show your appreciation by checking out their books.

Missing in Action

30 July 2016

From author Brian Keene via Cemetery Dance Online:

A decade ago, you could find my books in any bookstore. Indeed, most Borders and Barnes and Noble carried a few copies of each book in my backlist, thus creating a Brian Keene shelf, right next to Stephen King and Jack Ketchum. I can’t tell you how crucial this was to increasing my audience. If you’re a customer browsing the horror section (or even the alphabetical K section) your eyes are naturally going to be drawn to an entire row of books written by the same person, rather than a lone book by a lone author.

When myself, J.F. Gonzalez, Mary SanGiovanni, Bryan Smith, and others in our field killed Leisure/Dorchester to save the genre (and ourselves), those Brian Keene sections went away. Since then, readers have been unable to find my books in stores. That’s because many of the publishers I have since signed with—Deadite Press, Apex Book Company, Thunderstorm Books, etc.—don’t have distribution into those stores. And that’s okay. In truth, I make more money from Deadite than I ever made from Leisure (and I was one of Leisure’s top-paid authors) because of Deadite’s distribution. They sell directly to readers and through Amazon, which means I get paid every month, rather than waiting ninety days or more for the bookstore chains to pay them. And since they are selling their books to readers at full price, rather than at a discount for the bookstores, I get paid a much bigger cut of the cover price.

And that’s the way it has been for many years now, starting with the publication of my first post-Leisure novel, Entombed. I’ve released a dozen plus books since then, and none of them have been available in bookstores. Based on my sales and social media imprint, I had assumed all this time that my former bookstore readers had followed along with me, and were now buying those books via Amazon or on Kindle.

But I was wrong.

Yes, my post-Leisure sales stayed the same (and even increased, somewhat). But it wasn’t older readers following me into the brave new digital publishing landscape. It was newer, younger readers discovering me for the first time. Many older readers hadn’t followed me at all, because they were unaware I had continued writing and publishing.

. . . .

I saw the same dynamics in play the next night at The Poisoned Pen in Phoenix. A standing-room only crowd showed up to see Stephen Coonts, Ben Coes, Weston Ochse, and myself. Half the crowd were over the age of forty, and happy to see me apparently writing novels again. The other half were under thirty-five, and happy that I had never stopped writing novels.

Link to the rest at Cemetery Dance Online

Here’s a link to Brian Keene’s books. If you like an author’s post, you can show your appreciation by checking out their books.

PG says if typical bookstore customers are becoming older and older, there’s another nail in the coffin of the way things used to be.

In all the data PG has read about the publishing industry, he doesn’t remember seeing any reports comparing the average ages of bookstore and online book purchasers.

Protecting Your Content and Your Name

29 July 2016

From Kristine Kathryn Rusch:

Back when I was writing a lot of tie-in novels for Pocket Books’ Star Trek division, a brand-new editor asked me to help him rescue a short story anthology. It seems that the main writer on the project had quite unexpectedly. The writer had outlined the story, and the outline had been approved by Paramount, which was a major hurdle. What the editor needed from me was an actual draft of the story.

In other words, none of the characters were mine. The plot, setting, and theme were not mine. The editor needed my style as a writer and my name on the cover. That was it.

I had never worked with this editor before. My usual Star Trek editor advised me to stay clear. But, I figured, it was just a short story. What could it hurt?

Well…it didn’t exactly hurt. But it was perplexing. I wrote the 6,000 word story as requested from a 2,000 word outline. Turned the story in on time. Got an acceptance, and the ridiculously high acceptance payment.

Then I got the copyedit.

Which wasn’t a copyedit. The editor himself had rewritten every single sentence of the story. Every single one. Sometimes adding passive voice. Sometimes making the meaning unclear. Always dumbing down the content and the voice and the point of each sentence, let alone each paragraph.

I looked at that, glanced at my contract, and realized that even though this short story was written as work made for hire, I could make a huge stink about this. I could pull my name or pull the story or cause all kinds of grief.

In the end, I decided to leave it alone. If you look up this short story now, you’ll see the most poorly written thing ever published under my name.

. . . .

That is the only time in my recollection that I can recall allowing an editor’s or copyeditor’s full rewrite of my work to get into print. I’ve had worse rewrites in my career, including a copyeditor who changed every single piece of punctuation in one of my romance novels, but I never let those go through under my name.

I cited contract terms, refusing to allow the changes. I pulled books from publishers because of shenanigans like this. I got copyeditors fired. Repeatedly.

I defend what I write. My writing in some story or novel or nonfiction article might be awful, but it’s mine. If I put my name on it, guaranteed—except for that one short story—every word in the piece is a word I wrote or approved. Every single one.

. . . .

I told you that most writers check their traditional book contracts for the advance, the payout, and the due dates. They don’t look at anything else. Writer after writer, and editor after editor, have told me this.

I always look toward the editing clauses first. Because if they’re ugly, the rest of the contract usually is as well.

This applies to all kinds of writing for traditional markets, especially for nonfiction and short fiction. I’ve seen terrible editing clauses in those contracts, and what’s ironic is that those clauses often seem to be the most innocuous.

What you want is complete control of the content of your work. In every single short fiction contract I sign, I change the publisher’s right to “edit the Work” to “copyedit the Work.” I always add a line that ensures I must approve any changes, including those copyedits, to the Work.

If I don’t like the copyedit, my version stands. If my version isn’t going to stand, then the story doesn’t get published. Period, end of story.

. . . .

The British publishing company has the right—if the publisher deems that right necessary—to completely rewrite my article. They could change everything. They could add stuff I find objectionable—political points of view, for example. They could libel someone through careless writing or even deliberately. They could take a piece in which I say I love something, and change it to say I hate it.

They can do all of that, because I would have signed that right away. Then I would have waived my right to remove my name as the author of the piece. So they could write all this stuff, and claim I meant it, because my name is on it.

. . . .

Oh, and one that drives me as batty as the editing clauses: they have the right to my name. Not just to use my name in publicity. I “empowered” them to use my name in any situation they “considered necessary.”

My name.

I see this clause a lot. Writers give up the right to their own names to a corporation for a few thousand dollars and the publication of a novel.

. . . .

She wrote back, refusing to change the editing clause, and then said this:

I’m afraid the moral rights clause is not one that I am able to make any alterations to. It is a standard clause across all of our contracts and our lawyers will not accept changes to it. As you say, this is a clause that relies somewhat on trust; I can only assure you that we will not act unreasonably, as it would not be in our interest to do so….

I kid you not. She wrote “Trust us. We won’t hurt you.”

. . . .

Make sure the editing clauses in your contracts—from short story contracts to article contracts to novel contracts—limit what the publisher can do to your work. You essentially should allow them to change some things to house style (like whether or not you put a capital after a colon). You should have the right to review a copyedit—and to have the final say on that copyedit.

You also need a clause that limits revisions. When there’s a clause in the contract that says that the finished book must be “accepted” by the Publisher, then you have to define what that means. If it means revisions, then those revisions should be limited to no more than two or three before the contract terminates.

I’ve known writers who rewrote their books for years before the books finally were tossed back as unacceptable by the publisher. One author I know rewrote her book every year for ten years for a textbook publishing house I worked for. When my boss left, and the next editor took his place, that editor saw this continual revision, and canceled the contract. the writer had to repay her entire advance.

Link to the rest at Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Here’s a link to Kris Rusch’s books. If you like the thoughts Kris shares, you can show your appreciation by checking out her books.

Regarding responses such as our lawyers will not accept changes [to a standard contract provision], PG says that the lawyers work for the publisher, not the other way around.

If a publisher tells its lawyer to modify a contract provision to reflect a request from an author, the lawyer will do so. The lawyer may advise the publisher not to make the change for this or that reason, but if the publisher instructs the lawyer to make the change anyway, the change will be made.

Other Evil Clauses

22 July 2016

From Kristine Kathryn Rusch:

Writers tend to go through their business life like Pokémon Go players, looking for something that isn’t there, hoping to score a magic number of points, and not seeing what is there.

It’s impossible to show you all the bad contract terms. I’ve delineated several that you need to watch out for. I’m going to go through some important ones quickly in this blog post, and then look at a few more major terms in the next few weeks before we go to agents and attorneys.

After that, folks, you’re on your own.

. . . .

Definitions: Make sure all of the important and dicey terms in your contract come with an attached definition. And make sure that definition is in your favor, extremely clear, and very narrow. The biggest and most important definition in modern contracts is the definition of the word “net.”

Most contracts leave out the definition of the word “net” altogether. Those contracts assume, apparently, that we all agree on what the word means.

Here’s the thing about contracts, folks. Contracts create their own language and their own definitions. So if the word “net” is undefined, it means whatever someone wants it to mean.

If the publisher does define the word “net,” the publisher often does so in a way that benefits them. (Horrors! They don’t do that in other things…oh, wait, never mind.)

Publishers have moved to “net” in royalty payments at the same time as the rise in ebooks. But that’s not why publishers did it. They did it for the same reason that they have discount clauses in the contract, such as the ones we discussed in last week’s blog, to make sure the writer gets almost no money for the books the publisher sells.

If the publishing contracts end up defining the word “net,” then the clause usually looks something like this:

As used herein, the term “Net Receipts” means monies received by the Publisher on the sale or license of the Work after all discounts, fees, and returned copies have been deducted, and before addition of freight charges and/or handling charges.

It’s all very, very loosy-goosy. Monies received by the Publisher. I suppose you can audit for that, but there’s lots of room for dispute in that language. And lots of room for abuse.

. . . .

Basket Accounting: speaking of screwing the writer, let’s look at this old favorite, that has existed since the 1970s. Basket accounting refers to the fact that the publisher throws all of the books in one contract into the same “basket” before paying out royalties.

So if you have a three-book contract, and book one sells 5 times its advance, but books two and three never earn out, you probably won’t see a dime in royalties.

If each book were accounted separately, then you’d receive royalties for book one, making you significantly more money.

The clause is not called the “basket accounting” clause. Every contract does it differently.

And I have to tell you: in this modern world, it’s a lot more probable that you’ll get a basket accounting deal if you have a multiple book deal with a publisher. That publisher will guarantee that you don’t see a dime in royalties by underpublishing at least one of those books.

The best way to avoid this?

Have a one-book contract. Never ever ever sign a multiple book deal, no matter how much they offer you.

Traditional publishers and agents will tell you it’s in your best interest to sign a multiple book deal. After all, you’ll get money for years, and you’ll know how much. But you won’t necessarily get actual money for years, especially if there’s an “acceptance” clause in your contract. (Meaning your book is not considered publishable until the publisher deems it “accepted.”) And there’s no guarantee, in this publishing environment, that your publisher will be around five years from now.

Besides, if you have a one-book contract, and your book is successful, then you have the opportunity to negotiate a better contract for book two. And with the rise of indie publishing, if you can’t get a contract for book two, who cares? You can publish it yourself.

. . . .

Time limit on publication.

This one is sneaky. It caught me on my very first novel. What you want here is for the clause to read in your favor. Something like:

If the Work is not published within two years of the date of this contract, the contract terminates, and all rights revert to the author.

Usually this clause isn’t quite so writer-friendly. But something like this clause is in most good publishing contracts.

The contracts that leave it out—well, the publisher never has to publish the book.

. . . .

Why have the audit clause? Because right now, you’re going on faith that the publisher will be honest with you. They have no reason to accurately calculate your royalties and payments. Publishers have never been accurate in their royalty calculations. Never. Why should they start now?

So, get an audit clause on your book. Be prepared to use that clause, especially if you have royalty clauses in your contract that are different from the norm. Because publishers might “accidentally” default to the old way of doing things, and only shape up if you prod them.

An audit clause prods them.

Link to the rest at Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Here’s a link to Kris Rusch’s books. If you like the thoughts Kris shares, you can show your appreciation by checking out her books.

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