Friday, October 24, 2014

Please, Do Not Sign That Contract….by Tish Beaty


Writing is hard work. You pour your heart and soul into a manuscript. You spend hours reading, editing, and rereading it. You debate the pros and cons of self-pubbing, finding an agent, or approaching editors on your own. You have beta readers go through the manuscript with a fine-tooth comb before deciding to submit to a few select editors. Twelve weeks later, you have a contract in your hands…a real publishing contract! You read through said contract, and thinking everything is on the up and up, you sign and return it.

YOU DID IT! YOU ARE GETTING PUBLISHED!

A year later, you find yourself in a situation you never expected. Sales aren’t great, your relationship with your editor is strained, you aren’t getting emails returned, and you’ve signed a contract that requires you to submit future works to the publisher for first right of refusal. You want out, but now you’re stuck!

I have had many authors contact me recently, including authors I currently represent, regarding contracts they signed prior to representation. As an agent, I can help navigate the murky waters of rights reversal, however, there is no guarantee that an author will get their rights back once they’ve signed a legal and binding publishing contract. And it stinks when I have a talented author who is stuck in an unsavory publishing situation.

Self-pub, find an agent, or approach editors on your own? A debate for the ages. My recommendation? Should you decide to approach editors on your own or respond to an open manuscript call and get a contract offer…seek out a knowledgeable agent to help you negotiate the contract. You’ve put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into your manuscript! Please, do not sign that contract before ensuring you’ve protected your rights and received the best publishing deal possible.

4 comments:

Natasha Raulerson said...

Thanks so much for this. It's always good to learn something new, especially when it comes to this.

Jill Jackson said...

Awesome! Can't wait to start working with you guys.

Janice Collins said...

Hi again, Tish. It was a pleasure hearing from you! Have you yet had a chance to read "Masochism of M"? My BDSM diary is hellishly errotic. Seriously, if this memoir exuded any more heat the keyboard would melt. Just a tug on the blindfold to see if you've taken a peek, lol.

Thank you for the warning about self-publishing. I agree it seems much scarier than Halloween and more trick than treat.

Hope to hear from you, and thanks again,
JC
jcmasom@hotmail.com

Robert Earle Stanton said...

I will never understand self publication, something that digs a deep hole. Growing up singing for a successful band at 15 in '92 without internet, it was more hands on. When I started taking writing seriously and internet came about I saw some opportunities, and you're right about people jumping at some book contract that could work out as bad. It's nice to have someone advise you on publication, however, in this day and age I'm seeing "all news is good news" and using my name as the brand, Robert Earle Stanton. Being dubbed something such as "Transgressive Fiction" unfortunately puts me in a box, nor do I agree with it - however there's publishers/agents looking for shocking material for the public - the idea of attempting to shock is as bad as being a page turner - as an author I believe going to the deep water is important, yet drowning in it isn't a good thing at all.
My best,
Bob