DC Area Storytellers

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Process Deux

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Follow me on my journey to NY publication

Ok, I've got a really good excuse. I've been really busy writing!!

RECAP


Two weeks ago I talked about the transition to NY from ePub. Here’s a brief recap

ePub – contract offers come in email. Contract runs about five pages. Simple straightforward contract with XX percentage on sale of eBooks off publisher website, X percentage on distributor sales and a different percentage if your book goes to print. Overall process with the contract takes just a few days.

NY – the editor calls with an offer to either the agent or the author (if the submission is from a contest, etc.) Once the offer is made, negotiations begin for final monies

However, NY contract negotiations are much different from receiving an offer via email with a contract attached. The contract is generally twice as long, with terms related to foreign rights, trade paperback, mass-market paperback, hardback, eBook rights, etc. The agent reviews and makes changes in the best interest of their client then the contract is sent to the writer. Once the writer, and then the publisher sign the contract, a check is cut and sent to the agent. The agent then cuts a check to the writer, minus the 15% commission.

This is simplified, but it’s pretty much the whole process with regard to the contract and the advance. An important difference in a NY contract is the breakup of the advance. I can’t say for sure, but my guess is that depending on the author’s selling power plays into how much of the advance you get up front. I’m not for certain though, and all I can attest too is what I’ve experienced.

I thought about working out a scenario of a fictional advance, but that didn’t seem to work well when I was trying to figure it out, so I thought maybe percentages of my deals will provide a decent picture without talking actual monies (per my agreement with Deidre). Because each contract is different, (both of my Berkley contracts are structured differently payout wise) and you don’t always get the same amount of money or distribution percentages. Keep in mind that this is my personal experience as it’s happening and not compiled scenarios of what goes on with other people. The data shown here is strictly to give you an idea about how the advance might play out.


Next Step – Show Me The Money

Explaining how an advance is paid out is difficult because every publisher and contract is different. For example, the breakout percentage wise for my two-book deal is different from my three-book deal.

Unlike I always thought, the advance is not paid out all at once. You get a certain percentage of the advance at different stages of the game. Below is an example of how my contract is paying out in terms of time frame and percentages

Contract signing paid – roughly 40% of the advance, paid about 4-6 months after initial offer
D&A Book 1 – roughly 17.5% of the deal, paid after the editor is satisfied with the final product
Publication Book 1 – 10%
D&A Proposal Book 2 – 5%
D&A Book 2 – roughly 17.5%
Publication Book 2 – 10%

Remember these are percentages of the overall agreed to advance paid to me for two books. So say the advance is for $100K.

That means the author would get $40K at contract signing, $17,500K on D&A, $10K on publication of first book, $5K for D&A Book 2 proposal, then $17,500K for D&A of Book 2 and $10K for publication of Book 2.

On my three-book deal, the allocation of the percentages are different in a screwy way, and I’ve NO CLUE as to why they’re different. An interesting point to note is that in my contract, if I miss a deadline, the publisher has the right to demand the advance back, and make me pay court fees if I don’t pony up the money. EXCELLENT incentive NOT to miss a deadline.

One More Step Forward

My first deadline was March 1st. I beat the deadline by a week. It’s my goal to do that consistently. I think it will be a great professional behavior to exhibit and it will also make it easier to keep ahead of the writing game. If I can finish a book at least a month before deadline, then I’m able to edit it and refine it in two to three weeks.

I was going to post from this point back, and then I realized a couple of things had happened. So I’ll add a bit more.

With Kismet turned in, I was chewing nails worrying about edits. Cindy emailed late last week and said she’ll only have line edits and that she loves the book. Whew!

UPDATE

Update to original post regarding deadlines – I’ve another deadline coming up and I’m running frantic. In fact, it’s so close, I don’t dare name the day in the event it scares the hell out of my muse and she disappears! Hence, the delay in the post as my new boss keeps me hopping where before I had time to do a little blog prep. *sigh* Suffice it to say, I think I’ll make it, but that incentive is definitely scaring the hell out of me.

My editor emailed me late last week and said she was getting ready to discuss covers with house artists. I’m thinking GOOD LORD it’s just March! But, the sooner I have a cover the better. Cindy asked what I thought about Susan Johnson’s new cover and if I was open to something like it for my book. O. M. G. Hell ya, baby!! I love Susan’s cover, so now I can’t wait to see mine. If it’s half as good that baby will fly off the shelves!

This week, Cindy emailed me with blurb copy. O.M.G. I LOVE the tag lines. The blurbs however need some work. The first thing that had to go was the line, “Until a Sheik rides in from the desert…” First thought? Blazing Saddles and the Sheriff riding into town. Umm…nope, I don’t think so! LOL I reworked the copy some and sent it back to Cindy, agreeing with the suggestion she had and offering up my own. She emailed back saying that she was sending it back to the copywriters. I now understand why Claire Delacroix said to be sure and write a detailed, exceptional synopsis.

More next week on the journey




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3 comments:

  1. Monica Burns said...

    Subscribing

    March 26, 2009 at 5:54 PM  

  2. Jean Marie Ward said...

    Yeah, but you wouldn't want to be scared any other way? Hugs and smiles, Jean Marie

    March 26, 2009 at 11:50 PM  

  3. Monica Burns said...

    Actually, I'd prefer not to be scared at all!! LOL

    March 26, 2009 at 11:59 PM  

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