Proposal to Publication – Part 2 of 5
The Contract Stage
4 So, you’ve heard that your book has been accepted for publication. Yipee!
4 Your biggest question will probably be: How much MONEY do I get? You’ll be offered an advance which might be lower than your lifelong dream, but more than you have in your checking account right now (if you’re lucky). The publisher will pay your advance either in halves or in thirds. Half upon signing the contract, the other half on acceptance of the manuscript. OR, a third on signing, a third on acceptance, and a third on publication.
4 What does acceptance mean? It means your book has gone through the in-house editorial process and is officially deemed acceptable, meaning you delivered what you promised in your proposal, and according to any terms defined in the contract. The book must be acceptable both in form and content.
4 Other terms will be discussed including: the royalty rate, manuscript due date, release date, manuscript length, and whether or not the publisher is going to ask for significant revisions from what you wrote in the proposal. There are other issues such as author copies, buy-back discount, sub-rights, foreign rights, additional books (if it’s a series), acceptance standards, cover approvals (whether or not you get them) and other issues that your agent will discuss with you and negotiate for you. There are clauses defining what happens if either party fails to meet their obligations. If you don’t have an agent, make sure you understand all this stuff.
4 This whole process of negotiating and agreeing on terms could be quick, or it could take a couple of weeks. Once terms are agreed upon, publisher will generate a contract. Some publishers are notoriously slow at this, others work faster. Either way, expect to wait anywhere from a week to two months for the contract to arrive at your front door in hardcopy.
4 It’s your responsibility to make sure you read and understand all terms of the contract. Ask your agent about anything that’s confusing to you.
4 Sign and send the contract back to the publisher. They’ll sign it, and send you your own executed copy. It’s officially a “done deal.”
4 Go out to dinner! But try not to spend your whole advance. At least not until you get a check, which should be in about a month.
Tomorrow: The Writing and Editing Stage.
Rachelle Gardner, Colorado Literary Agent
An important element of these processes is the capacity of management to calibrate an appropriate internal target level of capital and to take actions consistent with the maintenance of the internal target over time.
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Great blog, really helpful! I was wondering if you could recommend any pitfalls to avoid at this stage, that might not be obvious to an untrained eye?! I have managed to secure a book deal, without an agent, but want to make sure not to under-sell myself or the book. The whole area of what a first timer writer should ask for, advance wise, is hard to figure out!
>Loving this step-by-step explanation of the process. Thanks again! :)Jenni Saake
>Sounds wonderful to me. =)
>Wow, I’m actually going through this process right now.
>Thanks for re-posting this info. It’s just what I need to spur me on!
>I know some of the editors at the different houses with my MS have been discussing it. I guess that's a good sign. Still, no offers yet and it's been 10 months. It's absolutely maddening. Is this normal?
>That's funny, Lisa. I usually have the same conversation with my friends. They all wonder why I'm still in construction if I'm a writer. I try to tell them that it takes awhile to build up your readership and advances and royalties and…
All they hear is "Wah-wah-waaaaah."
Thanks, Rachelle! For someone new to your blog, I appreciate the information! This is wonderful.
>Great stuff, Rachelle! Thanks for reposting.
My non-writing friends ask if I'll be a millionaire when I sell my book. Ha! I tell them it's not like Hollywood's portrayal of authors.
>This is great info, and I for one am glad you're sharing it with us. The only bad part is reading through this stuff gets me too excited and anxious to be at this point already 🙂 Thanks for walking us through this process anyway.
>Wow, what an exciting moment! I bet it's so cool to make those calls to your clients. What a rush to help somebody's dream come true!
>Glad you're re-publishing this great info. One of the things I found to be most difficult was refraining from shouting the news from the rooftops after I got "the call" telling me that the publisher had made an offer. Instead, you advised me to wait until the contract was actually signed before letting people know. I was so caught up in the moment that I forgot about the negotiations that were necessary before that piece of paper appeared in my mailbox. Thanks for calling it to everyone's attention.
>Great info! I guess I thought this stage came with a *final* okay from the publisher, but it sounds like if you get there, you'll definately be offered some kind of contract?
>Thanks for the informative play by play. It helps with visualizing the dream. 🙂
I was wondering what contract committee was, now I know. LOL Thanks. 🙂
Cute pic of you and your hubby!
>I really appreciate your blog and the way you demystify the agenting and publication process. The series this week is definitely worth the rerun.