It’s one thing to have accepted the offer for Death by Cliché. It’s another for to finalize the deal. You see, there’s a lot that goes in to buying a book. For a publisher of any size at all, it isn’t the decision of one person. So once I’d accepted James Wymore’s offer, there was still a lot to be done.
First thing was first. He had to convince the other people in the company to buy it. I’m not sure how many people are involved in that decision, but all of them had to read the book (or listen to it) and weigh in on the decision. It took a few weeks, but finally the official offer came back.
I’ve heard that Curiosity Quills has long contracts. It’s true that contracts I’ve had in the past were six pages or so, but they were also a much smaller font and they were work for hire contracts. Also, CQ’s contract includes a style guide. Anyway it was 26 pages long.
I’ve mentioned before that I had been querying an agent. It was Lisa Rodgers at JABberwocky Literary Agency. I sent her an email and asked if she wanted to negotiate the contract. She replied and agreed to look at it, so I sent her the book and the contract.
It took a bit of time. She doesn’t monitor her query email address on a daily basis and then she had to read the entire novel. James was getting a little worried about the time it was taking, CQ had pulled offers in the past, but Lisa got back to me before a month had passed after their official offer.
She had decided not to represent the book.
But here’s where Lisa is just a stand up act. She’d already read the contract and I suspect that she’d taken notes (if she put those notes together after deciding not to represent me, she’s even a better human being than I gave her credit for). She sent me those notes in an extensive email telling me exactly what to fight for when negotiating the contract. The email was pages long. It listed every clause she didn’t like and told me which ones I had to fight for and which fights I could afford to lose. For someone who’s never negotiated a contract like this, it was a god send.
So I was sad she wouldn’t be representing me, but I was armed for battle. I sent back my counter on the contract to James, listing everything she’d objected to. That started a back and forth that lasted days.
I had another weapon in my belt, of course. I had been ready to self publish. It’s far easier to stick to your guns when you have other appealing options open to you and you’ve already done the prep work.
Anyway, I stuck to my guns. I got what I wanted, relented on things that didn’t matter as much. In the end I was happy with the result.
Don’t get me wrong. I wasn’t pushing for more money in most cases (she did suggest I ask for a higher percentage of audiobook sales since they wouldn’t be producing the audiobook…kudos to Lisa for remembering that on a non-client as well.) CQ’s royalties are generous. Mostly we argued over nuts and bolts clauses about the process.
Anyway, they told me that they’d get me a revised contract in a week. I started going through the style guide and relaxed.
There must be such a thing as karma, because it took much longer than that, but I got my final contract.
Next week: editing!