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Thursday, November 12, 2009

"How To" Book Review

Unless you’re a lawyer, a publishing contract can seem like it’s written in a foreign language to a first time author. It can be overwhelming and confusing… and often times the joyous prospect of being published can encumber the ability to review a publishing contract with the critical eye needed to ensure the best publishing deal. Even writers with agents should review and understand the terms that he/she is signing to on the dotted line.

When it came time for me to review my first publishing contract as a novice in a new world, I felt like I had a trusty translator with me because of the book: How To Be Your Own Literary Agent, An Insider’s Guide to Getting Your Book Published by Richard Curtis. Don’t let the title fool you, this book does not recommend that an author should forgo an agent in order to represent him or herself. In fact, Richard Curtis advises both aspiring and established writers alike to seek representation of an agent throughout the book, because it’s much easier to navigate through the unpredictable publishing industry with an agent by your side. With that being said, what this book does well is break down a publishing contract line by line to give its reader the best explanation and understanding of its terms. It also provides useful tips and information on the publishing market, the slush pile, advances, rights, liability, royalty statements, what to expect after publication, movie and television deals, etc. In addition, the appendix offers concrete examples of poor, fair, and good publishing deals to better an author’s knowledge of the kind of contract he/she is signing.

I believe this book is an invaluable reference for every writer to have in his/her bookcase. It truly helped me to understand the exciting yet tricky curveball otherwise known as my first publishing contract. I’m sure there is still a lot to learn, but I feel confident that I have a good head start thanks to Richard Curtis.

*Best Wishes & Lipstick Kisses*

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Monday, November 2, 2009

Publication Postponement

I'd like to begin this post with a pertinent poem:

Bumpty Dumpty

Bumpty Dumpty's book sat on a wall,
The publisher set its release date for fall;
Then the pub-King's forces and its men
Bumped the book to the spring season.

(Okay, it's a stretch on the rhyming, I know... but humor me, please.)

This poem is exactly what happened to me... although, I don't go by the name Bumpty Dumpty, thank you very much. So, I'd prefer no "BD" monogrammed towels for my birthday (but a gift certificate to Bed Bath & Beyond would be great!).

Anyhow, the point of the revised Humpty Dumpty poem is that just because a book's release date or season has been appointed by a publisher, doesn't mean it's set in stone. The original publication season for my book, THE LIPSTICK LAWS, was supposed to be in the fall of 2010. I immediately shared the joyous news with family and friends... and I joined an awesome 2010 debut author group called the Class of 2k10. I was gung-ho for 2010 and nobody could change my mind... except for my editor (who is fabulous, by the way)....

My 2010 joy filled bubble popped when my (fabulous) editor told me that my release date would be pushed back to 2011. I was really disappointed at first, but had to remind myself that the important thing is that I'm getting published - regardless of WHEN, it's still happening. Not to mention, this slight bump in my journey has lead to some benefits. I'll have more time to edit my book and prepare for my new life as an author... and I've made some 2010 debut author friends that I wouldn't have had the opportunity to get to know if I had known all along that I would be debuting in 2011. This experience has taught me to remember that things usually work out for the best in the end. Now I'm gung-ho for 2011 - woohoo! And I've recently been able to share my newfound 2011 enthusiasm with some equally awesome 2011 debut author groups (The Elevensies & the Class of 2k11).

Through my publication postponement experience and stories I've heard from other authors, I've learned that the publishing world can be unpredictable. Things like publication/release dates, cover designs, and book titles can change on a whim. In order to flourish in this industry it seems that you have to have thick skin and the ability to go with the flow. In addition, it's important to remain positive, appreciative and confident that your publisher has you and your book's best interests in mind.

So, the moral of the story is: Don't count your publication date chickens before they've hatched.

*Best Wishes & Lipstick Kisses*

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