Friday, December 13, 2013

You Don't Have To Say Yes

I do see an increasing trend in writers who seem desperate. Because things tightened up the way they did after the financial problems, it is true that it is harder to get published. Well, maybe the right word is that it is harder to get into the markets that we once thought were pretty easy to get into. Publishers are still being cautious, and, at some level, I can understand. But when it comes to authors, that desperation cannot be so strong that it makes you jump into things you don't want to get into.

If you have a goal in mind as a writer, let's say to be published at one of the big 5 publishers, then stick to that goal. There will be a lot of temptation along the way to "try a new approach." You may be given a chance to publish with someone else because you randomly pitched to someone at a conference, or maybe even sent out a trial balloon to one of these other publishers. You may get an offer. But you do not have to say yes.

I do think there are a lot of writers just jumping for that offer because "it's at least something." But, writers need to stop and consider, is that "something" worth the effort, time and energy to make it a worthwhile move. For example, you have a book that maybe you pitched to a publisher and they turn around and offer a digital only contract. You have now gone from advance plus royalties to no advance and the chance of making 33% (or so) on sales with no advance. You now have to consider if the time you spend writing that book, and then all of the uber-marketing you will have to do to make those sales, will be worth it. Could that time be better spent on continuing to focus on selling that book to another publisher, or maybe working on a new project.

Yes, I understand not taking the offer means no money right now, but A) was that your goal; B) how much money will you end up spending to get that other books sold; C) how much of a mental impact will this make on your writing? In other words, will you spend more time worrying about this project and not focusing on what you wanted.

The point is, no one is making you sign a contract and take an offer. You have that choice. As an agent, when we get an offer from a publisher, we look to see if it is worth it for the author. If the offer is not what we want, we say no. If the publisher really does want the book, they can counter offer. If not, they lose out.

Just something to consider.

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