Friday, February 26, 2016

Negotiating Does Not Mean You Get It All

I think there is a belief that in contract negotiations, it becomes and all or nothing discussion. This is far from the truth. The reality of the situation is that the author and the publisher need to reach an understanding where both sides can get a little of what they want and not lose too much of other points. It is all about a giving a little and taking a little.

Although it would be fantastic for an author to walk into a publisher and demand the world, the reality is that this is not likely going to happen. The reason is simple. There are a ton of other authors right behind that author who are willing to take that place in line. This does not mean, however, that the publishers will simply dump an author for someone cheaper. If the author has done a lot for the company, the publishers will want to keep that person around.

When we negotiate, we look at three lists. The dream list, the things we must have, and the things we just don't want on that contract. There has to be a happy balance between all of these things It is also important to note that the publisher is also working with that same list. It is at that point that the contract waltz begins.

There are times when an author might have to give up something, maybe a bit higher advance, to get more books in a contract deal, or the promise for a better placement in the line up. For the publisher, they may give up certain rights to the book, such as digital rights, because they know both the print sales will be fine, or that the author has another outlet for those digital sales that will assist in the long run.

For new authors, they also need to factor in that, at this early stage, they have no following or history. This is a gamble the publishers are taking on that author so asking for the moon may not occur. Sure, you may feel you deserve it after all of the blood, sweat, and tears you poured into that story, but the reality is that it is simply not going to happen.

Although I fully understand it is reality television, watching Shark Tank is a great way to see how this all works. The "Sharks" are often looking at a lot more than simply the passion and the product. They look at potential sales. They look at if this person who wants the investment money has done his or her research. You can also see how some of those people who they "pass" on, simply don't get it. They ask too much. They aren't willing to give an inch. And, in the end, they walk out without a deal. What I always find amazing is how they always respond as they walk away. "Those Sharks don't know what they are missing. They'll see."

Yep, they will see. That person walked away with nothing and the next show, there will be another person who was willing to negotiate.

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