I am fully aware of the fact that the problems I’m having are problems I would have traded up for thirty years ago. I’m also fully aware that these problems aren’t really problems at all.
I’m hardwired to jump at opportunities. One of my biggest complaints about my agents, back in the days when I had agents, was how many opportunities those folks failed to jump at. Or screwed up. Or ignored completely.
I’m a writer first, and as a writer first, anything that puts me behind on getting to my fictional worlds irritates the hell out of me.
Here’s the heartbreaking part of this new world. Many long-time writers, who want to go full indie, are abandoning their series rather than put money into their traditional publishers’ pocket. The first time I heard a writer say he was going to do that, I was shocked.
For the past several months, I’ve focused on contracts, contract negotiations, rights, and dealbreakers. I know I lost some of my indie (self-published) readers, who are waiting until I finish this series before they return to reading my blog. Those readers believe they will never sign the kind of contract I’m dealing with. They also believe that they’re protected because they’re in business for themselves. […]
I have to berate writers to get an attorney. Writers are terrified of attorneys. Writers think attorneys are expensive and impossible to work with. Writers think hiring an attorney will harm them.
Writers are wrong.
We’re almost to the end of the contracts/dealbreakers series. I can’t tell you how pleased I am about this, because I feel dirty just looking at some of these contracts and agreements.
Most of you indie writers tuned this series out long ago, because you believed it didn’t apply to you. And yet, I read all the time about indie writers who sign with an agent to sell the print versions of an ebook and to sell foreign rights and auxiliary rights.
Bad move. Really, really, really bad move.
Imagine this scenario: You’re a divorce attorney with more that thirty years experience. You charge hundreds of dollars per hour for your expertise. You have what seems to be a relatively easy divorce on your hands. After all, the client has told you that he and his soon-to-be ex-wife agree on the terms. They simply need you and her attorney to hammer out the details. […]
Writers tend to go through their business life like Pokémon Go players, looking for something that isn’t there, hoping to score a magic number of points, and not seeing what is there.
It’s impossible to show you all the bad contract terms. I’ve delineated several that you need to watch out for. I’m going to go through some important ones quickly in this blog post…
Slowly, traditional publishers have realized that backlist titles are worth a lot of money. As I wrote recently, traditional publishers are slowly figuring out that they are no longer in the manufacturing business, they’re in the rights business.
So they’re buying—and holding—rights. Years ago, when I got angry at a publisher for their misbehavior, I offered to buy back the rights to one of my books. It caught that publisher flat-footed. No writer had ever done that, and the publisher had no idea how to estimate the books’ value to the company.
Now, I’m hearing from more and more writers that their publishers insist on the writers paying to get rights reverted.
As I’m revising the old Dealbreakers book, I am finding a lot of material that no longer applies. 2011-2013 was a transitional period in the ebook revolution. Traditional publishers didn’t know anything about ebooks, and writers had a lot more leeway in what they could do.
Now, things are so different that some of the contracts I’m touching feel toxic to me. I want to wash my hands after holding them.