It took me a long time to learn that negotiation is all about strength. If you say, My agent or my lawyer too many times in the middle of a negotiation, the person on the other side of that negotiation won’t want to talk to you. You’re not the one with power.
I was trained in traditional publishing, where writers go begging for opportunity. Writers are taught to beg, from professors (let me into your class!) to critique groups (is my writing good enough?) to agents (will you take me on?) to publishers (will you buy my book?).
We’re not trained to value what we’ve built.
In dealing with movie and TV producers, and foreign rights publishers, and pretty much anyone who wants subsidiary rights to my book, I hold all of the power in the negotiation.
I know, I know. A bunch of you just did double-takes. How can I have more power than a Hollywood studio?
Yeah, yeah, we’re in the middle of a series on branding. But I just sat down at my computer for the first time today, at the time I usually quit writing. It’s the only day this week when I can write my blog, and while I have two in the can (and you can get them if you support me on Patreon), I don’t want […]
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.
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. […]
Writerly weirdness causes conflict with our careers and our businesses, in part because we are (as a group) imaginative, rule-bound, pessimistic, ethical, and the center of our own small universes.
We bring all of those things into the realm of contracts.
Be honest with yourself: What do you imagine will happen to you if you don’t follow your book contract to the letter?
Over the last couple of years, a number of writers have written to me to ask how to get the rights to their traditionally published novels reverted back to them. These requests increased while I wrote the most recent short series, “Why Writers Disappear,” and finally, one of the readers mentioned via e-mail that I should do a blog post on getting rights reverted. It’s […]
After last week’s blog post, I became scared to open my e-mail. Not because I got hate mail—far from it. I got a lot of positive mail. But I also got a lot of sad stories about the scams out there, mostly from people who watched friends succumb. There have always been scams that suck in wannabe writers. Terrible contracts for professional writers have existed […]
Dean Wesley Smith and I have spent a good part of this summer teaching, as well as talking to other professional writers. One thing we discuss is the history of the business because it helps us understand how we got to where we are. In the beginning, publishing was a handshake operation. Writers and publishers were often friends who lived and worked in the same […]