Tuesday, March 8, 2011

March Meeting 10th

At the meeting on Thursday, March 10, we'll be discussing book contracts, led by Anne Jayne. This will be a more informal discussion than many of our meetings--more like a workshop than a presentation.

Even if you haven't finished a manuscript that's ready to send to publishers, it isn't too early to become acquainted with what you'll see in a book contract when the time comes.

We'll look at topics such as:

- What are the terms that you'll usually see in a book contract, and why are there?
- What are some terms that you'll want to have in the contract for your own protection?
- What about negotiating better terms?
- What are the clues hidden in the contract that can warn you that this might be a sleazy "publisher" who's trying to exploit you, or an inexperienced publisher who may fail you?

We hope that this workshop will help to prevent a tragic case of eyes-glazing-over when you receive your first book contract from a publisher who is offering to publish your book.

Remember the example of Agatha Christie, who was so delighted to have her first novel accepted that she signed the book contract on the spot. It was a five-book deal, and even after the remarkable success of her mysteries the publisher refused to budge from terms that were very unfavourable to the author.

She served out her time on that contract. She submitted the manuscripts required of her, but held back her better work until she was set free from that publisher. She stayed with her second publisher for the rest of her life.

There's a moral in this for greedy publishers, and a moral for writers.