Tuesday, April 15, 2014

You got a book deal? Now What? Continued....


Do not lick your editor. Maybe your agent though....

I posted this a while back, but have been asked about this a lot, so here is my list of things to consider after you get your book deal, with some brand new additions. Please feel free to add anything I might have missed and you don't have to be published to contribute! This list is for all!

1. Don't be scared of working with your editor! You'll do fine! Generally, they are very nice people who will be indispensable to the success of your novel.

2. Be prepared to take what you consider the most special parts of your book...OUT!

3. Concerns? TALK TO YOUR AGENT! He/she knows the business and they will tell you if you're concerns are justified or you're freaking out for no reason. (I would fit into the freaking out for no reason category). If you don't have an agent, don't worry! Ask your friends. Check forums, author websites. The information is out there.

4. Don't be afraid to ask your publisher LOTS of questions-- if you don't ask, you won't get.

5. Your publisher may change your release date several times--this is totally normal, especially for a debut.

6. Know that you have NO control over the cover art...but be happy when your publisher does ask for your input and if they don't, have a nice piece of cake (preferably tiramisu) and tell yourself, they know what they're doing.

7. Keep in mind that Barnes & Noble, along with Indie stores, do NOT pick up every book, even from big publishers! There is nothing you can do if they decide not to carry your book in their brick and mortar stores, so don't worry about it--it does not mean your book won't be successful and this happens to authors all the time.

8. Don't fret if you only get a one book deal (becoming the norm these days), but be merry when they buy the sequel six months later--off a proposal no less! That means they like you, they really, really like you!

9. There are a lot of things out of your control in publishing--in fact--most things. Before giving yourself a facial tick, take a step back, inhale a deep solid breath, and realize no matter what's in store for you, you made it...you did it...you're a first-rate writer--YOU!

10. If you're publisher wants you to speak somewhere--DO IT! Suck it up and say yes. I was terrified the first few times, but it gets easier and you will get BETTER! Speaking engagements can be thrilling! They are a fantastic way to connect with readers and to land more speaking gigs, which can be very lucrative! :)

11. Remember QUALITY, not quantity. It's not a race! Put out good books and the deals with come!

12. Ask ALL your friends to help you with a blog tour and return the favor!!!

13. Walk into indie stores and introduce yourself! DO IT! They will be happy that you did. Don't be shy. Tell them you're an author. Give them an ARC! They may order your book and do a whole lot more. Indies are GREAT!

14. When you get your first royalties statement, don't freak out about returns! Even bestselling authors have returns--lots of them! It's a normal part of the business!

15. Sleep is for suckers.

16. Foreign rights are awesome! If at all possible, keep your foreign rights. Your agent can sell them literally all over the world and you sit back and watch it happen. Generally no work involved on your end, let alone seeing your book translated into another language with an amazing new cover. If you don't have an agent, check online to see how other indie authors sell their rights. There is tons of great information out there!

17. Getting published is no guarantee that it will happen again. In other words, you can be published, well published, and still not get play on your next manuscript. It happens a lot more than you'd think.

18. Projects get squashed! Yes, it happens all the time. I can't tell you how many times I've seen it happen. You get a deal, but 6 months down the road the publisher changes their mind, your editor leaves, the economy slumps, the publisher merges with another...there are millions of reasons. If this happens, DON'T FREAK! You got a deal once, you can do it again. Take a deep, deep breath, regroup, and move forward.

19. If you slack on your blogging, Facebook, and Twitter duties, don't sweat it. Use it as an occasional break from writing/editing and explain to your peeps you're underwater. They will understand.

20. Sleep is for suckers. Yes, this one gets two slots. :)


What would you add to this list?? :)

14 comments:

  1. It can take years of "no" to get to "yes."

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    1. Or in this case another yes!! :) I've talked to so many "well published" authors with books their editors/agents have told them to shelve well after they were published.

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  2. Great list! I would add KEEP WRITING - revel in the good news of a book deal but get right to work on your next project.

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    1. Yes, yes! Eye on the prize, which is the deal, sure, but about sharpening our craft!

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  3. Great list, Hilary!! Love the "quality not quantity" reference.

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    1. Yes, I've learned to never write something "throw away" just to say I wrote something. Does not work for me...or editors! ;)

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  4. "Sleep is for suckers!" That's my motto too!!

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    1. Better than air is for suckers! ;)

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  5. Second Michael, "Sleep is for suckers" is my theme song during my ghostwriting gig. Mom's like "You slept right?" Me "Yeah sure, before I started." Riiiight.

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    1. Sometimes I think I write great when I'm crazy for sleep. The weird ideas (which are probably 1/2 dreams) flow! ;)

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  6. The lovely, lovely Robin LaFevers has a great post at Writer Unboxed right now that ties in nicely: Dear Soon-To-Be-Published Author:
    http://writerunboxed.com/2014/04/11/dear-soon-to-be-published-author/

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    1. Oh, thanks for the great link Caroline! We'll call that our "value add" as though we were a Mayhem Corporation! ;)

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  7. Love it, Hilary! Thanks. And #17 is great..never take it for granted. Treat the next book, the next project, like it's the first, right? Don't get too comfortable.

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  8. Oh, I really liked this post! I would add: "Keep fit physically. Walk, swim, run, whatever, but keep your body healthy. Writing is a marathon, after all."

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Thanks for adding to the mayhem!