Tuesday, April 3, 2012

C is for Contracts and Conventions

On Being a Published Writer
April 3, 2012
Day 3
A to Z Blogging Challenge 

Oh, my goodness the offer of that first contract! It was a Saturday night and so I checked my email and there it was. The Offer.

I screamed. I cried. I scared my poor partner right out of his recliner (no mean feat, that).

It was surely a magical moment. Looking back with older, wiser, and sometimes jaded, eyes, I see how fortunate I was to land with a reputable company.

Of all the advice I could give you about any contract, the best would be to read it and understand it. If the language isn’t plain enough for me to understand without legal counsel, I’m going to turn it down. What are they hiding in all the mumble-jumble? I don’t care to get burned to find out.

These days, there’s less magic in a new contract, maybe because I understand what to expect each time through the process that takes the author and publisher to release day. I know what can go wrong. And being an older hand at this, I know just because some publishing house offers me a contract doesn’t mean I’m going to jump to sign it. I don’t have to – and neither do you.

A bad contract is a thousand times worse than no contract, so use your head. If you have questions, ask them. If you don’t like the answer, give the contract a pass. Don’t worry. There will be more offers. Don’t be in such a hurry to get published, or get into company XYZ, that you bind yourself up in misery. And that is some of the best advice I can give you.


Conventions. I’ve been to one and it was absolutely fabulous! If I could afford it, I’d go to a convention every month.

Yes, it was a hassle to drive four hours to get there. Yes, the food was lousy. Yes, the hotel was in the middle of renovations. But what could be more exciting than twelve hundred people speaking my language? Nothing in the intervening years has come close.

I went to 2007 Romantic Times Pittsburgh with one purpose in mind. I didn’t make any agent or editor bookings. I didn’t sign up for the book fair. I went so I could quietly observe the actions of publishers, editors and other writers. I came away from Pittsburgh convinced of the validity of my future in epublishing, and with valuable insights on career paths to avoid. In my opinion, knowing where not to go is equally important with knowing where I should go.

A convention on the scale of Romantic Times is the publishing world encapsulated. If you have the opportunity to attend conventions, you owe it to yourself to go. Observe. Participate. Talk to the people around you. Absorb everything you can from everyone you come in contact with, even the guy behind the coffee bar.

This is your business. Use everything at your disposal to learn it well.

You’re a writer, and everything you learn will feed your passion and create your success.

KC Kendricks
website at: http://www.kckendricks.com/
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Kyra Lennon said...

Very good advice about contracts. I haven't got that far in the writing/publishing process yet, but those tips will be really useful for me in the future!

KC Kendricks said...

Thanks for stopping by Between the Keys. If you're not there yet, don't worry. There's a big learning curve in this business, so stay on course and be patient. It will come so keep learning and when it does, you'll be better prepared.

Lena said...

I think that when a person gets his/her first contract after whaving waited for so long they really might be way too eager to sign it without actually reading it through like they should be. I hope your advice will help someone out there. Sometimes we hurry into complications on our own. It is good to have someone to stop us.

a.eye said...

Congrats! And I hope the terms are suitable!

MAJK said...

Thanks for the great advice. It is so helpful to hear what others have experienced and found to be useful or important.

I look forward to more ...

A to Z CHallenge

Sarah Pearson said...

Excellent advice about contracts. I haven't been there yet, but I know I'll need to read - and understand - every word before I sign.

I really really would love to go to a convention. One day :-)