I keep meaning to post here, and I keep getting caught in a time suck called a grandbaby that I'm raising. And grandbaby is only 3 months old which means he needs A LOT of my time. I've cut back on exercise by about half, I'm getting almost nothing else done so I can make sure to write (and even then, that doesn't always happen).
I remember when I did this with my kids. Once they grew up, I never figured on doing it again. It's not that I mind—the father has issues that make him raising this boy a scary prospect, and my daughter is in no way ready to raise a child—it's just...wow. I forgot how much goes into raising a kid. And this kid in particular tends to be about the crankiest baby I've ever seen. lol
The only real update I have however, is a near miss for Blood Charms. Zharmae offered a contract for it (after a number of oddities in the process that should have been a warning in and of themselves, but I digress). Then the contract came in. It was so dense, I had to have help parsing it. Fortunately an author friend knew someone who works on contracts for a living and said expert took a look.
Oh. My. Lord.
Honestly, I think how awful it was is why the contract was written the way it was. Overwhelm an author who REALLY wants to be published and they may just sign without attempting to parse it all or giving it to someone who would have an idea. OR maybe they THINK they understand it, but really, if they signed it understanding it, then I don't even know.
Here's the thing: yes, a publisher/small press is supposed to be looking out for itself to some degree, but there's looking out for itself and then there's taking authors for everything they have and then some and authors getting piddling payments to be screwed.
Now, I did attempt to negotiate, but they wouldn't change (and in one case, didn't even address) the major issues of the contract (and for one or two of the problems, tried to claim that's not how the contract read...um, thank you, but I'll trust the person without a stake in all this who does contracts FOR A LIVING). I walked away.
What did I walk away from? Well, this:
Rights: they ask for lifetime for the SERIES.
The "net" in net revenues isn't defined.
Reversion/cancellation of contract: The publisher can do this at any time, but authors have to pay $5000. There's no reversion for going out of business or declaring bankruptcy. If a book goes out of production, the author can request it be put back into print, but even if they decide against doing so, they can hang onto the book for 12 months.
A couple of clauses prevent the author from independent publishing or signing with another house.
The option for the next book allows them to take 6 months to decide whether or not to accept/publish it.
Zharmae takes ownership over the title, the author's nom de plum, and the series. If the author decides to leave Zharmae, they can hire someone else to write in the author's world. In addition, they can use the author's characters, etc in anyway they wish.
Royalties. I was told on the phone $1/copy regardless of promotion prices etc. While this works for ebooks (which appear to sell at 4.99 each), this is a rip off for hard copy sales (at 15.99/book, from what I've seen at B&N). And according to the actual contract, it isn't $1/copy regardless of promotional prices. Instead, promotional copies are subject to a percentage royalty.
Quite obviously, I'm posting about this to warn other writers AWAY from Zharmae. Don't ever want to be published so badly you sell everything you have to give. You have a right to make a profit off your work, to protect your work, to get the rights of your work back. After all, without you, publishers wouldn't have a product. Find a publisher/small press that understands that. YOU ARE WORTH IT.
As for me, I've sent the novel out again (it'll be awhile before I hear, a looong while) and am still working on the sequel (it's all I ever get time for with the baby). Publishing is a long game. The only way to play is to stay in.
Life & Writing