Tag Archives: Trying To Improve

Agents + Author Agreements

Before considering signing any document remember to do your research. Check out Absolute Write, Publishers Marketplace, AgentQuery, and QueryTracker. Until you sign you’ve done no harm.

Contract Clauses

Some of the paragraphs of your contract should include: a time limit, number of books contracted, scope of representation, commission, subsidiary rights, disbursements, expenses, communication and statements, audit, notices, contacts, powers, bankruptcy, termination, dispute resolution, death (of agent or author),  reversion of unexploited rights, agent leaves agency, and a revised definition of out-of-print and electronic availability clause.

Long ago I worked as a union member. I’ve learned to live within and honor contracts. If every contingency is addressed then both parties know what is expected. Knowing the rules helps teams work together.

How to get there?

Any questions that come up during negotiations should be included within the 2536572_Tcontract or be addressed in a letter of understanding. What happens if the author writes outside their genre? What if the agent hates the author’s next book? How does the author get their money? Does the agent have right of attorney? How long is an author expect to wait for a response to a communication? Does the agent offer editorial, marketing, or public relation services? What happens if the agent leaves the agency? What happens if the author or agent dies?

No contract can cover everything. But what you can do is consider the most common issues, agree on what the rules, or the acceptable actions. That way the focus is on business success rather than anything else.

Is there anything I should have included that is missing? Any advice for us?

Reference Material:

How to Prepare to Meet Your Agent

In my first post about an agent calling I was rewarded with more information. Sometimes instead of a phone call, an email is sent asking for a valentine-145353_1280phone appointment. I had to agree this an excellent use of time management.

Before committing, make sure you allow enough time to refresh your memory about why you submitted and make sure what you thought is still true.

This is not out of order. Webpages get updated, and wish lists change. What could sell six months ago might be hard to give away. And lastly, all agents research a possible client before reaching out, so they must see something in you.

It saves time and energy to be prepared.

I suggest you follow their example. Check their website, blog and any posted interviews. Look for recent sales, client list, publishers they query, professional associations, and their latest #mswl Manuscript Wish List. Try not to waste valuable phone time asking questions that have been asked + answered. Use them to pique other questions specific to your needs.

Once you’ve found the basics here are some other topics to consider:
• Plans for your booksocial-367942_1280
• Possible markets
• Recent sales in your genre
• References (clients and publishers)
• Is the book ready or are you facing more revisions
• Are they involved in the promotion of your work
• Why do they want to represent you or your book?
• The contract and its highlights
• Business hours and preferred communication methods

Note: I’m going to assume that you’ve submitted to reputable agents and have checked reliable online resources such as Publishers Marketplace, AgentQuery, and QueryTracker to verify all is true.

There are hundreds of questions to ask someone you don’t know, so I’ve probably missed a few :-). I suggest keeping the questions open ended, and professional. What questions would you ask?

Gleaned from:


I don’t know of any group in the Scribophile realm that is more supportive or helpful than the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pens. It could be the fact that some of the members are published, so there is experience behind … Continue reading

#NaNoWriMo Winner Here!

Okay somehow I did it. I won at NaNoWriMo for a second time in a row. It was much tougher than last time. Like I had mentioned before, I have more rules to follow. I admit I wrote a better story and posted the first page below.

nanowrimo 2012 winner


Dunghill Dullop backed further into the shadows. With his spine against the wall he inched toward the library door. Murmurs of the duty guards echoed from the main hall. He froze in place until the whispering stopped. Swallowing hard he crept along the rough wall. When his mother noticed how snagged his clothes were he would get hell, but Dung kept going because time was running out.

Why had he taught himself to read? Why had he borrowed another book from the king’s library? Why was one book never enough? Why?

Boots resounded on the floor as the guards marched between Dung’s hiding place and the large oak door. The men paused.

“You smell that, Harold?”

“Damn stables when the wind blows just right it comes in to knock us out.”

“Let’s come back later.”

Hard heels clomped along the hallway, getting quieter with each step.

Funny, Dung thought, I don’t smell anything.

The boy tightened his grip on the leather cover, and with swift assurance he came around a corner, then skidded to a stop. Without thinking he slipped behind a suit of armor and tried to quieten his breath. Prince William stood by the library door. He looked one way then the other. A smile, the prince reserved for pushing servant girls out of his way, crossed his face. He slowly opened the library door and went in.

Dung couldn’t stay put. He went to the open door. Peeked around the sharp wooden edge. The prince stood on a ladder pulling out what everyone knew was the king’s favorite book. It had a burgundy cover, with large gold lettering. Something Dung had always wanted to borrow, but was too afraid to take.

After all, all this borrowing would be called stealing if the wrong person caught him in the act.

Prince William opened the book and ripped out one page, two pages, three. Dung wanted to scream, to beg the teenager to stop, but he knew the prince could do what he liked when he liked. Who would listen to a boy from the stables? Dung went back behind the armor wishing the king would never die and that that evil boy would never come to power.


You tell me, How’d I do?

#NaNoWriMo 2012

Guess who is writing for NaNo again this year. Yeah, it’s me. It started on November 1st and will end on November 30th. For anyone who hasn’t heard of it, it is a writing marathon of sorts. The participants write 50,000 words in thirty days. If they meet the word count–they win.

Simple. Difficult. Challenging.

I’m so in.

Last year I won writing a mystery. I met the word count and finished the story. It was such a surprise.

I can’t say my story is something anyone would enjoy reading, not as it is anyway, but I finished.

How did I do it? I assigned a word count that I met every day. I never, ever looked back. If something bothered me I made a note, promised to look at it later, let it go, and kept writing. I have never pushed for something so hard in all my life.

This year will be different. I’ll be working during some of the month which will leave me less time to write. I understand story structure, characterization, dialogue, and voice much better. That could slow me down. If I follow the writing rules, can I do it? Maybe not, but If I write from the heart I know I can.

Meh, I can fix it later.

Last year’s attempt was such a mess. I started revising and finally gave up ten chapters in. I shudder when I think of going back.

Anyway, this year will be fun. My story is called “of Reflection.” My characters range from dragons, royalty, mystic creatures to an arctic fox, I’m hoping for a alien visitation of sorts. I promise to clean it up and post an excerpt . . . eventually.

Let me invite you write, donate or support writing worldwide. Come visit NaNoWriMo and see what all the shouting is about.