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More good advice from elsewhere

My lungs are trying to pitch an insurrection about having to work all the time, so I’m a wee bit distracted these last few months. Right now we’re having fun with medication… by the way, were you aware when you can’t breathe well, it’s really hard to be creative? Stay healthier than me!

So I give you some links I haven’t posted since 2016, because some of you will see these for the first time – and some of you will have seen these before, but with a few years more of writing under your belt, you’re likely to find a whole different set of meaning and advice than the first time. Good advice is multilayered like that!

First off, J K Rowling talks about failure – artistically, employment-wise, and in life. Because trying to succeed in the creative arts is going to involve failure, and adversity.

Second, Neil Gaiman on being a successful artist. This speech has been cut down and reprinted under “Make Good Art.” However, the full speech is full of a lot more interesting bits of advice, including valuable business advice and career advice, both when dealing with the problems of failure, and on dealing with the problems of success.

For a legendary rant, Harlan Ellison on paying the writer. It’s NSFW due to profanity, (as Harlan usually is), but it’s referenced a lot by pre-indie writers. Now you’ll know what people are referring to!

And finally, not a video, Kris Rusch explains some scary concepts on what really happens if an agent negotiates a contract – hey indies! This’ll include foreign rights, audio, tv & movie negotiations!

http://kriswrites.com/2016/08/03/business-musings-my-agent-will-negotiate-contractsdealbreakers/

That’s all for this week!

12 Comments Post a comment
  1. Re. Kris Rusch and lawyers. When I had a book contract with a traditional (academic) press, I hired an IP lawyer. He went over the contract and pointed out multiple internal inconsistencies, out-dated language and one major problem for the press (not me). So armed, I dickered a little and got some rights back, and told the press a condensed version of the lawyer’s recommendations. The contract had been “industry standard” since the 1970s. I learned a lot.

    February 10, 2019
    • Once upon a time I missed getting utterly skinned on a contract by a big company by -this- much. [my fingers are touching] By divine mercy alone I escaped. Never again, mo-fos.

      Thereafter, I sign NOTHING that has not been gone over by my attorney, and even after that guy goes over it I refuse anything where I end up owing money or there’s a penalty etc.

      Example, I don’t do real estate rental agreements where there is a penalty for default or late payment. I X it out, and if the company complains, I don’t do the deal. Rent it to me straight up or don’t. They whine, they moan, they say things like “but this is the Industry Standard!” And then usually they give me what I want, because the clause I’m objecting to is -illegal- and they know it.

      Some of the penalties you see on commercial rentals are hilarious, more than the price of the building. Millions of dollars. They get thrown out of court every time. So why the hell would I agree to something that’s going to get thrown out of court? Maybe it won’t get thrown out this time. Maybe the Universe will take a great big dump on me. Maybe the judge won’t like me that day. But if I don’t sign it, I’m safe. So I strike it and see if they’ll do the deal anyway. If not, on to the next one.

      I have not been offered a contract with a publisher (because I’ve never really tried to get one, given what Sarah and others have been through) but I must say if some dumb-ass handed me a contract that hadn’t been updated since the 1970s I would walk away. Because think about it: if they haven’t changed their contract since Jimmy the Peanut Farmer was president, what else in the company is hanging on by duct tape and prayer? Like their distribution logistics, ferinstance. Or their advertising arrangements. They’re supposed to promote this book, but can they do it?

      Then there are things like the “morality clause” we were talking about here the other day. That’s probably why Amelia Zhow had to write that abject apology, the publisher has her locked up in a contract where she has to do everything they say, and she doesn’t get anything in return. Plus they probably have the rights to that book -forever-.

      But the most important part is, they didn’t care enough to even -try- to get it right. After I made it through the agent trap, and made it out of the slush pile, or pulled some kind of political maneuver to make it into his office, the guy whipped a package out of a drawer, slapped it on the table and threw a pen at me. “This is the Industry Standard Deal, take it or leave it.” They don’t care about me, they don’t care about the book, they don’t care about their own business prospects. Me and my book is just one more log for the sawmill, ram it through.

      Screw that guy. Better the manuscript should sit in a drawer than I should do business with a sad-sack operation like that.

      February 10, 2019
      • Mary #

        All available evidence there was that Zhou initiated it and the publisher went along. Probably very willing, but that’s the way the evidence points.

        February 10, 2019
        • Somehow I don’t see a publisher letting the author cancel a book. The publisher already printed it and has all the costs on their ledger. They can’t eat all that just because some 21 year old first-time author is having the vapors. That’s not how businesses work.

          On the other hand I can totally see the publisher watching the shirtstorm on twitter and deciding to cut their losses, making a phone call to the agent, and an nice groveling apology appears.

          Maybe Miss Zhou initiated, maybe not, but the publisher is the one that made the decision.

          February 11, 2019
          • Mary #

            When the author is already groveling, it has to help the decision to cut their losses.

            February 11, 2019
            • No argument there. If you won’t stick up for yourself, its hard to expect other people to.

              On the gripping hand, Miss Zhow was probably terrified somebody would accuse her of being a Christian, or a Republican. That type of thing will get you a beating on college campuses in NY these days. Ducking and covering might have been good survival tactics.

              February 11, 2019
  2. Margaret Ball #

    Good luck with staying oxygenated! Hope the meds help.

    February 10, 2019
  3. Christopher M. Chupik #

    I am definitely down with authors getting paid.

    February 10, 2019
  4. OldNFO #

    Getting paid is the REAL thing…Awards, exposure, etc. doesn’t put beans in the pot.

    February 10, 2019
    • Exposure is what you die of when you don’t get paid.

      February 10, 2019
  5. Please do get better. I didn’t complain when I had to endure snow days without another Dorothy Grant book to read five times but it was a hardship. Just sayin’…

    February 10, 2019

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