Thursday, June 21, 2007

30 Years and 300 pages deleted

Sorry, got sick of all the questions/accusations, so I've deleted my previous post about warning bells. I was trying to let you into my head with regard to reviewing queries, but ultimately I suspect this forum isn't the best venue for that.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


On Thursday, September 20, 2007, I'll be teaching a course through entitled "Understanding and Negotiating Your Book Contract." The seminar is from 6:30pm to 9:30pm and will be held at the offices at 494 Broadway (Spring and Broome). The price is $65 ($50 for AvantGuild members).

Course Details:
There are a number of important hot-button issues that writers should be aware of when they receive a book contract. Agents typically negotiate the contract directly with the publisher on your behalf, but many are not as well versed in the legal intricacies of a publishing agreement as they should be. Since the book contract provides the framework for your relationship with an editor and publisher, it's essential to become versed in the commitments and responsibilities you make.

This seminar will review the basic clauses of the typical book publishing contract and then discuss the major points of contention between authors/agents and publishers. Learn how to negotiate your contract, eliminate unfriendly terms, and prioritize your concerns in order to achieve as many significant changes as possible.
In this seminar, you will learn:
  • The legal steps writers should take before securing an agent or book publishing agreement
  • The basics of copyright law, how to register your work with the US Copyright Office, and a brief summary of fair use
  • The basic negotiation process, from offer and sale through to payment of advance on signature
  • What a basic publishing agreement entails
  • What mysterious language like "time is of the essence", "boilerplate", "net receipts", and "flow through" means
  • The controversial clauses in book contracts today -- out of print and print on demand clauses, option, non-compete clauses, warranties and indemnities clauses, and more
  • How to obtain changes in your book contract

More information and registration details can be found at:

Monday, June 18, 2007

Sending stuff to yourself is just silly

This question came up over the weekend and many times in the past, so I thought I'd mention it here - there is absolutely no provision under the copyright law that recognizes the practice of sending a copy of your manuscript to yourself as a substitute for registering your copyright.

Texas rocks!

Just got back from the Writers' League of Texas Conference in Austin. I have to say that it's the best writers' conference I've attended to date in terms of agent and editor attendees, organization, and location. Over 350 authors attended (a sell out), and it still ran smoothly. Even the weird pajama party hosted by a local radio station on Friday night in the hotel lobby didn't screw things up.

A few things of particular note:
  • They invited enough agents and editors to insure we weren't overworked. Too many pitches in too short a time will inevitably lead to brain-fry.
  • The authors all seemed knowledgeable about what the agents and editors were looking for and how to pitch generally. Everyone was really friendly too, though this might just be because they're all Texans.
  • I was on a panel called "Legal Issues in Writing" - and it made me realize I could talk about problems with publishing contracts for hours. Of course, after about two minutes I think everyone would be asleep.
  • Guerro's is awesome. A DHL truck that rear-ended me when I was driving to Guerro's was not awesome.