That First Book Contract
When starting your publishing business, one of the things you have to do is set up guidelines for queries and submissions. It's taken me several months to come up with something I thought would work. I spend a week getting the wording the way I wanted. I wanted the most amount of information about the author, the book, and the characters as I could get without having to plow through an entire manuscript.
Finally I came up with something and had someone else who knows the business read through it. It worked. I published it on my Facebook page for Lilac Publishing. I wasn't expecting anything right away, nor was I expecting a flood of possibilities.
Imagine my surprise when within twenty-four hours of posting I had someone contact me and tell me a query would be coming. I held my breath. I hoped it could be something I could work with as I didn't want to have to let someone down, nor did I want to take on something I would fail.
The query came, written exactly to my specifications. It had a short synopsis, a short bio of the author, and the three chapters I had asked for. I read through it briefly and then life got it the way. When I realized I was almost to when I should contact the author, I did just that with a ton of questions. She quickly answered them.
I liked what I read and asked for the manuscript. I also asked a ton more questions. As I am working out what needs to be done to get this ready for possible publication. I did some edits on the first chapter. I wanted to know if the author could work with my edits and if we could make this a stronger novel. One which doesn't leave too much to the imagination, but allows the reader to some guided images. One which would show not tell us.
I had a response from her in less than twenty-four hours. She would make those corrections and could see how they improved her work without taking away her voice. It took me a couple more days before I felt confident enough to offer her a literary contract.
The first feeling was, I had offered a contract would it be accepted. This is a fledgling company just getting started. This would be my first outside offer. I was anxious.
Then I started questioning whether or not I would be able to make this book sell. Could I help her with marketing enough to make money for us both. Me, enough to get back my investment and also to be able to pay her a royalty on her work. At this point I became a bit overwhelmed at the task in front of me.
I had to take a deep breath and walk away. I banged out a short story I had on the back burner and sent it off to my design company. I was in control.
Finally I received word the contract was accepted. She signed it and e-mailed it back to me. I printed off two copies, signed both and snail mail copied hers to her. Over the weekend I was talking to a friend who mentioned a non-fiction book which had been written. Today I e-mailed her to send me a copy to look at. I have an author on the back burner I'm going to light a fire under. I am ready to make this company a success not only for me, but for the authors I represent. Looks like my two books a year could be as many as four next year.
I am ecstatic, excited, pumped, and still maybe a little bit on the overwhelmed side, but I feel it is subsiding. I have hired an editor on retainer to be my second set of eyes. I have some beta readers I can use for review purposes. We are on our way.