Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Tuesday Tip: More Contract Stuff

Lots of interesting articles lately.

Eric at Pimp My Novel talks about the vanishing advance and why it seems to be going the way of the dodo. As far as I'm concerned, publishing might want to rethink that; advances are one of the few remaining advantages to traditional publishing over self-publishing.

The wonderful folks at e-reads provide two emails from Harlequin, who is apparently changing e-book royalties retroactively My new favorite blog, The Passive Voice, gives us a breakdown on the Harlequin contracts.

Keep in mind that 25% of net royalties is average these days even for Big Six publishers, and that 25% of net is probably 15% or less of retail. 15% of net is peanuts.

Novelists, Inc has an in-depth review of some Harlequin contracts. These are a great example of why you really need to understand just what you are signing. Yes, it's technical; so are contracts. Read this one.

And lastly, PG over at The Passive Voice is looking for author feedback on what you would want to see in a book about publishing contracts. This is a book I very much want to read! Please stop by the post and leave a comment for PG with your contract questions or concerns.

Image: Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Friday, June 24, 2011

100 Words About: Dignity

I'm watching Stephen Colbert, and I have to wonder: was he born with no shame, or did he have a dignity-ectomy? I wonder that about a lot of the Daily Show crew, but Stephen really takes the cake sometimes. I mean, he makes such a fool of himself that I can't bear to watch and I had to come do my blog post while that bit finished up.

Don't get me wrong, I love The Colbert Report. I think Stephen is awesome; he's often very funny and he does a lot of good things. It's just sometimes the humor is all about making the interviewees as uncomfortable as possible, and I don't much like watching it. (To be fair, I can't watch humiliation movies like Meet the Fockers or that sort of thing either.)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tuesday Tip: Contracts

I've not talked a lot about contracts before now because I'm not a contract lawyer and I'm not qualified to give legal advice. Fortunately, Passive Guy is a retired contract lawyer and, while he no longer gives individual advice, he does keep the rest of us informed over at his blog, The Passive Voice.

I'd like to direct your attention to a post PG made yesterday regarding a trend in publishing contracts: the non-compete clause. This tiny clause can mean a world of pain for you, oh intrepid author, so be forewarned.

I've fortunately not run into this yet, as short story contracts don't get quite that ambitious. But whenever you find contract language you don't understand, you should consult an expert. Don't be afraid to propose changes to contracts; just be aware that the party who is most willing to walk away is the one with the better bargaining position. I recommend reading Richard Curtis's How to Be Your Own Literary Agent, and thinking about what contract issues are non-negotiable, and what issues you're willing to compromise on. Thinking about this ahead of time will make it less likely that you'll just sign on the line in blissful glee when that first contract crosses your desk.

Remember, an advance is fleeting, but a deep-seated contract screwing can be forever.

Image: Jeroen van Oostrom / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Friday, June 17, 2011

100 Words About: Brain 'Splodey

Write by the Lake is over. I'm sad, but also excited, because I feel like I'm really close to having this thing done--and done in a way I'm proud of, not sick of. Not only that, but I had the privilege of helping five other budding novelists get improve their novels, and boy, those are going to be some FANTASTIC novels! I can't wait to read the revisions that will hopefully be showing up in my inbox soon.

It's been a great week, but my brain is very full. Not so full that I can't work, or that I don't know what to do next, but don't ask me any complex questions right now, ok?

I had expected this would be a one-and-done for me, that I'd bring my novel here and get it fixed and then I wouldn't be back. But I'm thinking maybe next year, I'll bring my next novel. Because not only am I confident that I'll have some novel to bring, but that it'll totally be worth coming back. I'm totally re-energized about my writing, and that's a feeling that's hard to come by in this solitary profession.

Image: Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

I'm at Write By The Lake!

Mercy isn't home right now. She's off having her novel critiqued and critiquing other novels and doing overnight revisions and having a marvelous but insane time. Please leave a message after the beep, and she'll return your comments at her earliest convenience. Which may be next year, depending on how revisions go.


Friday, June 10, 2011

100 Words About: Cleaning

We're looking at adopting a second dog, and the nice people are coming out to the house tomorrow to make sure we're not hoarders or something. (I kid.) So I've spent three hours cleaning, and still have to vacuum the living room. Blarg. Fortunately The Husband is handling the upstairs, which is Cat Litter Mess Central.

There is something sort of primal about a deep clean. Not the brush-the-crumbs-off-the-counter kind of cleaning, but the my-elbows-hurt-from-scrubbing kind. It's like once I get started I just keep going and going. When I realized the mopping cloths I'd bought wouldn't fit my Swiffer, I even (briefly) considered the old hands-and-knees scrubbing routine.

Fortunately I came to my senses. I'm getting too old for that crap. (Or so I tell myself.) So I'm off to try skating around my kitchen with mopping cloths under my feet. Wheee!

Image: scottchan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Contest! Post Me a Book

Times are definitely too interesting for my taste, as they have involved trips to the ER for both The Husband and The Bulldog, as well as several things around the house breaking. On the upside, Write by the Lake is next week (OMG!) and I and my fellow attendees are busy reading and critiquing our first assignments in preparation. I can't wait!

In the meantime, I've broken out The Cheerleader by Caroline B Cooney, a novel I read back in eighth or ninth grade. Something like that. I can't remember. It's reminiscent of The Picture of Dorian Gray or Faust, but in high school. With a vampire. And cheerleaders. Um.

The reason I took up this particular tale after so many years is that it's one of the few I can recall where the main character is more or less corrupted by the end. Yes, she does eventually "redeem" herself, but loses everything she corrupted herself to gain. And she doesn't redeem herself because she's realized how selfish she's been (she's known that all along) but because she realizes that she's turned into nothing but a junkie looking for her next fix, the vampire's little puppet.

It's as close as I could ever find to a vampire book where the bad guy wins. And I soooo wanted to find one.

I'm sure there are some out there by now, but I haven't had much luck. What I wanted was a book where, instead of freeing the unicorn, Lily succumbed to Darkness. A book where, instead of choosing Stefan, Elena chose Damon. Where Christine chose Erik instead of Raul. In fact, preferably without the love triangle. I want a novel where someone is obsessed, seduced, and corrupted, and is either completely destroyed by it while the seducer lives on to charm another day, or just rolls with it and joins the dark side.

Anyone know of books like that? (Adult or YA, either works. Heck. I'll even allow short fiction.) If so, leave them in the comments! The person who posts the book or story I like best by June 18th, 2011 will get a short story written in their honor. You get to pick the subject, have one of the characters named after you, whatever tickles your fancy. (Excluded from the contest: Phantom by Susan Kay, 'cause she still ends up with Raul at the end, any book mentioned in this post, any Anne Rice books (because I don't want to read them again to try and remember if they fit, I obviously wasn't impressed the first time, although I could see someone making an argument for The Witching Hour) and anything I've written.)

Image: Simon Howden / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Friday, June 3, 2011

100 Words About: Power Naps

Every weekday morning, my alarm goes off at 5:45am. It then goes off every 9 minutes after that until 6:30am, when we finally get up.

We have mastered the morning power nap.

For whatever reason, by the time the alarm goes off at 6:30am I'm more or less ready to be awake and alert, whereas when we used to just set the alarm for 6:30am I'd be groggy and zombie-like.

I'm not entirely sure how this works.

I first learned to power nap in college, when I would catch catnaps in the hallway in between classes. (People thought this was weird, but I didn't care.) Now I can drop off to sleep fairly quickly most nights, and in between the alarms I'm usually back asleep and dreaming within seconds.

I think it's a way for my brain to ramp up to full consciousness. By the time that last alarm goes off, I'm usually just dozing and sort of thinking ahead to what I need to do that day.

Do any of you power nap? What's your morning routine?

Image: photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net