I was one of two men in a half-filled theatre one day recently to see Little Women. Its feminist message was evident.
But what I found equally inspiring, as someone who has advised National Writers Union members on how to negotiate their book contracts for the past thirty years, was Jo’s strength as an independent freelance writer, female or male, whose work deserved to be treated with dignity. The publisher offered 5% net royalty; she countered with 10. They argued back and forth, debated net price versus list price along the way, and finally settled on 6.6.
From my comfortable reclining seat in the theatre, I thought at first that she shouldn’t have settled for less than 7.5 but I soon realized she was allowing a slight give in her demands in order to set up a final take: She agreed on 6.6 but she insisted on keeping her copyright.
When he countered, she didn’t budge. It was a bottom-line issue that caused the publisher to back down and concede because he knew she’d have taken her manuscript and walked otherwise.
Are you an author looking at your first book publishing contract? Are you an established author tired of being screwed by a contract you don’t understand? What are your bottom-line issues and what do you do about them?
In my upcoming book, You’ve Got the Time: How to Write and Publish That Book in You, I introduce you to the world of boilerplate book publishing contracts, teach you how not to fall for the drunk lawyer clause, show you how to get the copyright taken out in your name or find the courage to walk, and much more.
It’s due out February 27, 2020. Stay-tuned for an exciting launch date special offer.