Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Purposely Said – Dr. Linda F. Beed

Getting the Call?

As a writer the most exciting words you can hear from a publisher are, “We are accepting your submitted manuscript.” What you’ve hoped for has come true.

Life as you once knew it is about to change. Once you sign on the dotted line you will have reached the current zenith of your career. All that is left for you to do now is get ready for the media blitz, your coast-to-coast tour and every few months, merrily skipping to the bank to deposit those coveted royalty checks. You can do this because after all, the hard work is behind you.

Think so? Not hardly.

Once you receive ‘The Call,’ it is time to roll up your sleeves because this is where the next level of HARD work truly begins.

Wisdom dictates that you stop, take a deep breath then look at what your next steps should be.

First you should seek the services of an entertainment attorney to help you understand the language of the contract as well as expectations and responsibilities of both parties (you and the publisher).

While going over that contract pay attention to pertinent items, including:

  • Author’s Rights
  • How long does the publisher retain rights to your work
  • Your rights for reproduction in the form of
  • Audio books
  • Books into Movies, DVDs, Stage Plays
  • Selling of title to book club buyer
  • What happens if the company sells
  • Do you have the option to purchase the rights to your book back
  • Multiple Book Deals with Options
  • What is the actual number of books you are obligated to write under your contract
  • What is the deadline schedule for manuscript submission for each required book
  • What is the definition of option

  • What is an advance
  • Is it a one time payment covering both books
  • Do you have to pay it back if you do not earn out through sales

  • What is it
  • How is it paid
  • What are your rights if not paid according to the contract agreement

    Publisher Assistance
  • Will they provide a marketing budget
  • Will they provide marketing materials
  • Will they provide travel to industry conferences
  • Do you have any say in editing assistance, i.e., if the one assigned to you is not a fit do have an option to choose one who does
  • Do they provide ARC for industry reviews
  • How many complimentary copies does the author receive
  • Do you have the option to purchase copies for your own use

  • Just as you expect the publisher to disclose their position to you, it is your responsibility to understand what you are signing and honor what you have signed. Before you commit be sure that you fully understand the document.

    We cannot know everything, but it is YOUR responsibility to know as much as you can about your business. Do not be afraid to take your time to read and reread. Discuss what you don’t understand with your representative. If possible ask questions of another literary professional. The bottom line is that contracts are binding and each party is expected to fulfill their legal obligation.

    This presentation is rendered as food for thought. Take the time to think through each section. As you do ask yourself:
  • Is this right for me at this time
  • Am I able to meet the responsibilities
  • Can I afford to do this
  • Do I have a personal support system

    Receiving the call is a glorious thing. Enjoy the moment then get down to business. Do so understanding that writing is not only a passion, it is also a business. It is a business you cannot afford to mishandle.

    Until next time, remember—Purposely Said words can destroy or create a life. Linda!

    Dr. Linda Beed is an educator, speaker, children’s minister and author of Business Unusual. She co-moderators BWChristianLit, maintains its sister online blog and is the Review Editor for KDGospel Media Magazine.
    You can find her on the web at:

    lindabeed.com / MySpace / On Assignment Reviews / BWChristianLit


Valerie said...

Linda, thanks soo much for posting this information! You're right in that this is an often overlooked phase of the writing life. Thanks for sharing your knowledge with the rest of the world, especially those of us who have not a clue what to do after the writing is done.

Very well said Sis!

Anjuelle Floyd said...


I just want to support you in all you are saying. It is so true. Our literary life doesn't simply begin with getting that call. It truly begins with having a simply understanding of the statement of purpose of why we write. If one doesn't know why they are writing, then that call comes they are easily taken in without taking in a deep breath and on hanging up, immediately contacting their entertainment attorney or right's attorney or calling a true friend and getting the name of a reputable attorney in the field of entertainment.

Yes, books are many things that pertain to many things serious. BUt in the business world, the real world of dollars and cents books are big business in the area of entertainment.

It is also helpful to note that 7 out 10 books that are brought to print by publishing houses do not earn back in sales the cost of placing book form the words an author penned. That author who penned those words is you and me. And nothing comes freely. If anyone tries to tell you it does run from them.

I urge readers to browse this article on the truth about large book advances:New York Times Essay–About That Book Advance…

and when they have some time, my blog:http://www.anjuellefloyd.com/2009/04/13/a-thick-state-of-denial/#more-681

Again, thanks for relaying to us the importance of stopping and thinking and acting appropriately and in our own best financial and creative interest when when get they call.

Anonymous said...


Very good advice. If more writers understood this, they may not answer the phone.

Wanda B. Campbell

Jackie Moore said...

Linda, how ironic is this article in regards to where I am at in my writing career. Slowly turn you head to the right. Uh-huh, "Serving Justice." Yep, that's me. Seriously, you were right on point with this piece. Writing the book was the easy part. Now the real work begins. Thank you for this timely article.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for stopping by Valerie. I desire is to share with others what I've learned along the way.


Anonymous said...

Great insight on the literary sale number Anjuelle.

Thank you for sharing the article. I hope you come back again.


Anonymous said...

LOL Wanda. Maybe they'll answer, but prayerfully they'll respond from a more informed perspective.


Anonymous said...

Hey Ms. Jackie glad you dropped by.

I'm thrilled about your new release Serving Justice. Hope this article will be of help to you and others you share it with.


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