My weird book contract dillema

So I entered my space opera novel (one of 64) in a contest and placed – I guess. Anyway, I “won” a publishing contract with the publisher, a small outfit that does mostly e-books (that I will decline to name at the moment). It is a surprisingly hard decision whether to sign t or not. So if you have a moment, follow me while I puzzle out the problem.

There’s no out of pocket for me. The Publisher covers or provides editing, cover art, printing and the like.

They are not asking for all rights, just license to publish.

There is zero advance.

The royalty rates are at the low end of acceptable, but acceptable.

I am required to complete their 3 month marketing academy (In lieu of an advance, they claim).

I would be required to establish a website that they approve, at my expense.

They want me to cut down from 130k to 110k words.

These guys are small, but they are not a vanity press. The money flows (or at least trickles)  in the right direction. I am resigned that no matter where I go with this, I will not see a sizable advance, and I will be called upon to do the bulk if not the entirety of the marketing work.

PRO’s

  • I could have a book out by this time next year.
  • It would be from an actual publisher that is not myself.
  • This offer is in my hands, right now. All other opportunities currently exist only in my mind.
  • I might actually learn something in their class.

CON’s

  • I’ve never heard of these guys, and likely, neither have you.
  • The contract is not as clear as I would prefer about which rights I am granting.
  • 20k words is about four full chapters, or all references to a major character. The plot has a lot of moving, interlocking parts.
  • I don’t mind putting together a website. I  mind getting someone to sign off on it that isn’t paying for it.
  • No sensible adult mistakes a required class for payment.
  • This is a small pond when I honestly think I could make it in the open ocean.
  • I could write a lot of fun books using this universe, unless I somehow lose control of it all right here.

There are logistical benefits to having a decision by Monday. I will update as thoughts occur.

UPDATE: This thread continues in my other blog “One of 64” (who would have seen that coming?)

 

http://the64.wordpress.com/2014/04/16/winning-a-contest-brings-up-red-flags/

 

Now you know.

 

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3 thoughts on “My weird book contract dillema

  1. Yikes! Tough decision! As someone who has recently signed a publishing contract myself, my suggestion is that you absolutely get legal advice regarding the contract. I live in Australia and I went first through the Australian Society of Authors for their legal assessment of my contract, and after they came back and I still had some lingering issues/questions, I then went through a lit agent who does freelance contract consultancies on the side. After an hour of her time I was so happy with it all – but without that, I was very much like you (confused and uncertain about whether or not I was making the right decision). I’m not sure about the options where you live, but that’s still my recommendation – get legal advice, and if after that you’re still not 100% comfortable, then it probably isn’t worth the stomach ulcer (especially if you believe you can go further/do better/receive a more motivating offer down the track.

    Best wishes – and congrats! (It’s a HUGE deal to be offered a contract! Well done!!). Hope it all works out for you!

  2. Pingback: Winning a contest brings up red flags. | The 64 – and other heroics in the future

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