Friday, July 6, 2012

Your publisher is asking for the advance back? Three things not to do (and one thing to try)

1. Unless your contract says you have to: don't give back the money. If your publisher chooses not to publish that's their right, but if you did what you were supposed to do and delivered an acceptable manuscript (you did read those prior posts, right?) then you're very likely entitled to keep your advance. You may be afraid of being blacklisted, but you're just as likely to be thought of as a sucker if you give back money you could have kept.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

What kind of help does your publisher have to give?

Today, one editor could have dozens or even hundreds of authors to manage. In that kind of environment it's important for you to be clear on the kind of assistance you should expect from your publisher. And your contract is going to contain clues, both by what it says and by what it doesn't say, about how much help you should expect.

Notwithstanding what your publisher might want you to think, courts have held that a publisher has a duty to provide an author with some guidance and assistance in delivering an acceptable manuscript. That's the case both for fiction works and for non-fiction.

That works to your advantage and disadvantage at the same time. Does your contract spell out exactly how many check-in meetings are required during the writing process? This is why: if things go bad the publisher is going to use these check-ins as proof that they were providing you with assistance. So use these to your advantage too:

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

App developers: if you sell into the EU and don't think about these four things, you'll hate yourself in the morning

For European app purchasers, July 4, 2012 may be their software independence day. (Okay, I admit that was horrible. I couldn't resist.)

Long story short: in the USA, if you download software, the developer has the right to restrict you from passing your download to someone else. Your app can be tied to your phone or your tablet and it's a violation of the license to sell the app to someone else. Until today, that was the case in Europe too. But after a lawsuit brought by Oracle against a company called UsedSoft, a sort of marketplace for buying and selling licenses for downloaded software, things are different in the EU. And for everyone from app developers to authors to musicians, this is a big change.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Three tips if your publisher says your book isn't worth the money (and one on what to do next)

When a publisher says they can't justify making the investment in publishing your book, of course it's crushing. You've put weeks, months, sometimes even years into producing the best work you can deliver, and it's reduced to a question of money: they don't think they will sell enough copies to make back their investment.

This is called rejecting the manuscript for financial reasons, and it happens more often than anyone wants to admit. It's often nothing personal and not a comment on your work product.

You need to think about how you'll respond to this. Even if your contract may not have any of the sections discussed in the previous post about accepting the manuscript there are rules about rejecting manuscripts for financial reasons that you should know.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Four better ways to determine whether your manuscript is finished

As I mentioned in the last post, your publisher will have pretty much unfettered discretion to determine whether to accept or reject your manuscript. Unless you put in some criteria to govern the decision.

Much though your publisher might not want you to know it, there are ways to do this that can give you some assistance in the event that your publisher tries to reject and take away the fee that you would be paid on acceptance. There's as many ways to do this as there are to write down words in a contract, but here's four methods that have been used in reported cases or in contracts that I've seen.