A long silence on the blogging front usually means much invisible work going on. I’ve been busy on a final edit of my novel, The Chicken Soup Murder. This was a finalist for the Dundee International Book Prize and has now found a home with Seren Books (publishers of my short story collection, Pumping Up Napoleon). Publication date for the novel to be confirmed, possibly as soon as September 2017.
Apart from writing books or blog posts or poems (I’ve been working on those haiku I mentioned in my last post, Poetry – 100 Years Asleep, in the chinks in time between editing, and to keep myself sane and sharp) one of the most important things a writer can do is sign a contract.
I can highly recommend the services of the Society of Authors for writers, particularly if you do not have representation. Included with the annual membership is a contract vetting service. It is reassuring to have a professional view of the terms and feel that someone is there to support you when you negotiate. Stand-alone authors certainly can negotiate terms. I’ve managed to do so every time and to my advantage. It might not be the sum itself but could be the royalties or rights, or to take out or amend a clause that could cause trouble in the future. For anyone with their first book coming out, it’s worth the membership fee for this service alone.
Read the draft terms of the contract for yourself of course – very carefully – and compile a list of things you wish to query or ask to have changed. When you have finally agreed terms, and have two copies of a paper contract to sign, read the entire document again very carefully checking against the changes that should have been made. The document you sign is exactly what you will be bound to and protected by. There might be some daft unforeseen error, which you will be sorry about later in life if it’s not put right – so take your time. And maybe snap a photo or a series of them to celebrate?