Please Sign Here - Lynne Garner

Some few weeks ago I purchased a copy of Writing Magazine and in the market section there were some writing opportunities for non-fiction writers. I popped off some emails and received some responses. One was from a publisher interested in me writing for them. They sent me a draft contract, which I immediately sent to the Society of Authors for checking.

As per usual they did a fantastic job at highlighting clauses I should be aware of before I signed and the consequences of agreeing to them. These clauses included:
  • Sourcing illustrations and ensuring all written permissions were obtained 
  • Creating an index  
  • Writing the blurb for the back cover
  • Write some promotional material for marketing materials, including social media
When I first started to write professionally some twenty years ago this was done by the publisher. So I began to wonder what I'd be gaining from signing such a contract. The reasons I came up with were:
  • An advance
  • They'd format and design the book 
  • They'd run (hopefully) a marketing campaign 
  • They'd get the book into book shops and other outlets 
I'll be honest the advance would be handy and getting the book into bookshops and other outlets is nice (apart from when books turn up in the discount stores, including Poundland - meaning I'd be getting literally pence). However I have to ask myself is the above really worth earning less, far less per book than I make from my indie published books? I'm wondering do I answer their call to action to 'please sign here' or do I turn away from publishers and just indie publish? I'm not expecting anyone to come up with an answer, I was just thinking out loud whilst I argue with myself about the pros and cons of both.



Now for a blatant plug:

My latest short story collection Coyote Tales Retold is available on Amazon in ebook format. Also available Meet The Tricksters a collection of 18 short stories featuring Anansi the Trickster Spider, Brer Rabbit and Coyote is available as a paper back and an ebook.    


Andrew Crofts said…
I think, Lynne, it depends on two things. How big is the advance because chances are that is all you will ever get? Would it be a fun/useful subject to write about.
JO said…
It's a tough one. Let us know what you eventually decide to do - and how it works out.
Chris Longmuir said…
Well, from my own personal perspective I would need to be offered an advance of more than a million before I would return to the traditional route to publication. I've fared far better going the Indie route than I ever did with my publisher. But some writers prefer to sign a contract rather than have the hassle of doing it themselves, so it depends on what you value most.
Andrew Crofts said…
I don't think it is an either/or situation. Doing this book will not stop you from publishing your own books at the same time, will it? Or am I missing something?
Lynne Garner said…
Andrew - it won't stop me publishing my own books it'll simply delay anything new. Which is the main argument I'm having with myself.

Chris - so pleased to hear you have fared far better with the Indie route. I don't know why but I do like to get a contract every so often if I can. It simply gives me an ego boost - I know makes no sense.

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