The publishing World
So you've been offered a contract. When you’ve finished dancing around the house, it’s time to think about getting a solicitor or an agent to get their advice on it. Contracts are negotiable, so negotiate if you feel the need to. The contact will cover many areas. Some of which are;
2. How much, and in what form, your advance covers.
An advance is when a publisher works out how many copies they are likely to sell. They then decide how much of your royalty they will pay you up front. It can range from 30% to 100%). The advance is usually paid out over at least a year. As authors you must have noticed that Royalty rates are slipping. Sometimes to as low as 6% with some publishers. Check your contract has a clause that mentions ‘rising royalties'. This gives you a higher royalty once a certain number of books have been sold. You also tend to get different royalty rates for hardback and paperback books. Hardbacks seem to be slightly higher.
It is a sad fact that VERY few authors sell world rights to their titles. Getting your book published in one country is no guarantee that it will be published anywhere else. There are separate contracts for US rights, UK rights, German translation rights, French translation rights etc. If you sell to a book publisher you should really only sell the print rights. Publishers sometimes try to take the electronic rights, film rights, radio rights etc. Don't let them. Sell off your various rights one by one, so you don’t have all your eggs in one basket. Also find out how many FREE copies you will get. You’ll need those for your promotions.
Now you’ve sorted out the contract, you have the complexity of the editorial process.
The editing process really depends on the publisher. An editor will be assigned to your book and from then on, you will usually work on a one to one level with them. Most authors find it hard to view their work objectively. They are so immersed in their characters sometimes they don’t see the flaws. An editor can ask you to get rid of a character, revise one, cut scenes, all might enhance your story, but it will leave you with a great big headache.
One of the hardest thing an author can do is read read what someone else thinks of their work. A lot of emotional investment is in your book and cuts/changes made to it can slice into you like a knife. But do bear in mind that most books come out much better after the editor has had their hands on it.
Once you get on track and make the revisions as painless as possible, it goes back to the editor for a final perusal and then back to you for a final review. Now, during all this your editor should be talking to you about the book cover and any marketing strategies you may have. Authors do have a lot of say in their covers, but generally publishers have the last word.
So, now your book is published. Yaaaay. It never gets tiresome seeing a new book in print. Every time is exciting to me. BUT, what happens if, when you are admiring it, you see a glaring mistake on the very first page? I remember in my very first novel, my main characters name morphed from Brian to brain in the time it left my hands to go to print. I was mortified. But it CANNOT be corrected, it’s too late. So pray it doesn’t happen to you.
And finally a small tip. Sometimes bookshops are able to return books to the publisher, unpaid for, if they don’t sell. Which means, less profit for you the author. My advice! Sign as many of your books as you can, they can't then be returned, and they become guaranteed 'sales'.