In this economy, as a first time author, I was thrilled to get an offer from one of the top 6.
But last week, after much back and forth in negotiations, I politely thanked them and declined. (and haven’t heard a word back by the way).
It wasn’t the royalties.
And it wasn’t that the advance was under $10,000.
And it wasn’t personalities. I really liked my editor – he was enthusiastic about me, and the book’s message.
THE MAJOR DEAL BREAKERS
- they wanted to change the title from ‘Get Paid For Who You Are’ to ‘Turn Your Talents Into Cash’, or ‘What You Already Know Will Make You Rich’. And I just can’t do it. Maybe it would sell more books, but it’s a bit tacky to me, and I feel ‘Get Paid For Who You Are’ is more soulful. It speaks to the people I want to reach.
- they wouldn’t give me ‘cover consent’, meaning they would have final say on the cover, which made me nervous.
- they were only offering 25 promotional copies of the book. I asked to buy 1,000 promotional copies at close to cost, but they said I had to buy them at 50%.
- they wouldn’t commit in writing to the March publication date. I wanted rights to buy back the book and self publish if they delayed publication by more than 2 months, and it looked like too much red tape. I couldn’t risk this going on the shelf, for any reason.
THE MINOR THINGS
- it was taking up quite a bit of time to get them to specify in the contract I could create derivative products of the same title (e.g. video, ecourses, seminars) and trademark the title. They agreed verbally, but it just wasn’t making it into the contract.
- had to fight to get definition of ‘Out of Print’ changed, which dictates when rights would revert back to me. Eventually got it to be declared out of print if less then 500 physical copies sold per year.
- had to fight to get reversion of foreign rights if they didn’t exercise them within 3 years. (And they insisted on foreign rights).
- couldn’t get rights to sell the ebook from my website (although they would let me sell an audio version from my website and back of room which was cool)
So it was a great learning process, and I decided I’m too entrepreneurial, and have too strong a platform, to go with this particular publisher. It feels edgy for me to say no to a top publisher, as a first time author. But – I’m feeling good and excited about self publishing, and hopefully it will all make a great story to tell one day.
I hope this helps any new authors out there. A big publisher normally does almost no promotion. But I hear it can help with credibility when it comes to getting media attention. I’m also doubtful that getting the book into book stores will do anything for sales at all. Seems to me the promotion is what counts, not where the book is. If they want it, they can get it online.