Contracts 2.0: Signed

As some of you might know, I’ve been negotiating my second and third contract. Both are now nicely signed and sealed, so I’m able to go into more detail than I could previously. I had said I’d been negotiating a big change. The change? Print. Was I successful? No and I think my decision to sign regardless is something we ought to discuss.

Larger traditional presses do print runs. They are generally a guarantee. Smaller presses? Not so much. I knew that going in to my first contract, and I didn’t argue as much then as I really should have. By not arguing then, I gave the publisher a rather good place to set up camp. This was even further built up because print runs are expensive, and profit isn’t certain. Hell, splitting even isn’t even a definite.

Now, I love my publisher. She’s honest, down-to-earth, and extremely patient. Every question I’ve had, she’s answered above and beyond my expectations. Considering I’m a scientist in my other life, I have a lot of questions, so this means she takes hours out of her busy schedule to have long discussions with me. With over two hundred other authors on her plate and a company to run (reading queries and manuscripts, etc), I find her willingness to answer even the most inane questions rather reassuring.

Therefore, when I asked about print, she didn’t just refuse. She provided numbers and rationalized why she would only pursue a print edition after a book reached a sale threshold. As the company does POD (print-on-demand) rather than an actual print run, the cost makes print not cost-effective especially when distributed through online sites like Amazon.

My literary heart broke. I reviewed the numbers several times and tried to rationalize it. She provided me with any additional data I requested, and I realized I had a choice to make. A publisher  I enjoyed who would print my book when the sales supported it or refusing and possibly harming our professional relationship for the unknown. The decision was clear.

Am I disappointed? A bit. Traditional print runs are generally what most authors go into publishing expecting. While a contract with a threshold doesn’t remove that, a POD process isn’t the same as a print run. A print run means being in stores – physical presence and distribution. POD means a print version is available through website order and not printed until then.

As far as I’m concerned, a good relationship with a fantastic publisher is worth a little disappointment elsewhere. Plus, honestly, reaching a threshold isn’t that difficult if your book sells decently.

Good Luck.

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