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Any published authors here?
Have some questions!

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#1 Bart.

Posted 27 November 2012 - 06:00 AM

Hi everyone

I've had a publisher in London take great interest in my book but being a first time author, I have some questions that I hope someone can answer, please!

1. Pseudonymous?  I don't know whether I should use my real name or not.  I can see advantages to both but being an intensely private person, I'm leaning towards the pseudonym.  Plus, the genre is chick literature and has raunchy scenes that are straight from my fantasies ( blush.gif ) so I'm not sure whether I should be associated with this?  BUT, on the other hand, if I use my name I get full credit on the slim chance the book is a success.

2. The financial side - They are offering a nominal amount to begin with and royalties from their net profit per book sale, whatever that is.  I understand a first-time author sees around 5-10% of the RRP?  Is this correct?  How much negotiation power do I have?  I just don't want to be ripped off.

3. Agents-  I've read mixed reviews on whether they're needed.  Does anyone have experience with this?

4. Literary control - I don't want some random person taking control of the story line and content.  They've already indicated they want some plot and character changes and I'm worried it will be taken from my hands.

That's all I can think of for now but if anyone could add their experiences, I'd really appreciate it.  This book is a five-year labour of love and I really want to make sure it doesn't get skewed.

Thank you everyone! original.gif

#2 Tecopa

Posted 27 November 2012 - 06:12 AM

I write books under a pen name for a UK publisher. I got someone to look at my contract I think from the ASA? Australian Society of Authors if I recall? They do a review for a flat fee and give some advice.
I don't have an agent. Pen name for me is great as the books are 50 Shades style although I was doing it long before her and I'd like to think not quite as woeful. One book I accepted a lump sum and no royalties and the other one I took just royalties. Certainly not making me much money that way! The publisher I work with is totally niche - the books are printed and personalised for each buyer.
I had huge editorial input and had to get a synopsis signed off each time etc.
For me it's just a fun hobby and a good dinner party conversation piece.

#3 SusanStoHelit

Posted 27 November 2012 - 06:33 AM

Not a published author yet, but trying to be. A pen name sounds like a great idea, even more so if your book is a bit raunchy and you don't want Great Aunt Edna / Mums on the school run / your entire home town knowing about it. Some authors have had very successful careers this way (Robin Hobb / Meghan Lindholm is one that springs to mind: she writes as both depending what type of book it is). Unfortunately, 5-10% is a fairly standard royalty for a first time author AFAIK. As PP have said there are organisations that will look over the contract for a fee to make sure you're not getting ripped off. As far as an agent goes, some use them some don't. Obviously they cost money (usually a percentage of your earnings), but on the plus side they are up on the business / legal side of contracts and can help you negotiate that. I think you hear mixed reviews because some are worth every cent and really go in to bat for the author, and others not so much. Literary control is one where I think you have to be careful. Yes, it is your story and you've written it that way for a reason. But sometimes another person's perspective might offer an improvement on your work. You also don't want to get a reputation as a "difficult" author. You should still have final say on any changes, but really listen to what your editor is saying, and analyse carefuly if the changes will be better or worse. If you disagree, be prepared to explain logically why. Good luck, and how exciting for you!

#4 Mrs Dinosaurus

Posted 27 November 2012 - 06:53 AM

Good Luck and how exciting original.gif

Are you a member of any local writing groups (like ASA)?

They can look at the contract for you plus provide any kind of feedback you want, offer contact with agents here and o/s and self-publishing options.

#5 Bart.

Posted 27 November 2012 - 07:42 AM

Thanks everyone!  I didn't know about the ASA and I'll look into that today.

I'll go for a pen name, then.  It sounds like the best idea! original.gif

Thanks Pumpkin for your feedback about literary control.  You're right, of course, it's just been my baby for so long it's hard to hand it over to someone else who doesn't have the emotional attachment.  Probably a good thing, really!

It is very exciting. blush.gif

Edited by Bartholomew, 27 November 2012 - 07:42 AM.

#6 Academic

Posted 27 November 2012 - 10:44 AM

Not an author here but an ex book editor. I strongly recommend you get an agent - they know how to negotiate contracts and will work to get the best deal for you. Ask the ASA for recommendations on reputable agents who represent your genre. With a publishing offer in hand, I think you will get representation very easily.

Literary control is always a fine line but it can be helpful to remember that publishers are not in the business of rewriting books - they simply don't have the time or resources. If they thought a book wasn't up to scratch they wouldn't buy it. An editor's job is to work WITH you to finesse your book so it is the best it can be. They aren't going to make changes without you knowing about it, and indeed, you will be the one making changes that require actual rewriting (copy editing is a different matter, but even then, you will have the opportunity to view and either accept or reject every change), so it will still be very much your own work. Remember too that editors have done this a million times and, for the most part, know what they are doing (that's not to say that there aren't bad editors out there - this is another area an agent can help you with, if you feel your editor is not right for you).

Congratulations, enjoy the ride! There's still a lot of hard work ahead of you but the end result will be well worth it!

#7 Acidulous Osprey

Posted 27 November 2012 - 11:07 AM

What Academic said about the editing process.

That's a standard royalty rate.  Is it a big name publisher?  It would be unusual for a mainstream publisher to have a dodgy contract but ASA will check it over for you as others have said.

I am going to disagree strongly that you need an agent at this stage.  Most agents take 10 to 15% of your royalties and for a first time author they are most useful to sell the book.  There's not much room for negotiation on royalty rates and you have already sold the book--why give away that money?  I would certainly shop around for an agent once this contract is checked and signed.

Pen name?  I would not do that either unless you are comfortable doing promotions and interviews under a pen name.  Most of your relatives will recognise you then anyway wink.gif.  Most people who use pseudonyms in genre fiction do it so that they can write in different genres.

And finally congratulations!  How exciting!

#8 madmother

Posted 27 November 2012 - 11:19 AM

Well done!

There are so many budding writers out there so it means your book is pretty damn great already to be offered a deal.

Congratulations - and I agree with Balzac.  cool.gif

#9 Bart.

Posted 27 November 2012 - 03:42 PM

Thanks again for your advice, everyone!  I've taken note of everything.  original.gif

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