Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Patience is a Virtue--Wish I Had It

To recap quickly...

...As The World Dies begins it submission round the last week of January...
...Tor shows interest in early February...
...Tor and my agent come to an agreement on the deal in very early March...

...early May...

..still waiting on the final contract to sign. The good news is that I might have the final version this week or next according to my agent.

So what is the hold up, you may ask?

Well, the answer to that question is that there really isn't much of a hold up at all. This is just how things work in the publishing business. Once Tor and my agent agreed on the deal, it was up to the lawyers on both ends to come in and work out the actual wording. The contract manager at Foundry Literary + Media and the lawyers at Macmillan have to go back and forth over the contract until everyone is happy. Word is that they are almost to our mutual happy place.

Once the contract is signed, I get the first part of my advance. You don't get the advance in one big chunk, but cut into pieces. It's not uncommon for authors to receive a portion at contract signing, another when they turn in their revisions, and the last chunk upon publication of the novel. So even a six figure advance doesn't mean you're suddenly on easy street. That is why most writers have day jobs even if they do get a big advance for their first sale.

The publishing world has long stretches of time where all you are doing is waiting (and working on your next story hopefully). It can be rough on the nerves, but it can also be well worth it. I have zero patience, so I am trying to develop coping skills (other than margaritas and sugar free Dove chocolate). I think the hurry up and wait scenario is even made worse because friends and family keep asking you when such and such is going to happen and your answer is, "I'm waiting on that."

I remember when Hannah told me the deal was made and now we had to wait for the contract.

"How long will that take?" I asked, mentally calculating how much of my first check I wanted to spend on new furniture for our new place.

"A couple of months," she answered.

"Oh," I said.

"This is normal. The deal isn't in jeopardy or anything like that. We just have to make sure you get the best contract possible," she assured me.

A good solid answer, but I felt my heart sink at the thought of being...yep...patient.

So it has been a couple of months and it does look like the end is near. I field questions on a regular basis as to when I will sign my contract, get my revisions, or cash my first check (I think the nephews and nieces have lists ready) and the length of time it takes for any of these things to occur always floors people. I have resigned myself to the fact that there is no instant gratification in publishing. It is all about the waiting game.

I just wish I had patience.


  1. Yup. Agreed. Signing my NY papers tonight, in fact.

    Boy, the movies paint a bogus picture of the publishing world, don't they?

  2. The movies definitely don't show the reality of the publishing world. It's been a very good experience though and I've been learning a whole lot. It's very exciting to be at this point in the process. I can't wait for the next step. :)

  3. Next step?

    You mean where your publisher flies you down to your own penthouse in New York complete with two assistants so you can work on the galleys to the book, right? And if you're worn out, your aides take you dinner, some Broadway shows and provide an endless supply of champagne so you can recharge your batteries. They even fly your family in--all expenses paid--to keep you company so you don't feel so detached from home.

    At least, that was in my contract.


  4. Hehehe...more like when I stare at my revisions, panic, drink too much red wine, and end up sobbing that I'm hack.



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