Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Writing Tip Wednesday--Publishing Contracts Part 3

Welcome to Writing Tip Wednesday! I’ll be discussing career topics for the next several months. For writing craft topics, see the Labels list in the left sidebar as you scroll down the page or check out my handbook in e-book or print.

We’ve covered a lot of territory concerning Publishing Contracts with Part 1 and Part 2 already, but we’re not done yet! This week we’ll look at promotion, marketing, and distribution.

In today’s publishing world, the author is expected to participate in promoting her book. The contract should clearly state what promotional tools and opportunities the publisher will offer. The vast majority of us aren’t going to get a publisher-paid booksigning tour, but some publishers will provide books at no cost to the author for signings at major conventions and conferences. Will the publisher schedule a blog tour or place ads in RWR (RWA members’ magazine), RT Magazine (Romantic Times), or other industry publications? What about online advertisements? How about reviews? Will the publisher send ARCs to reviewers or are you responsible for contacting reviewers and submitting your work?

Speaking of ARCs (advance reader copies), will the publisher give the author ARCs for giveaways and reviews? Yes, give—as in “free to the author.” Print or digital format? Both? How many copies?

Part of marketing your book includes having a social media presence. Many publishers now require the author to have a website at the very least. What type of presence does the contract state? Website? Twitter? Facebook? Google+? Is the wording general or specific?

While marketing and promoting, you’ll sometimes mention your publisher. Are you permitted to use the publisher’s logo or other marketing tools? The contract should list which items may be used and in what manner.

Publisher websites often include author pages. Are you required to provide an author bio and photo to be included on the page and possibly in the book itself? Be sure to ask your photographer if you’ll get digital rights to your photos. Many times they aren’t included with the purchase of prints. Respect the photographer’s copyright, as you hope others will respect the copyright of your book.

Distribution outlets should also be discussed in the contract. Almost all publishers sell their authors’ books on their websites. In addition to that outlet, books may also be available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo, and several other online retailers. Which of these outlets will sell your book? Will your book be available at brick-and-mortar bookstores? While not all of these details are specifically outlined in the contract because the publishing industry is changing too quickly to stay accurate, ask about current outlets to get a good feel for the breadth of distribution.

Next week, we’ll wrap up our in-depth look at contracts!

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With A Kick!

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