Wednesday, February 17, 2016

You Can't Get Something For Nothing

Good news! You finally receive the email that you've been waiting for: A publisher has offered to publish your book. Then your joy turns to apprehension when you actually read that contract:

Rights, sub-rights, territories, escalation, reserve? What’s that? You don’t know the rules, the customs, even the vocabulary. Should you accept the offer?

One of the provisions that causes the greatest angst among new authors, is the so-called option clause. The publishing-advice websites are abuzz with conspiracy theories and horror stories from inexperienced authors who feel they got robbed by it. Yet most publishing contracts have one, and it generally goes something like this:

Tuesday, February 9, 2016


When I was a child, my home had a 20-inch black-and-white television. We could tune in about nine channels; the signal was free, and the selection was more than enough. Today we have a 46-inch hi-def color flat screen with access to hundreds of channels, but we only watch about six of them. And I have to pay for it!

Back then, we looked forward to a future of supersonic flight. This wonderful machine, which we knew as the SST, would be able to take us anywhere on earth in just a couple of hours. But only about 20 were ever made, and the entire fleet was grounded after only 27 years of service.