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The Multiple Book Deal - It should Only Happen to You! (Or Should It?) - Part 2

By Richard Curtis



The big multiple-book deals that make front-page headlines incorporate all of the factors I described in Part 1 of this article, plus very big front-money. These deals are designed to nail down a bestselling author for as long as possible, and in many cases there is little or no description of the books because nobody including the author knows what they're going to be about. Indeed, the publisher may not even care what they're about as long as it's guaranteed he'll get his mitts on them.

The publicity value of a multiple-book deal may outweigh its actual monetary value. The pages of publishing trade publications and writers' newsletters are filled with references to deals that make author and publisher look good but do not necessarily stand up to intense scrutiny. A "five-figure deal" might be for $99,000 or it might only be for $10,000. Or you may read about deals that "could bring the author $850,000 per book." They could, yes…

Critique Groups - Getting Them On Their Feet - Part 3

By Chris Stewart

Part 1

Part 2

So now you've found the group that meets the criteria we've discussed, or started one, and you're ready to go. How do you run it? What are its rules of conduct? How do you convey your comments and suggestions to your fellow writers and poets in a respectful and helpful way so they don’t rip your head off?

Running the Group

It’s fairly simple. You:

a) Agree to meet at one neutral, easily accessed location for each meeting OR rotate houses so everyone in the group hosts.

b) Each week a different person in the group facilitates (the host if you are rotating houses). This means keeping time, keeping people on task, and keeping the peace. The latter means asking someone to be clearer and offer examples that illustrate their comment, or rephrasing what they’ve said in a nicer way and asking them if that’s what they mean. It usually doesn't mean breaking up a fight or trying to coax a crying writer out of the bathroom, but I've seen both. Brush u…

The Multiple Book Deal - It should Only Happen to You! (Or Should It?) - Part 1

By Richard Curtis

For many writers the term "multiple-book deal" conjures images of byzantine negotiations conducted in a crowded conference room by a battery of literary agents, lawyers, accountants, and publishing executives, of telephone-number advances and thick contracts replete with state-of-the-art jargon about best-seller escalators, book club passthroughs, and topping privileges. The tyro author who would be overjoyed to get even a one-book contract must view such deals as relevant only to the gods in some literary Valhalla. What pertinence do these John Grishamian, Dan Brownian, Nora Robertsian transactions have to the humble and brutish lives of nickel-a-word galley slaves?

The truth is that many more multiple-book contracts are proffered to writers than most people imagine, and most of them are no more complicated than one-book contracts. And their terms are substantially lower than those generally associated with Olympic-sized swimming pools on the grounds of Beve…

Writers-for-Hire

By Richard Curtis

If one were to compose a Bill of Rights for authors, ownership of copyright to their works would certainly be close to the top of the list. We hold self-evident the truth that if a person produces an original book-length work, he or she is entitled to proprietorship under the law, and to full benefit of its commercial exploitation.

Yet, it has not always been so. The piracy of literature by printers, publishers, and booksellers has been common practice throughout the world from the dawn of the printed word, and was prevalent in this country until well into the present century. Until the establishment of the first International Copyright Convention in 1891 and its refinement after World War II, respect for the sanctity of copyright was largely a matter of gentleman's agreements based strictly on self-interest—don't steal from me and I won't steal from you. There are still vast areas of our globe where publishers think nothing of stealing and distributing wor…