Friday, January 30, 2015

Friday Night Videos: Chicken Ranch publishing edition

Depending on how closely you may or may not follow my Facebook or Twitter feeds, you know that for the past couple of months I've been in serious communication with a publisher that has shown significant interest in my book on the comprehensive history of the Chicken Ranch. They requested some changes--additions and deletions--which, although I wasn't crazy about, I could see their reasoning. So I made those because I like to think I'm not a prima donna artiste. Things got serious a week ago when they offered me a publishing contract. The contract wasn't terribly favorable toward me, the author (which I pretty much expected) so I counter-offered.

All of my requests were rejected.

Now, I never expected them to agree to everything. Their business model is conservative and restrictive overall, built to ensure the publisher at worse breaks even on the books they publish. What took me aback was their taking offense at my attempts to negotiate. The editor did not tell me to take it or leave it, but that's the impression I got.

If that's the case, I cannot take it. There are three clauses that could burn me badly in the future regarding liability, subsidiary rights and reversion should the book go out of print. I'm told I should trust them. I say trust has nothing to do with it, that their interpretation of these clauses could be very, very different from mine without modification and clarification.

I started work on Texas Had A Whorehouse In It! Truth, lies and legacy of the legendary Chicken Ranch back in 2009. I've been actively soliciting agents and publishers since 2012. The manuscript has received raves from pretty much everyone who has taken the time to read it before they ultimately pass on it. To say that I'm ready for it to see print is a vast understatement. But I'm not in it just to see my name in print. I'm not an academic desperate for publication credit to maintain my tenure track trajectory. I am a professional writer, and I have to look out for my interests as well as the best deal to ensure the book gets widespread distribution. I have to be willing to walk away from a bad deal, and without modifications, this is a bad deal.

I've been going through the stages of grief since I realized my counter- counter-offer would likely be rejected as well. Which will mean that I'm back to shopping for publishers. Ever since that became clear, Kenny Rogers' "The Gambler" has been my relentless earworm. This is no bluff. It's time for me to fold 'em and walk away.

Previously on Friday Night Videos... David Lee Roth.

Now Playing: John Cougar Mellencamp American Fool
Chicken Ranch Central

1 comment:

  1. Good on ya, mate. You can trust that when the chips are down, the publisher will take care of the publisher and throw you to the wolves as need be. You need to watch out for yourself, and a publisher that refuses to negotiate is a bad publisher.