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Thursday, September 06, 2007

Negotiating With Book Publishers--Retaining Creative Control

I was watching the Charlie Rose show online, paying peculiar attending to interviews with Francis Edgar Stanley Tucci and Steve Buscemi. You've seen both onscreen in tons of roles. They're mulct fictional character actors, as well as authors and people who are simply originative in all major countries of film-craft.

Rose asked Tucci how he wishes to work with movie financiers, especially those who ante-up for small, far-out productions, and his reply was incredibly compendious and insightful:
"You just have got to happen the individual who is going to give you the money and go forth you alone."
This mightiness mean value high wealthiness individuals, bankers, or other sources. Of course, the fast one is the 2nd portion of his comment, negotiating with person who will go forth you alone, enabling you to reserve originative control and to convey your vision to life.

I've establish the same challenge in book publishing. My first editor at Prentice-Hall came to me and asked if I was interested in authorship a book based on my seminars. "I've been waiting for your call!" I quipped. "Actually, I desire to compose two."

As luck would have got it, we published six books in five years, at least one-half of which became best-sellers. We had a very straightforward relationship. I pitched him on an thought and sent a little proposal, and he approved it. Then, I delivered it before the deadline, and he set it into production. One after another, my attempts showed up in book supplies and book clubs. He "gave me the money," i.e. the fiscal clout of a large publication house, "and left me alone" to bring forth appealing products. It's the perfect expression in a originative undertaking. Endowment plus money bes success.

I've gone on to print six more than than books, and while I've enjoyed similar agreements with some publishers, I've noticed they've go much more intrusive, trying to micro-manage title selection, screen art, and content. Their input, while occasionally constructive, doesn't replace for my judgment, especially as it sees my audience, whom I've come up to cognize through consulting, seminars, gross sales situations, and other agency of contact. It isn't that they don't trust me or my judgment. They don't trust their own, and this is the ground they meddle, being paranoid that the statute titles they publish won't happen their manner to the shelves of Borders, Barnes and Noble, and independent stores.

A few hebdomads ago I called off dialogues with a New House Of York based book publishing house because her vision of my book and my vision differed. She was interested in publication her version. I could see this was a lose/lose proposition nearly from the get-go. I can't read her mind, or set myself in a place of doing bill of exchange after bill of exchange to fulfill her shifting tastes. But I can compose MY BOOK. In fact, that's all any author can capably do. If you seek to compose for them, you'll be no more than than a "contractor," a Scribe for hire. These manual laborers exist, but typically, we don't believe of them as echt authors.

The existent trades have got autonomy, originative freedom. Whatever you do, don't negociate this away. I've establish it's break to walk away from an offering that wrests control from you, than to submit. If they don't desire to make your book, or they simply won't go forth you alone, as Tucci requires, then state them, "Sorry, we couldn't make business."

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