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  1. Jewels
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    Jewels Member

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    Protocol when signing a contract

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Jewels, Jun 14, 2011.

    I was just wondering what the protocol is when signing a contract with a publisher. Do you need to contact all of the other publishers that you have submitted your manuscript to and withdraw it?

    Also, if you are waiting for responses from other publishers and you are offered a contract, can you ask them to wait until you hear back from the other publishers or is it best to accept the first contract you are offered?

    If not what is an acceptable amount of time you can expect a publisher to wait for you? I intend to go with the contract I've been offered even though I'm waiting for some others to respond, but I was just wondering for future reference.
     
  2. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    [Q
    It would be good manners to do so.

    If you ask them to wait until other publishers get back to you - then imo you had better be prepared for them to withdraw their offer. As to accepting their offer are they a reputable publisher and are they offering you a fair deal?
    OTE]

    The acceptable amount of time you can expect a publisher to wait for you - imo zero. You say you intend to go with the contract you've been offered - then If your sure (If it was me I'd sign the contract before they change their minds).
     
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    your agent would do that... if you don't have an agent and submitted directly to publishers, of course you should notify all others you submitted the ms to, that it's no longer on the market...

    1. it would not be wise to do so... simply let them know you need a certain amount of time to have your attorney look over the contract... in the meantime, you can let the other publishers know that you've had an offer, but are willing to entertain a counteroffer... that's what agents do and it sometimes results in a nice, lucrative bidding war...

    2.it's also not wise to accept the first offer, unless it's such a good one you'd be a fool to turn it down...

    a couple of weeks wouldn't be out of order, if you say your attorney is out of town... but if you play too hard to get, you can easily lose the opportunity...

    if you're satisfied with the contract you've been offered and have had it looked over by someone knowledgeable, stop playing around and just sign the darn thing!
     
  4. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi Jewels

    I'd go along with what Mia's said, she knows more about this subject than I do.
     
  5. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'll only reinforce what Mammamaia said and add that if you have a literary attorney or someone else (including you) look it over, know that some terms are negotiable (if you're not well versed in contracts, that's where an agent or attorney really show their worth). You do not have to automatically accept the boiler plate contract the publisher sends you.

    If you dinker around for a long time it's going to signal to the publisher offering the contract that you might be a very difficult author to work with (through editing and such).

    Good luck.
     
  6. looneywriter
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    looneywriter Member

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    First of all, is this a novel MS or a shorter work? (I will assume that it is your first publication, since you are asking about contract etiquette.) Like others have said, yes, withdraw your MS from consideration if you are taking the contract offer. If you don't, you can quickly burn bridges in the publishing world.
    IMHO, this depends heavily upon the length of your MS. With short stories up through novellas, I wouldn't wait around for a better offer. It probably won't happen. If it's a novel, you might get lucky. But blatantly stating that you are waiting for a better offer may very well result in a withdrawal of the contract offer - and a publisher that will not consider any of your further works for their publication.
    I would say, if you consider a contract to be a fair offer for your MS, accept the offer of publication. If you do not believe it is worthy of your work, decline and keep submitting it to other publishers.
     
  7. Jewels
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    Jewels Member

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    " it would not be wise to do so... simply let them know you need a certain amount of time to have your attorney look over the contract... in the meantime, you can let the other publishers know that you've had an offer, but are willing to entertain a counteroffer... that's what agents do and it sometimes results in a nice, lucrative bidding war..."

    Thanks. I was considering letting the other publishers know that although I have been offered a contract that I am still open to other offers while looking over the contract, but wasn't sure if this would be considered unethical.

    I can now see why agents come in so handy - they do all the dirty work for you!
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    yup!... that's part of how they earn their 15%...
     
  9. Jewels
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    Jewels Member

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    Just found some great info on Carina Press's website for any newbie authors grappling with the same questions as me.

    http://carinapress.com/blog/2011/06/how-to-withdrawing-your-book-from-consideration/

    How to: withdrawing your book from consideration
    Angela James | June 16th, 2011

    I think this can be confusing for an author. What do you do when you’ve submitted your book to multiple places, and hurray! one of the publishers offers to publish it? Or maybe you’ve decided to go ahead and self-publish it.

    First, there’s a few things to keep in mind:

    1) Don’t submit your book somewhere you don’t actually want to publish it. Because if the answer is yes, and you say no, because you want to wait for a better offer or you really just don’t want to publish with that publisher, you were just throwing it at the wall to see where it stuck, you’ve just wasted someone’s (probably more than one someone’s) time and money. Only submit to publishers you sincerely would be happy to say yes to.

    However, I recognize this happens all the time, where authors send to a bunch of publishers, just hoping one will say yes, so I’m going to give you further advice below on how to handle it if one publisher says yes but you really want to hear from another…

    2) If you have a list of your top publishers, you may want to submit to them and hold off on submitting to those who aren’t your first choice. Because you don’t want to take up the time of editors from whom you’d rather not hear “yes” first. If you know you favor one company over another, submit to them first. Oh, I know, this takes time and we live in the age of “I want it now” so this is painful and harder than sending them all out at once, but think about it, okay?

    Now, how do you withdraw your submission?

    First, keep a list of every publisher you’ve submitted it to and the date you submitted it. Maybe spreadsheets work for you, maybe you track it on your calendar, maybe you use a Word Doc. However you do it, keep track.

    If you’re self-publishing, as soon as you’ve made the decision to self-publish, email every publisher the manuscript is with and let them know. Simple phrasing like this works well:

    Dear publisher,

    I’m writing to withdraw my manuscript XXX by XXX, submitted on date XXX, as it is no longer available for consideration.

    Thank you.

    Signature

    See how I did that? No snide remarks, no poking at the publisher, just polite, full of the necessary information and to the point.

    Now, maybe you’ve got an offer from the publisher on the table, but, darn it, 3 publishers still have it. You have two options here. One, you can send the letter above. Let’s recap:

    Dear publisher,

    I’m writing to withdraw my manuscript XXX by XXX, submitted on date XXX, as it is no longer available for consideration.

    Thank you.

    Signature




    Or, alternately, maybe you really would like to hear what one of those three publishers have to say. Then you can send something like this email:

    Dear publisher,

    I’m writing about my manuscript, XXX by XXX, which I submitted on date XXX. I realize your normal response time has not yet elapsed. However, I’ve received an offer of publication from another publisher. You, awesome publisher, are my first choice and I would prefer to work with you, so I wonder if you could tell me where my submission is at in your queue. I’ve asked the other publisher to give me 2 weeks to consider their offer, would you be able to provide me with a response in this time frame?

    Thank you.

    Signature

    In this situation, please do not ask for an immediate response, unless you’re ready for the immediate response to be “best of luck” because it’s unlikely any editor or publisher can drop everything and get your submission through their acquisitions process immediately. Offering 2 weeks is plenty of time. One week is probably a lot harder but do-able in some situations. Just keep in mind that many publishers do have an acquisitions process, so it’s not just one person reading the manuscript and saying yes–it often has to go through a team, and that takes time.

    Now, some publishers will try to pressure you into giving an immediate answer to their contract offer. Don’t give in to the pressure. At this point, you can take the time you need to consider the deal details, do any further research into the publisher (and on that note, why are you submitting to a publisher you’re not familiar with, hmm?) and get responses from other publishers you’ve submitted to. That’s perfectly okay, even if you suddenly are just so overwhelmed you want to think about it for a few days. No one can (or should) rush you into signing a contract.

    Regardless of what your situation, once a manuscript is no longer available, whether because you’ve chosen to make it unavailable or it’s been contracted, please do the people you’ve submitted to the much appreciated courtesy of letting them know. Think of how you’d like your time to be respected, and act accordingly, so we don’t spend limited resources (whether it’s time or money) on reading a submission that’s no longer available. We will all thank you profusely for this because our resources? They really are not inexhaustible!


    This entry was posted on Thursday, June 16th, 2011 at 10:00 am and is filed under Carina Press. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    excellent advice all around!
     

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