Contract with a publisher


The contract

Three weeks ago I was contacted by the publisher currently holding my manuscript. They were interested in publishing it. However, them being a small publishing house, I had to either partly pay for it myself or agree to pre-sell 150 copies.

My initial decision was to decline. I didn’t have money to pay for it myself, and selling 150 copies sounded hard. But I couldn’t put it out of my head either.

I called some friends for advice. One of them is a writer like me, and she seemed to think the same as me: all or nothing.  My resolve to decline grew stronger. But I knew that I needed some outside opinions as well.

I called my second friend, who has experience with start-ups and entrepreneurship. Her take on it was very different. She compared the money/work to other start-ups, and reminded me that I would have to do a lot of self-promotion either way, so maybe pre-selling books wasn’t that different form work I had to do. It wasn’t very romantic, but it got me to reconsider.

Last, I called my little sister. She decided that she wanted to be a world class runner (800m) early in her twenties, quit her studies and went all inn. Now she is(!). We talked about having to carry the risk yourself in the beginning and she reminded me that you have to believe in your own potential before others will.

So we were two writers hoping to be recognised and helped into a writer-career (at least I was). And then we were two non-writers with real life experience and knowledge on making it in other fields.

Of the four of us, I am probably the one with the least real-life experience in risk-taking and entrepreneurship. I wanted the easy offer, the all expenses paid and royalties in advance-deal. I didn’t actually care about the money (realistically there wouldn’t be much of that as a debutante in Norway anyway). I did however want the experience that comes from working with a editor and publishing my own book.

I even asked my psychologist (whom I talk to partly because I am not comfortable with potential failure). She heard me out and then asked: “What is the big deal?” And she was right. I already knew the worst case scenario (having to buy the left over of the 150 myself). I did want to do it, I could afford the risk, and I sure as hell would regret not taking the chance to work with an editor.

I finally managed to make a decision. I asked the publishers for the contract.

Deciding to get published wasn’t a singular moment of bliss. It took some risk evaluations, contract negotiations, and a little reassessment of my pride. But I did it. I signed the contract.

As long as the collaboration works as we hope I will publish my first book in a year/year and a half),. Hopefully, I will look back on my decision, either happy to have taken the risk or at least proud to have tried.

Wish me luck 🙂