Sunday, March 22, 2009

Contract & Profanity

March 22, 2009

Had an eye opening meeting the other day with several members of my Four Goddesses crit. group. JOan is publishing her second book with Publish America (PA), while Lois and Cindie have just received their first contracts from them. I'm considering it for my gay/sci-fi epic. Joining us were Dave, who is considering publication of his anthropomorphic desert tale or a book of poetry, and Anne, who has a dramatic novel centered around Australia.

We discussed copyright in detail. Who applies for it and do we get/need a copy of it in our files? Who gets the rights to the submitted piece and for how long? What about foreign rights? What about distribution to the author and on-line sellers like Amazon and such? What about the cover art? Cost? Willingness to use the author's own artwork? Author cost for each book and of course the royalty percentage. What are the writer's expectations as to editing and marketing? Advantages/disadvantages of companies that charge for publishing like Xlibris versus no upfront charges as offered by PA.

Depending on trust levels, reality levels and frustration levels with going through traditional agents/publishers, many concerns were put to rest or highlighted. JOan's information and experience with PA certainly convinced me that they were a respectable venue for me to consider. Damn! I do so hate the administrative part of the writing process. Anyone out there willing to give me an hour or hour and half five days a week to do my submitting for me? I'll pay all postage and printing. Granted while I write and they submit our income is zilch, but should we 'hit' it. I'd be willing to give that person 50% of all earnings from the book they get sold to a traditional 'big time' publisher.

Anyway, it was a great meeting with such an enthusiastic and supportive bunch of friends.

Saturday was the bi-monthly meeting of the Lake Havasu City Writers Group LHCWG. Big turnout. Jim took over as chairperson. I was supposed to get outgoing presents for those leaving office, but I had a senior moment or two and let him down. He finessed it beautifully. He got the members to agree to pay for the gifts! I had submitted an excerpt from my novel 'The Woman Between'. Overall, I got good feedback. Did have one person who is having trouble with my use of four letter words in the dialog as spoken by cowboys around the turn of the century. They didn't sign their name, but if I could talk with them, I would explain like this. I try to stay with the technology/dress of the period. Like I'd never have my cowboys mount a Ford Bronco in 1901 and ride off into the sunset. Obviously, he mount his horse. Also, my citified brother would not be wearing a Brooks Brothers suit. He sports a frock coat. But, when it comes to language, I want the current day reader to get into the moment, the temper, the mood of the speakers. I checked and found the word f--- has been used since the 16th century. Did the western cowboy use this word? I don't know, for sure. But, I do know that my reader needs to get put into the scene by dialog that they understand. Look at Shakespeare. I used to hate it because the words made no sense to me. I took a class and a professor helped clarify meanings until I had studied it enough to see the meanings for myself. I don't write at the Shakespeare level, nor do I attract that reader. My reader lives and thinks in the 21st century and I need to use words of the 21st century. So, I'm sorry if my dialog offends some, I will continue to use it as necessary. Besides, as a woman, I have enough trouble trying to create believable male dialog for my characters, so as to limit myself to the propriety or the 1930s writings of Gray or L'Amour. Enough said.

After the meeting we gathered at Denny's. Fun and Informative. Oh, had a fun moment when Donna, a new LHCWG member, showed us her Kindle. While we talked over our coffee, she bought 'Hannah', my western novel, and downloaded it for all to see. EXCITING!!! It may not be the NY Times list, but it was such a kick to see Hannah on her electronic reader!

On Friday, after the contract meeting, Cindie and I went to see 'Duplicity'. We left the theatre dizzy. Talk about plot twists. The actors were good, the dialog snappy and overall it was the type of movie you need to see twice to pick up all the twists and turns you missed the first time around.

Today, I'm heading over to Laughlin, NV. The country group Confederate Railroad is going to be at the Edgewater Casino on April 4th. Love that group, so we are going to get some tickets. Darn casino won't let you order them. Guess they want you to have to walk past all those slot machines to get to the order booth. Good marketing on their part, pain in the neck for the customer.

So, hope your Sunday is going well. In line with my discussion about contracts, I leave you with this bit of advice from Frank Crane. "You may be deceived if you trust too much, but you will live in torment if you do not trust enough."

1 comment:

josjabbers said...

sharon, this is fun . You post a good post. No one reads mine. Or do they read and just not post? I think my last one was a little whiny. What can I say? ours are upbeat and informative. JOan