Novel Publication Contract for Warmaiden

strigidae_contract_header_photoWow. Where to start?

Not from the beginning. That takes too long.

This weekend was the 24th Pikes Peak Writers Conference. It went fantastic! I met loads of cool people. I made oodles of new friends. I attended quite a few excellent workshops. I met with editors, agents, authors, friends (new and old), and hung out with my tribe. It really and truly can’t get much better than that. I can’t wait to see what Laura, MB, Patrick, and Charise have in store for the 25th year!

While at the conference, a good friend of mine, Kevin Ikenberry talked to me about a contract I’d turned down in the past. Strigidae Publishing had approached me last year (also at Pikes Peak Writers Conference) about publishing Warmaiden. I’m going to be brutally honest here: I wasn’t a fan of the contract. The financial terms were great, but there were various clauses in there that made me feel a uneasy about the deal. This happens sometimes. I know Hank and Hollie very well, and we’re really good friends. However, this was a contract. This was business.

I let them know what my concerns were, and turned them down. Again, this was all very professional and extremely friendly. There were no hard feelings on either side.

Jump from last year to this year, and I was talking with Kevin about it. He told me that they’d made adjustments to their contract based off of my feedback and input from others. The clause that gave me the biggest issues had been heavily revised. Based off of what Kevin told me and my friendship with Hank & Hollie, I agreed to take another gander at the contract.

Sure enough, everything that led to me to turn them down a year ago had been resolved, except for one thing. I pointed out that one thing, and Hank looked closer. He admitted he’d intended to fix the one thing and had missed it. He said he’d fix up that one missing clause, and shoot me a revised contract the next day.

He was good to his word and sent over the contract around noon on Sunday. I was still eyeball deep (or deeper) in helping around PPWC. I noted the email arrival later that evening and promptly let Hank know that I’d received it. However, I needed more sleep in my system before I could fully read and evaluate the contract.

The next day, once I was home and (mostly) rested, I printed up the contract and read through it. It made sense. It was clear in its intent in every area. The various pieces I’d pointed out as bothersome had been resolved and cleaned up.

Let me be clear….

I didn’t negotiate changes with them. As a friend, I did the respectful thing in letting them know why I turned down the original contract. I was very clear in what gave me concerns.

They, in turn, respected my opinions and feedback and did the non-ego thing to consider my input. Based on what I told them and what others told them, they did the intelligent thing for their business, their authors, and themselves in revising their contract. I applaud and honor them for taking these steps. Many wouldn’t have done so.

The changes in the contract led to me signing it on Monday evening and giving Hank and Hollie a phone call. We’re going to meet on Saturday to discuss specifics on scheduling and editorial work and cover art (yes, I get input), and such like that.

It’s going to be quite a while before Warmaiden sees the light of day, though. I’m 4-5 books in the queue behind being the next book Hollie works on. If everything goes wonderfully well, we’re probably looking at sometime near the end of this year… maybe the beginning of 2017. I’m perfectly happy with that. I’m wonderfully happy if it takes a little longer than that!

I’ve been floating between disbelief that this is finally happening and crying-like-a-baby elation in this wonderful turn of events. It’s so incredibly wonderful and amazing that my physical, outward enthusiasm has been tempered a wee bit. I’m just afraid it’s not real. I’m afraid that it’s too real and will take me over while I’m here at the Day Job where I have to focus on information security.

In the end, I’m happy with what happened. I was disappointed that I had to turn down my first novel publication contract. However, the results in the end will lead me to being happier with the end result.

Now I guess I have to dust off the second book in the trilogy, Warmistress, and give it a good polish for down the road. Perhaps I have to actually consider finishing up the third book, Warmother, as well.

Wednesday Writing Journal: 2013-06-05

This past week has been crazy and exciting all at once. I’m in the last week of my current job. I had two new job offers come in last week, and I accepted one of them Friday. The one that I turned down called me on Monday and upped the ante a enough that I went back to the job I accepted and pulled out of the acceptance. All of the interviewing, negotiating, talking and thinking about everything sapped my time and energy to the point where I only managed to write a few thousand words last week.

However, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Two of them as a matter of fact.

The first is that I have all of next week off work as I’ll be between the two jobs. A vast majority of that time should be put to use at adding words to Warmother. It’ll be a great chance to test out the marathon writing chops of mine.

The second light at the end of the tunnel is that I will be getting back about 25 hours a week with the new job. You see, the current job is 75 miles from my house through the worst of Denver’s traffic. My average time on the road each day is 4-5 hours with 5 being more common than 4. Do that five times a day, and that’s a good chunk of time just lost to sitting in the car. Yeah. I get to listen to some awesome podcasts while on the road, but that’s about the only upside. The new job I’ve accepted is a full-time, work-from-home position for a company based out of California. Except for a week a quarter, I’ll be at home. Do the easy math and you’ll see that I’ll be gaining back 25 hours of my life each week. That’s huge.

Will I spend all of those 25 hours writing? Probably not. However, a good chunk of that time gained back will go into my writing efforts. My original goal of having Warmother done by the end of November just might be pushed up by a few months. We’ll see how it goes.

As the new job unfolds, I’ll make sure to keep everyone in the loop on what I’m doing and how things are progressing.

The Next Venture

I’m about to launch into outlining the third book in the Laurin trilogy. However, neither of the first two books are anywhere near getting published. I have no agent. I have no editor. I don’t have any “hot leads” on either front for Laurin’s story.

I’ve been told that writing a sequel to an unsold book is borderline foolishness. I can see the merit in that statement. It’s pretty simple. Here’s why:

If book #1 doesn’t get published, then what’s the point of writing book #2? It’s obviously not going to be published either. Heck, I’m getting ready to launch into book #3 in the trilogy. Here’s why:

It’s the story that’s in my heart right now. I have to tell it. I have to finish Laurin’s tale. It’s just what I need to do right now. Yeah, I realize I may end up with a “trunk trilogy,” but I’m perfectly fine with that. Sure, I want things to get published, and I want readers to enjoy Laurin’s stories as much as I’ve enjoyed writing them. If I do end up with a trunk trilogy, I’ll live with it. I’ll find another story to tell and tell it!

There’s another reason I’m not too concerned with a trunk trilogy. Each book I write is stronger and better than the last. I’m improving as a writer. I’m not making the same mistakes I made in previous writings (though, I may be making new mistakes!), and with each step forward in my writing craft, I’m that much closer to writing something an agent/editor/publisher will love.

If it takes me a trilogy to get good enough at the craft and art of writing, so be it. If it takes me twenty books to get good enough, so be it. I’ll trunk what I have to just to keep moving forward and getting ahead in the craft.

So….. having said all of that, I need to pull out the beautiful leather journal my wife bought me as a graduation present when I heard my bachelor of science degree. It’s what I use to scribble thoughts and ideas in. I’ll talk more about my outlining process at a later date. I’m a bit weird in it…. or maybe not. I’ll let you be the judge once I write that post.

Oh. One other detail. The third book is titled, “Warmother,” which follows “Warmistress” and “Warmaiden.”