October 22, 2019

NOT Signing the Publishing (or Editing) Deal

Jill Konrath has a short video on “Sales Integrity Is Being Willing to Not Sell Something.” As her examples point out, doing this is tough, especially when taking the deal meets goals or provides relief.

Recently an author approached for advice about his publishing situation. He had received a publishing agreement from a smaller publisher. At first he was delighted! But, he realized that he really wanted an offer from a larger, better known firm.  (In telling his friends, they commented that they had not heard of this press.)

What should he do? Turning back the clock, he probably should submit only to presses whose acceptance would delight him. He wanted to save the offer as a sort of “back-up date.” I encouraged him to have an honest conversation with the publisher–and consider returning the offer unsigned.

It works the other way, too. I turn down about 20 percent of the authors who approach My Literary Coach. Doing the work would be great, but I realize at the start that I cannot help the author achieve his or her goals. I hadn’t thought about such declines as a matter of integrity, but of simple honesty.

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