Pub Rants

No Delay Conspiracy But It Feels Like It!

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STATUS: Happily green—for St. Patty’s day and because I received contracts and money in today’s mail. It’s never a bad day when money comes!

What song is playing on the ipod right now? I WANT YOU by Marvin Gaye

One of the things that has been driving me crazy lately is the slow-down from publishers in getting new contracts out.

If I were into conspiracy theories, I might think there’s a new contract policy going on to thwart pesky agents and delay upon signing payments. But I’m not. And the reality is that the contracts are probably backlogged. It can still drive me nuts though. I did a deal near the end of November 2005 and the final signed contracts, I kid you not, just hit the buying editor’s desk this week.

Now, I made allowances for December. It’s the holidays after all. Everyone is off drinking eggnog—including the contracts people; I’m all for eggnog drinking and holiday cheer (as I did quite a bit of it myself).

So, I expect the contract in January. Mid-January comes. I start calling and emailing the editor every Monday like clockwork. Where’s the contract? Will I see it soon? I have not seen the contract. I really want to stop calling you every Monday but I can’t until I see the contract. Underlying message, yes, I will be politely annoying until, you got it, I see the contract.

I really felt for the editor though. She loves me but she really doesn’t want to talk to me every Monday. After all, her hands are tied. My contract is sitting on someone’s desk and it’s not like she can just pop down to his office, stick it in an envelope, and mail to me.

First round contracts come later in February. But the negotiation isn’t over. Now my contracts manager and I have to nitpick over the details. That will take a week or so. All is agreed on and final contracts will now be mailed out.

When did I receive final contracts to sign? First week in March. From start to finish? Little over three months.

I groan. I’ve just negotiated three other deals. I’m ready to brush off my delay conspiracy theory and get ready for a long, drawn out contracts process. Hideous nightmares of all contracts taking three months to complete fill my nights.

Nope. Two of those contracts came within three weeks of deal negotiation. The other will probably come next week (which is a reasonable amount of time).

Finally, all the eggnog must be gone. So technically, I guess I really don’t have a rant until it happens again…

9 Responses

  1. Ewoh Nairb said:

    Sounds like more of the same hurry-up-and-wait game… just with a little more on the ‘wait’ end of things.

    As an aspiring author it is comforting to know that I am not alone with having to wait for things to happen… and now I can also put my conspiracy theories to rest.

    Thanks for sharing your pain Kristin. At least now I know that the suffering is shared rather than focused.

  2. Debby G. said:

    Sigh. I’m still waiting for my contract from an offer made at the end of November. I think my agent just received it.

    I don’t want to name names, but does the name of the publisher have any similarities to a cute bird who likes cold weather? 😉

  3. Heather Brewer said:

    My agent just received my contract (deal was set up the end of January) shortly before the London Book Fair. So things are moving along pretty quickly, all things considered.

    (not that I don’t bemoan how slooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooow this industry can be)

  4. Jpatrick said:

    Sorta makes you want to think twice about submitting to that publisher, doesn’t it. In fact, I’d lower it a notch unless the author specifically requested it.

  5. MTV said:

    Hey debby g – and yeah, does the last name of the editor start with a “Z”? -:)!!!

    That aside, this one’s for Kristin –

    Thanks for that Rant! You have no idea (oh, yes you do – that’s why you do it) how helpful that kind of info is. Besides the pain of an agent – remember you can’t go broke making money – so keep those deals coming – These good wishes from a reject of yours. Believe me I totally understand where you are at and always wish you the best – and I know a “no” means nothing – and further if you follow that out – “it doesn’t mean anything that it doesn’t it doesn’t mean anything!!”

    Being inside the head of an agent is awesome!!

    Keep those Rants coming – you Rock Girl!!!


  6. Eileen said:

    My contract (deal made mid-Jan) just arrived in yesterdays mail- so on the whole pretty darn speedy. I have this theory contracts are all hand done by Tibetian monks using only ink hand ground from dried wild shrubs. Art takes time baby.

  7. Anonymous said:

    Do publishers ever say, “Sure, we’ll send you the contract,” and then say, “Oops, we’ve changed our minds.”? Along these lines, do you advise your clients to remain mum about a deal until the contract is sitting on your desk?

    Thanks for your blog!

  8. kathie said:

    I appreciate your blog so much. My book is being shopped. I hope to get to the point where I’m waiting for the contract. I could choke on my impatience. Thanks for pointing out agent angst!