Pub Rants

Accidental Omission Is A Part Of Life

 8 Comments |  Share This:    

STATUS: Super busy and I hit the road to New York City tomorrow. Blog might post late.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? I NEED TO KNOW by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

I’ve been working on three different contracts for the past couple of weeks. Finally we get the final versions in and sure enough, some requested changes didn’t quite make it in.

This is pretty normal and it’s almost always a simple oversight on the part of the contracts director at the publishing house. A quick phone call solves the problem but ultimately there are only two solutions.

Handwrite the changes into the contract and have the author initial next to the change or have the publishing house regenerate the contract.

If the changes are minor, we always handwrite them in.

This time they weren’t. There were three whole clauses missing. Three clauses that had to be handwritten into three separate contract copies.

Normally I would opt for the publishing house regenerating them and resending but I didn’t want to delay any further—especially when I’ll be out of the office for the next 10 days and I personally prefer to review final contracts before sending on to the author.

Just a great reminder that this job is mostly about attention to details.

8 Responses

  1. freshwaterlotus said:

    Agent Kristen,
    Howzit! My first visit to your website and blog. I realize I may sound like I’m gushing, but I am sincere: I was impressed!
    I love your writing style and how quickly you seem to lay it out with a light heart and hand enriched with your personality. It is so pleasing to see one who cares for the feelings of others when you must pass on their work and to see the process you have undergone to be considerate. The touches of helping others with the literary trek to publication with an eye toward sensitivity belies a sincere, kind soul. And I love your iPod reports; it would seem we share similar tastes in music! Yours is the first blog I’ve ever bothered to comment on, because you sound like my kind of friend!
    I,too, appreciate your desire to be hip so you can connect with your audience and stay fresh in your approach. (Who wants to be known as the prehistoric relic vrs. the impressively leading edge of emerging trends?)
    It’s insightful to read of your life as an agent filled with weighty decisions on behalf of your clients and publishers to get things to mesh properly and efficiently. Sounds as though you are a worthwhile agent to have. Kudos girlfriend, you rock!


  2. ORION said:

    I think this post is a perfect response to those people who complain about 15% payment to an agent.
    As I receive each of my contracts and see the initials, the changes, the complex language — I have no doubt I would easily be seriously taken advantage of without representation.
    My agent is worth every penny and more.

  3. Demon Hunter said:

    So queries sent to you in the next 10 days won’t be reviewed until you get back? Or will you check in and read them? Just curious.

  4. Judy Schneider said:

    I’m sure your author appreciates the handwritten additions, without delay. In the words of Tom Petty, “The waiting is the hardest part.” (Well…sometimes the rewrite is harder.)

  5. Anonymous said:

    This happens so often. It is the norm rather than the exception. In my last contract, my agent negotiated certain changes, got the contracts back, reviewed them, and then I found a minute change in phrasing that I went back and asked the agent about. She then had to go back again and nail the contract person. This is with two sets of interested eyes looking.
    How someone would go it alone without an agent, or begrudge them 15% is beyond me.
    And even if this “mistake” had gone through, my agent made me more than she cost, several times over.

  6. Anonymous said:

    :::scratches agenting off list of things to do if writing doesn’t pan out::: I’m allergic to details.