Nov 27, 2007

Danged if you do, danged if you don't

So you all know by now that I have a manuscript resting with Covenant. They're late getting back to me, and I'm trying to just be patient. But at the same time, it's getting on my nerves a little. Is this normal, I wonder, to be two and a half months outside of the time that was originally given to me as to when they'd be letting me know about my manuscript? Do all authors, with all publishing companies experience this?

Added to this, I have a certain set of extended family who has published with Covenant before and found their practices of royalty distribution less than ethical (if they discount the book, they take it purely out of the 15 percent due the author, not as a percentage out of all the royalties due everyone, they take lost/damaged/return books out of author royalties as well), and has warned me that they will want me to sign a contract (in the case that my manuscript is accepted) granting Covenant first refusal rights to any manuscript I ever send out to publishers in future.

Writers out there... tell me. Is this a normal demand? Are these practices of taking losses (marking down prices, lost and destroyed and returned books) out of only the author's percentage normal? And do most publishing companies expect first refusal rights?

I don't want to send them all my manuscripts first, particularly if first refusal rights means I have to accept any and all changes they may want to make to any manuscript I send them or else they'll sue me for looking somewhere else.

All these things have me thinking hard, have me worried. And at the same time, I desperately want Covenant to take my book so I can be published. Getting published by a publishing company is such a big break. It hardly happens to anyone who writes, or at least, it usually happens after a long string of refusals.

I'm just feeling so schizophrenic about this. It's affecting my writing... I get tired of it a lot quicker right now, I think because I'm associating stress with it. Argh.

Advice, people, please. Even if it's just, "snap out of it, surfgirl. The world is not coming to an end, the sky is not falling."

And dang it, I can't find people to give me feedback on my manuscripts. My family takes them and then doesn't read them. I want real feedback! But it's not like I write short little poems that I can place on a professor's desk and ask for feedback, these are books. They take time to read. Who can I impose on other than friends and family? And friends and family just don't understand fully, either that or the fact that I write is somehow... I dunno. Threatening to them? I have a lot of friends/family writers. I think that, if i were in their place, I would be resistant to reading a friends/sisters/daughter's manuscript because I would feel jealous that I hadn't finished one myself. I can see it so clearly, because that's how I would feel, and what I would do. Dang my artistic hippy renaissance family, and my informed and literate friends!

Just kidding. Sorry. Small vent.

Creative frustration is a [not going to say that word.]


Sherpa said...

Waiting stinks. I have a friend, Erin, who published with Covenant I believe, 2 years ago. There's a link to her blog from mine. I'm sure she'd love to answer any questions you may have.

David L said...

I guess as one of those writer friends, I have to fess up. I think you nailed it right on the head. I've had the idea in my mind for almost two years (you even helped me organize it a little better), but I just can't get it started. I have written only the first page to date.

The biggest reason I haven't finished your manuscript yet is because it reminds me of the work I have to do on my own and how much it I dislike it right now. Then that spills over into my work (I'm a technical writer), and that just compounds the problem. Pretty soon, I just pretty much hate writing in general.

Chaulk my excuse up to survivalism.

As for Covenant, I've never published, but I would be wary of any contract that you don't feel comfortable with. You don't feel comfortable for a reason, and until those reasons are addressed you won't exactly wake up the next day and suddenly be okay with signing your future writing away to Covenant.

My experience tells me that if they really want your book, they'll bend. I could be wrong (probably).

NoSurfGirl said...

Thanks for your honesty, Dave.

Just wanted to let all said literate friends and hippy family members know... I really do appreciate y'all. You are also my light and my life, every one of you. And I appreciate the time you have spent helping me, which is more time than you have to.

Dave, I think you'll find your time at some point. Maybe every author has a season, and a time and purpose under heaven. And in the end, it could be that this is not my season to publish, but just to write. We'll see.

Janell said...

I can't offer much advise because I'm not a writer myself, nor I have ever submitted anything to a publisher.

Best wishes! Rah rah! You can do it!