extribulum

Contacts and Contracts

In Uncategorized on May 18, 2012 at 9:00 am

I wrote a week or two ago about the work I was doing adapting my short story Out Of Rome to a novella-length work, which eventually ended up being submitted to Riptide Publishing under the title The City War. I have to say that while I worked really hard to make sure I cared as much about the quality of this story as I would about one I’m publishing myself, there was no loss of thrill when I got the acceptance letter from the editors on Monday.It’s very validating; it’s like someone saying “I work in this field, and I officially approve of you!”

I’ve been working lately to build up a network of writers and editors, not so much for my own sake but because it’s really fun to hook them up with each other and watch what happens. It’s like matchmaking; it’s very satisfying. Even so, I didn’t realise when I emailed the submissions editor that I actually knew at least one of the editors, possibly more, through livejournal. This world is smaller than we know, most of the time.

But it’s cool, now I have a whole new publishing house to add to my repertoire of places I can send people I think have promise.

I’ve always sort of let the numbers side of the business slide past me. I’ve read plenty about it in my trawlings for information on how we, as a literary culture, are making the leap to digital; I’ve read about how publishing houses work, how authors interact with them, and how that process has to change with the advent of e-readers. The information’s been there, but it wasn’t something I paid a lot of attention because it didn’t seem terribly relevant except in the “Wow, authors get shafted” sense.

Thing is, I’ve apparently absorbed enough about it that I can tell when I’m getting a good deal; with both this contract and the last one I signed for Candlemark & Gleam, I was capable of reading the whole thing over, making sure I was protected and so were they, and signing with a free heart. Both Riptide and C&G are small presses, and the terms are generous as only an e-publisher or a print publisher with a very efficient model can be. At any rate, I signed this morning and sent it off, which is always fun.

Sometimes when I take the envelope with a contract in it downstairs to put it in the mail box, I pretend I’m a spy mailing secret coded messages to home base.

I’m a writer, these are the things I do.

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