Okay, so I had this really good blog written titled Easy come Easy go, and some Tough Love. It was a strong, direct blog (okay, and a little snarky) targeting people who see a train coming, and instead of jumping off the tracks to safety they lay down and get cut in half. But, after I read it, I thought it may be a little too strong and too direct for some people. So after I polled my goils here at MSW and some other trusty goils the consensus was: “Yep, it’s strong and be prepared for fall out.”
Needless to say, I’m not in the mood right now for any battles. I’m up to my armpits in revisions. So, I’m going to acquiesce to that crappy PC monster, and write a blog about Little Bunny Foo-Foo hopping through the forest.
Okay, I lied. This is going to be a brief blog today. It’s focus? Listening to your gut. That little voice in you that screams, No don’t do it! It’s too good to be true. Or when your conscious debates the intuition by saying, “Well I know that happened to so and so, but that won’t happen to me!”
Trust me, it will happen to you.
Now I’m going to boil it down even further. If you are agent hunting and one requests a retainer as a stipulation to taking you on as a client, report them to Predators and Editors and tell everyone you know. Or if they insist on you shipping your story off to the ‘book doctor’ they recommend. Don’t. If they refuse to give you a client list? End the conversation. If they ask for more than a hundred bucks in postage and copy fees per year, keep walking. If they ask for anything in perpetuity, walk on. Make sure they have sales in YOUR GENRE. RECENT SALES. If they tie you down to anything other than a 30 day release clause. Think long and hard before you commit. If none of the above apply but your gut, your intuition, that little voice in your head is waving a big red flag? Acknowledge it, respect it, and move on.
Same applies with any publisher. Read the fine print. If you don’t have an agent, fork over the 200 or so bucks to have a literary contract attorney look over it before you sign. If it’s a start-up pub or one that has had negative whispers swirling about it, do your research. Ask for a financial. Why take their word for it they’re solvent? Is it worth losing your story? If you get resistance, if they refuse to offer legitimate information then they have something to hide. Keep walking. If one pub wanted your story another will.
As women we have a tendency to think we are not entitled to not only ask questions but get answers. That’s bullshit. Publishing is a business. And there are good and bad business people on all three ends of publishing. Publisher, agent and author. As a business, we the author, expect a certain return for our product. It all must be established up front and in writing. No, I thoughts, or they said. Get it in writing. If they won’t give it to you, what does that tell you? It tells me they have no intention of following through.
I believe it is imperative to have an agent as an author’s advocate. And not just any agent. An agent who had been in the business. A reputable one. One who understands the business and one who has contacts. Not one who decides one day out of college they want to be an agent and has no practical experience. Sorry, but I don’t want to learn as my agent does. Maybe after she’s had a few years to cure, but not out of the chute. Not with my career.
Again, in my opinion the best business sense we have is what we posses inside of us. Our gut. Don’t try and talk yourself out of what it’s telling you. Go with it, and you can’t lose.
So, if anyone is in the mood, do you have a gut story to share? Either the time you listened to it, and were damn glad you did, or the time you didn’t, and damn pissed you hadn’t.