Sunday, August 13, 2006

“Mom, I sold a book.”

I still remember the excitement I felt as I spoke those words. After seven years of learning, writing, submitting, and being rejected, I’d finally sold a manuscript. At long last, the hard work and tears had paid off. I could officially and without reservation, add AUTHOR to the signature line on my emails. Hey, it’s the little things, right?

Anyway, my mom was thrilled. For almost half a minute, she just laughed and repeated over and over how proud she was of me. She asked when the book would come out. She asked about the publisher. And, eventually, we got down to the nitty-gritty.

“So? How much do you get?”


“The money. How much do you get?”


You know, before I joined the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), I was under the mistaken impression that people who wrote books owned expensive cars and lived in crystal palaces with servants to cook their food and clean their bathrooms. Okay, I wasn’t quite that naïve. Not quite.

I tried to explain that I was a new author, that it was the sale that mattered. After she got over the initial shock, Mom remembered that she was proud of me, and that she could tell all her friends she has a daughter who is published. I think that, and the fact that the royalties go up considerably for reprints, made up for the rest.

Mom finally found her voice. "I'm happy for you, hija (daughter). Just be sure you read the contract carefully."

Carefully? My husband and I perused the contract for days! Certain parts jumped out at me, things like, "Grant of Rights," and "Delivery of Manuscript." Suddenly, I realized there was a whole lot more than I thought to this whole "Publishing Agreement" thing. By putting my name to paper, I was signing over rights to a novel I had prayed and sweated over for months. Not only that, I was bound to deliver said novel, described within the publishing agreement as the "WORK" by a clearly outlined deadline.

Why do they refer to it as the "Work?" I wondered. And then I found it. Tentatively titled. The publisher could choose to rename the book if they chose. That didn't bother me. For some reason, when God called me to write novels, He didn't call me to write titles. I'm horrible at them.

My husband and prayed over the contract wording, made sure we understood all of the clauses correctly, and got advice from an agent I had been corresponding with. In the meantime, Janelle Mowery, my co-author, did the same. Once we were both satisfied, we got together to sign the paperwork. Hands shaking, I put my name to my first ever book contract. A few weeks later, I got a copy of the contract back, signed by a Barbour representative. It was official. I was an author.

I framed my copy. ;-)


Ane Mulligan said...

I can't wait to do the same! When I published my first play, the pay was so small, I framed the check! LOL

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