As you may recall, last week I shipped my book proposal off to Schiffer Publishing, who acknowledged receipt and said they’d get back to me “within a few days”. Time passed, and I was just starting to wonder whether I shouldn’t ping them again. And then – bam! on my doorstep, a Priority Mail package from Schiffer. I dropped everything else and tore it open – and there was a contract for Dream It, Make It!
The contract isn’t final yet – there are still some points that need to be negotiated – but I HAVE A PUBLISHER!! And not just any publisher, but my top-choice publisher! Schiffer publishes hundreds of titles a year, including many of the more serious weaving books in my library. They also keep books in print for a relatively long time, at least compared to other publishers. So I’m very pleased to have a contract with Schiffer.
Many thanks to: Susan Wilson, who was kind enough to introduce me to Nancy Schiffer; my friends Carla, Lieven, and Julie, who read and provided feedback on draft after draft of the proposal; and coaches/editors Bernadette Murphy, Jan Allegretti, and Edith Gladstone, who helped me polish the proposal to glossy perfection before sending it out. And thanks also to Lieven for doing much of the photography for my sample chapters, and my sister-in-law Tara for loaning me the shawl I gave her. And many others who have contributed as well.
Now, of course, it’s time for a crash course in contract review and negotiation. I’m not planning to make a nuisance of myself, but I do want to understand what I’m committing to and negotiate a few points that concern me. To do that, I need to educate myself about contract law and what is and isn’t standard in the publishing industry. I’ve already gotten a lot of good information from my network, but I’m supplementing it by reading through a few books on author law. In particular, a friend recommended Mark Levine’s Negotiating a Book Contract, so I ordered it from Amazon with rush shipping. It arrived today and I plan to read it through (along with the contract) this weekend.
This also means I have to get serious about writing the book. I have eleven months to deliver the final manuscript, which sounds like a long time until you start breaking it down. Being a project manager, I like to set milestones and reserve some time to avoid last-minute panics. I also like to plan around holidays. So I’m crossing off November (chocolate season) and December (holidays) as working months. That leaves nine months. I’m reserving three months at the end for integrating the chapters and polishing the results. That leaves six months. I have fifteen chapters total, four of which have already been written (but may need edits for style and tone). Eleven chapters divided by six months equals about two chapters/month. That is a lot of writing! But better to know that now, so I can set a steady pace immediately rather than panicking at the end.
I do, however, intend to continue forward with Phoenix Rising. It will be helpful to have some examples from a work in progress, and working with my hands calms me down. I’m hoping to finish it in just about the same timeframe as the book.
And what do the cats think? Well, they’re quite excited about finding a printer! In particular, while she couldn’t care less about my publisher, Tigress is quite enthusiastic about our new laser printer. Here is a tragically short video of Tigress exploring the wonderful world of duplex printing. (“Tragically short” means the second half of the video – not included – features a human crying out in desperation, “No, Tigress! No!!” and the camera being flung aside as the silly human rushed off to rescue the printer from her mischievous little paws.)