I sold my novel this past May, maybe six months ago? When a publisher makes an offer on the book, the acquiring editor sends you a fairly detailed offer memo that contains details on the size of the advance, the royalty rates, the rights they want to buy, and what percentage of the money from sale of subsidiary rights will accrue to you (i.e. if they sell the right to put out, like, an audiobook version, then how much of that money do I get). Everyone told me that when you sell a book, it takes a really long time for the contracts to come through, which did kind of perplex me. The offer memo seemed, to me, to be so detailed that I was like, what else is there to talk about?
But apparently there are a lot of things to talk about. I’m not saying I understand it all, but from what I can tell, it all hinges on the specific wording of various clauses of the twenty page book contract that forms an actual set of legally enforceable obligations on both sides. And there are lots of fiddly little bits of language in there that need discussing. Like, what happens if they decide not to publish the book? What happens if I don’t deliver on the second book? What happens if the company goes bankrupt? What happens when my book goes out of print?
So what I’m saying is that for the last six months, my agent has been hammering out the details of this contract with the people at Disney. For most of this time, I assume it was sitting on the desks of very busy people as they handled other things. Anyway, this all resulted, about a week ago, in an actual contract, which I signed in quadruplicate and sent back to him. Now, it’s being sent to the publisher or the vice president or someone at Disney for their signature. And, at that point, the sale will be final.
It always felt really odd to me that in publishing you announce deals (and turn down other peoples’ offers) before the deal is actually final. But that’s how it goes.
Anyway, with regards to the actual disposition of my book, Enter Title Here, things are also a bit up-in-the-air, since the editor who acquired my book left her job at Disney in order to take up a new position at Little, Brown. That, in turn, means that my book isn’t really going anywhere until Disney hires someone new to replace my acquiring editor. Which they seem to be on the verge of doing. So, you know, progress.