Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Happiness is a One-Book Deal

By Steve Weddle

So I just got galley pages in for COUNTRY HARDBALL. And the lovely people at Amazon and BN have put up the cover image. Feel free to pre-order a few copies if you haven't already. Makes a great Christmas present.

What's a bit unusual about working with the nice people at Tyrus Books (the delightful Ben LeRoy, et al)  is that we've got an agreement for this book. Just this book. Sure, there's language in the contract about if I write a follow-up and all, but this isn't one of those three-book deals. It's just a deal for this one book. If I write another one, there will be a separate contract. I've sent this book in and I don't owe anyone shit.

In fact, if I don't want to look at the galleys, I can't just email back an "all good" and be done. (In all honesty, the Tyrus/F+W people who work on these things have done a shitload of great work, and there's really nothing left for me to do but thank them.)

I got to thinking about this because I have nine friends (as of this morning) and three of them are writers. Two of them are quite good, but all three are writing under contract for upcoming books. They've signed deals promising books. They've taken money that they'll have to give back if they don't produce the third books by June 2014.

The "Exceptionally Lovely Three-Book Deal" or whatever the code is. So, they owe books. Owe. So off to writing they go.

I'll email one of my friends (I'm talking at this point about a former friend) a question such as "Hey, have you ever worn striped socks? They seem a little namby-pamby, but I'm thinking they're kinda cool. Can you get a jpeg on your phone? Take a look and tell me what you think."

Then the reply will come, stating that my (former) friend is a little tied up right now writing on deadline and can't take a look. Or in the middle of a proposal. Or an outline. (Not sure what that is.) Or some other such nonsense.

You hear about these multi-book deals and then you don't hear much more from the authors until their new books come out and they're back on Twitter or Facebook with some sort of apology that turns into a sale. "Hey, sorry I've been gone for the past year, but I was finishing up the new book. I think you'll like it. Click here to sign up for my newsletter and pre-order a copy."

So, I'm pleased with the one-book thing. I can write whatever I want. Follow-up to COUNTRY HARDBALL? Sure. More cyborg lesbian vampires? More Oscar Martello? A space opera? Sure. No one gives two shits what I write. I'm a free agent. No one give a damn about me now, about what I'm doing.

Seems to be much less pressure. Which is great, considering it has taken me 43 years for my first book to come out. If I can get another one written before I'm 80, I'll be ahead of the game.

Click here to sign up for my newsletter and pre-order a copy.


Dana King said...

I'm with you all the way. I, too, have a one-book deal, and like it that way. It allows me to see how things shake out and whether I want to devote as much of my life to the post writing aspects of being an author as do the actual writing. The folks at Stark House are great to work with, and I'm perfectly happy to live/work in a relative vacuum, where I can write whatever want and it seels, or doesn't.

Thomas Pluck said...

That works great for single novels, and that's the way it should be- but if you have a series planned, it may be well worth taking a 2 or 3 book deal.
If they take 2 and drop you (as often happens) write the damn third book anyway and publish it yourself. I remember so many "trilogies" back in the day died on book one. I wrote a letter to one author, Steven Boyett, and he said he wrote the second but no one wanted it. I wish he'd self-publish it. Same with Glen Cook, who claims to be sitting on a finale for a series that "failed."