Monday, February 21, 2011

Lynn Hoffman - Author #1

The is the first in a series of posts I'm doing where I've asked traditionally published authors to finish the thought: What I wish I'd known before I signed a publishing contract...

We're kicking off with Lynn Hoffman, author of two novels.  The Bachelor's Cat was his debut, purchased by HarperCollins (and, I think, will be re-released later this year!  Go Lynn!).  He's since also published Bang Bang (to a starred review from Booklist), along with two non-fiction works: The Short Course in Beer and The New Short Course in Wine.

You can find Lynn posting jaw-dropping (no pun intended) thoughts about his battle with cancer, as well as his books, life, daughter and dog on his blog Radiation Days.

Regarding my question, Lynn says:

Before I signed a contract, I wish i'd realized that:

1.  Promoting the book was going to be largely up to me. Sure, HarperCollins had a budget, but they also had a plan of their own. so they spent their budget on POS displays. I would have worked more on the media aspects of promoting it. I couldn't have changed their plans, but I could have taken some of my advance and made a publicity campaign of my own.

2.  I would eventually end up owning the rights again. Every contract has an out-of-print provision. You want to make sure that all rights revert to you after a specified out-of-print interval AND that POD or e-book availability does not count as 'in print'.

Of course, these are mere technical points and seem unnecessarily negative. What everybody should know is that having made a book and convinced someone else to put their money behind it, you have a different stake in the world. You're an author, you can be pleased with yourself and you'd be silly not to.

To which I say "Hear, hear!"

What about you?


  1. I think when I finally manage to get a book out there I will use my own resources to help promote it. I look forward to some of the things I have planned and no so much others. ;)

  2. I think making an iPad application for your book would be a good way to promote.

  3. I say hear! hear! too. This is the second time I have read about out of print rights. I have made a note for that day when I have to think of these things. :)

  4. Hear, hear! What a positive spin to put on it. It's also nice to know that even the big boys expect the authors to do their own promotion. I don't feel quite so alone now.

  5. This sounds like good advice. Many thanks for an interesting article.

    I'm a fellow crusader, on my rounds. Good to meet you.