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?