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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Contract, Part 3

I e-mailed Dennis Hillman, the publisher, with my questions about the contract. Part of the challenge was sorting through the questions/concerns raised by both attorneys and deciding what was worth contesting. The puzzle was determining what was really important and what was just nitpicky. I don't want to begin my relationship with Kregel on the wrong foot by being a royal pain. At the same time, if an issue could be a problem, this stage is the time to raise it.

I chose eight or nine areas I felt strongly about and sent my questions to Dennis. He responded graciously and answered all of my questions. I feel much better about this process now and am satisfied with his answers. He agreed to change wording in a few places and to send the contract to me again so I can check the areas of concern. If I'm satisfied with his changes, then we're theoretically "good to go" on the project. He is mailing me two copies of the contract, which I need to initial, sign, and return. He is also sending me a marketing sheet and an author info. sheet. I need to fill those out and return them to him as part of the next stage.

I'm eager to actually begin the production process. Check back for more reports on the steps to publication. I hope this info. is helpful to those who have wondered about the process.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Contract, Part 2

This past week, I finally heard back from both attorneys on the contract. For those who haven't read the first post on the contract, let me summarize. The contract is a legal agreement between the publisher and me for the publication of the novel. The contract outlines many guidelines, procedures, and penalties if guidelines are not met. Examples include when I need to get the manuscript file to the publisher, how long I have to make revisions the publisher wants, who decides the cover (it's not me), what happens if I plagiarized, what my advance will be, what happens if someone sues me for copyright infringement, what my royalty will be, how many free copies I get, what happens when the book goes "out of print," etc. Several established authors advised me to get legal counsel since the contract is legally binding. I have read through the contract at least three times, and some of it is clear as mud.

Anyhow, I heard back from both attorneys. One had only four concerns and recommendations. The other had tons of concerns and recommendations. Now I have to decide which concerns have merit and determine which requests I can/should make. Yikes! I feel out of my realm.

I do have a few questions/preferences: I want to be consulted about any final edits the publisher may make. (After all, my name goes on the cover.) I want to know what expenses are required of me for the final proofs. I want to know what is required of me (financially or otherwise) for the book's advertising and promotion.

I'm new at this. I have no idea how the publisher will respond to my questions/preferences. I don't know what's reasonable and what isn't. We'll see. Check back later for more on the contract. I hope to sign it this week.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Hunting for the Right Website, Part 1

One of the first things established authors have told me is that I need to set up a personal business website, an The website needs to do three things:
  1. Tell visitors about me and my novel in an attractive way (publicity),
  2. Provide a way for them to purchase the book from my website,
  3. And provide a way for visitors to sign up for an electronic newsletter or an "e-zine." I'll send out periodic updates.
This prospect opens the door to considerations like domain registration and hosting fees. Then I have to think about programming the entire site and making lots of decisions about what goes on each page. Thankfully, I did lots of website programming and updating at Northland Baptist Bible College for their website. (I guess God had a reason for all that experience, huh?) I'm most familiar with Joomla, which is a website content management system (CMS). Once you have the website template in place, you pretty much just login and add pages and content. It's really pretty simple . . . well, once you know how to do it. But once you get into forms and the installation of more components and some of the more advanced features, then things can get more complicated. And I haven't even thought about how to sell the books online. PayPal? VirtueMart?

And who has the time for all of this? I have editing projects keeping me busy all day and a second novel to finish.

And that's not even taking the financial aspects into consideration. A business website means monthly expenses just to "keep the light on" for visitors. And I'm not exactly rolling in dough. Okay, I'll think about the financial demands later. But for now . . .

My first question is this: "Where do I go for domain registration and web hosting?" There are TONS of companies out there that do that, and I want Joomla to be my content management system (CMS). I Googled "Joomla hosting" and found several companies that provide specific hosting for Joomla and at cheap prices. Okay, that's a start. I also know a couple friends into web programming who have offered their services and can install Joomla for me, but their fees are actually higher than I expected.

Not sure yet about the right course of action. We'll see. Check back later to see what I decided.