?

Log in

No account? Create an account
[publishing] Out of contract blues - Lakeshore — LiveJournal
An author of no particular popularity

Jay Lake
Date: 2011-10-27 05:55
Subject: [publishing] Out of contract blues
Security: Public
Tags:books, cancer, endurance, escapement, green, health, kalimpura, mainspring, pinion, publishing, sunspin
Now I'm going to complain about something that will probably irk some of the aspiring writers who read this blog. It's one of those established writer problems that can look ridiculous from the outside, but is perfectly real and serious from the inside.

I'm out of a trade publishing contract for the first time since 2006. And it feels very weird to me.

Mainspring was originally contracted by Tor in 2006 for a 2007 release, along with a second book to be named later, which was eventually Escapement. Near the end of that contract cycle, Green and Pinion were contracted. Near the end of that contract cycle, Endurance and Kalimpura were contracted.

Well, now it's 2011 and I've delivered Kalimpura for 2012 publication and, well, here we are. It's not that Tor and I have parted ways. It's not that we haven't parted ways. We simply haven't had the discussions, nor have I entered into discussions with any other trade publishers.

Some of this is my own doing, as I decided to write the Sunspin series as spec books rather than proposing them to Tor. Some of this is the cancer, which has stolen half my writing time in past two years, slowing down my ability to deliver a spec book in time to propose it to Tor, or anyone else, within my usual contract cycle. Longtime readers may recall that had I not experienced another metastasis this year, I had planned to write all three volumes of Sunspin by this fall. The book package would have been ready to go to market last summer, except for cancer.

And now, thanks to the travails of chemo and my resulting inability to execute on important revisions recommended by la agente, Sunspin's first volume won't be ready to go to market before next February or March at the earliest. So I'm going to stay out of contract for quite some time to come, unless we take the rather unusual step of trying to sell on proposal plus unrevised draft.

All of which makes me feel very weird and insecure about my career. I'm in danger of missing the 2013 publishing cycle. I'm going to take a financial hit, to boot, simply because of delayed contract and payment timelines. But mostly, I worry about simply disappearing from view.

So I've got the out of contract blues, magnified by my cancer woes. And it doesn't make me very happy. Another penalty of cancer, another thing being taken from me by this disease.

Post A Comment | 8 Comments | | Link






User: (Anonymous)
Date: 2011-10-27 13:24 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I have no contract, and I think that's a perfectly reasonable complaint for you to have in your stage of career, and for a man of your talent.
Reply | Thread | Link



Twilight: WriterRose
User: twilight2000
Date: 2011-10-27 13:35 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:WriterRose
It sounds perfectly reasonable to me (and "aspiring" is the very definition of me at the moment) - being without contract has got to be scary - esp when it's unusual.

You started in shorts - as a way to "stay visible" - would it help to produce shorts for publication? It strikes me (from "out here") as a way to keep yourself in view.
Reply | Thread | Link



Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2011-10-27 13:51 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Well, for one thing, I'm not producing anything short or long til next January or February, thanks to chemo brain fog. And because cancer has stolen so much of my writing time these past two years, and I've been focused on delivering novels in the time I have had, my existing short fiction inventory has dwindled to nearly nothing.
Reply | Parent | Thread | Link



Twilight: WriterRose
User: twilight2000
Date: 2011-10-27 13:59 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:WriterRose
I was thinking you might find cracks in the wall to work between the chemo moments for shorts - I know that's dreadfully optimistic, but even if not in the next month or so, shorts come faster for you and in the beginning of the year when you're gearing up again, it might be easier to produce those between the novel moments as a way to stay visible.
Reply | Parent | Thread | Link



desperance
User: desperance
Date: 2011-10-27 13:38 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
So I'm going to stay out of contract for quite some time to come, unless we take the rather unusual step of trying to sell on proposal plus unrevised draft

It doesn't sound that unusual to me, Jay. Writer with established track record, which should mean that you could sell it on proposal alone; with a fully developed proposal and a rough first draft to offer, that sounds entirely reasonable to take to market. And then the lucky publisher could at least develop a 2013 slot for you, do all the background/marketing/cover work that they can do without having an actual finished text at hand...
Reply | Thread | Link



mcjulie
User: mcjulie
Date: 2011-10-27 14:29 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
It makes sense to me.

It's not like you cross the magical rainbow bridge into published novelist land and then just kind of... hang out there, basking in published-ness. The struggle never ends. The struggle to get a contract. The struggle to fulfill a contract. The struggle to promote the resulting book. The struggle to write the next book.

Still, it's hard to imagine you disappearing from view.

Reply | Thread | Link



fledgist
User: fledgist
Date: 2011-10-27 22:06 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
It sounds like a piece of unpleasant reality. I don't think you'll disappear. I do think you will -- as the best possibility -- come out of the tunnel.
Reply | Thread | Link



Eposia
User: eposia
Date: 2011-10-30 01:43 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Thanks for posting this. My frustration at the numerous setbacks to the beginning of my writing career due to cancer are so overwhelming that I can usually only glance at them sideways. It's not NICE to know that the same thing can happen mid-career, but it helps to know that all the same.
Reply | Thread | Link



browse
my journal
links
January 2014
2012 appearances