Go with the flow

I’ve been mired in contracts lately which means countless iterations of the same conversation:

Me: “We want X, Y, Z.”

Contracts director: “No.  We can’t agree to that.”

Me: “If you don’t give it to us, we’ll walk.”

Contracts director: “Fine, we’ll give you X and Y, but you’ll have to pry Z out of our cold dead hands.”

Me: “What was Z again?”

Multiply this by three or four contracts a week, reams of e-mails, and some name calling, and you’ve got my life in a nutshell.  At this point, the process is so predictable, I could create a flowchart that pretty much tells you the probable outcome of any negotiation.  Which is what tickles me about this delightful infographic that Galleycat reposted yesterday.

As fast as the publishing industry is changing, some things remain wonderfully constant: Authors’ hopes and dreams either coming true or being crushed into oblivion; insiders trying to game the system; agents, editors and publishers working hard and failing roughly as much as professional baseball players; heavy drinking regardless.

You’d think we’d get bored.  But really, it’s such a thrill when all the stars align and the editorial and development work, the tedious nitpicking of contract terms, and the snarky, despairing, bombastic communications result in a book you’re proud of (and which is sometimes profitable), that you end up just feeling grateful to be part of the process.

What’s your favorite part of the flowchart?




3 Responses to Go with the flow

  1. D. C. DaCosta says:

    My favorite part was “book is a success, start planning a sequel”.

    I would hope (and I so plan, though perhaps I merely dream) that when my first novel is (finally) published and we reach this point, no one will be surprised that the first, second, and third sequels are ALREADY prepared and awaiting their turn at the process.

    Unlike Harry Potter fans, my readers will not have to wait years for the next installment.

  2. EDWARD says:

    I liked the part where the copyeditor quits in horror saying “worst book ever”. I am glad to see this happens from time to time, if only occasionally. The publishing industry must be teeming with people who can put a happily clever spin on the jacket of a sadly unclever book. I could wallpaper Windsor castle with the pages of books I have read which truly didn’t deserve to get beyond the editor’s wastepaper basket. It is heartening to hear that somebody on the flowchart agrees with me. It seemed, according to the flowchart, the book had a longer life than than the copyeditor. Little wonder I spend pitiable amounts of time imagining there’s something new in publishing: I really ought to take up goat farming.

  3. David says:

    Here is what I see.

    First: Take the cart and place it above a wall calendar. Great product, and sure to have a small but passionate market of buyers, and maybe even collectors.

    Second: Game board. The chart, with some modification, can become an entertaining game. I bet a highly limited collectors edition with a very small run, but still precious. Reading just the cards that go with the game should be hysterical.

    Third: The Book. Epic hero’s journey comical story of various cliché archetypes working as agents, authors and publishers trying to publish something which keeps changing through the story. ( an indie self published now gone traditional zombie vampire paranormal romantic action adventure literary historical fiction thriller) In between the chapters of the story, you can have a receipt book of popular and not so well know publishing world cocktail drinks. You will need at least five to six variations of the Long Island Ice Tea.

    End of the book should contain a list of various recovery organizations. Large Red Warning Label for those who choose to read the book as they play the game.

    Bundle the package, book, game board, and wall calendar into one easy to buy $39.99 product. Make the purchase a requirement of submission. Have a custom informercial made to run late at night.

    Oh, and you need to obtain an endorsement from SlushPile Hell.

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