Things I wish I'd known

I've been running Florence and The Machine's latest CD, CEREMONIALS, at full blast wherever I drive these days. The steering wheel actually shakes.  If you don't know Florence, and you're a Gracie Slick fan, check her music out. Killer vocals, lyrics you won't hear anywhere else, and a drummer who makes me feel tribal.   Who says old chicks can't rock? Not Florence, me, lol.

I was thinking the other day about all the things I know now about the writing business that I wish I'd known years ago.  I'd just read Ann Voss Peterson's blog on Jon Konrath's blog site, all about how she had to stop writing for Harlequin (the 6000 lb elephant of romance publishing) because she couldn't pay for her son's braces, much less make a living, even though she churned out multiple books a year that sold well into six figures. The advance and payout (i.e. royalty) structure was such that HQ authors must keep a day job, no matter how many HQ lines they've contracted for multiple books. 

That's something I wish I'd known. Back before I realized I'd never have the HQ "voice," I thought HQ was where you earned your stripes as a disciplined writer. It may still be that place. But I knew, from how hard some of my friends were working to basically just survive as writers for HQ, that it was a cold and master/servant relationship when it came to the business side. HQ has some of the best editors in the business. These people know what they're doing. But that's totally different from the contract side of the deal, and HQ just doesn't have to give anyone anything in writing it doesn't want to give her. And they don't, unless you're Nora Roberts. (Who got her start there.) I thank my lucky stars I never signed a contract with HQ. I've made my own share of contract goofs,but none that scary.

One of the smartest (and that was by accident) things I did was get a sample publishing contract from the Author's Guild before I even read my first contract from Walker & Co.  Every new author should be a member and get that contract and keep it handy when it's pen and ink time.

More later. Long blogs bore me, so I assume they do you, too.