2011 RWA Nat’l Confrnce Workshop Tips – Romantic Suspense Market; Contracts

Okay, today I’m going to start sharing the tips I got from the workshops I attended at the conference. Just a quick FYI – I took more notes for some workshops than for others. That’s not necessarily a reflection on the speakers, but rather a reflection of my note-taking abilities. Actually, it’s more of a mood thing. Sometimes I find myself trying to write down every word spoken, sure that if I don’t get it written it will be lost to me forever. Other times, I find myself in a more laid back mood and just want to listen and absorb without making myself nuts over whether or not I jotted down some vital piece of information. (Yes, I drive my husband crazy.)

Today’s post will cover the following workshops: The Romantic Suspense Market: Advice from the Pros; and Contracts.

The Romantic Suspense Market: Advice from the Pros. Speakers: Karen Rose, Shauna Summers, and Stephanie Tyler.

Karen Rose You Belong To Me http://www.karenrosebooks.com/index.php:
• Noted that her books are categorized as “romantic” suspense only in the United States – everywhere else they are marketed as straight suspense.
• A romantic suspense book doesn’t necessarily need to be complex
• Write characters well – fans love the characters and love seeing them fall in love

Shauna Summers – Executive Editor for Ballantine Bantam Dell
• Be careful what advice you take from contests and critiques. Make sure it is truly in your best interest and that of your story.

Stephanie Tyler In The Air Tonight http://www.stephanietyler.com/:
• Actual sales numbers are more important to your career than making a best-seller list (the formulas to determine qualification for such lists are unknown).

Contracts. Speakers: Donna Bagdasarian of Publication Riot Group http://www.priotgroup.com/ and Mel Berger of the William Morris Agency

DISCLAIMER – The following are the notes I wrote down during this excellent workshop. However, there was a lot of material covered and it is quite possible I may have written something down incorrectly. Be sure to go over any contract with a qualified agent/attorney (of which I am neither) and have them explain everything so that you fully understand what you may be signing away.

• Publishers are not doing you a favor by publishing your book. You’ve worked hard for that and earned it and should be treated accordingly.
• You are never actually “selling” a book. You are licensing, or “renting,” a book. The copyright STAYS WITH YOU.
• Royalties should be based on cover price (MSRP).
• Collective Accounting (aka Basket Accounting; aka Joint Accounting) for multiple books is NOT advantageous to the author and should be avoided.
• Electronic Rights will always be part of granted rights
• Audio Rights are usually separate – unless you are super famous, they are not super valuable.
• Foreign Rights, on the other hand, are VERY valuable. So 80% to the author, 20% to the publisher.
• You don’t want to see electronic rights or multi-media rights in your contract.
• Subsidiary rights are those rights that are not the primary (print) rights.
• You do not want the “Next Work” clause in your contract. It will say you can’t work on anything else until you deliver the book.
• Option Clause – limit it to a proposal. You want it to be for the least amount of material and for the least amount of time. You do not want to see any restrictions on when you can deliver the option, i.e. “six months after publication.” You want to give them the option as soon as you can.
• Out Of Print Clause – “Out of Print” (which is when the author gets the rights back) must be CLEARLY defined.

Again, I cannot stress enough the importance of having a qualified agent/attorney review your contract with you. KNOW WHAT YOU ARE SIGNING.

More info from more workshops in the next post!


6 responses to “2011 RWA Nat’l Confrnce Workshop Tips – Romantic Suspense Market; Contracts

  1. Maura –
    Thanks for the post! I missed both of these at nationals due to scheduling conflicts but am looking forward to hearing them on the conference CDs.


  2. Great information. I’m definitely interested in hearing this session on the CD. I wanted to attend this workshop, so thank you for taking the notes!

    • Glad I could help! I always try to go to any of the workshops on contracts. There’s just so much information and with all the new e-book and digital stuff, it changes all the time.

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