Mistake Number Four I overcommitted accepting too many contracts of the wrong types

Depending on the hole you dig yourself into, this can be a tough mistake to avoid. I was short on money - I'd quit my day job too early in my career, I was the sole support for my little family, and the offer of additional contracts for collaborative work seemed like a godsend - extra money for less work than I would have to do on solo novels.

(And you're thinking, But she said collaborations are more work than solo novels. You're right. They are. But I didn't know that at the time.)

At the very worst, I think I owed my publisher seven books. They were contracted. I'd already been paid my portion of the advance, and had spent the money to live on. I couldn't afford to buy my way out of those contracts. I was writing for poverty money, and I couldn't move to another house that might pay me better because I was obligated to my current publisher, and I couldn't live on what I was making, and no more money would come in until I finished the contracted books.

I wrote my way out of most of my obligations, but it was hard, hard going. I eventually managed to pay back my portion of the advance money for a collaborative trilogy when it became clear that my collaborator had no intention of ever fulfilling his part of the contracts and that if they were to get written, I would have to do them as solo novels - but still get paid for collaborations that would be sold as collaborations and that would sink like collaborations.

I moved on to another publisher, abandoning a backlist of books I love.

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