Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Excellent book on contracts

Title: How to be your own Literary Agent
Author: Richard Curtis.

I've read a few books on the business aspects of publishing lately, and this one really stands out. The author is an experienced agent sharing his knowledge with a gentle humour. Ok, sometimes not so gentle.

I read the book cover to cover in one sitting, skimming only the sections on collaborative writing and book packagers, and not only did I learn a lot I also laughed out loud at several observations.

The book includes a sample publishing contract and several author-friendly clauses which can be substituted for the more usual publisher-friendly versions.

I saw comments on Amazon declaring the book a gloomy, depressing view of the publishing world but in my opinion the publishing world IS depressing and gloomy when you're trying to get into it. So many manuscripts, so many dead ends and rejections... little wonder many eventually give up in despair.

I'm not suggesting you rush out and buy this book, but if a publisher or agent nibbles at your query letter you'll know where to find some impartial help.

I've listed this title in the Recommended Books section of my website and I will certainly be reading it again.

WIP: I've come up with a plot change for Hal 2 which will fix a series of wishy-washy events, turning them into something with more bite. I've also worked out a couple of structural changes near the beginning which will tighten things up nicely, allowing me to remove several redundant scenes later in the book.
Today's music: Paperback Writer - the Beatles. (Can't get the damn tune out of my head.)
Mood: Sleep deprived. The kids are back at school, and 1am to 7am isn't enough sleep.

Simon Haynes is the author of the Hal Spacejock and Hal Junior series (Amazon / Smashwords / other formats)

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