I have been contemplating submitting my manuscript to Amazon for their annual Breakthrough Novel Award. First prize is a $50,000 advance and a publishing contract with four runner ups at $15,000 each with a contract. Not bad and very enticing for any new author. It made me want to submit immediately and hope that, among the 10,000 contest entries, my little fat novel would be chosen, or at the very least would be selected as a runner up.
The details of the contest stated that the winner would have to sign the contact “as is” with no negotiation. And there is no advance copy of the contract until the finalists make it to that round. I wondered what those details would say. The idea of prohibiting any negotiation was disturbing. Maybe because I work with contracts daily in my day job and there is a lot of contract negotiating when it comes time to renew them. I see how important it is to know what is in the contract. And I’ve read too many stories and watched my share of movies where the protagonist ends up in a rather unpleasant situation as a result of hasty negotiation with the Devil or some other powerful being (supernatural or otherwise). It’s just not a situation that you ever want to be in.
Maybe I’m not desperate. Of course, I’m just starting on this part of the journey. It is five weeks now that I submitted to my first agency hoping to be contacted with a positive response of “Yes, Philip, we want you and your novel!” The agency website guidelines stated that after six weeks if they have not responded to the query it may be advisable to move on to another agency. I think it’s rather rude to not respond even with a one word sentence but I doubt Miss Manners ever worked in the publishing industry.
Without the ability to negotiate a contract’s details, one is at the mercy of that entity when it comes to movie rights. And then there is the graphic novel based on my novel that my partner has been developing for the past year. A lot of beautiful, hard work.
I remain hopeful and steadfast in my mission to find an agent. I won’t be submitting to Amazon and will continue to pursue the list of literary agents I have selected for potential representation. I have every intention of finding an agent who will negotiate the best deal possible. Besides, I still have some editing to do, although I have a feeling there may be more once I secure Mr. or Ms. Agent.