Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Contract Blues

OK. The long-awaited contract did arrive in the agent's office. She called to give a run-down of the terms, which didn't take long. It seems that the primary advantage of working with a larger agency is that they've negotiated deals with all the big houses and they have those deals on file. So, they just go back to the last boiler plate and start with the best available terms that they have and work up.

That's the theory, anyway. Our agent wanted to double check the manuscript deadline, so we sat on the phone, me with my calendar and her with hers and actually counted out the months, plus two weeks on the end. It didn't quite match the deadline on the contract. We decided she should argue for ten more days. Hey, I'm all for more days. 

She said, "You don't want to blow this deadline."
I said, "We're not going to."
She said, "Because if you do, they can cancel the contract. They usually don't and they don't want to, but they can."
I said, "It'll be fine."

She went on to tell me that earlier this spring one of her clients had a manuscript deadline on the first day of the month. On the second day of the month he called her to tell her that he hadn't written a word.

That's right. Not one word.

I said, "Did you have him killed?"
She said, "The publisher wasn't very happy."
I said, "Can I have him killed?"
She said, "They ended up giving him an extension."

Well, that's just not right. 

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