Friday, August 01, 2008

Report from the Front--Friday

Yesterday was by far my busiest day of the conference with back-to-back appointments from 8am-8pm. I tried to take notes as I was going along but honestly I hardly had time to think let alone pull out my notebook. And I apologize ahead of time if the blog is incoherent. Conference brain is settling in and I'm having a very difficult time piecing words together this morning.

In addition to numerous appointments with clients yesterday, one of my most informative meetings was with Harlequin where I learned more about the changes they are making to their series contracts. For those writing series books you should probably expect to see the new contract in 2009. From what I was told, it sounds like their goal is to streamline, simplify and make a few changes that will be to the author's advantage including a better rate on remaindered books and easier access to using material from your book for promotional purposes.  

The plan is to have the contract ready to send out to agents in August for feedback and hopefully finalized in December. I think it's fantastic that they are including agent feedback early on in the process. Of course by doing so it only makes their lives easier. For those who haven't worked for Harlequin you probably don't know that their contract is practically non-negotiable. It's a reasonably fair contract, but by sending it out to agents for feedback they are, in a sense, giving us all a chance at negotiation. 

I also, by request, asked about changes to their electronic rights. In other words, will we be getting a better percentage? They are talking about it. Well that's something I guess. So keep your fingers crossed. They definitely have the lowest rate in the industry.

In other conference news I really, really want to commend everyone who swallowed your nerves to approach and talk to me in the lobby. I know for some of you it was a little scary. After all, writers are not often known for being extroverts. It's great though to put faces to some of the names I see on the blog and frankly always wonderful to meet someone new. So keep it up. I've got two more days and I'm looking forward to meeting many more people.

Ok, so the news is a little scant today. I'm feeling brain dead. If you're reading this from SF and have something to add grab me in the lobby and let me know, or comment. If you have any questions let me know. Unfortunately I don't typically attend any workshops or panels so you'll have to rely on other blogs for that sort of news. From me, you're going to get tales of cupcakes and champagne. Both delicious by the way. I'm going to need to hit the post-conference diet on Monday. 

I'm off today to present a workshop and take two hours of pitch appointments and hopefully, a little SF sight seeing. Oh, and I'm in desperate search of a cookie that's decorated to look like a baseball. Any suggestions?


Sarah Richmond said...

Thanks for the update on Harlequin.

Sarah Richmond

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the update, and the post is perfectly coherent. :-) Interesting news on Harlequin. I've a friend that has a sub with them, but her book's a stand alone--no chance of it spreading it's wings into a series.

Good for you for taking some time for fun today. As to the baseball cookie, hmm. I made a baseball hat birthday cake for my son once, but the cookie thing is another animal altogether.

Maybe you can find a nice bakery during your sight seeing gallivant. Have fun!

Anonymous said...

Wish I was there with you at the conference. I did attend the one in 2003 in NYC and loved every minute of it.
I agree with you that this is the conference to attend, even if you're not a romance writer. There's so much to learn and see. I'm still looking at the pictures with Nora Roberts standing beside me, Times Square in its magnificence and of course, that darn Naked Cowboy strumming his "geetar."
Here's hoping to see you at a Pennwriter's Conference someday.


Kate Douglas said...

I'm curious--what does Harlequin currently offer for e-rights? Most epublishers run between 30-50%, but I know the print pubs have a hard time swallowing that.

Anonymous said...

I didn't realize publishers talked so openly to agents at RWA. Kinda nice to get a sneak peak at what their thoughts are on contract updates.

I was told that my wife is not going to miss your workshop today. Sounds interesting. Based on my wife's outspokenness -- I am psyched to hear how it went. She and her cohorts can be a handful (in a constructive way, of course).

Good luck with that baseball cookie!

husband marooned at home with a toddler

Anonymous said...

oh -- i forgot to tell my wife I love her --- she's a big blog reader ! Miss her.

husband marooned at home with a toddler

Diana said...

Holy cow! Twelve straight hours of appointments yesterday and now two hours of pitches?

Thanks for the information on Harlequin!

Enjoy some downtime!

Anonymous said...

Did you really want a baseball cookie recipe?

Or looking for already decorated cookies?

Emilie said...

I couldn't find a baseball cookie in SF, but this website has a bouquet of baseball themed cookies including a baseball.

Michele Dunaway said...

Kate, They offer the same as for a print book.

Anonymous said...

Very Interesting update on Harlequin. How I'd love to be over there. Have you met up with the contingent of NZ Authors yet?

Your workload makes the mind boggle. Try to fit in some fun as well.

Julie Weathers said...

Baseball cookies of all types.

I've made baseball cookies before with a luscious Melting Moments cookies recipe and then decorated with white icing and red piping for the stitching. I can send you that recipe if you want to bake. The cookies really do melt in your mouth.

Thanks for the update. Sounds like a lot of work, but hopefully worth it.