Ownership and Control

Very often I have new writers come to me who have been approached by agents, editors, publishers, or producers who want to take control of their work. Sometimes, that’s a bad idea.

Think of it this way. Suppose that you’ve spent a long hard year tending and watering your garden. At the end of the year, you’re faced with a huge pile of produce—corn and pumpkins, carrots and onions, peas and berries.

And suddenly someone comes and leans over the fence to your garden and asks, “Mind if I take this all down and sell it at the fair for you?”

Wouldn’t you have some questions? Would you look to see if he was dressed like a beggar? Would you want to know what fair he will sell it at? Do you know if he would pay you honestly?

Time and time again, I see authors who take on business partners who wouldn’t bear up under scrutiny.
Here are some things to look at:

Has this agent, publisher, or producer done this before? How successful are they, how capable? An agent or publisher can be a real boon, or a nightmare. So you need to find out if this person is capable.

Is this person honest? Some people are as good as their word. But let me be frank: most will steal if the temptation gets too big.

Do you have the same vision for your work as this person does?

Could you do the job as well or better? Particularly with small publishers, the answer in most cases is “Yes.” You could do it just as well or better.

Does this person have the connections needed to do what they say they will do? I see a lot of movie producers who are “connection poor.”

So think about your business dealings. Pick your partners wisely. If a deal doesn’t feel right, don’t do it.

Dave’s finishing the Runelords as his NaNoWriMo project—he hopes you’re busy working right alongside him! If you get stuck or need some inspiration—or just want to pick up a spectacular deal—check out the NaNoWriMo2015 StoryBundle at www.StoryBundle.com/nano.

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