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tweetybird
08-24-2011, 08:15 PM
I have a conditional acceptance from a big publisher in India. They want me to make major changes in the manuscript. My book is divided into two parts and they want me to let go of the second part altogether and come up with something different. The contract will be signed before I attempt the rewrite.

I have faced the same problem with another publisher as well. The reason is that Part II shows incest which the publishers think will not work for the Indian market.

At this point of time, I am really confused.

It is my first book. On one hand I feel that I should change the story to fit the Indian subcontinent market and try other markets (UK, US etc.) with the original story. On the other hand, I think that my book should say what I want to and not what my editor wants me to.

Would a contract with a big publisher in one market be an added advantage when exploring other markets?

Have any of you faced a similar problem? What was your decision?

amyashley
08-24-2011, 08:21 PM
I don't personally know about this, and I'm hoping someone will pop in with helpful advice.

After advice, I'd try pubbing to their specs (with as few changes as possible--maybe only changing the incest or making it molestation or something...try negotiating?), then when I marketed it to other pubs I would try to market the original version. I don;t know if that is okay or not, but it twigs my brain that perhaps it is?

See what others say.

Namatu
08-24-2011, 08:47 PM
It is my first book. On one hand I feel that I should change the story to fit the Indian subcontinent market and try other markets (UK, US etc.) with the story that I have now. First: I am not an expert.

Clarifying question: Are you asking if you should change the second half of the book to fit the Indian publisher's request, but then continue to shop the original version elsewhere?

If that's your question, the answer is: You can't because the first half of the book would be the same. You can sign the book, with changes, to the Indian publisher, and then shop another book elsewhere, or you can continue to shop this book elsewhere and write a new one targeted for the Indian publisher. You cannot have two books with identical first halves. That would make the book undesirable to another publisher.

tweetybird
08-24-2011, 08:57 PM
I don't personally know about this, and I'm hoping someone will pop in with helpful advice.

After advice, I'd try pubbing to their specs (with as few changes as possible--maybe only changing the incest or making it molestation or something...try negotiating?), then when I marketed it to other pubs I would try to market the original version. I don;t know if that is okay or not, but it twigs my brain that perhaps it is?

See what others say.

Thank you for your views, Amy. That is how I wanna go about it.

tweetybird
08-24-2011, 09:11 PM
You can't because the first half of the book would be the same. You can sign the book, with changes, to the Indian publisher, and then shop another book elsewhere, or you can continue to shop this book elsewhere and write a new one targeted for the Indian publisher. You cannot have two books with identical first halves. That would make the book undesirable to another publisher.


Thanks for addressing my query, Namatu. I was definitely not aware of this.

Emily Winslow
08-24-2011, 09:40 PM
First: I am not an expert.

Clarifying question: Are you asking if you should change the second half of the book to fit the Indian publisher's request, but then continue to shop the original version elsewhere?

If that's your question, the answer is: You can't because the first half of the book would be the same. You can sign the book, with changes, to the Indian publisher, and then shop another book elsewhere, or you can continue to shop this book elsewhere and write a new one targeted for the Indian publisher. You cannot have two books with identical first halves. That would make the book undesirable to another publisher.

I was assuming it would be like any other book that has multiple publishers in multiple countries. (And the Indian version would be somewhat censored.) Like you, I am Not An Expert, but I don't see the same problem you do.

Would depend what they're asking for in the contract. What language? What territory?

What does your agent say, or can having this offer help you get an agent if you don't already?

tweetybird
08-24-2011, 09:55 PM
Emily

I don't have an agent. In India, you can submit directly to publishers.

The book will be published in English for the Indian Sub continent (India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan etc.)

Namatu
08-24-2011, 09:58 PM
I was assuming it would be like any other book that has multiple publishers in multiple countries. (And the Indian version would be somewhat censored.) Like you, I am Not An Expert, but I don't see the same problem you do.I suspect it depends greatly on the language in the contract. An agent would be much better at answering a question like this, and in representing the author's interests in this situation. Without that, and without knowing how the contract would be worded, I see it as more problematic than not.

Outside of contracts and agents, on which I can't say much, here's an example: Say you have an article published in a journal, and you then approach another journal with an article on the same subject. Could you use the same first half of that article in the second journal? You could try, but if the second journal found out, they'd be very unhappy and would likely either ask you to rewrite the article or would rescind their offer to publish it. If they discovered if post-publication, it would be very embarrassing for the second publisher. If you told them upfront, "the first half of this article has already been published in Y Journal," there would be questions about rights and concerns over recycled material. That's where the murky area lies, and I don't know that anyone here can appropriately answer that question.

Emily Winslow
08-24-2011, 10:56 PM
I suspect it depends greatly on the language in the contract. An agent would be much better at answering a question like this, and in representing the author's interests in this situation. Without that, and without knowing how the contract would be worded, I see it as more problematic than not.

Outside of contracts and agents, on which I can't say much, here's an example: Say you have an article published in a journal, and you then approach another journal with an article on the same subject. Could you use the same first half of that article in the second journal? You could try, but if the second journal found out, they'd be very unhappy and would likely either ask you to rewrite the article or would rescind their offer to publish it. If they discovered if post-publication, it would be very embarrassing for the second publisher. If you told them upfront, "the first half of this article has already been published in Y Journal," there would be questions about rights and concerns over recycled material. That's where the murky area lies, and I don't know that anyone here can appropriately answer that question.

I agree with you that it's tricky territory! But, while you see publishing the same book in another country as analogous to the no-no of publishing the same article in another magazine, popular books often have many publishers in many countries. If the publishing rights in the contract are for India only, the rights to publish the same book in other countries would still be available to sell.

I hope the OP can get some professional advice for the specific situation.

amyashley
08-24-2011, 11:04 PM
If the publishing rights in the contract are for India only, the rights to publish the same book in other countries would still be available to sell.

I hope the OP can get some professional advice for the specific situation.

It's been my understanding that this is typically the case with foreign rights. They apply only to that country. Thus, with a skilled agent, you can make money on a book contract selling rights to each individual country rather than selling simply "foreign publishing rights" to one publisher or however this works. I think this comes about during the contract process, and I don't know how it works, but it makes sense.

It also makes sense that censorship of certain things applies in some places and you would be able to sell your book in it's original, uncensored state elsewhere. If you can alter your book without harm and feel okay about it, this seems a logical business decision. I would make sure someone goes over all the legalities of the publishing contract before you sign.

Old Hack
08-25-2011, 01:41 AM
I remember reading in Carole Blake's book From Pitch To Publication that when a German publisher expressed dismay over the sad ending of one of Maeve Binchy's books, she rewrote the ending of that book expressly for the German market. It was published elsewhere with the original ending, to great success.

Having said that I'd recommend that the OP here thinks carefully about what he's been asked to do. Despite Ms Binchy's success we're not all Ms Binchy, and I doubt we'd all be given the same leeway.

James D. Macdonald
08-25-2011, 05:07 AM
An agent would be invaluable here. And, with an offer in-hand from a legitimate publisher, an agent should be fairly easy to obtain.

If all you are selling is Indian rights, that shouldn't affect your rights in other areas. You will find all kinds of differences between books, even in the same language, published for different markets. These can range from alternate spellings on to more substantial changes. (Note the title of the first Harry Potter novel in the US vice the UK.)

The German market is weird all on its own.

I'm told that the Canadian market has its own problems with incest in novels, and that, for purposes of Canadian fiction, a relationship between characters who are related only by marriage still counts as incest.

tweetybird
08-26-2011, 06:51 PM
Thank you all for your views.

My problem is that the change the editor wants is not just tweaking the end of the story to suit the Indian audience.

My mss. is divided into 2 parts. Part I is narrated by the protagonist and Part II by the antagonist. The editor wants me to let go of the antagonist's POV and find a different end for the story.

This version will go for the Indian sub continent rights.

Now, the original story with two voices will be very different than the tweaked one (First 40000 words same and then it all changes)

Is this acceptable?

Burnt Flesh
08-27-2011, 05:55 AM
Hi Tweetybird,

1. You have a contract offer so now query a number of respectable agents. Simply inform them that you have a contract offer from a publisher for your book and ask if they would like to represent you. You will get several phone calls in short order.

2. Listen to what your agent has to say. A big part of their job is to represent your interests and advise you. Actually, that's pretty much their entire job description...

3. Consider the fact that the publisher knows the market well and what is likely to sell (and crash and burn). Itís not the audienceís job to understand your needs, itís the authorís job to connect with the audience. Given that the publisher is telling you that there will be big problems with the second part, you should give serious thought to heeding their advice, unless you are more interested in writing than being published (which would beg the question of why contact a publisher in the first place).

4. Consider the sentiment being echoed. If I read your posts correctly youíve gotten a similar message from another publisher. Thatís two publishers in the same market telling you the same thing. Iíd suggest you listen to them.

5. Congratulations, you have a completed book that publishers are interested in (albeit with major edits, but thatís far from uncommon). Crack open a bottle of wine and order some take out! The problem you are currently experiencing is one that many aspiring writers would give up an unspecified body part to possess.

Well done and good luck!

PS. Seriously though, go get an agent right now. And listen to them (and your publisher).

Regards,


Burnt Flesh

tweetybird
08-30-2011, 11:31 PM
Thanks, Burnt Flesh :)

I have found an agent to handle the Indian subcontinent rights.
I guess I will need to find another agent who would be interested in representing me for other markets.

Thank you for putting it out so clearly for me.