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Maze Runner
07-29-2015, 02:10 AM
I signed a contract with a small publisher last week. I sent it by email and understood that they would return it signed to me. Well, not only haven't they done that, they've not responded to two emails and a voice mail. I wouldn't think that much of it, but over the past few weeks they've been very responsive. If not the same day the next day, and not brief emails either. Long complimentary emails.

I've only signed one other contract, with a publisher that doesn't handle this particular genre, and they returned that contract signed within minutes.

I just want to know if this would bother you. And what you would do about it. There was no advance paid. Would really appreciate your take on this.

Thank you very much.

Maze Runner
07-29-2015, 02:42 AM
I'm just not sure if I'm being over anxious. It's not that I'm so afraid of losing the deal, I'm just having difficulty rationalizing the non responses. Am I nuts or would you feel the same way?

Viridian
07-29-2015, 03:07 AM
I'd be annoyed, not worried. They're nice to you until you sign, then they ignore you for a week? I'm going to take a shot in the dark and say they're a busy press, and now that your book is a sure thing, you're no longer a priority. Unprofessional.

I don't think you did anything wrong.

A week isn't awful, but it seems a bit rude (to me, at least).

Undercover
07-29-2015, 03:19 AM
I wouldn't get majorly worried just yet. It's only been a week. If it goes several weeks without a response, then yeah. Give it more time.

Like Viridian said, you may not be the top priority anymore, but that doesn't mean you should go ape sh*t on them, ya know?

Hope things pan out soon. It took 6 weeks for the contract to finally go through on one of my books. Every publisher is different.

Maze Runner
07-29-2015, 03:21 AM
Thanks, Viridian. Yeah, I just don't like the style. I think I'm more bugged than anything. Worse than that is it's got me wondering about them--how they're going to be to work with, etc. Thanks very much.

Maze Runner
07-29-2015, 03:25 AM
I wouldn't get majorly worried just yet. It's only been a week. If it goes several weeks without a response, then yeah. Give it more time.

Like Viridian said, you may not be the top priority anymore, but that doesn't mean you should go ape sh*t on them, ya know?

Hope things pan out soon. It took 6 weeks for the contract to finally go through on one of my books. Every publisher is different.

Oh, six weeks? Oh, okay. I had no idea. I do have a habit of overreacting. Patience? I never heard of it. I run a business and it wouldn't be how I'd handle it, but you know, they've got a right to be who they are. Thanks very much. My mind's working overtime again.

Dennis E. Taylor
07-29-2015, 04:03 AM
Also, someone might have gotten sick. Stuff happens.

blacbird
07-29-2015, 04:17 AM
last week n. modified by adj. Three seconds ago.

-- Blacbird's Unabridged Publishing Dictionary. 2015 ed.

caw

Viridian
07-29-2015, 04:18 AM
Yeah, that's absolutely true. A week isn't bad-bad. I got my contract back the same day, but some small presses are different.

Go for a run. Have some whiskey. Writing is emotional business.

Roxxsmom
07-29-2015, 04:21 AM
I don't think a week is unreasonable, though it's a truism that a week feels like five minutes to an editor or agent and like a year to an author.

I'd be frustrated and anxious not hearing anything about where my novel is at in their editorial process for several weeks after signing, though. I think anyone would be. I don't think a gentle inquiry is out of place then. Even if there's been an illness or unforeseen crisis, they should keep their signed authors in the loop.

There are lists of suggested questions authors should ask agents before they sign, and I think they probably should apply to unagented people signing directly with publishers too about preferred communication style and how often you can expect to touch bases. If the behavior of an editor has fallen outside of what they told you to expect, it seems reasonable to ask.

Maze Runner
07-29-2015, 04:40 AM
I think since I got my other one back so quickly, not knowing any better, I expected that to be the norm without thinking it through.

Whiskey, whiskey, now that's a good idea.

Thanks for you help, guys.

andiwrite
07-29-2015, 08:52 AM
There's a LOT of waiting. A lot. An insane amount. Maybe it just feels that way because I'm anxious. I'm not complaining or anything. I just wish I knew what was normal. Mostly because I have this fear of emails getting lost and I don't want to bug them for no reason to ask about it. I've assumed this type of lack of communication is common for busy publishers. Next time around, I'll just know it's a slow process and be less anxious about it in the beginning. :tongue

Toothpaste
07-29-2015, 04:29 PM
Okay I think there are actually two questions here.

1. It can take MONTHS for publishers to get contracts to writers, which I find frustrating especially since many advances are paid on signing. But that comes down to all the red tape publishers have to deal with all the different people who need to go over the contract. In your case since you'd already got the contract and signed it, it shouldn't be as big a deal because they only have to sign it. But still, contract stuff, I have found, in almost all businesses, are a slow slow process.

2. You say you had very good communication up till now and they aren't returning your emails and phone calls. This to me is a bigger deal. Right now, at a week, I wouldn't worry too much about it. After all you have now signed a contract so they aren't now going to lose you, they can relax, they don't have to butter you up quite so much anymore. However, there should still be respect and they should still respond to you in a timely fashion. I'd say if another week passes and they don't get in touch, that is something worth getting concerned about. Again, I'm not talking about the contract. I'm talking about the respect an editor gives their author. After all, you are now a team and you need to trust that they will communicate with you in a manner that isn't like pulling teeth. So yes, I'd say their radio silence is a bit of a thing. Right now? It's not a huge deal. But if it lasts? I'd get on that. You don't want to start a precedent where you never know what's going on, where they only talk with you when they want to, etc.

ETA: I want to add, poor communication skills doesn't signal a scam or anything, I don't mean that you need to be concerned about that. I just mean concerned about the quality of the business relationship. I've worked with small publishers and big publishers, and while there has been many slow parts (getting contracts, getting edits) email communication with my editors has always been straightforward and easy. But I do have author friends who found communication with their editors extremely difficult, and it just made the process unpleasant and very frustrating. And honestly I think we authors need to expect better and to be treated professionally.

Maze Runner
07-29-2015, 09:17 PM
Yes, communication! And professionalism. And respect and consideration. I think some might abuse the privilege and that could be partly what makes them shut down to others who would not, but I believe you give people the chance to prove themselves guilty or innocent. I'm very low maintenance in a business situation. I think there's a right way and a wrong way to conduct yourself and so the choice should be simple.

You're right, they don't need to butter me up anymore, and that is a bit of human nature showing itself, to pull up once the deal is sealed. We all see this time and again in all aspects of life, but it's still the low road. Or as Katharine Hepburn to Bogie in African Queen, "Human nature, is what we were put on this Earth to overcome." It is what this indicates as their standard operating procedure that's got me concerned. II guess I'll see where they go from here. Thanks, Toothpaste. I always appreciate your take on this stuff.

telford
07-31-2015, 12:24 PM
Yeah, Maze Runner, I've just gone through the same thing. Small press, busy people etc. But they are professional enough to at least respond to my E's. But like others have said the wheels of publishing turn ever sooooo slowly. Hang in there. Oh, congratulations by the way.

Maze Runner
08-01-2015, 12:04 AM
Nice of you, telford, thanks. And congratulations to you as well and best of luck with it.

andiwrite
09-23-2015, 03:10 AM
At this point I can say I've had many, many emails go unresponded to. :( I found out about my cover reveal when I saw people posting about it on Twitter. I had no clue my cover reveal was that day. I found out about my release date online. I don't expect to be treated like some celebrity or something, but shouldn't an author be told these things? Am I being unreasonable? I'm totally lost with what's happening for my release (blog tours, etc) because no one has told me anything. I care about this very much but I feel like there's not much I can do if there isn't communication. I have no idea if it's an error with emails or what. I don't have a problem getting/sending emails elsewhere. It's really stressful because I have no idea if they are trying to email me and I'm not getting it, or what. :(

amergina
09-23-2015, 03:25 AM
At this point I can say I've had many, many emails go unresponded to. :( I found out about my cover reveal when I saw people posting about it on Twitter. I had no clue my cover reveal was that day. I found out about my release date online. I don't expect to be treated like some celebrity or something, but shouldn't an author be told these things? Am I being unreasonable? I'm totally lost with what's happening for my release (blog tours, etc) because no one has told me anything. I care about this very much but I feel like there's not much I can do if there isn't communication. I have no idea if it's an error with emails or what. I don't have a problem getting/sending emails elsewhere. It's really stressful because I have no idea if they are trying to email me and I'm not getting it, or what. :(

I'd try to find *some* way to contact them.... because that seems not right. I was involved in all my promotion and indeed, publishers are usually happy if authors tweet and blog and tease about things.

andiwrite
09-23-2015, 03:41 AM
I asked them what was up and they said "The PR team hasn't contacted you?" I said no, and then I never heard anything else. I know they are busy, and I'm not trying to criticize. It's just frustrating. I can't put my best effort toward my release unless I know what's going on.

Toothpaste
09-23-2015, 06:15 AM
Maybe you could say something like: "There seems to be some kind of breakdown in communication here and I think it's likely because you are having to act as a go between the PR team and me. That doesn't seem fair to you, I know how busy you are. Why don't you give me the email for the person working on my book in the PR team and I can communicate directly with them?"

andiwrite
09-23-2015, 12:24 PM
I did email the PR team but didn't hear back. I'm gonna try again in a couple of days when I have something to turn into them anyway.

Jamesaritchie
09-23-2015, 05:01 PM
I'm not sure what my longest wait was, but I know I've gone at least four months after signing before hearing anything. I didn't see the point of worrying about it. Four minutes or four months doesn't change the process.

I've also waited two years for a book to be published after the contract was signed, and the book was delivered. Never saw the point in worrying about that, either. I used the time to write, not to worry about something that was completely out of my control.

That's the thing. Worry about what you can control, which is how often and how much you write. Once something is out of your hands, whether it's a contract or a book, let it go. Forget all about it. Worrying doesn't help, being anxious doesn't help, and sending e-mails doesn't help. Publishing proceeds at its own pace, and the best way to make that pace work for you is to spend every minute writing new material, and forgetting about anything and everything that's out of your control.

andiwrite
09-24-2015, 01:43 AM
I'm not sure what my longest wait was, but I know I've gone at least four months after signing before hearing anything. I didn't see the point of worrying about it. Four minutes or four months doesn't change the process.

I've also waited two years for a book to be published after the contract was signed, and the book was delivered. Never saw the point in worrying about that, either. I used the time to write, not to worry about something that was completely out of my control.

That's the thing. Worry about what you can control, which is how often and how much you write. Once something is out of your hands, whether it's a contract or a book, let it go. Forget all about it. Worrying doesn't help, being anxious doesn't help, and sending e-mails doesn't help. Publishing proceeds at its own pace, and the best way to make that pace work for you is to spend every minute writing new material, and forgetting about anything and everything that's out of your control.

I always love your posts. :) Thanks, I really needed to hear this right now.

ishtar'sgate
09-25-2015, 12:55 AM
Obviously I have no idea about your particular publisher but when I signed on with a small publisher they didn't send the signed contract back until they'd assigned me an editor and were ready to send all the other paperwork I had to complete. That can take awhile.

Fallen
09-25-2015, 04:39 AM
I'm about.... 10 months after signing a contract now, for me. Seems long, but it's a small press who's one of three editors is working on another script of mine at the moment. As I like this editor, I don't mind having one delayed to work on another.

brainstorm77
09-25-2015, 06:21 PM
I am glad to say that my publishers have always been easy to contact and communicate with.