PDA

View Full Version : Etiquette re contracts



PattiTheWicked
02-25-2007, 07:28 PM
What's the most polite way to let an editor at Publisher A know you've recieved an offer from Publisher B and that you're delaying your response until you've heard back from said editor whether they want to buy your ms or not?

Or should I just put it like that?

Toothpaste
02-25-2007, 09:37 PM
I think you should probably put it like that. Have you thought about contacting an agent, maybe they could get you an auction out of the deal? (is this also for a picture book, because I don't know much about picture books so I could be way off)

Cathy C
02-25-2007, 09:51 PM
If I were Publisher A and heard this, I'd likely call Publisher B to verify it. That, of course, is going to somewhat insult Publisher B (thinking you're possibly more interested in working with A.) It's a VERY small community out there, and people in the same line of work often talk. Now, there's nothing WRONG with wanting to make sure that everyone has had a chance to look at (and make an offer on) it. Naturally, your goal is to ensure the best deal for yourself.

If I were in your shoes, I'd stall for a little bit with B, by asking specific details about the offer, and then email A to ask the status. If it's going to be months before they decide, then you'll have to take the offer from B at face value and decide whether it's the publisher for you. Or, you could try an agent--although a lot of agents don't want to step on toes by walking in at the last minute. But if you've only just received an offer, asking an agent to handle the negotiations might not be a bad thing.

What's your genre? If you like, I could post up some questions you can ask of B that you should know the answer to anyway.

PattiTheWicked
02-25-2007, 10:09 PM
If I were Publisher A and heard this, I'd likely call Publisher B to verify it. That, of course, is going to somewhat insult Publisher B (thinking you're possibly more interested in working with A.) It's a VERY small community out there, and people in the same line of work often talk. Now, there's nothing WRONG with wanting to make sure that everyone has had a chance to look at (and make an offer on) it. Naturally, your goal is to ensure the best deal for yourself.

Well, I wasn't going to mention to Publisher A specifically WHICH other Publisher B had made an offer :)

And honestly, Publisher A is my preference of the two.


If I were in your shoes, I'd stall for a little bit with B, by asking specific details about the offer, and then email A to ask the status. If it's going to be months before they decide, then you'll have to take the offer from B at face value and decide whether it's the publisher for you. Or, you could try an agent--although a lot of agents don't want to step on toes by walking in at the last minute. But if you've only just received an offer, asking an agent to handle the negotiations might not be a bad thing.

What's your genre? If you like, I could post up some questions you can ask of B that you should know the answer to anyway.

Publisher B actually emailed me a contract. It's not bad, but it's not quite what I was hoping for. The editor at Publisher A told me she'd be reading the ms this month.

The genre is a romantic mystery, or at least that's what it seems to want to be called :)

Toothpaste
02-25-2007, 10:44 PM
If it's romance, seriously why not contact an agent and see if they could get you an auction? Or is that just too much of a muchness at this stage?

jclarkdawe
02-25-2007, 10:49 PM
What's the most polite way to let an editor at Publisher A know you've recieved an offer from Publisher B and that you're delaying your response until you've heard back from said editor whether they want to buy your ms or not?

I would let Publisher B know that deciding on a publishing contract is an important event in your life and that you want two weeks to think about it and make sure you understand it completely. There is no need to let them know that Publisher A even exists, unless and until you want to have a bidding war.

Then contact Publisher A, explain that you have received a contract on your book, that you have until X date to decide, and you'd really like to hear back from them before that date. Publisher A will either decide you're worth putting on the top of the pile, or Publisher A will say thank you for letting us know, but we're not that interested.

Publisher B assumes you have the work out to other publishers, unless it requires exclusive submissions. It will probably assume you're contacting the other publishers, but it won't be bothered. If Publisher B has a problem with you taking some time to decide (i.e., rushing you into a contract), then red flags need to start waving.

Jim Clark-Dawe

Cathy C
02-25-2007, 11:14 PM
If they emailed the contract, then I'm presuming B is an epublisher? If so, then they might not pay an advance of enough to interest an agent in the negotiation. However, if A is a print publisher, then it might be worthwhile to involve an agent. Oh, and in the romance game, a romantic mystery is called "Romantic Suspense." If it's a mystery publisher, then it's a "Mystery with Romantic Elements." :)

PattiTheWicked
02-26-2007, 03:45 AM
B is indeed an e-publisher, although they do have a pretty good track record and they do put print books into bookstores, according to a thread on them from a few months back. They do not offer an advance. Publisher A, where the ms is being reviewed, is printed books only, and they are an imprint of a worldwide company.

I don't want to shoot myself in the ass by telling Editor A that someone else has made an offer, and have them tell me, "Good, go ahead and take it." On the other hand, A is the company I really want, so I'm going to wait a bit before replying to B. I guess what I'm trying to figure out is: is it bad form to mention to Editor A that I'd really like to hear back from them, and that I'm delaying my response to B pending A's response?

PattiTheWicked
02-26-2007, 03:46 AM
Then contact Publisher A, explain that you have received a contract on your book, that you have until X date to decide, and you'd really like to hear back from them before that date. Publisher A will either decide you're worth putting on the top of the pile, or Publisher A will say thank you for letting us know, but we're not that interested.


That's actually a really good idea, or at least I think so. Cathy, any thoughts?

Cathy C
02-26-2007, 07:07 PM
I think if you don't name names, that would probably be fine. Good luck with it and let us know how it works out! :)

mysterygrl
02-27-2007, 02:58 AM
If it's romance, seriously why not contact an agent and see if they could get you an auction? Or is that just too much of a muchness at this stage?

Most agents aren't interested in dealing with small presses because of the small amount of money involved.