Thursday, October 22, 2015

Why Writers Should NOT Pre-Announce a Publishing Deal

Ok, I've got a confession to make.

A writing acquaintance of mine announced in a major trade publication that s/he was "working with" a specialized imprint of a major publishing house (who's name I am keeping to myself) on a book.

My first thought was initially, "YAY! Good for him/her!"

And then MONTHS went by and by happenstance, I thought, "Gee, I wonder when his/her book will release? I'd forgotten the release date listed in the trade mag."

So, I Googled the trade mag article (which came out this last spring) and there wasn't a publication date for the book in it. So, I checked Publisher's Marketplace, and there wasn't any record of the deal there either.


Now I've got my dander up.
So, I check the writer's agent's deals and the sale is not listed, and technically, neither is the writer even listed as the agent's client (which is actually not unusual, because agents and clients play musical chairs all the time and it's hard for the mags to keep up).

But, by now I'm totally confused.

As any traditionally published author will tell you: agents and publishers always warn the author not to announce any book deals until the contracts are executed, and the contracts (FYI), can take weeks, nay, sometimes MONTHS to fully execute - especially when there's a major publishing house involved who tend to have more bureaucracy than the smaller presses.

They always make the writers promise not to breathe a word until then, and the writers always cringe and cry and tell their best writer buddies under the blanket of top secrecy, and we wail, "Why? Why do they torture us by making us hold onto such WONDERFUL news?"

Ladies and gentlemen, THIS IS WHY.

The reason is because if word gets out, people will want to know specifics (like a release date), and if there is no record of the book deal anywhere - then YOU look bad (like you made it up or blabbed too soon) and that's bad, bad, bad for your career.

Like, no. Just don't do that.

So, remember, my writerly buddies, all those times I whined and complained about having to keep quiet about publishing deals for so long?