Don’t sign a contract at a Writer’s Conference

How often have you heard of someone who knew someone who signed a book contract at a conference for their debut novel. They walked into the conference, pitched a story and signed on the dotted-line. It has happened,its  rare,  And I don’t recommend it unless… you and the publisher planned to do the signing at the conference, and you’ve had your agent, or a lawyer look over the contract.

Why?

Don’t misunderstand I’m not cautioning you because I think publishers are going to give you a terrible contract. Although some authors have told me their tales of woe from now defunct publishing houses. But the simple truth is:

You don’t know what you don’t know

I signed my first contract without an agent. I was so starry-eyed over being published. The contract was good, fair and pretty boilerplate for the industry.  My second contract I had an agent. Here’s where I didn’t know what I didn’t know. He negotiated a few extra things I had no idea I was entitled too.  He also perused the contract to be sure my rights could be easily returned if needed. Here’s a link to explain the parts of a contract. It reenforces my statement: you don’t know what you don’t know.

Read every word and ask questions

Are you aware publishers can withhold your first sales for ninety days before paying you? This is normal industry wide because book stores have a 90 day return option and they charage a restocking fee and it eventually can trickle down to the author needing to return royalties. Some publishers pay every quarter rather than monthly. Some insist that you must have a minimum sales dollar amount before you receive your royalty check. A few publishers i.e.… academic publishers only pay once a year.

Read every line and ask questions. If you haven’t read your contract carefully you’ll be anxious for no reason.  Of course, a lawyer or an agent will know what kinds of questions to ask. Be sure you hire a contract lawyer familiar with book contracts. It’s worth the fee for peace of mind.

Talk to other authors

If a fellow-author is willing to share ask them about their contract experience. That will help you know what kinds of questions to ask.

It’s great PR to have your picture taken signing a contract at a conference. And if you’ve done your due diligence enjoy the spotlight.

Anyone care to share about their contract experience?

My latest contracted book comes out August 15th. Preorder link here.

 

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Southern Fiction Writer Jennifer Hallmark Shares Jessie’s Hope

I’m excited to welcome Jennifer Hallmark to Jubilee Writer today. She’s going to taught about her new release Jessie’s Hope and tell us a bit about herself and her writing journey.

 I’m a Yankee through and through and until I was published I had no idea Southern Fiction was a genre. Tell us what is Southern Fiction?

Jennifer: True Southern fiction has to be lived. You need to feel the humidity, spend a summer working in a vegetable garden, and fish in a pond surrounded by cattle. Southern fiction is about family, not just one generation but how past ancestors shape each and every character.

My publisher, Firefly Southern fiction says on their website: “Southern fiction is about story, driven by characters who are distinctly southern and/or characters who move to southern settings (which are also characters). Southern characters fall into several categories and should not be stereotyped.”

That’s such a fun definition. I’ve read some of Fireflies offering and I enjoyed the quirky characters and the southern charm.

What is your latest published project?

Jennifer: Jessie’s Hope is a Southern fiction novel about a young woman who has overcome great odds in her life and is engaged to be married. She’s decided to try and find her absentee father first. Her Papaw, Homer, who helped raise her only wants to provide for his family. But he finds giving his beloved granddaughter a wonderful wedding with a specially designed dress is harder than he ever thought possible.

I’m excited to see a book with a handicapped heroine.

What inspired you to write your book?

Jennifer: Jessie’s Hope started with three writing prompts during a writer’s club meeting: a wedding dress designer, faded coveralls, and a dusty baseball cap. But my inspiration really came from my parents. I never remember my dad walking. He’s been in a wheelchair since I was a young child with a spinal disease he contracted in his early thirties. Witnessing my dad remain hopeful and encouraging throughout the rest of his life and my mom sacrifice much to take care of my Dad, brother, and me had a great impact. I melded these experiences with my life lived mostly in rural Alabama.

True life experience always add so much to our fiction stories. On that note you must have a have a favorite verse that resonates with you.

Jennifer: Romans 15:13 is the verse that best goes with my novel, Jessie’s Hope. “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (NKJV) Not only is God a God of hope but He urges us to believe and abound in hope. I’m not quite there but I long for that abounding hope inside of me.

Love that verse. Thanks for sharing. I think we all strive to experience that abounding hope.

Because writers are encouraged to read I’m always curious to know what authors read. What is your favorite genre to read for fun?

Jennifer: Beside Southern fiction, I love classic mysteries. I never figure them out, but I enjoy following the clues and wondering whodunnit. All my stories have a thread of mystery in them. In Jessie’s Hope, the reader needs to discover the mystery of the green shed.

A love a bit of mystery with a bit of romance.

Authors always have a favorite place to write. Sometimes it’s more than one location. Where is your favorite place to write?

Jennifer: I do a lot of writing in my study on a desktop computer. I also write on my laptop at times, in the living room or the local coffee shop. Occasionally, I use a gel pen, especially when I’m waiting at the doctor’s office or when inspirations strikes and I’m not at home. I always carry a small notebook 😊

Here’s the blurb about Jessie’s Hope

Can a sliver of hope lead to everlasting love?

Years ago, an accident robbed Jessie Smith’s mobility. It also stole her mother and alienated her from her father. When Jessie’s high school sweetheart Matt Jansen proposes, her parents’ absence intensifies her worry that she cannot hold on to those she loves.

With a wedding fast approaching, Jessie’s grandfather Homer has a goal to find the perfect dress for “his Jessie,” one that would allow her to forget, even if for a moment, the boundaries of her wheelchair. But financial setbacks and unexpected sabotage hinder his plans.

Determined to heal from her past, Jessie initiates a search for her father. Can a sliver of hope lead to everlasting love when additional obstacles—including a spurned woman and unpredictable weather—highjack Jessie’s dream wedding?

Order Links for Jessie’s Hope

Goodreads

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

 

More about my guest:

Jennifer Hallmark writes Southern fiction and her website, Alabama-Inspired Fiction, and the group blog, Inspired Prompt, she co-founded, focus on her books, love of the South, and helping writers. She’s published 200+ internet articles and interviews, short stories in several magazines, and has co-authored three book compilations.

Her agent is Cyle Young of the Hartline Literary Agency. Jennifer sends out a monthly newsletter, which you can subscribe to here. You can visit her on Facebook, Facebook author pageTwitter, and Pinterest.

Jennifer and her husband, Danny, have spent their married life in Alabama and have a basset hound, Max. When she isn’t babysitting her grandchildren or gardening, you can find her at her desk writing fiction or working on one of her two blogs.  She also loves reading detective fiction from the Golden Age and viewing movies like LOTR or Star Wars. Sometimes you can even catch her watching American Ninja Warrior.

Lots of places to connect with Jennifer.

www.jenniferhallmark.com

www.inspiredprompt.com 

Jennifer Hallmark, Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

Instagram

More wonderful interviews to come along with some writerly insist you might enjoy. Subscribe to this blog to receive them in your email or RSS feed as they become avaiable.

Shameless Self-promotion

For introverted authors one of the most painful things to do is self-promotion, It’s a key part of the business of writing. Not every word out of our mouths should be some form of buy my book.

But writers must speak the words:

New book available

My book won an award

Best-seller

Top ten

If you read that genre consider my novel

All these comments can be mention on social media without  looking someone in the eye. Even that can be a challenge. I prefer to promote others and not myself. It’s not easy to encourage others to buy my books. But I must.

The ratio of book promotion to other things on social media is said to be 1in 5 or 1-7. This means one social media post to every 5 or 7 posts should be buy my product (books). All the other posts can vary from a reference to the content of your books, i.e. story behind the story, research tidbit or interesting side note. The other posts can be pictures of your new shoes, dinner or old family photos. The same with blog posts, it’s okay to shamelessly promote your books as long as there is balance.

 

This post has two announcements that are shameless self-promoting.

 

My contemporary romance New Duet was a finalist in the 2019 Selah Awards. And New Duet placed second in Serious Writers fiction category. I’m glad I took the risk and entered the contests. Here’s the link to New Duet. It’s also available in audio and e-book format.

Cyle Young presented me with the 2019 Second Place Fiction Serious Writer Award for New Duet.

 

Next announcement

My newest project Smitten Historical Romance Collection: The Cowboys has my novella Healing Hearts along with three other author’s wonderful stories. We all love cowboys, so the stories were fun to write.

Here is the link to pre-order it. Pre-orders help with sales ranks on Amazon on release day August 15th. If you love historical romance and cowboys pre-order at great price.

 

I promise to keep my self-promotion to a minimum in  future posts. If you’ve been following me, you know I love promoting other authors and sharing writerly things. Subscribe to Jubilee Writer and you’ll receive an email every time a new post is available. And don’t forget to buy my books. 😊