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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I hope I'm not about to make a big mistake, but I'm about to pull The Wicked from the shelves at the request of a publisher. The book has only been up a few days, but sales have started to accelerate. I sold over thirty copies yesterday at $3.99, have seen my first two reviews come in, and have started to show up in the also-bought lists. The book might be unavailable in any location for months, maybe even a couple of years. It seems insane to be doing this. In fact, I'm writing this post in part to convince myself that it's necessary, and in part to avoid the pain of yanking the fishhook out of my thumb for a few more minutes.

In April, when The Righteous climbed into the top 20 of the overall Kindle store, I was approached by a large publisher about publishing the series traditionally. The interest seemed serious enough that I got agency representation lined up and had an initial conversation. I figured it wouldn't hurt to hear what was offered while I continued to do what I was already doing. There was an intense period of discussion for a few weeks and then things died down. There has also been some interest from other publishers, but it is not yet as advanced. Meanwhile, I finished The Wicked and published it.

My agent got an email last night from the publisher who said they were just about to make their offer, but having The Wicked for sale as a self-pubbed title was complicating things. It would be better if I were to pull the book while they finished with their offer, and then we could figure out if we were going to sign or not. So I think I'm going to pull it.

I'm doing this not knowing dollar figures or royalties, although I'm guessing, based on our conversation, that the numbers will be respectable. I've been developing my one-foot-in, one-foot-out strategy for awhile and think that having some books independent and some books traditional might be the best solution for me. I'm also aware of the pitfalls awaiting writers these days and go into this without stars in my eyes. I'll walk away if the deal isn't good enough.

Having said all that, losing sales and momentum for The Wicked is going to be painful.  :-\

ETA: I know that rank and "also boughts" will go bye-bye, but can anyone confirm that my reviews will also die? That's going to be almost worse if I have to republish in a few weeks or months. I wish I knew how long this period in purgatory was going to last.
 

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Thanks for sharing this, Michael.  It will help others who may be faced with similar decisions in the future.  And best of luck!  Let us know how it goes long term. 
 

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I'm afraid I don't know the answer on the reviews.

This is very exciting. I hope it works out for you. Be sure to set time frames. Don't let them drag it out too long. You have the power!

Good luck!
 

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Never hurts to listen and you have a big enough fan base that if you decide against taking the deal, you can get that momentum back pretty quickly.

This should never have to be a situation where we are forced to pick sides, like this was some thousand-year war we are about to embark on. It's just that, so far, most publishers have failed step up with competitive offers and terms.

I'm hoping that's about to change -- starting with "The Wicked."
 

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Should have to loose any also boughts or rankings - just make it unavailble - it will go off the store but when it is placed back on they should be back. You don't have to delete etc.

If it's just for a week or two - I'd take it down - it's not like we're talking about tens of thousands of dollas lost.  I'd do that to see what the offer looks like - but after the offer is in...I'd say put it back up - until you've both signed they don't own anything so have no right to tell you want to do or not do.

While you are early in negotiations ask about non-compete and option clauses - these are the areas that can really bite your butt when dealing with a series.  I didn't see those clauses until 4 months after we agreed on terms.  If they write a contract that says they have 2 years to put out your books (which is what Michael's said) then you can't be expected to have the books off the market during that time.  In our contract the books come down 2 months before there release as that's when they'll do the bulk of their marketing.  Keep us posted - and best of luck!
 

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I think you've made the right decision. Good luck with the trad. publisher, I hope you get a good offer. You can always put the book back up and you'll get good rankings again :)
 

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Michael, I have tears in my eyes, I'm delighted for you, no one deserves it more than you, hon.

I think if you put the book into draft it will hold your reviews. I stand corrected on that but I'm sure someone else has done that.

Oh God, I'm so pleased for you going to do a happy dance now.

:-* :-* :-*
 

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alexadena said:
This should never have to be a situation where we are forced to pick sides, like this was some thousand-year war we are about to embark on. It's just that, so far, most publishers have failed step up with competitive offers and terms.

I'm hoping that's about to change -- starting with "The Wicked."
I think it already is changing - and the T&M deals are going to help fuel this. The non-compete has been majorly revised in Michael's contract and that's because he has leverage from an existing fanbase. I'm still wrestling with the contract (getting close now) but "my Michael" always tells me that if he continues to self-publish he'll win, if he gets a good contract, he'll win. The only thing way he can lose is if he signs a crappy contract.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thank you, everyone. I think I kind of screwed up in putting The Wicked up, but hopefully it won't come back to bite me. (Mel, have I told you recently that you're wonderful? :) )

rsullivan9597 said:
Should have to loose any also boughts or rankings - just make it unavailble - it will go off the store but when it is placed back on they should be back. You don't have to delete etc.

If it's just for a week or two - I'd take it down - it's not like we're talking about tens of thousands of dollas lost. I'd do that to see what the offer looks like - but after the offer is in...I'd say put it back up - until you've both signed they don't own anything so have no right to tell you want to do or not do.

While you are early in negotiations ask about non-compete and option clauses - these are the areas that can really bite your butt when dealing with a series. I didn't see those clauses until 4 months after we agreed on terms. If they write a contract that says they have 2 years to put out your books (which is what Michael's said) then you can't be expected to have the books off the market during that time. In our contract the books come down 2 months before there release as that's when they'll do the bulk of their marketing. Keep us posted - and best of luck!
Very good points. I've gotten some great advice from you, which I really appreciate. Being able to continue publishing my own stuff, even with the same characters, has to be non-negotiable in any contract.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Ugh, so I want to click "unpublish" in KDP, and this will move it to draft, but not screw everything else up?
 

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What a tough decision. Congratulations on the publishing deal. I hope all works out the best for you.
 

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"My agent got an email last night from the publisher who said they were just about to make their offer, but having The Wicked for sale as a self-pubbed title was complicating things. It would be better if I were to pull the book while they finished with their offer, and then we could figure out if we were going to sign or not."

My question would be why does this complicate things? With one click, you can remove the book in an instant so why can't they make the offer, draw up the contract and present it without asking you to stop your sales- your livelihood- in the interim? To me, that just doesn't seem like a fair request.

Whatever you decide, I wish you much success!
 

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Give your agent, and the publisher via your agent, a deadline for coming to you with the first draft of the contract.

And retain an IP lawyer. (Yes, even though you have an agent...)
 

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If you unpublish, will people who bought your book lose their copies? I hope not, as I'd hate for your readers to get upset with you if that happened.

I hope this works out well for you. Thanks for keeping us informed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
BarbraAnnino said:
"My agent got an email last night from the publisher who said they were just about to make their offer, but having The Wicked for sale as a self-pubbed title was complicating things. It would be better if I were to pull the book while they finished with their offer, and then we could figure out if we were going to sign or not."

My question would be why does this complicate things? With one click, you can remove the book in an instant so why can't they make the offer, draw up the contract and present it without asking you to stop your sales- your livelihood- in the interim? To me, that just doesn't seem like a fair request.

Whatever you decide, I wish you much success!
I don't know, it's probably just traditional thinking. But you're right, it's actual money involved, money that I would otherwise be using to buy groceries and pay my mortgage. But it's their contract, their rules. If I want to play their game, I've got to comply, for better or worse. This could be very good and I have decided I'm willing to take the risk.
 

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Michael -

Congrats!

If I were you, I wouldn't regret putting it out there, and I also agree that taking it off temporarily makes sense too.  But remember one thing here - they approached YOU.  Either they want your books or they don't.  If they don't you'll be fine.  If they do and offer good contracts, you may be even better off as you'll have both indie and tradpub books.  But don't let them jerk you around and don't feel like somehow you have to play it exactly right and any possible mistake will kill you.  That was the old world. In the new world, you have great alternatives.  And definitely don't let them make you keep it off sale for 2 years - there are a variety of different terms you could come to, but that one would seem to be a non-starter. You could have written a couple more books and made six figures from them in that time. If they can't take a book that's already been through professional editing and had some good sales and get it out in at absolute most a year, then you probably don't want to be involved. You don't need to be a slave to their decisions about what their catalog should look like.

- Ed
 

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Is it a publisher you submitted to (through your agent) because it's one you really hoped to be published with? For me, that would help answer the question.

Also, from the time of acceptance and contract negotiations to the time it takes once the accepted/contract signed and when a novel hits the shelves (print and virtual)--think editing, slot in the publication schedule, copies out for review, cover art creation, etc. can easily be a year or more.

Good luck in whichever direction you decide to take.
 

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rsullivan9597 said:
The only thing way he can lose is if he signs a crappy contract.
Kristine Rusch wrote an incredibly valuable post on her blog about crappy contracts. There are a lot of contracts out there right now that are out and out highway robbery.
 
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If this were my book I would politely tell the trad publisher that when I have an acceptable offer in hand, or better yet, a check in hand, I would withdraw the ebook. Why should you stop making money for even one day for a maybe? It shows the arrogance of the publisher that you should take a loss simply to hear what they might come up with.

Of course, I'm hardboiled.
 
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