Should I donate my royalty to my publisher?

I enjoy your blog lots and lots. Thank you for taking the time! (you're welcome)

Wondering: with the economy apparently tanking, what do you think is the future of LDS publishing, especially the small publishers?

In the interest of full disclosure I must admit I currently write for one of the smaller outfits (and love them dearly). Should I offer to forego my (tiny) royalty check in a show of solidarity? It always seems publishers are operating on such a shoestring anyway that tighter budgets could squeeze the life right out of them. Yikes for all of us! Your thoughts?

What?!!? Are you nuts???? If a publishing company can't afford to pay its royalties, it needs to close its doors. Never, never, never offer to forego your royalty.

As to the economy and what it will do to the LDS publishing industry—same thing it will do/is doing everywhere else. Yes, some publishers will go out of business—some already have, others are teetering on the brink. Other publishers will weather the storm and come out the other side.

IMHO, companies, like individuals, should follow the counsel of our prophets. Get out of debt, save for a rainy day, live/publish within your means. That may mean that fewer books are published for the duration and/or that newer authors may have an even harder time breaking into the market—just like unemployed workers are having a harder time finding a good job right now.

But don't give up. Books are still being published. New authors are still being accepted. Make sure that what you submit is your very, very best work.

And always, always collect your royalties.


Whitney Awards Benefit Auction

Copied and pasted directly from Kerry Blair's posts at Six LDS Writers and a Frog:

Don't miss the Whitney Benefit Auction, going on now! They have dozens of great gifts, all up for auction or buy-it-now purchase. New items are added every single day, so check back often!

We’ve got incredible stuff: Autographed books and gifts, valuable editing packages going for a song, designer clothing, home decorating accents, silk ties, massages, handcrafted note cards, food items, fine art, gorgeous jewelry, book publishing packages, children’s clothing, a family photo shoot, and much, much, much, much more. (We have, in fact, several things you can't buy anywhere else.)

If you haven’t seen the site lately, you haven’t seen it at all. Several auctions are ending very soon, so I put up more than a dozen new items and services yesterday. I’m putting up a dozen more today—including my own packages of baseball tickets, Hopi jewelry, prickly pear jelly, and an Official Nightshade Ghost-Hunting Kit. (Just where else do you think you’re going to find that?)

Supporting the Whitney Awards

The Whitney Awards are now in their second year. As a publisher, what are you views on the award? I've heard there has been a rather significant lack of support from publishers financially and I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions on why that is since it seems as if they are the ones that would directly benefit from the award and the ones that are in the best position to held advertise and get the word out. Are there elements of the award that from your perspective you think could be changed in a way that makes it something publishers would be more supportive of?

I think the Whitney Awards are a wonderful idea! And as you know, I've fully supported them here on this site and on the LDS Fiction site, providing links to the site and to the online auction going on right now. (Oh, wait! I meant to do that. I'm sooooo sorry. I totally forgot but will remedy that situation in a couple of minutes.)

As to why publishers are not supporting the Whitney Awards financially—generally, awards programs are not supported by/paid for by the people who benefit from those awards. Let's say Deseret Book gave a nice fat check to support the awards and then their books won in several categories. That could be seen as a bribe. Sort of like senators accepting gifts from special interest groups.

I think a better bet for the Whitney Awards is to set up a trust, funded by some generous benefactors who believe in supporting the future of LDS fiction. Create a business plan/budget, run it past some investing angels, see if you can get someone to fund it. Also, the online auction is a good idea. You could do that a couple of times a year.


This week's new titles over on the LDS Fiction blog:

Abinadi by H.B. Moore

Life in the Pit by Kritsen Landon

Ender in Exile by Orson Scott Card

Dragonlance: The Survivors by Dan Willis/Tracy Hickman

Alcatraz vs the Scrivener's Bones
by Brandon Sanderson

Clear as the Moon by Chris Stewart

Taking Chances by Shannon Guymon

Did we miss any? If we did, let me know.

We've also posted the next contest and the winner of last week's contest.

P.S. Authors & Publishers—If you'd like to be a sponsor for this contest, contact me.


2008 Christmas Story Contest

Get ready for the holidays by entering the Christmas Story Contest

Submission Rules:
Write a Christmas story in any genre. Stories should be positive and family friendly. I reserve the right to refuse any story I deem inappropriate for this blog.

Maximum word count: 2000; no minimum.

Stories published anywhere other than your personal website or blog are ineligible. (That includes books, magazines, e-zines or other contests.)

Stories submitted for previous years' contest are also ineligible.

Paste entire story into an e-mail. NO ATTACHMENTS, please.

In your e-mail, indicate whether or not you are a published author. "Published" is defined as someone paid you money (or comp copies in the case of magazines) for your story or book. (So either a publisher paid you, or you self-published and people bought your book.)

You may submit more than one story. Send each submission in a separate e-mail.

SUBMIT your story any time between now and Saturday, December 13th.

I will post the stories starting December 1st, in the order that they arrive.

Voting Rules:

VOTE between December 14th and December 20th.

There will be four winners: Readers Choice (Published authors), Readers Choice (Unpublished authors), Publisher's Choice (Published authors), and Publisher's Choice (Unpublished authors).

Publisher's Choice winners will be chosen based on quality of writing and uniqueness of story. You can vote by whatever criteria you want, just don't make it a popularity contest.

You MAY vote for yourself.

You may vote twice in each category: Published and Unpublished. You may only vote once per story. We're on the honor system here.

You may make all the comments you like, but VOTING COMMENTS must clearly indicate that it is a vote. (Ex: I'm voting for this one...)

I will post comments on stories and announce the winners on Friday, December 19th.


I need FOUR prizes for this contest. I'd prefer that they be Christmas-related books. Prize sponsors will have a listing on a bio post and will display in the sidebar, like the monthly sponsors do. If you want to sponsor this contest, please make that clear when you e-mail me. I will need photos of the author(s), book cover, author bio info, a link to author website and/or blog, and a link to where the book may be purchased online.

Help spread the word! Post about the contest on your blog, in your forums, and e-mail all your friends.

No Questions, No Posts

I'm completely out of questions and my brain is too tired to try to guess what you'd like me to post about. If you send questions, I'll answer them promptly, in the order they're received. If I have no questions in my Inbox, then I won't be posting.

It is, however, time for our annual Christmas Story Contest. . .


Royalties & Negotiations Revisited

I'm sorry my answer wasn't sufficient here.

Did I mention I've taken on some new responsibilities at my company, burning the midnight oil & struggling to the limit of my abilities to open opening a new area of publishing? Which now looks like it may be scrapped.

[breathe, LDSP, breathe]

I didn't mean to be negative or emotion-less. And I'd love to be in a position to entertain author negotiations on royalties. But the reality of the situation is that the LDS market is small and budgets are tight. That means that there is very little wiggle room for negotiation. We're not like national publishers who only pay 60¢ per copy of a paperback book. Our books can cost us as much as $3 to $4 per copy, depending on the size of the print run. Yet, we have to price our books somewhere in the ballpark with national books. Also, a fantabulous, hit-it-out-of-the-park, run-away best-seller fiction title for us means 20,000 copies sold (almost unheard of); not 200,000.

Royalties are based on the expected sales of a book (for fiction, 2,000 copies). Especially for LDS fiction, we can only go so high, no matter how well you negotiate with us. First-time authors in the LDS market are a risk, therefore, you do not have much room for negotiation at all. If your first book goes bananas, you will have more leeway to negotiate a better royalty deal on book #2.

"Good luck" means "I wish I had better news and maybe you will be able to negotiate a better than average deal and it doesn't hurt to try."


The Best Laid Plans. . .

Another urgent message about the new bookstore opening. This time, she even sent me a picture to go with the post:

Opening a new store is so much fun—and so much more work than I ever expected. We laid our plans, had all our ducks in a row, and then. . . several of our product shipments were delayed, including books for the author signings.

So rather than have our wonderful authors sitting at our store with no books to sign, we've decided to push back our Grand Opening by one week, to November 15th.

We will still be open this Saturday, November 8th, and the 25% off coupon is still good—and we'd love to have all of you drop by and shop. But our authors and the drawings for cool stuff won't happen until Saturday, the 15th.

Grand Opening of
Provident Book/Humdinger Toys & Games
changed to
Saturday, November 15th.

For those of you who've sent out email blasts and posted on your blogs, please update this information. There will most likely be updates and changes to the Author Signing schedule as well. Stay tuned.

I most sincerely apologize to everyone for this inconvenience.

*No, we won't have Christensen art in our store, at least not right now. But you can purchase it HERE.


New LDS Bookstore Opening in Pleasant Grove UT

The following message was sent to me by a reader and since I'm all about promoting LDS books, I decided I would post it here. I may regret this if I get bombarded with everyone who wants to promote their business, but I'm taking a chance and hoping it won't get out of hand.

Dear LDS Publisher,

I know you don't usually do advertisements like this, but I thought perhaps you would make an exception in this case.

There is a new independent LDS bookstore opening this weekend, November 8th, in Pleasant Grove, Utah. It's called Provident Book, and it's located at 661 W State, Pleasant Grove. It's just north of the PG Rodeo Grounds and in the same strip of shops as Timpanogos Cyclery.

As I'm sure you're aware, it's been a long time since there was an independent bookstore in this area and we're excited to be opening it. We hope your readers that are local to us will come by for a visit and will support us in our efforts to make books by smaller presses readily available to the public. Of course, we'll carry books from the "big guys" as well.

To celebrate our Grand Opening, we will have over 30 authors there signing books throughout the day. They will include David G. Woolley, H.B. Moore, Rachel Ann Nunes, Jennie Hansen, Michelle Ashman Bell, N.C. Allen, Julie Coulter Bellon, Tristi Pinkston, and Angela Hallstrom—just to mention a few. You can find a full list and the schedule here.

Our store will also carry a fabulous line of toys and games for all ages, LDS CDs and DVDs, and lots more. For a sneak peek, you can visit my personal blog. You'll also find a printable coupon for 25% off any one item there.

I hope all your readers in the Utah County area will come by and visit—and bring their Christmas shopping list. You will be amazed by what we have!

Thanks (in advance) for helping us spread the word.

Karlene Browning, Asst. Manager
Provident Book/Humdinger Toys

P.S. LDSP—if you come to the store and reveal your true identity, I'll give you an extra discount. :)

It's All Negotiation

How do you go about negotiating changes you want made in a contract you've received from a publisher? I'm very intimated by this and am not sure how I would go about it. Email them? Call them? Send in a hard copy with the changes you want? And what changes should you expect to be able to get made and which ones are pretty much set in stone?

If you're in the national market, GET AN AGENT! They're going to know the publisher and how to negotiate for you.

If you're in the LDS market, just talk to them. These are people. If you're polite and reasonable, they should be polite and reasonable back. With contract in hand, call your contact. Go over the points that you want to negotiate.

As to what changes you can expect—that varies by publisher. Point A might be negotiable for one publisher, but not for another. Some publishers might negotiate on everything, others won't negotiate anything. Wish I could be of more help.


Royalties & Negotiation

What is the average royalty a fairly new author should expect to get? And are they negotiable? What about if you've already published a couple of successful books with that publisher, should you try to negotiate a higher royalty for your next project? And if so, how do you go about that?

"Average" varies between publishers. Some base royalties on the cover price, others base it on the wholesale price. New authors can be between 6 & 10%; established authors can go higher.

If you want to negotiate a higher royalty, say to your agent or publisher, "I'd like to negotiate a higher royalty for this book because. . ." and you need to have good arguments for why your book is going to sell like hotcakes. Some will negotiate, some won't.

Good luck.


The Practical Side of Submitting

I have several books sketched out in my little thought notebook, but I also have one that is 90% completed. This book is written with the chapters based around a gospel topic. I use my life's experiences in [a specific activity] with doctrine to help teach about the principle. I have had a few friends who are editors look through it, but would love to have some other people read it who are not friends or family. Do you have any suggestions? Everyone who has read through it has loved it and been touched by it, but I'd like to look at the practical side of things before submitting it for publication.

Again, writers groups are a place to start with readers.

As for the practical side of submitting and publishing, go to your library. You'll find a whole shelf of books that talk about the ins and outs of submission. I recommend starting with the current Writers Market. It will give you some basic how-tos.

After that, there are 3,452 books and counting on the practical side of getting published.

And also these posts.


November 2008 Sponsors

Please take a moment to learn more about our wonderfully generous sponsors.

Reunion by Allyson Braithwaite Condie

Addie Sherman isn’t popular, she’s not exuberant, and she’s not known as the class clown. She’s just Addie, a high school junior who is convinced that she has nothing in common with the rest of her outgoing family, including her brother Dave. When Dave’s wife, Avery, needs help during a difficult pregnancy, Dave calls on Addie. Addie has to hide her resentment over having to help her sister- in- law when there are plenty of things going on in her own life that need her attention.

Sam Choi is one of Addie’s best friends, and he has a few secrets of his own. He doesn’t want to go on a mission, and he’s not sure how to break the news to his parents.

Cate Giovanni is a freshman in college, and enjoying the chance to reinvent herself and leave her high school years behind. As she makes new friends and encounters new people, she also can’t help but think about someone she left behind.

Reunion, the final book in the Yearbook trilogy, is a novel about the journeys home that become possible after you’ve discovered more about yourself.

Allyson Braithwaite Condie received a degree in English teaching from Brigham Young University. She went on to teach high school in Utah and New York for several years. She loved her job because it combined two of her favorite things—working with students and reading great books.

Currently, however, she is employed by her two little boys, who keep her busy playing trucks and going to the park. They also like to help her type and are very good at drawing on manuscripts with red crayon. In addition to spending time with them and with her husband, she loves reading, running, eating, and traveling.

Loyalty's Web by Joyce DiPastena

In twelfth century France, King Henry II of England has just finished quashing a rebellion by his power-hungry sons and now seeks to tame the lawless barons who supported them in this corner of his "Angevin empire." To this end, the king has sent the Earl of Gunthar as his royal representative to ensure that Prince Richard and his former cohorts faithfully adhere to the terms of the peace treaty.

Far from being welcomed with open arms, Gunthar no sooner steps foot in the county of Poitou than he is greeted by a series of assassination attempts. All appear to be linked to the former rebellious prince through the agents of the family and friends of young Heléne de Laurant. A clever, intrepid young woman, she realizes that the only way to prove her loved ones’ innocence is by exposing the true assassin. Heléne races against time—and dark secrets of the past—to unmask the killer before the kingdom plunges back into war.

Fierce determination gives way to mutual attraction as Heléne and Gunthar spar over the identity of the traitor. But their blinding magnetism almost causes them to overlook an even deadlier threat from an entirely unexpected direction.

Joyce DiPastena fell in love with the Middle Ages when she first read Thomas B. Costain's The Conquering Family in high school. She is a graduate of the University of Arizona with a degree specializing in medieval history.

Joyce lives in Arizona with her two cats, Clio and Glinka Rimsky-Korsokov.

Three Angels for Christmas by Lori Nawyn

What happens when two people you looked to for strength suddenly, and unexpectedly, pass away? Do you succumb to grief, or choose to follow the legacy they've left behind?

This poignant true story follows the author's decision to press forward and create something of lasting worth—angels named Faith, Hope, and Charity—who symbolize recognition of values that are important during the Christmas season, as well as throughout the year.

An endnote offers a chance for families to redefine their observance of Christmas, and a challenge to record their thoughts for future generations.

Lori Nawyn is the author/illustrator of Three Angels for Christmas. She is co-author of three inspirational short story collections and one cookbook. In addition, her award winning fiction and non-fiction works have appeared in regional and national publications. She works as an artist and graphic designer. Lori and her husband, Brian, a firefighter, enjoy their four children, two grandchildren, and three dogs.

Click here for details on sponsoring this LDSP blog.

October 2008 Comment Contest Winners

Here are the winners of the October Comment Contest, randomly selected from comments made during the month of October.

Thanks again to our sponsors. Please take a moment to read their bio info here.

The Journey

by J. Adams

Winner: Heather B. Moore

Commenting on "Write Before You Query"

All's Fair

by Julie Coulter Bellon

Winner: Laura

Commenting on "Submission Opportunity"

The Ruby

by Jennie Hansen

Winner: Tamra Norton

Commenting on "The Value of a Sequel"

To claim your prize, you must e-mail your mailing address to me by Friday, November 7, 2008.

(Unclaimed prizes will be up for grabs on Monday, October 10th.)

Click here to learn how you can win a copy of one of our sponsoring books.